phone e

Actually Greg, this might be more in keeping with the discussion from earlier. Excuse the crude photoshop.

circles and squares

I was just speaking to a client about the increasingly popular use of the somewhat old school round button or key on a rectilinear form as an aesthetic rebellion against the more organically contoured and asymetrically divided interface arrays. This is an interesting application, if you can look past the horrible display graphics. As this shows, making it look clean and precise as opposed to old and boring is in the weight of the materials and finish details.


Memorial Day

It was only after the doughboys returned in 1918 that the former Confederate states dropped their boycott of America's original "Memorial Day," proclaimed by Union commander Gen. John Logan in May 1868. And here one can note the bizarre manner in which war exerts its paradoxically unifying effect. If it is "the health of the state," as was sardonically said by that great foe of "Mr. Wilson's war," Randolph Bourne, then it can also be an agent of emancipation and nation-building and even (as was proved after 1945) of democracy. But even this reflection can never abolish the insoluble problem: how to estimate the value of those whose lives were cruelly cut off before victory was in sight. It is sometimes rather lazily said that these soldiers "gave" their lives. It would be equally apt, if more blunt, to say that they had their lives taken.

The quote is from the author of "Thomas Jefferson: Author of America". The picture is from the site of the start of the Solidarity Strike in Gdansk.

Edison at the daffodil fields

I think that Edison was faking the smile but we did see a bunch of friends and neighbors at the daffodil fields.



Next time some big job comes in or I have some reason to celebrate I think I am going to splurge on one of these for the office...maybe for playing video games. Here is the history from DWR: Florence Knoll challenged Finnish-born architect and designer Eero Saarinen in 1948 to create a chair that she could curl up in. The Womb Chair's enveloping, lap-like form continues to be one of the most iconic and recognized representations of mid-century Scandinavian organic modernism. In fact, ask most designers and architects what lounge chair design they covet and they'll promptly tell you it's the Womb Chair. By applying foam molded over a fiberglass shell, Saarinen was able to create a single-piece form that perfectly facilitated a relaxed sitting posture and a sublime feeling of security. Additional seat and back cushions and the coordinating Womb Ottoman provide a further degree of lavish comfort. The slender steel rod base is chrome-plated using a multiple step process that results in a flawlessly polished mirror finish. Manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer.


I have seen several stories on this legendary press but had never seen a picture. The systems involved were first assembled in Germany by Gutenberg, a goldsmith, in ca. 1439. What is not often talked about is that woodblock printing and movable type printing technologies were already developed in both China and Korea a few hundred years prior.

Printing methods based on Gutenberg's printing press spread rapidly throughout Europe and then the rest of the world. It eventually replaced most versions of block printing, making it the most used format of modern movable type As a method of creating reproductions for mass consumption, the printing press has been superseded by the advent of offset printing.

Method Kids

Interesting interpretation of the characterized bottle. The colors are working well but I think that the form is neither detailed enough to be recognizable nor sculptural enough to be whimsical. They should have either gone more Alessi or more urban vinyl with it but it is still better than the Loreal Kids fish that is so popular.

Engrave your moleskine

The is an example of the laser etched Moleskine provided very nicely by Joe at www.engraveyourbook.com. The process is easy and almost any good black and white photo will work. I just had a couple made using a photo of the Evo studio taken by Marshall Troy. they came out great. I highly recommend it if you like the moleskine notepad format.



Thanks for the link Johnny A. It is impressive to see how well Haworth has maintained their brand over such a long period of time. It has had to have been tempting for them to give in to some of the gimmicky trendy stuff at times.




Karim Rashid's butterfly chair was under consideration for the new workroom chair but I can not find any place that sells them individually. It seems very odd to me. Maybe it is an environmental thing? Karim is best known for bringing the masses his simple design and an overtly computer generated look. He is known in design circles as a pompous and relentless self-promoter who brough us the monument to his ego in the form of the cone hand vacuum - which makes the design profession slightly laughable in boardrooms around the globe. The butterfly chair is solidly cool looking though.


Office changes

It is time to replace the black umbra chairs in the studio. They served their purpose and are good for encouraging short meetings but I think that we are ready to try to find something that is easier on the eyes and the ass. This line is kind of boring but the price is pretty reasonable...also, what is with the colors? Whatever we end up getting I am going to get a sample in here to test drive first which eliminates the Rashid Butterfly because those are only sold in a two-pack.

The complete saga

It sounds like a strange combination but the boys got me hooked on this Lego Star Wars game on Wii.


Marc Newson has created some inspiring visuals. No doubt. The 021 is particularly impressive and has been an influence on almost every product designer I know. This dish rack for Magis has also been a calling card for Newson. We have been investigating all kinds of dish racks for a client and I was excited to get this but disappointed to find out that the scale is way off and it is a bitch to clean.



