In my work as a professional organizer, I find that almost all of my clients are concerned about recycling, and I applaud them for this. But this means we need more than a single receptacle for trash. While multiple waste baskets or trash cans will work, designers have created some more elegant answers.
The Ginebra bin from Made Design, designed by Pascual Salvador, would work well for an end user whose municipality uses single-stream recycling and who just wants to separate recyclables from non-recyclables. The lid on the bin is an optional feature; sometimes lids help, other times they just get in the way. There's a metal base to collect any spilled liquids.
The Trio recycling bin from Materia has three sections: one for paper, one for cans and bottles, and one for trash. While the paper slot is obvious, and the circle cues designers (and many end-users) into the proper slot for bottles and cans, the triangle shape for trash is befuddling—and may undermine the bin's usefulness.
Each section of the Trio has its own liner, so each can be emptied independently of the others, as needed. The clover shape means this is not a bin that tucks away nicely in a corner; rather, it would be good for larger spaces where the end users want to call attention to the recycling.
In the kitchen, end users may want to separate compostable material from other trash, and that's what the Bratatia twin bin is intended for. There's a larger bin for regular waste, and a smaller bin for compostables, with color coding to reinforce which bin is for each kind of waste. The bin is available in two sizes, since end users have different needs regarding space restrictions and the amount of trash they create.
Instead of trying to make technology invisible, maybe it should just look better. Hidden in plain sight doesn't cut it for David Okum's Oon power cord. Okum has a background in both philosophy and furniture design, and I'd like to think they both show in his inventive product. Instead of streamlined white tech or blocky beige, Oon sits somewhere between childish bead-stringing and high fashion macro textiles, and juices your devices all the while.
They've only just arrived but the Trusco Toolboxes have stored our hearts away. We searched high and low for these rare and glamorous tool keepers and they're finally here, just in time for summer projects! Don't be dazzled by the luxurious hue, their practical Japanese design shines through the blue. At heart these are sweet storage options that feel like high quality tools themselves. They're made from steel, well formed for strength, and reinforced in the right places for a long life of being accidentally kicked while your hands are full.
The two larger toolboxes have double lids and plenty of reconfigurable up-top storage. The cantilevered two-level has style for days, with a distinctive shape, neat metal dividers, super smooth action and pronounced strength forming (Citröen H Van, anyone?). The biggest box of all sports plenty of room, a removable upper organizer, and a sleek shape inspired by a traditional hip roof profile. The baby of the family is a tough little number, a simple standalone organizer box, formed for strength and stackability with an incredibly satisfying friction-fit snap top. It fits inside either of its bigger compatriots to protect your drill bits, sandpaper scraps, bobbins, widgets, lock picking tools, or exceptionally pretty pebbles.
Keep them in your garage, your trunk, your bedroom, or your studio, but don't keep them out of sight. Whether your work is big or small, these cool blue toolboxes are here to keep you gathered. Check them out online now!
Two, as logic and cliché suggest, is better than one. Hence, the Y-splitter, a not-quite-indispensable dongle that doubles any connection point. Long a tool for A/V-savvy folks, the 3.5mm (2F-1M) version often sits alongside earbuds and cases in the shelf of your local Apple store. Now comes a Kickstarter project for a product that is intended to join those ranks: the Why? cable turns one USB port into a pair of Lightning connectors (given the titular pun, we'll spare you a terrible joke about striking twice).
There are mixed reports regarding how many people/households have more than one Apple mobile device (for one thing, metrics typically include other hardware, including desktops and laptops), but it's something of a self-selecting market in the first place: Anyone who owns both an iPhone and an iPad is anecdotally more likely to buy additional accessories anyhow.
In our quest to uncover the designers behind AMC's new reclining seats, we did come across an unusual, oft-overlooked subgenre of furniture design: Auditorium and lecture hall seating. And in Europe at least, schools and institutions are apparently willing to shell out for the designey stuff, where aesthetics carry a premium. Case in point: The Genya system, designed by Dante Bonuccelli and produced by Italian manufacturer Lamm.
The simple, geometric form belies the workings hidden within: The backrest suspension is supplied through elastic straps, and when the seat is pulled open, gas shocks inside also lower the armrests in synchronicity.
