Core77 Rss Feed
Furniture Design Mystery Solved: Who Designed That Table, Ebbe Gehl or Barber & Osgerby?
In last week's "Design Minutiae" I ogled the display tables used by Australian brand Mud, and wondered at the provenance. Two sharp-eyed readers wrote in with information. Sarah Sitz pointed out that it was surely the Home Table designed by the UK's Barber & Osgerby:Home Table, Barber & Osgerby Home Table, Barber & Osgerby Reader Ian D. suggested it could be the Mira table designed by Denmark's Ebbe Gehl:Mira, Ebbe Gehl The two tables do indeed look very (almost disturbingly) similar. But if we look closer, there are a couple of visual giveaways that indicated the tables at Mud are the Barber & Osgerby variant. The first is the height of the Mira's apron, which appears slightly shorter than that of the tables at Mud.Mira, Ebbe Gehl The second is the notable reveals on the longer apron sides of the Mira.Mira, Ebbe Gehl Those are there not because the joinery is poor, but because they're drawers containing leaves. The Mira was designed as an expandable dining table.Mira, Ebbe Gehl Both tables are made from solid oak, providing a similar appearance. But Ms. Sitz found definitive proof that the Mud table is Barber & Osgerby's. As she writes:DesignOffice, who consulted for Mud Australia's retail spaces, list the Home Tables on their portfolio page for the Melbourne retail space.Nail in the coffin. Er, table.Some of you may be wondering, which came first, the Mira or the Home Table? I have an idea, but instead of just stating it up front, I'm going to show you some of the hell that a blogger goes through when trying to find what should be a simple answer. (Warning: Boring detective work up ahead.) Here's what I could find:1. Barber & Osgerby's table was designed in 2000 and is currently in production by Isokon. 2. Gehl designed the Mira for John Lewis, year unknown, and is still sold there. 3. Gehl has been around longer. He started Nissen & Gehl, his design firm with partner Søren Nissen, way back in 1970, just a year after both Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby were actually born. (Barber & Osgerby, the firm, came about in the 1990s.) 4. Gehl, not Nissen & Gehl, is credited as the designer of the Mira. This indicates Gehl designed it after he and Nissen parted ways. However, there is no record of the two splitting.5. Neither Nissen & Gehl, nor Ebbe Gehl, has an active website.6. John Lewis, the company the Mira was designed for, is a K-Mart-like department store in the UK that sells everything from furniture to baby clothes to appliances. None of those provide a definitive answer, but no. 6 is the clue. Given the nature of department stores, I find it unlikely that Gehl's design antedates Barber & Osgerby's 2000 design and has remained in production for 18 years. I can't say for certain, but my guess is that Barber & Osgerby designed their Home Table first.Anyways, now you know why no one wants to talk to me at cocktail parties. (Might also be my breath.)Thanks to Sarah Sitz and Ian D. for contributing![...]
DesignMarch 2017: Highlights from Iceland's Annual Design Festival
This past weekend saw the ninth edition of DesignMarch, a proverbial diamond in the rough when it comes to the annual design-festival calendar. From March 23–26, Iceland's homegrown design festival once again featured hundreds of events and exhibitions—possibly the highest rate per capita for a country of a mere 330,000 inhabitants, 40% of whom reside in capital city Reykjavík, where the event has taken place since 2009.The "Added Value of Architecture" exhibition at the Harpa Concert HallOf course, the jam-packed official event guide (roughly the size of two iPads stacked) belies the understandably modest scale of the festivities, which generally emphasizes quality over quantity, even as it encompasses product design, architecture, visual communication, and fashion. Despite the prevalence of posters at bus stops and cultural institutions alike—free copies of the guide were even available in a magazine display rack at the airport—the advertising efforts were lost on the majority of the (mostly American) tourists. It seemed that nature, not culture, remains the main attraction for most of the travelers in town ("Crazy Iceland" and "I Survived Iceland" were among the slogans laser-cut into souvenir refrigerator magnets).IDEO's Paul Bennett related three case studies from his work in the field to offer a new definition of designThe opening reception of FIT2017, the Association of Icelandic Graphic Designers' annual awards programThe launch of sustainable swimwear label Swimslow featuring a live musical performance and runway show But it is precisely the contrast between, say, the tourist-infested