Industrial Design News
The original medieval overhead candle holder is a brilliant piece of "form follows function." We're thrilled to announce we've uncovered original documentation, and even sketches, of a design meeting from the Middle Ages concerning the development of this object. Industrial designers Marcus Chandelier and Phil Ips worked as lighting designers in the court of a European King sometime in the late 14th/early 15th centuries. Here is the transcript and sketches:The Design Brief
Royal Messenger: Okay, the King says he wants you guys to design a new form of lighting. He wants to be able to light up the Great Hall after sundown.
Phil Ips: We already have lighting in there; remember all of those wall sconces we designed?
Royal Messenger: Those only provide lighting near the walls. His Grace wants lighting in the center of the room.
Phil Ips: So put more candelabras on the tables. Boom. Problem solved.
Royal Messenger: We already did, and "boom," His Grace is still not happy. His Grace wants overhead lighting.
Phil Ips: Overhead lighting in the center of a room? What am I, Merlin?Ideation Phase w/ Sketches
Marcus Chandelier: Okay, I've got an idea. We get a rope. And we tie a candle to the end of it. Then we hang the rope from the ceiling. Here's my sketch:
Phil Ips: You are SUCH an idiot. If the candle's upside down, the wax will drip down and extinguish the wick.
Marcus Chandelier: Fine, then…we'll build a little candle holder right side up, then hang that from the rope. Sketch:
Phil Ips: That still won't work. The flame will burn the rope. Now the Great Hall's on fire.
Marcus Chandelier: Hmm, okay. So we'll cantilever the candle out away from the rope. Like this:
Phil Ips: You are a moron!
Marcus Chandelier: What?
Phil Ips: The whole thing is imbalanced! It will tip over and the candle will fall off! Now it lands on the Marquis de Lawsuit and we have a real problem.
Marcus Chandelier: Hmm. Okay, I got it: We extend the plank out to both sides. The candle sits on one end. Then we get a counterweight from the Armory and place it on the other end.
Phil Ips: That won't work either. If the counterweight is the same weight as a fresh candle, once the candle burns down it will become lighter and the thing will start to tip.
Marcus Chandelier: Ooh, I got it! Instead of a counterweight, we'll use a second candle at the other end! That way they'll burn down at the same rate and stay balanced the whole time!
Phil Ips: That's brilliant! Plus we'd double the lumen output!
Marcus Chandelier: Ooh, I just got another idea! We do FOUR candles, by making the planks into a CROSS!
Phil Ips: QUADRUPLE the lumens! Plus a Christianity reference! Score!
Marcus Chandelier: Now we just have to decide what to call it.Final RenderingFirst Prototype
(Unenclosed candles replaced at request of Legal.)
Principal Responsibility: Design ideas from basic concepts to fully worked out design solutions. Work independently, according to project briefing, creative vision and direction in close co-operation with Manager. Must have the ability to work with tight deadlines and demonstrate a high degree of flexibility. ThisView the full design job here
Here in Part 2 industrial designer Eric Strebel, founder of Botzen Design, has just one more step to complete before building a model of his solar charger design: Nailing that all-important final rendering.
Some of you will do this all on paper, some digitally. Strebel has developed his own workflow combining the two for greater efficiency. Here he provides some practical rendering tips including why he starts with orange and 20% grey, why black comes last, how to get gradations on paper without pastel dust getting everywhere, what's faster to do on paper vs. faster to do digitally, and more. Check it out:
Missed Part 1? Check it out here.
Furniture dimensions don't come out of the air. They come out of heavy research that, thankfully, a lot of people have already done for us and written books on; if you're a designer, you ought have a copy of one of these books (see bottom of this entry). While these reference bibles of human dimensions haven't yet been updated to account for us supersized Americans, they still provide a good jumping-off point for determining rough dimensions, angles and heights.View the full content here
[Editor's Note: Spotted On Coroflot centers attractive and inspiring product design. The Imbue travel mug ran into serious issues once in production, but we feel the concept is worth featuring.]
When the Imbue tea mug first got posted to Coroflot, I was a bit put off by the heavy proportions of the wooden lid and made some snap judgments about the overall value of the design. (Nothing personal, the Whole Foods/greenwashed vibe has its place.) However, while really savoring a spring flu over the weeks since, I've found myself wishing for this exact type of travel mug and realized most of the mobile tea options out there are fairly uncool. So it's only fair to double back and give it some love.
