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Gift This: Where Philippe Starck Hangs His Hat

(Stefano Guidani)
Of chapeaux and Chapos. FLOS CEO Piero Gandini and designer Philippe Starck (Photo: Stefano Guidani)

What does a self-described “modern monk” like Philippe Starck do when he feels the urge to jettison his headwear—perhaps to work “naked in the bedroom”—but doesn’t want to clutter up one of his “collection of cabins in the middle nowhere”? The designer simply tosses the hat on a “Chapo,” his latest creation for FLOS. The clever, LED-illuminated table lamp not only transforms any hat into a lampshade but also serves as a handy (heady?) charging station for portable devices, thanks to the USB port in the base, where a soft-touch switch makes it possible to control the lamp without disturbing the hat. “When Alec Guinness, James Stewart, and Fred Astaire got home in the evening, with a sharp and elegant gesture they would throw their hat onto anything within reach,” says Starck. “So why not a lamp?”

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Quote of Note | Jonathan Ive

jony_ive_1“What drove the design of the wrist watch wasn’t fashion, but utilitarianism and pragmatism. An aviator commissioned Cartier to design it because he didn’t want to take his hand off the joystick when flying. But when something is worn, issues of fashion, style and personal preference come into it. I think one of the biggest challenges we found with the Apple Watch was that we wouldn’t want to all be sitting here wearing the same thing, which is why we designed a flexible system rather than a singular product.”

-Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Design at Apple, in a recent talk at London’s Design Museum as part of DM25—a year-long series of events staged in celebration of the museum’s 25th anniversary

Quote of Note | Ellen Lupton

honeywell round

“[Henry] Dreyfuss‘s Honeywell Round, introduced in 1953 after ten years of development, remains the most widely used thermostat on the planet. A thermostat is pure interface: it is a switch for turning a system on and off, and it is a display that communicates the system’s current and future state. Users operate the Honeywell Round with a simple twist of the dial, and they can intuitively compare the set temperature and the room temperature. The Honeywell Round replaced clunky boxes that users often mounted crookedly on the wall. Dreyfuss reinvented the lowly thermostat—produced with little consideration for users—by subjecting it to his process of designing for people.”

Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, in Beautiful Users: Designing for People (Princeton Architectural Press), a companion to the exhibition opening December 12 along with the new Cooper Hewitt.

Watch: David Weeks Studio Celebrates a Year in Tribeca

A year has passed since David Weeks branched out from Brooklyn to Manhattan with a standalone atelier in Tribeca that is part design studio, part showspace for one-of-a-kind prototypes, collaborations, and work from other artists. The designer—of stunning lighting, fluidly formed furniture, and craggily adorable wooden creatures—is marking the one-year anniversary with this most delightful visit to the neighborhood, produced by Optic Films.


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Flying Fish Improbably Dominate Electrolux Design Lab Competition

electrolux

The Electrolux Design Lab competition, open to design students the world over, has long been partial to design concepts that defy gravity, having bestowed the top honor in years past to the likes of the Aeroball, a constellation of luminescent, helium-infused balls that floatingly filter and fragrance the air in a room, and this year is no exception. But we detect a strange twist on the mesmerizing/hovering trend of years past: Fish. Taking top honors—5,000 euros (around $6,000 at current exchange) and a six-month paid internship at Electrolux—in the 2014 Electrolux Design Lab competition (theme: creating healthy homes) is a food preparation-as-game concept called “Future Hunter-Gatherer.” Designed by Pan Wang of the United Kingdom, the “virtual grocery shopping experience inspired by nature” involves holographic prey that, with the help of a smartphone and your local grocery store, is transformed into real food.


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Favorite Thing: Carga Bags

carga

In a world awash in totes, carryalls, and gadget sleeves, we’ve found a new favorite in Carga. The New York-based company’s rugged bags are produced in a family-run workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina using a pattern-free “zero-wastage” process: each one is made from single strips of material (felt, leather, industrial-grade canvas) cut from side to side, without any further trimming, and often riveted rather than sewn. Meanwhile, the striking lines of each Carga creation come thanks to founder Mauro Bianucci, who trained as an architect at the University of Buenos Aires before turning his sharp eye to accessories.

