Brad Pitt, our favorite celebrity design enthusiast, has explained, “I’m drawn to furniture design as complete architecture on a minor scale.” Nothing illustrates his point more than the marvelous multifunctional designs that are quickly becoming mainstays on in today’s economically aware, space-saving obsessed design circuit. From an all-in-one bicycle ironing board ladder clothes rack shelf to a table cum bookshelf made out of books, click through to check out some of the most innovative, versatile furniture on the planet. … Read More
Whether you have a few secrets to hide, limited space, or you simply appreciate the element of surprise, designers have been responding to your needs by incorporating hidden compartments in everyday objects that conceal your prized possessions. Rather than stashing stuff under a mattress, or locking it up far from home in a safe-deposit box, why not try one of these stylish and fun ways to keep your valuables and unmentionables under wraps? After spotting a shelf that doubles as a drawer on DesignBoom — which we feature past the break — we felt inspired to investigate the double lives of other design objects. Click through for more. … Read More
Jean Cocteau, author of Beauty and the Beast, among other things, and friend to Chanel, Picasso, Édith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, said that “art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.” What about design? Thinking about what makes something ugly inevitably raises the question, what makes something beautiful?
The Oops Awards was founded in 2009 by three design professionals wanting to call out the ugliest, silliest, and most useless products on the design circuit. Tired of the cult of bad design dominating the fairs and magazines, they felt that honest, independent criticism would propel the industry away from ugly. Continuing to carry the torch, we’ve rounded up the very best of the bad and the ugly. Click through to check out what we think are the ugliest designs of the last decade, and then let us know in the comments if you agree. PS: If you want some judging criteria for the subjective topic, Metropolis published an entire issue devoted to answering the enigmatic question, “What is Good Design?” … Read More
Being some-time couch potatoes and lovers of photography, we were fascinated to see Melbourne-based photographer and PhD candidate Paul Batt‘s ongoing “Untitled Abandon Series” over at FeatureShoot. Batt writes, “My primary interest in the ‘Abandon Series’ is the apparent state of flux and contrast the subjects exist in. These once intimate, comfort giving, interior objects have become surreally out of place in the exterior world. Although their utilization is over, clues remaining of human habitation in the cushions and armrests formed to unknown bodies, over countless hours. It is this play between the interior and the exterior environments and the traces of human presence to absence that has informed the series as a whole.” Indeed, there is something very sad and nostalgic about a piece of furniture abandoned to the wild — unless, of course, it manages to find itself a new home. Click through to see some of Batt’s project, and then make sure to head over to his website to check out more of his work. … Read More
Yesterday we explored the phenomenon of objects that look like people, so it makes sense to today examine objects that are actually alive! Never mind all of the crazy arbor-sculpting and tree-bending that’s going on, today’s designers are finding mind blowing, innovative ways to harness the power of technology’s convergence with living things. From a moss-powered table to waste-digesting kitchens to a DNA hard drive, click through to see some of the coolest uses of living materials in design. … Read More
The recently-opened Crafting Modernism exhibition at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design is the perfect antidote to the geometric-steel-and-plastic concept of modern style. With works ranging from the late ’40s through 1969, the show focuses on a range of objects made from humanizing “craft media” like clay, wood, and fiber. In spite of the “do not touch” signs and roped-off exhibits, the impression left by these works was distinctly tactile. And seriously, who doesn’t LOVE anything by Isamu Noguchi?
If you can’t make it to MAD before January 15, then check out more images after the jump. … Read More
Oh IKEA, that sweet land of Swedish furniture! Half of the joy of meandering through the showroom is reading the product names, first instituted to compensate for the dyslexia of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. Can anyone be unhappy whilst attempting to pronounce words with umlats and a’s-with-circles-above-them? To tide you over till your next feast of Lingonberry jam and Swedish meatballs, we have demystified the meanings of ten of the most ridiculous-sounding IKEA product names. Read them aloud if you dare. … Read More
The notion of reduce, reuse, recycle has been ingrained on an entire generation of kids here in America. But, despite knowing that we all need to change our habits, waste products continue to amass in dumps all over the world. In Morocco, a group of environmentalists, aided by a French fair trade group, have taken to reusing rubber waste to turn into home furnishings and other products. “If not smelling the items and recognizing the specific smell of rubber,” claims Icce, the name of the French group, “nobody guesses what it is and even then, no-one imagines where it comes from!” The project, known as “Contrast City,” demonstrates what a group of dedicated craftspeople can do to turn waste into something useful. Check out some process shots and the finished products after the jump. Do you think something like this could work in America? … Read More
For Metrobench, a sculptural installation created by Stephen Shaheen for the previously mentioned Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again show at Sloan Fine Art Gallery, the artist asked New Yorkers to donate their used Metrocards via Craigslist. He then hand-stitched the 5,000 discarded cards into a usable bench that’s intended to represent the unifying nature of mass transit. “There is something very personal about handling so many small belongings that were once riding around in peoples’ pockets,” he explains. “There are untold personal stories in that inconspicuous, flimsy plastic.” Click through to get a better look. … Read More
Have you been searching for just the right piece of furniture for your living room, but struggled to find anything that looks carnivorous enough for your tastes? Problem solved! Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau make meat-eating furniture, like an insect-powered clock and a coffee table that assassinates mice, in an effort to simulate the theater inherent in nature. Or as Auger explains, “A fly buzzing around the window suddenly becomes an actor in a live game of life, as the viewer half wills it towards the robot and half hopes for it to escape.” Click through to watch a video of a prototype of the bloodthirsty fly-paper clock in action; and, in case you were wondering about energy efficiency, eight dead flies will keep it powered up for 12 days. … Read More