Articles on this Page
- 08/30/18--14:15: _Receding European W...
- 08/30/18--14:15: _Nike and Virgil Abl...
- 08/30/18--14:15: _Can You Recycle Too...
- 08/30/18--14:15: _Bites: Solid Toothp...
- 08/30/18--14:15: _Reader Submitted: T...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _Design Job: OXO Is ...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _Design Resource: Fr...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _Safety Hoist: A Lad...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _15 Pieces of Advice...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _A History of Furnit...
- 09/01/18--10:56: _Michael Graves Arch...
- 09/03/18--08:01: _Design Job: Dutch E...
- 09/03/18--09:15: _Lumen: A Portable B...
- 09/03/18--13:01: _Japanese Company Cr...
- 09/03/18--13:01: _Acer's Innovative H...
- 09/04/18--13:26: _Two Designs for Fol...
- 09/04/18--13:26: _Hilarious Short on ...
- 09/04/18--13:26: _Guy Uses a Dremel t...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _DanForce's G1 Pro: ...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Scientists Create F...
- 08/30/18--14:15: Can You Recycle Toothpaste Tubes?
- 09/01/18--10:56: Design Resource: Free, Online Ergonomics Calculator
- 09/01/18--10:56: Safety Hoist: A Ladder That Carries the Heavy Stuff for You
- 09/01/18--10:56: 15 Pieces of Advice for Young Designers
- 09/01/18--10:56: A History of Furniture, Condensed Into Easy-to-Digest GIFs
- 09/03/18--13:01: Acer's Innovative Hinged Laptop Screen
- 09/04/18--13:26: Two Designs for Folding Bookstands, One Portable, One Desktop
- 09/05/18--13:31: DanForce's G1 Pro: A Modular Multifunctional Flashlight
This summer central Europe has been suffering from a drought, and as water levels on the Elbe River have receded, a rather creepy sight has emerged: Stones on the river banks carved with dire inscriptions. "When you see me, cry," reads one in Czechia. "We cried – We cry – And you will cry," reads another. A third rock located in Germany states "If you will again see this stone, so you will weep, so shallow the water was in the year 1417."
Yes, it appears that some literate, chisel-carrying people who were alive during the 1400s to 1600s would record historically low levels of water--and warn future generations of the misery ahead. In a drought, of course, crops, livestock and thus humans suffer, which led the chiselers to spread their unhappy message in a medium known as "Hunger Stones."
It's ironic that in agrarian cultures, when water stops coming out of the sky, it comes out of people's eyes.
Serena Williams recently stepped onto the US Open court wearing the much anticipated "The Queen Collection", designed in a three-way collaboration between Virgil Abloh for Off-White, NikeCourt and the tennis star herself. Abloh has gained quite some traction lately, especially due to last year's successful "The Ten" collaboration with Nike. The designer is hardly new to collaboration, in fact, he champions it, pairing up with anyone and everyone to bring new or reworked ideas to the table—including an IKEA collaboration that has yet to release. By this point, Abloh's collaborations aren't surprising, but what continuously makes them intriguing is the level of execution and cohesiveness he brings to every collaboration.
To bring this particular collection to life, a body form that mimics Williams' body to explore material and silhouette options was created. Once a few main design options were chosen by Abloh and NikeCourt's design team, the body form was flown to Williams in California so she could select final design details. The tutu looks like a lot of fabric to play tennis in, but Williams won her match, so clearly it didn't get in her way.
The tutu worn in the other day's match is certainly a standout piece, but the most notable items in "The Queen" collection are the variety of new sneaker offerings. Many of them, especially the Mid Blazers and Air Max 97s (pictured above), draw heavy inspiration from Abloh and Nike's "The Ten" collection while still feeling fresh, excitingly feminine and powerful all wrapped in one. A new addition to Virgil's growing sneaker silhouette list for Nike is the NikeCourt Flare 2 PE (in two colorways), which includes a built-in sock, a glitter finish around the heel and Abloh's Off-White logo. With the humidity we're experiencing her in New York, I can't help but wonder how to wash that built-in sock...
