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Core77
Launched in 1995, Core77 serves a devoted global audience of design professionals, corporations, students, enthusiasts and fans.
Updated: 15 hours 52 min ago

The Microlino Lite: An EV for (European) 14-Year-Olds

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

How can a car company—sorry, a mobility company—gain customers that are too young to have a driver's license? At this week's Geneva Motor Show, Microlino unveiled their Microlino Lite, a teen-friendly version of their existing model.



The two-seater has the same front door style as its sibling, but because its electric motor's output doesn't exceed the 6kW threshold, this places it within the EU's L6e category of vehicle. That means it's technically a powered quadricycle rather than an automobile, so you only need a moped license to operate it. In countries like France and Italy, a 14-year-old can drive one of these—and, conceivably, afford to: The company's leasing model has a projected cost of 149 Swiss Francs (USD $169) per month.

Here's the walkaround from the Motor Show, and gosh this thing is pretty:

With a 177km (110 mile) range, I'd like to think an enterprising teen could come up with a business to use this for and turn a profit.

As for this coming to the U.S.: Fat chance.

Clever Way to Restore Vintage Dial Markings: Use a Dental Pick, Gun Cleaning Swabs

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Here camera repair expert Ryan Jones restores the dial markings on a Leica M3. To fill in the impossibly thin engravings, Jones employs a clever technique: He applies Testors enamel with a dental pick, then wipes the excess away using special swabs.

The dental pick wasn't the first solution to occur to Jones, but is the lasting one. "I've used syringes and tiny needles in the past, after a few years of doing this I find myself throwing away clogged syringes and losing the needles," he writes. "So using this dental pick is my go-to since it's always on my bench and needs no maintenance!"

Lastly, about those swabs: "These q-tips are for gun cleaning and have a blunt and pointy end," Jones writes. I was unfamiliar with these, and looked them up:

Pretty nifty, and I can definitely use these for sewing machine repairs. They're $10 for 500.

An Armchair That Transforms Into a Full Sofa

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

This Expandy furniture piece transforms from an armchair into both a two-seater loveseat and a three-seater sofa.

Developed by Montreal-based mechanical engineer Daniel Chiriac, the idea is that full sofas take up a lot of space in a small apartment, yet are only needed when entertaining. Here's how the prototype works:

Chiriac is seeking to get it into production.

This Gizmo Lets You Make Sticky Notes Out of Any Paper

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

This Memo X gizmo, by Taiwan-based manufacturer Zenlet, lets you make your own sticky notes out of any paper. You stick a piece of paper into it and press down; in one motion it cuts the paper and applies the light-tack adhesive.



While you can cut your paper to the standard square size, the cutter is also adjustable to lesser lengths.

You can also separate the adhesive stamper from the cutter, if you want to apply the adhesive to a piece of paper without cutting it.

The ability to turn discarded paper packaging and the reverse side of junk mail into usable Post-Its is appealing. The question is whether that's worth the $74 Kickstarter price. Also bear in mind, the adhesive doesn't come out of thin air; the gizmo is loaded with a roll of the stuff. One roll is good for 250 applications, then you've got to buy a new roll from Zenlet at $3 to $4 a pop (depending on how many you order).

The Memo X has been successfully Kickstarted, with 2 days left to pledge at press time. The units are expected to ship this September.


A Nike Logo Handbag, Perfect for Carrying Giant Prawn

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Brand adulation reaches a new high. Today French fashion brand Jacquemus is releasing this Le Sac Swoosh, a luxury handbag shaped like the Nike logo:

Just ooh it

Judging by the model's fingernails, it's indeed meant as a handbag and not an athletic accessory. The bag's unique, presumably licensed shape is ideal for carrying bush axe blades, giant prawn, boomerang fragments or certain gourds. Comes in three colors.

The retail price is €420 (USD $456).


Unexpected Opportunties: the Convergence of Digital and Physical Interaction

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Julie Arrive´ and Alex Hulme are the co-founders of Approach Studio and will serve as Jury Captains for the 2024 Core77 Design Awards Emerging Technologies category. This category features systems, services, research, hardware, or software products created with the aid of recently created or developed software and hardware technologies. Examples can include projects that incorporate the use of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), blockchain technologies, robotics, biometrics, advanced materials or new production processes.