Have a suggestion for our next Favorite Thing? E-mail unbeige@mediabistro.com.

Mark Your Calendar: Beautiful Users

The-Measure-of-Man-Posters

The countdown continues to the December 12th reopening of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Among the exhibitions that will welcome visitors to the freshly renovated Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue, which has gained 60% more gallery space in the overhaul, is Beautiful Users. Located in the sparkling new first-floor “Design Process Galleries,” the show will explore the shift toward designs that are based on observations of human anatomy and behavior, from Henry Dreyfuss‘s “human factors” to hacking. Get a sneak peek on Friday, November 21, when curator Ellen Lupton visits New York’s 92nd Street Y (tickets here) to discuss the exhibition and how users are increasingly affecting the design of objects.

Spire Wins People’s Design Award

COOPER HEWITT'S 2014 NATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS GALAThe people have spoken, and selected Spire as the winner of the 2014 People’s Design Award, announced by presenter Bruce Mau at the Cooper-Hewitt‘s National Design Awards ceremony and gala held last night in New York. Designed by Zhao Zhao (pictured), Spire—a wearable device that senses and tracks physical movement, position, and breathing patterns—takes its place alongside past winners such as PackH2O, Trek’s Lime Bike, and Toms Shoes.

The mission of Spire, which began shipping this month after three years of R&D, is to “change the way the world breathes.” Data from the device, which is zapped to a mobile app, can provide the wearer with insights about his or her daily activity and state of mind, according to the San Francisco-based team. The app also can help users to boost their activity, relaxation, and focus. Spire bested a slate of 20 nominated works, ranging from elegant and inventive consumer products (Drift Light, Lumio, Soma Water Bottle) and eco-friendly construction materials (Mushroom Building Blocks) to emergency tools (SAM Junctional Tourniquet) and design solutions for human and environmental problems (Deka Arm, Ecozoom Stove).

Watch: The Jonathan Ive Supercut

Earlier this month, amidst news of Apple’s Newsonian hire and breathless anticipation of streamlined, possibly wearable gizmos to come, Rob Walker had but one Cupertino-themed wish: “I didn’t want to guess what the company would release. New iPhone, iWatch, iEggBeater, who cares?” wrote the journalist in a Yahoo Tech column. “I just wanted Jony Ive—Apple’s staid, British design honcho—to tell me how amazingly magical it is.” He soon got his wish, as Ive waxed poetic about the “completely singular” Apple Watch in a launch video. And so Walker kept right on wishing, this time in the form of a tweet:

rw tweet

Once again, the universe has answered, this time in the form of a video (below) created by the Dublin-based creative crew at Army of Id (“Saving the world one frame at a time”). “[It's] a short, supercut-style compilation of fourteen years of Jony Ive earnestly telling us the latest Apple iThing is ‘simple,’ ‘smaller,’ ‘intuitive,’ ‘powerful,’ over and over, in a series of v-neck tees,” Walker tells us. “I wonder if there is another designer who could inspire such a thing?”

Quote of Note | Daniel Libeskind

Daniel_Libeskind“People used to say, ‘Why don’t you design products also,’ and I would say, ‘I am designing buildings, big projects.’ Then one day a company asked me to design a door handle, and I started laughing because it is the smallest object. But I kept thinking about it and suddenly I had a revelation—why not? I mean, it is something that is part of everyday life. So I said, ‘Sure I’ll design the door handle.’ And I did, and I thought that was it. Then months later I was asked to design a door. And I had this other revelation—first I had the door handle, then a door, then you have to open the door. Then suddenly I realized what an incredible thing I had come across, something that I had never thought about. And that’s how I began designing all type of objects. Large or small, all the things that have to do with design are things we have to use everyday. From there grows the whole idea of the environment. I was lucky to come across these opportunities. And like Frank Lloyd Wright said, ‘To design a chair it is as difficult as to design a city.’”

—Architect Daniel Libeskind

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