Category Design

Instrument surveys the current state of home automation

Instrument surveys the current state of home automation

Slowly but surely our homes are getting smarter. There’s an app for your lightbulbs, your thermostat understands your temperature preferences, and monitor every corner of your home with the touch of a button. Portland based design firm Instrument have created an impressive survey of home automation gadgets and how they fit into the lives of Gen Y, Gen X, and our beloved Baby Boomers.

You may have heard of some of the items on this list but there were many there totally new to me. Have you heard of the Dyson 360 Eye? It utilizes “complex mathematics, probability theory, geometry and trigonometry to map and navigate a room.” Pretty sweet, right? It will also be interesting to see what’s announced at Apple’s WWDC event and see how they enter the fray. Will the Apple TV start being less TV and more hub of all Wi-Fi connected devices? We’ll know soon enough.

You can read Instrument’s entire list by clicking here.

Timeless copper and brass pens by ystudio

ystudio-pens-2

Like a lot of things these days, writing by hand is a “dying art form” that will soon cease to exist, just like books, newspapers, and records. I personally use a notebook everyday to keep track of all the things, which means I have a trusty pen that I take with me everywhere. Having the right writing instrument is pretty key, and these pens by ystudio have me drooling.

The Taiwan based shop has created a series of pens and mechanical pencils made from pure copper and brass. They’re definitely not cheap but you can imagine having these pens for years, if not your entire life. Plus the patina that’s built up with use is a beautiful demonstration of wabi sabi in action.

You can see their entire line-up by clicking here.

“Just focus on the cupcakes.” A satirical look at design studios and social media

Kimberly Harrington gets downright shady with this new piece in McSweeney’s titled, “Welcome to our design studio, where you’ll never see the light of day but you can bring your dog.” I’ve never personally worked in a design studio but this a great bit of satire which certainly hits on some (perceived) painful truths, especially for someone working as a social media manager.

Just a quick word on our creatives. You’ll notice that several of the designers have stacks and stacks of design books and publications on their desks, their Paul Rands, their Vignellis, and so on. This is great to capture. It makes the designers feel good because it allows them to think that one day they’ll also design an airline logo or redesign a subway wayfinding system or create timeless animated movie credits when in fact we all know that they’ll mostly be creating shitty animations in Keynote that only sales managers in the Midwest will see, and more importantly, not even give half a fuck about.

Ouch.

Maximilian Heitsch graphically explores shape and space

Maximilian Heitsch is a Munich-based creative working in the fields of art, graphic design and cultural events. He focuses on the interaction of space, movement and simplicity. The effect is a body of work that reflects the ideas and practices of artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella. I’m a fan of the tension that’s created between the intersections of the shapes, how the brain creates meaning in the abstract.

Maximilian Heitsch

Maximilian Heitsch

Vaulted Willow, a colorful pavilion that looks like it could walk

Vaulted Willow, a colorful pavilion that looks like it could walk

When I think of the word “pavilion” I imagine standard 2×4 pieces of lumber slated together to make the most mundane of barbecue shelters. Architect Marc Fornes and his firm THEVERYMAN has succeeding in creating the opposite, a brightly colored shelter made from aluminum shingles that together create an amorphous blog that looks like it’s ready to slither across the land, titling it the Vaulted Willow. These are the objects I’d love to see popping up in more places, a thoughtful piece of architecture that tries to incorporate organic and natural forms.

The Kawara Chair finds a new use for discarded Japanese roof tiles

The Kawara Chair finds a new use for Japanese roof tiles

The Kawara Chair finds a new use for Japanese roof tiles

Designer Tsuyoshi Kawara has found a creative re-use for discarded Japanese roof tiles, utilizing them as the seat of his Kawara Chair. Using a wooden frame as the base Kawara has found a way to highlight the beauty and individuality of the tiles as they come in a multitude of glazes. And though a seat made of tile may seem precarious, Japanese roof tiles are fired at 1200 degrees celsius, much higher than the 800 degree temperature of European tiles, meaning that they can hold the weight of a person up to 250 lbs.

I love that the design is centered around a discarded object that already has an inherent beauty. Kawara smartly developed a solution for an object that was being discarded simply because it wasn’t perfect enough.

You can learn more about the Kawara Chair by visiting Domus.

Kara Haupt’s charming ‘Old Man Jägermeister’ concept

Kara Haupt's charming 'Old Man Jagermeister' concept

There’s something I love about redesign concepts when they relate to foods and drinks. We see so many of these products day in, day out that to see them in a new light fascinates me. Kara Haupt has created something that perhaps defies “redesign” and approaching the “reinvention” space, creating a new concept from something familiar. In my mind this looks like it would be an aged, super premium version of Jäger that you take shots of on your yacht. Plus, “old man Jäger” has a really nice ring to it.

You can see her full concept by clicking here.

Long read: A heady, inspiring interview with Experimental Jetset

Last year, Collective magazine conducted an interview with Marieke Stolk, Danny van den Dungen and Erwin Brinkers, who are better known as the designers behind Experimental Jetset. They speak about they’re process working together, how you evolve as a designer, dislike of the term ‘target audience’, and much more.

In particular I loved their mentality, that they “don’t study theory; we live it”, which comes across in a very heady, sort of existential way. I’m not one to over-intellectualize ideas (you’ve read this blog, right?) and most of the time that stuff goes over my head. But you can tell that the guys from EJ, however deep their thoughts may be, really do live by their words.

We know, there are plenty of critics out there trying to make designers feel inferior, trying to prevent designers from making creative (and intuitive) use of theory, trying to force designers to think in a more ‘rigorous’ way – but really, to speak with Raoul Vaneigem, “such people have a corpse in their mouth”. They are supporters of a dead and rigid notion of theory.

Probably one of my favorite interviews I’ve read in a while, click here to read the full piece.

Found through Readdd

Famous city landmarks rendered in minimal line work by Studio Esinam

Famous city landmarks as minimal linework by Studio Esinam

Came across these killer prints by Studio Esinam over the weekend which have landmarks and other notable buildings rendered in a minimal line art style. The effect is a series of works that are filled with wonderful details yet can sit comfortably in the most simplistic of spaces. I’d personally love one of these prints for my bedroom which Kyle and I keep relatively white and clean. I feel like I can relax in there better because of it.

You can view all 10 prints by clicking here.

Tobias Frere-Jones illustrates the basic mechanics of type

The always inspiring Tobias Frere-Jones has started a new series of posts on the mechanics of type and so far it sounds perfect for the novice and expert alike.

This new series of posts will explore what I call “typeface mechanics”, the behind-the-scenes work that makes typefaces visually functional. It is what placates the stubborn oddities of human perception, helps or hinders the user, and informs long-standing conventions of design.

The first part is about vertical and horizontal position of type. Logically you’d think all the letters would line up perfectly though unfortunately our brains don’t work that way. Take a read and see for yourself.