Light in a Glass Box

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From Milan via Coroflot: the “Teka” OLED lamp, a sculptural lighting object “inspired by Vienna museum displays, first microscopes and scientific instruments in brass.” Industrial designer Alessandro Squatrito spent the eight months leading up to this year’s Salone working for Aldo Cibic and Tommaso Corà of Italy’s CibicWorkshop, the designers behind the piece and three others for the Wonderoled exhibition at the Triennale.

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The 15 OLED discs—the “result of the latest advances in nanotechnology”—are arrayed on a brass chassis, set within an aquarium-like vitrine. It’s like a vaguely steampunk-y version of Humans Since 1982’s artier “Collection of Light” or People People’s Invisible Speaker, a design object that’s entirely at home in a museum setting.

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Mike Taron’s Folding Sawhorse Design

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I absolutely hate my plastic sawhorses, but for my DIY needs and space-tight apartment living, the ability to fold flat is more important than a high weight capacity. If only I’d heard of this here product first, I could’ve had it both ways.

Mike Taron is an Arizona-based carpenter who grew frustrated at not being able to buy something he needed: “A lightweight, compact, folding sawhorse that I could take to and from jobsites.” As he explains,

At first, I assumed I would be able to find what I needed at the building supply or hardware stores. What I found was a heavy collapsible metal sawhorse, a clumsy sheet metal model, unsatisfactory sawhorse brackets, and many flimsy, plastic sawhorses. On one shopping trip a passing customer remarked, “If you’re looking for a good heavy duty sawhorse, don’t buy any of those.” I scoured the Internet in search of suitable options and still found nothing acceptable.

Taron set out to create what he needed, and after two-and-a-half years of tinkering he perfected his HideAHorse folding sawhorse design. Each weighs only seven pounds, yet has a 1,200 pound load capacity. When folded you can easily carry two in one hand. When stored they take up very little space, less than half a cubic foot each.

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Taron’s got a patent pending and is selling the HideaHorse here.

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Laurent Nivalle’s Le Mans Classic 2012 Photographs Are Pure Auto Porn

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As Art Director and Photographer for Citroën, Laurent Nivalle certainly knows a thing or two about shooting cars. Just over a month ago, the French photographer was lucky enough to attend the Le Mans Classic, now entering its 10th year.

Le Mans Classic is born in 2002 from what can be considered an adventurous idea! Retracing, over a weekend, half a century of the 24 Hours of Le Mans history, life-size, such as a gigantic living fresco, was quite a challenge! Not many believed in the feasibility of such an enormous project…

But when one fulfils the dreams of millions of enthusiasts, that of going back in time to relive the legend, rediscover emblematic figures and their legendary cars; and if the initiators are the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, founder and organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Peter Auto founder and promoter of many classic events; the initiative seems less hazardous…

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Nivalle was among the 100,000+ auto enthusiasts who braved the downpour to witness some 450 vintage racecars on the track, as well as 8,000 classics in the public exhibition.

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The Humble Velocipede: a Perambulating Plaything

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Walking: most of us do it from time to time, and frankly, we’re probably better people for it. Maybe that’s why we’re so easily charmed by machines that do the same, such as Theo Jansen’s epic beach-roaming Strandbeests.

Jansen’s work has already garnered quite a bit of attention, including the TED co-sign, but until his handcrafted herds reach critical mass, their biggest problem might be that they’re too big: wander as they might, but most of us will never have the chance to see one in the wild. After facing the same problem in his full-size homage to the Strandbeest (below), Portland, OR’s David Lansdowne decided to take it down a notch, from roughly the size of a sedan to that of, well, an RC car.

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The “Humble Velocipede” is the flagship product of Small Wonder Toys, Lansdowne’s venture with friends Dano Wall and Hannah Moshontz, who have successfully funded the critter several times over on Kickstarter. Its satisfyingly clacky bamboo footfalls evoke a Jacob’s Ladder, while the abstracted form is a step up (so to speak) from wind-up walking contraptions of yore. And if the piston-like crankshaft mechanism isn’t an innovation in itself, the nod to Jansen’s artistic ambitions is duly noted.

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In Push for Residential Market, Big Ass Fans Undertakes a Big Ass Redesign

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Every time we revisit Big Ass Fans, the air-moving company seems to be doing better and better. Most recently they’ve made a strong push into residential, putting their industrial-strength expertise into the service of smaller domestic spaces.

The company played it smart by starting a spin-off (pardon the pun) company with the more domestically-palatable name of Haiku. They’ve also done more than merely shrank their existing product into living-room-friendly sizes, instead opting for focused re-designs. The resultant blades have a very craftsman-like, sculpted look that blends into the housing organically.

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To bring the conceptual Haiku™ Bamboo design to full production, we worked with premium U.S. furniture craftsmen to create an exclusive process to create the airfoils to our exacting standards. The global search for a partner capable of creating the unique forms uncovered only two companies in the world that could produce the airfoils with the level of precision we expected—one in Germany, the other in the United States. We chose to stay close to home, working with their experienced craftsmen to establish a process to create the airfoils with the level of consistency required for a perfectly balanced fan.

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Click these links to learn more about the design and the technology behind the fans.

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Camatron: Hacking Manufacturing Machines Since 1970

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Is this…

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…made by this?

Once you design a bag and want to go into mass production, chances are you start looking at China. But that’s not an option for the U.S. military, and since seeing military gear designer Rich Landry’s IFAK project, we’ve been wondering where they mass produce their stuff once Landry perfects the prototypes.

