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Pensa Designs Sexy Glucose Monitoring Devices

Tue, 2017-04-18 17:06

To monitor their glucose, diabetics must regularly prick their finger, then insert test strips into devices that look like Nokia designed them in the '90s:

Then they've got to log the figures. It's a decidedly clinical experience performed with undesirable devices.

Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa is addressing this problem with design. If a diabetic must live with this ritual, oughtn't the objects used be beautiful, and the process of logging made easier? To this end, they've designed the chrome-and-leather, Marc-Jacobs-inspired One Drop system:

Introducing One Drop | Chrome: Different. By Design. from One Drop on Vimeo.

The flat device that you see is the meter, which both reads the test strip and transmits the data to the app on your phone. The narrow cylindrical device is the lancer, and the wider cylindrical container holds the test strips. Here's how it works for the end user:

Indiegogo Update #1: New One Drop Lancing Devices! from One Drop on Vimeo.

The One Drop was successfully crowdfunded, and the sets can be purchased on One Drop's website.

A Portable Air Quality Management System Designed for Use During Remodels

Tue, 2017-04-18 17:06

The Enviropur is a portable air quality management system that keeps homes and businesses clean and safe from harmful dust and fumes during a remodel. This all-in-one portable machine combines the functionality of a negative air machine, commercial vacuum, commercial dust separator and commercial air scrubber. Balance worked closely with the inventor to refine his idea for investors, validate the concept, develop a supply chain, and roadmap the future of Enviropur.

View the full content here

Inventors Develop Soft, Edible Water Bottle. It's Neat, But Doesn't Fit Our Lives Yet

Tue, 2017-04-18 17:06

An engineer-staffed startup called Skipping Rocks Lab has developed a soft, biodegradable and edible packaging system for water that encases it in a transparent bubble made from seaweed. Their admirable aim is to do away with plastic packaging, and while it's generating a lot of buzz, there are a couple of important logistical questions that jumped out at us. Before we get to that, have a look at what they've come up with, which they call Ooho:

Skipping Rocks Lab - Ooho! - Crowdcube pitch from Skipping Rocks Lab on Vimeo.

The first thing we wondered was, how do they transport these? Current distribution infrastructure requires bottled liquids to be palletized, as shown at left. Each case of PET bottles is shrink-wrapped together to provide structure, and by then placing the bottle bottoms of the next layer directly over the caps of the layer beneath, enough strength exists that the layer on the bottom can support five layers above. How would Ooho's soft form survive shipping?

Then we wondered, how do they keep these clean during the process between bottling and drinking?

Thirdly the following claim had us scratching our heads: "Ooho sachets are flexible packets of water, drunk by tearing a hole and pouring into your mouth, or consumed whole." Let's look at that "tearing a hole" method from the UX perspective. I grab an Ooho bubble and decide I don't want to consume all of it. How do I tear it open and pour it into my mouth without spilling any? And then, what do I do with a torn-open bubble half-filled with water?

Skipping Labs answers (sort of) the first two questions, if not the third. Here's what they list as Ooho's benefits:

- It is 100% made of Plants & Seaweed
- Biodegradable in 4-6 weeks, just like a piece of fruit
- Edible, can be flavoured and coloured
- Fresh (shelf life of a few days)
- 5x less CO2, 9x less Energy vs PET
- Cheaper than plastic

If it's biodegradable in 4-6 weeks and the shelf life is "a few days," that indicates these aren't meant to come out of a bottling facility at all, but will presumably come out of a machine parked on-site at the facility where they are meant to be consumed. In its current form it will be relegated to events where people are happy to drink tap water and only need a shot of it at a time.

Ooho is a neat development, but due to its form factor cannot replace the incumbent system just yet. Think of how we use plastic bottles: We throw them in our bag, we set them down at the gym, we bring them in the car to drink from while we drive, we tuck them in the seatback pocket during a long-haul flight. In order to use Ooho sachets in these settings would require another go-between piece of packaging that would perhaps defeat the original purpose.

That's not an insurmountable obstacle, but does require some design thinking. In any case, Skipping Rocks has successfully crowdfunded the next stage of Ooho's development, having raised £799,990 (USD $1 million) on a £400,000 target. We're very curious to see what comes next.