Blue Lagoon and the well-attended design-week events that affirm the strong sense of camaraderie among members of the local creative community, starting with the one-day conference that marks the beginning of the festival. Broadly addressing the theme of "Brut Nature," Thursday's DesignTalks featured a healthy mix of local and international designers, whose practices spanned critical design and visual art to research and ethnography. From IDEO's globetrotting Paul Bennett to a trio of Icelandic porcelain-seekers, the speakers offered a healthy dose of inspiration to inaugurate the ninth edition of DesignMarch.The "Roundabout Baltic" exhibition at the Nordic House was a highlight; stay tuned for more coverage.The Culture House hosted the exhibition "Peekaboo - Polish & Icelandic Illustrated Children's Books""Peekaboo" featured six Icelandic illustrators and 16 Polish ones, including Marta Ignerska, whose work is pictured hereIcelandic textile company Istex collaborated with Danish designer Astrid Skibsted to produce "A Colour Map of Icelandic Wool"The exhibitions themselves offered more local flavor, at times alongside projects and presentations from Continental Europe, namely Scandinavia and Poland. Now more than ever, Icelandic designers working in various scales and media are looking to carve out their niche in the broadly Nordic tradition, and DesignMarch is the de facto platform for them to do so.Thorunn Arnadottir, "Shapes of Sounds"For example, we first encountered Thorunn Arnadottir's "Shapes of Sounds" project in Tord Boontje's cacophonous Electro Craft exhibition during London Design Festival, their understated simplicity was a disadvantage amidst the multimedia onslaught of the dense group exhibition. In her native Reykjavík, Arnadottir's interactive objects occupied an intimate gallery apropos their essential element of sound, displayed with sketches and schematics.The FÍT2017 exhibition, on the other hand, was among the few for which the texts and catalog were not bilingual. The Association of Icelandic Graphic Designers presented the winners of its 17th annual awards program at the Hafnarhús, one of three buildings of the Reykjavík Art Museum (each one hosted a design exhibition). In this case, the language barrier underscored the quality of the projects on view, from bold craft-beer packaging to books and illustration as well.Instal[...]
Is IKEA's Disembodied Dimmer A More Romantic Take On Smart Bulbs?
IKEA is finally pushing seriously into smarter home territory with the TRÅDFRI system, a series of LED lights finally coming to global stores by the end of March. The networked lighting is built around a small series of bulbs and furniture panels, a network connection hub/gateway powered by Ethernet, and controlled via app. The system uses Zigbee Light Link standards and offers a wide range of tailoring for space and use needs, from desk lamps to glowing cabinetry. The bulbs and app accommodate a wide range of luminosity, dimming options, plus three preset color temperatures (2200K, 2700K, and 4000K), ideal for mood-specifying your spaces. width="1280" height="720" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_jLlTsDF1Zk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" style="height: 348.188px; width: 619px;">Set daily timers for lights, control them remotely, and station lights as far as ~30 feet apart. It's all fairly standard, with some IKEAesque visual tweaks. By far the biggest and most fun feature for me is the addition of a motion controlled remote dimmer, apparently used sans buttons or triggers. You just hold it in the air and turn like a traditional knob.I need to stop evaluating IKEA designs through a lens of "how fast would I break or lose this?" and start thinking about how responsible people use things, because smart widgets get exponentially more interesting that way. While the TRÅDFRI offers a more recognizable controler with clear adjustment buttons, the puck shaped dimmer is obviously more playful. And easily lost. And unnecessary. And possibly imprecise. But fun! It docks with its equally puck-like charger, so if you're a more responsible remote user than I am, it'll be easy to keep charged, stored and looking cool on a desk. Paired with IKEA's strategic low prices, these lights might have what it takes to beckon newcomers into the Smart Home fold. At >$100 for a gateway and a pair of bulbs, I imagine a lot of dorm rooms are about to get a lot more beguiling. width="1280" height="720" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NFUbZqcohdc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" style="height: 348.188px; width: 619px;">Too bad smart lighting can't make your kissing better or your wall-facing paintings less creepy[...]
