It’s the puzzle that seems simple enough. You pick it up, turn it a few times to try to make each side a solid colour, just as it was when you first took it out of the box. After a couple of hours, you realise you are mesmerised by the puzzle and yet no closer to solving it. The popular Rubik’s Cube has been an obsession since the 1980s and has now been reinvented for people who cannot see the toy’s original colours. As part of MoMA’s exhibition, Talk to Me: Design, artist Konstantin Datz has created the Rubik’s Cube for the Blind. Replacing the original bright colours, the cube has white panels embossed with Braille words for each colour. For all ‘Rubik Cubists’, this is taking it up a level turning the popular puzzle from a visual design to a tactile one and making it accessible to many more people.
The opportunity to live in a space where the divide between indoors and outdoors is non-existent, and possible all year round, is a blissful thought. Loft 24/7, designed by Fernanda Marques, has erased the barriers by using outdoor elements inside and indoor elements outside. The 250 sqm spacious bungalow is combined with rough stonewalls and limestone floors and fully furnished with pieces made only from sustainable raw materials. Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the house is linked by a wooden deck, which projects the house out beyond its internal boundaries, yet you feel as if you are never quite in and never quite out. Escape the urban frenzy in this harmonious, seamless environment amongst the daylight and highlighted textures, fully open to the outside.
As far as fashion goes, no decade is quite as notorious as the 80s. It was the era where MC Hammer pants ruled, shoulder pads made a statement and leg warmers, mini skirts and sweaters could all be worn at the same time (in neon colours, of course). But amongst these fashion fads and The Eye of the Tiger , were the iconic childhood video games – Pacman, Space Invadors and Tetris. They were the days where hours on end were spent playing in the local video game stores with a single quarter. Today, Amazon is revisiting the 80s with Tetris-inspired Sticky Notes. Reminders no longer need to be boring with these fluoro, block sticky notes evoking childhood memories as each task can be dropped down forming into a row – very retro.
The excitement that comes with receiving a personally addressed envelope sitting patiently in your letterbox is one that we don’t often get to experience these days. As emails become our primary form of communication, handwritten letters are left in the past, gathering dust like a time capsule of a bygone era. But the joy of reading and re-reading a letter until its folds become lovingly weathered into permanence, and its corners dog-eared with affection, is one that many yearn to return to. With this in mind, designer Ivan Cash created an interactive art project that seeks to both share the joy of receiving a personalised letter as well as inspire people to send their own handwritten correspondence. Anyone with internet access can participate in the SNAIL MAIL MY EMAIL project, by simply sending an email, after which the very same message will be handwritten and physically mailed to the chosen recipient anywhere in the world, completely free of charge. The project will run until August 15.
Whether it’s the simple rustle of a beautifully trimmed curtain blowing in the breeze, or a small herb garden sitting next to a kitchen window, the little details found inside every home add up to create a story. For Grace Bonney, founder of design and interior decoration blog Design*Sponge, the unique details and snippets of inspiration unearthed in a variety of homes and interior spaces creates a blank canvas for dreaming up new ideas and projects. Grace’s new book project, Design*Sponge at Home invites readers to gain a sneak peek into beautiful, quirky and unique kitchens, creatives spaces, loungerooms and DIY ideas.
Just like salt and pepper, or Milo and Otis, a lamp and a good book have long been the best of friends. The perfect ingredients for a quiet night in, or to help treat a severe case of insomnia, the Hardback Book Lamp pays homage to this wonderful duo. Fitted with a 30-watt antique reproduction ‘radio’ bulb and antique-style switch, the bedside accessory has a rustic vintage charm. The cord for the lamp runs through the middle of the book and out through the side, leaving the base of the lamp perfectly flat. The flat surface enables curious decorators to experiment with the lamp by stacking it on top of other books and magazines, or by resting it up against a wall.
Commuting often involves some sort of transport that relies on four wheels, or more. Typically, a car, a train, or a bus. Scaling things back, the bicycle prefers the smallest prime number as its wheel-number of choice. Rolling around on two wheels gives the bicycle independence, fresh air and the chance to test out its rider’s coordination. For cycling enthusiasts at the Creme Cycles team, a beautifully crafted bike is the perfect marriage of design and function. Designed to mirror the characteristics of bikes from the past, the Creme Cycles range embodies a simple aesthetic, whilst simultaneously exuding artful charm and craftsmanship. Each displaying its own creative and quirky personality, the range includes the CafeRacer, the Holymoly, the Vinyl and the Glider.
