Posts tagged ‘industrial design’

Expanding the bicycle form.

Recently, one invention and one growing trend have caught my attention when it comes to the classic bicycle form:

via Core77 (July 8, 2010):

“I’m not sure about UK slang, but in America if I tell you “I’m gonna wrap my bike around a pole” that means I’m gonna crash it. But Kevin Scott, an industrial design student at the UK’s De Montfort University, means it in a different way.

“Scott has designed a bicycle that the user wraps around a pole literally. A ratcheting mechanism transforms two parts of the bike’s frame from stiff to bendable, and once wrapped, a single bike lock can be passed through both tires and the frame, which Scott hopes will decrease the bike theft rampant in London and so many other of the world’s cities.”

photo by Tony Kyriacou/Rex Features

Then there’s this double decker aka “Mile High” thing happening everywhere, especially Brooklyn. Not sure I’d ever want to ride one, but I definitely appreciate the DIY approach.

photo by Flickr user Jibby!

July 16′s daily design idea is familiar forms are often the best for experimentation.


July 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm 1 comment

Needs vs wants.

Quentin in R+D recently discovered a site called Needs/Wants. The following is via their about page:

“Needs/Wants curates things for the modern creative lifestyle. We feature our taste for everyday things we need, but also some extravagant items we can only want—gotta dream big after all.”

While probably not intentional, this website innocently brings up the question that so many designers struggle with: is (good) design a necessity?

I’m only 48 pages into the book Design Like You Give a Damn – something I recently purchased and very much needed – and it’s already been pointed out a handful of times that the need for an architect is regularly questioned. (Luckily the authors are kind enough to continually offer up some kind of realistic reaffirmation that yes, architects are indeed significant.)

While my rational side can’t argue with full confidence that design is always absolutely necessary, my gut tells me it is. And my rational side can definitely argue that design adds very real value, like the increased joy I’d get with the Rubik’s Cube Salt and Pepper shakers from ThirdDrawerDown – something that I very much want, but can in no way justify needing – over more standard shakers.

July 13′s daily design idea is is it important to you to justify the significance of your designs?

July 13, 2010 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

The mixed uses in DUMBO.

This post has been updated to reflect the closing of some businesses and to add a few new ones (thanks Nancy, for the insider info!)

Considering the diversity of goods and tenants in DUMBO’s history, it’s fitting that a range of designers and design retailers are now thriving in this neighborhood.  While I haven’t gotten to spend much time in DUMBO myself, I can tell I’ll be making several visits in the near future.

Some places in DUMBO (like powerHouse publishing) sell books. One place called Zakka sells books and lets you make things (like T-shirts) in their “Creator’s Market.” Through Neighborhoodies, you can design your own hoodie that gets made right there on Jay Street. TRUNK sells clothes, on top of furniture and accessories and sometimes art, just down the block. Journey is also in the “furniture and more” business, though these boutiques all exude a distinct personality. Similarly, spring sells a variety of design objects on top of producing full blown gallery shows. City Joinery (a personal favorite from BKLYN DESIGNS and ICFF earlier this year) calls DUMBO home, as do a number of furniture showrooms: Baxter and Liebschen specializes in Danish Modern, while Czech Kolektiv has Czech Modern covered. And whether or not you’ve ever needed a fancy hat, I do hope you’ll join me in discovering what Cha Cha’s House of Ill Repute is all about.

One of our readers also suggests the following:
NOS Shoes for starters, as well as Half Pint Citizens and Pomme (both for the kids). Nancy also says “Dewey’s Candy is a real treat, and there a ton of tiny new pop-up stores in a new “Green Mall” next to ReBar (which is where you should get lunch while you’re here).”

June 6’s daily design idea is you can’t have too many design interests. So satiate them all in a neighborhood like DUMBO, where you can be inspired by dozens of incredible (and incredibly diverse) designs.

Photo by Flickr user PHAR AWAY

This post is part of the Brooklyn Discovery Guide produced by Daily Design Idea. Email us to have your neighborhood featured next!

June 6, 2010 at 10:18 am 3 comments

Building with history.

