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11 Innovative Air Conditioners

11 Innovative Air Conditioners

It's hot in our office, so we went on the search for some innovations in conditioning.

Movement-Activated Air Conditioning

Engineers at MIT have come up with a new air conditioning design that utilizes sensors along aluminum rods hung from the ceiling. Movement then activates these sensors. In other words, the air conditioner only kicks on when people are present.

A motion-activated system seems like such a simple, ingenious idea that it’s almost baffling it hasn’t been tried before now. However, this kind of prototype is just one example of how future HVAC systems are going to be more compact and portable, helping to reduce both energy and utility costs.

Thermally Driven Air Conditioning

Another design that’s recently been implemented is thermally driven air conditioning. An Australian company named Chromasun has produced a low-cost alternative to traditional A/C units. It isn’t a widespread technology yet, and it will likely be several years before this kind of design becomes widely available in the United States. However, thermally driven air conditioning is a system that uses solar energy and is supplemented by natural gas, making it a highly efficient and effective system.

In fact, the double-chiller design provides more cooling capabilities than any other system so far, and it eliminates electricity costs altogether.

On-Demand Hot Water Recirculator

A U.S.-based company out of Rhode Island has designed an “on command” pump for a home’s water lines, which allows cool water to be circulated back into the water heater upon activation.

This product was engineered to be a solution to a major problem to which all of us contribute: Each year, the average home wastes 12,000 gallons of water just waiting for that water to warm up. Recirculating this otherwise-wasted water back into the system is an eco-friendly solution that’s bound to play a huge part in future homes.

Ice-Powered Air Conditioning

Air conditioners seem to be prime systems for tweaking and making better. That’s why a California-based company has created an ice-powered A/C system called the Ice Bear. The Ice Bear essentially works by freezing water in a tank overnight, so the ice can help cool a building the next day. So far, the design has been able to provide enough cooling for a building for up to six hours, after which, a conventional commercial air conditioner takes over.

Although this type of technology has quite a way to go before it can be the sole cooling system for a home, six straight hours of cooling a commercial building is a solid step in the right direction.

Sensor-Enhanced Ventilation

Each year, several products debut at technology expos all across the country, and 2015 was the year of the Ecovent. This ingenious product consists of sensor-driven vents that replace a home’s existing ceiling, wall, or floor vents. The best part? A smartphone app can control the Ecovent, providing precise, room-by-room temperature control.

Additionally, the system utilizes sensors to monitor a home’s temperature, air pressure, and other indoor air quality factors. Even though this system design is brand new, it’s been well tested and has already hit the market. Therefore, this is one piece of technology you can take advantage of today.

Dual-Fuel Heat Pumps

Another U.S.-based company has come up with the dual-fuel heat pump concept. The argument is that heat pumps tend to be more efficient and provide the maximum amount of comfort when using a combination of fuel. In this case, the system is a combination of an electric heat pump and a gas furnace.

At low temperatures, the pump draws on gas heat to maximize efficiency. When the temperature rises above 35 degrees, electricity takes over. The initial costs associated with a dual-fuel heat pump are more than a conventional system, but the amount of money you can potentially save over the next several years more than makes up for the costs.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Along those same lines, geothermal technology is a major investment that promises to save you much money over its lifetime. Geothermal heat pumps have been around since the 1940s, so they’re not exactly a new technology. Nevertheless, these products haven’t really caught on until recently.

With more homeowners waking up to the importance of going green, geothermal heat pumps have grown in popularity. A geothermal heat pump gets its energy directly from the earth through an underground looped pipe that absorbs the heat and carries it into the home. When cooling is needed, the process occurs in reverse, with the pump removing warmth in the home. A major bonus of having a geothermal heat pump is the availability of free hot water. Therefore, if you’re considering having geothermal technology installed in your home, ask your technician about this valuable perk.

Smart Homes

Everything is getting smarter these days. From the cars we drive to the televisions we watch, just about every piece of tech you can imagine has been outfitted with smart technology. It’s only natural, then, that our homes would be next.

Connected systems and phone apps now allow us to control our home’s lighting, heating, cooling, security systems, surveillance, and entertainment at the push of a virtual button. It’s a no-brainer that these “smart” technologies will continue to evolve and become integrated into our homes, allowing us to control a home’s comfort levels down to the last detail. Since many of these innovations are already available on the market, this movement toward a smarter home has changed how HVAC engineers and designers approach the next big thing, which is good news for those of us who appreciate high-tech solutions.

Fully Automated Homes

As if owning a smart home wasn’t convenient enough, fully automated homes will soon become a reality. There are already technological solutions on the market that are allowing companies to experiment with automated appliances and other products. Therefore, it’s only natural that HVAC systems will one day be directly tied into other systems in your home, making adjustments according to the status of the rest of the house.

3-D Printed Air Conditioners

It may seem a little far-fetched, but 3-D printing has advanced rapidly over the last few years, so expecting products like 3-D printed A/C systems could very well be a reality one day.

In fact, a company called Emerging Objects has already created a 3-D printed “brick” that draws moisture out of an area to cool it. While this simple innovation can’t be used in extreme temperatures, and we’re still a far cry from 3-D printed air conditioners, it’s just one example of the power of such a simple technology. We never know what tomorrow may bring.

Harnessing Heat from a Computer

If you own a laptop and have ever used it for several hours in one setting, you know how much heat it begins to generate. One innovator named Lawrence Orsini, founder of Project Exergy, has seen how efficient computers are at generating heat. This is why he’s theorized they can be used for powering heating systems.

Consider this: How many times have you thought of how great it would be if you had to use your stationary bike or treadmill to power your television? It may not be a serious thought, but it’s something almost everyone has considered at one time or another. Harnessing heat from a product you already use every day draws upon the same principle. At the end of the day, why waste all that excess energy when you don’t have to?

This article was original published here.

How to write a good design brief

How to write a good design brief

A good design brief is vital for a project that will run smoothly, and delivers the expected outcome on time and within budget.  

A design brief should be a comprehensive, detailed document that will guide both the designer and the client through the project's development. 

It will inform the designer of exactly what is required for the project, guide the workflow from beginning to end, keeps communication clear between the client and designer, and will keep the project on schedule.

The brief should be open enough to allow the designer to be creative, but specific enough that it avoids too much scope creep. Remember to define "what" needs to be achieved rather than "how" it should be done. 

In this blog post we will discuss what should be included to create a great design brief. 

What is the product? 

First off, you need to introduce the product. Explain clearly and concisely what the product does, and what the key features are. Think of this as your "product summary". 

Objectives and goals 

This part should give the designer some context and background to the project. 

Explain the need for the product. What is the real world problem you have identified, and how does your product solve this? Are there existing solutions on the market? How is your product better than your competitors? 

Tell us what stage your product is at – is it just an idea, do you have a functioning prototype, or is it a redesign of an existing product?  

Clearly define the scope of the work required from the designer. You may only want the designers to get involved at a certain stage, or you may want a complete "research to production" project – what deliverables do you want to see at the end of the project? 

Target market 

This is where you explain who the user of the product will be, and what issues concern them in using the product.

Who will be the person that buys the product? – remember, this is not always the person who will use the product. How much is the product going to sell for? 

Also explain the context in which the product will be used. Will it be used indoors, outdoors, in the wet or in the heat? 

Technical and material requirements 

Think about your material requirements – but try not to be too specific. Instead of saying "aluminium", say that the product needs to be strong, and lightweight. You don’t want to rule out a more suitable manufacturing method by specifying materials too early on. 

Does it have any electronic components, or other technical requirements? Does it need to be dust- or water-proof? Does it need to adhere to any standards or regulations that you are aware of? 

Manufacturing requirements 

When you are at the beginning of a project, manufacturing seems like it is something that will be in the distant future, but its important for the designer to begin designing with manufacture in mind.  

The first thing to think about will be the quantities you want manufactured. Is it going to be 50 a year, or 50,000? How much do you want it to retail for?  

These factors will influence the choice of manufacturing method, and the manufacturing method will influence the design.  

Budget and timescale 

Both the designer and the client need to share a realistic understanding of what work is required to complete the project. Each project is individual, and the budget and timescale will generally depend on the complexity of the design.  

Before you start, make sure you know your budget for funding development – this will allow the designer to make better decisions on where to allocate resources, and to give an idea of the level of product development they can achieve within that budget.  

