Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Creature Cups: Animal Surprise at each Beverage Bottom

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Creature Cups: Animal Surprise at each Beverage Bottom:

Some are friendly and furry, and others look poised to snap you with claws or wrap you with tentacles – from spiders to swans, you never know what you will find at the bottom of these coffee (or tea) mugs.

The exterior of each one is conspicuously identical and unassuming, so for guests come to visit for the first time, the shock will definitely catch them off guard – for those in the know, though, they will still always get a little surprise with their final sips.

Yumi-Yumi is “a Brooklyn based group of designers and coffee drinkers. We’ve had these little creatures crawling around our head for years – just trying to get out. We didn’t know where they were trying to go until one day they told us – your coffee! They wanted to drink up your coffee and soak in your tea.”

Futuristic Floating Home With Underwater Observation Deck

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Futuristic Floating Home With Underwater Observation Deck:

Created (or conceptualized, for now) both to dock and cruise, the Trilobis 65 by Giancarlo Zema is both a sleek house and sweet ride whether stationary or surfing the open seas.

“Semi submerged,” it is designed “for habitation by six people at sea. It is ideal for living in bays, atolls and maritime parks. The main aim of the project is to allow anyone to live in a unique environment through a self sufficient, non-polluting dwelling cell in unison with their ocean surroundings.”

A spiral staircase in the center connects four floors of living, deck and driving spaces, and the vehicle as a whole is made to dock alongside models of its own kind with ease.

Sustainable power systems make it self-sufficient for those who want to go beyond mere day trips and traverse rivers, lakes or even oceans. “The most distinctive feature of the Trilobis is its fully submerged first level, the observation bulb. Like the driving deck and day area above, it offers a commanding and unobstructed view of the sea. Only here, that view begins 10 ft. below the waterline. This is the smallest of the levels, just big enough for six chairs. Built to the same technical standards as tourist submarines, it is a thick glass enclosure that provides a 360° view.”

Read and Relax in the Sculptural Bookworm Chair

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Read and Relax in the Sculptural Bookworm Chair:

Surround yourself with the books you love as you lounge on the ‘Bookworm’, a combination chair/bookcase with a sculptural curving design by Atelier 010. The Bookworm chair even has built-in lighting, making it a compact all-in-one reading area.

Thin layers of MDF and plywood are curved across custom-made molds to create the swooping shape. The bookcase chair is self-supporting, kept upright by a stainless steel foot extending from one wall. The outside walls are spray-painted in bright colors, while the insides are white.

This comforting, cave-like combination of seating and book storage is not entirely unique. Similar designs have included ergonomic padded lounge areas built into conventional-looking bookshelves, and benches with bookshelf supports.

Live in a Bubble with the Cocoon 1 Room Pod

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Live in a Bubble with the Cocoon 1 Room Pod: [ By Steph in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Sometimes, living in a bubble isn’t such a bad thing. Cocoon 1 by Micasa Lab is a plastic pod providing a room-within-a-room, a separated space in which to disconnect from the rest of the world without feeling completely separated from it. Cocoon 1 can be used indoors or out, and is small enough to easily fit inside most interior spaces.

With built-in furniture in primary colors, this living pod looks a bit like a child’s playhouse, but it actually contains a kitchen and a power pack that can provide either 40 hours of light, or 20 hours of light and 30 minutes of cooking. It’s even available with running water, and comes with a hanging net that can be used to suspend it from a tree.

Micasa Lab envisions the Cocoon 1 transcending the border between space and object, providing a variety of functions that can be tailored to the individual user.

“The confined space is the bottom line when it comes to the human need for shelter, for survival against nature, for solitude among people or against people or for defining the different functions in our lives. Spaces work on all levels, rooms, houses, countries or worlds. The spaces differs but is ever-present.”

Brown to Green: Ashtray Doubles as an Urban Planner

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Brown to Green: Ashtray Doubles as an Urban Planner: [ By Delana in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

Smoking is prohibited in plenty of public places these days, but for folks who just can’t quit, why not do something positive for the environment with the product of that habit? The Cindy ashtray also happens to be a planter – one that uses cigarette ash to fertilize plants.

(all images via: Mademoiselle Jean-Claude)
Cindy was created by French design collective Mademoiselle Jean-Claude. The minimalist white planter looks and functions like a regular ashtray for all intents and purposes.

Cigarette butts are put out in the hole in the top of the planter. The design of the planter allows ash to fall through a pipe all the way down to the bottom of the planter, but not the butts themselves.

