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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The holiday season is when we start seeing some wacky promotional products, and this first one's a cake-taker. Johnnie Walker partnered up with shoemaking outfit Oliver Sweeney to produce these Leather Brogues. And yes, what you're seeing is real: The $489 kicks come with hollow compartments in the heel for the wearer to stash airplane-sized booze bottles.

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Moving up from the feet towards the top of the body, the manufacturer of the Whisker Dam figures their drink-topping gewgaw will solve a pressing problem for the mustachioed. This "handcrafted to perfection" piece of copper, "dressed with a timeless patina," is meant to protect your moustache from beer foam. H.I.A.H.

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And finally, YouTube tippler The Drunken Woodworker shows you how to make a candle holder. I mean, you tell your spouse and in-laws that it's a candle holder, but we all know the thing is for serving whiskey flights:

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (1)

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When Micah Baclig embarked on his senior degree project at the Rhode Island School of Design last year, he wanted to create an object that spoke to the ideals of our modern society. "We are a more globalized community with almost instant access to unprecedented amounts of information," Baclig says. "We are constantly striving to do more, learn more and experience more of this life around us." So he created...a spork.

Specifically, Baclig created a compact aluminum spork that he has dubbed Kuma, and which he is now funding on Kickstarter in an effort to do a production run for next year. (As of press time, he had raised more than 80 percent of his $18,000 goal.) But wait—why exactly does today's globalized, information-soaked society need a reusable aluminum spork?

Kuma is the result of Baclig's insatiable curiosity and fascination with eating utensils—their history, how they work and what cultures created them. "From forks to chopsticks to even our own hands, what we eat with says something about who we are and where we came from," Baclig says. "Growing up in Hawaii with multi-ethnic parents, I constantly experienced this dynamic between food, utensils and culture. I fondly remember the times at the dinner table when my father, a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, would put down his utensils to eat a meal he particularly enjoyed with his hands."

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For his degree project, Baclig focused his interest on eating tools that were both multifunctional and portable, which immediately brings to mind the spork. "In trying to be both a fork and spoon the spork is neither, which for some reason fascinates me," he says. "I also appreciate the spork's subtext of trying to achieve an ideal functionality."

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Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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These beautiful and affordable chefs' knives are hot off the presses in Tosa, Japan and ready to head straight into the hot mess of your kitchen. Great for both beginners and cooks with an eye for quality, their hand forged blades ideally blend toughness with incredibly sharp accuracy. High carbon steel (hagane) on the inside, forged to hammered iron (jigane) for tensile strength on the outside, with a simple handle that will gain patina with use. The Nakiri is a perfect prep knife for careful chopping, its double bevel and square shape comfortable for controlling large broad cuts and general vegetable business. The Funayuki is a deft single-bevelled all-purpose knife that shows particular strength in precise cuts, fillets, skinning and peeling. Combine their powers and the world gets more delicious. $40-$48 at Hand-Eye Supply!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've seen the design approaches taken by Jupe and Fletcher to create a circular expanding table. Now let's take a look at the more common table form factor, the rectangle, and some different approaches used to make it expandable.

The first question a designer's got to answer is, where do the leaves go? Are they stored integrally, in Fletcher-like fashion, or meant to be stowed externally, a la Jupe? Resource Furniture's Goliath table takes the latter approach. And while it may seem cumbersome to remove each panel manually and find a place to store them, this is offset by two benefits: The table shrinks down to an almost absurdly small size, offering unmatched space saving, and the length can be customized rather than locking the user into predetermined end lengths.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Scott Stowell's Design for People was one of our Gift Guide picks this year, by way of Etsy Creative Director Randy Hunt. But we've gotta plug it again because it's in danger of not happening.

To refresh your memory, Design for People is a book by Scott Stowell, founder of design consultancy Open. The purpose of the book is to "[tell] the stories of our biggest projects through interviews with clients, consultants, designers, interns, vendors—and regular people who use the stuff we make, including my Mom and Dad (and maybe you!)," Stowell writes. "If you like to get into the details of how things work, Design for People is for you." The book also features the contributions of Core77 veterans Emily Pilloton, Bryn Smith and Alissa Walker.

Stowell has opted to self-publish, and the book is currently on Kickstarter. Here's the thing: It's short of its target with $44,000 pledged towards a $50,000 goal, and there's only three days left to pledge. The book is close, and just needs that final push!

Have a look at the trailer and see if it doesn't tickle your fancy:

Fancy tickled? Then get in there and pledge!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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It's time again for Hankook Tire's biennial design school team-up, where they task ID students with developing futuristic tire concepts. Last time 'round they paired up with Cincinnati's DAAP, and this year they're at Germany's University of Design, Engineering and Business in Pforzheim. And once again, not only did the students did not disappoint, but pulled off some real socks-knockers!