Milan Design Week 2017: SaloneSatellite—20 Years and Still Going Strong

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

As far as themes go, "DESIGN is...?" might be as open-ended as they come. If the vast majority of the 650 young designers exhibiting in SaloneSatellite 2017 are any indication, design is stuff you put in your house, with few deviations from furniture and lighting at the far end of Pavilions 22–24 of the Fieramilano exposition center.

Not that there's anything wrong with that: Time and again, the special section of the world's preeminent furniture fair has proven its value as an incubator or hotbed (as it is variously dubbed) for emerging design talent. Theme aside, 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of program, and the organization saw fit to stage a retrospective exhibition both at the fairgrounds and off-site at the converted Fabbrica del Vapore.

"Highline" sofa by Sebastian Herkner for Linteloo; "Homo Deskus" by Umzikim - Jae Yang for Desklab; "America Great Again" by Luis Pons for Aponwao Design; "Girella" by Massimiliano Adami "Amisol" lamp by Daniel Rybakken for Luceplan; "B Table" by Ifeanyi Oganwu for Henraux SpA; "Ribbon Chair" by Nika Zupac for Qeeboo "Fuoripista" by Adriano Design; "Neverending Glory / Bolshoi Theatre" lamp by Jan Plechá & Henry Wielgus for Lasvit "PET Lamp Mapuche" by Álvaro Catalan de Ocón / ACdO; "Etta" bench by Dossofiorito for Zilio A&C "Kaos" sofa by Pedro Franco for A Lot of Brasil; "Painting" screen by Alessandra Baldereschi for De Castelli; "Butterfly" basket by Massimo Lunardon

At the fair itself, the "20 Years Collection" comprised a selection of 46 projects from Satellite alums, tastefully presented throughout the exhibition. The likes of Nendo, Cory Grosser, Stefan Diez, Harri Koskinen, are just a few of the designers whose projects were on view among the booths of new and returning exhibitors — a testament to its continued significance as arguably the premier launch pad for young designers today.

To that point, here are some of our favorite projects and studios from SaloneSatellite 2017. (The full catalog can be viewed here.)

Earnest Studio brought several lamps, such as the Mill Table LampIt is designer Rachel Griffin's second time participating in SaloneSatelliteThe Post series is distinguished by its magnetic luminairesGriffin also developed prototypes of a floor lamp versionFellow Rotterdam-based designer David Derksen debuted his new "Aero" lampsDaisuke Kitagawa showed a complete collection of furniture and lighting.The "Struct" chairs and "Lattice" cabinet are part of the new "Scenery" collectionChristophe Guberan exhibited his latest work in rapid additive manufacturing The Swiss designer studied at ECAL before relocating to MITHaving worked with Swedish clients, Toronto-based MSDS presented several pieces with a contemporary Scandinavian aestheticThe new collection is called "Live Work"Plain Oddity hails from South KoreaSpitsberg is based in Amsterdam


More from MSDSThe "Soban" tables can also be hung on the wall, Shaker-style, when not in use.Installation view of Spitsberg boothAnd now for something completely different: The Future of Sausage!ECAL saw fit to bring Carolien Niebling's food design project to the SaloneThe designer created models such as "Vegetable Mortadella," seen here The main attraction, of course, was the free samples. (The fair also saw the launch of a Kickstarter project.)Made by Rens showed off their striking "Split & Store" shelving system "The Grove" by Brazilian Gustavo MartiniThis is the first show for Berlin's ElemAlso based in Berlin, Mendelheit offers a very different aestheticDesign overload...

Kickstarter and New Museum Bring Crowdfunded Favorites to New Museum Store

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

Just this morning, Kickstarter announced their exciting new collaboration with New Museum—a retail collection featuring carefully curated Kickstarter favorites. Further reinforcing the diverse community that is Kickstarter, the collection includes products ranging from conceptual clocks to solar powered chargers. 

Kickstarter and New Museum Store hope to make successful Kickstarter projects more accessible to shoppers, as well as represent the wide array of products you can support on the platform. We figured it was just a matter of time before Kickstarter started to explore retail, but we're glad they're dipping their toes in the water with New Museum, an institution dedicated to showcasing boundary-pushing work.

Some of our favorites from the collection include:

Personal Body Unit Index, a clever measurement system that uses your body instead of a ruler. The system seems particularly handy for designers when rulers get lost in the design tool abyss.

Analog Voltmeter Clock, a clock that uses indicator needles of analog voltmeters to tell time. Instead of treating bugs as a glitch, the clock reminds us that time isn't such a rigid experience. 