For those of you who conduct interviews with a voice recorder, you know that the transcription is typically a slow step. If you're lucky, the interviewee speaks slowly or spends a long time thinking before answering, and the transcription process only takes two or three rounds. This was not the case when it came to Natalia Ivanova: On the contrary, the words flow as quickly from her tongue as the movements that flow from her limbs. She has a fluidity and energy in her way of thinking that comes across in everything she does.
Ivanova is the founder of Hal X, a small indoor training hall for parkour in Copenhagen, and the coordinator of especially designed courses, where parkour is a force for positive change for youths.
Originally hailing from Russia, Ivanova speaks fondly about the memories she has of jumping from garage roof to garage roof in the oppressive heat during summers back home. She remembers how fun it was to run as fast as she possibly could, in bare feet on the burning hot rooftops. Jumping over the gaps between the buildings, she knew that one misstep could mean an unpleasant tumble into rubble that might contain rusty scraps of metal, crushed glass and used needles.
Needless to say, this love for exploring urban spaces and challenging herself with her surroundings has been the defining element of through life. As a child, the hijinks and hyperactivity were just called "fun"; now it's called "parkour," and it has spread around the globe with the help of aficionados and YouTube like wildfire.
However, you may not realize that—beyond the physics-defying wow factor of the sport—parkour can serve as a positive alternative to destructive social cultures. In contrast to several other street activities, the philosophy behind Parkour is not only to challenge yourself and push boundaries, but to develop the best version of yourself. You have to have a totally clear mind if you want to be able to get the most out of your practice. That means little or no alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. If you are under any kind of influence, you risk not being able to judge distances properly and having a serious accident. "Alcohol and other substances are off the table since your mind has be clear and focused for practice."
Observers who aren't familiar with the sport and the philosophies behind it might see nothing more than loose-limbed young folks jumping from building to building, doing double backflips and hanging from rails, which might lead one to the conclusion that these people are more than a little bit crazy. But as with any sport, parkour practitioners—known as traceurs or traceuses—must train extensively, with utmost dedication, and exercise discipline on every level of their life in order to do what they do. You will never see a traceur leave empty bottles or discarded sandwich papers smeared in mayonnaise behind—they don't want to mess up their surroundings, their space for practice.
Since 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been on a mission to "...collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards." With your help as an Exhibition Designer, they will continue to execute their mission and serve the people of New York, and the world.
They're looking for someone who will collaborate with Design Managers to bring alternative or enhanced design potential to large scale shows, support designers in rendering, presentation model making skills and visual research. This takes three to five years of experience in exhibition design or industrial design as well as full knowledge of construction techniques, fabrication skills, materials, and project management. Apply Now.
Look up at the sky on even the clearest, most perfect summer night here in New York City and you might realize that something is missing. Sure, the moon hovers brightly above the skyline, but the stars are getting harder and harder to find. Just check out this Yahoo Answers thread from a girl growing up in Queens: The stars are gone and it's all your fault.
Maybe it's not entirely your fault, but the folks at Slow Factory want you to take a minute and take note of the light pollution taking place in some of the world's largest cities. With their latest series, "From Above," the silk scarf company aims to draw attention to the light pollution caused by manmade luminescence, the electric twinkle from dusk until dawn outshining the distant cosmological beacons of yore. The scarves feature satellite images of the U.S.A., New York, Paris and London at night, printed on silk to show the illuminated urban sprawl in all its glory.
Founded by Celine Semaan Vernon, Slow Factory is a company based in Brooklyn that prints satellite images taken by NASA onto silk scarves. After her family left their home in Beirut, Lebanon, Vernon was always on the move and found the stars to be a source of guidance and comfort. "Another reason why I began Slow Factory is because as I have grown up, I can see fewer and fewer stars in the sky," shares Vernon. "Considering that we traveled a lot and that I never really felt grounded or connected to a home, I felt the need to look at telescope and satellite images of the stars."
