Posted by core jr
| 17 Apr 2014
Hosted by Don Lehman, Core77's podcast series is designed for all those times you're sketching, working in the shop, or just looking for inspiration from inspiring people. We'll have conversations with interesting creatives and regular guests. The viewpoint of Afterschool will come from industrial design, but the focus will be on all types of creativity: graphic design, storytelling, architecture, cooking, illustration, branding, materials, business, research... anything that could enrich your thought process, we'll talk about.
You've probably seen Craighton's work around before. He's the guy who did that lamp made of an orange extension cord, or that pencil sharpener built into a mason jar to help quantify how creative you've been, or countless sketchnotes from design conferences and events.
Craighton is in the middle of a pretty formidable transition with his work. He's combining most of it under a new brand which he is calling Manual as well as launching a new product called the Manual Coffeemaker or MCM. If you haven't seen it before, it's this beautiful glass terrarium-like, pour over coffee maker, that is more of a kitchen appliance than a tool. The MCM is in the middle of it's Kickstarter funding right now, which is scheduled to end this Friday, April 18. As of this recording it's not yet fully funded, but it's inching closer and closer. So I thought it would be the perfect time to talk to Craighton about what this experience is like. What goes on in the head of a designer who puts their passion project out their for public approval?
Get the Afterschool Podcast, Episode #19 – Craighton Berman, Founder of Manual: Available at the iTunes store or direct download via Soundcloud below.
Posted by erika rae
| 17 Apr 2014
All photos by Catalina Kulczar-Marin
Like with any other conference aimed at sparking innovation and creativity, you're going to leave the event with too much information to process. (Moan and groan about buzzwords all you want, but at the end of the day "inspired" is the only way to describe it.) Which, of course, were my feelings concerning PSFK 2014, a one-day conference titled "Connecting the Unexpected." On April 11, the staff of PSFK hosted an auditorium full of marketers, designers, entrepreneurs and other creative types at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. For the sake of Internet brevity and my own sanity, I'll break up a few of my favorite take-aways in accordance with the three speaker categories: Keynote, Spotlight and Refresh. I hope that you might find some of it—yup—inspiring.
Marc Kushner of Architizer
The day got off to a great start. The first presenter—and possibly the most interesting to me—was Marc Kushner, CEO and co-founder of Architizer. While his message was strong on its own, it might have been the easy delivery and candid approach he took to presenting it. Nothing seemed over-rehearsed and instead of cramming a career's worth of work into 20 minutes (speakers were allotted 10- and 20-minute presentation times), he walked us all through one design his firm HWKN took on: "Wendy," the 2012 winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. He addressed the topic of creating things with personality and pushed his message even further through presenting the thought process behind one of his own successful designs. (His words: "They tweeted at her. They added her on Facebook.")
By taking us through the design process by means of various sketches and photographs of the finished product, Kushner successfully (at least in my instance) reminded us all that architecture is an interactive part of society. My favorite words from the entire event came from Kushner: "Math is intimidating. Architecture shouldn't be intimidating."
Left to right: Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners; Kevin Alloca, trend tracker at YouTube; and Björn Jeffrey, founder of Toca Boca
Keith Yamashita also served up a noteworthy performance and controlled his presentation (which you can view here) from his phone, which was pretty nifty. His focus was the importance of teamwork in discovering with a successful solution—design-specific or not—and took us through a few steps, or lessons: "Start from a pure place—with equal parts empathy and aspiration," "never delegate understanding," "virtually all acts of greatness are the work of an ensemble" and "greatness is a choice," to name a few.
Brooklyn Boulders's "Cultural Chameleon" Jesse Levin shared his stories of volunteering in disaster areas and drew similarities with the atmosphere and team he has built in Brooklyn. Hiring music acts and housing graffiti artists in exchange for wall decorations are only a few things he has utilized to create a collaborative space—not to mention he's created a co-working space inside of the Brooklyn Boulders gym, complete with standing desks and pull-up bars (no joke). While he wasn't speaking about design per se, the notion that taking creative leaps keeps ideas fresh applies to any domain.