Before Nike released their 1 Reimagined collection designed for women, by women, it felt like they were losing touch with their female audience. Most of the exciting releases had only been in men's sizing, which cuts off an entire market eager to collect the companies' most sought after sneakers. So, even though I have no desire to wear an asymmetrical tutu, the announcement of "The Queen" collection brings me joy because it's yet another sneaker-focused collection from Nike that embodies classically feminine details and CMF, but this time it's done in an even more powerful way, for one of the most powerful female athletes in history.
For years I've thrown my spent toothpaste tubes into the recycling, assuming that since they're plastic and aluminum, they can be recycled. Turns out that's not always the case. "Although squeezable toothpaste tubes are made from plastic, they are difficult to recycle and it is unusual for councils to collect them as part of your recycling collection scheme," writes Recycle Now, England's national recycling program. "This also applies to other squeezable tubes that contain products like hand cream, sun cream and moisturising lotions."
U.S-based RecycleBank, a recycling advocacy and education organization, reports that "Many toothpaste tubes today are made of multiple materials laminated together, usually different types of plastic and aluminum. Like food pouches, the tubes are difficult to recycle because they're made of a mix of materials, and the materials are almost impossible to separate. Curbside recycling programs don't accept them for recycling."
An Australian waste management company called CleanAway claims that toothpaste tubes can be recycled--if you cut them open and scrape them clean, like this:
Few consumers, I believe, would go to the trouble. But Earth911, another recycling advocacy org, says that toothpaste tubes can be recycled if you cut them open and scrape them out, leaving the bare minimum of residue. As they report:
The sticky residue inevitably left inside toothpaste tubes makes these picks seem like another head-scratcher, but they're actually much easier to recycle than you'd think, Terracycle's lead scientist, Ernie Simpson, told Earth911.
"For bottles, toothpaste tubes or anything like that, one of the tricks for getting residuals out of these containers is to shred the material," Simpson said. "Once the materials are shredded, the surface area that has the residuals is exposed."
After toothpaste tubes are shredded, they pass through a washing cycle – where the pieces are cleaned with water or a simple biocide, a solution that dissolves bio-based materials. From there, shredded tubes are dried and enter a pelletizing step, where recycled materials are converted into pellets for use in new products.
Similar shredding and pelletizing processes are used for salvaging mouthwash containers and dental floss packaging for recycling, Simpson said.
To find out whether your local recycler actually processes toothpaste tubes, you'd have to call them to find out. If you are committed to recycling your toothpaste tubes, are willing to cut and scrape them after use and your local waste management company still won't take them, you do have at least one option: Recycling organization Terracycle has partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to recycle toothpaste tubes (and other oralcare products) free of charge.
It involves signing up and shipping your tubes--for free, Terracycle and Colgate picks up the tab--to one of their facilities. If you'd like to avail yourself of this service, you can get started here.
Since it turns out that recycling toothpaste tubes isn't always an easy process, here's a good idea: Deliver toothpaste that doesn't need to be squeezed out of a tube in the first place. That's what an L.A.-based startup called The Kind Lab has done, creating their Bite Toothpaste Bits.
While Bites are "made with organic plant-based ingredients clinically proven to clean and protect teeth"--there's a complete list of those ingredients on their FAQ page--one conspicuously absent ingredient is fluoride. That's either good or bad, depending on whether you're into conspiracy theories or not.
Since the video above has gone viral, the company has been overwhelmed with orders and there's currently a two-week backlog. If you'd like to sign up (it's a subscription model, ugh) you can do so here.
TheSodapopspeaker has been designed to solve the main problem for small portable loudspeakers: They struggle to reproduce low frequency bass, resulting in a somewhat feeble sound.The Sodapop invention solves this problem by connecting the speaker to its own carrying case or any other suitable plastic bottle.This offers a compact portable wireless speaker that provide you with louder music, twice as much bass and an overall superior sound.
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There is the intangible part of design where, if you're designing a bar/restaurant interior for instance, you are creating a vibe by choosing colors and materials. But the back of the house requires concrete numbers-based design: Can the petite bartender realistically carry the requisite amount of beer cases from the storeroom to the front? When the boxes of vegetables come off of the truck, what should the maximum distance to the cooler be to ensure efficient unloading? Can kegs be stored in the basement and muscled up the stairs, or will that be a back-breaker?