Do you have a specific launch date? If you don’t, timescales need to be agreed. Timescales should include a final deadline, but also project milestones along the way. These milestones are a good opportunity to review the project with the designer, and update the brief if necessary. 

Design brief updates

Of course, it would be nice to have all the available information in the initial design brief, but its absolutely fine to have questions – just make sure there is allocated time to research and find answers to these unknowns. 

Also remember that the brief is a live document, and as projects develop and grow, the original brief may change. It's important for the brief to be updated, so both the designer and client are on the same page in regards to project outcomes and timelines. 

A good design brief can be one of the most valuable tools for project management, so don't just write it at the start, then file it so it never sees the light of day again. Keep notes, keep updating, and keep learning from it. 

This was written by Emma Hartley our award winning Product Designer.  If you have any design questions or would be interested in finding out more about how we can support you, please get in touch.

Design, engineering & manufacturing inspiration - May 2017

Design, engineering & manufacturing inspiration - May 2017

We've pulled together the more inspiring news stories of the past month, including competitions, inspiration and some design fails.

1 - Innovation is on the map

The University of Cambridge is searching for it's first ever Professor of Innovation.  We're looking forward to seeing what the next generation of engineers will be doing. 

Read the full story here in The Cambridge News.

2 - Steam power ahead

Steam power manufacturing

Thought steam was a thing of the past? East Kilbride-based Heliex Power, in partnership with City, University of London, was the first to discover a way of harnessing so-called “wet” steam – a relatively ubiquitous, yet frequently untapped, energy source.

Reportedly, the expander can drive machinery more efficiently and cost effectively than an electrical motor. Its second new technology, the Heliex AirComp is up to 18% more efficient than using an electrical motor, delivering potential savings in excess of £80,000 a year for a standard 100kW machine.  Well worth a watch.

Find out more in The Manufacturer.

3 - Design Fails

Juicero design

The America company Juciero became a talking point on twitter this month as it became clear that it's juicer was slower than man. Pre-sold packets of fruit can be squashed faster by hand, than by the Juciero. Which led people to question if innovation is dead in America?

Read all about it in The Guardian.

And the new indestructible £1 coin proved itself otherwise.

4 - Challenges and competitions

Plastics engineering and design

We all know that plastics and oceans don't mix, so The New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize is looking for applicants to rethink the design and materials of plastic packaging to make it more recyclable. Roughly 11 winners will be chosen across the two challenges, who will each receive up to $200,000 (£154,000) in grants to make their ideas happen.

To find out more and apply click here.

A £350k innovation challenge has been launched to find innovative UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) whose technology can be adapted and commercialised to solve societal and industry challenges in sectors unfamiliar to the company. 

The Manufacturer has all the details.

5 - Are your children inventors?

Children inventing

Children are the future, which is why we sponsor a fantastic organisation; Kids Invent Stuff. They're currently looking for crime fighting gadgets from children that they will then build and post on youtube!

Find out more here.

 

We work with businesses across technology, heavy engineering, software, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, gas and nuclear to support them to bring their ideas to life and profit from product design. 

We have brought together a diverse team who can help you finance your project with our Research and Development Tax Credit team, and bring those ideas to life with our product designers and engineers.

If you have an idea or a project that you think we could support you with please get in touch.

 

What is design thinking?

What is design thinking?

As R&D tax and innovation experts, we specialise in Design Thinking, and we're are often asked what Design Thinking actually is?

The short answer is that it is a user-centric, creative and repeatable process for solving problems, but in all honesty, this short answer doesn't really do it justice. 

We all know that problem-solving is an inherent part of business, however what many don't realise is that whilst problems can be a source of frustration, be they small hurdles or colossal obstructions, they also provide critical insight and stimulus into your business and inform the innovation process as a whole.

In fact, the businesses that truly prosper are those that use problems to uncover opportunities and arrive at agile, intelligent and creative solutions.

This is where Design Thinking emerges as a powerful process...

Design Thinking is a series of steps that forces you to dig deeper, define and refine, ask the difficult questions, and go beyond the obvious to understand the real challenge to be solved. 

It is an approach that always puts the user at the centre, encouraging you to immerse yourself in their experience, getting right into the nitty gritty of their perspective to ensure that your ultimate solution adds value to the end user, because if it doesn't, your solution is just not going to triumph. 

This 'triumph' is the most important and celebrated element of Design Thinking.

Sometimes Design Thinking is mistaken as primarily a brainstorming or creativity tool but it is actually a holistic process in which every stage crucially takes you closer to reaching the end goal.

In fact, we would go so far as to say that if you're skipping a stage, then you're not practising Design Thinking, and the end goal won't be reached as quickly, efficiently or successfully, if at all. 

Design Thinking is all about creating value and impact, and when employed properly it achieves amazing results.  

That's why Design Thinking is no longer a process only used by designers looking for an assured way of developing products that people actually want and need. Today, all types and functions of business from admin to marketing to HR and finance have begun employing Design Thinking as the go-to process for successful problem solving, innovation and driving a brand or business forward.

Are you one of them? 

Interested in finding out more about how we could use the principles of design thinking for your product or software design? Our team of experts are all waiting to get to the route of your problems!

10 Beautiful Designs - October

10 Beautiful Designs - October

It’s Autumn now, right? Or at least it’s close. So close that I can already feel the cosy open fires, smell the chestnuts roasting and feel the crunch of the fallen leaves.

This month will feature designs from all manner of design routes, a bit like the miscellaneous blog from August, enjoy.

Horiz-ontal

First up is the Casa Italia project. Invited to create artwork for the Italian sports team headquarters, Davide D’Elia presents ‘Horiz-ontal’. This winding path of blue and white walls feature 17 installations of various objects painted in sync with the dividing lines. The corridor is surreal but yet immersive and inviting. You are guided down the path, led by the flow of the lines, the lighting and the bold colours.

 

A+Z Loft House

I just love it when old buildings get repurposed into beautiful living spaces and this is such a great example. Factories are always my favorite conversion projects, closely followed by barns and old unused churches. This ex-weapons factory in Budapest has become a wonderful home. Undertaken by a husband and wife who run A+Z Design Studio, decided to become their own clients and convert this industrial building into a living space. In total, they have spent two years on this project and the result is a combination of retro with contemporary. The space has four floors, plenty of natural light and lots of painted details. I absolutely adore the living and dining area.

 

WTF Lamp

These ‘WTF’ bare lamps come from Sergey Lvov of Ukranian Levantin Design. I’ll admit, I’m a bit smitten with these lamps, aren’t they lovely! Nothing is hidden, all the fittings are on show, the bulb is proudly sitting in the geometric wire shade and the exposed power cable trails down the structure. 

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 14.54.41.png

Kenzo/Spike Jonze

Not product design, not architecture, not even interior design...though actually it kind of is all three. The new collaboration between Kenzo and Spike Jonze is probably the best advert i've ever seen. I absolutely love it. It takes everything you'd expect from a perfume advert and turns it on it's head. It's fun, bold and breaks from stereotypes. The setting is a beautiful grand building with wide open staircases, mirrored walls and beautiful chandeliers. Complete with elegant furnishings, beautiful interiors, amazing choreography and strong direction, it was impossible to leave this off the list. 

 

Impossible I Type

This beauty from The Impossible Project marries modern day tech with nostalgia. This striking industrial design screams modernity, from the matte black finish to the typography. There are few buttons or dials on this camera, the ring of LED lights at the front are controllable from the camera and there is also a switch for exposure compensation control. In manual mode, the camera takes it’s lead from an app, offering remote shutter control, artistic shooting modes and shutter and exposure control.

 

Mido

From the mind of designer Rasmus Warberg, comes the MIDO sideboard. The industrial pipes pair beautifully with the wooden case. This thoughtful construction is evidence of his fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. I love the black pipes, and how they enhance the brightness of the wood.

 

Turning Boxes

Hans Sandgren Jakobsen designed these turning boxes for the 2015 Cabinetmakers’ autumn exhibition. There will be 50 limited edition cabinets available, all of which are already pre-ordered. The single, interconnected drawers are connected by one single bolt allowing them to easily slide in and out of their location. The contrast between the American walnut and European maple is just beautiful and the tower is both a functional item and a focal point. ­­­­

 

Solight

This wonderful light is not only a great design, but it has practical and environmental purpose too. Designer Alice Chun has designed this packable, collapsible and floatable solar lantern as a lighting alternative to reduce pollution and give light to those in need. Made from recyclable sailcloth material and 10 LEDs, which re-charge in the sun, this eco-friendly product provides 8-12 hours of light. Withstanding most climates makes this a versatile design, very beneficial for those in areas with no electricity.

