design

Boxsal – the compostable picnic

Boxsal – the compostable picnic

Last week Gilt Groupe had a sale on the fashionably recyclable picnic boxes made by Boxsal. Or wait, was it Gilt Home or Gilt Taste? Oh, who can keep track anymore. Unlike most Gilt deals, the sale didn’t actually save buyers any money – the picnic boxes still go for $25 on their own website, but at the price who’s complaining? No, the “sale” was really more of a promotion and, well, it worked.

Boxsal, which calls its products “part Oscar de la Renta, part Oscar Meyer,” claims to be “bringing the picnic back into fashion,” and with recyclable cardboard picnic boxes available in three different designs (see images below), it just might.

Graffiti cocktail shaker

Graffiti cocktail shaker

This spray can shaped cocktail shaker from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago combines two of my interests: well-mixed cocktails and street art.

Want/Need glass

Want/Need glass

Clever glass with an opening from Alesina Design reminding us of that thin line between necessity and conspicuous consumption. Each is hand finished, numbered, and signed.

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs

For designers, the chair is the ultimate object. Designer Ross Lovegrove puts it well. “Chairs,” he says, “are an infinite source of potential to explore material, structure, technology and form…all related to the human body and its elevation.” But given its status, Jonathan Olivares, who heads a design consultancy in Boston, was surprised that he was unable to find an objective reference manual on the subject. Books about chairs are popular, to be sure, but they’re skewed towards the author’s own personal tastes. So Olivares decided to write the book himself, an unbiased compendium that designers could refer to in order to get the whole history, not just one person’s historical preferences.

Toby Wong retrospective

Toby Wong retrospective

Portrait made from dice by Frederick McSwain
Toby Wong was a Canadian designer I once interviewed for FULL FRONTAL FASHION. He was a product designer and a subversive artist. His designs weren’t for everyone. He made gold coke spoons cast from McDonald’s coffee stirrers and diamond rings, inverted, so the diamond point was on the outside. That design was called “Killer Ring” obviously. This New York Times slideshow is a great reference of his work.

It is Design Week in NYC this week and a retrospective called Brokenoff Brokenoff, in Toby’s honor, will run May 14-17. It’s a celebration of Toby’s work including many close friends’ contributions.

Making of a Marc Newson hourglass

Making of a Marc Newson hourglass

The Hourglass from Ikepod on Vimeo. Watch this gorgeously shot video directed by Philip Andelman of the creation of a hourglass re-imagined by superstar contemporary designer Marc Newson, typically “known for his unique style of ‘biomorphism’ to achieve organic forms through high-tech materials.” The great accompanying music is by the aptly named Philip Glass. Of…

Artsy animated GIF images

Artsy animated GIF images

GIF images have historically resided in the seedier corners of the Internet, in profiles of message board users and the like, but these looping animated images have started to emerge as a medium of some artistic merit in their own right. New York City photographer Jamie Beck and designer Kevin Burg have gained some viral…

Designer Mind Games

Designer Mind Games

“The Statistical Clock”
Design/art collective Dunne & Raby don’t actually call themselves artists. Anthony Dunne is a design professor at the Royal College of Art in London and Fiona Raby has a background in architecture, but unlike design studios that specialize in creating fonts or objects or furniture, Dunne & Raby make projects that “use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.” Their work is in the permanent collections of the MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Frac Ile-de-France and FNAC.

To give you an idea of what those discussion-generating projects are like, let’s take a look at “Do You Want to Replace the Existing Normal?” (2007/08), a four-part installation that anticipates design in a “time when we will have more complex and subtle everyday needs” as opposed to our current “unimaginative and practical” desires.

What's on the back of a website?

What's on the back of a website?

For your today’s procrastination, check out Back of a Webpage: an independent project from the creative minds of Jeff Lam and Josephine Yatar, it’s an amusing and clever look some popular websites such as Facebook, Google, and Flickr (above). Lets get one for SUNfiltered up there! [Via]

Billboards to beach sandals: Paper Feet

Billboards to beach sandals: Paper Feet


Billboards don’t just “litter” our roadways… they create an awful lot of waste: according to Jimmy Tomczak, founder of Paper Feet, “Every year in the U.S. alone, so much billboard vinyl is thrown away that, if laid out, it would more than cover the state of Massachusetts.” For Tomczak, that mass of printed vinyl going to landfills turned out to be the perfect material for a product he envisioned while an undergrad at the University of Michigan: minimalist “barefoot” sandals that protected his feet while still providing the feel of going shoeless.

The walking table

The walking table

Dutch designer Wouter Scheublin created this kinetic walnut table, “Walking Table” that responds with an uncanny shuffling walk when pushed and thus “perplexing our perception of the ordinarily static piece of furniture.” The designer also built an accompanying walking bookcase. As someone who moves apartments as frequently as I have, I’m hoping walking furniture is…

Hovering art directors

Hovering art directors

A hilarious website devoted to the fine art of art directors standing behind and monitoring the efforts of their design minions: Hovering Art Directors. [Via]

Quirky is Coming!

Quirky is Coming!

It’s almost time to get your quirk on. The all new original series QUIRKY is coming to Sundance Channel June 28! Quirky is the unique technology company that has re-engineered the business of innovation. They’re fast-tracking the product development cycle to new extremes. To check out the buzz, click here.

