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Posted by erika rae  |  11 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

ROOM-Lead.jpgPhotos by Gustav Almestal

In college, I became the master of bin organizing. I'd stack towers of those black and blue mailing bins—you know, the ones where you'll win a hefty fine if you're caught snagging them in public— until they haphazardly leaned forward, compromising my coveted DVD collection. I would've loved to get my hands on a system like this. Part functional and part artsy conversation starter, the ROOM Collection Furniture System by Erik Olovsson & Kyuhyung Cho lets you create your own structure from 25 different pieces.

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Each cut-out block has been inspired by a different object's shape and, as you can see from the photos, the whimsical countours welcome all kinds of household storage/display space, from morning coffee mugs and lamps to bottles of wine and shoes. The designers explain: "Each block was inspired by specific objects, creating various shapes and sizes. The round for wine, zigzag for phones, tablets and laptops, or peaked for an open book. Each block can be a room to invite any object, the composition is unlimited."

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Apr 2014  |  Comments (4)

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This beautiful-looking tool is called a Latthammer, and it's Germany's version of the carpenter's hammer. The square head ("for greater precision," as Picard's booth representative explained at Holz-Handwerk) is the first thing you notice, and then a closer look reveals this groove at the top:

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The sales rep's English wasn't great and my German is non-existent, but through pantomime he explained what it was for. There are times when a carpenter needs to drive a nail in a location over their head, where they cannot reach their other hand up to steady the nail. In these cases, the nail is placed into that groove, where it is held fast by a magnet. The carpenter can then single-handedly whack the nail into the surface far enough to get started, and can then drive it in the rest of the way with the same hand. Observe:

I call that brilliant.

Picard is a German tool manufacturer that's been around since 1857, by the way, and they make every type of hammer you can possibly imagine.

Posted by Coroflot  |  11 Apr 2014

Work for Brooks Sports, Inc.!

Brooks is a team of passionate people united by a desire to do meaningful work, lead healthy lives and make a difference. They share a focused mission: to inspire everyone to run and be active. That's it. No distractions--it's all about the run. Through science, creativity, service, authenticity and connection, this team obsesses over delivering the best running gear on the planet. When you join their Seattle, WA team as a Senior Designer, Innovation, you're becoming part of something extraordinary.

When you come on board, you'll be focused on the creation of innovative concepts, stories, prototypes, and products across the Brooks product lines. This takes 10+ years of experience leading the design of high performance footwear, innovation technology or apparel projects. If you can also adopt the Brooks' corporate values, (Serve People, Lead Thought, Compete as a Team, Have Integrity, Be Active, Have Fun!) this job is yours for the taking. Apply Now.

Posted by erika rae  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I can't count the number of times I've nearly had a heart attack because of some loose grate on the sidewalk—you know, the only thing standing between me and the smelly, rushing subway tunnel below. I'd imagine that if you unexpectedly walked upon Jeroen Bisscheroux's "POOL, Loss of Color," you'd have a similar feeling.

The floor painting is a 3D depiction of an empty pool. And as you can see from the photos below, visitors have been having a ball using the design to its full photo-op potential. While the actual art itself is memorable in its own bemusing way, like any other important work, the real enduring sentiment comes in the inspiration behind the project. The exhibit brings two disasters to viewers' attention in one image: the Sendai tsunami and the Fukishima disaster.

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Bicycle owners with garages have an obvious place to store those bikes—but what about those without garages: apartment dwellers, etc.? Those end-users may want to store their bicycles in their living spaces, and they'll want their bike racks to look good. Since floor space will probably be limited, wall racks have a lot of appeal.

Designers are recognizing the need, and addressing it in various ways. The Bike Shelf from Knife & Saw is designed to be installed into wall studs, and will leave only screw holes when removed—another consideration for those in rented spaces. The shelf gives you a bit of extra storage, although I wouldn't put anything too fragile up there, since it seems like it would be easy to jostle things while putting the bike away. And one drawback which you'll see in many designs: the shelf works well for top-tube bikes, but not for diagonal-tube bikes or step-through bikes.