 

Monoliths

I really love these tables. Probably because they’re made of concrete… in fact, there’s no probably about it, it’s definitely because they’re made of concrete. Architect Murray Barker and artist Laith McGregor designed these outdoor table tennis tables for the University Museum of Art in Melbourne. With copper detailing and steel nets, these tables look heavy and yet sleek.

 

Austin Seven Boulogne

This gorgeous go-kart has been designed and created by Douglas Varey who started building them as a family project with his 11-year-old daughter. Using re-purposed and eco-friendly materials, Varey designs and builds vintage inspired go-karts and this is a truly beautiful example of his work. This Austin Seven Boulogne took two years to complete and illustrates how different elements come together to create truly fantastic design.

Written by

Katherine Thomson

 

Apple iPhone 7 -This much we know

Apple iPhone 7 -This much we know

They've done it again haven't they. They've graced the world with another spectacular example of design, except as always, it's more than just that. Never have Apple made an announcement which hasn't been exciting, and that's part of the joy of their work, the hype, the anticipation, the big reveal. 

As per, the rumours regarding this announcement have been gaining traction for months... though basically it's been since the last Apple iPhone launch. We heard that the new iPhone will come in a few different colours, and blue would be one of them - they were wrong about the blue, and i'm glad, because i'm way too excited about the double black versions that have been announced. We heard that the headphone jack would become obsolete - they were right and there's these super sleek looking AirPods taking their place (though in the box there will be lightening connection headphones). We heard that the screen would stretch around corners - they weren't right (but for that one, personally i'm glad). 

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 09.47.35.png

Let's clear up a few of the other rumours and see if they were correct - 

Waterproof - 👍🏻

Dual 12MP cameras on the plus - 👍🏻

Increased storage models - 👍🏻

Replacement of home button - 👍🏻

Plus sized version - 👍🏻

Stereo speakers - 👍🏻

3D screen - 👎🏻

Longest battery life ever - 👍🏻

I've never been disappointed with an iPhone launch, but I have felt slightly underwhelmed in the past, and even as a complete Apple user, I have even been tempted to leave and try something new, but they always manage to reel me back in! I've got high hopes for this new camera technology, i'm impressed by their claims and I want to try it out! There's a few new features, including the waterproofness and the stereo speakers which has made this an exciting launch. 

iOS 10 definitely does not disappoint. Much the opposite. It's bigger, bolder and more exciting than ever. 

Just a few things to look forward to - 

  • Send a message in your own handwriting
  • Hide a message that can be swiped to reveal it
  • Send a 'reaction' back to a message
  • Draw over videos and pictures
  • Replace words with emojis 
  • Make table reservations through OpenTable or book an Uber all through Maps
  • Control your smart tech with the new Home app
  • Raise your phone to wake it
  • Apple pay in browser

Thanks Apple, you've given us lots to look forward to and it's exciting to see where the developments lead.

The new iPhone will be released on September 16th and you can pre-order on the 9th.

Tweet us and let us know what features you're most excited about. 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson 

 

10 Beautiful Designs - September

10 Beautiful Designs - September

Hi there folks, the top ten design blog is here for September! Hopefully you'll love all of the designs, but let us know your favourite!

Alato Cabinet

Created by two students for their final project, this beautiful piece is both striking and creative. The paint finish creates a scaly effect, with the unfinished ash veneer at the top of the cabinet, down to the light grey and cool blue. Currently, the Alato cabinet is only a prototype but the future looks bright for it’s creators.

 

 

Coffee table number three

This table challenges your perception of a standard coffee table. Aesthetically pleasing and sculptural as well as practical. The wood contrasts with the minimalist alabaster and looks both rustic and elegant. Designed to fit into any interior, this is a versatile and beautiful design.

 

 

Billy BL floor lamp

This lovely brass footed lamp has been designed by Ilse Crawford for Australian design company, Kalmar Werkstätten. The lamp is supported by a rosewood stem and features an elegant matt black lampshade with a contrasting brass interior. The London based designer has completed several projects for brands and this is another example of her well executed work.

 

 

Earth table

Designer Renzo Piano has created the Earth table to symbolise the Twin Towers. The iron legs reference the tangle of reinforced bars left behind in the rubble and the wooden top is representative of a world map. The pieces of wood are suspended in clear resin and sourced from ancient trees preserved in New Zealand swamps.

 

 

Moooi Horse lamp

These lamps are a bit out of the ordinary and I love them. The collection for Moooi consists of full scale models of a horse and a rabbit with lamps on their heads and a pig side table. Initially unsure of how people would react to their new range, the feedback has been very positive, with the horse lamp in particular featuring in design magazines around the world.

 

 

Blubel

Urban dwellers rejoice, the Blubel is designed to make cycling around the city a lot easier and safer. Designed to work with your phone, the Blubel offers much more than a GPS device. This little bit of tech can be used to alert other cyclists to potential dangers on the road, in real time. The directions are displayed to you using a circle of LED lights and alerts are incorporated to warn you of hazards.

 

Stamp Pendent

Outofstock have designed this lamp for Danish brand Bolia, and have mixed soft and hard materials to create this beautiful pendant lamp. The body is made of two parts, blown white glass and industrial felt. The marriage of the materials and the shapes, creates a beautiful and striking design.

 

 

Maburu

Mob, a Mexican design studio, have created these two new table designs to rethink how marble can be used. Paired with either brass or wood, the marble is cut into geometric shapes. I really love the use of a contrasting material to provide an accent material.

 

 

Loft Hrebenky

I had to include this example of gorgeous interior design. This stunning flat in Prague is a great example of how a design can work in a difficult setting. 44 pieces of furniture had to be made to fit into the unconventional layout. Other furnishings were added, most of which were 1950’s items to complete the look. I really love this design, the use of materials and the muted colour scheme.

 

 

Dartmouth sofa convertible & table

This practical and clever design comes from Brandon Kershner who explored how to make the most of space in home furnishings. Not only does this sofa hide a very practical table in the back of the seat, but it also folds down into a double bed.

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

If you enjoyed that, why not check out our other blogs too

 

 

 

Top 10 Beautiful Designs - August

Top 10 Beautiful Designs - August

This month we’re doing things a little differently. It's nice to mix things up sometimes, and instead of just ten beautiful designs, here is a complete mix of product design, architecture and installations (all beautiful of course). I wanted to look at a variety of different designs with how they transform a space, so that’s what I’ve done. Welcome to the miscellaneous collection, I hope you like it!

Normal service will resume next month. 🙌🏻

The Floor Do Ho Suh

An installation in the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, this flooring looks pretty regular until you get up close to it. Holding up the sheet of glass flooring are thousands of miniature plastic figures with their heads and arms upwards. Together the tiny plastic people hold up whoever is standing on the floor, this is a symbolic and thought-provoking piece

 

Rocket Coffee Table

This incredibly fun design comes from Stelious Mousarris. I am 100% in love with this table, it’s just so well executed. The five unattached legs represent rockets taking off, with the middle rocket taking off through the glass too, the table blasts you off into a sense of nostalgia as you are reminded of childhood toys. It’s such a fantastic idea and completely unlike any other design I’ve seen. Mousarris is known for his unique style, just take a look at his incredible ‘wave city dining table’ and you’ll see what I mean!

 

Ox & Monkey Hot Tub

Hot tubs are great, but they’re not known for being kind to the environment. This outdoor hot tub from Canadian studio, Ox and Monkey addresses this problem. Designed to be eco-friendly, the hot tub is durable and made from high quality, locally sourced materials. Handcrafted, each hot tub takes between 6-10 weeks to produce.

 

Iceberg

I never rank the designs on this blog by order of favourites, but if I had to pick, this would be a strong contender for the top spot. French design studio, Harow, has created this seamless blend of art and design. Each box is handcrafted to create a unique finish. The pieces encapsulate the arctic landscape, representing the beauty of the ice giants which lie mostly under the surface of the sea. Crafted from fiber glass and epoxy resin, each ‘iceberg’ box takes a minimum of one month to craft.

