Most objects we design and interact with, whether blenders, cars or computers, are enclosed. Meaning we can't see the mechanically marvelous operations happening inside them. That's why cutaway drawings, functional steampunk contraptions and Toyota's KIKAI concept are so fun to look at. So, too, are the "case mods" performed by the subculture of tinkerers who rig their computers up with robust liquid-cooling solutions, the better to deal with the high temperatures generated by the heavy processor use of intense gaming.Denmark-based Hans Peder Sahl is one such case modder, and with his background—he studied "engineering specialized in Integrated Design," according to his bio—he's able to skillfully combine what works well with what looks darned purty. Check out his liquid-cooled R40 Engineering Workstation project, where the simple act of adding liquid dye adds visual pop to his elaborate plumbing set-up:Sahl's earlier Project N.V. build introduced hard angles into the tubing and utilized milky-colored fluid, giving the piece a colder, more Tron-like aesthetic:It's amazing how much difference the color and the geometry of the plumbing has on the overall aesthetic. And if his color mixing experiments, below, are any indication, hopefully we'll see more variants from Sahl in the future.Check out the rest of his work here.
Heads-up displays keep your eyes on the windshield, which is a lot safer than constantly glancing down to check your speed or your phone. They're also expensive. But inventor Ivan Kablukov made the clever observation that everything required to power a heads-up display exists in the modern-day smartphones many of us already have, meaning it could be quite simple—and cheap—for all smartphone owners to install heads-up technology in their cars.Check out the HUDWAY Glass device he came up with: Assuming it works as advertised, the ridiculously inexpensive $49 device would serve as a great example of using simple design to neatly solve a problem using what's already available to the end user. I also like that the set-up requires you to keep your phone on the dashboard, eliminating the urge to glance down and check it. The HUDWAY Glass is up on Kickstarter, but this one doesn't need your help; at press time it was at $482,421 on a $100,000 goal. If you want one, you'd better hurry—there's only four days left to pledge.
Friction welding is a process whereby two pieces of like material, typically plastic or metal, are rubbed together at high speeds. The resultant heat essentially melts the adjoining surfaces together. Surprisingly, someone figured out that this process can also be used with wood:According to the Laboratory for Timber Construction at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, what's happening here is…… the interface between two timber boards is heated by a fast and short oscillating frictional movement combined with pressure. The introduction of heat energy leads to a thermal decomposition of the polymeric compounds in the wood cell material. The chemical products of this degradation process form a viscous layer of thermally softened material, which hardens when the friction movement is stopped and the interface is cooling down, while a certain cooling pressure is applied.The video above was shot by UK-based The Welding Institute. Though the video itself is fairly recent, the technique is not, and may not offer much in the way of practical applications; in an article called "Timber Welding," TWI researchers wrote that "The world of furniture manufacture could be turned on its head shortly…" That was in 2006.While another article from the Tennessee Forest Products Center claims that "the technology is most promising for interior joinery and furniture," it seems unlikely it will replace glue and clamps anytime soon; the machines are not cheap, and whatever time efficiencies are gained by not having to wait for glue to dry would likely be offset by the complicated clamping and jigging required to fasten two parts that weren't small milled boards. Nor is the process suitable for exterior construction, as the earlier EPFL article reports that "The relatively brittle bond is highly sensitive to swelling and shrinkage movements of the wood. Changing climatic conditions can lead to cracks within the interface."Those of you who work with wood, particularly on an industrial scale: Can you think of any applications for this technology, given its limitations, that would lead to greater uptake? If so, you'd be cracking a puzzle they haven't been able to solve for roughly a decade.