It seems like David Belt, creator of the new interactive installation Glasphemy!, could get some inspiration from Skyy Vodka when it comes to his leftover broken glass. Some recycled Skyy bottles end up in high end countertops manufactured by California-based Vetrazzo. What’s especially great about this material is that you can clearly see the broken glass (unlike the very cool but less obvious recycled Coke bottles in the new 111 Navy Chair).

I believe that having some sense of your materials’ histories adds a really rich texture to any project, whether they are broken glass pieces or columns of 17th century timber salvaged from an old New York tenement. The more you know, the more special your project becomes. Brooklyn furniture designer Jeremy Pickett has the unique pleasure of being able to tell you exactly where pieces like his Trylle Side Table started:

“The Trylle Side table is made from the same walnut that I procure for all my walnut and cherry needs,” Pickett explained to me. “It comes from a family farm down in Delaware. About fifteen years ago, a family sold their farmland to a golf course developer and as part of the land sale, the family requested to keep all the trees removed from the land developers. And they have milled the most amazing collection of air-dried walnut, cherry, and maple slabs of wood. So a part of every project I do begins with a drive down to Delaware to hand select the wood and walk the grounds. It’s a privilege to be able to walk the grounds that the trees came from. It helps me appreciate the sacrifice of the tree and pay respect to them. To borrow a term from the food industry, it makes my furniture literally ‘farm-to-table’.”

The Trylle Side Table, made of solid walnut from a Delaware family farm, retails for $850. Contact Pickett Furniture about this piece and many others at (347)404-3066.

May 22′s daily design idea respect your materials by learning their stories.

May 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

Conjoined seating.

Lately I’ve been noticing more and more chairs, especially multi-person ones, with elements that are intentionally and obviously merged. Flea market-inspired style has been accepted as mainstream for a while now (note Greg Grande’s set decoration for mega-sitcom Friends). But these newer pieces are taking that eclectic spirit to a whole new level of form. The results are dramatic, with their effects ranging from peculiarly inviting to artistic and thought-provoking.

Mother Daughter Chair by Michael Whitney. Available at TRUNK, (718) 522-6488.
Store and artist’s studio are both located in DUMBO, Brooklyn

Esin Arsan‘s One For Two Chair; Hockerbank (stoolbench); Prickly Pear Chairs
All featured at this year’s ICFF

May 18’s daily design idea is do multiple chairs cuddling together form the ultimate loveseat?

May 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm 1 comment

Out of place and happening now (in Manhattan).

I made three lucky design-related discoveries today. All three had an element of being “out of place”, and all are happening right now for a very limited amount of time. So read quickly!

1. Vanessa Chew‘s Elemental Form on display at the Pratt Show
Out of place: There’s a turntable carved into an otherwise simple wooden place mat. The plate looks like someone was just spinning into it. Such a crazy (and beautifully executed) combination of disparate activities.
Happening: Friday May 14 from 9-1 / 311 W 34th Street

2. Knoll Warehouse Sale
Out of place: It’s in a make-shift showroom on the corner of 5th and 20th, nothing says Knoll until you’re inside, and their sales people kind of look like Apple Store employees. On top of that, the stylish home furnishings are at seriously reduced prices. It’s all very un-Knoll.
Happening: Friday May 14 from 10-6 / Saturday May 15 from 11-6 / 156 5th Ave

3. Shepard Fairey Street Art
Out of place: It’s definitely street art, and it’s definitely the Obey Giant, but it’s in a position that is meant for posters. And it’s outside Pentagram, which is the ultimate seal of graphic design approval.
Happening: Now (street art is usually fleeting despite this setting suggesting otherwise) / 204 Fifth Avenue
Also happening: Fairey has a show at Deitch Projects until May 29 / 19 Wooster Street

May 13’s daily design idea is design shows up in ways and in places that are unexpected. Be sure to keep an eye out.

May 13, 2010 at 11:45 pm 3 comments

The ugly duckling of bike sharing.

GOOD recently reported on the early successes of Dublin’s bike sharing program, Dublin Bikes. Only 2 of the 450 were “pilfered” in the first six months of the program, which is impressive relative to some of the other less fortunate bike sharing programs worldwide.

Why haven’t more bikes been stolen? “It helps that the bicycle is ugly,” writes the Global Post, among other reasons.

April 19’s daily design idea is smart design isn’t always beautiful design.

April 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm 1 comment

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