Product of the day: ligne roset – RUCHÉ 2-seater

For Ligne Roset, Ruché (the name refers to a gathered or pleated fabric which serves as a decoration on a piece of clothing) brings together the unusual and the traditional. The unusual thing about this piece is its solid wood structure, and the great traditional element: the quilting, the very heart of its savoir-faire. Its rangy uprights and the undulations of its duvet combine to produce a harmonious union of rigorous straight lines and soft, welcoming curves. Slender and fine, Ruché is nonetheless soft and welcoming. We might also add that the very design of Ruché offers a collection of seating which allies comfort and compactness: its depth is only 85 cm and the length of the various pieces varies between 170 and 200 cm, ideal for small apartments. Finally, its seat height (45 cm) will appeal to a broad clientèle, not least those who utterly reject seats which are too low.

Tech Specs: Victoria Slaker, VP of Product Design at Ammunition

This is the fifth of our ten Tech Specs interviews. Previously, we talked to Outlier's Abe Burmeister.

Name: Victoria Slaker

Job title: VP, Product Design at Ammunition in San Francisco

Background: After industrial-design school, I started at IDEO. Then I was on my own for a while as a small consultancy. I joined with Robert Brunner back in the Pentagram days. When Robert made the decision to found Ammunition, I helped start this office—we took the team over and launched Ammunition a little more than seven years ago.

Computer setup: It’s pretty basic, as are all of our setups here. I’m on a MacBook, which goes with me everywhere, more than I care to admit. It goes on vacation with me—I’m a little tethered to it. 

Otherwise, I keep it pretty minimal. I’m happy to work small, so I don’t have any exotic mouse or monitor setups. I don’t use a Wacom tablet or anything like that. It’s very straightforward.

How much of your workday do you spend in front of the computer? On average, about 70 percent, I’d say. If I’m not in front of the computer, then we’re having meetings.

Victoria Slaker at her desk at Ammunition

Most used software: I’m a little bit old-school. My most used software is for 2D work—a lot of Illustrator and Photoshop. I do a lot of the initial thinking about concepts, so it’s either helping other people with creative direction or getting in there and doing some of the design work myself. 

Other than that, our office is on Outlook, and we use Basecamp for managing client relationships and correspondence —we’ve found it to be a really useful tool.

Software that you thought you’d use more often than you do: The 3D software— I thought I would be more into than I am. I still don’t find it necessary. We have a lot of designers here, so that’s something where it trickles down; some of our other designers are doing the heavy lifting around 3D. 

Phone: I have an iPhone 6 Plus. I thought it was going to be too big, but now when I see iPhone 4s and 5s, I think, “Oh my god, they’re miniature.” I’ve actually enjoyed it much more than I expected.

Favorite apps: One that I think is interesting, but that I haven’t had a chance to really use yet, is a Nike app called Making. It basically helps designers discern the impact of their material choices. So you’re able to dial up and down and decide, “Maybe this is the lesser of two evils,” or “Here’s something that could be a replacement for what we’re using.” 

Apps that are actually useful for your work: There are viewer apps, like a plugin to view a Rhino file on your phone—that can be very helpful.

The other app that I use a lot, Sprig, is for ordering lunch. Because if you’re in a crunch, having lunch delivered is probably one of the best things. 

Bresslergroup's recent designs include the Polaroid Cube, a rubberized 35-mm action camera
HeartBeats headphones, developed in collaboration with Lady Gaga
Cooks' Tools for Williams-Sonoma

Other devices: I’ve got my iPhone, my iPad and my laptop. That’s pretty much all I need. 

Other machinery/tools in your workspace: We were one of the early adopters of having a straight-up FDM machine in-house. And we were a little unusual in that we let the designers use it as they saw fit—and found it being used almost at the level of sketching. So it’s super iterative, and we felt there was a freedom to allowing designers to print as much as they needed. It was really beneficial to them, and ultimately to the project and the client. We’ve since added to our collection and now we have an Objet printer as well, which is super great. 

