Friday, May 29, 2009

Etsy-licious: Bottoms up!

We have two small juice glasses. Nothing fancy, they are just the right size for OJ or a glass of wine (In our house we drink the casual Italian way, from tumblers). I like them, because they are squarish without being sharp, and they don't weigh too much. We used to have eight, but then they started a run of bad luck: One smashed in the sink, one fell on the floor, etc. I'm clumsy (see previous bit about the smashing), and switching over to our tall wobbly stemware seemed unwise. I didn't want to buy new, and I wasn't having any luck finding a vintage set I really liked. Then I ran across YAVA Glass.

Mr. YAVA (aka glass artist Shawn Fletcher) takes interesting bottles and turns them into glasses, vases, coasters, and more. In an effort to use every scrap of the bottle, he's even started making jewelry from the tops.

Now I have shiny new glasses to fill with juice, wine, cocktails, etc. The Leninade ones want vodka, no?

Images from YAVA Glass.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Resources: Ponoko

Laser-cut lamps

Ponoko is basically a mash-up of a high-end laser-cutting service and an Etsy-like online marketplace.

Why do you care?
Tricia, they have 9 delicious colors of wool felt, including fuchsia!
Everyone else? It's a great way for the masses to access reasonably priced laser cutting services, or for a graphic designer to turn lovely 2D concepts into real 3D object.

Adorable rings
Why is it green?
It's not necessarily green, but there are some nice eco-materials (felt, bamboo) in addition to the usual delicious candy-colored acrylic sheets.
A well designed laser-cut product also allows for a very efficient use of materials and less waste (note the coiled coasters that get two coasters from each round disk). The most interesting green opportunities lie in the micro-manufacturing angle, with the "factory" located near the designer or the consumer and the designs created on demand.

Cherry wood and bamboo coasters
What if I can't use CAD?
Check out their newest service, PhotoMake. This allows you to upload a hand-drawn sketch. You still have to be computer literate, but it's easier than learning CAD. Imagine taking some inspired doodle created in your notebook margins and turning it into something physical.

The downside to all this goodness?
I offer up a caution from my student days: Access to a laser CAMM can make a designer lazy. Just because you can build it out of flat laser-cut pieces doesn't mean that you should.

Bottom line, if you're quick with CAD and already have a laser-cutter in your shop (or on your speed dial), this might not be for you. But if you want to make some simple prototypes or sell your work, this could be a good venue. Either way, it's a really interesting idea, and the storefront is a great way to connect designers and potential customers.

I'd love to see them expand their selection of materials to include more recycled ones.

So, has anyone used Ponoko? If Tricia or I do a test drive of the service, we'll post a follow-up.

Images from Ponoko (designers listed below)
Lamp by Li-RongLiao
Rings by Isette
Coasters by DEFPOTEC and Tee

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rhymes with orange (ornj)

Ornjbags are handmade from construction fencing. Genius, affordable, and available on Etsy. Nothing else to say, except that I don't technically need another bag, and my birthday in August....
Images from ornjbags

Friday, May 22, 2009

Swing low, sweet chariot

I live in Oakland and work in SF, so my daily commute consists of squeezing onto a crowded rush-hour BART train. I don't have the hate-hate relationship so many people have with our flawed transit system, as it gives me a chance to read, and the walk from the station to my house is often warm and sunny. My commute, though tolerable, is never fun.

This guerrilla installation of a child's swing, however, is fun.
Note the guy* is rocking the Cordarounds smoking jacket, from one of my favorite SF businesses. Enjoy the long weekend!

*Amazing Race, anyone?

Images from Audrey Peven's Flickr stream (cc license). Thanks to Treehugger for the tip.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cardboard transformer lighting

Chun-wei Liao is a London-based industrial designer who is creating this clever flat-pack cardboard lighting with options for customization and personalization. Design*Sponge has a great post on this and detailed photos showing how it all goes together (All the Design*Sponge coverage of ICFF has been amazing. It's worth checking out.)

Larger images from Liao's website. Detailed photo from Design*Sponge.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Uncorked: Iannone Designs furniture

Iannone Design makes this stunning, eco-friendly furniture. Designer Michael Iannone uses FSC certified plywoods and adds lovely cork details. He also does custom work, like this table made of locally salvaged lumber. It looks like something you could DIY pretty easily, but it wouldn't look this exquisite. The proportions are just perfect.
Image from Iannone Design. Thanks to Design*Sponge for the tip.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Buckle up! Seat belt hammock from Ting

It's beautiful and sunny and warm (finally!). No one wants to be indoors, breathing stale office air. In this economy, if you're lucky enough to still have 9 to 5, you're not likely to knock off a summer afternoon to do nothing. By the time I get home, the sun is fading and the summer fog is starting to roll in. Still, a girl can dream of a lazy afternoon in a hammock made of salvaged seat belts.

Image from Ting. Thanks to Re-Nest for the tip.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Etsy-licious: Recycled bike innertubes

It's bike-to-work week, and with these, you can ride in style. Etsy shop Labelle Maverique has lovely, feminine, funky cuffs and belts make from recycled inner tubes with intricate lacy hand-cut designs. Pretty, pretty...

Images from Labelle Maverique

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alex's wax-off, wax-on candle holder

And here's the third submission from our Process 376 lighting project. Our own Alex Pappas took things in a really different direction, creating a candle-holder concept that speaks directly about consumption and resources, while being a lovely object in its own right. He says it better than I could:
When thinking about creating a 'green' lighting piece, I knew that I wanted to create something that constantly reminded the user of what it takes to produce that light. In doing so I was hoping to raise the individual's awareness about the amount of resources used in producing light... with an outside hope that this awareness could transfer to other aspects of that person's life.

As the candle burns, the excess wax drips down and around a suspended wick that sits strung across the mold for a new candle. After burning several candles, you create a new candle that can be pulled from the mold, and re-used. You become very aware that it takes wax from more than one candle to create a new candle; while also understanding the value of trying to save excess material that is otherwise looked at as useless.

See more photos of the design on Alex's website. This piece isn't for sale, but Alex is available for custom work.

Finally, this isn't particularly relevant to green design or the Process 376 lighting project, but I have to put in a mention for Alex's artfully disturbing illustrations. I LOVE the "Catching Monsters with World" one.

Images from Alex Pappas

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tricia's well-suited pendant light

Here's the next submission from our Process 376 lighting design exercise. Tricia has been doing some really wonderful work with recycled wool from vintage suits (you should see the quilt, and maybe someday we'll get her to share the earrings). It's only natural that she use the same material for her lamp. I love the way the layers of colored wool show at the seams. Nice work, Tricia!

Image from Tricia Wright

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finger pointing: Wooden carpet by Elisa Stroyzk

Design student Elisa Stroyzk creates amazing wooden textiles, like this rug made of wood veneer leftovers from a wood workshop that is closing down. More details and photos at Dezeen.

Images from Elisa Stroyzk (photos by Sebastian Neeb)

Monday, May 4, 2009

30-Love: Studio Kleefstra's ping pong pendant

So much cooler than anything we ever had in our basement rec room! Dutch designers Studio Kleefstra corralled enough ping-pong balls to make this very cool pendant lamp. Also available in smaller table-top versions. It's not really green unless the balls are recycled, but it's bouncy either way.

Image from Studio Kleefstra. Thanks to
Dwell for the tip.