Tag Archives: experimental design

Techs-Mechs – Steampunk time?

Ulysse Nardin Chairman Mechanical Smartphone

Ulysse Nardin Chairman Mechanical Smartphone

I’ve been following the Steampunk phenomenon with fascination. It’s a stylistical branching out that makes perfect sense to me, bringing as it does the formal exuberance of 19th century excitement at the technological wonders of the industrial revolution, its heavy mechanical seduction, its steam and coaldust manliness, onto the flat, bland and opaque physicality of our own turn of the century electronics: Steampunk is hard at work trying to turn Bill Gates into Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Until now, Steampunk has been a somewhat tribal affair, developed by cyberpunk geeks intent on beautifying their gear, a labour of love and tinkering. Well, Steampunk is finally crossing over into mainstream consumer electronics – I was wondering when – and with the support of The Long Now Foundation no less… It makes perfect sense. The Ulysse Nardin Chairman hybrid smartphone’s unique selling point? It’s powered by a mechanical thingy that charges its battery through the users’ movements, just like self-winding wristwatches do. And it looks pure Steampunk.

I leave you with a couple of Steampunk beauties, in the hope that I will get a few of you hooked onto the trend.

Laptop by Datamancer

Laptop by Datamancer

Brass USB stick

Brass USB stick

Steampunk'd desktop computer

Steampunk'd desktop computer

And of course the most spectacular of them all, Paul St George’s Telectroscope that linked London and New York, the twin capitals of Steam and Punk, in the summer of 2008.

The Telectroscope, London end.

The Telectroscope, London end.

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A Choice of Revolutions – Surtido de Revolución

Surtido* presenta la exposición Surtido de Revolución; una muestra de los resultados del primer workshop de la plataforma, en íntima colaboración con el taller de cerámica Apparatu.

*La plataforma efímera e independiente para los jóvenes diseñadores del país

Inauguración 6 de mayo 19:30, Espai Rubik – c. Planeta, 5

todos los detalles acerca de la expo aquí.

Fabricating and 3d printing roundup of 2008

Wedgwoodn’t ceramic tureen created by Michael Eden with 3d RP technology.

Wedgwoodn’t ceramic tureen created by Michael Eden with 3d RP technology.

Fabbaloo, the blog devoted to all things fabbed (as in fabricated, 3d printed and desktop manufactured) offers this roundup of the field’s trends in 2008:

  • The rise of sophisticated specialized printing services. Let’s face it; there have been 3D print services around for quite a while, but it’s only this year that a few breakthrough companies began applying advanced Web 2.0 approaches to the problem. Companies like Ponoko, Shapeways and others are breaking new ground and beginning to gather a large audience that will eventually become the personal manufacturers of the future.
  • The increasing capabilities of large-scale 3D printers. Increased build chambers, more colors, new and unusual print media and multiple media printing were all introduced by the major equipment vendors, Z Corp, Stratasys, 3D Systems and Objet. More, please!
  • We’re still waiting for the price breakthrough. The “Apple Laserwriter moment” has not yet arrived, but it’s surely coming. Equipment such as MCOR’s paper printer and Desktop Factory’s sub-USD$5,000 device should be generally available in their initial incarnation in the coming year. Meanwhile, we await an inexpensive device to really blow open the market.
  • The creativity unleashed by personal manufacturing. One can only look at Ponoko’s library of designs to see what is beginning to happen; nothing less than Web 2.0 for manufacturing.

I have no doubt that 2009 will be a turning point for Rapid Prototyping and desktop manufacturing – it will be the year when everyone gets extremely excited about its possibilities, and realises that there’s really a Second Industrial Revolution in the making.


Reactable design competition

I just got an email about the Reactable project:

It’s a bit late but, Reactable Systems are running a competition to design an identity for themselves and the reactable. It would be great if more designers in Spain got to hear about this.

Well, the deadline is January 11th, so yeah, it’s a bit late!

Still, it’s worth giving this a shout-out, if only to get you to check out the Reactable project, which is truly magnificent and has gathered a long list of awards, including the Ars Electronica Prix and two D&AD prizes in 2008. It’s an exciting interaction design project that brings together engineers, computer scientists and musicians, based at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Let there be stuff! The magic of rapid prototyping

FRONTdesign Sketch Furniture chair

FRONTdesign Sketch Furniture chair

Artists and designers are being drawn to the still evolving technologies of 3D printing and rapid prototyping like moths to the light. The potential seems enormous, the possibilities expand daily, the capabilities of these state-of-the-art technologies appear magical enough that they might allow us to solve our ecological meltdown, our lust for endless novelty, our post-modern desire for individuality and our creative yearnings, all in one mind-boggling go.

FRONTdesign has been experimenting with laser sintering 3D printing, developing a method to materialise freehand sketches drawn directly in the air. They showed the process of making Sketch Furniture and the final pieces of furniture at Tokyo Wonder Site last November – here’s the video:

Disechos ’08 – Design and Creative Recycling

Disechos 08. Meeting about design and creative recycling, Valencia.

Disechos 08 is kicking off in Valencia today, a week-long exploration of low-tech sustainable design, through exhibitions, workshops and panel discussions. Disechos 08 incorporates the work developed by design studio Flou Flou through their ongoing MAKEA project, which explores recycling ideas by co-ordinating the contribution of outsider or non-professional design.

In July 2008, participants of Makea Tu Vida (Makea your life) spent two days roaming through the streets of the Raval and Eixample districts of Barcelona. They re-arranged and marked all the discarded furniture and assorted objects they could find with the MAKEA ‘brand’, as a sign of the need to recycle and re-use objects and make the consumption cycle more sustainable. Check out some great pictures of their street installations here.

Hector Serrano at 100% Design, London

Hector Serrano‘s project Waterdrop, developed in collaboration with Javier Esteban for Spanish bathroom company Roca, is currently on show at 100% design in London. The installation is presented as a tribute to water, and aims to capture its movement and beauty. Watch the animation here.

Serrano, originally from Valencia, studied Design Products at the Royal College of Art and is now based in London. His studio works on commercial designs with Spanish and international companies, but has also developed a strong experimental side with projects such as their Reduced Carbon Footprint Souvenirs, that can be sent by e-mail and then manufactured on demand using stereolithography rapid prototyping.