Julie Arrive´, Co-Founder and Design Director, Approach Studio

Julie Arrive´, Co-founder and Design Director, Approach Studio

From fishnet sensors to footfall counters to machine vision for farming, Julie Arrive´ loves to see innovative technology ideas – in even the most unexpected contexts. "As consumers, we're used to [seeing] products for [ourselves] and our homes, but the world of B2B technology products is fascinating, and we love coming across great use of technology in very specific sectors."

After years spent working with industrial design consultancies around the globe, Julie has moved into the role of Design Director of Approach Studio. Through this design agency, Julie and her colleagues develop hardware solutions using emerging technology, serving a client mix of startups and larger, more established organizations. Julie also enjoys experimenting with speculative and future technology usage and brings that innate sense of curiosity and excitement to her role as Jury Captain for the Core77 Design Awards Emerging Technologies category.

Given the substantial energy and attention she has devoted to considering new technology products, Julie has learned to prioritize certain qualities. As she said, "The line between great hardware products and gadgets can sometimes be fine, so making genuinely great products that solve problems, bring joy, and add value to people's lives is a preoccupation when designing." She also warns against focusing too narrowly on "materiality" when designing a product with sustainability in mind, believing that a product with a long lifespan can be equally, if not more, valuable in the long run.

To Core77 Design Awards entrants, Julie emphasizes the power of good storytelling in their submissions: "What the product does (or how it came about) can be as important as how the final idea looks."

Alex Hulme, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Approach Studio

Alex Hulme, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Approach Studio

After two decades spent designing and manufacturing products, Alex Hulme now spends much of his time exploring the convergence of digital and physical interaction and crafting tomorrow's technology products. Much of that work involves implementing new technology for the post-smartphone world. "Through smartphones, we've all become digital interface experts, but physical objects are playing catchup in many ways," said Alex.

As Creative Director of Approach Studio, Alex strives to help clients (from big tech like Google, Logitech, and Nothing to up-and-coming hardware startups) not just catch up but get ahead. Before co-founding Approach, Alex spent the best part of a decade at Map Project Office, where he served as studio co-director and oversaw creative output for clients like Sky, Google, and Deutsche Telekom.

Today, Alex is focused on making technology that lasts. As he said, "Emerging technology products often have short lifespans, and making them long-lasting is even more challenging than in more established categories." To meet this ongoing challenge, Alex and his team continue to focus on finding new, better ways to design, build, prototype, and mass produce.

Casa Pop-Up Desk for Logitech from Approach.


For Core77 Design Award entries, Alex hopes to see strong projects that have a clear sense of the problem they're solving: "If you have that, often the project speaks for itself."


MouthPad^ by Augmental

The 2023 winner in the Emerging Technologies category was Mouthpad^, by Augmental, an intraoral interface that uses the tongue to interface with computing devices used in daily life, an innovation that has enormous potential for those in the disability community as well as for continuous health monitoring and more.

If you've got a great story to tell about your groundbreaking technology, submit it to the 2024 Core77 Design Awards.


Carved Wooden Cars with High Beams

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Spain-based artist Kiko Miyares carves these wonderful cars--with their high beams on—out of wood:

"I immerse myself in a creative game where shapes, dimensions, and perspective intertwine to challenge expectations," Miyares told Colossal.

At the ends of the beams, you can see what's in front of the driver:



If you're collecting these but don't have the horizontal shelf space, well, storage is a snap:

The cars are part of his "carreteras o barrancos" ("roads or ravines") series. You can see more of Miyares' work here and here.


Core77 Weekly Roundup (2-20-24 to 2-23-24)

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Here's what we looked at this week:

The Twisted GOAT, a tie-down alternative designed to be faster than using rope or ratchet straps, is essentially a massive twist tie.

Klein Tools' offset Locknut Wrenches are a great example of form follows function.

Only 1 in 15,000 visually impaired people own a guide dog; they cost around $50,000. The University of Glasgow is thus working on a more affordable robot seeing-eye guide dog for the blind.

Bose has designed a new way to attach "open" earbuds.

In Holland, police test e-bike legality by putting the bike on this contraption, then getting on the bike and pedaling their ass off.

Here's a bizarre, strangely arresting "Mid Century Modern" triangular console table, designer unknown.

The Female Design Council held their spring mixer this week in Brooklyn.

Going up later this year in Switzerland, Tor Alva, the world's tallest 3D-printed building, is designed to be disassembled and moved.

