the way we live

unique notebooks

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the always fun better living through design highlighted this wonderful notebook produced by rare device.  it is a limited edition run of elegantly and uniquely designed notebooks that feature a multitude of paper types within.  additionally, the notebook is bound in such a way it can lay open flat upon a table.  head over to the product page a take a look for yourself.  personally, i love these unique little gems.

11 February 2008 Posted by | modern, products | 3 Comments

no drip carafes

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from an ingenious portfolio on behance network comes this proposal for an elegant carafe utilizing two lip system to eliminate dripping. the noro no-drip employs a wonderfully creative system of two-lips that allows for the reacquisition of dripping liquid, thus eliminating sticky tables and carafes everywhere (below).

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as if the engineering behind the carafe wasn’t enough for me to want to see this product brought to market the bottle’s form is simply stunning (top). gentle curves and counter curves of clear glass come to life when filled with liquid. the two lip system at the top almost appears as a motion blur ghost of a lip. it’s a pure, simple, functional, design that does nothing more than improve the way we live.

26 December 2007 Posted by | materials, modern, products, technology | 2 Comments

oil end game

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in the most recent addition to the already stellar series of podcasts from ted is a talk given back in 2005 at the conference by amory lovins.  in the talk mr. lovins discusses environmental policies/attitudes and specifically our dependence on oil and the need to kick it.  but here is where this talk stands out from most doom and gloom discussions pertaining to petropolitics, environmental policies, and world economies: mr. lovin’s asserts that, contrary to popular belief, transitioning the way we live to sustainable sources of fuel will actually increase economic prosperity worldwide.  mr. lovin’s rightfully states, “it is cheaper to save fuel than to buy fuel.”  in fact he cites that companies who already do this, companies that have invested in alternative sources of fuel, streamlined production lines, and rethought the way the do business have seen their bottom dollar increase.  climate protection is not costly as most people portray it as and we do not need to do something painful to avoid it; rather, we need to approach it as a design problem.  we must use intelligence. mr. lovin’s uses the example of the mclaren sports car in which new space-age composite materials cut down on weight (and thus reduce fuel requirements and in turn increase fuel economy) while making the car safer than by traditional construction.  we must streamline our approaches to manufacturing and other labor and evironmentally intensive areas.  here amory cites the example of car manufacturers cutting out the paint shop entirely, which is by far one of the most labor intensive and environmentally destructive phases of construction.  rather he proposes impregnating the raw materials and body panels of the automobile with color themselves.  we must also design efficiently.  companies’ engineering departments must go back to the drawing boards and rethink production, assembly, and product transportation.  if these three things can be accomplished, if the problem can be treated as a design problem, then it becomes an economically viable alternative.

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mr. lovin’s asserts that we can be off oil by 2040 and have a bigger, more robust, and diverse economy.  we don’t have to suffer hardships in doing so, we can actually increase world and domestic security in the process, reduce price volatility, and save the environment from otherwise imminent catastrophic collapse.  in fact, amory’s book is available as a free pdf download at his website, winning the oil end game.  mr. lovin’s talk was both inspiring and fascinating; if you don’t already subscribe to the ted talk podcast series from itunes or the ted website, i highly recommend it.

17 December 2007 Posted by | products, society, technology, urban planning | 2 Comments

plumen project

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according to the plumen project’s website, “the plumen low energy light bulb prototype is a reaction to the lack of real diversity, imagination, and personality offered by the market today.” as a hugler spin-off the plumen design was inspired by contemporary “lightwriting.”

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using the tublar form of the bulb’s fluorescent cavity to their advantage, the designers spun up some surely fantastic forms.

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i find it fascinating to see the wide variety of forms the plumen folks came up with. after all, why does a light bulb have to be pure utility? can’t it too be activated by design? the folks working on the plumen project sure think so and i for one agree. these are fun (and at 2700 kelvin a nice warm cfl light), i certainly hope they find their way to the market.

21 November 2007 Posted by | green, materials, modern, products, society, technology | Leave a comment

switch mouse

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featured in the november issue of metropolis magazine, this unassuming mouse is more than meets the eye. designed by manuel saez of humanscale, the switch mouse is the model of ergonomic efficiency. some of the more notable design developments include the following: the scrolling wheel was replaced by a pad that allows the user to scroll around the page without the hurtful repetitive motion previously required. also, the mouse can expand in the middle so as to fit up to 95% of hand sizes. finally, included are removable “stabilizer blades” that keep the mouse titled at a 45 degree angle so as to keep your hand in a more natural position while using the mouse (seen below).

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additionally, the mouse was made to be ambidextrous, meaning either lefties or righties can use the mouse equally successfully. finally, the mouse was designed of recycled plastic and conforms to european standards for the amount of hazardous substances in electronics. my favorite part, however, is the elegant design of the mouse itself. mr. saez has done just the right amount of contouring and tailoring the lines of the mouse to update the outdated yet familiar design. the sleek and vibrant black and white coloring seems to add to the bold aesthetic of the design. available in january 2008, i can’t wait to see and use this in person.

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19 November 2007 Posted by | modern, products, technology | Leave a comment

innovative cars

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the new york times has an insightful article today about some of the new innovative automotive designs and technologies rolling off the production lines these days (including the three-wheel beauty, the venture vehicle, above, designed by ian bruce). the venture vehicle is the bizarre love-child of a motorcycle and a sports car. the car features a much smaller and lighter frame which inherently allows for improved fuel consumption. add that to electric hybrid motor and you have one good-looking fuel-efficient vehicle. head on over and read the full article for stories about a number of other new hybrid or all-electric cars currently in design, prototyping, or even production phases (naturally coming in all shapes, sizes, and powertrains).

14 November 2007 Posted by | green, modern, products, society, technology | Leave a comment

passive warming

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i found this idea at yanko design this afternoon.  how smart!  designed of simple ceramic and sized accordingly, you can use your outdated radiator to keep coffee and food warm without expending extra energy to heat it, passively warming the way we live.

14 November 2007 Posted by | green, materials, products, technology | Leave a comment

tshirt fun

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i thought everyone may enjoy this.

13 November 2007 Posted by | products, society | Leave a comment

flash legos

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these little guys are a bit out of the way from what we would normally talk about here but i thought they were too fun to pass up (i found them at better living through design). disguised as a simple colorful lego brick, is a 2 gigabyte usb flash memory drive. coming in five colors (black, blue, green, red, and yellow) the 2gb drive runs $69 at charles and marie. if i needed a flash drive i’d be all over this one; it’s a lego! just don’t let it end up in your kid’s collection of real legos.

4 November 2007 Posted by | products, technology | 2 Comments

biotech done right

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speaking of elegantly simple ideas, this lowly little innovative new biosensor technology is poised to save thousands of lives. this weed, known as thales cress, has been engineered by aresa (a danish biotech company) to actually be a biological mine detector. when in the presence of land mines the plant’s flower changes color, from naturally occurring green to a vibrant warning purple-red. this color-shift is accomplished by the plant’s engineered sensitivity to nitrogen dioxide, a chemical that is present in buried land mines and other explosives. this simple plant posses the ability to save innumerable lives the world over while at the same time making the jobs of those who clear land mines that much safer. to me, it’s a wonderful example of innovative design and technology being applied to improve the way we live and the safety of lives throughout the world.

30 October 2007 Posted by | green, products, society, technology | Leave a comment