It's every car-designer's dream—to design and build a supercar from scratch, with no constraints. Talking with Carlos Salaff, ex-Mazda exterior designer, I realize he is living that dream—he's the master of his own creation. And what a creation: Project Caden is a supercar with voluptuous surfaces formed by hand, flowing together to create the ultimate visceral driving experience.Prototyping Project CadenSalaff worked at Mazda's Southern California design studio for a decade, and was part of the exterior design team for the Ryuga, Nagare and Furai concept cars, as well as production vehicles such as CX-7, Mazda 3 and new MX-5. In 2012, he formed his own car company, SALAFF. I spoke to Carlos from his base In Cleveland, Ohio.Carlos Salaff: I started thinking about this project seriously in 2008 at Mazda. It was around the time we were working on the Furai—a big inspiration—and it made me want to continue that level of design excitement. Working on that kind of project, and then seeing the concept go away, I remember thinking: 'Wow, this could be a production car!' But that's the nature of a big car company—to always bring in the bread and butter. I wanted to dive into something more exciting."It was a gut thing and something that just evolved. I always wanted to have that emotional impact with my design—this artistic impact—and I realized I had to take a more independent path to create my vision."While the auto industry prepares us for a future where we no longer engage in the driving experience, there is a groundswell of designers, engineers and innovators keen to celebrate the tactile, man-machine interface. Honda's 2&4 concept shown at Frankfurt was an example of this raw, interactive analogue machinery—and Project Caden was born with the same philosophy.Honda's 2&4 concept car"The extremes are becoming more apparent—the more society moves towards a digital future, the more we will want 'connectedness,' and the more we'll crave that special union with the machine. That's what we're seeing more and more, and it's fascinating. I definitely have nothing against autonomous vehicles—I've been stuck in Los Angeles traffic many times! I love the idea of getting in a very sleek smooth architectural space that can whisk me to my destination and I can do something productive in the meantime. But I also think there's a need for the human soul to create these very tactile experiences and for us to not lose sight of that as a society. That's the place I want to play in; I've always been a tactile guy—Star Wars over Star Trek for that reason! Ed Stubbs: So, how does that manifest itself in Project Caden?Salaff: The interior will be about the feel—a manual shifter, toggle switches—combined with progressive forms and authentic materials; there's just something about aged leather, saddle-leather, that really enhances the interior experience.I'm following the race-car paradigm with a central driving-position. Passengers offset to the rear, a central driving position, like the McLaren F1. I started with a traditional seating position, but it's a natural thing to put the driver in the middle to enhance the experience. The doors will be half-door gull-wings. I want to take complexity out of the car; keep things simple. Caden will be powered by a BMW V10 engine. I felt that the sound and response of a naturally aspirated powerplant was key to creating a connected and timeless experience.Craftsmen Rodney Roeder and Peter Jackson attaching body panels to the metal shaping buck. Caden's body is being shaped at Pete's Custom Coachbuilding in Cleveland, Ohio. What are your plans for the finished car?Well, I obviously don't have the OEM budget, so I have to think very strategically about what matters most. My plan is to build this prototype, and to continue making Project Caden in small numbers, focusing on the artistry, the quality. Logging the design and build process is key—with so many supercars you get this 'ta-da!' moment, but you don't see the story behind it, the creative story—I think it is important to establish that relationship with people.Did you have any cars that were key to the inspiration behind the project?The cars that really excite me all seem to fall into the 1960s-80s era of racing, such as Group C racing in the '80s, and Formula 1 in the '60s. Boiling it down is tricky, but the Tyrell Ford of Jackie Stewart in the '70s: mechanical, beautiful in its purity. And Formula1 BRMs—they have a purity of form, like a fuselage with wheels…You studied at Art Center—when you look back at your time there, what would you do differently and what advice would you give your younger self?I'd say: 'Learn a lot more than what's expected right now in the industry. Learn everything about a car, from the engineering to the business side. You have a limited time as a student and you can't do it all, but when I think back to my final projects I'd look more at how to integrate the engineering and aesthetics in a better way.And think about how to create a business plan that's outside of the mold. Because now design students are much more empowered than we were—rapid prototyping tools for instance: that ability to micro-prototype and manufacture, and to create more personal vehicles, is opening up exciting new ways of doing business."Project Caden is modeled digitally – Carlos designed every element himself before starting the build: exterior and interior, engineering and chassis design. The aluminum tub under construction at Metcalf Racing in Garland, Texas. Metcalf managed structural and suspension engineering for Caden, as well as chassis construction. Digital gave me the ability to fail a lot, before I actually built a physical model. And to run it by experts in the field—it gave me the ability to use design iterations. I did at least 100 different designs before landing on the one.________________________________________________________________________The melding of old and new technologies is something that Carlos is keen to explore. He has a CNC milling machine, which he's used to mill windshield glass-molds, interior surfaces and door-skins. At the other end of the chronological scale is a metal-forming English wheel, used to create the exquisite aluminum curves that form the exterior skin (using the Italian Superleggera method pioneered in the mid 1930s). Laser cut pieces, assembled together to form a traditional metalshaping tool—the buck The complete buckMetal craftsman Rodney Roeder on the English Wheel This juxtaposition between digital design and analogue construction methods is key, and reflects a real movement. We're entering an age where the digital design-canvas offers enormous scope for new forms of personalization and new ways of expressing aesthetic personality, yet we still covet and value products created by artisans, craftsmen skilled at hand-beating metals, stitching leather with a needle and thread.For more on Project Caden or follow SALAFF on Instagram.
In your opinion, which of these animals is more majestic?To an American the choice is obvious, and there's a reason Don Henley didn't co-found The Ostriches. But as far as which animal we humans have more in common with, it's the latter bird.That's because ostriches run on two legs, like we do. Unlike us, however, ostriches can reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour. Take a look at the gams on this thing:Pretty impressive quads, considering they don't do CrossFit. But an ostrich's speed also has much to do with their tendon structure. After studying this, obsessive inventor Keahi Seymour has spent nearly two decades tweaking prototypes of his Bionic Boots, which are based on ostrich anatomy:Pretty impressive. And from a biomimetic design perspective, it seems that in contrast, eagles simply don't have much to offer us.