 

Umbrella Table & Stool

Tadeas Podracky, a young Czech creative, researches different techniques from around the world. The beautiful design from Podracky is the ‘umbrella table & stool’. He explored traditional crafts from the Yuhang region of China, famous for it’s bamboo and bronze items. Using Bronze and an oil-paper umbrella, which was disassembled and reconstructed to create the table and stool.

 

Meier Road

Norwegian firm, Mork-ulnes architects have transformed this barn in California into a gorgeous residence/artist studio. The design perfectly marries together the indoors and outdoors by part filling the floor with compost and adding exotic plants, aloes and bamboo. I’m completely in love with the variety of ceiling heights in this barn. Each room is a different shape to the last. Click the link to view the barn in all it’s glory!

Secret Wood - Wooden Rings

Vancouver-based Secret Wood have crafted the most enchanting rings possible. These wooden rings hold forests, waterfalls and lagoons within their transparent resin. Once set, the resin is formed into angular shapes to give different perspectives depending on the viewing angle. Each ring is handmade, and takes around 5-6 weeks to be completed, meaning that each ring is completely unique. 

 

Ligomancer

The Ligomancer - where art meets functional design. Italian-Greek studio CTRLZAK, is the creative genius behind this wonderful design. The lattice of elastic bands wrap around the stainless steel tubular framework in an overlapping pattern, providing a surprisingly comfortable seating solution. This sofa has a seriously big visual impact and is like no sofa I’ve ever seen before. 

Versailles Installation

Olafur Eliasson transforms the Palace of Versailles into a surreal experience for visitors. The indoor and outdoor installations engulf the famous landmark and give it fame for a different reason other than its history. The outdoor ‘Waterfall’ is arguably the most impressive and most beautiful of all the installations. Suspended in mid-air, it really steals the show when looking out across the palace gardens. Other installations featured include a ‘Fog Assembly’ mist garden, ‘Glacial Rock Flour Garden’, ‘The Gaze of Versailles’ and ‘The Curious Museum’. The exhibition is running until October 30th 2016, incase you’re heading to Versailles anytime soon! 

The Grand Beedapest Hotel

Ahh, my two favourite things, combined into one design. Wes Anderson and Bees. Inspired by Andersons ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, this Bee hotel has been modeled in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of Bees. Taylors of Harrogate tea company specifically want to highlight the role bees play in delivering the flavours found in their fruity and herbal blends. The hotel rooms are themed with different flavours, including a sour cherry bedroom, a peppermint leaf swimming pool and a lemongrass and ginger bar. I know I’ve said this already, but this is probably my most favourite design on the list, I just think it’s perfect. 

...Bonus design, because i'm nice like that.

Canal St Martin

I’m in love with the eye tiles, so I’ve added a bonus design for the list. This apartment is too stunning not to feature in this list of miscellaneous designs. Clean, crisp and yet bold, this apartment has statement pieces, muted colours and carefully considered touches (see the hand flush chain in the bathroom). I’m completely obsessed with this series of images. I adore the composition in each and every room, it’s just so well executed and could easily be the perfect setting for a film. Don’t even get me started on the colour coordinated books or the variety of flooring materials, I won’t be able to stop writing.

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Want to read about more beautiful designs? Let us tempt you with these.

Top 10 Glass Designs

Top 10 Glass Designs

This originally started out as a top 5, but once I started narrowing it down, I just couldn’t only choose 5…you’ll see why.

 

Limpid Lights

Hailing from Eindhoven, Sam Van Gurp and Esther Jongsma, partner together to create product design studio VANTOT. The latest work to come from this duo is a collection called Limpid Lights. The shades are hand blown, and treated to create a hazy hue from the LED inside. This beautiful collection comes in a variety of shapes and three different colours.

 

 

OP-Vase

This beautiful collection of vases comes from designer, Bilge Nur Saltik. The faceted glass creates the illusion of a bouquet from just a single flower, multiplying and magnifying the flower. The collection features thee different vases in different shades and sizes, each crafted from hand blown glass. I really love this idea, and how effective they are at achieving the look of a bouquet.

 

 

Well

Aptly named as it draws inspiration from traditional water wells, this table lamp from Medj Studio takes a fresh look at mood lighting. A wooden handle mechanism winds and unwinds the cord which changes the height of the bulb. The higher the bulb, the brighter the light as the glass is frosted at the bottom creating a gentle hue. The glass is blown into wooden molds and drilled to allow for maple handles and brass details. The bulb socket hangs properly due to the weight of the brass bulb socket and a textile cable holds the socket.

 

 

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Glass Tea House

Okay, so less product design, more architecture, but an incredibly beautiful design which I had to include.

Tea ceremonies are a deeply rooted tradition in Japanese culture. This stunning creation comes from Tokujin Yoshioka to allow people to appreciate the surroundings whilst taking part in a tea ceremony, bringing people closer nature.

 

 

 

Holy Tristan

These tables marry together my favorite material (concrete) with glass. Concrete is a minimalist material and allows the focus to be placed on the lit glass table top. Designed by Michael Neubauer, these tables look futuristic and sleek. The patent pending lighting system has a special touch dimmer, giving ‘table lamp’ a whole new meaning.

 

 

Glass Shoal

This incredibly beautiful design comes from Scabetti. Resembling a school of fish swimming together in formation, this three hundred and eighty-six fish lighting fixture has quite an incredible presence. Created using clear, kiln-formed glass, the light reflects off the glass almost resembling sunlight through water. Truly beautiful.

 

 

 

Uki

Mjölk, a Toronto based shop and gallery which focusses on Japanese and Scandinavian goods has released this lovely candle lamp which comes from Nichetto Studio. The Uki tea light lamp has a Murano blown-glass diffuser to create subtle angles and the two shade options of either white or grey sit on top of a brass or copper base creating a soft hue.

 

 

Quido

This wonderful glass orb has one purpose, to allow you to enjoy a drink in the sun, with your friends without attracting lots of little bugs along to the party too. This contemporary design, takes modern mixology to a gorgeous new level, combining a bulky black lid with delicate glass straws. This is both beautiful, and practical.

 

 

Bottle up

Glass waste is a big problem in Zanzibar, as tourism proves to be both a vital source of income for the island, but also a large driver of waste. The glass has begun to overtake the natural surroundings, and as a solution, six Dutch designers have turned their attentions to creating ‘Bottle Up’ by teaming up with local craftsmen to transform glass waste into beautiful, functional products.

 

Credenza

I’ve saved my favourite until last because I think this collection is a truly beautiful example of glass design. This modern stained glass, inspired by the stained glass windows found at holy sites marries perfectly the traditional beauty of a thousand-year-old art with contemporary design. The highly skilled Italian artists that product these pieces, still use an old manual technique.

 

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

Have you seen our Top 5 Marble designs?

10 beautiful designs - July

10 beautiful designs - July

There’s a lot of clocks this month...though that's no bad thing! 

Enjoy! 

Life in Progress Concrete Clock

I couldn’t keep concrete out of the blog could I? This gorgeous and simplistic design comes from Bertrand Jayr for Lyon Béton. The French manufacturer has a growing family of concrete products and I love it! The clean design is created by the absence of numbers and the clean white clock hands. Small enough to be a desk clock yet big enough to be a wall clock too, this is a versatile design with a big impact.

 

The Bradley Element

The Bradley Element by Eone is an innovative and practical design. Stylish and intriguing, this watch strips away traditional elements and instead replaces the hands with a dial ball bearing system powered by magnets. The Bradley line of watches were designed with the visually impaired in mind, able to match the position of the ball bearing to the raised marker on the watch face. This eye-catching design is made of tough materials making it not only a great design, but also a practical one.

 

Anima Table Lamp

Art Deco will never go out of style. The streamlined accents and pastel colours shine through to modern day designs, and this Anima table lamp from Atelier Sauvage is a key example of this. Composed of two contrasting woods, solid sycamore and French pear, this simple form is defined by its smooth curves, stacked structure and bulb placement. Delicate but bold, this piece is both a lamp and a sculpture.

 

 

ONEclassic

This beautifully designed speaker is constructed from acrylic plastic.  The clear casing isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it has a practical reason too. The acrylic is perfect for damping which stops the sound from reflecting inside the speaker. Of course, this material comes at a higher price and it is 5x more expensive than wood. There’s no denying that this speaker comes with a hefty price tag, but the transparent design and uncompromising performance makes this a unique design on this months blog.