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The Shelfie is an active Kickstarter project which has already met its funding goal. Juergen Beneke wanted a solution for all types of bikes, because he owns a range of them himself; he also wanted to avoid scratching the paint on the top tube and kinking the cables. The Shelfie addresses these concerns by using the seat to hang the bike. The storage compartment is large enough for a bike helmet, which is a considerate design touch—since the bike and helmet are used together, it's helpful to store them together. Shelfie comes with anchors for sheetrock, wood and concrete/block—and a paper-template with the hole-pattern, to make pre-drilling the holes easy and accurate. My one concern here is how stable the bike is; will a rambunctious child or an earthquake cause it to tumble?

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The Bike All from Board by Design also uses the seat to hang the bike; it has hooks for hanging the end-user's helmet, messenger bag, etc. The top shelf has a cut-out, allowing end-users to run the cord from a cell phone (or anything else) down to an outlet for charging. One concern: If one wheel rests on the floor, cleaning the floor becomes slightly more difficult than if the floor is left bare.

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Fluo makes wall-mounted bike hooks for a specific subset of bike owners: those who like minimal design, own a light sports bike (with a top tube), and have a wall that will work with its dowels. They're suitable for walls made of brick, concrete and masonry, for those ready to break out the hammer drill; they will not work with drywall. This is another design that would make me nervous if children, pets or earthquakes were likely to disturb the bike.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Here's an interesting design challenge that extends beyond the design of the object you're trying to get into people's homes: Imagine you and your team have designed your thing, whatever it may be, and have engineered the parts to be manufacturable. Now you have to design an additional line of objects that people can use to assemble the initial object with complete precision.

That's the challenge faced by companies like Häfele, Hettich and Blum, as the fittings they devise in their respective studios must be physically installed at the end-user's location by a legion of independent tradespeople. While Ikea handles this by using simple designs, knockdown screws, cam nuts and black-and-white illustrations that any idjit can follow, the fixtures by the previous three companies—just look at Blum's Legrabox, for instance—require ultra-precise assembly by a professional in order to function properly. And because most European cabinetry is made from melamine-covered particle board, there's no margin for error: Holes must be drilled perfectly perpendicular and at the correct depth on the very first try, as there's no patching up marred laminate and shredded screw holes.

So we found Blum's side booth at Holz-Handwerk pretty fascinating, since it was aimed not at consumers or designers but at the tool-toting tradespeople who will be installing Blum's designs in their own clients' homes. Blum has produced a line of drilling machines, assembly rigs and clever jigs, along with CG videos, that tradesfolk can use to get everything together. And these assembly devices, which will never be seen by the general public, are all beautifully designed in their own right. Here's their drilling jig for installing cabinet door dampers, either into the edge of the cabinet wall or affixed to the side of it:

This jig for drilling mounting plates uses a simple trick that carpenters who've ever drilled holes for shelf pins will recognize: A metal pin, placed into the first hole, ensures the second will be precisely spaced.

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Posted by erika rae  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The only stand-out memory I have of a lawnmower is the one time my father decided to take a short-cut down our neighborhood's hill—"Killer Hill," as we affectionately call it—on his way to groom a vacationing neighbor's lawn. Ask him about it today and he still pales at the memory. (His brakes locked and he flew down that hill at the mercy of the wind and his semi-steady grip on the steering wheel.) Lucky for him—or maybe not—he wasn't riding Honda's Mean Mower, with was recently named "fastest lawnmower in the world." They're not messing around—last March, the machine reached a speed of 116 MPH. I can't possibly think of a reason when you'd have to go that fast using the lawnmower for what it was actually created for, but for the sake of engine hacking and whatnot, this is pretty rad. Check out this slightly dramatic video of the Mean Mower in action:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Austria-based hardware manufacturer Blum might make the low-end hinges for Ikea's cabinets, but when it comes to their own branded product, they go for the top of the market. At Holz-Handwerk Blum was showing off their sexy Legrabox, a drawer system that provides the strength of heavy-duty drawer slides—offering both 40kg and 70kg capacities, or about 88 to 154 pounds—with the added touch that you don't have to see the darn things when the drawers are open, as they're completely concealed.

And despite the sides being sheathed in stainless steel (with an optional anti-fingerprint matte coating), each drawer side is just 12.8 millimeters thick!