A small, barely noticeable drawer near the top of the planter allows caretakers to remove and dispose of the discarded cigarette butts.

In theory, the ashes nourish the plant and help it to purify the air in the smoking area. In practice, however, it isn’t clear whether this technique would actually work. It doesn’t seem possible that cigarette ash would contain many useful nutrients. As a conceptual product, the Cindy is a quirky and lovely way to beautify an urban setting.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Office Sleeping Pod is a Calming Power Nap Sanctuary

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Office Sleeping Pod is a Calming Power Nap Sanctuary:

We could all use a nap at work every now and then – some of us more often than others. You might think that there is nothing new to be created in the area of napping, but CalmSpace takes power naps to a fantastically luxurious place. The napping chamber was designed by Marie-Virginie Berbet in cooperation with furniture makers Haworth.

The CalmSpace is a small self-contained pod that is meant to be placed in an office where workers need a little mid-day energy boost. The chamber contains a comfy upholstered mattress, lights and speakers. The napper just selects the desired nap time – from 10 to 20 minutes – and the CalmSpace plays lights and music to lull him or her to sleep.

When the nap is over, the pod again plays a pre-set light and music program. This time, it’s an invigorating set of lights and sounds that will gently wake the sleeper. After this short rest period, the napper’s mind is clear and the afternoon slump is all but eliminated. Sleeping in this soft, private, comfortable space is infinitely more comfortable than falling asleep with your face on a stack of papers and waking up with the quarterly sales numbers imprinted on your cheek…not that we’ve ever done that.

Give Thanks for 5 Eye-Opening Black Friday Infographics

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Give Thanks for 5 Eye-Opening Black Friday Infographics: [ By Steph in Culture & Cuisine & Global. ]

Black Friday, that annual post-holiday shopping ritual sharing more than a few characteristics with Spain’s Running of the Bulls, is starting earlier than ever this year, with many stores opening at 8 or 9pm on Thanksgiving Day. While many people participate in this frenzy of commercialism with the relish of a competitive athlete, others find the whole thing a bit baffling. Here are 5 infographics offering some interesting facts about this year’s festivities. Click each image to view full-sized.

Nearly a quarter of American adults plan to start shopping before 3am on Black Friday, according to a survey by market research firm Lab42. Shoppers also plan to spend more money.

In fact, $60 billion is expected to be spent this year, compared to $41 billion in 2008. 160 million people plan to shop on Black Friday, or about half the U.S. population – more than the number of people who voted in November’s election.

Mobile technology is playing a larger role than ever in holiday shopping, particularly during ‘Cyber Monday’, the Monday following Black Friday.

Why should you consider shopping at small local businesses rather than big box stores? This infographic lays out all of the ways in which small businesses benefit communities.

Another infographic from Manolith throws in a little bit of everything, telling shoppers how they can prepare, giving stats on Black Friday violence, and peeking into shoppers’ carts.

Tap That: 10 Terrifically Techy Keyboard Concepts

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Tap That: 10 Terrifically Techy Keyboard Concepts: [ By Delana in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

With the exception of a few spectacularly ill-advised ergonomic keyboard redesigns, the collection of keys that we use to input data to our computers has been relatively unchanged for quite some time. These ten new takes on the keyboard might change the way we type forever…or at least the way we look at our keyboards.

Portable Keystick Concept

(image via: Yanko Design)
Touching a shared keyboard – particularly one on a public computer – is a frightening concept for germaphobes and anyone who doesn’t want to contract the latest annoying virus. The Keystick concept from designers Yoonsang Kim and Eunsang Park eliminates the yuck factor from keyboards by putting a keyboard in every pocket. The portable device resembles a folding fan, but when it folds out it reveals its full set of keys. Users would take their own keyboards with them so fear of contamination and germs would be eliminated – at least as far as computer keyboards are concerned.

Typewriter USB Keyboard

(image via: Instructables)
If you miss the constant clack-clack-clack of typewriters, the USB Typewriter mod will take you back. A clever DIY kit helps users turn their old, neglected typewriters into cool new USB accessories that work with Macs, PCs or tablet computers. The mod is surprisingly easy to implement and results in one of the coolest custom keyboards any typer could ask for.