An installation at Kingwood Medical in Houston, Texas
For those of us who live on the top floors of the pre-war walk-up buildings that line the streets of certain New York neighborhoods, a skylight can be a perk—not enough to make up for the five flights of stairs, perhaps, but at very least a welcome source of light. But the upshot of a skylight isn't just illumination: Not only has it been scientifically proven that natural light boosts productivity levels, it's also good for morale and mental health. Unfortunately, most office buildings weren't designed with white collar vitamin D deficiency in mind. This is where Sky Factory comes into play with their "embedded" skylights.
The impact of Revelation SkyCeiling in an office space
Sky Factory is based in Fairfield, Iowa—and take it from an Iowa native, no one knows the big blue better than the those of us who live against a backdrop of never-ending corn fields. The cerulean ceiling projections are designed to produce psychophysiological relaxation responses. In other words, the simulated natural light may well get you through that moment of midday work panic or waiting room purgatory.
Measuring in at 8’×8’, the company's recently launched Revelation SkyCeiling features their biggest panels to date. The light is comprised of four layers: a fluorescent lighting system, an acrylic tile featuring a photographic reproduction of the sky, "elevators" that gives the system structural depth into the ceiling, and a customized ceiling grid to top it all off (see the exploded view of a similar product here). While diaphanous clouds and a blue sky are a given, scenes can also include sunlit trees, which fauna-deprived New Yorkers might appreciate more than anything.
If I had to guess, I'd say that a smooth surface is better than a rough one for cutting wind resistance. And I'd be wrong. There's a reason golf balls have dimples: The dimples decrease the drag caused by wind, by a significant amount. In the middle ages Dutch men used to hit spherical pebbles with a stick to play what became golf. Later in the 1600s they started using wooden balls. And it was in the late 1800s when players noticed that that beaten up balls went further than the smoother, newer versions.
Now researchers have created a material that—when triggered by wind—can automatically morph into a dimpled surface similar to that of a golf ball. It sort of also resembles pruning of finger tips after soaking in water (in fact, the inspiration for this new material came from dried prunes.) See the video below from the MIT team led by Pedro Reis, who developed the "Smorph" (Smart Morphable Surface).
The Smorph operates on fairly basic mechanics. In fact, the useful function comes from a common mechanical failure that most engineers need to prevent at all costs: Buckling. The prototype is a hollow silicon ball covered in a thin and stiff layer of polystyrene. When the pressure lowers within the hollow ball the exterior automatically shrinks, and this creates the dimples. The key thing is to have a pattern of dimples—and not something random.
And we are not intending a pun in the title at all. The thing is perfect.
We were excited to attend the press preview of Airbnb's new identity last week in Tribeca and have to say that the new marque is pretty brilliant. Co-founder and friend Joe Gebbia kicked off his remarks with a shout out to Core77 as "the first site to ever write about Airbnb"(!)—back when it was "Air Bed and Breakfast"—and then took us through the evolution of the brand to its new birth this morning.
The heavy lifting was done by DesignStudio, a London-based shop who basically embedded themselves at Airbnb HQ for months (and is now led in SF by immensely thoughtful founding partner Paul Stafford).
All we can say is that if they wanted something completely universal, instantly memorable, drawable, customizable, and hackable by every homeowner, front lawn sign maker, and (we're guessing soon) restaurant and shop window, DesignStudio and the folks at Airbnb have hit it out of the park... and, well, right through your bedroom window.
They're launching a Create Airbnb site today to let you make your own version, so we figure by tomorrow this logo will have worked its way around the world into myriad interpretations and some pretty smart embodiments...especially since this is such a beloved brand with countless fans with Photoshop, phones, tablets, and painting apps in their arms.
As airplane seats get narrower, shallower, closer together and even unable to recline, movie theater seats are getting fatter, deeper, further apart and increasing their reclinability. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have picked up on cinema chain AMC's $600 million investment to re-seat some 1,800 of its theaters (out of 5,000 total), providing absurdly posh recliners at a cost of $350,000 to $500,000 per venue.
Yes, as airlines are seeking ways to cram more seats into their fuselages, AMC's re-seated theaters will actually decrease capacity. With seats being bumped up from 44 inches wide to 60 inches wide, and with full reclinability including elevating the legs La-Z-Boy-style, rows will need to move further apart and will be able to fit less bodies per row.