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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In addition to living spaces, Häfele is also addressing is the design of kitchens, which they see as areas that need to "look good and meet the highest individual requirements for functionality and ergonomics." At Holz-Handwerk they demonstrated a variety of kitchen and dining pieces that used to be static--tabletops, cabinetry, stovetops—but that are now rendered free to move, slide and hide via Haäfele's fancy hardware. Have a look:

Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.

Posted by Coroflot  |  10 Apr 2014

Work for Utley's Incorporated!

Fetch is looking for a full-time Packaging Designer with print production experience to work with the Creative Team on the production of a new human household line as well as a wide range of projects in the pet field, ranging from packaging and production to marketing materials and more. The ideal candidate is obsessed with packaging design, super organized, and a self-starter who loves animals.

You'll need 2-3 years of package design and production experience, the ability to render new and custom dielines and the ability to think creatively without exceeding budget. If you possess these qualities plus those listed on the next page, you should send your resume/portfolio to the Fetch team in NYC by Applying Right Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Häfele is a German manufacturer of furniture fittings and architectural hardware, and of all the booths we saw at Holz-Handwerk, theirs was the most mobbed. And it's no wonder why: Aimed at the designers and builders responsible for kitting out homes and offices, their sprawling exhibit was a showcase of what it's possible to make with their products, a sort of vision of our domestic future—and one that's attainable right now, as all of the hardware exists.

In Häfele's vision, storage furniture is not a boring bunch of static objects; rather, everything transforms to serve us in kinetically exciting ways, shifting, flipping and sliding at the touch of a finger, either via tiny hidden motors or cleverly designed and invisible mechanical fixtures. We snuck in early one morning before the crowds got there to show you:

Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.

Posted by erika rae  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Much like "The Uncomfortable Series" from KK Studio, San Francisco-based photographer Lawrie Brown's play on food design is a slightly unsettling look at the food we interact with on a daily basis. Her series—aptly named "Colored Food"—features all kinds of familiar cuisines covered in colorful latex paint. Blue chicken, green corn, cereal floating in a mysterious pink liquid—every single one zeros in on some nerve that I just can't place.

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For those who were around—and heaven forbid, might have even enjoyed—Heinz's unfortunately named colored ketchup ("EZ Squirt"), this vibrant ice cream topping may bring back a few memories:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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One of the most popular wearable medical inventions so far might be the Band-Aid. A flexible strip that heals our cuts and burns and yet never slows us down. Well imagine if the band-aid could diagnose a problem and release therapeutic drugs hidden inside nanoparticles.

This is the new domain of a flexible very thin medical wearable under development by Korean researchers. And it gives a solid glimpse into our personalized medical future, and the future of wearable design.

The idea is that one day—in as little as five years—we'll have diagnostics and medical therapies delivered through devices that are as simple to wear as "a child's temporary tattoo," said Dae-Hyeong Kim, one of the researchers.

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Wearable devices today are bulky, cold, obtrusive and impersonal. The future designs, like this proven patch, are intended to be nearly invisible to everyone including the wearer themselves.

Nanoscale membranes embedded into a stretchable, sticky fabric can detect tiny movements, deliver drugs and store all the necessary data. Now, this hasn't been tested on human patients yet, just pig skin. Their results are published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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Posted by core jr  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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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.

If you've hung around Core77 for awhile, you've probably seen the name "Yo!" pop up on the Discussions boards and writing the occasional article on the main page. Yo! happens to be the alias of our good friend, Michael DiTullo. Michael is a super talented designer who has worked for Evo, Nike, Converse, Frog and is now the Chief Design Officer of Sound United.

Sound United is a Southern California company responsible for the audio brands Polk, Definitive and BOOM. Today, I talk with Michael about what's it's like to exhibit at CES, how he approaches getting Sound United's products sold into retailers, the intense competition of the Bluetooth speaker market and what the design scene is like in Southern California.

Get the Afterschool Podcast, Episode #18 – Michael DiTullo, Chief Design Officer of Sound United: Available at the iTunes store or direct download via Soundcloud below.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Your correspondent was recently laid up for four days with the flu, an inevitability in an urban world where one must touch subway turnstiles, doorknobs and handrails used by millions. And while germ-spreading is a mere inconvenience for your average healthy blogger, it's a potentially deadly problem for heathcare environments.

