Icon Rethink

Nice little section of Icon magazine (who’ve made it to 10 this year – which makes me feel old as I remember clamping my hands on the first issue as a wide-eyed undergrad). I like these fantasy briefs as they often rethink a dusty old physical object or system and re-imagine them with digital possibility. It has inspired me to have a think about some of my own.

Some of my favourites:

The Birth Certificate (IWantDesign)

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Funeral Directors (Studio Makgill)

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Vehicle Registration Plates (Artworklove)

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Receipts (BERG)

Read the full stories at Icon magazine.

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Built for Repair

There’s a bit of a buzz around Nokia’s decision to openly release the Lumia design files for those of us who fancy a tinker (and have a 3D printer) to create our own personalised cases. It’s a nice nod back to the classic Nokia 5100 changeable covers of the 90s.

But what I really like is not necessarily the open invitation to get creative, but the opportunity to fix  broken objects and let them live a little longer. Teenager Engineering were quick off the mark to release the files for replacement parts for their OP-1 users last year. This is smart thinking.

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OP-1 Spare parts

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S-wish List #005: Bus o’ Clock App

For once, I lust after something that’s entirely free – free and beautiful. Sennep’s Bus o’ Clock app takes the data from TfL (made available by London Datastore) to indicate bus arrival times across the network. Bus Checker and others have been doing this for months I hear you groan. Not like this. BOC is functional AND a joy to use AND more intuitive with its circular clock face. Just NICE.

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Via David Bennett, Visuelle.

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Google in Meatspace

I love the work of Berg – I love the little printer, the SVK comic – I love the way they communicate abstract digital ideas in the real world, in things, in videos of things in the real world – a bit like looking at a sketchbook.

I happened across their ‘sketches’ for Google – which interpret how Google would behave in the real world – on the FastCo site. Always lovely, always worth a watch and always a beautiful blend of digi-analogue dialogue.

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WATCH THE VIDEOS HERE

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Head in the Cloud – Lets Push Things Forward

Teenage Engineering‘s seductive electronics strike again, this time in the shape of the OD-11 speaker at CES last week. The world’s first cloud speaker shows smart thinking from the Swedes who capture the music listening needs of the near future (with Rdio offering content via the cloud and even Amazon announcing digital duplicates via the cloud with every physical purchase). TE also doff their snap-backs to the past – inspired by Stig Carlsson – the maverick who bought loudspeakers out of the enthusiasts lair and into the living room. TE, like Carlsson, are responding to the new generation of listeners.

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As a simple speaker I hope this will be compatible with as much content as possible – no longer will we be switching off the radio to turn on Spotify instead we will just be able to push content to it. Is this the end of the myriad of specific and dedicated devices, like the TV and radio? Will the future be flexible screens and speakers? I kind of hope so.

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Rain Again. Again.

Possibly inspired by last year’s wet weather, or an equally damp festive trip home to the North – I put my Print Club screen printing gift to use yesterday.

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Learning to expose the image onto the screen in the morning, you get inky in the afternoon and it’s not long before you get to see the fruits of your labour.

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It’s a pretty thorough course for beginners and it’s hands on all the way through which is great. Think I may have been infected by the inky bug though. Want to do it all over again already.

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Rain Again

After the second wettest year on record, a visit to Random International’s Rain Room installation at the Barbican seemed an apt way to begin 2013.

I’ve never felt more British – happy to queue for a couple of hours in order to stand inside a room of rain.

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Except it’s not real rain of course because clever sensors ‘turn off’ the rain to ensure you don’t actually get wet. Wish real clouds had these.

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ImageSensors in the showering ceiling panels

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