Tools or software you’re thinking of purchasing: We don’t feel like we’re lacking anything—the tools that we need, we have in house right now. 

How has new technology changed your job in the last 5–10 years? Speed—I think that’s the biggest thing. In the technology sector in particular, we’ve had to move a lot more quickly. Software can be continually updated, but once the hardware is done and in the user’s hands, it’s very hard to go back and change it. So being more responsive with the hardware side of things, and more iterative—that’s something we’re always chasing. And that has pushed the ID and engineering side of hardware to go faster and just be more nimble. 

We were one of the early adopters of having a straight-up FDM machine in-house. And we were a little unusual in that we let the designers use it as they saw fit—and found it being used almost at the level of sketching. We felt there was a freedom to allowing designers to print as much as they needed.

When it comes to new tech, are you a Luddite, an early adopter or somewhere in between? I’m an impatient early adopter. I’m happy to adopt things, but if it fails initially or it takes a lot of time and effort, I move on.  

Do you outsource any of your tech tasks? We don’t. The only thing we outsource is specialty items—like, we don’t keep a large engineering team on staff, because we’re always partnering depending on the needs of the client. But when it comes to specific design tasks, it’s all done in-house. 

What are your biggest tech gripes? The idea that a rendering is a final product. It used to be that we had student portfolios come into our office, and if they had really wonderful 3D work and beautiful renderings it’s because those students worked super hard and they were actually go-getters in that way. Now, the software and technology in that area has greatly improved and gotten more accessible to more people, so it’s not always an indication of a great designer when they come in with a super shiny rendering. I’m feeling like it’s starting to be more of a crutch than it should be. People are skipping some really important steps to get to those renderings. 

What do you wish software could do that it can’t now? We recently hosted a panel discussion here at Ammunition that included the founder of Autodesk, Carl Bass. He told us that Autodesk is working on software where you can dial in parameters around what a product should be doing, or what you want it to do, and the idea is that the software is able to design for you. Obviously, it’s a very sophisticated idea, but it’s also a kind of dangerous thing—because in the wrong hands, you could have people designing things that they’re not capable of vetting. It’s a little bit uncontrolled, but it’s an interesting concept at least. I don’t know if that’s a wish, exactly. It’s more of a genie-out-of-the-bottle situation. 

Finally, we've all had instances of software crashing at the worst possible moment, or experienced similar stomach-churning tech malfunctions. Can you tell us about your most memorable tech-related disaster? I can’t say that we’ve had any epic tech fails. We have had some pretty hairy FDM fails. We’ve had instances where you open the door and it should be a beautiful print of your design, and instead it’s a spaghetti meltdown of plastic. That’s probably the only area where we’ve had serious tech malfunctions. 

This article is part of the Core77 Tech-tacular, an editorial series exploring the myriad ways that technologies are shaping the future of design.

Kairos: A Mechanical/Smartwatch Hybrid

Billing their product as the "world's first and only mechanical smart watch hybrid," Kairos Watches has set the expectations bar high. Especially considering their watches haven't launched; they're taking pre-orders, but still working out the tech.

That's because the tech hasn't been done before, at least not in a commercially-viable way. Kairos is aiming to be the first to master OLEDs that are transparent—the company is aiming for 40% to 60% transparency—and if they can pull it off, they'll be able to produce a traditional, mechanical watch with a kick-ass feature: The glass over it will function as a smartwatch display, fulfilling their "hybrid" description. Notifications, social media alerts, fitness-tracking apps, a chronograph, and remote-control functionality for a user's devices are all meant to be displayed on the OLED.

Of course, when you dip your foot into the technological pool, you have to plan for obsolescence. Kairos intends to get around this by offering regular servicing on their customers' watches under their "Watches are Meant to Last" philosophy:

Worried about smart watch components getting outdated? Need more processing power? More memory? More features? With Kairos Watches, customers have the option of sending in their watch for an upgrade of all electronic components including the battery. In fact, we will even service the mechanical movement as well.