"Cold Production," a project by Architecture and Digital Fabrication students at ETH Zurich, creates concrete components using formworks made of ice.

This space-saving Pantographic Bench is by Brazilian furniture designer/builder Miguel Saboya.

This square camping kettle actually has a fair amount of design in it.

Zippo, once the essential bit of EDC, attempts a cigarette-free return to that market with this silly bit insert.

An aircraft restoration expert hooked up an actual Sperry ball turret (think B-17 bomber) and let people try it out. Looks absolutely nuts!

Industrial design concept study: This DISPATCH urban delivery system is by mobility design consultancy Springtime.


Industrial Design Concept Study: The DISPATCH Urban Delivery System

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

This DISPATCH concept for an urban delivery system is by Springtime, a Dutch industrial design consultancy with a focus on mobility.

Through technological developments and our changing shopping habits, the parcel delivery market has greatly changed. We want the purchases we ordered online delivered at our doorstep and we want them now! This development has resulted in a tremendous increase in urban delivery miles, mostly still with diesel vans. At the same time, there is an increasing concern about air quality and safety in our cities. Springtime looked in to this topic and created DISPATCH, a versatile and compact E-cargo vehicle for big cities.

Overview
With same-day or at least next-day delivery becoming the new standard, a lot of pressure is being put onto the supply chain. The way post and parcel companies use artificial intelligence, IoT, robots, and other innovations will determine their relevance in the future. Although autonomous delivery will play a growing role in parcel delivery, traditional, human delivery will keep playing an important role. Especially for parcels with special delivery requirements and e-groceries delivery, where returns play an important role, human delivery is the only way to go.

Although the entire delivery chain is shifting, in the European landscape, we still see mostly cumbersome diesel vans, half-full, delivering in our city centers. But things are changing. The transition to a car-free city is motivated by an increasing concern around pollution in cities. Removing cars from city-centers is a simple way to tackle air and noise pollution, as well as the ability to reallocate land previously used for vehicle infrastructure such as parking lots and wide roads to bike paths and public space. We see some sustainable initiatives like for instance the Coolblue delivery cargo E-bike in The Netherlands, but obviously these solutions have very limited cargo space.

Piaggio Ape, the affordable urban cargo solution in post WWII Italy

Piaggio ApeWe believe there is an interesting gap to fill, and got inspired by the form-factor and versatility of the legendary Piaggio Ape, an affordable compact commercial single seater 3-wheeled vehicle created after WWII in Italy. The vehicle basically was based on a Vespa scooter and came in various executions such as pick-up, van, rickshaw. DISPATCH is our contemporary (4-wheeled electric) interpretation of the Ape concept.

Minimal full-electricDISPATCH is a super compact and minimal delivery vehicle, packing a maximum of features in a minimum amount of bodywork. Two 2kW rear hub motors offer a maximum speed of 50 km/h (30mph) while providing enough torque to carry the weight effortlessly. The motors are fed by a series of swappable batteries. While the vehicle is being used, another set of batteries is charging. Just swap and go out again.Open cockpitThe DISPATCH is a 1-seater. The transparent cabin with minimal bodywork offers great visibility. The (heated) seat provides a straight-up, active riding position and comfort for the rider, ensuring alertness in city traffic. The headrest is equipped with a hands free communication solution that also controls the GPS on the handlebar.

Swappable cargoThe cargo unit is a swappable volume. Like the Piaggio Ape back then, various cargo solutions can be imagined and mounted, such as closed boxes in various volumes as well as pick-up beds or even a ride-hailing solution. The logistic advantage is that the cargo box can be pre-loaded in the warehouse, while the vehicle is still finishing its round.The depicted fully enclosed cargo box (available in a 1.500 liter, fitting a EPAL Euro pallet, and 2.000 liter option) prevents theft while riding and delivering packages, protects the packages and can be equipped with additional features like cooling or heating. A high roll-up door allows easy access to the cargo.

Use casesThe DISPATCH can be used both independently and as part of a logistic system. Apart from being operated by independent small businesses, we envision vehicles operating from a local hub, or being restocked on the go from a truck.

Size comparisons

Full-electric or power-assistBased on specific needs and use cases, the DISPATCH can be both a full electric as a power assisted pedal solution. Both options obviously come with their own advantages in terms of range, load, comfort, road accessibility, rider requirements, price point and total cost of ownership.