The Myto chair by Konstantin Grcic is receiving an unbelievable level of press leading up to ICFF. It is really interesting and technically impressive in every way except for how you go about purchasing one. Like most of the exciting stuff you see in Metropolis I believe that to get the Myto you have to jump through the humiliating contract furniture hoops. Not that all of the reps are bad, I just met the first nice and very helpful rep for Vecta but to everyone else who isn't Karen I wonder how much longer you think this consumer unfriendly paradigm can survive.



I recently received the opportunity to contribute to Sustainablog. Hopefully it will continue on a weekly basis.
My first listing was on 5/12


Audio Technica

This is from ElectricPig.com: "You’ve had earache from headphones before, right? They dig into your skull, or cause that nasty pain in your lugholes. Unless you grab a pair of Audio Technica’s top notch cans, that is. Their Wing Support Housing design keeps weight off your ears, without putting pressure on your head. It’s hard to explain, but very effective. The headphones feel as if they’re floating on your noggin, and it’s immensely comfortable. Add to that the ATH-W5000’s ebony design and you’ve got a winning set of closed-back cans. They’re the finest we’ve ever heard, albeit at a price." Great writing. I am wondering if it is real wood.

Bugaboo strollers

Always worth a look. www.bugaboostrollers.com


Designed as part of the Samsonite travel line, the Pop-Up Bubble, is a third of the weight of traditional travel cot and is quickly opened into a fully usable cot, complete with mattress and zip-up mosquito net.


These are more back-to-school scale than hiking or camping but the subtle characterization is great. The dots on the ladybug are a bit too small though. You can get these and the thermometer below on crazibonkas.co.uk

Room Thermometer

This is an ambient air thermometer designed for infant/toddler bedrooms. The color changing indicates the temperature and is backed up by a digital readout below. I am not sure that I would buy this because the thermostats at my house are pretty accurate but it is well done.


springtime 11

Cuisinart grill tools: I may have posted these before but since the weather has turned nice I have put them to use and they are performing really well. Sure there are some things that could be improved, like the tong grips, but overall they are really easy to use, comfortable and easy to clean. Now I just have to get the client to send us a fresh sample for our display wall.

derin design

The design team brought a brochure for Derin Design back from their design inspiration trip to NYC. I believe that they are a Turkish furniture design and manufacturing company. Unfortunately they work in that horribly ancient contract rep network sales system that makes it impossible to just order their furniture. It is nice looking though.

Sony HD home theatre

Interesting looking system. I heard it the other day at Best Buy and the sound is pretty goo too. They really seem to have adopted a much simpler, more refined detailing language and I think it is working. The finishes are still a little weak and it is, of course, not Aperion Audio quality sound but it is not bad.


Finally a forum for my irritation with the leadership at Starbucks. Have you tried their breakfast sandwich? They are great. And I am annoyed that it is all going away. They are tasty and not over priced or overly filling. And you know what? I think that the big guy at Starbucks needs to wake up to the reality that the spasmodic growth years are in the rearview mirror. Returning to nipples on the logo, sample-size fresh brew and a waft of coffee aroma are not going to them back to the hyper expansion that had them on a pace to have one starbucks location per person by the year 2050. You know what else? That is ok. The food is the primary reason I visit Starbucks (gasp) now that the novelty of a great cup of coffee has worn off a tad. BTW: I am hopeful for my sandwich future because the egg salad is excellent and the veggie wrap sublime. But seriously they managed do outdo Dunkin Dounuts, Fresh City and all the rest of the locals with the creatively delicious hot sandwiches and now they are going to give it up. Sounds to me like greed.


Zip Flip

The color works better here because the stainless helps keep the position right. Interesting looking product. According to my friend John the functionality is great too. I am not sure that the hang tag color works to compliment the green.


Chef 'n

Great product. One of my favorite all-purpose kitchen items but what they hell happened with the colors.

springtime 10

This basting pot/brush combo is an excellent design opportunity. It could be a cool mix of tabletop look and appliance functionality. A material change is a must but there is a lot that can be doe with this from a form and detail standpoint as well. If you are looking at new grills check out the new consumer reports. Both the IDEA gold winning Fuego and the Broil king units get creamed in the performance evaluations. I wonder if the IDEA jurors are embarrassed. How could the criteria be so different? At the minimum I would take it off the home page if I were the IDSA.


Springtime 09

Maybe time for a fresh set of white board markers? Someone told me who designed these but I can not remember. The design is great, the magnetic feature is cool, but unfortunately they do not seem to last very long. You can get them at office Max.

"Ice" truck

Not quite sure what these guys were thinking when they decided to make a blow-molded HDPE hand truck. It looks like it would be light weight but also really flimsy. The useable space looks really wimpy too. If anyone has one of these will you let me know how it performs?

springtime 08

There is a great bunch of movies coming out being led by the really enjoyable new Ironman. I just saw the preview and poster art for Batman (thanks Paitoon) and it made me think how much that franchise has evolved.