 

Tarxia Collection

These handcrafted wooden phone cases from Adrián Rosales and Rafael Ruiz Casares are influenced by Andalusian art mosaics. The Tarxia collection are crafted using a seven centuries old technique which involves creating geometric patterns out of inlaid wood. Each of the nine designs are finished using natural materials making them ecological and hypoallergenic.

 

 

Today

Another clock, I did warn you that it would be clock heavy this month. This one though, is truly beautiful, and comes from Scott Thrift. Instead of focusing on the passage of time through hours and minutes ‘Today’ makes a full clock rotation through 24 hours to represent dawn, noon, dusk and midnight in corresponding hues. This clock stretches the user’s perception of time and provides a reminder to live in the present.  

 

Time Pattern

Layered triangular components form the basis of this clock. ‘Time pattern’ is a wall clock which again, looks at time differently. Designer Jorrit Taekema uses the layered elements to represent the passage of time and how it is constantly changing. The triangles look striking against the black clock front and although you might not have this for practical uses, this is a lovely item in its own right.

 

Concreto

Probably my favorite design on the list and can you blame me? Look at it, it’s beautiful! Designer Daniele Ragazzo was inspired by the walls found in Liguria which feature glass frozen in cement. This gorgeous design might look frail, but composed of fibre-reinforced concrete, coloured glass, amber and brass, this delicate looking table is much more solid than it looks. I just absolutely love it!

 

Wooden Turntable Collection

Creative and beautifully designed, these turntables from Joel Scilley are created from old pieces of wood. Available for purchase through his website, each turntable is beautifully individual and ranges from the classic looking ‘Chirp’ to the elaborate ‘El Diablo’.

 

Connesso Chair

Take a look at this, isn’t it lovely. It’s so simple and yet bold. This striking armchair comes from recent design graduate, Caroline Eriksson. The sweeping arm, in contrast to the solid form of the legs and seat, making the design look both delicate and tough. I love the simplicity of this design and that it capable of making such a big visual impact.

 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

If you've enjoyed that list, then you're in for a treat, because there's a new one every month! Why not give the previous design blogs a read!

Top 5 Marble Designs

Top 5 Marble Designs

Here are 5 gorgeous Marble designs for you. 

STND

Bringing together natural materials and modern technology, STND marries the beauty of marble with crisp design. This beautiful iPhone holder is available in white marble, with a black version coming soon. The design looks beautiful enough, as an iPhone stand, and the fact it also charges your phone is an added bonus.

 

Affordances #1 (You only reincarnate infinitely)

Possibly the most exciting feature of this design, is that it is three modular pieces of marble and granite effortlessly joined together to make one side table which means that the possibilities are limitless as each table looks different to the last. Designed by Jonathan Zawada, Affordances #1 (You only reincarnate infinitely) is a strong design, defined by its uniqueness.

 

Riviera

The Riviera tables designed by Zurich-based designer Alfredo Häberli, take marble in a new direction. Designed to be transportable, Häberli reimagines this material in a flat pack design. Without requiring additional hardware, the table slots together effortlessly with thanks to crisp cut joints and using the weight of the marble to its advantage. This design challenges our perception of marble furniture, and gives it a fun new twist.

 

Marble Lamp

This table lamp from Novecento is a collection of LED table lamps. Designed by Davide G Aquini, the lamps are available in either black or white. Art Deco inspired, and crisp in appearance, these lamps make a statement even when the light isn’t on. The thick marble discs sit on a triangular metal structure, with either a brass or green-water finish.

 

Marble and recycled stone grinder

Designed by London based Laetitia de Allegri and Matteo Fogale, to create an alternative solution to the traditional pestle and mortar. This design works by rocking the marble section back and forth to crush the herb/pepper/salt. The base of this design is recycled stone, sourced from Dutch company, StoneCycling who create building materials from waste. The marble looks striking in contrasting colours compared to the stone, and with the shape, texture and colour combined, this is a really beautiful design.

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10 beautiful designs - June

10 beautiful designs - June

Hi!!! 🙌🏻 It's that time again, enjoy! My personal fave is the TWELVE lamp series! Tweet us your faves @g2innovation 

Elmer

Designed by Guillaume Delvigne, in partnership with French design studio Bellila, this lovely lamp, Elmer, is inspired by Elephant ears. The metal ears, combined with a sturdy oak base make for a soft and soothing design, which looks great in an array of playful colours. This clever and contemporary design means that the lamp can sit on it’s own, or be grafted to a shelf. I absolutely love the orange one!

 

Lagoon

Customizable and fun, this outdoors chair from Baldessari e Baldessari for Lagoon is inspired by lagoon colours from all around the world. Polypropylene-molded to give the impression that it’s comprised of two pieces, although the stitching doesn’t hold the chair together, it does fasten the cover into place which is removable and available in different fabrics, allowing you to customize the look.

 

Woolsey Ping Pong table

Designed by Sean Woolsey, this sleek and multifunctional Ping Pong table is perfect for design enthusiasts. Featuring a solid black walnut top sitting on solid walnut legs and paddles made from walnut and maple, this table is one that screams to be shown off. Perfect for an office environment, the powder-coated steel net can be easily removed, effortlessly turning this gorgeous table into a dining or conference table.

 

Mushroom Lamp

Versatile and functional, this fungus shaped LED lamp also acts as a charger and stand for your phone. A nod towards nature, particularly the varieties of mushroom that illuminate at night using bioluminescence, this lovely little glass lamp emits a soft and welcoming glow. When flipped over to reveal the maple base, this lamp is able to charge your phone at the same time as working as a lamp. Able either to illuminate a space for 8 hours or to charge an iPhone twice over before needing a little recharge itself.

 

Lift-Bit

The world’s first internet-of-things sofa has been unveiled and it looks lovely! The ‘Lift-bit’ designed by Carlo Ratti Associati with help from Vitra is a modular furniture system which can transform from sofa to bed to chair through gestures or a mobile app. Consisting of a cluster of upholstered stools, motorized using a linear actuator, the user has complete control over the form they want their seating to take, though the shape-shifting configuration will re-adjust when it gets ‘bored’ to keep users on their toes.

 

Solid wool

Solidwool is a British company that has joined the green revolution. The material, Solidwood, is made from two components- bio-resin and wool. Bio-resin is eco-friendly and without harmful chemicals, and wool is sustainable, renewable and natural and forms the base of this design. The sustainable ash wood legs offset the black powder coasted steel frame and would fit beautifully into any contemporary setting.

 

TWELVE

This lovely lighting system from Plato design is fully customizable thanks to its magnetic connections and modular design. The TWELVE collection consists of three different models, each with different finishes, and made from different materials. My personal favorite is the Basic TWELVE because it’s made from concrete and I’m sure my love of concrete is no shock to anyone who reads this blog regularly! The dodecahedrons with built in magnets let you join together up to seven lamps with only the need for one to be plugged in.

 

Concretus

Designed by second year product design student, Gražina Bočkutė, this gorgeous speaker is striking. Clean crisp lines, highlighted by the rough texture of the concrete and complimented by the metal accents, this contrast of materials makes it both contemporary and industrial. With Bluetooth integration and four control buttons on the side, this speaker turns traditional speakers on their heads. 

 

Molekule

Air pollution is a big problem, and indoor air is 5 times more polluted than outdoor as chemicals and pollutants accumulate and multiply over time. Designed by Dr Yogi Goswami, a scientist who has developed the Molekule, a system, which doesn’t just capture harmful bacteria, mold and viruses, but converts them into clean air. The contemporary design and clean cylindrical shape make this an elegant piece, which wouldn’t look, out of place in the home.

 

Louis

Sometimes you just can’t beat the grainy retro warmth of a vinyl record. The problems occur when you want that sound, but don’t want the heap of records stacked up next to your deck.  This beautiful little speaker, inspired by the iconic gramophone shape, is the answer to all of life’s vinyl problems. Designed by Paolo Cappello, this wooden analogue speaker mimics the sound of records when playing music off your smartphone. Available in neutral, graphite and yellow, what’s not to love? 

Enjoyed this months design blog? Why not check out the previous posts here

Written by

Katherine Thomson

10 beautiful designs - May

10 beautiful designs - May

Hello! 