Electric power-assisted pedal version (L) and a full-electric version (R) based on the same platform

Various cargo solutions can be imagined and mounted, such as closed boxes in various volumes as well as pick-up beds or even a ride-hailing solution. The logistic advantage is that the cargo box can be pre-loaded in the warehouse, while the vehicle is still finishing its round.


Brand applications (fictional, no affiliation with any of the depicted brands)

We are currently looking into partners to further develop DISPATCH and help solve sustainable and on-demand delivery in our high density cities, and to help deliver your packages to your doorstep! We welcome both manufacturers and fleet owners to contact us and discuss opportunities (marcel@springtime.nl)

Holy Cow: Firing an Actual, Original B-17 Ball Turret

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

The Sperry ball turret was a marvel of 1940s engineering. American manufacturer Sperry figured out how to cram a human being into a 3.5'-diameter armored sphere with Plexiglas windows, alongside 500 rounds of ammunition and with two .50-caliber machine guns sticking out of it.

This ball turret was suspended from a gimbal inside B-17 and B-24 bombers and protruded from the bottom of the airplane. An electro-hydraulic system allowed the turret operator to rotate the thing in all directions, defending the underside of the airplane from German fighters.


Incredibly Taigh Ramey, an aircraft restoration expert, came across a "new old stock"—i.e. fully manufactured but never used—Sperry ball turret in a surplus shop some years ago. He convinced the owner to sell it to him. After bringing it back to his shop, Ramey was surprised to find that once he added hydraulic fluid and fired up the turret, it "ran like a charm," despite having sat on a crate since the 1940s.





What do you do with such a find? Ramey hooked the turret up to a scaffolding, brought it to a shooting event, and allowed spectators to fire the thing:

Unsurprisingly Ramey was a consultant on "Masters of the Air," Apple TV's currently-running series covering American WWII flyers. For those interested in the subject, Ramey provides some details of the job on his Facebook page.

Lastly, Ramey runs the unusual Bomber Camp, a "living history" experience where you can train as a member of a B-17 or B-24 bomber crew, then fly a mission in one of the actual planes, where you drop dummy bombs on a target and the gunners can fire .50-cal blanks. Just nuts.

Zippo Turns Their Iconic Lighter into a Multi-Tool

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

The Zippo lighter was the original EDC item, back when cigarette marketing was truly wild:

In the decades since, as these doctors started coughing a lot and cigarette smoking declined, Zippo branched out into other product categories to survive. This offering here brings them full circle, back into the EDC world, albeit in a ridiculous way. Here's the $15 Zippo Bit Safe Lighter Insert:



Absurd as the product is, I will say a Zippo is easy to carry in the coin pocket of a pair of jeans. And hey, at least their marketers haven't reached as far as the tobacco industry's.

A Square Kettle for Camping

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Why on earth would you make a kettle square?


"We have created a non-round kettle in pursuit of faster water boiling speed and stability when using a burner," explains manufacturer Sugiyama Kinzoku.

A fair amount of design went into the 700mL vessel:


Point 1: "The handle is neatly stored in a concave groove on the top panel."Point 2: "The lid is also designed in a concave shape, so the top panel is always flat when not in use."

Point 3: "The shape of the spout makes it easy to pour even small amounts of water."Point 4: "The claws on the lid snap into the body with a rotary lock. The knobs have been cut to create a flat shape."

Point 5: "The lid has six uneven grooves. These grooves create a gap between the body and lid, allowing steam to escape to the side and preventing the handle from becoming hot."Point 6: "Made of rust-resistant stainless steel. To accentuate the form, the corners are minimally rounded."

The Square Kettle runs ¥7,920 (USD $53).

Another Take on the Space-Saving Bench

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

This Pantographic Bench is by Miguel Saboya, a Brazilian furniture designer/builder.

Saboya—a man of few words, at least where his website is concerned—says only that the bench is made of sapele and linen.


Saboya has an atelier in Lisbon where he takes commissions. You can see more of his work here.

See Also:

Shizuka Saito's Mingle Bench


Cold Production: Creating Concrete Components Using Formworks Made of Ice

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Re-surfacing ice rinks creates a lot of extra ice. Students at ETH Zurich in the Master in Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication program found a creative way to use this excess ice with their Cold Production project.

