Friday, October 30, 2009

The butterfly effect

Nothing practical in the lab today, just some inspirational eye candy for you: These are more art than design, but these laser-cut butterflies mounted in traditional oak boxes are a lovely use of vintage maps and papers, elevating scraps of paper to art. Plus they're a lot less creepy than mounted butterflies.
imagesurgery is currently sold out of their butterflies, but the next series is due in December. Contact them to be notified when they are available.

Images from imagesurgery. Thanks to Apartment Therapy for the tip.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Three o' clock ride

To our our lab members with a shop full of bike parts, check out this creative reuse. A lot of designers are using old gears and chain rings, but this is a much bigger scale. For me, it's the bright red hands that make all the difference. Available (currently sold out) from the here or the here, where you can also find clocks made from an assortment of vintage computer, bike, and audio components. I also really like this turntable clock.
Image from Stuff Made from Stuff. Thanks to NotCot for the tip.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The doily show

Netherlands-based designer Ulrike Jurklies of Momantai and her partner in art, Roel van Hove of Etsprit are recycling second-hand furniture, but not in any of the usual crafty ways (coat of glossy paint, decoupage) or in the deconstructive approach we're so fond of (new furniture with vintage drawers, mash-ups of chair legs). The twist here is to resurface the tabletops with a thin sheet of stainless steel. With a nod to traditional textiles, the lace patterns of Plauerner Spitze have been etched into the steel. The result is an ├╝ber-modern take on grandma's vintage doilies.
I love the pairing of traditional and modern, and the slightly off-center placement keeps the designs from seeming too precious.

Images from Momantai. Thanks to Apartment Therapy for the tip.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Virginie's cutlery tray rescue

Designer Virginie Manichon steps up to her first Process 376 design challenge and gives us this. The lowly plastic cutlery organizer has never looked so elegant (actually, it's probably never looked elegant at all). It's the attention to detail that cinches it, with metal posts to secure the pieces in place, and a scrap of salvaged window screen serving as a cover. You can't see it, but she's added a magnet to hold the screen in the open and closed positions.
The entire project cost only a few pennies for the hardware, and most of the elements were salvaged or free:
  • Cutlery organizer from a yard sale
  • Salvaged window screen
  • Pins (holding rings and cross) recovered from a paper lantern
  • Scrap metal
  • Magnet salvaged from an electric toothbrush head
  • Rivets and fasteners (new)
Nice work, Virginie. Can't wait to see what you make next time!

Images from Virginie Manichon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rocking chair powers reading light

DesignBoom just announced the winners of their Green Life design contest. Tricia flagged this one (also the 1st place winner) as post worthy. The Murukami concept chair by Rochus Jacob uses the rocking motion to generate power for the attached OLED reading light. Cool idea. I wonder how well it works, but the prototype sure is nicely done.

Images from DesignBoom. Thanks to Tricia for the tip.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oliver's recycled bicycled lamps

Oh happy day! Following up on his fantastic phone book design, Oliver sent in photos of his beautiful lamp from one of our earlier Process 376 challenges, made almost completely of things he salvaged around his shop. We all loved it so much, he made a pendant lamp in the same style.

Oliver is a meticulous craftsman, and every detail seems considered, from the pendant's counterweight to the tiny fasteners holding the shade together. Check out the the details of the bike chain structure and that stunning lampshade.

Materials used (all except the halogen are things he scrounged around his shop):

  • bike chain
  • bike hub
  • hard drive disc
  • microwave transmission tubing
  • scrap piece of Richlite
  • HDPE plastic sheet (cut into strips to make the shades)
  • low-voltage halogen

Both pieces are for sale, and Oliver does commissions as well. You can see more of his work and contact him via his website.

Images from Oliver DiCicco (photography by Tricia)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bamboo Barn

Usually we don't post about eco-architecture, as there are tons of other web sites and publications filled with the latest LEED-certifiable technology and how, if you have a zillion dollars, you can use cradle-to-cradle materials in your eco-manse. However, this seemed different. The materials used are modest, and most are locally sourced. The structures are part of a utiliarian set-up, designed as a place to store, fuel, and maintain agricultural equipment, with seasonal capacity for storing hay and grain. The open-air design provides ventilation to help dry bales of hay. All the bamboo is locally sourced, and the big surprise is that this isn't somewhere in Asia, but on the Mason Lane Farm in Kentucky. That's right, this is hand-tied, Kentucky-grown bamboo. My grandparents' farm didn't look like this. Then again, they weren't trying for a LEED gold certification.The second structure on site features panels of corrugated metal, which are typical of rural farm structures. The design details here are minimal, but effective. You can read more about it and see a full slideshow on Archinect. It's a great write-up, with lots of details on construction, materials, and the design philosophy.

Images from Archinect. Thanks to Inhabitat for the tip (Note: Inhabitat cites this as a North Carolina project, but it's actually in Kentucky. For our west-coast readers, there's probably not much difference ;-). However, I spent my summers visiting my grandparents at their Carolina farm, and I couldn't let the error go uncorrected.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You can ring Ma Bell...