I can promise you, there's some really great designs in this months blog! My personal favourites are the Gemma sofa and the Helix lamp, but you'll have to scroll down to get a peek at those! Tweet us your favourites! Happy reading! 🙌🏻

Lampo

Designed by Kasia Oźmin and Lindsay Richardson, Lampo is easy to assemble, elegant and creative all in one. The innovative design inspired by origami, features clean geometric shapes which work beautifully with the warmth of the maple wood contrasting with the colourful twisted cloth cable. Lampo shades are carefully folded by hand using Japanese washi paper, which is tough, durable and flexible. The lamp arrives in a tube, and takes about 5 minutes to assemble.

 

 

Gemma Collection

The Gemma collection from Daniel Libeskind is technically a collection of designs and not just one beautiful design, but I wanted to focus on the grey and white ombre sofa, which really caught my eye. Known for complex building design using complex geometries, this sofa uses signature Libeskind design but on a much smaller scale. The ombre knitted fabric highlights the geometric shapes within the sofa and looks much softer than the solid colour leather upholstery option.

 

Circuit

Oh come on, it wouldn’t be the beautiful design blog without some lighting… so here it is! Circuit comes from New York based studio, Apparatus and the lighting is repeated to create larger fixtures by either stacking or alternating. Oval shapes made of aged brass house Glass capsules and the results look simple and lovely.

 

Femton 

Femton, from industrial design student Ali Safa A, is a collection of workout gear that consists of four devices each made of natural materials. The collection consists of an adjustable dumbbell, a core wheel, two push up barrels and a hemp skipping rope. Designed to become part of your homes décor, this collection makes workout gear stylish and contemporary, a complete departure from the typical and often unsightly metal and plastic equipment.

 

Lee

Lee, from designer Glen Lewis-Steele is a hanging cube light. Cleverly designed, this curious asymmetric form unveils structural secrets, as the viewer is encouraged to move around the light. Handcrafted by Lewis-Steele and available in three sizes, this lamp is a beautiful example of clever design. 

 

Helix Lamp

The Helix lamp from Michael Samoriz pays homage to the lighting coil, which is an element in every incandescent bulb. Samoriz’s work ranges from 3D graphics to industrial design to visualizations. The lamp emits light only from the bottom curvatures and the versatility of the design means it can be contracted or stretched out, depending on the use. I really love this lamp and I love how it changes depending on which side it’s viewed from!

 

BIRK

You know how miscellaneous things, like paperwork, keys, pens etc. seem to accumulate on top of the coffee table? Well, designer Iselin Lindmark Dubland noticed that too and created BIRK, a coffee table made up of half circles to conceal storage space within. The inside is lined with 100% wool to protect items from getting scratched. The tabletop and legs are crafted from birch veneer and made by Dubland in her schools workshop.

 

GIANT Anglepoise

Iconic, Anglepoise has been around since the 1930’s designing gorgeous and functional desk lamps. They’ve always stayed very true to form, or at least until a request by the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre asking for a lamp, which was triple scale to match with one of Dahl’s loved characters. The giant lamp proved so popular, that they launched it as a floor lamp. There is now a re-engineered outdoor version, which just looks fantastic and makes a massive statement.

 

Paperscapes

Dear Human, a Montreal-based creative studio, has come up with a way to turn recycled paper into functional objects called, Paperscapes. The studio prides itself on being able to take a second look at things, to uncover hidden potential and make things fresh again. Paperscapes uses recycled paper sourced from an industry waste site, which is manipulated into a clay-like material.

 

Knot Studio

Inspired by the sea and the city, these funky-knotted cushions and stools from Knots studio are bold and beautiful. The knots are formed by a unique tying technique that is filled with stiff foam filling and upholstery that improves their longevity.  

 

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

Last months design blog can be viewed here

10 Beautiful Designs - April

10 Beautiful Designs - April

 

Hello!  

I've got a lovely new list of beautiful designs, just for you! 

Enjoy 🙌🏻

Why not tweet us and let us know which you really love! 

LA table – Lagoon

I’m in love with this design, it’s such a fun concept and ties in nicely with the upcoming ‘Top 5 Marble Designs’ blog, as it is made from marble and resin. The design, aptly named ‘Lagoon’ resembles the coast and likely influenced by the Caribbean island of St Martin where designer Alexandre Chapelins studio is based.

 

Metamorphosis Shelf

Created in collaboration with Horm, this hand carved wood design from Sebastian Errazuriz is simple and beautiful. Using only panes of glass to add functionality to his work, this shelf focuses on the natural beauty of the tree shape. Sourced from fallen branches in forests in South America, the shelves keep the trees’ original shapes. This shelf is part of a series that includes coffee tables, which are equally as stunning.

 

Matter of Motion

These beautiful stools come from Israel based designer, Maor Aharon, who has explored materials, motion and shape to achieve this design. Focussing on centrifugal motion, Aharon looked at how velocity, acceleration and radius of rotation have an affect on different materials, the results are beautiful.

 

Atmo Sfera PlatterLess Design Turntable

The iconic design of the turntable has remained largely unchanged for almost a century. Atmo Sfera has constructed a design that changes more than just the aesthetics. Eliminating reverberations allows a superior sound to shine through without any distortion. The built in RIAA phono preamplifier and built in Bluetooth connectivity allow for ease of access to your music and the contemporary design is a welcoming addition to modern living spaces.

 

Omata One Analog Speedometer

Omata has created an analog speedometer, designed specifically for cyclists. The company believes that “great design and meaningful products come more from what you leave out, rather than what you add in” and this is certainly true in this case. Omata have stripped this design down to the very basics; speed, distance, ascent and time. Beautifully simple, the Omata One records a vast amount of data, which can be transferred to your digital device for you to view. Currently on Kickstarter and will be available in grey or white.

X Diamond 3/60

By joining 60 three-foot maple wood bulbs together using cast brass joints, the X diamond 3/60 is born. This celebration of hexagonal and octahedral forms in nature looks spectacular and encourages viewing from different perspectives to reveal the multiple layers and hidden shapes.

 

Mygdal Planter

A fresh and innovative take on modern lighting design, the Mygdal planter is a self-sustaining eco system designed to never require maintenance from the owner. The glass vessel features LED light which replicates sunlight, creating an environment where plants can perform photosynthesis. This minimalist design effortlessly transforms spaces otherwise unable to sustain plant life, into beautiful green areas.

 

Jarvis Boards

Designed by Tony Smith, founder of Austin-based Jarvis, these beautifully crafted boards are as environmentally friendly as possible. Born of the simple idea of creating the best boards possible whilst living consciously, these boards are made from recycled foam core, sustainably sourced wood, reclaimed lumber and natural resins from recycled bio-waste. Light weight, but strong, the boards emphasise the careful craftsmanship and care which bought them to life.

 

The Mashrabeya Cabinet

The Mashrabeya cabinet, a name derived from the Arabic term Maschrabiyya, which refers to decorative wooden frames seen in traditional Arabic architecture. This design comes from Nina Mair Architecture + Design. The punctured panels keep the cabinets contents partially hidden and, if need be, ventilated. Available in different colour combinations, there is a choice of two wood effects and panel colours.

 

MOON

Humanity has been fascinated by the Moon thoughout history. Using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter topographic data and modern 3D printing techniques, Oscar Lhermitte and Kudu have created the most accurate and detailed lunar globe to date. Their Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded their target and so we can expect to see this project come to life soon. The detail in the globe is very beautiful and I can’t wait to see this in production! 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

If you've enjoyed this, why not read our other design blogs

Top 5 Concrete Designs

Top 5 Concrete Designs

Finally. 👌🏻

I’ve been dropping concrete items into the monthly design blog now pretty consistently, it’s about time I dedicated a whole blog post to my favorite material.

Renate Vos Concrete Table Lamp

...and so the obsession continues, concrete and lamps! The best of both worlds!

I’m a huge fan of this lamp! The tough concrete and soft silicone work in harmony to create an industrial lamp with a soft glow. The line where these materials meet is jagged, showcasing the contrasting materials.  Dutch designer, Renate Vos, has created this beautiful lighting collection.

Concrete Chair

It’s exactly as it sounds and it’s fantastic. Swiss designer Stefan Zwicky has taken on recreating the iconic LC2 armchair by Le Corbusier.  We associate armchairs with comfort and relaxing, and in contrast the concrete armchair, emphasises the cold nature of the material. The armchair looks visually heavy with stacked concrete and wrapped in reinforced steel.

