When a delicious meal has been set before you have you ever stopped and wondered if the vessels it is being served in are enhancing the flavors, smells, and presentation ability? Most likely not, but if you’re an obsessive barista working for the most well-respected small coffee chain in America, finding that level of perfection might be an idea you dwell on.
That the story of the Lino cup, a creation between ex-Intelligentsia Director of Innovation Kyle Glanville (who now runs my favorite coffee place Go Get ‘Em Tiger) and LA design studio notNeutral. Together they experimented to figure out a more optimal cup for coffee drinking.
The entire R&D process took over a year. Triangular-shaped cups intended to capture precious aromas were nixed (turns out, a triangular canvas makes for terrible latte art). Handles were shaped and reshaped. The cup’s interior curvature, or slope, was meticulously calculated, with notNeutral printing one 3D prototype after another for Glanville and his team to test in Intelligentsia’s lab. There, they pulled shots and poured milk, videotaping the entire process so, like coaches watching tape, they could replay the footage in slow motion and catch flaws in play.
“Sometimes the latte art would break,” Glanville says. “The flow of the milk would go under and bubble up on the other side, breaking the pattern at the top.” The slope was corrected. More prototypes printed. More milk poured. More tape replayed.
Food Republic has the whole story which I found fascinating. These cups are only the beginning with more on the way, including these Gino cups, which are double-walled glass vessels which they released just last week.
The old chef’s saying is that you with your eyes, and artist Wei Li’s collection of Dangerous Popsicles puts this adage to the test. She’s created unique sets of ice pops, one based on assorted forms of cacti and one based on the shape of life-threatening diseases, each of which begs the question: Would you eat these?
Designer and artist Wei Li’s collection of cacti-inspired prickly popsicles are beautiful, yet dangerous. These popsicles intrigue people with their other-worldly looks while directly alluding to the unpleasant experience of being poked by a cactus. Imagine our tongues, one of our most sensitive organs, being “massaged” by these spiky surfaces. Will pain bring pleasure?
While trained in user experience design, the designer is less concerned with enhancing user-friendliness, and more interested in the aesthetics of user-unfriendliness, and even uselessness.
Building from the cacti collection, Li’s second suite of popsicles are inspired by life-threatening viruses. What might an HIV popsicle taste like? Or would you even taste one in the first place? By fusing repulsion and delight, Li’s work emphasizes that the eyes and mind can taste as well as the tongue. The popsicles are nothing but water and sugar, but ideas of deadly viruses and the spikiness of cacti stimulate a sensory reaction, even before the first taste.
What a fun concept for a project. I’m glad that there are people out there who choose to address peculiar ideas like this.
Seams is a collection of five molded ceramic tableware centerpieces designed by Benjamin Hubert Ltd for the Italian manufacturer Bitossi Ceramiche. This project came about as part of the studio’s research into creating mass-produced products with one off details by manipulating a traditional ceramic manufacturing process.
In the ceramics world, seams are a common unwanted side effect created during the casting stage of manufacturing. Typically they’re trimmed off before the piece is set, but the studio thought that by including them in this work these small imperfections might actually enhance the final outcome. I think it’s a really nice touch and that the seams add a unique decorative detail that celebrate the process of how the work was formed. To get a better sense of this process you should check out the short animation below:
Benjamin Hubert Ltd is a London based studio founded in 2007. Comprising of a team of industrial designers, researchers and engineers who work across a broad range of sectors including furniture, lighting, consumer goods, architectural installations and interior design.
Bitossi Ceramiche are a world-renowned manufacturer of ceramic-ware who have been making work since the 1920s. Based in Florence, the factory have collaborated with a whole host of famous designers in the past including people like Arik Levy, Fabio Novembre and the Bouroullec Brothers. This collection was completed earlier this year and is Benjamin Hubert Ltd’s first collaboration with the company.
More projects from Benjamin Hubert Ltd can be seen on their website.
You know that underlying feeling of spontaneously running away from everything and living somewhere new and different? Those feelings have been stirring around for a while, particularly focused on the cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Through a little research and bit of Internet digging I stumbled upon the enticing Praktik Hotels, located in the Eixample district of Barcelona.
The Praktik Bakery, a hotel that has the fully operational Baluard Bakery at it’s heart, sounds like a dream come true to yours truly. You can imagine how enchanting it must be to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your window.
Complimenting the delicious aromas is a cleanly designed hotel that’s lined with white tile and rustic brick throughout. The tiles in the bathroom (as seen below) are phenomenal as well. How could you not take a selfie with those luscious blues as the backdrop?
If you’re one of those people prefer to drink your meals then perhaps you should check out the just opened Praktik Vinoteca who’s theme is centered around wine. A boutique hotel similar to the Praktik Bakery, here you’ll find an ambiance made up of warm woods decorating the space, a clear reference to the iconic wine barrel.
In the last 20 years, there’s no other designer who’s pushed the boundaries of industrial design than Jonathan Ive. His work at Apple has proven that considered design choices are critical to a successful product, as seen by a radical shift in the world toward design-focused first mindset. A few days ago Vanity Fair published the video interview of Jonathan Ive’s talk with Vanity Fair’s EIC Graydon Carter from their recent New Establishment Summit.
The interview is essential in my eyes, with topics covered like worries and joys of being Jony Ive, being a part of a creative team, the birth of a physical object, the seduction of “cool” features, that copying Apple’s designs is theft, and much, much more. My favorite line in the talk is one similar to what he said in the recent Vogue article about him, where he says, “Isn’t that curious? Because if you tasted some food that you didn’t think tasted right, you would assume that the food was wrong. But for some reason, it’s part of the human condition that if we struggle to use something, we assume that the problem resides with us.”
North Carolina based branding designer Matt Stevens stumbled into a really fun person project recently, creating a series of “Design Gangs” which mixes “personal experience, a fascination with our shared design language/experiences, and a healthy dose of wanting to try some new techniques.” I’ve been watching his progress over on his Dribbble and it’s been rad to see him slowly grow and discover what the series is about.
If I had the choice I’d definitely be a member of the Revision Killers.
There are two clear front runners for most important visual storytelling method: the emoji and the GIF. In the case of the latter it’s becomes increasingly interesting to see how people are experimenting with the media of short, looping animations. One of the most impressive artists I’ve come across lately is designer and illustrator Drew Tyndall, a Nashville resident who has created some impressive looking GIFs that are reminiscent of Sol Lewitt mashed with Piet Mondrian. His ability to create such fluidity and texture in each of these is mighty impressive, and his color choices are absolutely spot on.
You can see more of his looping illustrations in his portfolio.
I’ve never stopped to think about how we might grow plants in space. I’ve only really thought about those enormous geodesic domes that you see in sci-fi films like Silent Running, but I’ve never stopped to consider what a practical real-life equivalent of those might be. Obviously being in space brings about all kinds of issues and I can just imagine the problems you might face if you tried to water some soil while floating around in zero-gravity.
Fortunately the guys at NASA have been thinking about exactly these issues. Back in 2011 the experts and astronauts there collaborated with designers Piotr Szpryngwald and Mirko Ihrig in developing a means for astronauts to grow food on long duration space flights in a clean, easy and safe way.
Their solution is brilliantly simple. The concept consist of a small pillow which contains the seed and hydroponic media. They also created a special watering device which can both puncture and activate the pillow. The final element is a growing chamber which informs astronauts about the harvesting cycles of their plants. I think the idea is great and I love the look of it.
You can view more images from the project here.