Little Sun, friendly devices that harness the power of the sun to charge things like battery packs.

A window display featuring projects in the collection will be on view at the New Museum store until May 15. When speaking with Nick Yulman, Kickstarter's Senior Curator of  Design + Tech, about the collection, he made sure to note one important detail about the display: that names of real project backers are etched onto each object's platform. Highlighting the names of original supporters serves as a nice reminder that backers help bring Kickstarter projects to life just as much as the dedicated design teams behind them.

Check out the full collection at New Museum Store's online store, or if you happen to be in NYC, stop by their physical store at 235 Bowery.

Design Job: Educate and Enlighten! Gallagher & Associates is Seeking a Technical Project Manager in New York, NY

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

Gallagher & Associates is seeking a Technical Project Manager to join our New York office. The Technical Project Manager is responsible for planning and overseeing the software development timeline for multiple digital interactives, concurrently. The ideal candidate has experience managing design-focused software applications and navigating complex development

View the full design job here

Making a Single-Plywood-Sheet Table, a Turntable Cabinet from an Old Suitcase, a Shop in a Trailer & More

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47
Turntable Cabinet from Old Suitcase

After Laura Kampf's old-school suitcase broke, she turns lemons into lemonade and transforms it into a cabinet for her record player:

Design Plans for the SMART Trailer Woodshop

This isn't a build video, but a design and planning discussion. For those of you who have ever toyed with the idea of building a functional shop out of the back of a trailer, Ron Paulk has built more than his fair share, and here he discusses the latest plans for his newest design, built on years of previous experience:

Making a Long Lathe Tool Rest

Shannon Rogers made his own long chairmaker's tool rest out of metal for his lathe, but here's the hardcore part: He only used human-powered tools, including a handcranked drill press!

DIY Table Made from a Single Sheet of Plywood

This is impressive. Ben Uyeda designs a sturdy, dramatic-looking table all made from a single sheet of plywood, using only a circular saw and a drill:

DIY Cloud Lamp

Ben creates his own cloud lamp using a hot glue gun and a bunch of ping pong balls:

LED Backlit Sign from a Harbor Freight Flashlight

This is pretty resourceful. Ben Brandt takes a cheap LED worklight from Harbor Freight, tears it apart, then uses basic woodworking skills and a 3D printer to make a backlit sign:

Making Side Tables, Ornate Chisel Handles, Shop Drawers & More

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47
Japanese Slick Handle & Leather Sheath

The Samurai Carpenter carves an impressive spiral-grip handle out of Ebony, then crafts a leather sheath for the Japanese chisel sent to him by Alec Steele:

Small Sword "Wall Hanger"

Jimmy DiResta starts off in a blacksmithing facility this week, hammering out a blade for the first time in the process of creating this small sword:

Making Drawers with Recessed Handles

I enjoy seeing Matthias Wandel make mistakes, not out of Schadenfreude, but because I myself always make mistakes and like to see how he compensates for them on-the-fly:

Making the Dust Collector Quieter

Matthias draws on what he learned in previous experiments, and applies a small design change to one of his DIY dust collectors in order to make it quieter:

Hickory Side Table

Jay Bates and his clone are back, knocking out a side table in this unnarrated, efficient build:

Making An End Table

April Wilkerson pays a visit to Laura Kampf's shop in Germany, and the two collaborate on a steel and wood end table:

Soldering Fume Extractor with Third Hands

Bob Clagett uses four PC fans to create a soldering fume extractor. He also adds several "third hands" to hold wires in place, and designs the entire unit to fold flat:

How Three-Sided Stairs are Done, Build Your Own Working iPhone, a Disturbing Fur-Less Tickle-Me Elmo & More

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

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:

Everyone is a designer. Get over it.

Whoa. This week Tesla passed GM to become the most valuable car manufacturer in the U.S.

Shanghai's Spider Men.

"To understand the genius of Elon Musk, Thomas Edison, and Mark Zuckerberg, just look at their desks"

8 year old boy drives his sister to McDonald's for a cheesburger.

How to build your own working iPhone. A casual, easy-going weekend DIY project.

Fascinating explanation for how the pyramids may have been built.

No laser pointer required. "Cat mesmerized by optical illusion."

Graphic designer Motion Magic transformed this still photo of Kai Lenny at Mavericks into this GIF.

Drawing with water.

Makerbook: a collection of free web resources for graphic and web designers.