Falt Lamp

The Falt lamp, part of the FALT series comes from German designer Tim Macherodt. The lamp is made from fibre reinforced concrete, which is rolled out and formed over molds to create shapes that are not achievable using conventional concrete casting methods.  The lamp itself has a material thickness of only 2.7mm and weighs less than 1.400 grams. The contrasting yellow cable looks great with the dark grey concrete and could not be left out of this list!

Hocker Heinrich Concrete Stool

By combining a sealed concrete exterior with a steel and fiber frame, this stool is lighter weight than similar fully concrete pieces, making it a more practical item. Saying that, it’s still a pretty hefty 79 pounds, but lighter than most similar designs and enables the user to move this between rooms and change the position of it with more ease. The sealed geometric surfaces completely hide the reinforced interior structure. Available in two colours, light grey or anthracite and a dark grey wool stool cover is available to add extra comfort.

Delatour Design Béton 1

Possibly my favorite design in the list! I love the fact that this design has a built in book holder, it’s such a nice feature. This whole collection gives a nod to Art Deco whilst staying modern and minimalist. Often a harsh material, the concrete is softened by the pale pink and black doors. I really love this piece! 

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

Check out the other design blogs, here.

10 Beautiful Designs - March

10 Beautiful Designs - March

HI! 🙌🏻

It's that time again, and hey, guess what, this might be the first one which (regrettably) doesn’t include something made of concrete, but there's so many other amazing materials out there… 

Pssssst, there's a whole concrete top 5 blog now! 🎉

1.  Cactus Tongue Bike Holders

The Cactus tongue aims to reinvent bike storage as we know it. Bikes are being recognised more and more as the beautiful machines that they are. This design only reiterates that bikes look lovely on display and are as of late, becoming as much as an ornament as they are a practical mode of transport. The Cactus tongue attaches to any wall with only two fixing screws which can support a weight of up to 20kg. 

2.  The Otaku Bathtub

Designed by Tal Engel, the Okatu bathtub is inspired by boats floating at sea. Inspired by Vietnamese weaving techniques expertly woven using light brown bamboo, the tub is then waterproofed with coconut oil and resin. The design combines traditional and modern manufacturing methods to create an elegant and surprisingly practical bathtub with natural beauty. 

3. OMA Imperia Horn Series

Drawing inspiration from the conical horns of gramophone players, the Imperia Horm Series designed by David D’imperil are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. The horns come in a beautiful array of wood options which are then finished with a hand rubbed oil to enhance the woods natural colours. The four-way horn system covers all sound bases, with the system covering an impressive 100 to 20kHz and the rear subwoofers handling 20-100kHz. 

4.  Michael Jantzen Folding Light

I absolutely LOVE this light, it’s such a clever design, and is so versatile, that it can change so fluidly. The cubed structure folds out in various shapes, revealing a single energy efficient bulb housed in a wooden light diffuser. Depending on how many sections you open up, and how you position the light, the glow interacts differently with it’s surroundings. Jantzen has created a really fun design which is intriguing and beautiful. 

5. Safe + Sound

This is a truly unique design! It’s so clever! 

Biking with your headphones in, is dangerous. Cyclists, rely heavily on their senses to navigate the roads and listen out for danger, and headphones compromise this ability. Gemma Roper, has come up with an innovative new solution. Instead of playing music through your ears, the Safe + Sound headphones use bone conduction to play the audio through your cheekbones! This is a versatile design as the modules can be attached to ear pads for a more conventional listening experience. This is a very clever design! 

6. The Landscape Series

The Landscape series is a lovely set of boxes, with an edge. The lids of these boxes are inspired by natural terrain, which have been viewed through a reductive lens, and simplified into geometric patterns. Five styles are available, including waterfall and volcano. The designs have multiple uses and have silver, grey, white and sand finishes. 

7. Tourer Backpack

Harvest Label have designed a backpack which is both minimalist and functional. Depending on how many belongings you want to fit can be transformed from a spacious rectangular shape, into a compact triangular form. This is such a practical item, and even includes a padded sleeve to protect tablets/laptops, and the Corder fabric keeps all of your belongings dry, even in heavy rain! Available in several colours! 

8. The Suspended Collection

This sleek collection by Moreno Ratti is more than just aesthetically pleasing. The pieces have been created with the production process in mind. The demand for Marble ultimately produces vast amounts of waste, and Ratti has put the spotlight on the modern manufacturing process in his work. Ratios pieces are created using discarded pieces of marble or are created without producing any waste. This work really highlights how which would typically be discarded as waste marble, can create elegant and beautiful designs.

9.  The Hole Chair

Aptly named, as the legs of the chair pierce through the upholstery. I really love this! This is a carefully thought-out design which draws you in to notice the quality of the craft. Upholstering around the holes left by the legs is no mean feat and is a sign of true dedication to good design. Built with strong European oak and upholstered with 100% Danish wool, this design is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for use. 

10. The Humphrey Chair

Another chair, I hear you cry! This one really is something to behold! Founder of the Texas Rover Company, John Humphreys aimed to create products which were inspired by the past, for the adventures of the future. Fascinated by the explorers who discovered new lands, the company designed the Humphrey chair with South African explorers in mind. The collapsable base is crafted from reclaimed native pecan wood which has been hand-sanded and hand-finished, and the seat is made from a full-grain oiled leather which is designed to withstand the elements whilst being comfortable and stylish. This chair fits effortlessly with so many different styles, making it a design which is both sleek, and rugged. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

To read more top ten design blog entries, just click here.

10 beautiful designs - February

10 beautiful designs - February

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1. Antek Light

The Antek light comes from Otoprojekt design studio based in Krakow. Their focus is on industrial and product design and they work to create an array of sleek and sophisticated products. Previous undertakings have included modular hospital furniture, and specifically designed office furniture. “We like to design functional and beautiful objects” state the designers at Otoprojeckt.  The Antek light is handmade using ash wood and merges the traditional manufacturing methods with minimalist design. These lamps would fit with a variety of styles, making them a versatile and clever design!

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2. The Carati Collection

Carati (Italian for “carats”) takes the inspiration for the collection from the mounting of diamonds onto rings. As a diamond is held in place by opposing horizontal forces, so too are the tabletops in the collection. This clever design is really rather beautiful. The collection looks effortless, when it is actually very carefully considered and that is what makes it so special.

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3. Bolt Lightening protection Tent

96% of people, who are struck by lightening, are done so in an open environment, including those who are hiking, climbing or camping. Even though it’s a rare occurrence, it’s a very serious problem, and designer Kama Jania has created the ‘Bolt’ tent, which addresses this. Regardless of whether it is rare or not to be struck by lightning, this tent removes all risk. This tent is not only safe and practical, but it also easy to set up and is lightweight to transport.

4. Kaaja Collection

Spanish designer Carlos Jiménez, has created his debut furniture collection for Swedish firm, By.Enströms. Jiménez has taken influences from Scandanavian and Japanese design for this collection, each piece has been finishing and assembled by hand in a small factory in Sweden, resulting in a truly unique set.

5. The Caruso Wireless Gramophone

Paolo Cappello has reimagined the iconic phonograph for Italian company, Miniforms. Handmade in Venice, this design is both stylish and functional. The Bluetooth speaker with a ceramic horn, creates a unique listening experience. I really love this design, because it conceals the speaker functionality within what could be mistaken for a cabinet. Though the design of it, does enable internal storage, so this design has dual function. 

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6.  Wireless Omnidirectional Speaker

Industrial designer, Joey Roth, has constructed this gorgeous speaker from steel, aluminum and maple. The omnidirectional speaker amplifies sound through geometry. At the bottom of the enclosure, is a hardwood ball, which acts as a natural diffuser compared to the upper port, which has been designed to enhance the bass. This is such a minimalist design, yet looks bold thanks to the tower of steel.

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7.  COSMOS

Huzi design has created COSMOS with the intention of letting people of all ages play and create. This series of wooden pieces with magnetic connections, form a shuttle, rocket, satellite, lander and planet. Made from beech wood, some exposed and sanded, some given a smooth matte white finish and some finished with black. This is a fantastic set with multiple construction possibilities, fun for adults and children.

8.  Moss Clock

Entirely handmade from Baltic birch plywood, this clock looks as sleek as it does rustic. Completely handmade, this item demonstrates an appreciation for traditional craftsmanship.  The circular frame contains a selection of reindeer moss, which brings the outdoors, inside. This charming clock is enhanced by the presence of orange hands, which contrast perfectly with the green moss.