Thanks to an insurance company, designers can use hard data to answer these questions and inform their designs. The Liberty Mutual Research Institute's "Snook Tables" were created by prominent ergonomicists Dr. Stover Snook and Dr. Vincent Ciriello, and they cover lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying tasks for both males and females. To make the data easy to access, Liberty Mutual has plugged the data into online calculators that anyone can use for free.
You can access the calculators here.
If you'd prefer to download a PDF of all of the Snook Tables and pore over the numbers the hard way, you can do that here.
Carrying heavy materials up a ladder is asking for trouble. Each year about 500,000 people fall off of one, and OSHA statistics show that workers die every week from ladder-related injuries. And "the estimated annual cost of ladder injuries in the U.S. is $24 billion," the CDC reports.
So the Safety Hoist is looking like a pretty darned helpful invention. Essentially a sturdy ladder and series of extensions rigged up with a motorized lift, it can safely transport goods up to dizzying heights without risking anyone's body:
The Pennsylvania-based company's latest addition to their product line-up is a convenient electric-powered model, the EH-500, that simply plugs into a 110-volt outlet--and can haul some 500 pounds. (And yes, if the power cuts out, the hoist remains safely in place.)
Core77 discussion board Moderator and Director of Innovation at Newell, Justin Coble (aka PackageID) recently posted 15 thoughtful pieces of advice for young designers. While the list is directed towards designers about to start their careers, there are some golden nuggets and humbling reminders in here for designers at all levels. The following is a brief excerpt:
It has been a long time since I have posted on these boards. Life has gotten in the way but I told myself this summer that I was going to try to get back to being active in the Core community again. So hear it goes. I posted this article on LinkedIn and thought I would share.
As the new school year is upon us and I just marked my 15 years as a design professional, I thought I would share some advice to those about to start their careers. I have learned a ton, got to work in some unbelievable businesses with some amazing people, and have had the opportunity to create some truly meaningful work. Here is what I have learned. Enjoy!
1.YOU OWN YOUR CAREER... NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING
I thought I would start with the hardest. Whether you are a new grad or a seasoned veteran looking to move on, you have to take control of your career. If you are a new grad, know what you want and make a plan to go get it. If you are and experienced designer looking for a new opportunity make them want to hire you. Lay out your goals, short and long term, and work hard to make them happen. This may mean extra work, learning a new skill, or pushing outside you comfort zone. Do not wait around and expect and opportunity to come to you. It won't happen. Just because you have a degree, or have been at a firm for a while does not mean someone should give you a job or a promotion. You have to prove to them why they should care.
2. LEARN YOUR CRAFT FIRST
No one comes out of school a "Strategist". I am so tired of interviewing entry level designers that tell me that they want to do "Design Strategy". You cannot do design strategy until you understand your craft. You need to go through the process and understand how products are designed, manufactured, influence consumers, and impact the business. Without these experiences everything is theoretical.
Take the time to get your hands dirty, pump out thousands of sketches, build prototypes and CAD models. It's what you went to school for and what you are good at. If strategy is your thing, it will come after you learn your craft and truly understand the entire ecosystem of product development and how design influences other functions of an organization such as R&D, Marketing, Finance and Sales.
3. YOU WERE HIRED FOR A REASON
We have all fallen victim of thinking we need to over prove ourselves when we are hired. Coming in guns blazing and start laying out our resume at every chance. Spouting out "at xyz firm we did it like this" and consistently trying to show "better" ways of doing things. Bringing past experience is a good thing, but consistently quoting your past can comes across as insecure, not being a team player, and having doubt in the team's capabilities. Remember you were interviewed by the team. They know your past, know your skills and they hired you for a reason. Find constructive ways to bring your past into the team, but don't be patronizing.
Read Coble's full 15 pieces of advice here. Do you have any tips for young designers in addition to Coble's? Share your comments in the thread below or within the original Core77 discussion board!
