Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
After years of catering more or less exclusively to the physical comfort of their guests, hotels have now begun to pay attention to patrons' social and intellectual needs as well. That's why we've seen efforts to help guests connect with each other — such as at New York City's Pod Hotel — and it's also why we've seen hotels offering night school programs and even readers in residence. The latest spotting? Minibar for the Mind, an initiative just launched through a partnership between Morgans Hotel Group and The School of Life.
Launched late last month at Morgans' two London properties, Minibar for the Mind was created exclusively for the hotel chain by The School of Life and now offers guests at several of its hotels what it calls “a midnight feast of intellect, inspiration and ideas.” Priced at USD 56, the custom-made box contains a thought-provoking alternative to the usual minibar fare. Included within the box are a set of 250 cards featuring conversation-starting questions, quotations and provocations; a thought-provoking volume of the best columns written by The School of Life's faculty and friends; two tailor-made “reading prescriptions” from The School of Life's Bibliotherapists designed to evoke moods of relaxation or seduction; and a blank journal with pencil for personal reflection.
Continuing the theme of mental stimulation, Daily Aphorism cards are now provided at turn-down service across all Morgans hotels, while guests dining at select properties are offered a Conversation Menu that features an entertaining selection of conversation prompts. A series of talks is also being hosted by The School of Life at various Morgans hotels. Finally, at Morgans' St Martins Lane hotel in London, The School of Life has curated what it calls “Semi-Automatic,” a vending machine installed there for a limited time that offers up a selection of products including Bibliotherapy Gift Vouchers and limited edition design objects.
Man cannot live on comfortable bedding and gourmet food alone, to butcher the well-known phrase, so it's inspiring to see hotels recognizing that fact with food for the mind and soul. Other hoteliers around the globe: what about you?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A few weeks ago, Chief Creative Officer Mark Ralston and I collaborated on a possible future path for the automobile. I stumbled across a post on Paleofuture today showing some of the innovation happening in the automotive industry in 1948. Even though these striking visions never went into production, certainly they predicted the massive influence of aircraft construction, design and style that the 1950's would bring. Unknown to them, the mold was being set for what the automobile would be for the next 60+ years, but the short film is a reminder that it didn't have to be that way, and we can change it if we want. We often like to think of an innovative idea as a stroke of a genius, but instead I think it is much more like a wave of thought that ripples through culture. The genius is the one out in the water with the surf board ready to ride it... timing is everything.
Core77, Eames Office and presenting sponsor, Herman Miller are proud to announce the winner of the Core77 Powers of Ten Video Design Challenge where participants were asked to create a 2-minute video response to the Charles and Ray Eames seminal film, Powers of Ten.
'The Powers of Ten Video Design Challenge received close to 102 entries and was an inspiration for all of us at Core77 and on the jury,' says Allan Chochinov, Juror and Editor-in-Chief of Core77. 'The participants blew us away with their technical skills, story-telling abilities, creativity and humor.'
Still from An Exercise in Exponential and Network Thinking
Congratulations to Idea Garden Media in Chicago for their work An Exercise in Exponential and Network Thinking. Selected as the Jury Winner the team includes Aislinn Dewey, Assistant Director; Honeyleen Hodges, Producer; and Victor Grigas, Director + Writer, Kevin Bain, Adam Geremia and Claire Bain also provided pre-production and story support. As explained by Idea Garden, the video is:
'Told by a high school professor, aiming to help people understand exponential and network thinking, this is the story of Frank. Frank is a 35 year-old man living in the suburbs of Chicago in 1978. His story is a common one that helps illustrate the macro and micro connections we all have as human beings on planet earth. The seemingly ordered connections Frank has in his life are questioned as something disrupts the order of things - leaving us all to ponder how linear connections are. What role does chaos and fate play in determining how we connect to people, places and things in this world?'
The Jury Winner will receive, among other awards, $2,000 and an Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair (Value $1,250), as well as a $2,000 donation to the Eames Foundation in the name of the winner. The Popular Vote Winner will receive $1,000 in cash and an Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair.
Chochinov explains of the jury selection: 'It was a joy to review the entries and difficult to select one solution from such a wide range of videos that truly expressed personal and thoughtful responses to the vision and influence of Charles and Ray Eames. In fact, we'd like to recognize the other videos that were part of the jury's top five selections: 'Powers' by Andrew Sloat; 'Powers of 10: YouTube' by David Kim; 'Reading Material - A P10 Scavenger Hunt' by Tommy Rainwater; and 'powder' by Jillian Buckley.'
The competition was the interactive culmination of Powers of Ten celebrations around the world that kicked off on 10/10/10, with major sponsorship from IBM, who supported the Eames Office's work on the original film. The jury included creative professionals Eames Demetrios, filmmaker, artist, writer and Director of the Eames Office, founded by the legendary design team of Charles and Ray Eames; Gary Hustwit, a filmmaker based in New York and London; Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design of The Museum of Modern Art; Adam Bly, the founder of Seed, CEO of Seed Media Group and creator of the newly launched Visualizing.org; Ayse Birsel, Co-founder of Birsel + Seck, a design and innovation studio in New York City that partners with Fortune 500 clients, and; Allan Chochinov, Editor-in-Chief at Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts.(more...)"