Tools & Craft #41: My Thoughts on CNC-Cut Furniture
The first time I saw a lot of furniture that had been CNC-milled out of plywood was at a Maker Faire some years past. The furniture was clever stuff. The more interesting designs interlocked without any additional fasteners, some of the simpler stuff used a few screws. I was deeply impressed... Until I thought about it.We can't deny that a CNC router is a useful tool. Sometimes you see it used to dumb down a traditional design such as a frame and panel, where the panel is faked by simply routing the depression into an MDF board. This is loads faster than doing it the traditional way, and if the client doesn't care that it's fake, makes good business sense. But at the same time, more and more shops use CNC for making real parts, sometimes at the very high end. Dovetail drawers are a snap, panels are easy, and complex mortise and tenons are pretty simple. CNC carving can also add details and complexity which were previously not cost effective. With a direct connection from the drafting and design phases to manufacture, there is additional savings in time.But in the search for streamlined, push-button manufacturing, I felt some of the folks showing at that Maker Faire forgot something important. From a making standpoint, being able to push a button and have a machine spit out parts that snap together is very cool. But from an end user standpoint, what is important is design, quality, and cost. I think a CNC router does best as just one tool in the arsenal of many. In the hands of a skilled craftsperson, CNC can really open up your design options. But trying to make a CNC router the be all and end all limits your options and wastes material. Also, square edges and visible joints are nice in some contexts, but modern furniture loves sinuous curves done by rasp, sander and eyeball.It's a cool technical challenge to design anything while limiting yourself to only one material and one method of fabrication. And for that the makers of the furniture I saw at the show deserve credit. But as the harbinger of the future, I am not holding my breath. What I am waiting for is for traditional cabinetmakers to evolve the CNC-cut ideas that I saw into something that I want in my house.___________________This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last. [...]
Coroflot's First Ever Sketch Jam Competition Will Take Place During Design Week Portland 2017
This article originally appeared on Coroflot, Core77's Design Job site. Visit their new blog for more insight on working, and recruiting, in the creative professions. Refill your markers and sharpen your pencils, because Coroflot's first ever Sketch Jam is going down on April 26th from 6-9PM at the Hand-Eye Supply's Glisan Garage in Downtown Portland, Oregon. It promises to be the most high-concept, high-flying, and downright fun sketching competition you've ever seen. The competition will be judged by five of Portland's most talented sketch-perts from companies like Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, and more. The judges will oversee a series of themed bracket competitions featuring members of Coroflot and Portland's vibrant design community. Sketch Jam is open to all levels, from students to pros. Potential competitors will be personally reviewed by the Coroflot team to see if they have the mad skills to face off on the sketch court. The emphasis for this competition will be on product design, ranging from footwear to household objects, all of which will be sketched in a variety of fun and challenging rounds. There will be live play-by-play commentary from ComedySportz, special prizes, craft brews provided by our friends at Fort George, and plenty of cool swag for the audience. The competition will be filmed and live streamed by Outlier Solutions, so even if you can't make it to the event you can still catch all the action.Competitors will be competing not only for a chance to prove their sketching prowess, but also for a chance to win a glorious Wacom Cintiq 27, which the company has generously donated. In addition to the main event, Wacom will have a hands-on table at the Sketch Jam event where you can try out their newest products, talk shop, and enter a raffle to WIN a new Wacom Intuos Pro Paper pen tablet. Sweet!We will begin accepting entries by Wednesday, April 5th. You can check out the Design Week Portland event page HERE. Make sure to follow Coroflot on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more Sketch Jam updates!DETAILS:What: Coroflot Presents Sketch JamWhen: Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 6PM-9PMWhere: Hand-Eye Supply's Glisan Garage427 NW BroadwayPortland, Oregon 97209[...]