The motivation is financial. In a trial run conducted earlier this year, AMC saw ticket sales increase by 60% in the re-seated venues. Even with less capacity, this is hoped to lead to increased profitability, assuming moviegoers can swallow the $1 to $2 ticket price increase that the seats will eventually bring.
The question for us was, who designed/manufactured these new seats? Are these custom jobs for AMC or off-the-shelf? Unsurprisingly neither of the aforementioned newspapers mentioned it, since no one gives a damn about our profession. But by poring over the Journal's shots and comparing them to hundreds (okay, dozens) of product photos from companies that make home theater seating, we tried to uncover the source.
Throw yourself back a few years and you may remember Konstantin Achkov's flat-packed plywood furniture—we captured it as a standout at the 2012 Sofia Design Week. While he's obviously known for his breakdown-focused furniture, his Coroflot portfolio boasts a number of impressive—more recent—designs that don't skimp on complexity in lieu of its simplified flat-packed nature. Take the Electron Chair, for example. Achkov describes the shape as incorporating a "puzzle principle," and that's one description that doesn't get lost in translation with this work.
Electron is made out of beech plywood cut with a CNC router. There isn't a single screw or drop of glue used in the chair's construction—instead he chose to use pin joints—falling even more to its puzzle-like nature. This is the first time we're seeing a textile element in Achkov's work, with the bold fabric seat and back of the chair. Tip the seat on its side and you might notice a familiar shape: "The side-view of the symmetrical geometric form looks like electron symbol," Achkov says. The lace-up detail on the underside of the seat is a nice touch, too.
Coffee drinkers: How many disposable coffee cups do you go through a year? Some of you might carry a travel mug on your commute, but the bulk of you probably get your caffeine hits out of paper or plastic cups, which then go into the trash or recycling. Ben Melinger, the founder of NYC-based Smash Cup, claims that you worker drones each throw away some 500 cups per year.
Melinger, by the way, is essentially a self-taught industrial designer who quit his corporate job to make stuff. "A few years ago, I went on an adventure off the corporate track," he writes. "I had always loved the idea of making physical products, so with a product in mind... and some expert mentors, I learned 3D CAD modeling, protoyping, manufacturing sourcing, IP drafting, and so much more—all the ins and outs of making a great product."
And now he's got his first successful Kickstarter. Melinger came up with the Smash Cup, a collapsible travel mug that "smashes" from five inches to less than two, so it doesn't take up much space in your bag when it's not in use.
Here's the pitch video:
Since going live last week, Smash Cup has easily blown past its $10,000 target, with nearly five times the funding at press time. While the $12 buy-in units are all gone, there's still 23 days left to get yourself a Smash Cup at $15 or more.
Those of you who attended the Core77 Conference probably caught Dong-Ping Wong presenting +Pool in a talk entitled "Doing Rad Shit Where Nobody Asked You To Do Rad Shit." For those that didn't, +Pool is the crazy, successfully-funded, currently-in-development project to hatch a floating swimming pool in NYC's East River.
Now comes a project proposal with both similarities and contrasts to +Pool. Entrepreneur Blayne Ross also wants to provide New Yorkers with some river-based respite from the summer heat, but Ross' scheme is targeting the Hudson River rather than the East, and using IndieGogo rather than Kickstarter. City Beach NYC, as the project is called, is a proposal to turn a barge into a floating beach.
The plan calls to cover the barge in 1,200 cubic yards of sand, creating an artificial beach. The barge would be further kitted out with beach chairs, restaurants, a children's science lab exhibition and a waterfall.
Ed. Note: This post has been updated with the correct name of the artist. His name is Ren Yue, not Ren Ri.
Much like urban gardening, beekeeping seems to have inspired renewed interest among hobbyists around the world. Sure, it's got a certain appeal for DIYers who have graduated from pickling and homebrewing, but its also got the ecological upshot as a response to the precipitous decline in the global bee population (we've previously seen a design solution that addresses the issue scientifically known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which was the subject of a recent Op-Ed in the Times). Ren Yue is a Beijing-based bee enthusiast who falls into that beekeeper population, but he's also an artist—and it's safe to say that he's not your average honey harvester.