The upgrade does come with a small price tag – starting at just $99. Expert technicians will carefully replace the components and mail it back to you.

That's an interesting approach, and one we're curious to see if customers will embrace. While consumers accept that cars must occasionally be brought to the shop for maintenance, we wonder if watch owners—particularly those accustomed to traditional, mechanical models—will be willing to ship it off and live without it for however long it takes.

We should also point out that the company claims they'll have a battery life of 5-7 days. That sounds batshit crazy, but in an apparent nod to reality, they acknowledge that it will be charged via a plug-in USB cord; wireless charging, they say, isn't viable as the magnetic fields that engenders would mess with the mechanical movement of the watch.

In any case, the company is offering two models, one with movement supplied by a Japanese manufacturer, the other Swiss. The lowest-price model will run for $549, and the line tops out at $1,249. (That's for the pre-orders, which the company says are 40% to 50% less than what they'll retail for after launch.)

Okay, ready for the sexy, CG-heavy promo video?

Hell in a Handbasket: Using Superhydrophobic Paint to Create Splashback on Drunken Public Urinators

Mornings in New York: The taste of hot coffee, the din of traffic, the aroma of fresh urine. If you have the bad luck to pass anywhere a drunken bar-goer might have the night before, as most of us do, chances are you'll pass some building nook with a suspicious stain and catch a nasty whiff of beer that's been through somebody.

Drunken public urination isn't just an American problem, of course: Tokyo, London, Hamburg, and every city whose name is under a clock on some globally-concerned office's wall suffers the same problem. But Hamburg is now fighting it with technology. Specifically, superhydrophobic paint, i.e. water-repellent coating, which a local community board has applied liberally to walls in their party district of St. Pauli. Here are the results:

I need to get the name of that coating, and to start lobbying my local community board! Last fall I returned home to find someone peeing on my building's front door. WeWorkNYC, the world's worst neighbors, were throwing another uncontrolled party and revelers didn't feel like waiting for the bathrooms. Meanwhile I had to wait for the guy to finish before entering my building.

"You're an animal," I said to the guy as he zipped up.

"Yeah, I know," he said, unconcernedly, and went back into the party to tank up again.

Hell in a handbasket.

Photos of belongings shed light on personal identity

“There’s a sense of identity that people associate with their belongings,” Jason Travis says. “What’s in your purse or your pocket or your backpack can represent something much larger.”

Jason is the artist behind “Persona,” a long-running photo series that features a portrait of an individual alongside a tabletop view of the contents of that person’s bag, neatly organized.

Jasmine Diptych

The “Persona” project was born out of a natural curiosity about what items people consider important to them. “I was always fascinated about what might be in someone’s bag,” the Atlanta-based photographer says. “What are their essentials that they carry with them every day?”

So seven years ago, Jason began approaching friends, acquaintances, and strangers. “I just started asking people to empty their bags, and people agreed,” he says. “The more photos I took, the more fascinated I became.”

James Diptych

One of Jason’s favorite parts of putting the project together is the connections he gets to make with others of all different ages and backgrounds. “I’m always getting a fresh experience with each Persona that I take,” he says. “I talk to them about their day, I talk to them about where they’re at in their life. It’s quite magical to be able to interact on such a close level with each individual. You’re diving into their personal world, and that’s kind of special.”

Szabba Diptych

While Jason can sometimes predict what’s inside a person’s bag, he’s often surprised by the unexpected contents. “I’ve had a few folks that carry guns on them, and I had no idea,” he says. “Even things like not knowing that someone is a mother or a parent and seeing that they have a Barbie doll in their bag for their kid or some sort of other toy.”

John Oliver Persona

Jason has also had the opportunity to take photos of celebrities over the course of the project. During a trip to Austin’s film, interactive, and music festival, South by Southwest, he set up a special “Persona” booth. “It meant a lot to me seeing Michael Stipe showing me what’s in his bag, also Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, and John Oliver…that’s really cool.”

Jason’s always trying out new ideas and has even shot a number of fictional “Personas.” “One of my favorites is personifying dogs, like, ‘What would this dog carry with him?’”