The Imbue Magnetic Tea Vessel was designed by Ashkon Nima, and its strength isn't in those Look At Me, I Recycle rustic materials, it's the dead simple integrated strainer. We've beaten the ancient horse of tea straining at home a thousand times over, but making tea on the go can still be messy. Where do you put your teabag? How do you keep from over steeping while you're sprinting for the train?
In this case, your unwanted tea leaves just stay inside the magnetic strainer, integrated into the cap. It turns out that bulky cap I found a little ostentatious at first makes more sense—visually and literally—when you realize the mug is also meant to work upside down.
Steep your tea with the mug upside down and the strainer at the bottom, then flip it up when you're ready to call it done and use the deep-sided cap to catch drips. I love me a low fuss daily tool, and this delivers without getting into twee (or drippy or clanky) tea ball territory.
This would be particularly nice to use with my schmancy oolongs and other teas that can be re-steeped for different subtle effects (at least once I get my sense of smell back). The reality of over-steeped tea isn't going to kill anybody, but having a choice is great.
Breeze is a lamp that uses natural ways of lighting and extinguishing fire to create a neo-analog and gesture experience. Blowing can be used to both to set and terminate natural fires, and a fires can be passed from one spot to another. Using digital technologies, these elemental procedures are mimicked, and bodily interaction stimulates light.View the full project here
Last year John Heisz replaced his table saw blade with a paper disc, and discovered it could actually cut through wood. This month two different YouTube channels, "The Q" and "Mr. Hacker," put paper wheels into their angle grinders to see what other materials they could cut through:
While the food stuff is a bit silly, I was surprised to see what clean cuts the paper discs made in the polycarbonate Coke bottle and the corrugated cardboard. I also didn't think it would penetrate the coconut shell.
Obviously the big problem with a paper blade is blade wander. I was thinking that if they reinforced both sides of the blade with large arbors made of a stiff material, and with a smaller diameter that left just 1/2" of the blade exposed, that might keep the blade tracking straight; but then you'd lose depth-of-cut. Do you have any ideas for other ways to stiffen the blade?
Remember Ron Arad's bicycle designed with sprung-steel wheels?
Arad's crazy idea worked, though no bicycle manufacturer pursued the concept. In the years since, however, non-pneumatic tire designs have slowly become a reality for ATVs and John Deere mowers, and now Bridgestone reckons they might work for bicycles too.
Regarding that last sentence, we're curious to see what these proposals are, but the company has opted not to include any information on them.
If you were designing a bicycle meant to incorporate these tires, what would you do differently?
Lastly I'll say: Vandalism still being a problem here in New York, if you had one of these in Manhattan I think you'd never not find someone had stuffed garbage in between those spokes. The bright orange is just crying out for someone to mess with it.
Design Job: Delicious Design! Astor Chocolate is Seeking a Graphic Designer in Lakewood Township, NJ
Graphic Designer Astor Chocolate is a premier luxury chocolate manufacturer, with its fundamental strength being its innovation, creativity and dedication to creating premium products. We provide our customers with the opportunity to promote them, leaving an everlasting impression of distinction and quality. We work in anView the full design job here
Rocket ships have something in common with UPS trucks: There are only so many packages you can fit in there. Hauling stuff into space is expensive, and it would be better if the things you needed to get up there could be folded up for transport, to make room for more stuff.
At the same time, these foldable items need to be made from robust materials. Thus NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been 3D printing metallic, chain-mail-like fabrics."We call it '4-D printing' because we can print both the geometry and the function of these materials," said [NASA Systems Engineer Raul] Polit Casillas. "If 20th Century manufacturing was driven by mass production, then this is the mass production of functions."Fabricating spacecraft designs can be complex and costly, said Andrew Shapiro-Scharlotta of JPL, whose office funds research for early-stage technologies like the space fabric. He said that adding multiple functions to a material at different stages of development could make the whole process cheaper. It could also open the door to new designs."We are just scratching the surface of what's possible," Shapiro-Scharlotta said. "The use of organic and non-linear shapes at no additional costs to fabrication will lead to more efficient mechanical designs."The space fabrics have four essential functions: reflectivity, passive heat management, foldability and tensile strength. One side of the fabric reflects light, while the other absorbs it, acting as a means of thermal control. It can fold in many different ways and adapt to shapes while still being able to sustain the force of pulling on it.
The JPL actually has an in-house rapid-prototyping "Atelier" that Polit Casillas is in charge of. If the fabrics prove durable enough in space, the next steps, Polit Casillas says, will be to figure out how to both print them in space and recycle them on the spot, to be able to quickly re-purpose the material.