It's phone book season again, which means that the yellow and black bricks are landing on doorsteps all over the Bay Area. Even if you're one of those Luddites (guilty) who still likes to have the phone book around, that still means that last year's model is destined for the recycling bin.

Our most recent Process 376 challenge was to create a jewelry box completely from free materials. We were encouraged to mine curb finds, throwaways, and the CraigsList free section. Oliver was inspired by the lowly phone book to create his box from the yellow pages and a scrap of aluminum plate. I would have gone at this with an X-acto blade and given up by the time I got to the B's, but Oliver epoxied and clamped the whole thing, then hollowed out the insides with power tools.

He capped off the box with an aluminum plate, finished with a right-angle grinder and straight edge. Soo's bangles and baubles have a stylish new home.

More jewelry boxes coming in the next couple of weeks as everyone sends in their photos.

Images from Oliver DiCicco.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Below the belt: Recycled leather flooring

We've covered Ting before for their seatbelt handbags and hammocks. Now they're making flooring from salvaged leather belts. I don't know how expensive this is, but when even the manufacturer is using this language: "a bespoke product...designed for use in very exclusive and premium environments," it's way out of my price range.

Cost aside, there's something really nice about this. What do you think?

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

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kevin Randolph lighting show in Oakland tonight

Kevin Randolph designs lighting from castoff materials. The pieces are beautiful and inspired. They look as if the pieces came from an abandoned mad scientist's laboratory. I'm struck by how beautiful the exposed bulbs are. Is there anything designers can do to make CFLs look as stunning, or are we going to have to wait for LEDs to take hold?

Collect Gallery in Oakland is having a trunk show of Kevin's lighting with an opening reception tonight (Oct. 9th). If you can't make it there, you can find more of his work at Paxton Gate in SF, or you can contact the designer directly.

465 9TH ST, OAKLAND, CA 94607

Images from Kevin Randolph. Thanks to Remodelista for the tip.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Etsy-licious: Paper clip Chandeliers

We've written about paper clip chandeliers before. Soo just found these from ReDesign Technologies on Etsy. Fantastic, and very reasonably priced. If you've got a touch of the OCD, you can probably make your own. However, these are so nicely proportioned, they'd be challenging to duplicate. I love the shadows they cast on the ceiling.
Images from ReDesign Technologies. Thanks to Soo for the tip.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bench with salvaged legs

We've seen other pieces that use furniture bits to create something new, but here's an interesting twist. This centipede bench has a stunning piece of raw, salvaged walnut for the top, supported by a mash-up of rescued chair legs. I really like the length of it--not sure it would work as well as a shorter piece. Designed by Hacin Acssociates and 60 Nobscot as part of Boston Home magazine's concept loft (now for sale, if you're interested...). If you like this, there's a full slideshow of the loft's design details at Apartment Therapy.

Image from Apartment Therapy

Friday, October 2, 2009

What a golden web we weave....

Today's Fashion Friday post isn't SF-local at all, but it is personal. When I was a kid, my father had a research grant to study spider silk. This meant that our kitchen was filled with spider cages, in which garden spiders spun beautiful orb webs. We would feed them crickets from the bait shop and spray water on the webs. Periodically Dad would harvest the silk, and the spiders would immediately start spinning new webs. Occasionally one of our spiders would have babies (small enough to escape out of the cages), which was always a little disconcerting.

Why study spider silk? The American Museum of Natural History sums it up nicely (and a lot like Dad would):
For its weight, spider silk is stronger than steel, but—unlike steel—it can stretch up to 40% of its normal length. Scientists are trying to produce this intriguing material artificially on a large scale for possible uses on the battlefield, in surgery, for space exploration, and elsewhere. Since raising spiders has proven difficult, researchers are investigating ways to replicate spider silk to avoid harvesting. However, spider silk is difficult to mimic in a lab because the silk begins as a liquid in the spider's gland, becoming a remarkably strong, water-resistant solid after following a complicated course through the spider's interior.
Why bring it up in a design blog? Today I saw THIS. Some eccentric genius has created a fantastic modern silk weaving made completely of spider silk.
That golden color is undyed--the natural color of the silk. The process of harvesting, spinning, and crafting this piece of textile art is fascinating. Here are some vital stats:
  • total # of people involved: ~80
  • total # of spiders involved: 1 million
  • # of wild spiders captured per day: ~3000
  • length of a single spider's silk: up to 400 yards
  • # of silk threads that broke on the loom during weaving: zero
  • length of project: 4 years
  • total cost of the project: over $500,000
  • size of finished textile: 4 ft x 11 ft
You can read much more and see a video of the process at the museum's website, and the NY Times has a great interview with the mad geniuses behind the project.

Images from The American Museum of Natural History, courtesy of Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley. Thanks to Ecouterre for the tip.