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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   2 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)


Editor: Where we left off, designer and entrepreneur Pat Calello had run into the headaches that can come with overseas manufacturers. Here he attempts to straighten things out with a deceptive production house—but this time he's got a secret ace up his sleeve!

In October 2003, I was contacted by the president of BRIO U.S., who expressed interest in taking on Automoblox as the sole North America distributor. Within a few weeks, we put together a distribution deal for 2004. There was also some talk of taking over the manufacturing of the line, and we discussed possible terms. But I wasn't willing to let Automoblox out of my control at this point; I still wanted to achieve my dream of being a manufacturer.


To my delight, BRIO issued a purchase order for 10,000 pieces! With the order came a Letter of Credit with an estimated ship date and an expiration date. (This means that if the Letter of Credit expires and Automoblox doesn't deliver, the sale is invalidated.) This order put Swift Tread under fire to resolve the tooling issues in order to meet the delivery date for my first customer. BRIO also talked about annual forecasts in the 60,000-100,000 piece range. At this juncture, and at the height of my anxiety, I felt it was necessary for me to leave my position at Colgate; a week later I was on a plane to China.

During my farewell rounds at Colgate, I stopped to say goodbye to a colleague Yvonne Hsu. Yvonne has the kind of energy that inspires commitment from her team, and she and I worked together under crazy deadlines. I shared with her my plans for Automoblox, and she expressed her support and encouragement. Although ideas for Automoblox had been playing non-stop in my mind, my friends and colleagues at Colgate (for obvious career-related reasons) were unaware of my personal project. Yvonne told me that her dad, who was in the manufacturing business, might be able to help me, and she suggested I give him a call. She warned me that I needed to be prepared to talk specifics, because Henry "isn't the chatty type." Her warning sufficiently scared me enough to put off calling him right away, but by February, I mustered up the courage to call for some advice.

Henry, born in Hong Kong, agreed to meet me for lunch in New York. I showed him my product, and shared with him the trouble I had been experiencing with Swift Tread. The pre-production samples functioned to some degree, but still not correctly. I told him about my upcoming trip to China to work with Swift Tread on final tool modifications and check out some new factories. To my surprise, he offered to accompany me on the trip! I explained that I was not in a position to pay him for his assistance, but he told me not to worry about it, and we agreed that I'd cover his airfare. His offer was one I could not turn down.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   2 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)


Australia-based machinist Ed Jones runs Ed Systems, a "Strange and somewhat crazy hobby shop that specializes in anything electrical, industrial, automotive, and anything in-between." A metal shop engineer by training, Jones' stock-in-trade is production machining, welding, injection molding, electrical work, you name it. As part of his work he needs to disassemble machinery for recycling, so when it came time to break down a Whirlpool, Jones opted for an easier method than de-wrenching it:

To be clear, Jones isn't do this (purely) for fun. "[The] machine was donated by one of Dad's friends, who happens to be a fan of [my YouTube] channel and wanted to see it die again. It was a power surge victim with a leaky drum unit, so its not a waste to scrap it. New ones are about $400, so it's not [a] big deal."

0edjones2.jpgAnother thing he can't do


Posted by core jr  |   2 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

DSchoolFutures-CarnegieMellon-1.jpgBackpack design by CMU design student Morgan Fritz

This is the first installment of D-School Futures, our interview series on the evolution of industrial design education. Here we have answers from Wayne Chung, chair of the industrial design program at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design.

How different is industrial design education today than it was ten years ago? Will it look very different ten years from now?

ID education today is requiring us to shove ten pounds into a five-pound bag. This sentiment has always been true for most ID educators. But it feels especially true today due to the proliferation of design positions available: IxD, UX, service design, experience design, etc. ID graduates all want to be playing a significant role in these areas. Consequently, the tools of trade, skills and type of output require augmentation and additions to the course exercises and projects. Add coding, electronics and other physical and digital interaction skills, and you have a lot to cover.