Ren started studying honeybees back in 2008. After a couple of years spent learning the art of beekeeping and observing how the hives function, he developed a strategy that turns the hive's beeswax into semi-calculated sculptures. Ren lets nature run its course for a large part of the second installment of the series, titled "Yuansu II," but does provide a few prefabricated touches of his own—plastic vessels to house the hives and a weekly 'rotation' schedule for the constructions.
By housing the queen bee in the center of each structure, Ren was able to 'engineer' the architecture of the hive: Worker bees naturally began to build out from her location in all directions, leaving a waxy hexagonal structure in their wake. He rotated the plastic cases every seven days—a biblical reference—to give the queen and her workers a new center of gravity to work from, resulting in an undulating final form. Ren never planned which way to turn the sculptures—a roll of the dice made that decision, introducing a nice touch of spontaneity to a highly ordered process of nature.
Current projects: I'm working with long-term home-furnishing priorities, in terms of how people live their everyday lives—their needs and their frustrations and the opportunities and so on. That's a quite big project that goes on all the time, but it needs to be updated and we need to have a product range for it and we need to make sure that the people developing and designing IKEA concepts really, truly understand the latest trends in society, so that we can cater toward them in a good way.
I'm also working quite a lot on some questions around the meeting with the customers in our stores. We want to create a much more vital interaction; we feel that we have been a little bit slow on the uptake with our showrooms and the impression of home-furnishing—that IKEA is a creative company and that we are in tune with society and trends and all that.
Mission: To create a better everyday life for the many people
When did you decide to pursue a career in design? Well, I'm not working with product design specifically—I'm working with, in a sense, designing the concept of home furnishing. And I've always been very interested in this. I started in the retail sector and one thing sort of led to another.
Education: I would say life and experience is my main education. Other than that, I went to Swedish primary and high school and took a couple of courses at art and design school. But no university; I have gone to IKEA university.
First design job: To design the bedroom department of a store in Stockholm
Who is your design hero? There are many. Estrid Ericson and Josef Frank are, of course, two of my favorites. I also admire some of the Danish and Finnish designers like Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto. Among contemporary designers, I like Paola Navone and Ilse Crawford. There are a lot of women in my favorites, and I think that we sometimes have too few women in design. I could name many, many more.
Tonight at Hand-Eye Supply's Curiosity Club, we're getting real positive about less loved photographic techniques. Jacklyn Hudak of Huzz Art Shop presents Failure Is Inevitable: The Unpopularity Of Alternative Photography, a talk about what historical and alternative photographic processes are and why almost nobody uses them. Jaclyn will be speaking about a few different alternative processes, with a more in depth look at gum bichromate; a colorful but fickle process that she uses on a regular basis. Being mostly self taught, she's made countless mistakes over the years and will share why she embraces failure.
Jaclyn Hudak is a Portland-based graphic designer and artist who often uses historical photographic processes to make work. She has a degree in Photography and Graphic Design from Texas State University and has been working with alternative photographic processes for over six years.
I come not to praise the Paleos, but to understand them.
Our story starts with the premise (which we will not unpack here, for reasons of brevity and taste) that running barefoot, or as close as possible to barefoot, is a more healthy means of locomoting. Under this premise, being immediately in tune with one's physical terrain is beneficial to the body and mind, requiring greater intentionality and physical dexterity in order to cover rough ground without injury. For those who cringe at the idea of walking barefoot to the mailbox, this might be a lost point, but the "natural running" school of thought has seen major conversion over the last ten years. While the overall claims seem understandable, there are some basic logistical difficulties with barefoot running. Namely, that the bottoms of feet are pretty smooth. This means that wet/uneven/slick surfaces can be dangerously low traction, and hard textured surfaces like rocky paths and concrete can chew you up after a while.
It should come as no surprise that the marriage of art and technology has had some difficulty finding a place in the institutional white cube exhibition spaces of most contemporary galleries and museums—after all, many practitioners reject the traditional art-object format on principle. Indeed, the incorporation of technology in art has vastly expanded the realm of creative possibilities, both aesthetically and with respect to distribution—auction house Phillips recently held the second edition of its forward-looking "Paddles On!" digital art auction—yet the modes by which it is bought, sold or displayed continue to shift and evolve.