Vikor Hertz' honest logos

Vikor Hertz' honest logos

Swedish graphic designer Vikor Hertz redesigned logos for popular brands, old and new, to be a bit more accurate. See more here. [Via]

The divorce ring

The divorce ring

Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry designed this not-too-subtle kinetic ring “Guillotine, or, The Divorce.” I can’t quite PUT A FINGER on why, but it’s morbidly hilarious to me. [Via]

Vimeo of the Week: Drawingmachine by Eske Rex

Vimeo of the Week: Drawingmachine by Eske Rex

Drawingmachine by Eske Rex from Core77 on Vimeo.

There’s something very simple and relaxing about the above Core 77 film. Shown last week at the Milan furniture show, Salone Milan 2011, the Drawingmachine by Danish designer Eske Rex. Utilizing two pendulums, the machine creates large-scale graphic drawings. Not only are the results stunning, but so is the machine itself and its sounds and movements. I want a drawing. More info from Danish Crafts here:

Bring on the A-List. Tonight at 10p.

Bring on the A-List. Tonight at 10p.

Deciding to work with Gemma Kahng was a no-brainer. She was, in my mind, a creative fashion force that may have dimmed over the last decade or so, but had the potential to shine bright again. This wasn’t just an assumption; it was a fact.

You see, Gemma had already tasted the success I try so hard to help the designers attain each week.

I met Gemma Kahng back in the early 1990′s when I was just starting out as an assistant for Polly Mellen at Allure magazine. Gemma was one of those names that were always tossed out whenever Mrs. Mellen was conceptualizing her shoots and needed clothing called in. This was commonly heard at her run-throughs: “What about those incredibly chic suits from Gemma, Joe?”

Obedient, I would head up to Gemma’s headquarters at 550 7th Ave — a landmark garment district building that houses the showrooms of only A-list designers, among them Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta. Gemma’s vast showroom there would have plenty of staff buzzing about and racks and racks of her new collections. She was the game back then.

In those days, Gemma was everywhere. I remember seeing her clothes make the cover of Vogue worn by supermodel Christy Turlington and a year later, it would be a butt-exposing jumpsuit worn by Madonna in the pages of Vanity Fair. And her clothes would fill the floorspace of every major department store from Bergdorf Goodman to Bloomingdale’s. To say Gemma was successful back then is selling her short.

Then one day it all just disappeared.

Jimmyjane's new toy, the FORM 4

Jimmyjane's new toy, the FORM 4

Jimmyjane just released it’s third and final toy in the “Pleasure to the People” series (a collaboration between designer Yves Behar and Jimmyjane founder Ethan Imboden): first there was the Rabbit-ish FORM 2 (that won an IDEA Award), then the flexible FORM 3, and now finally the stout FORM 4.

A Q&A with Moleskine

A Q&A with Moleskine

I love my Moleskine notebooks. So much so that I tracked down Marco Beghin, President of Moleskine America, to ask him about the iconic notebook brand. Here’s what I found out:

What is the history of the Moleskine brand?
Moleskine® was created as a brand in 1997, bringing back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A trusted and handy travel companion, the nameless black notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books. Today, the name Moleskine encompasses a family of nomadic objects: notebooks, diaries, journals, bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, dedicated to our mobile identity. Indispensable companions to the creative professions and the imagination of our times: they are intimately tied to the digital world.

Your favorite albums as books

Your favorite albums as books

UK designer Christophe Gowans re-imagined popular and classic music albums as book covers in instantly familiar and well-worn styles of past novels. The Purple Rain version speaks to my geek passion for Science Fiction novels (Favorite: the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons). These have also been compiled into a book. [Via]

Brooklyn recreated with LEGO

Brooklyn recreated with LEGO

Boerum Hill resident Jonathan Lopes has spent the last four years putting together and recreating a mini-Brooklyn made out of LEGO blocks in his 400-square-foot living room. The result is rather impressive. A four-foot model of the Williamsburg Savings Bank is also on display at his local cleaners (Boerum Hill Dry Cleaners at 391 Pacific…

Original 1956 commercial for the Eames lounge chair

Original 1956 commercial for the Eames lounge chair

To accompany the debut of the now-iconic Eames Lounge Chair in 1956 designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company, this commercial aired on NBC. To the soundtrack of a playful piano, the film demonstrates in a stop motion manner, the utilitarian assembly and construction of their lounger that reflected the…

Urban gardening meets wall art: Urbio

Urban gardening meets wall art: Urbio

Urbio Urban Vertical Garden from Enlisted Design on Vimeo.


Urbanites with no yard space can get pretty creative in finding places to start a garden: from fire escapes to vacant lots. A new concept, Urbio, allows you to stop searching for space and start gardening: if you’ve got a wall, you’re good to go.

Logos without the logo

Logos without the logo

UK creative agency Dorthy created a series titled “You Took My Name” of paintings “that strip famous logos back to their basic graphic forms.” Their instant familiarity speaks to the marketing muscle of these companies in propagating and distributing their brand, as well as the importance of strong design.

KARA JANX – REALITY STAR, REDISCOVERED – Tonight at 10p EST!

KARA JANX – REALITY STAR, REDISCOVERED – Tonight at 10p EST!

I could lie and say there were many abstract reasons that led me to wanting to work with Kara Janx but I will be upfront and honest with you. I wanted to meet this Season 2 Project Runway alum, one who had no problem speaking her mind or dealing with confrontation. I wanted to meet the woman who infamously said “she would snip off a contestant’s pee-pee if he got in her way”. Ouch! She is, in short, the one designer I worked with this season, whom I would not want to encounter in a dark alley with those castrating scissors. But of course, I did also want to work with Kara because I realized her true potential while watching her on Project Runway.