Thurston Diptych

“Persona” has had a fantastic response over the years. The project has been featured on blogs, in books, in newspapers, and in abook. Students from all over the world have gotten in touch with Jason, inspired to do their own versions of the project. “It’s exciting to have people reach out to me and say that I’ve made a difference or I connected with them.”

Stephanie Diptych

Over the course of the project, Jason has gained one particularly important takeaway. “I think the biggest lesson is that you can’t judge a book by its cover,” he says. “[The project] has helped me become not only a better photographer, but a better person.”

Jason has shot more than 400 people at this point in the series and says he has no plans to stop. He hopes to continue to connect with others and learn about people through their belongings. “The ‘Persona’ project, to me, represents humanity,” Jason says. “We’re always changing and growing, and this is a window into people’s lives.”

View Jason’s photostream to see more of his photography
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Pigeons. Friggin pigeons. Every encounter with a human is a game…

Pigeons. Friggin pigeons. Every encounter with a human is a game of chicken. And they always win.

#pigeon #alleyway #graffiti #graffitiart #exploreeverything #exploretoronto #justgoshoot #streetsoftoronto #torontophoto #toronto #igerstoronto #skrwt #makemoments #momentwide #vscocam #herschelsupply #citylimitless

Reviewed: Friday Likes 120: From Fuzzco, Jules Tardy, and Ryan Romanes

From Fuzzco, Jules Tardy, and Ryan Romanes

Friday Likes 120

A little bit of everything in this week's selections with work from Charleston, Brooklyn, and Melbourne.

Candlefish by Fuzzco

Candlefish by Fuzzco

Located in Charleston, SC, Candlefish is a store that sells high-end candles. Its name comes from the Eulachon, a type of fish that, when dried and strung on a wick, can be used as a candle. After coining the name, local design firm Fuzzco cobbled together a beautiful identity that starts with a double-fish icon that turns into the flame of a candle, a series of illustrations, and all kinds of fish references and interpretations, all in a warm color palette of gold, red, and cream. Smelling fishy never smelled (or looked) so good. See full project here.

Residency by Jules Tardy

Residency by Jules Tardy

Residency is a collective of directors and filmmakers in New York whose range of approaches is echoed by their flexible identity designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Jules Tardy. There aren't many applications to this project like other Friday Likes but I could look at that animated GIF all day long. (I admit that this is the kind of stuff I would design myself: gridded, based on a couple of simple rules, equally-spaced shit). The monospace font choice plays great in all the shapes its placed in and the red on pastel colors provides an unexpected palette. Another nice detail is the header logo on their website. Go ahead and scroll it. Clever way of bringing the flexible identity to life online. See full project here

Jason O. Stevens by Ryan Romanes

Jason O. Stevens by Ryan Romanes

Based in Boston, MA, Jason O. Stevens is a brand and project manager with a cool acronym, JOS. (I don't know why it's cool… maybe because it sounds like Jaws, and someone nicknamed Jaws is someone I would want on my team. But I'm projecting, so I digress). The problem with identity for a person is that, unless you have a cool name like Vanilla Ice, there aren't many visuals or references to funnel into a design so you end up with a typographic solution which usually leads to very basic designs. Here, Melbourne, Australia-based Ryan Romanes has put together a beautiful type solution that renders the JOS name in a stencil serif approach that leads to a great business card where one side looks like a cryptic punctuation message but the other provides the answer. Those bits and pieces from the serif are then used as an abstract graphic device that is actually a pattern that once again forms the JOS name. Very nicely and smartly done. See full project.

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So much of a city’s brand is defined by its transportation…

So much of a city’s brand is defined by its transportation systems. Even those who make very little use of them can’t deny how iconic they are.

#ttc #streetcar #exploreeverything #exploretoronto #justgoshoot #streetsoftoronto #torontophoto #toronto #igerstoronto #skrwt #makemoments #momentwide #vscocam #herschelsupply #citylimitless

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