Flexible Entertainment Keyboard

(image via: Victor Johansson)
The Microsoft Keyflex is a flexible keyboard meant for playing and entertainment – not for work. The bendy ‘board removes the negative work-related connotations from its design, focusing instead on being the perfect living room companion. Rather than relying solely on key taps, the Keyflex uses physical manipulation to get the user’s point across online. Squeezing, bending, and twisting the keyboard itself all activate different functions such as changing the volume, “liking” something on Facebook or exiting whatever program is being used at the moment.

One-Handed Jellyfish Keyboard

(image via: Erik Campbell)
The chorded keyset was invented in 1968 by the inventor of the computer mouse, but unlike the ubiquitous mouse the five-key input device never quite caught on. The keyset requires users to press the five keys in certain combinations to create each character rather than pressing one key at a time. In this way, the keyset is able to take up much less room than a QWERTY keyboard and, with a lot of practice, users can type faster on it than on a standard keyboard. This version is a conceptual redesign of the classic concept, its shape inspired by the rounded body of a jellyfish.

Folding Laptop Keyboard

(image via: Yanko Design)
Using computers with tiny screens usually means also using computers with impossibly tiny keyboards. This concept from designer Yang Yongchang puts a folding keyboard onto a small laptop, providing space for fingers but not forcing the screen to increase in size just to accommodate the expanded keyboard.

Mossy Keyboard

(image via: Robbie Tilton)
Being in an office all day can really dampen one’s connection to nature. Designer Robbie Tilton decided to bring the outdoors in with his Natural Keyboard concept. Although the prototype uses fake moss, the designer intends the keyboard to be seeded with natural grass, allowing for an unprecedented amount of comfort and connection to nature in the office.

Apple’s Mouse-Killing Keyboard

(image via: US Patent & Trademark Office)
No, this little keyboard won’t actually kill literal mice. But it may just make your computer’s mouse obsolete. The concept was patented by Apple and features four tiny cameras that track hand movements. As the user’s hand moves around, the on-screen cursor follows, doing just what a mouse would do but without the need for another cumbersome piece of equipment on the desk.

Motorized Ergonomic Keyboard

(image via: Dvice)
Ergonomic keyboards are (let’s be honest here) usually ugly and kind of a pain to use. This one seems like it wouldn’t be much of an exception in those areas, but it does something other ergo keyboards don’t: massages your hands and wrists. The twin halves of the keyboard move around slightly and vibrate about twice an hour to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and a variety of other repetition-based injuries.

Paper Keyboard for iPhone

(image via: Telegraph)
The touch screens on iPhones are a huge pain when trying to compose a message quickly or with any length. A student project would make it possible to use a tabletop as a keyboard instead. The Vibrative system designed by Florian Kraeutli analyzes the vibrations caused by typing on a regular piece of paper placed on a table. Once the system is calibrated, experienced touch typers don’t even need the paper – they can simply tap away on the table as though they were using any QWERTY keyboard.

Puzzle Keyboard

(image via: RedDot)
If you’ve ever wondered why the standard keyboard is set up the way it is, or if you’ve ever come up with a better solution, the Puzzle Keyboard would let you rearrange the keys to your heart’s content. The design was created by Wan Fu Chun and won a Red Dot design award. While the concept of a puzzle-like keyboard is delightful, it isn’t all for fun – the concept could also be helpful for making keyboards easier to use for people with injuries or handicaps that prevent them from comfortably using a standard keyboard’s setup.

Brewed Fresh: 10 Hot Coffee-Centric Designs & Prototypes

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Brewed Fresh: 10 Hot Coffee-Centric Designs & Prototypes: [ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

A hot black cuppa bean-infused water was only the beginning, but beyond Espressos, Americanos, Cappuccinos, Latte art and creative coffee mugs lies a world of stimulating design ideas for the caffeine-dedicated aficionado. Some are a bit green yet and perhaps worth roasting a while longer, but others are already rich with promise.

Not enough space on your kitchen counter? No worries: Song Ah Lee is developing a wall-mounted coffee maker for one (custom cup included) that blends into the background but remains handy for refills.

No time to wait around while your morning roasts warms up? Consider brewing coffee right on your commute, instead, with Handspresso, sold as the world’s first car-worthy espresso machine – just stick to using it at stop signs and lights, please.

All of these are well and good for getting your caffeinated brew going in the morning, but what happens when the heat starts to dissipate? An obvious but elegant solution when you cannot refresh is to rewarm, with something like this mobile reheating stick by Hyewon Lee.

Now you have made your coffee, kept it hot, and are at the office … where suddenly you cannot find your workday mug. Clearly you forgot to pick up the Lock Mug with a hole specially keyed so that only you can use it!