(Thumbnail and header image credit: SurfaceID)
As Christopher Schwarz wisely pointed out in our interview with him, it is generally rich people who determine our furniture design cues. In other words, if you go to a museum and see a chair from ancient Egypt, or the Renaissance, or the Art Deco period, it's a piece of furniture that belonged to a rich person. That's why it survived long enough to make it into the museum. The stuff that poor people sat on generally makes it into the MoMA.
Which means that any "History of Furniture" class or exhibition is really a "History of Rich People's Furniture," at least until you reach the Mid-Century Modern period, and since there have always been more poor people than rich people, is not really representative of furniture that most humans experienced.
So it would be silly, would it not, to assemble facile GIFs that condense the History of Furniture down into 15 frames.
Silly, but still fun to watch. So here it is (put together, bizarrely enough, by Angie's List). Happy Friday, folks.
If you've been watching the US Open, you may have noticed a couple of new courtside additions:
For the 50th anniversary of the US Open, Michael Graves Architecture & Design and outdoor furniture specialists Landscape Forms were tasked with reimagining and designing the courtside furniture at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. In addition to the courtside furniture, the tennis center went through an extensive upgrade, including player facilities, outdoor areas for players, and even parts of the stadium itself. But we're here to focus on the furniture!
The new player bench is particularly interesting out of the lot, considering it was inspired by the following image of Roger Federer sitting next to his bulky bag, which he had placed on a seat next to him at a previous US Open match (apologies for the blurry image here):
After encountering this image, the Michael Graves design team found themselves wondering: Why are there are often two chairs per player when tennis is usually a singles sport? Why was there no dedicated place for each player's bag? Why are the chairs typically canvas, when fabrics encourage sweat in the heat? The result is a sleek metal bench with perforated, white seats to keep players as cool as possible. Each bench has wheels on only one side so that the structure can be lifted by just one person and so that no complicated locking system was necessary. Players have the option of one or two seats, and the rest of the space, including under the bench, is dedicated to their gear.
The design team was very open about their design process for all of the new pieces, providing an inside look at how they reached their final designs through sketches and renderings:
Since the designers were tasked with designing the pieces in just a couple of months, they needed to act fast, giving them the perfect opportunity to experiment adding VR to their workflow:
By utilizing VR during the design process, the design team was able to have a better idea of how their designs would fit into the actual stadium environment. VR also proved to be helpful when updating their client, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), as the non-designers were able to better understand their vision.
So, there you have it. If you haven't watched a US Open match yet, here's your excuse!
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Full disclosure: I am genetically predisposed to be skinny, yet am struggling to get rid of a potbelly because I cannot stop drinking beer and eating Oreos. We live in a crazy world, where an impoverished chunk of the population cannot get enough calories, and another chunk takes in so many calories that they are preoccupied with weight loss for the sake of health or vanity.
That is the reality. To paraphrase the old Chris Rock joke, there are millions of people on this planet for whom the ability to get fat would be amazing. It would astonish someone from a starving nation to see one of us relatively rich Westerners at an all-you-can-eat buffet. And it would amaze them even more to see this new device called Lumen, designed by frog.
Lumen is a small technology-packed item that you breathe into. The device then analyzes your breath to tell you whether you're burning carbohydrates or burning fat. Here's how they envision the device being used:
What Lumen can do is an amazing technological feat, and one that previously could only be done in a lab. That the developers have created a portable device that one can use to instantly measure their metabolic fuel usage is pretty jaw-dropping.
Demand for Lumen is high, judging by the fact that it was 3,511% funded last week on IndieGogo, with $1,764,302 in pledges. And those who struggle with weight loss are sure to find the $249 device useful. It's just sobering to think about what someone from a developing nation would make of this--we have so much to consume, that we must create technological devices to tell us when we are taking in too much of it.
Clothing retailers would love for you to buy their threads online, cutting out the costly brick-and-mortar middleman. But there's been no digital equivalent of a fitting room, so companies take losses by offering liberal return policies; your average consumer will order two or three of the same garment in different sizes, returning the ones that don't fit--at the company's expense.
To solve this, a Japanese company called Start Today has designed a piece of clothing that they'll send to you for free, and which you're never meant to wear in public. Their Zozosuit is a black, tight-fitting full body suit covered in 350 white markers.