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9. Modular Marble Bookshelf

This design by Archea Associato for Luce di Carrara made its debut at the Marmomacc International Trade Fair. The subtle angles are playful, and due to it’s modular assembly, enables the user to have multiple structural possibilities. Made from solid marble, and available in an array of colours, it is possible to make this truly your own and they even made one from terracotta. A truly beautiful design, cleverly constructed and considered. 

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10.  D’Hauteville Concrete Chair

Oh come on, you didn’t expect I could make it through a whole list without at least one concrete item did you? Well, here it is, and I love it! I’m a big fan of concrete designs, especially when they are designs for practical uses and this chair by Lyon Beton does not disappoint. The reinforced steel legs, give this smooth concrete chair an industrial look. Able to fit with a range of interiors, this chair is versatile and is sure to stand out in its surroundings.

 

Written By

Katherine Thomson 

10 beautiful designs - January

10 beautiful designs - January

Spurcycle

Redesigning the classic bike bell might seem like an impossible challenge, how much improvement can be made on a design, which has always seemed so effective and practical? Well, until now, I had thought very little, and then I saw this design. Biking is increasingly popular in urban areas and it is a popular commuter choice. The bike bell is necessary for alerting pedestrians and other cyclists that you’re there, however they are usually clunky, ineffective and either too loud or not loud enough. The Spurcycle bell is small and sleek and is made of a stainless steel casing with a brass clapper, which produces a ring 3x longer than other models and can be heard from further away. 

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Well Rounded Sound

If you’re listening to your favorite album, you want it to sound good; otherwise what’s the point of listening to it? Jerry Cmehil, founder of ‘Well rounded sound’, has a very aesthetically pleasing and eco friendly answer to perfect sound quality. Each element of the design has been designed with a purpose. For example, the solid wood stand found on the ‘Boxer’ (the speakers are named after dog breeds) helps to reduce bass energy transfer and provides a perfect near listening angle.

Shark Diver Kit

Brooklyn based designer Matt Cavanaugh has a fresh approach to bridging the gap between children and adults. Cavanaugh has created minimalist designs of a scuba diver and a shark, which requires origami style assembly. The puppet-like objects are both lovely toys and also a lesson in creative thinking, which is sometimes lost on more ‘serious’ adults.

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The Brink

Simple yet bold is how I would describe ‘The Brink’.  This is the smallest object in the Perimeter series designed by Jake Wright of Stockpile Designs. Each design in the series follows the same style, but in different shapes and sizes. Handmade in New York from white oak and steel, the single steel leg is adorned with a pale exposed wooden top, creating a fierce contrast. Sometimes less is more, and this table is evidence to that.

 

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Pipeline

Pipeline, designed by Bertrand Jayr brings outdoor architecture to the indoors. The delicate flowers offset the strength of the concrete and create a beautiful product. This is a very versatile design, which would fit in with both a modern or industrial style. Part of Lyon Betons Green Collection, this piece features with other products which make you ‘reconsider the place of nature in your home’. Other items in the collection include the ‘Nuclear Plant’ and a selection of Coffee tables, flower stands and a bench, which are all worth exploring as they are equally beautiful.

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EGO Armchair

Designed by Alegre Design in Valencia, Spain, the EGO armchair is one, which encourages users to sit how they please. When sitting on a comfortable chair, the need to readjust is lessened, as the user is more at ease. With the EGO chair, the design is comfortable and more relaxed and gives the user the options of slouching and lying down as though on a chaise lounge or sitting upright. This modern minimalist design has carefully considered both the practicality of this design, as well as the beauty.

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Meze Wooden Headphones

Both elegant and practical, the Meze wooden headphones are a well-designed product aiming to change the perception of headphones being a plastic throwaway item, to one that is a stylish piece for life. Each detail has been carefully considered. The ear-cups are made from walnut and finished with satin wood grain, the ear pads are made from memory foam for the ultimate comfortable fit. Besides the beautiful design, and high quality features, these headphones are unique in the fact that they offer unlimited warranty and are endlessly serviceable. With no plastic elements or glue, every replaceable piece is either a nut or bolt.

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Zung Ride Collection

Designed in house at Studio Zung in NYC, these surfboards make part of the Zung ride collection, which features both skateboards and surfboards. The boards are hand shaped in Southern California and made from polyurethane foam and fiberglass finished with either paint or resin tint. These boards look minimalist but distinctive and are designed to make surfing even better.

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The Mormor ceramics series

Textiles inspire the Mormor series by designer Gry Faber. The design incorporates the traditional character of older kitchens. ‘Mormor’ in Danish translates to ‘Grandmother’, which highlights the inspiration taken from revisited tradition. The collection comes in three different motifs each following the same style.

METIS Desk

This desk is named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, cunning and prudence. The compact desk complete with three doors and two lidded compartments helps you to utilise storage and minimize clutter. The amount of stoage is deceptive for such a sleek reduced form yet the cleverness is all down to the design.  Gonçalo Campos designed this piece for Wewood to maintain both mess and style, and that has certainly been achieved. This design is considered, smart and stylish!

Written by 

Katherine Thomson 

What can we expect to see in 2016?

What can we expect to see in 2016?

1 – Mobile Shopping via TV and connected devices

 

This year, we saw Amazons Dash buttons capable of ordering household favourites at the touch of a button when connected to the users Prime account through an app. The device works by instantly placing an order and sending an order confirmation to your phone so that you don’t have to go to the hassle of logging in, finding your product and ordering it. Some would argue this is sheer laziness, and others would argue that it has been made with convenience in mind. Which ever is closer to your view, this kind of shopping shows no slowing down in 2016 and in fact, it seems like it will increase! Programmatic video is probably going to bring mobile shopping to TV, from customised ad experiences to being able to watch your shows and purchase outfits that the characters are wearing or products that they’re using.

 

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2 – Hyperloop

 

Elon Musk unveiled in 2013 that he had been working on a design for a Hyperloop solar-powered supersonic pod-train, capable of accelerating to 335mph in as little as 2 seconds. In Summer2013, it seemed like some sort of futuristic dream, but fast-forward a mere 2 and a half years and Musk has announced plans to start work on an open-air test site in Nevada. The aim for 2016 is that the 2-mile long tube track will levitate a pod and accelerate it to over 700mph.

 

3 – Batteries

 

This might not sound like the most exciting development, but when you take in to consideration that we use batteries in some form every day, this could have a big impact! In particular I want to talk about Sodium-ion batteries and foam batteries. Sodium-ion batteries that use salt have been used in laptops following the creation of a prototype by French network, RS2E. The battery is one that would be suitable for use in electric cars as well as laptops and the 6.5cm battery can manage 90 watt-hours per kilogram. The other exciting development comes from Prieto who is the first company to develop a battery, which uses a copper foam substrate. There are multiple benefits to these batteries including their longer battery life, faster charging ability and safety, which is due to having no flammable electrolytes. There’s a good chance we will see these developments in 2016, but if not, they’re not far away!

 

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4 – Drone Delivery


Amazon have already announced ‘Amazon Prime Air’, which is a new delivery system designed to get packages to customers within 30 minutes using unmanned aerial drones. This form of delivery has not been done before and if implemented will change our expectations of ordering online forever. This isn’t something, which is going to happen overnight. The testing for Amazon Air has already begun in the UK, USA and Israel, but more development is required and this will not launch until all safety features are 100% complete. Amazon is not the only company interested in developing this feature; Google, Alibaba and others including a burrito company are also experimenting with this form of delivery. The initial deliveries to be made via this method will be of low value due to the delivery from the drone to the ground…


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5 – Smart Clothes

 

Yep, that’s right, Smart clothes. Let’s look at Project Jacquard for instance; this is an exciting and rapidly developing project. We live in an increasingly interactive world, and there are many items, which have remained the same for hundreds of years, such as clothing. Sure, the styles change, the colours vary and the materials fall out of fashion, but the overall principle stays the same. Project Jacquard changes that and makes it possible to weave interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms. These new conductive yarns have been created in collaboration with industry partners and combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns. The end result of doing this is to create garments, which have gesture sensitive areas or sensor grids, which can create interactive surfaces. The electronic components are engineered to be as discreet as possible, and intend to be no larger than a button and make it possible to capture the gesture data to wirelessly transmit to mobile phones or other devices. This is a very exciting step for developers, designers, and consumers and adds a whole new level to the connected world. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson