Balance, Design, Products, Technology
September 30, 2011
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Poketo for their new porcelain color-drenched mugs (below). Perfect for that mid-morning coffee break.
2. Life magazine has made their photo archives available online via Google and there’s a treasure trove of images including the shot above of Ray and Charles Eames at and the wall storage unit below by George Nelson that caught DJ De Pree’s eye in 1945.
3. Selectism for the piece on the Ro briefcase (below) designed by New Yorker Yvonne Roe who now lives and designs in Italy.
4. Saatchi Online for some affordable art for your home office. M10 by Thomas Hammer (below) is $54.
5. Architectural Record for their great collection of residential work.
6. SoFiliumm for their story on Ilse Crawford’s Precious Collection for Georg Jensen (bowl pictured above). Via Remodelista.
7. Contemporist for their coverage of modern homes including this one by MOS Architects (below).
8. Danish magazine RUM is a great spot for design hunting.
9. Gizmodo for their office on wheels story. Designer Alexander Zhukovsky has created a blueprint for a car that houses a ‘home’ office. Gives mobile worker a whole new meaning.
10. The Design Traveller on tumblr for the brilliant use of color and images. This is a real visual treat.
September 29, 2011
Device makers are cramming more products into single devices. Our phone is quickly, if not already, replacing many technologies that we used to keep separate (Good bye point and shoot, hello 8 megapixel iPhone 5, hopefully with a larger sensor.). If not now, then take a look at the WVIL and tell us that’s not a multi-use device you’d be interested in. When done right consolidation is great for space, especially when traveling because we have less to lug around. But this swiss-army-knife approach isn’t limited to devices. We like these accessories that do a good job of pulling double duty as well.
1. ZAGG Keyboard Case
This case is made of anodized aluminum so it looks like it was made for your iPad. Once you take your iPad out it can sit in the case in horizontal or vertical position and the case is then usable as a wireless keyboard. No more lugging around a separate keyboard in its own case.
2. Sceltevie Bag Hanger
This purse hanger, which looks like a pair of sunglasses, a guitar or a bow, doubles as a smart phone stand. It’s small enough to keep in your bag or pocket and is sturdy enough for both purposes.
One of the coolest projects on Kickstarter, the Oona is a multipurpose smartphone stand. It lets you stick your device basically anywhere with a flat surface: on the fridge, as a gps stand in your car, while working on a white board. The part we really like is the threaded hole in the bottom that allows you to use a tripod with your phone. It’s also made of airplane grade aluminum so it’ll take beating.
4. The Minimalist
We like carrying the least amount possible. We ditched our wallet for a credit card holder a while back. Soon we’ll be able to ditch everything for Google Wallet, if they include our bank and more merchandizers that is, but until then the Minimalist is a great option. It marries our credit card holder with our iPhone case meaning less stuff floating around in our pocket.
5. Logitech Tablet Speaker
The speakers on most tablets are ok. The sound isn’t exactly high fidelity (that’s why you have nice headphones right?) and sometimes we don’t want to wear headphones or attach a scoop just to hear at a louder volume. The Logitech tablet speaker not only gives you better sound for any tablet with a headphone jack, but it also acts as a stand, making the on screen keyboard that much easier to use (below).
What’s your favorite multi-purpose device accessory? Tell us in the comments.
By Jeff Heaton.
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
September 29, 2011
David Airey is a graphic designer, author and since going out on his own in 2005 he’s become a touchstone for people working outside of the office. His post on how to transition to a life as a self-employed designer caught my attention in March of last year. Looking back through emails we’ve been dancing around this interview for a while now. I’ve reposted some of his writings here on Lifework but now we get a tour of his home workspace in Northern Ireland. And we’re not alone in our admiration of this designer – his design blogs Logo Design Love, davidairey.com and brand identity showcase Identity Designed attract more than one million monthly Pageviews.
Above: The view from Airey’s home office in Northern Ireland.
You’ve undergone major changes in your worklife – first when you moved from working in an office to basing yourself out of your home and then again when you moved homes. Can you tell us about those transitions? The first change (switching from an office to working from home) was in 2005 when I chose to become self-employed. My past employer became my first retainer client, giving me two or three days of contracted work per week (for 18 months or so). Because of which, I can’t remember too many nerves about going it alone.
People ask if it’s hard to motivate myself. I mean, there are always plenty of distractions when your home doubles as your workspace. Thankfully, I’ve never had much trouble. Maybe it was my upbringing — my dad made me appreciate the value of hard work.
What do I miss? Walking to work. I used to walk through the centre of Edinburgh each morning and evening. Loved it. Nowadays my daily commute takes five seconds. 10 if you count both ways.
Moving house is something I’m used to. Since first leaving my parent’s home when I was 19 I’ve lived at about 15 different addresses. That’ll be why there’s not a lot in my office — you tend to shed the junk each time you move.
You’ve set up a home workspace twice now – what did you do differently the second time? It’s six times. Six house moves since 2005. Each time for the better, though, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely happy with how my workspace looks (typical designer).
How does working from home impact your work? It’s hard to say. The work I produce now is of a much higher standard to what I was doing in my office days, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot along the way. Maybe if I stayed in an office, with more ease of receiving feedback from others, I’d be doing better. I don’t know.
You’re not only running a successful design business you also manage regularly post insightful pieces on your blog. How do you manage your time? I just do one thing at a time, whether it’s working on a client project, publishing a blog post, replying to emails, spending time with friends and family. But I limit the number of clients I work with at once, and each of my three blogs are only updated once or twice a week, so I’m probably not as busy as it might seem.
What inspires you in your work? Inspiration isn’t easy to pin down. I don’t think it’s necessary for the work I do. For me, what’s more important is motivation, and there’s one main aspect that keeps me going: I hope that one day I can fully support a family of my own, and if I’m to do that, I know I need to keep improving, keep streamlining my process, keep learning new skills, new approaches. The fact that I love my job and have a passion for design is a big motivator, too.
September 28, 2011
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be taken behind the scenes at JF Chen as they were setting up “Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection.” The exhibition is unusual for many reasons. First, this number of original Eames designs has never been shown together. According to Joel Chen there are over 450 pieces in the show that include vintage toys all the way through to an Eames-designed pavilion that has been erected in the showroom. For the first time all the Eames chair designs will be displayed in a circuitous timeline designed by artist Clare Graham. Graham takes you on a very deliberate journey through design history from the 1941 Organic Design Chair right through to a pristine white La Chaise once owned by Tim Burton, and manufactured in 1998. You’ll find detailed descriptions of each piece written by Dan Ostroff, editor of the recently launched Eames Designs (more on Ostroff and this new site next week).
And most unusually, everything is for sale. “Some pieces are in the thousands, some in the hundreds,” says Chen as we walk through the 15,000 square feet that makes up just the ground floor of his vast West Hollywood showroom. And for all those who can’t make it to the Los Angeles show there’s a beautifully photographed book Collecting Eames, The JF Chen Collection, that will be out next month.
“Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection” is part of Pacific Standard Time.
JF Chen, 941 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038
October 3–January 14. Show hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday 11 to 4pm, and closed on Sunday
September 28, 2011
This week, smashLAB Creative Director and Partner Eric Karjaluoto dishes up a Playlist: a mix with an old-school A- and B-side. (Who knew that could feel so fresh?) Turn up your speakers for a listen to the tunes that pump through his Vancouver office. (And if the office looks a bit familiar we ran Eric’s rather tidy desk last week!)
What do you listen to while you work? I quite like metal. The texture, pulsating rhythms, and general mass of it, all works for me. (While I understand that I’m likely in the minority on this point, I also find that this type of music helps me focus on what I’m doing.) The rest of the time, I listen to a garden variety of acts, ranging from Paul Westerberg and The New Pornographers to Supertramp and Massive Attack. I can’t say that I’m particularly adventurous in my listening, but I remain quite open to anything.
How do you listen? At the office, I plug into those ubiquitous white Apple headphones, attached to a computer. At home, everything runs through a stereo, which has some quite decent speakers. The most enjoyable music listening experience I have these days is with my boys, Oscar and Ari. After my wife, Amea, reads bedtime stories to them, they join me to listen to music on my iPad. The sound quality isn’t very good, but I love introducing them to music. (At the moment, they’re awfully fond of ABBA.)
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I find Grooveshark quite handy. It’s nice to have access to so much music, and the UI is relatively simple.
Does music influence your work? Not like it used to. When I worked as a painter, I found the connection much closer. Certain music does invigorate me to move faster and feel energetic; nevertheless, the projects I work on are focused more on agreed upon objectives and strategy than my personal voice.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? I run home from work most nights, and do so tuned into a program called Q on CBC. The interviews are very good, and the host, Jian Ghomeshi, often introduces interesting new acts. Recently, I found The Rural Alberta Advantage and Austra as a result of his program. I like that he features a number of emerging musicians, and that so many of them are Canadian.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I find the comparison difficult one. While I identify with a lot of different music, I don’t see my work as being analogous to any particular artist or piece of music. In fact, I feel it’s my job to ensure that our agency never feels like it’s coming from any single voice or perspective. In that respect, I suppose we’re a little like a group of session musicians. Our clients bring us in when they need to get the job done, but it’s more about them, than us.
I’ll treat this like a mix tape, with the A-Side containing some (lovely) metal, and the B-Side being more reflective of that garden variety of listening habits I mentioned.
Painkiller, Judas Priest
What Doesn’t Die, Anthrax
That Was Just Your Life, Metallica
Jesus Built My Hotrod, Ministry
Poison Was the Cure, Megadeth
Damage Case, Motörhead
Hang Down Your Head, Tom Waits
Moves, The New Pornographers
After the Rain, Blue Rodeo
Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones
The Twilite Kid, The Twilight Singers
Images: Eugene Huh
September 27, 2011
It’s been a little while since we’ve done a roundup of iPad 2 cases and since then we have had the time to test quite a few. With so many options out there for the device there is something for everyone. Read on for some of our favourites and why we think they are well worth it.
Speck iGuy Not only is this case incredibly adorable it is also really durable. This is the case you want if your child is going to be using the iPad. Built with the iPad 2 in mind, the rear camera is usable and the arms on the case make it easy the easiest to shoot video with out of any case that we’ve tried. The case fits both versions of the iPad and has a plug to close up the camera hole if using the device with a first generation iPad. Available in 3 colours. $39.95
September 26, 2011
The Los Angeles Times beautifully captured the relocation of Ray and Charles Eames’ living room from their Case Study house in the Pacific Palisades to LACMA as part of ‘Living In a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965.’
September 26, 2011
Japser Morrison and his elegantly simple Air-Chair, Folding Air-Chair and the Air-Chair with arms are now a welcome addition to the Herman Miller store. Morrison, one of the design world’s best-known and well-respected members, is certainly an interesting person to pin down. The idea behind this series of posts is that I would introduce you to the new designers we were working with through Magis and I would do that with video interviews. Let the designers speak for themselves. While Morrison, who is based in London with offices also in Paris, writes beautifully and copiously about the state of design today and his own design process there is not a single video interview I can present you. There are scraps of conversation here and there, what looks like a video shot by an audience member at a design show talk and a short film of him setting up an exhibition in Denmark. And that’s it. Perhaps he feels he’s said everything he needs to say in his books.
Thankfully the Air-Chair speaks eloquently for Morrison in that it is stripped back to its bare essentials. There are no extraneous details with this design creating what can easily be described as a “quiet” chair . For Morrison it’s the perfect example of the “super normal” – a term he coined in 2005 while having tea with Takashi Okutani during the Salone del Mobile in Milan. “I mentioned having seen Naoto Fukasawa’s aluminium stools for Magis,” writes Morrison. “And how they seemed to have a special kind of normality about them, and he added: “super normal“. That was it, a name for what I have been trying to achieve all these years, a perfect summary of what design should be, now more than ever.” To read the rest of his essay on super normal click here. You can also check out a slidehshow of his work over on Discover.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
September 23, 2011
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Dezeen for their London Design Festival coverage. Above is British designer Sebastian Bergne with the greenhouse he designed made from of Lego in London’s Covent Garden.
2. Room 100 is Thompsons Hotels’ blog and they often have good design stories. Check out David Byrne’s artwork under the Highline in NYC.
3. Culture Monster for Christopher Hawthorne’s post on the legacy of the Case Study program . The living room in Charles and Ray Eames’ Case Study house below.
4. Cool Hunting for their review of Thames and Hudson’s new book Total Office Design.
5. Inhabitat for their piece on Yves Behar’s new bike.
6, Inspire Me Now for doing just that. Lots of great design eye candy here.
7. Swissmiss’ clever Tuex Deux. It’s always helpful to be more organized!
8. Houzz for their cable management page. I just got bluelounge’s CableBox (below) and its great.
9. Desire to Inspire for their post on a clean-lined modern renovation of a backyard shed (below).
10. Designboom’s news section is a great place to keep up to date with what is happening in the world of design and architecture.
September 23, 2011
1. Eco Highlighter Yellow, $2.00 Unlike their plastic fiber-tip cousins, these biodegradable wood pencil highlighters contain no ink solvents (and will not bleed through the page). Get it: stubbypencilstudio.com
2. iPad Stand with Magnetic Wood, $27.00 Keep your iPad up and at ‘em with this slim stand. Get it: Your Nest Inspired
3. Wood Whale, $60.00 Hold your stuff together in designer Eric Pfeiffer’s clever container crafted from reclaimed wood. Get it: The Utility Collective
4. Doorstop, £18.00 This easy design can be kicked under a door from any angle. Get it: Alex Hulme
5. Book Hook, 30.00 € Traditional bookmarks begone. Hold your spot with this placeholder/design object created by Tell Ritterbach in Germany. Get it: Connox
Want more product picks? Check out my various collections and random finds on Pinterest.