A Friendly Looking Baby Monitor
In close collaboration with Angelcare and several specialized suppliers in Taiwan, Japan and Canada, we developed an innovative baby monitor. We were responsible for the design and engineering from the concept development up to the detailing of the plastic parts and production support. Included in the process was creating a new design language for future Angelcare baby monitors.View the full content here
How to Create a Danish-Cord Seating Surface
A bench is a great entry-level piece of furniture to build. It's useful and not as difficult to make as a chair. You can easily build a plank-seat bench, like one of the wonderful designs Joel showed us in Tools & Craft; you could upholster it if you've got access to fabric and foam and want to get fancy; or you could go with a classic Scandinavian option, the Danish-Cord seat.What's nice about the Danish-Cord option is that it looks fantastic and doesn't require a lot of tools to execute, just some special tacks, cord and a whole lot of patience. Depending on how much OCD you've got in you, you might even find the weaving part soothing. As an example of the process, have a look at these shots posted by this guy or gal on Imgur:The frame is straightforward, and you save on wood by not having a plank seat.Here are those special L-shaped tacks we mentioned.Once you've got those knocked into the frame at intervals......you can start weaving.Not too shabby! If you are the person who posted it, please do let us know in the comments; I'd love to credit you properly.We've located a three-part video tutorial on how to do this Danish-Cord technique, created by the folks over at Fine Woodworking. We'll embed it below for your convenience. Note: Although it shows up tiny in our interface, you can full-screen it.Part 1: src="//players.brightcove.net/51750001001/BklTnuSjq_default/index.html?videoId=1047504771001" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0">Part 2: src="//players.brightcove.net/51750001001/BklTnuSjq_default/index.html?videoId=1047502257001" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0">Part 3: src="//players.brightcove.net/51750001001/BklTnuSjq_default/index.html?videoId=1047502255001" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0">[...]
Tapping Into the Audience Who Will Actually Fund Your Kickstarter Project
When it comes to funding successful crowdfunding campaigns, Alex Daly is known for having an impeccable record. She's helped run some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns to date, such as a limited reissue of Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda's cult-status New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual and Neil Young's PONO Player project (which racked up well over $6 million in pledges!). Through her extensive and successful crowdsourcing experience, Daly has been deemed by hordes of press as "The Crowdsourceress". Her knack for viral promotion and keying into what makes projects great is precisely what led her to starting Vann Alexandra, a consultancy that runs successful campaigns for different projects and companies. After running Vann Alexandra for some years now, this week she reaches another milestone—her new book The Crowdsourceress: Get Smart, Get Funded and Kickstarter Your Next Big Idea has just been published.Her motivation for writing the book, she tells Core77, came from a general air of disappoint after reading plenty of how-to books: "I think there's a lot of how-to books that really don't tell you how to do anything. They say, 'Oh you want to launch a business? Or you want to get a great new job? Have a great resume.' And it's sort of like, is that all I'm going to get out of you?" She emphasizes that this book comes from a place of good will in that she "wanted it to be like a handbook", full of helpful tips people can actually use.And may I just say, the book in many ways does just that—from small details (for example, the best day of the week to launch a Kickstarter campaign) to big ones (like a general plan for how to get media attention), there aren't many questions Daly leaves hanging. Whether you have questions about how to put together a reasonable budget, ideate on awesome prizes or key into the right audience that might help your project go viral, the treasures are all there for the picking. There's also a handy resource section at the end of the book that includes details like a week-to-week to-do guide prior to launching your Kickstarter campaign. Alex Daly, the "crowdsourceress"From details small to big, there aren't many crowdfunding questions Alex Daly's book "The Crowdsourceress" leaves hanging. Let's say you're reading this and you're thinking to yourself, "but I'm never going to start a crowdfunding campaign, so I don't really have a need for any of this information"—well, don't be so sure. Daly notes, "as I was writing [The Crowdsourceress], I could tell this kind of work that we do can be applied to so many other launches. I think that the way the world is moving in terms of products is that they're all launching online. This is something that can be applied to people that launch a company or new project… in fact, I'm doing this with my own book." Given the importance of the internet and its ability to make or break a product or project, Daly's tips far exceed the somewhat particular Kickstarter realm (and Daly did point out with hesitation, Kickstarter isn't for everyone— "there's some businesses that are very B to B. They're not consumer-friendly. That definitely isn't for crowdfunding."). If you're clueless about how to write a proper press release, Daly coaches you through it; in fact, she even provides direct examples for comparison. Maybe you're a company strategizing your product fulfillment plans? Well, there's a section that touches on that as well. Luckily for designers, the aesthetic trials and tribulations many Kickstarter projects go through are not as much of a problem. What you may find challenging as a designer, however, is operating as your own PR pro—reaching out to the right audiences, signing onto social media and making proper[...]
