Inflating space for public discourse

October 1st

The pillowy and billowy REFRACTOR captures attention wherever it pops up. Photo: Trevor Dykstra. One minute, the neighborhood park is quiet; the next, it’s filled with protesters, party animals or players of Pokémon GO. The Seattle Design Nerds is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to design in the public realm. The Nerds decided that when...

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Robotics, biomimicry and museums

October 1st

Understanding that most load-bearing structures in biology are fibrous systems, the creators of the Elytra Filament Pavilion used glass and carbon fibers, relying more on form and less on materials to create a structure that is both lightweight and sturdy. Photos: Victoria and Albert Museum. Inspiration for design can easily be found in nature. Take...

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The Plaza Hotel—or is it?

October 1st

A perfect rendering of the Plaza Hotel on large-format banners won an inaugural Hewlett-Packard Inkspiration Award.Photo: Britten Studios. When the Plaza Hotel in New York City was undergoing architectural renovation a few years ago, managers wanted to present its “best face” to the public. So they contracted Britten Studios, a Traverse City, Mich., manufacturer of...

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‘Ghostbusters’ reboot recreates New York

October 1st

Graphic designer Martin Charles has helped develop realistic sets for more than 50 feature films and television productions, but the “Ghostbusters” remake posted particular challenges, from faux building walls and surface textures to the street signs, labels and bottles in the Ghostbusters’ lab. Photo: Roland DGA Corporation. Who you gonna call? If you’re Martin Charles,...

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True performance: wearable intuition

October 1st

The slogan employed by Simone Schramm to encapsulate her muscle shirt concept is “Less quantified self—more qualified you!” The idea is that the wearer’s data transforms the shirt, and the shirt conveys perceptions that inform the wearer’s intuition. Photos: Simone Schramm. Simone Schramm, a German product interface designer interested in the intersection between analogue products...

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Light and color, inflated

October 1st

Fabric Prism no. 2 sheds light on the transformative qualities of color, as the interior color gradients change depending on the time of day. Photos: Pneuhaus. Fabric Prism no. 2 is an inflatable and immersive color installation built around the fundamental properties of light and color. Made from an architectural double membrane, it was designed...

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Smarter thread

October 1st

Threads penetrate multiple layers of tissue to sample interstitial fluid and direct it to sensing threads that collect data, such as pH and glucose levels. Conductive threads then deliver the data to a flexible wireless transmitter sitting on top of the skin. Photo: Nano Lab, Tufts University. Tufts University engineers say that revolutionary health diagnostics...

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Get a grip

October 1st

A student team from NCSU helped to develop Gryppers, designed to replicate the tactile sensation of bare hands while providing a secure grip. Photos: NC State University. Traditional athletic gloves didn’t cut it for former North Carolina State University (NCSU) football players Jamelle Eugene and DaJuan Morgan. They wanted something that would provide the right grip,...

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Iconic canopy greets travelers

September 1st

An inverted canopy roof is the finishing touch to the new Rental Car Center at the San Diego International Airport. It welcomes travelers while providing protection from the elements. Photo: Birdair. The San Diego International Airport (SDIA) wanted to make life easier for travelers needing rental cars by providing a one-stop centralized hub that would...

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It’s cool to be square

September 1st

The AXION Cube’s sleek design offers a wow factor for exhibiting at events. Photo: AXION. Companies looking for a stand-out way to promote their product or message have attractive new options with the sleek new AXION Cube. The inflatable structure is symmetrical and streamlined, offering a tasteful backdrop to highlight an organization’s brand. With its...

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