The new Fall/Winter collection is in! With it comes high-quality textiles, cozy layers, and classic cuts. These distinctive pieces hail from England, Germany, France, the U.S., and more, and are all made for the long haul. There are tough new chambrays and brushed cotton button downs, wool skirts, outerwear, raw denim, and tons more. To test it all out we spent a day exploring with two Portland creatives, musician Mike Rich and ceramicist Ashley Rose Hardy. From the studio to the streets, these Fall-friendly pieces keep pace with an active life and do it with comfortable style. Check out the lookbook with Ashley and Mike, and see the full collection here!
Commenting on the efficacy of levers, Archimedes reportedly said "If I had a place to stand, I could move the Earth." That "place to stand" is a key consideration in the building of bridges and elevated roadways. In modern construction, pylons are created at ground level, each a fixed distance apart from the rest. Pre-fab spans are then trucked in and lifted into place by a crane. But this assumes that the crane has a place to stand, a staging area. When spans must traverse deep valleys, water crossings, unfirm soil or roadways incapable of supporting the load, a crane alternative is needed.In 1907 the Canadian Pacific Railway solved this problem by devising the Incremental Launching Method: They created a 415-foot steel span on the north embankment of a river crossing in Ontario, and "launched" the entire thing from one side to the other between two massive pulley blocks, using steel cable and a pretty darn powerful hoisting machine. By the 1960s Venezuela had pulled it off with a concrete span, and in the 1970s we Americans developed a way of launching half-spans from both sides at once and getting them to meet up in the middle.I'd love to see YouTube video of these erections (yeah, I said it), particularly of the 1907 feat, but surprisingly they do not exist. We do have, however, footage of a modern-day Chinese construction company using the 21st-Century version of ILM. It is an incredible feat of engineering:Here's an animation that lets you more clearly see how the process works, and also reveals the pick-up phase back at the staging yard:Today the ILM is used around the world, from Scandinavia to Europe, Russia to India, Australia to Asia, with more than 1,000 bridges worldwide constructed via the technique. But it doesn't seem to be prevalent in the U.S., which prompted the National Cooperative Highway Research Program to launch a 2007 study [PDF] to find out why. Alas, it seems the study's answers are terribly American, related to everything from the obfuscation of financial details, a lack of education on the part of construction firms, and a difficulty with securing required permits for this type of construction. Being an American, I suspect it's more to do with money than anything else. "As is often the case in the highly-competitive construction industry," the report states, "the cost of these specialized bridge construction bid items are not widely published and are not available without considerable research into each specific project. Therefore, the projects presented in the following case studies do not present this information." It's no wonder we don't use the method much when we can't even figure out how much it will cost. Who'd have thought bridge-building would be like healthcare?
In his sprawling underground NYC shop, Jimmy DiResta has what seems like every tool and material known to man, all tucked away somewhere in the labyrinth. In this episode of DiResta's Cut, Jimmy whips out a tool and material we haven't seen yet in this series: A desktop CNC mill and a sheet of Corian. Watch as he turns it into an adjustable LED lamp:
AIGA is embarking on its second century with new leadership. Today the esteemed organization announced that, beginning in January 2016, Julie Anixter will take the helm after Richard Grefé's tenure will come to a close in December of this year.Anixter's unique career path has spanned numerous aspects of both the creative and business sides of design. She has focused on helping clients anticipate and adapt to the changing world—advocating, as she explains, for design to be "recognized as the force for good that it is; ensuring that the craft of design is valued, the discipline is taught more broadly, and the expert use of design helps us all navigate our information-laden world with greater ease." She has been involved with consulting, curation, business development, education, management, marketing, product, service and UI/UX development, and R&D for a host of brands and institutions including Chanel, GE, P&G and the U.S. Military. Most recently, she has held leadership roles at Think Remarkable Consultancy, Innovation Excellence and as Executive-in-Residence at the Disruptor Foundation.Her experiences connecting design, business strategy and technology in order to instill transformation and growth will be key attributes leading AIGA into its future, as the organization continues to expand the reach of design in culture and society. As Su Matthews Hale, President of AIGA's Board of Directors remarked, "Design is a powerful force in every facet of the creative and business disciplines, and in Julie, we found a leader who can be a connective thread across our increasingly diverse community of designers, innovators, educators, and advocates."Anixter's hire is not the only change for AIGA. The organization has also revised their strategic direction to be more focused on members and chapters, invested in an endowment and relocated the national office staff to the historic Woolworth Building in New York City. Under Anixter's leadership, the organization hopes to best leverage the creative energies of their ever-growing 25,000 membership population and advance the strategic role of design further.
Call me a simpleton, but I think this is the absolute best Halloween costume I saw this year:Sadly there's no attribution, though the photo's all over social media. As awesome as that get-up is, in this day and age it of course was not the most viral. That honor goes to this mythical, Disney-appropriated character and his special mode of transportation:As you probably recognized at the end, it was none other than Casey Neistat, and co-conspirator Jesse Wellens of the PrankvsPrank YouTube Channel, behind the costume and rig. Here's how they (well, mostly Casey) put it together:Thinking back to the porcupine: You reckon that kid can't sit down until he gets home?