April Fools, dad edition: tell daughter to go into Jiffy Lube and ask for "blinker fluid" + "bucket of steam".

We drew a drunk horse with Google's AutoDraw... let's see what you come up with.

Candy flavored string cheese is basically the flavored fluoride of cheese

If you've ever wondered how three-sided stairs are done.Hot Tip: Check out more blazin' hot Internet finds on our Twitter page.

Design Experience that Matters: How to Create a Rubber Prototype Using a 3D-Printed Mold

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47


This "Design Experience that Matters" series is provided courtesy of Timothy Prestero and the team at Design that Matters (DtM). As a nonprofit, DtM collaborates with leading social entrepreneurs and hundreds of volunteers to design new medical technologies for the poor in developing countries. DtM's Firefly infant phototherapy device is treating thousands of newborns in 21 counties from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. In 2012, DtM was named the winner of the National Design Award.

A Router Designed to be Seen, Not Hidden Behind A Sofa

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

With Torch, there’s only one light, which we call the “Light Ring.” The Light Ring functions as a visible prompt. It says “hey, the internet is available to one or more kids in the house.” And when it’s off, it says “the internet is off for every kiddo in the house.” (Adults have access anytime – whether the Light Ring is on or off. YAY being an adult!)

View the full content here

Introducing Well, an Intelligent Home Water Conservation System

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

What uses up the most water in your house: Your shower, toilet, kitchen faucets or bathroom faucets? The answer is, I don't know. And neither do you. Even if you could guess which used the most, there's no effective way to see accurate figures for each fixture.

That's because accurately collecting and monitoring that information would required designing a complicated system that could convey the information to you in an easy-to-understand way, a difficult undertaking that no one has attempted to tackle. Until now. Industrial design firm Matter Global and engineering consultancy Mindtribe have partnered to create Well, an easy-to-install system of sensors linked to an app on your phone.

To measure water usage at your sinks and toilets, the user installs this intermediary device on each incoming line:

Because the incoming plumbing for the shower is often impossible to access without breaking through tile, they've designed a magnetic-mount showerhead that contains a sensor.

Both types of sensors are powered by turbines within that measure the throughput and send that data "via Wi-Fi to a mobile app that displays daily, weekly, monthly, and annual use from individual units and the collective system."

Because the end user can easily see the showerhead, the handle illuminates with LEDs to indicate how much of your household's daily allotment of water has been used. An "Eco-Mode" button on the handle can be pressed to reduce water flow if it seems you're using more than you ought.

The system isn't perfect; there's nothing to measure water usage for a bathtub fixture, and users would of course need a minimum of two sensors for each sink for both the incoming hot and cold water lines. But Matter and Mindtribe say that "The Well™ app uses machine learning to predict consumption rates throughout the entire home without having to install a sensor on every fixture."

The developers reckon that

The Well system allows the average home to immediately save 12 percent on water and sewer costs, which equals about $130 in annual savings for the average four-person home, or roughly 17,500 gallons.

Now we'll have to see what the pricepoint is, so potential buyers can calculate how long it would take to pay the system off.

It's unclear if or when the Well system will come to market; it's still in the prototype phase.

Design Job: Growth is Good! good2grow Inc. is Seeking a Junior Industrial Design Administrator in Atlanta, GA

Mon, 2017-04-17 15:47

Looking for talented, Junior level, highly organized, and extremely detailed oriented candidate. The Junior Industrial Design Administrator will support Director of Design/Engineering in overseeing all aspects of our unique products packaging; from Project management and organization of all R&D projects from conceptualization to commercialization; ranging from 2D Conceptualizations, 3D Toy

View the full design job here

MCM Furniture Design History: The Safari Chair's Military Roots

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

Here we'll go into Mid Century Mobler's MCM Pick of the Week, Kaare Klint's Safari Chair. An early example of flatpack furniture, this chair, designed in the peacetime between two world wars, has its roots in military campaigns.

The Designer

Kaare Klint is known as the father of the Danish Modern style of furniture design. Born in Copenhagen in 1888, Klint began apprenticing as a furniture builder at the age of 15. He learned technical drawing at an industrial arts school and also attended an art school, where his talent as a painter emerged. Additionally, he was exposed to architecture through the instruction of his father, a working architect.

As he began developing his own designs, Klint managed to blend three disparate elements: Danish craftsmanship, the clean lines of Modernism and the clear-eyed practicality of Functionalism. According to Danish-Furniture.com,

While Modernism — Bauhaus — was rejecting its heritage, Klint embraced it. He believed that a thorough understanding of materials, proportions and constructions of classical furniture was the best basis for designing new. The design of Klint's pieces is always based on a relentless research — every piece must fulfill its purpose, be absolutely clarified in its construction, have proportions which correspond to those of the human body, and display materials and craftsmanship of the highest quality.

In addition to designing his own pieces, Klint founded the furniture design department at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1924, where he then influenced the next generation of Danish furniture designers.

The Chair

Klint's Safari Chair, designed in 1933, was based on chairs that the world-traveling Klint had witnessed being used by Americans or Britons (accounts vary) on an African safari. Those chairs in turn were inspired by "campaign furniture," the genre of furniture used by traveling armies since at least Roman times.

Campaign furniture was designed to be easily broken down, transported and assembled on-site; thus the pieces in this genre needed to be lightweight, sturdy and easy-to-assemble using a minimum of tools. It was flatpack before Ikea, and the utter practicality and simplicity of the genre presumably captured Klint's imagination.

The chair Klint spotted and was inspired by was undoubtedly the Roorkhee chair, seen below:

On campaign during the Boer War, 1900. Major-General R. Pole-Carew , right, is seated in a Roorkhee campaign chair. National Army Museum, London Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis [seated in Roorkhee chair at left]; Winston Churchill; Wladyslaw Anders. Image via National Portrait Gallery

Christopher Schwarz, who has researched and built versions of the Roorkhee chair extensively, writes:

The Roorkhee Chair is a seminal piece of British campaign furniture and was popular with British officers from 1898 to World War I, according to Nicholas Brawer's book on campaign furniture. Named in honor of the headquarters of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers in Roorkhee, India, the chair is lightweight at about 10 lbs., breaks down quickly and is allegedly quite comfortable.

The "seminal" part refers to the chair's influence on other important 20th Century chair designs. Schwarz wrote a second article, here, pointing out the debt owed to the Roorkhee's unknown designer by Marcel Breuer (the Wassily chair), Le Corbusier (the Basculant Chair), Wilhelm Bofinger (the Farmer's Chair) and Vico Magistretti (the Armchair 905). If you are familiar with those chairs but not the Roorkhee, let's take a closer look at it.

Here are photos of a vintage version of the Roorkhee chair in both its flatpacked and assembled state. (These photographs are from the Nicholas Brawer book Schwarz referenced above, which is sadly now out-of-print.)

The ingenuity of the design lies not only in its ease-of-assembly, but in how the weight of the sitter plays a role in the structure. With the seat fabric slung between front and rear crossbars, placing weight on it pulls the crossbars towards each other, which in turn bear on the legs; this has the effect of tightening the side rails in their mortises. The very act of sitting in the chair reinforces its structure.

Klint's Safari Chair is functionally identical to the Roorkhee, with one addition (perhaps): Assuming Brawer's photo above is of the original design of a Roorkhee, that chair lacks any lateral stiffening, which Klint has provided via buckled belts at the front and rear.

I say "perhaps" Klint added this functionality because other photos I've seen of (presumably) original Roorkhee chairs are too small and dark to make out any such belts, so I can't say for certain they weren't already there. I have seen photos of modern-day Roorkhee variants that do feature the belts, but it is unclear who is borrowing from whom, as Klint designed the Safari in 1933.

Following his Functionalist/Modernist principles, Klint cleaned up the design of the Safari's legs as compared to the Roorkhee, stripping them of unnecessary ornamentation, and tripled the amount of screws securing the armrest straps to the legs. For the sake of ergonomics he's added a seat cushion and angled the seat by raising the height of the front crossbar.

Incredibly, after eight decades this chair is still in production. Here's manufacturer Carl Hansen giving you a closer look at some of the components and construction:


It is easy to tell, even in photographs, new versions of the Safari Chair from vintage versions: The leather armrests will have stretched over the decades on the vintage models, whereas the new ones will be taut.


You'll note that the new, beige Safari chair in the photo above appears to have a vertical seatback. That's because the seatback is only attached via two pins at the top of the legs (visible in the red leather chair, above right) and can pivot along the sagittal axis. This not only uses less hardware than a conventionally-mounted seatback, but confers greater comfort to the user.

I am glad that we know Kaare Klint's name and sorry that we do not know the name of the Roorkhee's designer.