Posted by Ray
| 17 Apr 2014
It's never a perfect analogy, but it can be interesting when it comes close enough: Attempting to translate one creative discipline into another is, to mutilate the metaphors, more difficult than turning water into wine—rather, the old saying regarding "dancing about architecture" comes to mind. For Milan Design Week 2014, the Centrum Designu Gdynia ambitiously sought to distill a dozen products by Polish Pomeranian designers into culinary delights. Although the concept itself was executed to varying degrees of success, "Taste of an Object" offered a nice twist on the tried-and-true local design showcase.
Taking inspiration from Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes (MIT Press 2003), the Gdynia Design Centre worked with razy2 design group to develop an exhibition in which "an object goes beyond the limits of how it's typically perceived."
"Flavors have shape," he started, frowning into the depths of the roasting pan. "I wanted the taste of this chicken to be pointed shape, but it came out all round." He looked up at me, still blushing. "Well I mean it's nearly spherical," he emphasized, trying to keep the volume down. "I can't serve this if it doesn't have points."
..."When I taste something with intense flavor, the feeling sweeps down to my arm into my fingertips. I feel it—its weight, its texture, whether it's warm or cold, everything. I feel it like I'm actually grasping something." He held his palms up. "Of course, there's nothing really there," he said, staring at his hands. "But it's not illusion because I feel it."
So goes the excerpt of Cytowic's book, a seed of source material that is planted in the geopolitical context of the Pomerania region of northern Poland, across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. Described as "a region of a turbulent history linked with and age-long fight for independence," Pomerania is also an incubator, "a base for brave yet developing, unique projects."
Mouthwatering though they may be, chef Rafal Walesa's gastronomic concoctions are only obliquely related to the products—but that's precisely the point. After all, one can only imagine that literal interpretations of, say, a radiator (there are actually three heating-related products in the show) or an urn might not be nearly as appetizing as the photogenic treats that were on view. (Note: The captioned images below alternate between food and product, with the dishes followed by the design that inspired them.)
Chocolate sponge cake is perhaps the ultimate comfort food
"Welna & Powietrze" armchair by Malafor (Agata Kulik-Pomorska & Pawel Pomorski)
Hard candy is intended to symbolize cast aluminum, while its lemon tea flavor conjures the contrast of heat on a cold winter day
"Pillou" radiator by None Grupa (Marta Szaban & Antoni Krzempek) for Terma
Red wine jelly offers a twist on a drink for a solemn occasion
"Tear Drop" by Aeon Form (Aleksander Bielawski, Robert Kowalczyk & Dominik Sedzicki)
Posted by erika rae
| 16 Apr 2014
You may not see much of your well-worn childhood flip books past the age of 10—or maybe even younger thanks to the intrigue of more developed, tech-savvy toys. Juan Fontanive has something to say about that. His series of motorized flip books feature lifted images from Audubon guides that loop through colorful images of birds and illustrations of butterflies. The tiny sculptures-gone-film-art are made up of mixture of miniature gears, sprockets, clips, nuts, bolts and wormwheels. The result is an oddly soothing, page-flipping loop. Check out his newest compilations in action:
A group of MIT scientists have created a new material that can be both a mirror and a window, and no it's not a one-way mirror.
This new material can filter light depending on the direction of the light beams. In the image above light that hits from one angle goes straight through (white beam) but light that hits the material at different angle is reflected back (red beam). For designers it might make for interesting new tricks for walls or new forms of windows.
To filter light one must alter either it's frequency or polarization. In terms of frequency, stained glass windows are a good example, where the glass lets specific wavelengths pass through.
Polarized glasses, like the 3D glasses you wear at the movies, are able to let light through that oscillates in a specific way. But the idea of filtering light based on the direction it comes from has always been tough.
A Core77 reader wrote in to ask about the provenance of this enormous horse made from wood cut-offs, which we spotted at Holz-Handwerk.
Called the "Workhorse of Peace and Hope," it was made by Italian furniture outfit Riva to symbolize the dedication and perseverance of Italian craftsmanship.