We were excited to see Muji's architectural re-think of a house several years ago, but this latest effort is a bit puzzling. The company has announced they'll begin selling this Muji Hut with a shou-sugi-ban finish and nine square meters of interior space:
While Muji refers to their concept as "radically new," a close examination of the plans does not reveal anything radical. In fact some of the decisions are downright odd. The Tiny House movement in America often designs things on wheels, so that the small structures can be moved. In contrast the Muji Hut is designed on a slab foundation, which is rather permanent.
Furthermore the design has no provisions for plumbing nor electrical in the plans and description, but in several photos there is an electrical outlet, and a lamp plugged into it:
Where's the generator, and/or solar panels and batteries?
Also, in this photo there's a woodburning stove shown inside:
Yet there's no visible venting in photos of the exterior, nor provisions made for it in the plans. That's a rather glaring omission.
The context in which this bedroom hut is meant to be used is completely unclear. The copy reads:Who hasn't dreamt of living somewhere they really want to be? The tools to make that dream a reality are now available. It's not as dramatic as owning a house or a vacation home, but it's not as basic as going on a trip. Put it in the mountains, near the ocean, or in a garden, and it immediately blends in with the surroundings, inviting you to a whole new life.
The language evokes vacation/escape, but you can't place something with a slab foundation on land that you don't own. So is this hut designed for folks who already own stretches of property within which they can plop one of these down? As it has no running water, functional climate control nor electricity, it essentially seems like a ¥ 3,000,000 (USD $27,000) hard-sided tent.
In your mind, who is the target consumer, and what scenario do you envision this structure being used in?
Planetary Power HyGen is a hybrid generator that combines high-efficiency technology with integrated lithium-ion batteries, providing a vital communication link to outlying populations. It is a cost-effective, sustainable, and reliable alternative to conventional generators for use at off-grid telecom towers. HyGen’s engine runs at variable speeds and only operates to charge its batteries, making the batteries the primary power source. Fuel consumption is reduced by 60%, extending the refuelingView the full content here
Portland is unarguably a hotbed for design thinking, but in a lot of ways it's a graphic design town. No shade to our friends in the visual disciplines—seriously, most industrial designers' business cards could sorely use your help—but finding the tangible parts of PDX Design Week can take some navigation. Here are our picks for this week's events with informative, attractive, thought provoking and tactile sides.
Grab those event tickets ASAP because after these go, it's branding panel discussions all the way down.Monday 4/24
SPEAKING: Design Minds, Design Activism
Perfectly timed between the end of the IDSA program and before you really want to check out and get drunk, this Gray Magazine hosted panel covers the intersection between ethics and design with experiences from several professions including textile manufacturers, real estate developers, and folks designing affordable city infrastructure. Given the artists in there too, it's likely to be a bit rowdier than it sounds. Plus, the ticket gets you a drink and a schmooze fest afterwards. Bonus!
$15, 5:30-8pm, Hotel Lucia
EXHIBITION: Unparalleled Sports Product
The University of Oregon Product Design department routinely turns out high quality students. This show is a great opportunity to check out some exceptional new and old student work. Themes include improving the human body for speed and tackling assistive tech for Paraolympian athletes. Check this out before the panel speaking and then wander through downtown deciding where to drink like an Olympian once you're filled up with design activist vigor.
Free, 12pm-6pm, White Box Gallery
SPEAKING: Doernbecher Freestyle: Designing for Kicks
Take the Nike shoe design process, subtract many of the normal production constraints, add the weirdly innovative influence of kids, and what will you get? Honestly, the outcomes can be fly af. This panel reunites teams of seasoned Nike designers with young patients who worked together to reimagine classic Nike kicks. The panel will focus on the young designers, with hosting by Michael Doherty (Nike Sr. creative director) and moderation by Lee Banks (Nike product director). Likely to be a fun irreverent look at Nike's ideation and production, with emphasis on the kiddo's outsider perspective and fresh can-do thinking.
$10, 5:30-7:00pm, Ziba Design Auditorium
*CORE77 EVENT: An Office on Wheels
Visit the Coroflot team's slick office within an office within a garage, get a tour and A some Qs with architect and designer, Laurence Sarrazin. The mobile office is sneakily wedged into the Hand-Eye Supply building's garage, but is filled with light, texture, and almost too many modular fixtures to count.
$5, 6:00-7:00pm, Hand-Eye Supply
EXTRA WORTHWHILE OPEN HOUSES:
WATCH: Crafting with Heavy Timber
This is the closest you're going to get to log rolling or chainsaw art competitions in Portland city limits. The team will use several framing and construction methods to produce a freestanding shelter intended for use with solar panels, turning huge timber into a space before your eyes.