The central trend is to stop looking at the tire as a rubber cladding for a wheel, and to think of it instead as something that works together with an actively transforming wheel to create some ker-azy functionality. Now maybe I'm biased because I know ID students were involved, but the following video showing the three winning concepts in action is more exciting than any action movie trailer you'll see:

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  19 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This post includes photos and an excerpt from the photoessay Christmas, Handmade in China originally published by Make Works. Make Works is an organization based in Scotland championing local manufacturing by making it easier for designers to work with manufacturers and makers. Photos and the original article are by designer Gemma Lord, documenting her experience on as part of the expedition program of Unknown Fields—a nomadic design studio exploring behind the scenes of the modern world, visiting manufacturing landscapes, mines and infrastructural fields.

It's the most gallingly consumeristic time of year, and (for anyone with even the slightest understanding of modern day globalized production and manufacturing) it takes, I'd suggest, a feat of remarkable mental strength and endurance to block out the social and ecological impact of season (squirming uncomfortably in the back of our minds) and actually enjoy it. Fortunately for us, a lot of the new objects appearing in our stores—santa hats and the latest plastic kids toys dropping like some Christmas bloody miracle every year without fail—shield our innocence and let us get on with the admittedly important task of celebrating with our loved ones.

On a mission to shine a light on the realities of global manufacturing practices and make a path for new forms of localized production, Make Works have recently published a photo-essay by designer Gemma Lord documenting her experiences as part of an Unknown Fields expedition project, posing as a European buyer inside a Christmas 'decorations' factory (of course, during the height of summer in advance of the season) supplying vast quantities of jolly tat to the Western world. As well as a fascinating look behind the scenes with some stunning photography, the piece is a much needed reminder of the impacts of Christmas consumer behavior. Whilst the conditions might not look too appalling (grim, definitely, but not the worst by a long stretch), perhaps the most troublesome thought that these pictures provoke, is that so much human life is spent dedicated to the production of something so trivial, to be shipped half way round the world and in landfill by New Year's.

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Imagine a Poundland store so enormous that it takes two whole days to walk from one end to the other. Even then, you'll have missed an aisle or two. Well this is Yiwu International Trade Market. Covering over 4 million square metres it is the "largest small commodity wholesale market in the world."

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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With all of the hullabaloo over the new lightsaber design, fans may have missed another important detail in the trailer for the new Star Wars movie. First off, most of us know the Millenium Falcon has a round radar dish, as shown above.

Fans may also recall that in Return of the Jedi, Han Solo lends the Millenium Falcon to Lando Calrissian. (Han is busy down on Endor, trying to disable the Death Star's shield.) Lando drives the Falcon into a shaft on the Death Star—and hits a pipe, knocking the radar dish off, as seen in this clip:

Core77 has obtained an exclusive, unreleased script excerpt that details the aftermath of that incident, and it just so happens to tie into the new trailer. Please see below.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Owners of the Knee Defender may be able to purchase a companion device next year, albeit one from a different company. Said company, Soaragami, is a start-up looking to tackle "the problem of fighting for armrests" with their eponymous product.

The idea for the Soarigami came from being stuck in a very uncomfortable airplane seat. Sick of fighting for armrest space with strangers, our co-founder sketched a design that would ultimately become the Soarigami on, you guessed it, a cocktail napkin.

The services of California-based design firm Focus Product Design were enlisted, and the result is a foldable divider—gussied up to look like an old-school airmail letter, which I think is a bit too on-the-nose—that a passenger can unfurl and perch on the armrest. And for their part, the Soaragami founders don't see it as having the built-in confrontational nature of a Knee Defender: "Make a friend, share fair, and let's unfold savvier skies," they write of the product. (Your cynical correspondent doesn't think fellow passengers would react positively to anything that they perceive as intruding on their personal space, but I hope I'm wrong.)

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One thing that Soaragami has for sure, that the Knee Defender doesn't, is a catchy, accompanying pop anthem:

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Posted by core jr  |  18 Dec 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Michael Bierut, certainly one of the most insightful and entertaining design lecturers there are, visited the MFA Products of Design department at SVA last month with a talk that was unprecedented for him: No slides. It turns out that "since his daughter's wedding" he has never given a design lecture without the use of visuals, and in this unbelievably personal talk he delivers something very special.

(The start of the video shows MFA chair and Core77 partner Allan Chochinov introducing Michael, referencing a little-known story about the genesis of Bierut's forever-fantastic 2009 Core77's Hack2Work feature article "How to Make your Client's Logo Bigger Without Actually Making Their Logo Bigger.")

>>WATCH THE VIDEO HERE<<

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