Conversion

Posted: December 21st, 2010 | Author: richard | Filed under: design, technology, Uncategorized | No Comments »


A few days ago TikTok + LunaTik officially became the highest ever funded project on Kickstarter – the pledge-based funding platform for all manner of creative projects. Although not a new concept, Scott Wilson &  Minimal designed two well resolved & highly desirable watch straps for the current iPod Nano. These designs were then posted on Kickstarter with a great video (below) showing the the design process, and a request for $15k from potential backers.

The project quickly gained an avalanche of pledges, eventually reaching an astounding $941,718 from 13,512 independent users eager to see the design a reality.

I especially like how Scott posted continual updates on the ongoing design process, showing colours, finishes, packaging and potential accessories. This gives backers the opportunity to offer their opinion and subsequently become more involved in the project – their investment. Recently Scott posted a video of the product being manufactured that really captures what its like visiting and working with Chinese factories – and a perfect way to show the backers their money is in good hands.

This marks the beginning of an exciting time for independent designers with good ideas. Until now, necessary capital to launch products has been difficult and time consuming to obtain. Kickstarter, basically a Threadless on steroids, gives interested users the opportunity help bring an idea they want into reality. I think by opening the design process to backers LunaTik & TikTok have now provided a successful blueprint for many future entrepreneurs.  Both designs are now available on pre-order


Hidden Motor

Posted: December 20th, 2010 | Author: richard | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

So I’m a little behind with this but still remember the controversy at the time. It revolves around cyclist Fabian Cancellara being accused of using an electric motor to aid victory in both the 2010 Paris RoubaixTour Of Flanders. At the time I (like Cancellara) thought the accusation was ridiculous – electric motors for bicycles are often hub driven and subsequently conspicuous… right? Today, however, I saw the above video by Michele Bufalino’s which explains the incredible Gruber Assist motor. Completely hidden within the bicycle frame, the motor can be remotely activated for a power boost when required. Surely the UCI will need to begin testing bikes for this technology as the components, particularly batteries, miniturise over time.


Inflation

Posted: December 19th, 2010 | Author: richard | Filed under: design, technology, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Recently came across this peek into Oskar Zieta’s workshop, the architect / researcher / designer known for his inflatable metal structures – primarily furniture & objects. Zieta has developed a low cost process called FiDU in which thin sheets of metal are laser cut, robotically welded, then inflated into a 3 dimensional structure.

What I find interesting is each object he creates is also research to further refine FiDU into a process which can be used for large scale applications – like building façades or footbridges that can then be inflated and assembled on site (a significant advantage if needing to get around obstructions, like doorways). In fact, it was these limitations which led to “Blow and Roll” Zieta’s installation at the V&A during the 2010 London Design Festival. Here long strips of pre-fabricated steel were coiled around an axel holding two wheels. Once in place a small compressor inflated the lengths creating graceful curves over the Madjeski Garden.

The First Rolled Steel Profile II – powered by FiDU from Zieta on Vimeo.

One length of the Blow and Roll Installation is inflated & unrolled


Burden

Posted: December 15th, 2010 | Author: richard | Filed under: art | Tags: , | No Comments »

Currently under construction for its new home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolis II is an enormous installation by artist Chris Burden. According to the NYT, the work will feature over 1200 custom made cars, 13 trains & numerous buildings once complete. This is a larger scale version of an existing work, Metropolis I (see image below) which now lives at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. Above is the work-in-progress running, showing the noise and surprising speed the cars reach on their way down the 18 lanes. Can’t wait to see the finished work.

“Metropolis I”, below, both under construction & complete

Burden, now into his 60′s, originally began as a performance artist, creating work which usually put himself in personal danger. Shoot (where Burden is Shot by an assistant in the arm) and Trans-Fixed (where Burden, lying face up, was nailed through his hands to a Volkswagen Beetle) are two good examples. Over time focus seems to have shifted into installations, often kinetic sculptures. One of my favorite is “Big Wheel” a giant cast iron wheel driven by a motorbike. Below is a video of the wheel at LA’s MOCA. Once underway, the speed and power of the spinning wheel is terrifying!


Human Powered Appliances

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: richard | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Been kicking around the blogs a bit but for good reason.  Christoph Thetard has created R2B2 – a small food processor, coffee grinder and stick mixer all driven by a human powered flywheel. Great to see this innovation in a market saturated with electrical appliances. By pressing a foot lever the user can generate a maximum of 10000rpm at the blade tip – more than adequate for your blending & grinding needs. The lack of electricity also allows for nice accents such as the timber handle on the stick mixer – this would never pass existing regulations if the device used power. His website contains more information & images of development work in addition to a number of other interesting and well thought out projects (personal favorite being Anouk)


Richard Wilkinson’s ‘Something in the air’ process animations

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Author: Nick Boyce | Filed under: art, illustration | 1 Comment »

Richard Wilkinson has made these awesome animations of the production of his ‘Something in the air’ series.

See more here.