$5, 2:00-4:00 PMDesign Studio
DO: Unparalleled Sneaker Jam
Thinking shoe design might be for you? Throw down on designs for sick kicks with some guidance and intel from lex Hill, Garrett Tollette, Sara Novak and Kelsey Foo, all UO Sports Product Designers. Hang out with other shoe nerds and novices and leave with work that might help sharpen your portfolio.
$5 / Free with student ID, 5pm-8:00pm, White Stag Block
*CORE77 DO: Sketch Jam
Don't want to be limited to only shoes? Want more chances to flex on your friends in public with those drawing chops? Want to watch other nerds sketch under pressure with live comedy commentary? Sketch Jam is going to be a super fun blend of skills, performance, competition, and good old drinky camaraderie. The competition is open to all skill levels, and will be judged by five of Portland's most talented sketch-perts from companies like adidas, Nike, Under Armour, and more. Go hard and win prizes like a Cintiq 27, all for drawing stuff and drinking fancy free beer.
$5, 6pm-9:00pm, Hand-Eye Supply
LISTEN + SEE: ShowPDX Innovative and Functional Furniture Objects
ShowPDX has been a fun roundup of interesting and attractive furniture design for the last few years. Expect a lot of play with materials, an eye for sustainability, and quirky inviting forms. This year's show comes with a panel conversation among the designers.
$5, 6pm-9:00pm, Creative Woodworking NW
EXTRA WORTHWHILE OPEN HOUSE:
SPEAKING: Celia Bertoia Visits the Good Mod
Mellower day on the event front. If I were you, I'd go buy new sketchpads and weed to recover from the Sketch Jam, then hit up the Good Mod. TGM is already a must-visit for furniture and midcentury design fans, but Thursday is the only day to catch Celia Bertoia discussing the life and work of her father Harry Bertoia, sculptor and designer of the Knoll Diamond chair.
$10, 4pm-8:00pm, The Good Mod
DO: Autodesk Design Night Portland
Want to see where Autodesk thinks the design future is headed? Want to snack on snacks and drink on drinks while tinkering with their vision of the augmented reality/virtual reality tools coming our way? What are you, some kind of luddite? Enjoy a direct look at weird futurism in design software and an open bar. The tight thing is the right thing.
$15, 7pm-10:00pm, INDUSTRY
DO: Design Crawl
If you're feeling a little more restless and a lot more mobile, steer that energy towards the The International Interior Design Association's Design Crawl. They'll tour three award-winning spaces that blend unusual design with the needs of their unusual occupants. Get ferried around to cool places, ogle cool use of space and fixtures, and get fed snacks and drinks? Hell yeah.
$25-$50, 5:30-9:00pm, Starting location assigned by organizer
EXTRA WORTHWHILE OPEN HOUSES:
An even lighter day. Maybe just go ham on those open houses, invent a new form of bingo using the business cards of incredibly talented manufacturers and local scale producers. Drunkenly proposition the Vanilla Bikes design team and accept a Speedvagen as a consolation prize.
EXHIBITION: Pop Up Display: Makers Woodworks
It's zero secret that we at Core77 get excited about cool woodworking. This exhibition pairs work by Makers Woodworks, a three man custom furniture shop, and antique pieces provided by the Architectural Heritage Center. Getting ideas about elegant joinery and interesting problem solving from days of yore is very much in our wheelhouse.
Free, 10am-5pm, Architectural Heritage Center
DO: Makers Gotta Make Party
ADX knows how to get down. The space with a zillion options for skill learning and resource sharing is opening its doors to the public extra wide, showcasing the work of its talented members, and generally getting more festive as the day goes on. There are also pay to play basic skill-building workshops throughout the day, but it's stuff y'all probably blew past in college.
Free, 6pm-Late, ADX
EXTRA WORTHWHILE OPEN HOUSES:
WATCH: Wacom + Pensole Building Bridges
Wacom and Pensole have some mysterious live interdisciplinary competition in the works, and they aren't saying much about it. But it's free and sounds like a relay race to glory for somebody, so check it out if you need someone or something to root for.
Free, 3-6:30pm, Wacom Experience Center
DO: Official Closing Party
There's going to be warehouse party, art, music, weird site specific installations, and a lot of familiar faces, in a neat culmination of the jovial professional-party vibes we've gotten used to over the week. Go out in style, or the inverse, and know you'll be in good company.
$10, 7pm-11pm, William / Kaven Annex
Day of rest. Turn off your phone and come drink cucumber water in my backyard. Don't worry, I won't be able to talk about design without puking.