Put it on, and slowly rotate in place while a non-judgmental friend snaps photos with a smartphone. The company's algorithm then turns those images into an accurate 3D scan of your body, allowing you to order precisely-fitting clothes from one of Start Today's "Zozotown" e-commerce platform, which encompasses about 6,400 clothing brands.
It's a clever idea, and the Zozosuits only cost the company $9 to make. You'd just better pray that no one hacks your phone and releases those images of you spinning around while dressed like Andy Serkis.
My vision is getting worse with age, and there are times when I have to stick my nose closer to the laptop screen to read certain websites. I can hit buttons on the keyboard to increase the text size, but sometimes this screws up the formatting. I can also pull the entire laptop towards me, but that makes typing awkward.
So this laptop screen design from Acer looks rather intriguing:
That's their forthcoming Predator Triton 900, which is actually a gaming laptop. I don't need the 4K screen and what's bound to be a high sticker price, but it sure looks nifty in operation:
And yes, it can be flipped over to show the screen to a person sitting across from you.
No word on release date yet.
As those of you who still use good ol' books for reference can attest to, "How-to books, cookbooks and sheet music are inconvenient to use while you're in the workshop, kitchen or concert hall," as Christopher Schwarz explains. "That's why bookstands (and music stands) were invented."
"These, however, can be bulky. And so the mechanical minds of the 19th century devised several clever ways to fold up a bookstand so it can fit in your pocket." After studying folding bookstand designs devised by both the British and the Chinese, Schwarz devised the following version, which can be made with a minimum of materials:
Looking for a heftier, more permanent version that can still be folded up for storage? Schwarz co-conspirator and furniture maker Brendan Gaffney built this Roubo Bookstand, based on a design found in "With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture."
Yesterday we were talking about the Lumen, a technological device designed to help us maintain our health. Projecting into the future a bit, how far could this kind of technology go? Would it, coupled with our ever-increasing levels of connectivity, perhaps lead us into undesirable situations?
Filmmaker Sebastian Egert's comical short "The Very Near Future" proposes the following scenario (with some NSFW language):
Lockpicks are thin pieces of metal that professionals use to jiggle the pins into place. I've got a buddy who's a locksmith, I've watched him do it and it takes some finesse. The following tinkerer, however, wondered if you could use an electric toothbrush to do the random jiggling for you, removing the need for skill. Using a Dremel, he quickly hacks up an Oral B, then gets to work on a pick-resistant front door lock, a Masterlock padlock and a gun safe:
Outdoor gear manufacturer Danforce has designed the G1 Pro, a feature-packed flashlight that aims to do the job of multiple objects. The G1 is modular, meaning you can lengthen the shaft by adding a second battery, increasing both the lumens and the battery life. That second battery can also serve as a standalone charging bank, if you need to top off your phone or anything else with a USB connection. When you're staying put, a lantern attachment can be used to diffuse the light. And an included bike mount lets you attach the G1 to your handlebars.
The G1 has been a smash hit on Kickstarter--despite having one of the goofiest pitch videos I've ever seen:
Silly video aside, the G1 has attracted $200,973 in pledges on a $17,500 goal, and there's still 30 days left to pledge.
If you want a more sober look at the G1's features, there's a straightforward presentation of it below.
Imagine, in place of a screen door, a thin membrane that would keep mosquitoes out--but would allow human beings to pass through it. Imagine a membrane stretched across your toilet that would allow poop to drop through it, but would prevent gaseous odor from traveling upwards. To create either of these things you'd need a filter that allows large things to pass through it while blocking out smaller ones. That is impossible to achieve by solid, mechanical means--but not impossible if one were to use a self-healing, liquid-based membrane.
That's precisely what a team of researchers at Penn State have accomplished. While the screen door example above is still impossible, the toilet thing is actually within reach, because they have developed a membrane that does what you see below:
Thus far the potential applications they're listing are:
- Insect and particle barrier
- Self-cleaning, nonfouling membrane for continuous particle separation
- Surgical film
- Gas/odor barrier
Readers: Any ideas for additional applications?