The screeching of the alarm clock each morning, disturbing precious slumber, is enough to induce anybody into a violent rage. Thankfully, there is a new product on the market that attempts to make waking, and getting out of bed, a little less challenging. Product designer Jamie McMahon has created the Acoustic Alarm, which has replaced annoying beeping with a relaxing acoustic tune. Inspired by an assortment of musical instruments, it uses a rotational pick to pluck guitar strings, awakening its user. If the gentle sound of plucking doesn’t warm your heartstrings, there is the added ability for users to customise the tone of their alarm, simply by adjusting the tuning pegs. Hand crafted, the Acoustic Alarm is made from birch plywood, walnut and stainless steel. The alarm can be set simply by turning the steel knobs to the desired time of waking, using the top for hours and the bottom for minutes. Then it’s simply down to switching the flick to the ‘on’ position.
Domestic chores are a part of life that are often pushed aside in lieu of activities that are more fun. Thankfully, procrastinators of the world can rejoice with the creation of a new device from Florian Hauswirth. The Swiss industrial designer has developed a much more entertaining way to mow the lawn in the form of a bicycle lawnmower . Replacing the front wheel of a bike with a traditional iron mower, Hauswirth’s concept is both a practical gardening tool and an excellent way to increase fitness while at home, as well as being beneficial to the environment. Since its invention in 1827 by Edwin Budding, the lawnmower has taken many forms, but none of these have been quite as multi-purpose as Hauswirth’s version. As the world turns to greener, healthier alternatives to quotidian experiences, could this be the future of domestic chores?
Artist David Bromley’s creativity has spilled onto the fabrics and surfaces of homeware favourites, like the lounge chair, throw and lamp shade. Adding artistic luxury to an already sumptuous array of French antique furniture, David’s whimsical art complement a stunning array of items for the home. His artistry is splashed onto classical beds and chairs, emblazoned across mirrored surfaces and woven into showstopper throws. He has also used his talents to create quirky objects, such as hand-painted vintage laterns, a steel mobile and a collection of antique glass domes enclosing a cut-out image from one of David’s collections. David is famed for two central themes that emerge in his works, the Boys Own adventure project and the Female Nude series. His pop culture influences are evident throughout his paintings, having taken inspiration from childhood memories, books and artists such as Andy Warhol.
Epitomising the art of being a couch-potato, loungers can take new meaning to indulging in relaxation time by nestling into this cheerful creation. The hamburger pillow is just like a real burger, except for the fact it is not designed for eating. The bread buns, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and beef patty can be scattered across the living room sofa as brightly coloured cushions and piled back together to create a unique and somewhat appetising form of storage. When the burger is assembled it is not just a colourful eye catcher, it also stands an impressive 1.5 metres tall. The designer, Gemma Patford is drawn to creating big, bright and ridiculous things and not just in burger form. Gemma has added a huge strawberry shortcake, salami sandwich and a bacon body pillow to her repertoire.
Film can take on many guises, from video installations, to cult motion-picture pieces and experimental film works. Best known for Light Trap, his expanded-cinema work, Greg Pope creates unique cinematic experiences using multiple projectors that point towards a visual haze created in the centre of a room. Far from the usual confines of film, Greg’s latest project Light Cipher doesn’t rely on mainstream projection techniques – with no screen, no two-dimensional imaging, no structured beginning or end, and even no seating. At IMA on April 14, Greg will join creative forces with Mike Cooper, a renowned British improvising slide guitarist and Hawaiian-music talent.