Monday, February 21, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Stuart Fingerhut was a Marketing major who saw the light after three years and changed schools to study design. Last year he graduated from Art Center, where he now works part-time as an assistant teacher when he's not thickening his portfolio (and man is it thick -- covering furniture, lighting, housewares, jewelry, environments, and more).
Yesterday I saw Fingerhut's light, specifically, his 'Kinema Pendant Luminaire'. It enables the user to regulate the light's 'character' by means of beautifully curved louvers which intersect like space-age Venetian blinds; when it's not in use it can be closed up like an armadillo, though 'crustaceans' is the inspiration Fingerhut lists on his site.
Check out Fingerhut's incredibly deep portfolio, loaded up with tons of shots and videos, here.(more...)"
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
If the company Modular Robotics existed years ago, and if my memory of grammar school serves me correctly, here's what would have happened: Most of us would be playing with Legos; one kid would be playing with the Cubelets seen in the video below; then we would all beat that one kid up, out of some primal sense of inferiority or insecurity. And we probably wouldn't even take his toy, but just break it.
Cubelets are modular, robotic little bricks that perform different mechanical and sensorial tasks. You snap them together and the Sense Blocks become the 'input'--i.e. detecting proximity, responding to physical stimuli--and the Action Blocks provide the output, i.e. moving, rotating, making noise.
Retail Cubelets will be produced in colors, but the prototypes seen in the video are monochrome. They are all black. To mirror the darkness that lurks within the hearts of children.(more...)"
It's shot and edited like a European film of the variety one spouse drags another to see, but the following vid is a great look at how a bentwood chair is made. And not just any chair, the Arne-Jacobsen-designed Series 7 made by Republic of Fritz Hansen. It starts off with sheets of veneer, then you get to see which parts humans do and which parts the machines do:
The thing we'd love to see: Footage of how they made the Series 7 back in 1955 when it was first designed, pre-triple-CNC router.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
martyn_evans: The Economist on 3D printing, 'Print me a Stradivarius'. Way oversimplified: http://www.economist.com/node/18114327?story_id=18114327
martyn_evans: RT @jasecoop: Great series of mini-documentaries from BMW on the future of mobility - http://bmwactivatethefuture.com/
Monday, February 14, 2011
Message from Nigel Howe
Due to my required attendance at Board of Examiners meetings I will not be available for tutorials on Tuesday 15th February until 2.30pm and on Thursday until 11.30.
However I am available both Wednesday and Friday morning and happy to see students whenever convenient.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Product Level 3 urgent message: Dont forget Miles Hawley from 1HQ ( http://www.1hq.co.uk/pdPeople.php) is in today and tommorow to discuss your projects. He works for 1HQ who are one of the UK's leading design consultancies. Check BB-Self directed module-Timetables for your times, if you miss your time still come and he may be able to fit you in.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Core77 was proud to work with Aava Mobile to create two distinct design invitational challenges. In the first phase, we combed through the 200,000+ portfolios on our site Coroflot.com to find the 5 most creative thinkers and sketchers in the world of consumer products. Each created sets of scenarios articulating the potential use-case scenarios of the mobile device. The second phase challenged one of the phase 1 participants as well as an additional designer to create more refined, rendered concepts closer to production pieces rather than blue-sky concepts. Both of the designers took the challenge seriously (and with delight) delivering incredible work that was both rigorous and imaginative. Core77 could not have been happier with the results, and we are gratified to continue making strong connections between designers and manufacturers.
As a celebration of the success of phase 2, we are publishing the case studies from each of the designers to share some of their learnings from this design invitational. Thomas Valcke, a Belgium-based product designer shares his process below.
In concepting design options for the Lampi, the design challenge was to explore new form-languages for future Aava smartphone models and docking-stations. The hardware components and layout were setout beforehand so the challenge was a styling exercise: exploring forms and shapes to convey a certain kind of character and emotion. I began by exploring many form-languages (angular, organic, basic). After my initial exploration, it was clear that the challenge lie in styling an object that is nothing but a box without making the styling itself superfluous.
Glif guys, Part 4: Lessons Learned & What's Next: "
In our final Glif guys interview installment, Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt relate what they would have done differently had they to do it all over again. They also tease what's on the horizon for them, discuss the difference between working for yourself versus working for others, and provide some advice for design students. See Part 1: Getting it Started, Part 2: Manufacturing and Part 3: Package Design and Fulfillment and learn about the original Kickstarter project that set it off!
Case Study: Leveraged Freedom Chair, by Amos Winter, Jake Childs and Jung TakEnabling Freedom for the Disabled in Developing Countries
Case Study: Leveraged Freedom Chair, by Amos Winter, Jake Childs and Jung TakEnabling Freedom for the Disabled in Developing Countries: "
Most able-bodied folks probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about how people with disabilities navigate the world, particularly in developing countries. However, Amos Winter did, and still does. Winter, a recent PhD graduate from the MIT department of Mechanical Engineering, went to Tanzania as part of his work in 2005. He wanted to understand how people who needed wheelchairs got around and how well current wheelchair technology met peoples' mobility needs. Winter's work was part of an internship with Whirlwind Wheelchair International, a group that designs wheelchairs in developing countries. He learned that people in wheelchairs often just didn't get where they needed to go.
