Form & function

Design Shanghai

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Design Shanghai launches February 27 bringing 150 of the brightest names in architecture and international design to China for a week of showcases featuring contemporary, classic, and limited edition furniture, textiles, lighting, and more. Set in the palatial and newly renovated Shanghai Exhibition Centre, the event will place a strong emphasis on China’s rapid growth and give their growing class of elite consumers the opportunity to purchase high-end global designs from the likes of Tom Dixon, Alessi, and Fritz Hansen. The most sought after and exclusive collectibles will go up for auction March 2.

Image via Design Show Shanghai

Fabricating Nature

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An interesting trend has been emerging in the realm of 3D printing: the desire to create or re-create nature through digital fabrication. London-based artist, Yuri Pattison, was inspired to print meteor-like objects after the Chelyabinsk meteor was spotted in the Russian sky in February 2013. Listings for fragments of the meteor on eBay drove Pattison to contemplate culture’s fetishization of the ‘original’ object and conceive of an art project that used eBay images to assemble a 3D model. The results are hunks of printed steel and silver that serve as a meditation on ‘authentic’ vs. ‘imitation.’ In Slovenia, the University of Maribor is experimenting with 3D technology to grow living vegetation in their project printGREEN. Their ‘garden printer’ is fed a mixture of soil, water, and seed and then manipulated to create a variety of shapes… that grow!

Image via Dazed Digital by Baker & Evans

Everyday Objects

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Two upcoming exhibits take a closer look at the objects that populate our world. Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) will present Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things organized by the Vitra Design Museum. Opening on February 23, the show focuses its lens on the ordinary, often overlooked, objects that have become indispensable to our daily lives. The exhibit highlights four aspects of design: innovation, production, evolution, and inspiration. The Design Museum London has collaborated with renowned design duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to capture the essence of objects through their display mid-manufacture. Some extravagant, others prosaic, the items including a cricket bat, coin, diamond, and banknote were all chosen due to the surprising form they take before completion. In the Making will be on display until May 4.

Image via MODA

Visual Messages

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This January, the London College of Communication is staging an exhibition of the acclaimed poster art of Tom Eckersley entitled Tom Eckersley: Master of the Poster. Eckersley was responsible for creating the school of graphic design at the London School of Printing (LSP) and the bold colors and clean lines found in his public information posters influenced the campaigns of organizations from Guinness to the United Nations. The show displays 40 posters made between 1940 and 1980, in addition to sketches and other materials created for the LSP. Catch the show before it closes January 29.

Olympic Design

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With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, many designers and artists are working on projects to make the games more visually engaging and inclusive. One recently-announced project is the MegaFaces Pavilion, which uses three-dimensional photo booth to scan visitor’s portraits and recreate them in a sculptural form. “The concept,” by Asif Khan “is to give everyone the opportunity to be the face of the Olympics.” And if you are looking for a retrospective on design from the games, the Olympic Museum in Switzerland has just re-opened after renovations. To celebrate, the museum commissioned a new collection of souvenirs (pictured above).

Fantastical Art at The Groninger

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Contemporary artist Jaime Hayan’s first major solo exhibit, Funtastico, opens at The Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. A multimedia virtuoso, Spanish-born Hayon employs ceramics, wood, glass, and textiles in his 3-dimensional art objects. The exhibit documents the trajectory of his career– from experimental glasswork made in collaboration with French crystal manufacturer Baccarat, to clown-inspired lamps and vases, to oversized ceramic chess pieces in his installation ‘The Tournament.’ In concert, Hayon’s pieces creates a whimsical and humorous play land inciting contemplation and laughter (at objects like the absurd ‘rockin’ hot dog’ chair) and captivating the minds of young and old alike.

Olfactory Ingenuity

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The newest add-on for your smart phone, Japan’s Scentee, moves beyond the visual and taps into users’ olfactory sense. Plugging into a phone’s earphone jack, the orb-shaped device can be programmed to disperse different scents throughout the day. Replaceable cartridges allow the user to choose from a multitude of scents to suit their mood or environment:  coffee as you wake, lavender in a crowded subway, or mint as a mid-day refresher. The latest scent in the pipeline? Bacon. In other fragrance news, the Ophone, a small cylindrical gadget designed by Le Laboratoire receives encoded recipes through a server that determines what custom scent it emanates. The current prototype generates up to 320 different smells.

 

Innovative Objects

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Technology is increasingly changing the way artists and designers fabricate objects. Experimental Chilean design studio, Great Things to People, have developed the Catenary Pottery Printer (CPP) an apparatus that creates artful porcelain objects from a catenary mould made of fabric. Combining traditional materials and artisanal methods with parametric design, the studio seamlessly combines innovation and craft. Mad Museum’s current show Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital explores similar advanced methods of production and 3D printing. The exhibit seeks to expose the evolving role of digital design in our daily lives and presents a broad range of inventive objects including jewelry, lighting, sculpture, gowns, and prosthetics all created with advanced technology.

Planting Views

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Japanese designers 10¹² Terra are exploring how to display plants in new, architectural, geometric homes of glass. With their “Hydro” containers (shown), plants are suspended on an iron grid, with roots dangling in water, on display as much as the greenery above. And their twist and prism vases allow cut stems to be shown in a new, minimal variation on the traditional.

Learning Type

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Parents obsessive about typography can now teach their little ones about serifs and sans serifs as they learn the alphabet. Italian company Loodus recently rolled out a cute, wooden alphabet puzzle toy that corresponds each letter to a font that starts with the same. (H is for Helvetica, C is for Century Gothic, etc). Choose from monochrome shades of blue, green or red.

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