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Posted by Ray  |   1 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)


An abridged history of Industry City, f.k.a. Bush Terminal, via Wikipedia: Just as New Amsterdam became New York in the late 17th Century, so too was Jan Bosch's surname anglicized to Bush (no relation to the former presidents) when he arrived from the Netherlands; six generations later, Irving T. Bush invested a sizable inheritance in building a shipping terminal in Sunset Park. The year was 1895, just three years before Brooklyn became part of New York City, when the ambitious plan was dismissed as "Bush's Folly" (again, no relation to W. or H.W.), but Irv quickly made good on his promise of inexpensive shipping and storage compared to that of Manhattan. He employed a ruse—something to do with bales of hay—to convince intransigent transportation authorities to ship to Brooklyn by rail and, by 1910, steamship as well, despite what a scanned encyclopedia article calls "a peculiar prejudice of New Yorkers against any possible business facilities in Brooklyn."


The federal government took to Bush Terminal during both World Wars, but the facilities plateaued and eventually declined in the second half of the century as shipping migrated across the harbor to New Jersey. (The 50's saw the rise of Topps, who produced baseball cards at the Terminal, as well as "what might have been the largest explosion in New York City History.") Industry City, as it was renamed in the 80's, has been relatively quiet (but not dormant) for the past three decades; recent years have seen increased interest from both the City and developers, most notably Jamestown Properties, who own Chelsea Market. Along with a handful of other stakeholders, they're looking to revitalize the sprawling real estate while remaining true to its manufacturing legacy: "Not only was Bush Terminal one of the first and largest integrated cargo and manufacturing sites in the world; it also served as a model for other industrial parks and offered employment to thousands, and is the home of many businesses today."


So that's the short version of Industry City's rich 100+ year history (it also involves lots of bananas—Bush imported them to promote his piers) and a brief introduction to a recent pop-up event that took place there over the past two weekends. We announced Factory Floor with measured optimism about both the venue and the event itself, and it was a success by most accounts. Each of the exhibitor/vendors I spoke to provided a slightly different cocktail, so to speak, of feedback (including the need for more cocktails, or at least beer during the final hours of the show last weekend): Some took the event as a testing ground for potential projects for NYCxDesign come next spring, while others treated it as a deadline to complete works-in-progress.



Posted by Ray  |  16 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


We've been fans of François Chambard (a.k.a. UM Project) for some time now, but I must say he's really hit his stride with his latest project, a series of theremins (thair-uh-min, for the uninitiated) for Butterscotch Records and Moog Music. On view now at Judith Charles Gallery in New York's Lower East Side, Odd Harmonics features a dozen one-of-a-kind theremins handcrafted by Chambard, ranging from a breadbox-sized tabletop version to several filing-cabinet-sized renditions.

FrancoisChambard-OddHarmonics-1.jpgThe theremins are exhibited alongside 2D-artwork by Cassandra C. Jones and Tomory Dodge (pictured), who have created album art for Butterscotch Records

The sturdy wooden construction and bright colors—in keeping with Chambard's signature style—have a certain retro appeal, yet they're entirely contemporary, sui generis works that blur the line between sculpture, furniture and, of course, musical instrument. Chambard notes that the hardware itself was provided by OG synth-makers Moog, and the functional control knobs that comprise the 'dashboard' of each theremin are a riff on A/V equipment.

FrancoisChambard-OddHarmonics-2.jpgMoog's standard Etherwave theremin usually comes with a natural wood finish; Chambard has painted some of them to nice effect.

Meanwhile, some of the antennae actually consists of wire brushes, funnels and various other household objects, evoking the child-like sense of wonder at noisemaking antics—i.e. banging on pots and pans—without compromising aesthetics or functionality. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the proto-synthesizer, the theremin simply generates a sine wave and a pair of electromagnetic fields (localized to the antennae on either end). The musician modulates the pitch by moving his or her right hand along the vertical antenna; the loop at left corresponds to volume.


Posted by core jr  |  16 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

MAD-OutofHand-FrankStella-NikeVaporLaserTalon.jpgShane Kohatsu's Vapor Laser Talon for Nike / Frank Stella - 'K.162' (2011) sculpture

In what will certainly be a must-see exhibition this holiday season, New York City's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is pleased to present Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital, which opens today and runs through July 6, 2014. Billed as "the first in-depth survey of digital fabrication in contemporary art, architecture, and design," the exhibition includes a catholic selection of "more than 120 works of sculpture, jewelry, fashion, and furniture by 85 artists, architects, and designers from 20 countries." Curated by Ronald T. Labaco, Out of Hand explores various approaches to and modes of computer-assisted production through works—"including commissions created especially for Out of Hand and objects never presented before in the U.S."—by the likes of Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Maya Lin, Greg Lynn, Mark Newson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and many more.