"Cold Production explores a zero-waste fabrication method for concrete that uses digitally sculpted ice as a moulding material. The project explored spatial concrete lattices and their stacking principles. Ice units were press-formed using 3D-printed multiparty moulds."

"The rapid and waste-free production is done in the Sub-Zero lab at -10C. The concrete was poured, cured, and the next day the elements were placed outdoors for demoulding by simply letting ice melt away, revealing its intricate concrete lattice design."

"The fabrication of the 15 unique lattice modules required the processing of 8400 kg of ice. For such a large scale of production, the raw material was sourced from a local ice rink. Ice abrasion is a common by-product of the regular resurfacing of the ice rinks. The reuse of ice for fabrication purposes allows an increase in the production speed and dramatically minimizes the energy consumption of the process."

"The intertwined geometries of the concrete elements were assembled in a continuous structure. Based on the [earlier research project] Ice Formwork, this project opens the potential of ice to cast concrete in topologically challenging forms."


Here's video of the Cold Production process:

Cold Production was done in collaboration with architecture firm Digital Building Technologies.


World's Tallest 3D-Printed Building is Designed to be Disassembled and Moved

Tue, 2024-02-27 10:21

Swiss architecture firm Digital Building Technologies has designed a 3D-printed building that can be taken apart, moved, and reassembled.

When it's erected later this year, Tor Alva ("White Tower") will be the world's tallest 3D-printed building at 30m (98') tall. Designed as a performance space, it's to be sited in an unlikely location: The remote Swiss mountain village of Mulegns, population just 26 people. (The structure is being funded by Nova Fundaziun Origen, a Swiss charity involved in education, scientific research, the arts and culture. The location of the structure was chosen to draw tourism to Mulegns, which badly needs bodies.)

The tower, which was designed to resemble the confections the region was once known for, consists of 32 concrete columns 3D-printed by robot arms.



"The concrete is only applied where it is structurally needed, thereby massively reducing material consumption. The elimination of formwork results in new design freedom in terms of expressive shapes, surface details and the efficient production of unique pieces."



"Integrating the concepts of circular building, the tower, planned as a five-year installation, will be designed so that it can be easily dismantled and reassembled at another location."

I was primarily interested in what type of foundation is required, and how precisely the structure is attached and de-attached to the foundation; sadly those technical details have not been revealed.


The video below provides a better look at the tower, and you'll note the design is different than what's in the photos above; in the video, the tower sits rather clunkily atop a block-like structure.

Tor Alva is scheduled to go up this summer.


Embrace Design Heritage, Reframe for the Future

Mon, 2024-02-26 08:20

Afshin Mehin is the Jury Captain for the Core77 Design Awards Commercial Equipment and Robotics categories. The Commercial Equipment category features operational equipment and systems designed for public, commercial, industrial, medical, and scientific use. Examples include machinery, medical instruments and devices, construction tools, transaction kiosks, and weather instruments. The Robotics category features hardware or software products at any scale that incorporate mechanized robots to perform physical tasks or solve problems.

Afshin Mehin enjoys new beginnings, at least where technology is concerned. As the Founder and Lead Designer of San Francisco-based creative studio Card79, Afshin gets excited about working with R&D or innovation teams within companies – whether large organizations or startups – to help them evolve a nascent technology into the first generation of a new product. "This is the most exciting - when the work is defining a new product category," he explained.

Afshin Mehin, founder and lead designer at Card79.

With Card79, Afshin tackles complex and future-facing projects from brain-computer interfaces to autonomous vehicles, working with companies like Postmates, Amazon, and Lululemon. He operates seamlessly between old and new, with experience spanning traditional furniture designers, like Barber Osgerby and Terence Conran, all the way to futuristic institutions like M.I.T.'s Media Lab Europe and Elon Musk's Neuralink.In today's design landscape, Afshin contemplates how design "can both embrace its heritage of creating beauty and utility but reframing that to work with the more complex systems that are becoming more and more valuable." That could include anything from product life cycle analysis to designing with data to the impact of AI on design.

When asked about guidance for Core77 Design Awards entrants, Afshin offers a tweak on a commonly offered piece of advice: the directive to 'fail early, fail often.' He would amend the suggestion to place more emphasis on pattern recognition as part of failure. "The real piece of advice that's often implied with that, but is not emphasized enough, is that every time you fail, try to spot a pattern. Try to use it as a way to reorient," said Afshin. He encourages designers to ask themselves why something went wrong in that instance or in similar instances, making any failure a more valuable learning experience.