Hand Tool School #27: When You Had to Build Your Own Furniture

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

I have been researching what type of furniture the Average Joe, early American had in their home. These pieces were built to fulfill a need and not to show off status. Oftentimes they were built quickly, in between other projects necessary to survive like fences to keep livestock in, a roof to keep the weather off, a door to keep out the cold. The "country" furniture maker was commonly not a cabinetmaker, but just a guy trying to provide for his family and eke out a living. Even the specialists in the small village built utilitarian pieces because this is what their customers sought.

This research brought me to a great book by Aldren Watson, "Country Furniture." Like all of Mr. Watson's books, it is impeccably written with beautiful illustrations that inspire you to get out to the shop. The book covers not only the furniture that was built but why. It takes an intimate look into the lives of the Countryman and what motivated him to build what he built. I must admit to feeling great admiration for these highly versatile people able to survive on their own and off the land.

The opening chapter of the book paints a very realistic picture of what the settler or colonist faced when arriving on North American shores. Coming from England where sawn lumber and tool makers abound, the Joiner is suddenly faced with the a continent of forest. Wood, wood everywhere and not a single board to be found. These Countrymen were capable of building their homes, clearing their farmland, and building the furniture they needed direct from these forests.

I have always been a history buff. It is one of the things that got me started in hand tools. That side of me can't help but feel some nostalgia for this simple style of living. Just do what you need to do to survive and maintain a life that is dependent on no one…then I wake up and think about the incredible backbreaking work required and settle down further in my easy chair to take a nap.

In today's society it is next to impossible to live this way. No matter where you go or how "off the grid" you get it seems that you will need to pay someone something to live. So I can only dream about this time and enjoy the amazing illustrations that Mr. Watson provides us in this great book. Of particular note to my fellow hand tool junkies out there is this four-page spread of a typical Countryman shop.

Call these images quaint, but they evoke a sense of warmth and of self sustainability that is truly inspiring. This may not be everyone's bag but in my every increasing desire to minimize my tool set and simplify my shop, this book speaks to me. As is typical with Watson's books you will find many gems hidden in the text. And for those of you who just like to look at the pretty pictures, you will love it. I know I spent some time in the lathe section scrutinizing the drawings as I'm designing a treadle lathe right now. Every time I take a look I get another idea. Heck just this morning when I was taking these pictures, this little guy popped out at me:

Call me crazy, but this would be something fun to build and play with one day.

In any case, this book has been re-issued so many times that you can pick up a copy pretty inexpensively. While you can buy it new for about $18 on Amazon, if you search eBay, AbeBooks or Amazon's used section you can find it for just a few dollars.


This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.

Reader Submitted: A Seriously Fun Airport Vehicle for Passengers with Reduced Mobility

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

What is the best way to get airport passengers with reduced mobility to the gate and back? Nowadays, many airports use golf carts. But as the name says, these vehicles aren't designed with airports in mind. Therefore, Dutch manufacturer Special Mobility asked design firm Studio Rotor to design a vehicle that does meet the specific needs of airports and passengers.

Meet the Multimobby. It's a highly maneuverable electric vehicle, which is able to make 360 degree turns on the spot. It automatically slows down for obstacles and/or persons that walk too close to the vehicle. The high sides provide safety for passengers, especially when going through narrow spaces or into elevators. The wheels are fully covered to protect the people around the vehicle. And it's fun to drive!

See the Multimobby in action in a short animation or a product movie (from 1:39)

View the full project here

Milan Design Week 2017: Technology, Craft, and Poetry from Japan

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

In his Statement of Intent for this year's Japan Creative Projects exhibition at the Palazzo Litta, Director Hiroshi Naito notes that a central tenet of Japanese culture is "to make a point of treating things with great care and affection." Indeed, Japanese companies and designers alike made a strong showing throughout Milan during design week, celebrating both traditional craft and technological prowess, often in tandem.

Case in point, Panasonic's "Electronics Meets Crafts" presentation at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. While it is easy to be skeptical of any event that is described as "experiential," the three-part exhibition offered a passable version of a corporate soft power play. A collaboration with GO ON, a Kyoto-based contemporary craft guild, "Electronics Meets Crafts" showcased a series of techno-artifacts inspired by traditional Japanese culture, namely lighting and heating elements embedded in contemporary heirlooms (i.e. a portable speaker in a classic Kaikado tea caddy). The subterranean setting, a corridor underneath the storied academy, duly enhanced the sensory aspect of the products on view.