As the world's premier company for insulated products, Hydro Flask began with a challenge: to create a reusable water bottle that truly performs in any environment. It had to keep hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold. Period. We are hiring a Graphic Designer who will workView the full design job here
Wicked! Laura Kampf builds a contraption to help her bend sheet metal into curves of different radii:How to Glue Perfect Miters
As a bonus tip within this trick for gluing long miters, the Samurai Carpenter demonstrates an excellent way to glue miters of any size without getting squeeze-out glue-lines marring the very corners:The Miracle Latch
Ron Paulk tells a story illustrating how this ingenious little device saved him a lot of work. It's a great example of how whomever invented this really knew his or her industry and invented something small but brilliant:Durable Outdoor Finish
If you've got something made of wood that needs a tough, low-maintenance finish, you might want to consider marine-grade finishing products. Here the Wood Whisperer demonstrates:How Much Did it Cost to Build the Shop?
Linn from Darbin Orvar runs down a bunch of small projects she's been working on, then delves into a Q&A where she reveals how much it cost to build her shop out:Leather Box Embossing Experiment
Ben Uyeda pays homage to a certain space smuggler, and his eventual captor, as he experiments with embossing leather using a vacuum bag:
How to Build a Modern Stool, Create a 3-Way Portable Bandsaw Holder, Apply a Durable Outdoor Finish & More
Whoa. Using a CNC plasma cutter, Jimmy DiResta designs and builds an effective 3-way portable bandsaw stand:DIY or Pay Somebody to Do It?
Matthias Wandel answers the classic question here by inventing a series of experimental contraptions to help him refinish a floor. Some very interesting trial-and-error here:How to Make a Simple End Table
A speedy build with humble materials: Izzy Swan taks on the "2x4 Challenge," where you're meant to produce something useful using only a pair of 2x4s as raw material.Hourglass Time-Out Stool
A funny project for parents, maybe not so funny for kids: Izzy makes a time-out stool with an integrated hourglass to denote the time length of punishment.Building a Modern Stool
April Wilkerson's in the UK this week, building a modern-style stool designed by Rhiannon from J Smith Woodwork:How to Make a Ravioli Rolling Pin
Like Bob Clagett, I had no idea how raviolis were made using a specialized rolling pin. Here he demonstrates:Wood Turned Plum Bowl
An experiment three years in the making, Frank Howarth has a lot of problem-solving to do on his way to turning a rather unusual-looking object:
Kickstarter is arguably the most well-known crowdfunding platform out there. At any given time, you can pledge to support virtually any project you could imagine, from magazines on the future of food to sand-cast metal bowls to desktop digital fabrication tools.
The wide range of projects the platform attracts is all fine and good, but what projects do the Kickstarter team actually get excited over? It's something we've always wondered, and now Kickstarter is finally giving us some insight through their very first 'request for projects'.Desktop waterjet cutter, Wazer.
Written by Kickstarter's Director of Technology and Design, Julio Terra, the request focuses on three project categories the Kickstarter team is specifically seeking out: Tools for Creating, Boundary Pushers, and Delightful Design.
The three categories still cover a wide range of possibilities, but they do speak to Kickstarter's values as a public benefit corporation. Basically, even though making money is great, that's not the only way the company wants to measure success. Kickstarter is a platform to help innovative projects hit their business goals, and they are focused on maintaining that mission while looking towards the future.
To learn more about each category, give the full request for proposals a read. If you're working on a project that falls under any of these three categories, Kickstarter wants you to reach out to their team through this response form.
Fashion Trends We Don't Understand, Using AI to Analyze Fonts, Inside a Legendary Piano Factory & More
The Core77 team spends time combing through the news so you don't have to. Here's a weekly roundup of our favorite finds from the World Wide Web:
A New York apartment like the one in Friends will cost you about 5 large. Plus, how much apartments cost in the post-war era.
Don't use this waffle iron pre-caffeine unless you want sticky fingers.
One month left to catch Hippie Modernism in Berkeley.
Along those same lines:
Congrats to our friend Michael DiTullo for launching his own studio!
IDEO's new 'Font Map' uses artificial intelligence to surface new relationships across fonts.
More Tesla news: They're making a pickup truck. We can't wait to see what it looks like (swoopy F-150?).
Barbie is now a YouTuber. There is so much, yet so little to say about this.
A car-free Earth Day in Manhattan should be... interesting.
A photo tour documenting the production process at Steinway & Sons, the world's most legendary piano factory.April 19, 2017 "> Hot Tip: Check out more blazin' hot Internet finds on our Twitter page.