Maezm “Sharing Watch”

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It is the tiniest of gestures in watch design – but it’s one that I’m loving. As a young kid without a watch I often had to steal glances off other people’s wrists to determine the time, and I’ve always appreciated people wearing watches with very legible faces. The “Sharing Watch” by Korean design studio maezm takes the concept a little further:

When someone asks what time is it, the wearer simply has to raise his arm: the watch face is rotated clockwise 90 degrees, making it easier for both parties to read the time.

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And it’s all achieved by simply (though really, this is probably the difficult part requiring very sensitive observation) discovering and communicating this very natural habit; and the rest of the design was probably straightforward with no modifications (minus the watch face orientation).

Clever!

Car Cigarette Lighters

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It’s one of those things that I’d label as ‘dormant trivia’ – curious questions that I didn’t know exist, even though on hindsight, the bigger question is “why didn’t I think of that question (and find out the answer)? Maybe it’s just me being particularly ignorant or slow – that this is general knowledge to everyone but me:

Why are car cigarette lighters so big (diameter) compared to the cigarettes they are supposed to light?

And today (finally?) I learned the answer.

McLarenSport-Samsonite Luggage

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One of the key features of the MacLarenSport-Samsonite luggage is shown in the picture above – the wheels with suspension. The claim goes:

Apart from being lightweight and durable, the trademark of Samsonite’s collection, the new line of luggage presents a high-end wheel suspension system that absorbs the impact of bumpy ground to protect the valuables inside the bag, quite reminiscent of the trendy F1 racing cars, which protect the valuable driver inside.

I wonder how much of that is pure marketing and how much of that is true engineering…

[via bornrich]

Higher Furnitures – Air Division

I just came across these coverage of these furnitures from SaloneSatellite by Nathan Yong of Singapore-based Air Division – the 70cm High Bed and Every Sunday:

70cm High Bed

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70 cm High Bed occupies a curious and unfamiliar height for beds. With the extra elevation, the bed becomes a mini levitating loft in the room, requiring one to perform the ritual of literally climbing into bed everyday. Here’s what he says:

I keep the height at 70cm because I find familiarity in this height. The height of a table is about 75 cm and I have always felt good standing and resting my bum on it to take a short rest while chatting with friends in the workplace or at home. And sometimes I sat at this table height and felt a sense of playfulness and casualness. Hence I think 70cm is a good height for getting “high”… so a height of 70cm is appropriately functional in this case.

Every Sunday

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This was yet another intriguing furniture as familiar elements of the railing are stripped away and reattached onto this furniture – an island of simulated balcony -

Every Sunday was inspired by the balcony. I like the ideal of lazing around on a Sunday on a balcony. I remember when I was young, the balcony was the only place that was closest to the outdoors. As most houses in Singapore are flats, I had a good view of the city. There is a sense of liberation in that, and I used to throw paper planes down the storeys. This image stayed on, and when I wanted to design a sofa, I wanted to evoke a sense of openness when people sat on it. Most sofas kind of coop you inside…so my aim was to have an open sofa that encourages sitting, playing, sleeping, and working within the space of the sofa … so a balcony space sort of has those kinds of functions. Thus I do not think it will work on a smaller scale.

It is perhaps a reflection of Singapore’s life – the density, pace and general attitude that requires a borrowed metaphor on the furniture to restore just that bit much of spirituality into life itself; where designs (have to?) manifest themselves as tangible, transplanted cues to trigger off a certain familiarity.

It is perhaps also telling that these furniture are both little islands within the room. Within the boundaries of the rock-solid HDB flat walls where one can possibly seek to isolate oneself, and create/redefine his own island-space within the larger island (Singapore).

How lonely?

Full interview via moco loco

Digital Ruler

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At the first sight of this ruler concept by designers Shay.Shafranek the thought of  ”this must be one of those ‘mesh-up-digital-and-physical-objects-experiment-again” sprang into my mind, almost in a knee-jerk reaction. But upon further consideration, it does have quite a lot of merit (if a little indulgent) in this combination.

This is a work done in conjunction with a PCB-manufacturing company. The most interesting bit, in my opinion, is the idea that with this digital-sensing modules lined up along the sides, you don’t have to line-up a “zero” point. You can start to pick and draw from anywhere, and the reading is automatically calculated from where your pencil first contacts the paper.

More advanced use of the idea also includes: adding distances (you can keep drawing and the ruler adds up the sum of the lengths); having units in different dimensions automatically (e.g. mm, inches);

Intuitive, simple, elegant solution that still retains the familiar analog ruler – you can be as advanced as you want with this ruler.

Great concept!

Folding UK Plug

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This concept design for the UK plug’s been making the rounds round the web like wildfire – probably as a testament to how much people loathe the big, fat bulky UK 3-pin plug. Here’s how it works:


It’s a concept design by designer Min Kyu Choi.  There are certainly still many technical issues to resolve – putting numerous moving parts and hinges into that small an area will probably require a hell lot of (costly or difficult?) engineering to realize in a large-scale, cheap manner; the live wire looks really perilously close to the neutral wire in the assembly, etc. The final comparison for the 3-way plug was also somewhat unfair as the bulkiness of the plug-heads were also due to the transformer-circuits (e.g. in Apple’s plug).

That said, I loved how the design has approached this prickly problem and tackled it with an elegant and innovative solution (loved the fuse idea – makes it easier to change too!), while still maintaining the compatibility with the current sockets. Kudos to the designer!

Salli Saddle Chair



As an industrial designer, I am quite intrigued in the approach that this chair has taken to resolve ergonomic issues. The task chair design is always a complex and often rigorous one – it has to fit many people, be comfortable to be used for long periods, by many people of different sizes and statures, etc., and it is always welcoming to find new designs and innovations on it.

The Salli chair in the video above does tackle some of those issues – with a rather peculiar focus in the marketing: a big chunk of the ergonomic benefits it is extolling are specifically to address the comfort of the nether regions. I just wonder though the amount of emphasis placed on it throughout the entire video seems to be making it more awkward for people intending to buy this chair…

studio juju @Milan Fair

Singapore-based designer-duo Timo Wong and Priscilla Lui formed “studio juju” based on the philosophy of a hands-on approach to designing and crafting. For the Milan Fair they  launched some of their collections:

Rabbit
None of the tables are the same in height, dimension or shape. The arrangement becomes fluid and, hopefully, will inspire an indefinite interaction when people sit themselves along the curves and place their cups on different heights and shapes.

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One Shelves
A set of small boxes that can be nested together to take up the least amount of space and expanded without tools to form a big shelf. stack and arrange the boxes to fit different rooms.

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Urbano Bin

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In the recent years there have been some attempts at bins that specifically addresses the usage of plastic bags. The ‘Urbano’ is another similar attempt – with the design thoughtfully being doubled up as a plastic-bag storage:

Another twist to make this design even more compelling: extra bags can be stored under the one in use, pushed down by the handles and tucked beneath them. Replacing the bags, then, is even easier than in a traditionally designed trash can – you just pull up the new bag after your remove the old one and hook its handles around the catches provided.

My little question is just – when the bin has some rubbish in it (but not full enough to throw it away yet), you can’t really store it (it’s too much of a mess to lift the rubbish-bag up, tuck the bag in, and put the rubbish bag in again). But overall, neat design!