Design Insights: Week 47

moen-rtr1000ch-lifestyle06_10730085Moen’s retractable towel ring. Enables the natural process of kids not bothering to put the towel back right.

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National Museum of Mathematics has a seasonal display taking place that is highlighting features which make math fun for kids…it’s all in the presentation.

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This stereo by Symbol Audio is a great example of an industry coming full circle. There is a whole series of these sweet little devices that provide amazing sound. When the Walkman then iPod came out the idea of spending big money on a nice stereo lost its appeal. Items like that take the new technology and embrace it with the result being something very desirable. This week I heard Steve Van Zandt (Springsteen’s E-Street Band) say that “the record industry is dead” for the same reasons…but the home audio industry is responding in a healthy way.

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White modlular storage system enables the items being stored to have visual prominence…then you notice the system itself. It’s like a second act. Mix and match. Available at the Dwell Store.

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The classic Brooks Saddle from Public Bike Company. Designed when the concept of pedal power was new. At that point people were making the conversion from horses…hence the name saddle. If you have ever owned a bike that has one of these you to will appreciate how easy it is to adjust the tension of the leather and how after the break in period, the patina from years of use only makes these better.

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Multifunction LED side light quietly accomplishes several tasks. Designed by Pablo and Fernando Pardo and available from DWR, this light helps eliminate adapters dangling off your duplex receptacle and the subtle little dish shaped base would serve as a great little “coin tray”…which if you think about the ash tray in your car…could house a lot of stuff.

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Contract Magazine has released its annual report…conducted by Nielsen…this is a great link to cruse through. I found it confirming that 3From is listed as 3rd…when we (ORG Home) just announced its availability through our ORG Home dealer network.

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You could redesign our desk-scape every day with these slick accessories. Designed by Hector Serrano & Seletti’s and available at A+R on-line.

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For those of you who bring your lunch to work…this is a handy little concept the Bento Box. Designed by London’s Black+Blum, this is a nice alternative to a million zip-locks and disposable Tupperware.

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FastCompany.com has published its “Favorites” list…haven “been there” this one made me chuckle.

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Architectural landmarks we should all know something about: this will help. A very good article on  Frank Loyd Wright’s Robie house at the blog Houzz. This particular dwelling is considered the icon of “prairie style”. Fortunately for us it is very close if you want to tour it (Chicago’s Hyde Park). And even more fortunate, the Meyer May house in Grand Rapids is almost identical to it.

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This handy device named “Node” senses true color with its Chroma attachment. The company, Variable Technologies also makes attachments that sense temperature, moisture, oxygen levels…you name it. And of course they all work with your iPod.

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Contractdesign.com is highlighting this new “Boardwalk Bench” form Forms+Surfaces. It is made from recycled Atlantic City boardwalk. It would have been very easy for them to just place the boards in a predictable pattern, but they opted to utilize a more random approach. This to me symbolizes perhaps a way to create some form of good and peace from what havoc Sandy unleashed on the world. From chaos to beauty.

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This radiant floor actually transforms and drops to become a pool.  Called a HydroFloor, read more at Inhabitat.com.

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From Design Miami….Wallpaper* Magazine is featuring several images…the above exhibit was titled “Drift” with the piece proceeding it by Francois Laffanour. The show appears to be a blend of art and design, both small, intimate objects and whole environments. All of which challenged my perception of “Miami”.

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Not only is this article in designboom entertaining, but it is a good representation of the importance of modeling, prototyping and the reiteration needed in the design process. Harmut Esslinger’s (Frog Design) early work for Apple is still pretty cool.

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Aedle VK-1 headphones. The power of imagery. The level execution, the material used and the photography entice the reader to go obtain a pair. There is a level of trust instilled. Perhaps this image is so effective that you just need to hear about them rather than hear them.

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Designboom features several manufacture’s as part of the “product library”. This stunning piece is from Molteni & C.

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Sitting on the site of a former solder’s barrack…this spot has now become a social pavilion. Designed by Emma Architecten it now features a construction made of “protective wood” which it very poetic given the sites past. Thank you FastCompany.com.

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Sprout Watch Company…eco-friendly timepieces.

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Archidoes.com is featuring this project from an architecture firm we should all know more about: Perkins & Will. This structure was created for a charter academy called Perspectives and is located in Chicago. P/W, among many other know projects also did Haworth’s Merchandise Mart showroom.

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Sometimes these modern all white houses can appear harsh and bleached of life to those that are not fully dedicated to the concept. Designerpad found one that is very comfortable. With these little hints of warmth…yellow and wicker…warm woods that stand out against the backdrop.

And finally…not knowing exactly the best way to end “the year” on this blog I tried several things. Eventually I just googled “German Designed Christmas” to see what came up…

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We actually have several of these (and only get them out at Christmas)…you light incense and place it inside these and the smoke exits like a chimney through their mouth. This smoker and his dachshund is about 8 1/2″ high.

Enjoy your holidays.

By Jon King

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