Revio is a gene sequencing machine used for human genetic analysis, cancer research, agricultural genomics, and more.

Last year's Core77 Design Awards winner in the Commercial Equipment category was Whipsaw for its Revio Sequencing System, a gene sequencing machine used for human genetic analysis, cancer research, agricultural genomics, and more.

Rapid Robotics created the Rapid Machine Operator (RMO) as an all-in-one robotic automation solution that is affordable and accessible to all major manufacturing sectors.

In the Robotics category, the winner was Card79 for its Rapid Machine Operator (RMO), an intuitive, adaptable robotic system that removes the barriers preventing U.S. manufacturers from using Industrial robotics for small and medium-sized manufacturers.

If you have a commercial equipment or robotics project that marks a new beginning (and maybe a failure or two along the way), submit it to the 2024 Core77 Design Awards.

A Bizarre "Mid Century Modern" Triangular Console Table

Mon, 2024-02-26 08:20

Here's a strange piece of furniture I can't take my eyes off of. I spotted this rather extreme triangular console table on an auction site:

It's nearly 7' long, and 20" wide at its widest point. The auctioneer has branded it "Mid Century Modern," but there's no designer attributed (nor evidence that some dude didn't just build this in his garage). They also suggest the table was designed "in the manner of Harvey Probber."

That seems a stretch. Furniture designer Probber, who studied at Pratt and started his own furniture business in the 1940s, did in fact design a mid-century triangular table, but it was a somewhat more rational right triangle:


For the first table, I'm going to stick with the guy-in-garage theory. If I'm wrong and you know who designed this, please comment and I'll attribute it.

Roadside E-Bike Speed Testing Contraption Used by Dutch Police

Mon, 2024-02-26 08:20

In Holland, police have found a correlation between the rising popularity of e-bikes and an increase in accidents. And in 2022, the country experienced a record number of fatal bicycle accidents. To combat this, Dutch authorities passed a law regulating e-bike capabilities. Legally, e-bikes must stop providing pedal assistance once the cyclist has reached a speed of 25 km/h (16 mph).

This seems impossible to enforce; a fit cyclist can easily hit 32 km/h (20 mph) under their own steam. How can a cop prove their speed was juiced by the bike?

The Dutch answer is, technology. The Dutch police have commissioned nearly 250 special portable dynamometers built by manufacturer Dynostar. These rollentestbanken ("roller test benches") have been distributed to police around the country to perform roadside checks.


The testing process is kind of amusing. An officer places the bike on the rig, then must sit on it and start pedaling their ass off. A readout provides their speed, and the pedaling officer must judge what speed they'd reached when the pedal assistance quit. Supporting officers help hold the bike in place while the riding officer pedals.

On the plus side, the officers probably get a pretty good workout.

Creating with Empathy, Inclusivity, and Purpose for All

Mon, 2024-02-26 08:20

Daniela Macías leads the Core77 Design Awards Home & Living category featuring consumer products or services designed for use in a domestic setting. Examples include home accessories, appliances, home electronics, smart home products, and security systems.

Everyday items like soap and pet food do more than just freshen and feed. For Daniela Macías, the Global Industrial Design Manager for Colgate-Palmolive, products like these present an opportunity for designers to create with empathy, inclusivity, and purpose – the guiding principles behind much of her work.

Daniela Macías, Global Industrial Design Manager for Colgate-Palmolive.

The Mexico native has spent the last 15 years overseeing the design process for bottles, caps, bar soaps, and much more across categories, brands, and markets. It's a journey that took her from one of Colgate's manufacturing facilities to their regional corporate offices in Mexico City to her current role in the company's global headquarters in New York. It also informed her perspective on making good design accessible to everyone and the need for products that effectively combine function and purpose.

For Daniela, these products aren't just items on a store shelf; they are experiences, ones that millions of people around the world love and trust enough to bring home regularly. In return, she believes those consumers deserve thoughtful design and products that can improve their lives. "My belief in the democratization of good design comes from growing up in Mexico, a country of deep inequalities, and from witnessing in my practice how meaningful and purposeful design of even the smallest product can help bridge some of those inequalities and drive positive change," she said.