Goggles are deceptively complicated to design, even sketching the form concept is a challenge. It is easy to end up with something that lacks distinction or misses the opportunity to make a compelling statement to the target demographic. The Magneto by Spy does is both distinct and communicative but could have gone a step further.


This description of the IDEA process is one of the best that I have ever read. It is lifted in large part from the blog of one of this years jurors, Rob Tannen. Very useful when trying to decide whether or not to enter.

The review process began with 20 jurors working independently. During this phase of judging, each juror independently reviewing the submitted documentation (forms, images, videos, etc) entries within a a set subcategory.

Each subcategory was assigned to two jurors. Following their independent reviews, pairs would discuss their recommendations with each other. When there was disagreement about particular entries, a juror had to convince his or her partner about whether or not to advance the entry to the finalist round.

In the next round, each judging pair reviewed their selected finalists in person. This year's IDEA awards judging was improved over previous year's, because for the first time (!), the jurors had access to most of the actual products for the design finalists. Consequently, the discussions were more focused on issues such as details, comfort and finish - much like they would be in a design review of refined prototypes. Again, each juror had to "make the case" to his or her partner for the designs that deserved merit.

The iterative review process continued with a larger review cycle. This time three or four pairs of jurors discussed the designs that they had selected. At the conclusion of this phase, each of the award winners had been selected and agreed upon by the majority of each working group.

Finally, all of the designs (both award winners and finalists) were open for discussion to the entire group of 20 jurors. In this last-check round, any juror could suggest raising or lowering the award recognition of any item.


Springtime 07

Great time to get the bike back out on the road. I have my fathers bike from the 70's sitting in the garage just waiting to be cleaned up and tuned. Although it is probably a bit small and slow for the roads around here it is very cool. The Zero X Motorcycle pictured here was designed from the ground up to be a 100% electric bike. What makes this battery bike different is that it contains 168 individual lithium cells and is expected to endure six years of hard riding? Also, according to the manufacturer the Zero X battery unit is 100% recyclable and landfill approved. Never heard that claim before. You can buy one from the company’s Website. A standard bike costs $7,450, plus $300 for shipping across the US. I think that the shipping probably diminishes the green position a bit, so maybe you should go pick one up. Luke, this would be great for the Dominican. There is a lot going for it but man, they could use some design help.

Data storage

From an industrial design standpoint data storage is proving to be an interesting category. There are many small players that could benefit from a distinctive own-able aesthetic but most are caught somewhere between that ambition and the temptation to aspire to nothing more than to visually blend into the background. They also present the usual design challenges that come with low volume. I think that this is Blu-ray line is also a fair example of what picking a distinctive color can get you...although this particular hue little behind.


Jim, sorry it took me a while to get to this post. This is an example of that arbitrary aesthetic that I was describing. I am sure that there is a market for forms that are this close to a movie prop and I think Oakley actually executes on it pretty well. Better than most for sure. It is just so far from what the rest of the world is doing that you just have to wonder is it the past or the future...probably both.



Mike D had a saying about what to do when you had a cold but I can not recall it exactly. Something like "feed a fever glutton a cold". What I know for sure is that the meaning of it was that you should eat a lot when you are feeling like you have a cold. He may not be a doctor but the technique does seem to make me feel better. What you need is to make yourself a giant hard salami and cheddar grinder with pickles and mustard. Maybe all of the sodium scares the cold away, I do not know. But it works. I suggest a frozen Coke from burger king to wash it down. Feel better Ben.


springtime 06

I need to do some spring cleaning and perhaps get some new flutes. I know that these are Bodum knock-offs and not really anything new but I like the interpretation and the scientific test tube look. I wonder if the lip is hard to drink out of?



I saw this for the first time at the Housewares show. It is great to see our design on the home page and in all of the different finishes it really creates a presence when displayed. The interface and details really came out nicely. Although it is too bad that the team that created it is no longer together (with the moving of Jarden) it was a solid project and I think that everyone should be really pleased since this clearly delivers on the goal of taking up much less counter space.

Designers Accord

"Our mission is to catalyze innovation throughout the creative community by collectively building our intelligence around sustainability. For this cause, we advocate inverting the traditional model of competition, and encourage pooling knowledge so that all may benefit and build on marketable and sustainable solutions. We believe this will create positive social and environmental impact."

Catalyze innovation? What they hell does that mean? It seems like they are trying to say that they want everyone to share information about sustainability with the hope that this will allow us to be more creative. I agree but why make it so complicated? It reminds me a little of a sales pitch version of the 1919 Bauhaus manifesto. I could be wrong but this has the IDEO-jargonizer finger-print all over it. Anyway, instead of stating that when it comes to sustainability they are going to be better sharers it might be simpler to just share the information. Also, DA? come on.