Some of the more overt differences are evident in the visual output for the digital environments. The other significant change has been that at the upper level of their education, designers are tackling wicked problems. These are societal issues that can only be addressed through systemic proposals—not just a single object or product solving a singular problem. And to make your argument for these wicked problems, a full contextual story has to be communicated. This storytelling is best done through a well-choreographed video that shows your research, analysis and insights. So you can see how the list of "required" skills is ever expanding for an ID student. But one of the things that hasn't changed is the core thinking of designing for interaction. This has always been at the CMU's forefront—whether for physical or digital.

As for ten years from now—I'm quite deficient in predicting the future. But by looking at the prior trend of our discipline being pushed into new roles and realms of business, medicine and society, it's clear that the role of design (not just ID) has to take a bigger responsibility in how the world is being shaped in physical and behavioral ways. And one of our best assets is the ability to get disparate disciplines working together toward something bigger than just the next shiny thing. Designers will not only be mastering their craft but energizing others to work communally toward complex goals and solutions.

DSchoolFutures-CarnegieMellon-2.jpgWayne Chung and student work by Rachel Inman and Matt Finder

DSchoolFutures-CarnegieMellon-3.jpgCMU design students Josh Finkle and Erik Glaser at work


Posted by core jr  |   2 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

DSchoolFutures-SCAD.jpgID students at the Savannah College of Art and Design

September is here, and you know what that means—the start of National Honey Month, yes, but also the reluctant acceptance by most students (and professors) that summer is really over and school is really underway for another semester. Here at Core77, we thought we'd use this back-to-school season to assess the state of design education—or, even better, to ask design educators to assess it for us.

Over the summer, we reached out to the chairs of ten top American industrial design programs and asked them each several questions about how ID education is evolving and how their programs are keeping up with the changes. Our questions were as follows:

How different is industrial design education today than it was ten years ago? Will it look very different ten years from now?
What would you say to a prospective student who worries about the relevance of an ID education in an increasingly digital world?
What sets your ID program apart from those at other schools?
What's the job market like for recent graduates of your program? Is now a good time to embark on an ID career?
If you had to give just one piece of advice to an incoming student in your program, what would it be?

Our first answers come from Wayne Chung at Carnegie Mellon University, and we'll be posting a new interview each weekday, with participants from Art Center College of Design, California College of the Arts, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the School of Visual Arts.

These educators' answers should be relevant not only to current and prospective students but to anyone interested in the changing face of the industrial design profession. We hope that's everyone reading this—and we hope that you'll weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

Posted by core jr  |   2 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

BacktoSchool.jpgPhotos credits: Jaineel Shah, Kyle Oldfield, Valdemar Haugaard Olsen

The equinox may be a few weeks out, but here in the States, Labor Day weekend marks the cusp of the seasons, when we must transition from the long, diverting days of summer to the deskbound marathon of fall. This is especially true for those of you in school, as students, faculty and staff reunite at campuses the world over. As always, Core77 is proud to serve as the premier online resource for industrial design students, prospective, enrolled, and graduated, and this September we are pleased to bring a special editorial focus to design education.

When it comes to design students, Core has long offered multiple platforms for exposure and expert advice: Besides accepting submissions for editorial consideration, we're happy to host thousands of free portfolios on our sister site Coroflot is (did we mention its free?); we offer students the opportunity to strive for glory in our annual awards program; and our dedicated Students and Schools discussion board offers a venue for direct feedback and comments from designers from the world over. We understand that (for better or for worse) it can be easy to lose yourself in the forums so we're revisiting the archives and have compiled handy Discussion Board digests, which we'll be publishing over the next couple of weeks.

Yet the higher education system is changing before our very eyes as the very definition of industrial design expands to include human factors, interaction and service, among other emerging disciplines. As with our popular Design Gatekeepers and Getting Hired series, we're pleased to present D-School Futures, comprising interviews with the chairs of ten top American industrial design programs. Whether you're considering grad school as an undergrad or professional, or you're simply curious about how things have changed (or not) since your own D-School days, this series is not to be missed—check out the first one with Wayne Chung of Carnegie Mellon University and stay tuned for more.