Early in her career, Daniela was tasked with designing accessible deodorant solutions for low-income communities – an everyday item that many take for granted. As she described: "Going into people's homes and talking to them about their experiences around deodorant, I learned that most couldn't afford it regularly. This led to behaviors such as shared family use, avoiding social situations, and limiting its use to special occasions – the lack of affordable solutions was ultimately impacting how people felt about themselves, relate to others, and went about their lives."

The first bottle Daniela ever designed at Colgate Palmolive, launched in 2012 and is still in the market, for haircare brand Palmolive Optims. This project opened many doors for Daniela and led to her current role.

The experience was one of many that cemented Daniela's conviction around linking empathy and purpose and incorporating diverse user feedback throughout the design process to achieve a human-centric design that is viable for mass production. "As designers, we hold a significant responsibility to nudge our teams towards making better choices that prioritize human centricity, based on deep insights of people's everyday lives in diverse contexts," she said. Daniela acknowledges that leading teams through the design innovation process can involve uncertainty and discomfort but encourages designers to stay true to a shared vision and belief – and never lose sight of the end user.

One area that Daniela has embraced throughout her career, particularly as a self-described "foreign-born woman of color leading product creation at a global CPG," is the need for diversity in industrial design. As she said, "There are infinite missed opportunities when diverse voices are not included in the conversation and there is only a homogeneous range of perspectives to inform the creation of everything around us."

That lack of representation has caused delays in creating products of relevance for much of the world's population – including women. Daniela illustrates this point with several examples: wearable breast pumps were not introduced until 2017, female crash test dummies until 2022, and a spacesuit designed for women until 2023. According to Daniela, women hold only 18% of industrial design roles in the U.S. (and only 9% of senior positions), with an even lower representation among women of color. That's a mismatch when one considers her statement that women make 80% of household buying decisions.

She also underscores the importance of diverse voices being represented against the backdrop of the climate crisis, given that the global south is expected to bear many of the adverse effects. In Daniela's view, inclusivity is necessary to "ensure that the environmental challenges we solve through design are relevant in their context, empathetic to the people impacted by it, and responsible in their execution." To create truly human-centered products, Daniela stresses that designers hold a unique, transformative power to design both for and with the underrepresented and underserved to "drive positive change, champion inclusivity, and make lives better through every creative decision, one design at a time."

In this vein, she advises entrants to the Core77 Design Awards to consider the essence and fundamental purpose of their work, to go beyond aesthetics and functionality to reach thoughtful innovation with a meaningful impact that fits in people's lives. What problem is it solving? How is it contributing to making someone's life better? Can this be produced in a sustainable/ethical way? Is it intuitive and friendly to its users? And a fundamental question: Why does this need to exist?

As Daniela said, "I believe these questions must become essential in our practice if we intend to address real problems today and leave a better world for those who come after us."

The paper towel pump was created by the LDA Design Team in collaboration with Frank Yang at simplehuman.

The winner of the 2023 Core77 Design Awards Home & Living category was the Paper Towel Pump by LDA for simplehuman, an all-in-one cleanup kit that integrates a paper towel holder and a removable spray pump ('yes' to improving our daily lives).

Do you have a human-centric design creation that will knock our socks off? Submit it to the 2024 Core77 Design Awards.



Bose Designs New Way to Attach "Open" Earbuds

Mon, 2024-02-26 08:20

These curious objects…

…are Bose's new $299 Ultra Open Earbuds, designed to deliver in-ear sound without blocking out the outside world. "Listen to a podcast as you're walking the dog and want to hear that bicycle about to pass, hear your number called at the deli while watching a video in line, or play your favorite workout music in the background while still catching up with your friend on a run."

Rather than plugging your ear canal, the buds ride on the inside of your ears. As for how they stay there:

"[The] innovative cuff-shaped design [provides] comfort and stability — a special flex arm coated in super-soft silicone connects the speaker to the battery barrel, so it rests gently on your skin for hours, while providing a light-as-air grip to keep the earbuds secure on almost any ear."

When it comes to tech wearables, the ear is the body part that's been the most thoroughly investigated; so it's interesting to see a company as well-established as Bose continuing to experiment with new ways to attach things to our ears. These have only just been announced, but I'll be curious to read long-term reviews in the future detailing just how comfortable the cuff design really is (or isn't).

As for how they sound amidst real-world noise, Bose has a demonstration you can listen to here.