Form & function

Mix and Match


Japanese designer Nendo recently unveiled a collaboration with Gen-emon, a 260 y.o. ceramics company in Arita, Japan. For the Ume-play and Karakusa-play collections, Nendo re-configured two traditional Japanese patterns – a small, plum blossom pattern, and a foliage scrollwork – re-working the sizes and shapes, and their repeats into new adaptations. The results are a beautiful set of pottery that evoke tradition, with a modern twist.

Pocket Seat


British designers Raw Edges gave themselves the challenge of creating a chair from a single loop of material, resulting in the Kenny chair. Inspired by pattern-making methods and origami, the designers wanted to devise a “3D volumetric shape” from flat material. The seat rests on a basic wooden frame, forming a pocket-like shape for seating from a Kvadrat warp and weft material.

Easy Monitoring


Students at Brigham Young University created a pretty genius way for parents to keep an eye on their newborn’s vitals while they sleep. Owlet is a little bootie that fits comfortably onto babies’ feet, and includes sensors and an accelerometer. It connects to an app on parents’ smartphones, giving a visual read-out of the baby’s oxygen level, heart rate, skin temperature, sleep quality, and sleep position. The project was recently successfully crowdfunded, and plans to share essential gathered data with researchers working on SIDS.

Silken House


Studies in MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group have led to a silkworm-created structure reminiscent of a geodesic dome. After researching the behaviors and patterns of silkworms, the group created a CNC program based on their findings which wove together a base frame with overlapping threads. 6500 silkworms were then released onto the structure and guided with light to reinforce the form, covering it with silk. See the incredible process video here.

Musical Play


Artist and designer Francois Chambard teamed up with UM Project to create a collection of 12 sculptural theremins, each of which has its own lovely character. The theremins all have the requisite antenna, knobs and interior electronics, constructed of wood and metal, with pops of color and engaging flourishes. All will be on display, and will be periodically performed, at Judith Charles Gallery, NYC through November 10.

Heartbeats Unlock Doors

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Soon you may never have to remember a password again. Nymi is a new bracelet device that measures and syncs with your unique pulse, connecting via bluetooth to various locked electronics (computer, car, phone, etc) – virtually unlocking them with your heartbeat. Put it on, and it registers your electrocardiogram (EKG), synching it with a connected smartphone app that authenticates you, allowing for access to your devices. The future is not far away – it will be available for purchase in 2014.

Floor Chart


Designer Donna Wilson got her start making charming stitched and knitted stuffed animals – her series of “Creatures” – by hand in her London studio. Now she creates a range of textiles – blankets, rugs, bags, hats, gloves, etc, and imbues her playful graphic sensibility into ceramics, stationary and other odds and ends. Her piechart patchwork rug is one of her great new designs for babies, woven from 100% soft lambswool.

Supporting Art and Design


A new organization in Brooklyn modeled after CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, connects talented artists and designers with potential collectors, while providing the collectors with new creative goods. From 300+ applicants, the CSA + D jury selected 12 participating makers, who have been working away at their contributions. Collectors can choose to purchase a share of either 3 or 6 artworks, and on October 19, pick up their boxes of original art and design. Win / win.

(Image of Adam Frezza & Terry Chiao’s work)

Great Suspense


The apparent simplicity of suspension bridges have inspired artists and designers for decades. Design studio Outofstock, based in Singapore and Barcelona, is especially interested in the beautiful strength that occurs in tense string and wires (like the balance of their Vanity Shelf for Ligne Roset). The studio’s new Bridge Shelf uses bent metal to support planks of wood, all hanging from a wooden rod, beautifully suspending books and objects.

Branched Screen


British designer Benjamin Hubert has created a system of 3 branched modules that connect together in various ways to form screens and installations. Amass was designed for this year’s 100% Design Festival in London when Hubert, concerned about the amount of waste produced by trade shows and festivals, wanted to create something that could be re-usable. The parts can be easily taken apart and re-installed elsewhere, and the components will soon be sold as a kit. For more, check out this timelapse video of the construction at the Festival.


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