Just when you think you cannot endure the trip home in peak-hour traffic for one more day, spare a thought for the denizens of New Delhi, where each day approximately 1,000 extra cars are added to the tally of vehicles weaving through the city’s streets. The growing population and subsequent number of cars required to service the city means that New Delhi is now one of the world’s most polluted cities. The concept behind the LO2P Skyscraper, which recently won the eVolo 2011 Skyscraper Competition, is to reduce the level of pollution in the air and provide a means of recycling old cars. Once built, the skyscraper would act as a ‘giant lung’ to filter the polluted city air. To further reducing the impact of cars on the environment, the recycling centre would be constructed from old car parts
Could your imagination be home to an idea that could change the world? In the lead-up to the Ideas Festival in May 2011, the Queensland Government’s has partnered with OpenIDEO to launch an international challenge to explore new ideas for the creation of government policy and community-based projects. The Queensland OpenIDEO Challenge launched on March 24th, asking the global OpenIDEO community and Queenslanders to contribute ideas for projects and initiatives that will help connect food production and consumption. The site is already filling with amazing content from across the world. The Challenge runs online on the OpenIDEO website – a place where creative people design together for the common good. In early May, the Open IDEO team, including Chief Creative Officer Paul Bennett, will select the most inspiring and relevant ideas that have been submitted to the OpenIDEO website. These ideas will be brought to Queensland during the Ideas Festival for an OpenIDEO workshop to refine and build upon the best ideas so that they can be put into action. (more…)
Whether you are sinking into a well-worn leather couch, a bench seat at a train station or a boardroom armchair, most seating arrangements generally adhere to a universally accepted form of social etiquette and personal space. In the realm of relationships however, some lovers forgo all notions of personal space, preferring to snuggle up within the closest proximity possible. With its seamless design and heart-warming connotations, the acclaimed HUG chair provides the perfect seating arrangements for tactile lovers. Bulgarian furniture and industrial designer Ilian Milinov’s curved ‘couple’ chair combines space for two people to sit closely together, in the comfort of a wrap-around style seat. Recipient of the esteemed red dot design award in 2010, Ilian creates modular, striking and innovative furniture design concepts, evident in the amorous nature of his HUG chair.
Creative energy knows no boundaries. It can strike at lightning speed, with vigour and productivity, or it can meander at a languid pace, transforming into a series of potential creative projects. For designer and craftsman Ron Miriello, creative energy thrives on play, a sense of fun and positive community engagement. Born out of Ron’s desire to channel pure and resourceful design, the 100 Worlds Project harnesses the creative potential of everyday objects. Inspired by a childhood fascination with globes, and craving to represent the importance of collaborative design, Ron set out to create 100 unique globes. Crafted from all manner of found objects, Ron’s worlds manifest themselves from the ageing yellowed pages of history books, worn-out shoe soles, wooden cigar boxes, bicycle parts and coffee shop teaspoons.
Inspired by the whimsical designs in her paper collections, New York designer Kate Spade has designed a beautiful range of dining wear decorated with soft-coloured illustrations picturing girly delights. Elegant tidbit plates, mugs, cake plates and hors d’oeuvres trays depict leisurely pursuits. The porcelain pieces follow girl-about-town as she masterfully bakes, sips cocktails in Audrey Hepburn attire, navigates literature, tends to a Victorian garden and embarks on a travel adventure, one-too-many bags in tow. Particularly enticing, drink coasters are invitingly entitled ‘Cocktails Anyone?’
map magazine’s pages are full of dreamers who not only have big dreams and ideas but are powerful in making their ideas happen. I had once blogged that sharing our dreams to others was important to help find teams, resources and community to rally behind ideas. It is this very idea of sharing, that is behind IfWeRanTheWorld. It is a real-world experiment in tapping good intentions and turning them into tangible, do-able microactions that anyone and everyone can help you to do. (more…)
For those confined to a wheelchair, navigating treacherous public transport, steep wheelchair ramps and crowded footpaths in the cumbersome chair means life generally moves at a much slower pace. But for the wheelchair-bound citizens of third world countries, life moves at an even slower pace, as they are often forced to canvas great distances in their wheelchairs, encountering steep inclines and coarse, muddy roads along the way – well, that is the case for those who can afford a wheelchair at least. In an attempt to alleviate the plight of physically disabled citizens of third world countries, MIT graduate Amos Winter developed the Leveraged Freedom Chair. The chair uses a gear-like system to help reduce travel times, and each chair is made from recycled bicycle parts, which means they can be manufactured and repaired by those in developing countries.
Keen surfer and stop-motion artist Karim Rejeb takes a group of Lego mates on a wild ride through surf, sea and land.