Meanwhile, our Hack2School special feature remains chock full of tips, tricks and lifehacks for undergrads of all stripes (ID or otherwise). Plus, we've refreshed the Design Schools homepage—long overdue for an update—with a few new pieces to complement perennial favorites such as Choosing a Design School and 1,000 Words of Advice for Design Students. While our Education category includes a broad range of initiatives, the Design Schools page is, as always, expressly intended as a one-stop shop for design students—bookmark it now for future reference as we'll be adding the new content over the next few weeks.

Posted by Moa Dickmark  |   1 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)


Open Air Neighborhood (OAN) started off as a collaboration between KaosPilot Theis Reibke and architect Louise Heeboell, back in 2011. At first, the idea was simply to develop "Building Playgrounds" through co-creative processes with the users, as a way to develop the city itself. They applied for and received grants from both the EU and RealDania, and started working on the project. After meeting Ellen O'Gara at a conference in 2012, the project has since been a collaboration between Heeboell and O'Gara.

The main focus for OAN has always been on creating a strong connection with the users by making them a vital part of the processes. Here they share some insights into what made them decide to work together, what brought them onto the path of co-creative processes and what they have learned throughout the various projects


Core77: Let's start off with a little bit of history about each of you.

Ellen O'Gara: Architecture seemed like an interesting thing to study because it combined books and creativity. I liked that combination and I still do. While I studied I really liked that everyone could participate in a discussion on architecture because it is something that is relevant for all. And in some ways we are all experts.

Louise Heeboell: I was both creative and good at math and physics. Good at drawing. I thought I was going to be an engineer. But I figured that the mix of engineering and being creative was being an architect. Besides from that, I had no clue, what being an architect was about. I'm happy about my choice now. Years before Open Air Neighborhood, I worked as a 'normal' architect. But I found that there was a conflict in the way architects work and the way the city develops. I had been looking for a way to work differently, open and with the users as a central part of the development—and still be an architect.

Louise, why was this so important to you?

Because I found that the urban space that was built as a direct result of the architects drawings had no life. (And I'd been drawing some myself, so I felt bad about it!) I was interested in finding out what created the places in the city that are filled with life and where people liked to stay.

Ellen, what brought you onto the path of co-creative processes?

Ellen: I studied at the school of architecture in Copenhagen. At the beginning of every year we went abroad for two weeks to do field work. In Sarajevo, Porto, Lisbon, ... Here we were free to find something that interested us. I would walk around and talk to people. Ask them what was important to them. This would always lead to something interesting. A topic would emerge, a need, a potential. I would gather all the information I could, measurements, conversations... the rest of the year, I and all the other students would develop each our project. I find this way of working very interesting. Looking at the needs and the resources and developing a program from that. It results in some very interesting synergies and very relevant programs. It is bottom-up development.

Of course you can't always just wander around and hope to run into something interesting when a developer wants something built but it is an approach I find very valuable. So what I mean to say is that my education has very directly led me to what I am working on today.

So, when did you two start collaborating?

Ellen: We met at a conference in august of 2012 hosted by the city. We each presented projects we had worked on for the previous months. It was clear that we had the same interests and some of the same ambitions for urban planning. The conference was about a project called Skab din By. Very interesting and experimental project by the municipality.

Louise: After that, we had a coffee and I think I asked if Ellen wanted to take part in the talk, that Open Air Neighborhood was going to give at the Think Space conference in September that year.

Ellen: Yes, and from then we started building OAN together. By January, we were working full time. Doing projects for the city and housing organizations.

During the Think Space conference you each presented a project. What were these projects about?