A Springy "New" Take On A 100 Year Old Bike Problem
Bikes aren't new. Bike saddles, accordingly, are also not new. The according pains in the ass caused by use of bikes and saddles, unshockingly, are not new. The "Rinsten Spring"—the Kickstarting seat spring claiming to make your bike ride smoother, more comfortable, and healthier? Totally not new. But it is getting freshly stuck in my craw. Here's what people want: bikes that don't hurt their asses. How do you accomplish that? By buying a one-size-fits-all cushy, springy, minimalist, or "ergonomic" product? Of goddamn course not, and anyone who claims otherwise is an asshole and a pain in the ass of any mechanic who has to clean up after their hollow promises. Rider comfort is a nearly occult blend of personal fitness, bike size and fit, adjustment, parts choice, and where/how you ride. It shifts with sensitivity, season, callousing, and whether your LBS likes you enough to mention that your saddle is trying to give you colon cancer. It is not likely to be fixed by a single springy steel rail that offers little or no option for pitch adjustment and cuts dramatically into height adjustment. With that in mind, here are just three of the Rinsten's shock design predecessors (also designed by engineers) and some of their notable features. Vintage Softride triathalon setupThe Soft Ride Suspension SystemThese sporty yet ungainly carbon fiber logs were smacked onto bikes from 1989 through the early '00s. The premise was that removing the seat pillar would allow vertical shock absorption (like the Rinsten), while lateral stiffness would maintain efficient forward thrust. Degrees of stiffness were offered, but user experience varied dramatically by weight and height. Bike fit specialists and physical therapists I've worked with still disagree on the ideal amount of hip movement while riding, but the shared tone cautions against too much. The outcomes of vertically flexible posts: weight-related material fatigue, poor adjustment options for riders outside "average" height/weight range, and vertical movement so dramatic it destabilized correct healthy bike fit. In other words: less butt impact, but more upkeep and less ergonomic body position. Hm.Vintage Softride MTB setupThudbuster SeatpostsCane Creek ThudbusterA shock-absorbing seat post with readily available contemporary sizing, a polymer damper and a parallelogram shock. One of literally hundreds of types of sprung seatposts, these are decades old and work to soften upward blows without displacing riders too much vertically. The original is still around, and most brands offer quantified ranges of resistance or adjustment for rider weight and terrain type.Worst case scenario you wear out a pivot and get a new one. Best case scenario you use the hell out of it for years until the polymer gets old and disgusting and you show up at a bike shop before it opens on a Sunday demanding that some poor soul replace your antique Ghost Busters ooze-post while you grumpily text your coffee buddies. Outcomes: you can get suspension posts in any imaginable size, from $15 past $800, without losing saddle adjustment.Sprung And Cushy SeatsVintage Brooks EnglandThese are the oldest and easily the most direct solution for the sensitive-butted among us. If you're a fair-weather rider with an upright bike, you're probably only suffering because you've got the wrong seat or you don't ride enough. If you're a more serious rider and you're still in pain, you've probably got the wrong seat, possibly the wrong seat plus a bad fit. Sprung and padded seats have taken out the bumps from rides since before we invented concrete. They're self contained packages of dampening materials and cushioning springs, and as you might guess, there's a good re[...]
A Tetrahedral Levitating Yacht Design
Do you enjoy geometry, the high seas and being rich? If so, take a gander at this yacht concept. Designed by architect/designer Jonathan Schwinge, the HYSWAS (Hydrofoil Small Waterplane Area Ship) Tetrahedron Super Yacht is sure to be the talk of the marina:
And that's just what it looks like sitting still. Once the HYSWAS starts moving and picks up speed…
…you get some hydrofoil action going:
And it's not just because it looks cool, says Schwinge:
Long distances are achievable with reduced out-of-water drag and stormy ocean conditions would incur virtually no slamming. Improved efficiency is driven by elevated hydrofoil propulsion and would be an inherent performance benefit of this type of design.
It would also, I'd think, look absolutely terrifying to Somali pirates bobbing on the surface in those little Zodiac boats.