State fairs are known for putting just about anything on a stick, but coffee sounds a bit far-fetched … at first. Heo Jeong Im took up the challenge, though, and combined instant coffee packets with stir spoons to invent what he has dubbed the Cappuccino Coffee Stick. As you stir to mix your brew, the mass of coffee crystals dissolves, leaving only your stirrer behind.

What Drumsticks! 12 Thanksgiving Turkey Statues

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What Drumsticks! 12 Thanksgiving Turkey Statues: [ By Steve in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

From “jive turkeys” to WKRP’s notorious televised Thanksgiving airdrop, turkeys have historically gotten less respect than the late Rodney Dangerfield… or have they? These 12 tall & tasteful turkey statues pay well-deserved tribute to the succulent bird that gave sustenance to the Pilgrims.

Rotate Your Tired Turkey

(image via: Wikimedia)
Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner may be big in the USA but back in Merry Olde England the bodacious bird is more commonly consumed for Christmas dinner. Take a Sunday drive through rural British farmlands in December and you’ll come across countless giant turkeys advertising roasters for sale. Some look more lifelike than most, others like the “tired old turkey” above sacrifice authenticity for expediency. God bless us everyone!

Mall Rats Meet the Mall Turkey

(images via: Tekniklr, Buddy Scalera and Malls of America)
Either that’s a really small boy or a really big turkey, and only artist Christopher Parks knows for sure! The “Wild Turkey” statue/sculpture was presented to the people of Paramus, New Jersey on March 14th of 1974 in conjunction with the opening of the Paramus Park mall on that date. Originally located on the mall’s main floor, the artwork was eventually moved to the second floor where it resides today.
(image via: Buddy Scalera)
What’s the connection between Paramus and turkeys? We’re glad you asked: it seems that the colonial settlement was named “Parampsepsus” by the local Leni Lenape tribe, which means a fertile land where maize was grown and where wild turkeys were abundant. The more you know!

Renaissance Roaster

(images via: Russellmcneil and Cultured)
The renaissance artist Giambologna may sound Italian but his birth name was Jean Boulogne and he was born in Douai, Flanders in the year 1529. Moving to Florence, Italy in the mid-16th century, Giambolgna soon attracted the notice of the powerful Medici family and in 1567 crafted this astonishingly realistic turkey for the Duke’s gardens. Turkeys had only recently been introduced to Europe, having been brought back from the New World by some of the first explorers.

The Hindenbird

(images via: CBS Minnesota, City of Frazee and Miss Minnesota)
Before August 8th of 1986, Frazee, Minnesota was known for its abundance of turkey farms… that was before “Big Tom” came to town. Standing 16 feet tall and made from white-painted fiberglass, cardboard and insulation attached to a steel frame, Big Tom put Frazee on the map as the home of The World’s Largest Turkey.
(image via: City of Frazee)
Oh, the turkmanity! Frazee’s most famous attraction met the fate of most actual turkeys on July 1st, 1998 when a wayward welding spark set the gargantuan gobbler’s flammable stuffing ablaze. Much like “Touchdown Jesus”, the Texas State Fair’s “Big Tex” and other flame-felled monuments, the original Big Tom’s fiery passing did not cause any human injuries though it probably wounded Frazee’s civic pride a bit. Don’t cry for Frazee, however: the original Big Tom was due to be replaced by an updated, bronze-colored version standing 30 feet tall.


(images via: Mixed Greenz and Elizabeth Lofgren)
We’re not saying Minnesota’s got a Turkey War brewing but if one should break out, the battle between Frazee’s and Luverne’s giant turkey statues could rival Godzilla vs Megalon. Luverne is tucked into Minnesota’s most southwestern county and, naturally, is a buzzing hub of turkey farming activity. The oversized turkey bidding welcome to patrons of the Blue Mound Inn had better be nailed down good or we’re looking at (removes shades)… A Gobble-lypse Now. YEAHHH!!

White Meat, Grey Towers

(images via: Mommylogue)
Grey Towers National Historic Site, in Milford, PA is centered on the French-style Gifford Pinchot House built using local materials and labor in the mid-1880s. Pinchot was the first director of the United States Forest Service (USFS) and was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania. The proud and noble turkey statue above stands guard near the decorative moat on the house’s grounds.

What About Bob the Turkey?