Recognizing this, and reasoning that a fair amount of their fixtures are going into medical facilities, fixtures manufacturer Häfele has addressed the problem by developing Alasept, an antibacterial and antiviral coating that they can use to coat stainless steel fittings. Doorknobs, window handles and furniture components can be treated with Alasept, which not only prevents the adhesion of the germs, but actively kills off what bugs do stick to the material.

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Posted by erika rae  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Manual-Lead.jpg

There's a clear difference in taking some precious morning moments to brew a fresh cup of coffee for yourself and paying a visit to your local caffeine watering hole. I, for one, would choose waking up earlier to make a personalized brew to skip the cellphone clad crowd at the local Starbucks (and I think many of you might agree). In Chicago-based designer Craighton Berman's words, making your morning cup from a pour over system is an opportunity to take in "the slowness, the meditative qualities of pouring water by hand, the open-air aromas, and the flavor profiles." Berman is the guy behind Manual—a series of products aimed at bridging the intersection of slow food and design. You may remember the first two products in the line: Pinch and The Sharpener Jar. His newest addition to the brand comes in the form of Manual Coffeemaker No. 1, which is seeking funding via Kickstarter.

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Berman's design isn't looking to fool anyone with extravagant features or processes: "There's a really strong coffee subculture made up of enthusiasts and baristas, and I knew I didn't want to be so audacious as to assume I could 're-invent' coffee and force it on the community," he says. "The manual brewing devices that exist today are very 'pitcher-like' or 'funnel-like' and I wanted something that felt like a proper appliance, in that it lives on the countertop in between uses and gives you the convenience of placing a mug directly under it." The bamboo base is meant to be oiled and treated as a cutting board. The reward for your extra care: a rich, patina from errant coffee drops.

Check out the campaign video to see how it works:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Self-proclaimed "furniture technology" company Hettich makes the clever, mostly unseen hardware that makes cool furniture work: Hinges, handles, drawer slides and door hardware, including a lot of stuff that closes itself after you give it a push. If that doesn't sound sexy, you need to see and touch their wares in person; but for those that cannot, we like the four-pronged approach the company is taking to popularize their products from afar.

First off they hope to draw consumers in with short, sweet videos showing their systems in action, like their SlideLine M sliding door system:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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If you're a furniture builder who likes the vacuum clamping set-ups we looked at, but don't have the four- and five-figure budgets to add them to your own shop, there are lower-cost alternatives. Schmalz is a Germany-based global company that's been in the vacuum technology game for some 30 years, and they manufacture everything from high-end vacuum clamping tables used in CNC operations to small desktop units. Their Multi-Clamp VC-M is the entry-level product, aimed at the lone tradesperson who wants to bolt it to their own workbench in place of a vise.

The benefits of vacuum-clamping versus a vise or mechanical clamping are manifold: You don't need to take any protective measures to shield the piece from the vise's jaws or the clamp surfaces, you can get at five sides of a piece at once, and the articulating nature of the clamp means you can quickly reposition the piece—for example, to go from sanding the face to one of the edges—without having to unclamp and reclamp. And the second-tier version of the VC-M can not only be tilted, but rotated and swiveled as well.

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Posted by Coroflot  |   9 Apr 2014

Work for photojojo!

Photojojo is a small & passionate team that thinks photography is for everyone. Their mission is to help people take more photos and have more fun using the best tools out there. What they've found is that many of those tools don't even exist yet, so for their next chapter, they're dreaming up, designing and making their own! The best part is they need your industrial and product design skills to help them do it.

By joining their San Francisco team, you'll be creating the most talked-about photography products of the next decade because you have a substantial background in product design and you LOVE photography. Your self-starting nature and industrious prototyping ways make you the perfect addition to this company, so don't waste any time - Apply Right Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Every workbench needs a vise—or at least they did, until the advent of vacuum clamping. After seeing Guido Einemann's homegrown table at Holz-Handwerk, we spotted a multitude of more big-dog versions made by Barth Maschinenbau, a Bavarian engineering company whose goal is "to optimize the work processes in both craft and industrial businesses" for furniture- and cabinet-making.

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