In fact, according to the Wheelchair Foundation, it is estimated that the number of people who need wheelchairs will increase by 22 percent over the next 10 years, with the greatest need existing in developing countries. And USAID estimates that 20 million people in the developing world need a wheelchair.
For instance, wheelchair-accessible buildings and roads are rare in countries like Tanzania. Beyond that, individuals must overcome narrow doorways, steep hills, bumpy, muddy roads and long distances to destinations like school -- often upwards of two to three miles. All of these issues combined make it virtually impossible to get anywhere with a conventional wheelchair. Beyond that, they were too expensive for individuals who often can't work due to their disability, or make about $1/day if they do work.
Hand-powered tricycles were the other existing option in developing countries. But they're too large for indoor use and too heavy to maneuver over rough terrain.
In Winter's mind, the chair he wanted to create would offer individuals:
+ Independence - the ability to live with as little assistance as possible
+ Empowerment - the ability to get to where they want to go, when they want to go
+ Access - the mobility that allows them to access resources and employment when these things won't come to them
+ Affordability - a tool that's at a price that they're able to afford
This video can be tough to get through because it sounds like it was recorded in a bus depot, but it's interesting in that HP executive Randall Martin breaks down their design process. Unsurprisingly they've gone with the focus-group-based design approach rather than Apple's Henry-Ford-faster-horse methodology, but it's a step in the right direction, and I'm still tickled when I hear PC manufacturers say the words 'industrial design' with something like respect in their tone.
The object in question is HP's new Touchsmart desktop, which seeks to get around the arm fatigue problem by providing a variable-position surface. In the demo they finally get around to showing the physical object around 4:40:
via venture beat
The latest product design debate to catch my attention over on the Core boards was started last year and has been reinvigorated as of this morning. It's entitled 'A Lovely Bit of Plagiarism,' started by user Holtag. First, check out this Alienware gaming PC:
Next, take a look at this power washer:
Reading through the opinions shows that some readers are bothered; some aren't bothered at all; some come out in defense of the power washer's design; still others sound off with depressing tales that might be familiar to some of you, like ones about the 'clients who take a Nokia phone out of their pockets and say, make my stud finder...look like this.'
What do you think, is this a design crime or a sign o' the times?(more...)"
RKS Design teamed up with Discus Dental to launch a new product to aid dental assistants while repairing and filling teeth -- combining a universal composite material with a simple but effective delivery system. RKS' improvements on this system include tactile and audible feedback recording the amounts of material being dispensed. The syringe also has a screw mechanism and fully integrated measurement system accomplishing extrusion with about half the force needed for other composites. The syringe itself is designed to rest naturally and stand on its end for easy access for the technician. In addition to accessibility, the syringe has an attached flip-top to protect the composite material from polymerization in ambient light, bacterial and particle contamination.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
martyn_evans: Is sustainable design a load of rubbish? Interesting and probably... http://t.co/COiU1I5 (via @MikePress & @guardian)
Thursday, February 3, 2011
martyn_evans: RT @DesignObserver: Exciting new site: Designers & Books. 50 designers and 678 books. http://bit.ly/hmV49s @designerbooks
martyn_evans: RT @IDSA: If you haven't seen it yet, IBM tells (most of) its own 100-year story: http://bit.ly/hDTOTV
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
TEDNews: Create a video response to the Eames' "Powers of 10" with @Core77 http://is.gd/T8sia7 More Eames genius: http://on.ted.com/8s2E
At this year's New York International Gift Fair there was the typical mix of the good, bad and the ugly. A standout from the Accent on Design section of the fair this year was Menu A/S, a Danish homewares design company that was founded in 1979 to supply steel products to the catering industry. Since then, Menu has collaborated with an impressive group of Scandinavian and international designers to produce highly functional and beautifully designed tools for living. This season, the brand introduced some great pieces to help you transition from Winter to Spring.
The Glass Kettle Teapot, designed by Norm Architects, can be placed directly on your stovetop and includes a retractable tea egg attached by a silicon 'string' that is built into the cap of the kettle. Once your tea is steeped to your liking, simply pull the string and the tea egg secures to the top of the kettle -- minimizing post-steeping drips and mess.(more...)"
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Tomorrow is the 90th anniversary of Braun, the Ramsian powerhouse of clean design that, yes, has been around since 1921 and was founded by Max Braun.
After Max died in the '50s, sons Artur and Erwin Braun developed Braun Design, the dedicated design branch, in 1955. And then apparently some guy named Dieter came along and sort of, like, changed the face of industrial design as we know it, ushered in a German design renaissance and planted influences that we still see in products today.
With typical German restraint, Braun has no splashy banners all over their homepage announcing the anniversary. They do, however, have a sexy slideshow of their design hits posted here.