We can’t say for sure which company the Army contracts, but we believe we’ve found the American company that at least makes the machines to manufacture the stuff. A New-Jersey-based company called Camatron combines CNC and pneumatic technology to modify industrial sewing machines for highly specific purposes. The results are like a wickedly cool descendant of Steampunk, where compressed air and electricity drive precisely-machined parts to perform pre-designed operations. As one example, check out this machine that’s been modified to double-fold and stitch shut the ends of webbing straps at industrial speeds:

Once the straps’ ends have been “sealed” thusly, to prevent fraying, they can then be incorporated into a larger design. Again we’re not 100% sure the item being constructed below is the actual IFAK bag, but it certainly has the MOLLE strap system and looks similar. (You needn’t sit through all 2.5 minutes of the vid, scanning it will give you the idea.)

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Hop on the Designbuss with Erik Olovsson

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We’ve seen some pretty spectacular thesis projects by up and coming designers over the years, but never before have any of those projects involved a 6+ month-long road trip through small towns all across Sweden. Erik Olovsson, who recently completed his Master’s Degree in Graphic Design – Storytelling at Konstfack, noted how easy it is “to be sitting in the office and surf design blogs instead of finding inspiration from reality… It’s rare that a designer gets a deeper insight into the client’s business.” With that in mind he bought an old motorhome, cleaned it up, gave it a bright new graphic paint job and hit the road seeking face-to-face interactions with small business across the country.

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The crux of his mission is his strict no-fee policy. Instead of money, he takes payment for his design work in trade, with a preference for goods or services that will help him on his way. “Perhaps something to eat? Gasoline? New tires? A new hairdo? A hot shower?” he suggests. So far he’s traded a t-shirt design for a massage and web advice for cinnamon rolls. Overall he’s found that when no money changes hands the client/designer relationship is much more collaborative and equanimous.

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He recently held a concert on the roof of his van, did the brand identity for a Swedish-owned mango factory in Burkina Faso and completed a poster for a letter writing group (check his blog for images of the group’s founders’ Wes Anderson-esque vintage letter writing suitcase). It’s too bad that his thesis didn’t include plans for a Designjet, as we’d gladly cook him a hot meal in exchange for some modern Scandinavian design. Currently, he’s in Östersund, and you follow his journey on Instagram at #eriksdesignbuss or on his blog, where he posts images of his travels as well as his work in process.

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Yasutoki Kariya’s Mesmerizing “Asobi” Installation

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Mitsubishi Chemical’s Junior Designer Award is aimed at the graduating class of design students in Japan, and rewards pure creativity with support and training. One of the more beautiful nominees for the 2012 award is Musashino Art University student Yasutoki Kariya’s “Asobi,” which re-interprets Newton’s Cradle—you know, the thing Wall Street guys had on their desks in the ’80s—with a bit of Thomas Edison and a dash of Corning:

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Obviously the installation is motion-controlled rather than operating under actual physics, but there’s so much you can read into Kariya’s creation: The fragility of technology; the transmutation of kinetic energy into light; the advancement of glass as a material from vulnerability to durability; Sir Isaac Newton standing side-by-side with Thomas Edison.

Below is a video of “Asobi” in situ, though it’s not quite as mesmerizing as the GIF file above. (Kudos to Redditor Teeohdeedee123 for cobbling the GIF together, BTW.)

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Dzmitry Samal’s Concrete Watch: A City for Your Wrist

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Stainless steel, ceramic, gold, titanium and plastic: these are the five materials that go into making the casing of nearly every watch on the planet, be it a Swatch, Rolex or Patek Philippe. A little repetitive, no?

Designer Dzmitry Samal evidently thought so and decided to break the mold, so to speak, by crafting a watch made from the same stuff that’s at the heart of our cities: concrete. Taking the urban theme one step further, Samal shaped the hands to resemble various tiny towers while also coupling the watch to a black rubber strap, imprinted on the inside with map-evocative pattern. Both case designs, one heptagonal and the other D-shaped, combine smooth outer edges with sharp geometric cuts and unusual symmetry that to achieve a rugged yet casual feel. And, unlike typical porous concrete, the watch wards off water to 5 ATM (50 meters), protecting the Swiss quartz chronograph movement that lies behind the sapphire crystal glass and concrete face.

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With each of the 8 models limited to 100 or 150 production units, better move quick if you fancy strapping one to your wrist later this year (ships in November). Learn more at Dzmitry Samal’s website—starting at roughly $1200.

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Filling in the Gaps: “Animal – Vegetable – Mineral” by Yaron Hirsch

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Israeli designer Yaron Hirsch recently completed his second degree at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and he’s pleased to present his undergraduate thesis project “Animal – Vegetable – Mineral” at the Bezalel Graduate Show starting next week. The three-piece collection is something like a cross between Hilla Shamia’s “wood casting” and Hooker & Co.’s beetle-infested table, with a ‘timely’ twist. While some species of the longhorned beetle family are considered to be pests, there’s no denying that there is a unique charm to caterpillars’ meandering paths through Eucalyptus branches. “After every life cycle, a beautiful web of holes and tunnels decorates the tree’s branches left behind by the caterpillars… In this project, the damage of the caterpillars to the tree is translated to functional and aesthetic elements.”

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The name, then, refers to the beetle, the tree and the plaster that Hirsch has poured into the tunnels—the plaster actually serves to join the components of the stool and the floor lamp—an oblique nod to 20 Questions and the curious aesthetic he’s achived with the collection, which might invite as many queries. Thus, “the life of the tree, the caterpillars behavior and the filler material are all foundations in creating the group of objects.”

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Don’t miss the video, after the jump:

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