If Panasonic offered to be a surprisingly thoughtful approach to a "branded experience," a Korean electronics brand took a different take, tapping Tokujin Yoshioka to create a much-hyped (and Instagrammed) installation in Zona Tortona. S.F _ Sense of the Future did not disappoint, as the Japanese designer paid homage to his late mentor Shiro Kuramata with a series of glass chairs that incorporated 15mm-thick "bifacial" OLED flatscreens in various permutations. If these vitrine-like pieces also channeled the likes of Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt, then the luminous "mural" of the far wall was a nod to James Turrell and Douglas Wheeler. The "Wall of the Sun" spanned a full 16 meters by five meters, a dot-matrix of 30,000 solar-spectrum OLEDs that are meant to approximate natural light.

Tokujin Yoshioka - "Wall of the Sun," installation view at S.F _ Sense of the Future Nendo - "Objectextile" for Jil Sander Nendo - "80 Sheets of Mountains"Nendo - Jellyfish Vase

However, it was Nendo's exhibition at the Jil Sander showroom that was the unanimous hit of design week, attracting an hour-long queue that wrapped around the piazza between Castello and Cairoli. Invisible Outlines included a mix of furniture, product, and process—not to mention the fashion collaboration with Jil Sander—as well as a large-scale installation of "mountains," all unified by Oki Sato's understated visual language.

Of course, brands and brand-name designers weren't the only representatives from the Far East. In Ventura Lambrate, a contingent of Japanese designers joined forces for Experimental Creations, a showcase of half a dozen investigations into materials. While the theme itself is familiar territory for designers, it was nice to see this kind of research from a Japanese perspective.

Installation view of Experimental Creations at Ventura LambrateHiroto Yoshizoe - "Pixel" (prototypes). The designer was mentored by Snarkitecture.Installation view of the Japan Design Week exhibition at the Triennale di Milano

Meanwhile, at the Triennale di Milano, Japanese upstart Hiroto Yoshizoe took home the 2017 Lexus Design Award with "Pixel," a chevron-shaped modular device which exploits internal reflection to achieve subtle optical effects. In fact, the Lexus exhibition was perhaps the strongest design week show at the museum, which was rather disappointing on the whole. Upstairs, the sprawling Japan Design Week exhibition came off as a rather lackluster jumble of projects from different disciplines and regions (Lexus's theme of "Yet" may have been overly broad, but the Japan Design Week exhibition was altogether incoherent).

Installation view of Japan Creative Projects at Palazzo Litta

Thankfully, the Japan Creative Projects presentation more than made up for the misstep at Triennale, presenting the latest edition of the ongoing initiative to showcase Japanese manufacturers by inviting internationally established designers to develop projects with them. Facile though the concept may be, the quality of the results—designed by the likes of Jasper Morrison, Industrial Facility, etc.—is undeniable, striking a nice balance between contemporary design and production heritage.

As part of this year's "Linking Minds" exhibition at Palazzo Litta, Japan Creative Projects returned to Milan for the first time since its debut at Museo Minguzzi in 2012, having traveled to various other design festivals in the interim. The organization has not yet announced where the next exhibition will take place, but suffice it to say that Japanese design is well worth seeking, wherever it may be found.

See more images from these exhibitions below.

Tokujin Yoshioka x LGNendo - Invisible OutlinesNendo - "Fragment table"Nendo - "Jellyfish Vase"Nendo - "Jellyfish Vase" Nendo - "Fragment table" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material"Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "80 Sheets of Mountains"Nendo - "Flow"Nendo - "80 Sheets of Mountains" Nendo - "Un-Printed Material" Nendo - "Objectextile" for Jil SanderNendo - "Objectextile" for Jil Sander Nendo - "Nest" shelfNendo - "Trace" collectionThe queue for Nendo - Invisible Outlines at Jil Sander Experimental CreationsStudio Yumakano - "Rust & Basis Metal / Rust Collecting"Kairi Eguchi - "Deeper Paper"Jun Murakoshi - "Nuno" (textile-like cover)Japan Creative ProjectsJC19: Tokushu Tokai paper x Daniel Rybakken; JC14: Taketora (bamboo products) x Stefan Diez - "Soba"JC17: Shinamoto Sekizai (Aji stone) x Leon RansmeierJC18: Sekisaka Shikki (lacquerware) x Industrial Facility (Sam Hecht & Kim Colin)JC01: Oigen (cast-iron products) x Jasper Morrison - "Palma" tea accessories

Designs for Better Boozing: DIY Bottle Caddies

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

The weather's getting nice, which means soon we'll all be back to drinking alcohol out-of-doors. Why not class up your back-alley dice game with a handsome booze caddy? No matter what your poison, you can create something to make toting it around look like less of a degenerate activity.