Ellen & Louise: We presented several projects where you could see that we had some common ideas for how to develop differently, our approach to urban planning and the process by which the city is and should be made. These ideas were about including the users in developing their own urban spaces. We were both very interested in processes where the citizens take a more central part of the development, and we both had experienced first hand that this kind of process can have some good social benefits.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)



For small parts storage, I use the cheapie Stack-On containers we covered here. They're useful and inexpensive, but their design also dates back at least several decades. For a more modern-day solution, check out industrial design and manufacturing engineer Jeffrey Bean's Twist Tubes.


Bean's background comes with heavy tooling experience, yielding a specialty in "the rapid design and build of plastic injection molds." He's used his skillset to create a series of storage tubes that open from the side, via rotation, and feature both colored and clear polycarbonate in the same package (for color-coded organization and visibility, respectively). And his Twist Tubes are designed to avoid the one thing that's happened to all of us at some point: Dropping the container and spilling its contents everywhere. Although cylindrical, the toothed design of the cap means the Tubes will lie flat on their sides, preventing them from rolling off of a table; the sealed design (unlike a Stack-On drawer) means the Tubes won't spill their contents even if dropped; and the polycarb ought to withstand the impact of an accidental bench dive.



Posted by core jr  |   1 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

State-Of-Mind-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Brit Leissler for Core77

Designer Martino Gamper guest curated an exhibition presenting a collection of objects from the personal archives of his friends and colleagues at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. His collection, Design is a State of Mind, features a "landscape of shelving options" aimed at sharing the story of the design objects we interact with and how they impact their users and admirers.

The exhibited pieces include finds from the 1930s mixed with modern-day designs. You'll see well-known silhouettes nestled next to one-offs and styles ranging from contemporary to utilitarian. Some of the designers include Ettore Sottsass, Charlotte Perriand, IKEA, Dexion and Giò Ponti. The juxtaposition of styles brings to light a history of how we've housed our belongings and showed them off through the years as various styles and trends have come, gone and reappeared. The items displayed on the shelves are a collection of archives from Gamper's friends and colleagues.

Gamper also designed two exhibits in the Gallery's powder rooms—one being a tribute to Italian designer Enzo Mari and the other a space encouraging visitors to interact with Gamper's furniture designs. The Mari room displays a compilation of the designer's drawings, notes and designs, all held down by a different paperweight of Mari's own collection. Gamper's room invites visitors to sit on the designer's chair and explore a international library of contemporary furniture manufacturing catalogues while watching either Tati's Mon Oncle or Alain Resnais' Le Chant du Styrene—two films that feature the designs of the 1950s and how furniture design has changed in the years leading up to present day.

» View gallery

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)


Animal Planet calls Anthony Archer-Willis "the best in the world for what he does—designing and delivering the ultimate swimming experience." That's why they gave Archer-Willis, a British landscape architect with a specialization in swimming pool and water garden design, his own show. In "The Poolmaster," he designs dream swimming pools for a handful of lucky clients.

While the TV show will reveal Archer-Willis' own creations, in the following video he shows you his appreciation for another pool designer's work. An unnamed family in Utah commissioned this absolutely insane, mammoth $2-million-dollar swimming pool, which was designed to look all-natural. With five waterfalls, a grotto, a waterslide, hidden passageways, an integrated indoor kitchen/bathroom/showering facility, a scuba diving practice area and more, this is not the average swimming pool that most of us Americans will be hitting up this holiday weekend. Watch and be amazed:

Posted by Kat Bauman  |  29 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

The book publishing industry may be shifting tectonically and perhaps irrevocably as we speak, but, as with vinyl, the cover endures as a canonical canvas for graphic design. The follow-worthy Casual Optimist recently brought a series of Gunter Rambow's amazing book-centric posters to our attention. Designed for the S. Fischer Verlag publishing house in the 70's, these graphics exemplify the light touch required to pull off visual self-reference. These book posters tread between clean forms and surrealist art, walking the delicate line of sight gags without crossing into the crap zone.

Magritte would be proud...

It should go without saying that Rambow created these works of art before the advent of Photoshop and its epiphenomenal 'bombardment,' though it's worth noting that the clever visual puns still hold up today. would M.C. Escher.