Why Design? Because We Can!

Because We Can Couch
Because We Can is a design-build studio that has created some really amazing work. Their flat pack designs are especially interesting, such as the flat pack couch, designed as a place to rest your feet and store your vinyl. equally cool is the flat pack furniture system designed for Sunpower, Inc. The system consists of tables, stools, & signage, and is fit together with no adhesives, requiring only a few hard smacks with a mallet. (more…)

Micro Origami Puts Miniature Paper Crane Folders to Shame.

Intro Image
In an announcement that has shocked the various folding communities, researchers at USC Information Sciences Institute have invented a method of folding teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy containers made from polysilicon and gold film. Why is this interesting to Ponoko citizens? The folded shapes are produced from the labyrinthine-monikered process PolyMUMPs (Poly Multi User MEMS Processes) which, at it barest essentials, is an etching process to create very small custom shapes on sheets of material, usually silicon or gold foil. (more…)

Extreme Design Contest Announces Nine Extreme Finalists

Dimension 3D door stop
Dimension 3D Printing Group announced nine finalists in three categories for the Extreme Design Contest, a competition to highlight the talents of young designers and highlight the power of 3D printing’s ability to solve a great variety of problems. The finalists were chosen from 800 entries worldwide entries, with three finalists in each of the three categories; University, High-School, and Arts & Architecture. Entrants in the University and High School categories were encouraged to produce designs that redefined an existing product to improve that product’s function. Submissions to the Arts & Architecture category were expected to produce original designs with an emphasis on aesthetics. (more…)

Vert Design Makes Smashing Things Easy.

Vert Design Mallet
Not breaking news necessarily, but Vert Design’s flat pack mallet is a wonderful example of creating functional three dimensional objects from a single sheet of wood. The design is minimal, using only one board of plywood with little waste, with some very cunning fittings. If you’ve been puzzling over how to fit some troublesome pieces together, you might want to give this design a look. If you’re just interested in tenderizing, for $40 USD and requiring no adhesives, you can construct a fully-functional mallet and hit things to your heart’s content. Incidentally, if you’re looking for more inspiration, they also make a functional windvane toy with — in my opinion — a very clever rotating joint and a spectacular example of flat pack ingenuity. (more…)

Interview with Rob Honeycutt of Rickshaw Bagworks at MC&OI.

A Rickshaw TED Bag
You don’t know who Rob Honeycutt is, and if you do, you’re a bigger follower of Mass
Customization news than I. You could also be a big fan of Timbuk2 three-panel bags, which were created by Mr. Honeycutt, and are a classic example of a successful mass customization product. Now Honeycutt, along with former Timbuk2 CEO Mark Dwight, has founded the company Rickshaw Bagworks; a new company that specializes in completely customizable bags, from materials to stitching. Additionally, all the fabric used in Rickshaw bags is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and comes in a huge variety of prints. At this year’s Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Conference, Rickshaw Bagworks supplied two sets of 800 unique bags for conference attendees, and encouraged people to ‘find their twin’. (more…)

Interview with Studio Lo at NOTCOT.

Studio Lo Slippers
The design blog NOTCOT has a quick interview with Studio Lo about their creative process and material choices. Studio Lo is a French company made up of two designers who create fantastic minimalist flat pack products. You’ve seen their PANO chair previously here, its design is emblematic of their work; embracing the idea of sustainability, using natural materials and minimizing waste. Some of their current designs include the slippers seen above, a rustic-textured birdhouse, and a purse among other things. Their material is cut using a water-jet cutter, which produces results similar to the laser cutters used by Ponoko. If you’re looking for inspiration, or just want to see what is possible in flat-pack design, I would recommend reading the interview over at NOTCOT, then stopping by their website for a look.

You can read the full interview from NOTCOT here.

Students Explore Rapid Prototyping with PROtoDUCTION:

A RP acorn
An annual exhibition of the work of students at ASU’s VizProto course, a 3D visualization and prototyping course. A part of the Herberger College School of Art since 1998, the VizProto course allows students to experience and experiment with rapid prototyping technologies. Luckily for us, many of the projects are documented at the VizProto course website, although the most recent documented course is spring 2004. Like any course, the final projects are not necessarily marketable products or processes, but are instead explorations of this developing medium; although some projects, like the customized action figure project, almost sell themselves. (more…)

Interview with Martin Konrad Gloeckle at Mass Customization & Open Innovation News

Gloeckle Portrait
Martin Konrad Gloeckle, in addition to having a spectacular name, is the author of a study called “Un-Readymades: From object to experience” which explores, among other things, the rising consumer trend towards greater involvement in the experiences they consume. Recently, Gloeckle was interviewed by Mass Customization and Open Innovation News, a blog whose focus should be readily apparent. (more…)

Design Democracy ’08: Bringing Ideas to Reality Since 2008.

Design Democracy '08 Logo
Its a shame it hasn’t been mentioned before. Design Democracy ’08 is an event and website sponsored by Context Furniture that allows anyone to submit ideas for furniture, from bar napkins sketches to photos of finished furniture. These ideas are voted on by the community and the top-rated design will be built for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair taking place on May 17-20 in New York City. Unfortunately, the deadline for entering submissions that will be built for the ICFF has passed. However, the contest isn’t the only reason to participate, (more…)

Open Source is What All the Kids are Talking About

In the software world, open source is what its all about these days. From productivity programs like open office to full operating systems, like Ubuntu. Only in the past few years has the open source bug infected other disciplines, such as hardware and product design. The appeal of open source projects is undeniable; a dedicated group of enthusiasts working to create a product that benefits a much larger community without asking for anything in return.