(images via: Woodstock 11alive and WSBradio)
Sure there’s a ton of turkeys on Facebook but one was a real, live turkey! Bob the Turkey from Woodstock, Georgia, still shows nearly 2,000 Facebook likes though he’s sadly passed on to the avian afterlife. What’s up with Bob and how did he earn his very own statue? It seems that Bob, a wild turkey, set up stomping grounds in a disused green space along Woodstock’s Main Street back in the summer of 2011. Pecking at police cars and gobbling at the neighborhood humans, Bob quickly endeared himself to the local Woodstockians. “He’s out here in the middle of the street,” stated resident Mitch Evans, “wreaking havoc on Woodstock traffic.” You can guess what happens next, hmm?
(images via: Woodstock Art & Glass)
On Sunday, January 15th of 2012, Bob met his end at the hands (tires, actually) of an automobile driving down Main Street. He was obviously missed by Woodstocks’ citizens because six months later a metal statue of Bob was placed in a raised green space just outside Woodstock Art and Glass. Bruce Weinzetl of Acworth, GA made the 60-pound sculpture out of recyclable materials donated by Cherokee County residents. Probably confuses the heck out of the local pigeons.

Rockingham & Rolls

(image via: Taking A Walk)
Bill Haley and His Comets introduced the world to rock & roll music with “Rock Around the Clock” back in 1955. That same year, the Virginia town of Rockingham erected two statuesque bronze & stone monuments to… no, not Bill Haley, to turkeys! Coincidental or not, the pair solemnly stand on the sides of Route 11 on the northern and southern borders of Rockingham County, Virginia’s turkey capitol. At least it was in ’55, when farmers presumably worked around the clock.

Edgefield SC’s Big Turkey Statues

(images via: Jimmywayne, Roadside Examiner and Examiner)
When you’re the National Wild Turkey Federation’s home base, you celebrate the fact and Edgefield, South Carolina has gone whole hog… er, cold turkey? Undoubtedly the many elaborately painted fiberglass turkeys on display in Edgefield get a might chilly on clear winter nights but nobody’s complaining, least of all the turkeys.
(image via: Martin LaBar)
Edgefield may be small but its been home to ten of South Carolina’s governors including Strom Thurmond, who served from 1947 through 1951. These days, though, turkeys are the town’s real claim to fame and visitors get constant visual reminders of that fact as they mosey through the center of town. It’s enough to stimulate the appetite so stop in for a turkey & pepperjack panini – they serve turkey in Edgefield as well as celebrate them.

Hot Licques

(images via: Kathryn Sanderson)
Pamplona has the running of the bulls, Licques has the running of the turkeys… or as they call it in the local parlance, “Fête de la Dinde”. Maybe it’s not as exciting or dangerous as the traditional Spanish event but hey, when turkeys are your business you work with what you’ve got. Licques’ turkey festival is no latecoming copycat, mind you, the town’s been celebrating all things turkey since the 17th century. Let them eat cake, sure, but in Licques the main course is turkey.

Ride ‘Em Turkeyboy!

(images via: BildIndex, Wikimedia and Panoramio/Lady A)
Boys riding turkeys? What’s the world coming to? Better (or worse) yet, this odd practice has been immortalized a number of times in bronze and stone. One of these “turkeyboys” can be found on the grounds of the century-old Italienisches Dörfchen restaurant complex in Dresden, Germany. Georg Wrba’s whimsical sculpture has held up pretty well over the past century, all the more remarkable when one considers it’s spent those hundred years in Dresden.
(image via:
Albert H. Hodge (1875-1918) was a prolific Victorian-era sculptor whose work has stood the test of time in London, Cardiff and Glasgow. Hodge’s “Boy and Turkey” dates from 1907 and its companion piece – a boy riding a goat – seems utterly pedestrian by comparison.

Them’s Fightin’ Turkeys!

(images via: Wikimedia and
Turkeys aren’t exactly known for their ferocity but Theo Mulder’s 1965 sculpture “Vechtende Kalkoenen” (Fighting Turkeys) purports to state otherwise. The sculpture spent some years at the Kerkstraat in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel in the Netherlands before being moved in 1989 to its current location at the Rosarium in Oudwijk, Utrecht.

(image via: The Onion)
More so than almost any other animal, turkeys were domesticated to provide food for people. From gobbling to being gobbled – rather ignominious, no? Yet around the world we’ve raised monuments and built statues featuring this crispy (if deep fried) critter. Go figure… and while you’re doing that, pass the stuffing!