And speaking of wooden animals, here's something I never expected to see being sold by Restoration Hardware: A line of Hand-Carved Game Trophies made out of basswood.
Photography accessory company Photojojo might consist of "a small and passionate team" of designers (who are hiring, by the way), but despite their dimunitive size, the SF-based outfit distributes a staggering array of product. And what they've got in the pipeline is bound to draw some attention: "We're working on some stuff to make drone photography easier for anyone to get into," the company writes. Specifically, they may be helping to usher in a new category of photography: The drone selfie.
What's a drone selfie? Well jeez, whaddaya think it is?
That one was shot by Amit Gupta, the SF-based entrepreneur who runs Photojojo. No word yet on what the physical products they'll be releasing are.
In this four-part look at different toolbox designs, finally we come to Parat, which has one of the larger tool storage catalogs of any company we've seen. Like Tanos, the company's desire is to produce storage for every single thing any tradesperson could possibly carry; but unlike Tanos, Parat has foregone any notion of connectivity and modularity--perhaps due to legacy issues--and instead produces a bewildering array of form factors, giving the end user a wide variety of options.
Their Paratool line is a unique-looking sort of wheeled briefcase, which can be rolled or carried depending on the load and terrain. The interesting design feature is that it's meant to serve as a mobile tool platform; with the telescoping handles extended, the box can be opened and set at a particular height to allow access to the tools.
Their Parapro line will be familiar to anyone who's used Pelican cases, often the mobile storage unit of choice for photographers and military outfits. Like the Pelicans, the Parapros are 100% waterproof, dustproof and airtight, and molded from nearly indestructible polypropylene.
Their Evolution line looks something like a wall-mounted cabinet that has been adapted to ride on wheels.
Their Top-Line category seems an odd choice of materials, being made from embossed leather bound at the corners by aluminum angles, in the manner of a flight case. One interesting touch are the rows of bristles within that are meant to hold hand tools in place regardless of their shape. They also offer a variant loaded up with drawers.
On the soft-materials front, they also offer a series of tool rolls, wallets, belt pouches, binders, and a backpack.
Parat's latest product line, the Paracurv series, was on show at Holz-Handwerk. Parat is billing the line as the "classic case of the future," referencing their materials departure: The Paracurvs are made from a flexible, sturdy and lightweight weave of thermoplastic bands that are melted onto the surface of an ABS structure.
At press time the Paracurv line wasn't yet up on their website, but here's the teaser vid:
This is just a fraction of what's on offer from Parat, but should give you an idea of how broad their range is. You can check out the rest here.
Posted by core jr
| 16 Apr 2014
Content sponsored by Intel
If you haven't heard yet, Intel is looking for visionaries to enter the MAKE IT WEARABLE global challenge. All it takes to enter is for you to upload a one-minute video on your vision of the future of wearables. Five winners will receive $5,000 and a free trip for two to the award ceremony in San Francisco to take place in November of this year. For complete rules and to enter check out the competition website.
For those of you who want to develop a complete wearable product, we will be launching the Development Track of the challenge in the summer of 2014 with a grand prize of $500,000. You will be able to enter by submitting a proposal and pitch video of an innovative and creative product concept. Submissions will be judged on a balance of creativity, feasibility and market potential.
Posted by erika rae
| 15 Apr 2014
While there are many designs out there that look to replicate the iconic style of the Eames Chair, I'd bet that there aren't many doing it quite like Bora Hong. Her work always has some sort of cultural connection, and her recent design series, "Cosmetic Surgery Kingdom" is no exception. The cultural spin? Hong explores the aesthetic surgery trend in South Korea by recreating the classic Eames chair using parts of outdated chair designs. She showcases her design process in two videos, where she dons doctor's scrubs and a hospital mask for added effect:
The project is meant to draw a correlation between the goal of creating a younger and more beautiful self by means of cosmetic surgery and the way in which designers are also always trying to create "good design." Check out her second video, titled "Surgery for an Eames Chair":