Beer:Shots:Wine for two:Wine for four:

 (One bottle, four glasses)

Wine for four heavy hitters:

 (No glasses, everyone drinks straight from their own bottle)

Wine for eight:

Of course, the shrewd designer integrates a corkscrew into the design, which can be used both to open the bottle and menace your upstairs neighbor who says he'll call the cops if you don't keep it down.

The nice thing about all of these is that you can make them with cut-offs, and there's a lot of room within the designs to add your own elements. They're a popular item on Etsy, so if you crank out some additional units and sell them, you can enter the dice game with a comfortable cash cushion.

See Also:

Designs for Better Boozing: The Chillsner

Designs for Better Boozing: Silicone Wine Glasses

Designs for Better Boozing, Whether Hard Liquor, Wine or Beer

Designs for Better Boozing: Foldable Flasks

When You've Outgrown the Dremel: Overhead Flex Shaft Grinders

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

After reading our "How to Fix Your Dremel" post, reader Nathan D. had this to say:

"After you burn out six or seven [Dremels] it starts to become apparent why jewelers always favor the much beefier flexible shaft grinder motors that hang overhead. Even a cheap used one will outlive any (not-at-all-cheap) self-contained Dremel, accept a wider variety of collets and burrs and pay for itself many times over. Doesn't take up much more space in the drawer, either."

Nathan's points are well-taken. The reason many of us used handheld Dremels at design school was because they could easily be carried between the studio and your dorm room, where you could continue carving blue foam (preferably over your roommate's bed) at night. But for those who are consistently doing work with a rotary tool at a dedicated bench, an overhead flex shaft machine is tough to beat. For those unfamiliar with this arrangement, we'll run down the basics here.

A flex shaft rotary tool separates the motor and the handpiece (the business end that holds the bits) by means of a flexible shaft, usually around three feet long. The speed is most commonly controlled by foot pedal, though you can also find models with hand dials. The overall arrangement is ergonomically superior because you're not manipulating the bit while trying to balance the weight of the tool in your hand, nor fussing with a variable-speed slider on the tool itself.

When you mount it this way, Billy doesn't learn anything

You can reduce benchtop clutter by placing the motor overhead, in one of two ways: You can hang it from a bracket, or you can have your small child balance on some rickety boxes and hold it out with their arm, a great character-building experience. Whichever method you choose, the initial set-up may require some fussing to get the height correct; you need enough slack in the flex shaft for you to approach your work at the desired angle, but not so much slack that the cable is interfering with other stuff on your bench. (Also, children's arms can grow tired over a period of hours and start to droop, so that's a consideration.)

An additional advantage of a flex shaft grinder is that you can get models that can also run in reverse. That's a boon if you're grinding something and, depending on your angle of attack and whether you're left- or right-handed, want the removed material to shoot off in a particular direction. Think of when you were grinding the blue foam in your dorm room: You wanted all the foam dust to go into your roommate's sheets, not back into your own shirt.

You can buy low-end flex shaft grinders from companies like Grizzly or Prodigy for as little as $75-$100. Dremel themselves make a flex shaft grinder that they sell at Home Depot for $200-plus. The top-of-the-line is probably Foredom, which will run you in the mid-$200 to mid-$300 range for a good set-up.

Those prices are for new units. As Nathan pointed out, they can be found cheaper on the used market.

If you want to learn more about flex shaft grinders and are thinking about getting one, Seattle-based jeweler/teacher/writer/metalsmith Andy Cooperman has written a wonderfully comprehensive seven-article series that covers every flex shaft topic you can think of. Check it out here.

Design Job: Do or Dieline! creativeplacement is Seeking a Dieline Ninja in Norwalk, CT

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:56

Dieline Ninja Beautiful skin to cover our products, your inside talents are truly desired to keep it that way. 80% Production | 20% Design Our client is a leading Packaging Firm seeking a precise and high detailed orientated packaging production specialist with 3–5 years' experience

View the full design job here