Seeing as the works date from 2005 to present, MAD is clearly planting a stake in the ground with this first look at what will eventually be considered 'early' examples of art and design in the digital era. It's too soon to tell whether some of the work on view will be canonized or it will be forgotten, but the fact that these technologies will likely evolve over the course of the nine-month run of the show is precisely the point: Out of Hand is a timely snapshot of the intersection of art and technology at this moment in time.

MAD-OutofHand-DrorBenshetrit-VolumeMGXLamp-2009.jpgDror Benshetrit - Volume.MGX Lamp (2009)

MAD-OutofHand-RichardDupont-MichaelSchmidtFrancisBitonti.jpgRichard Dupont - Untitled #5 (2008) / Michael Schmidt with Francis Bitonti - Articulated 3D-printed gown (2013)

We had the chance to speak to Labaco in anticipation of the opening.

Core77: How did this exhibition come about? Is there a serendipitous origin story, or has it been in the works for some time now?

Ron Labaco: The concept for the exhibition came out of a meeting with the director and chief curator about two years ago. We were tossing around ideas for exhibition topics and the subject of 3D printing came up. If you think back to then, which wasn't so long ago, 3D printing was not as familiar a term with the general public as it is today. You could count the number of articles about it in popular magazines and newspapers on one hand.

But rather than simply focus on 3D printing, I suggested a more inclusive exhibition on digital fabrication—including CNC machining and digital knitting/weaving—to provide a broader look at how computer-assisted manufacture has changed our physical world. By doing so, I was able to develop a more complex story about how these methods of fabrication were being utilized in individual artistic practice across different disciplines. I opened up an interesting dialogue between practitioners who approached the same technologies from different perspectives with differing goals. At first I had also planned on examining developments in the medical sciences, but with the wealth of material that I was finding, I had to limit the scope to design, art and architecture.

MAD-OutofHand-LucasMaaseenUnfold-BrainWaveSofa-2010.jpgLucas Maassen & Unfold - Brain Wave Sofa (2010)


Posted by Ray  |  11 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


I've been a fan of sculptor Do Ho Suh since I saw his work at a 2011 solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin; curious to learn more, I arrived at the profile of the Korean artist, who is currently based in New York and London, on PBS's Art21. The son of a well-known painter, Suh traveled to the States to study at RISD and Yale, where he earned an MFA in Sculpture a decade after he completed a masters in Oriental Painting at Seoul National University (the hiatus was due to compulsory military service).

Suh's work generally addresses his sense of displacement, rife with cultural references to his native Korea, including sentimental notions of home and community, as well as identity, independence and conformity. Yet his work is consistently beautiful and is broadly concerned with space—architectural, public, private, shared, personal—whether it's a formal study executed in unconventional materials or a playful visual pun, or (as is often the case) both.


His forthcoming solo show at Lehmann Maupin's Hong Kong gallery features a new series of his iconic translucent polyester sculptures: "specimens" of household appliances and fixtures (no permalink but it's listed in the 'Upcoming' section of the Exhibitions page). By 'rendering' full-size replicas of entirely banal objects in gauzy drapery, Suh elevates the mundane into the magical, transcending kitsch by faithfully reproducing details such as crisper drawers, the heating coils of the stove, the innards of the toilet tank, and all variety of detail on the radiator.



Posted by erika rae  |   9 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


In January, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei stacked 760 bicycles at the Galleria Continua in Italy. His most recent installation, on display until October 27 in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square, tops his previous one with 3,144 bikes, illuminated by blue and pink lights. A similar exhibit (with the same name, but using 1,200 bikes without the lights) was shown at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in early 2012.

The lights reflect the bikes' chrome, giving it an eerie, almost blurry look. Weiwei is known for his social design and this sentiment isn't lost on this project. The sound variation of "Forever Bikes" was created as a labyrinth-like monument to the rapid social change China—and the rest of the world—is constantly experiencing. Never before has a pile of chrome looked so good.

The installation was an exhibit at Toronto's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, which took place on October 5th. Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is a one-night contemporary arts and culture festival that features artists from around the world.




Hat tip to Design Taxi

Posted by Ray  |   3 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


Whereas the Museum of Bicycle Parts materialized (or popped-up, as they say) in a quirky storefront space in Dashilar's labyrinthine hutong, the Factory No.8 space a couple alleys down served as a more traditional venue for about a dozen Beijing Design Week exhibitions as it has in past years. Both the main two-story building and several project rooms—organized around a communal courtyard, as in the surrounding abodes—had been converted into galleries for a week, featuring a mix of temporary installations and new work from Chinese and European designers.

A standout amongst the exhibitions was a joint project from the Moscow Design Museum, curators Evgenia Novgorodova and Peipai Han, and a handful of supporting agencies. Spanning two large rooms (and an interstitial corridor) on the ground floor of the Factory, Common Objects: Soviet and Chinese Design 1950–1980's is the "first retrospective of its kind, bringing together daily objects designed in Russia and China in the second half of the 20th Century."

A shared dream of equality and prosperity was one of the motivators for an active exchange of goods, which lead to a common social experience for Chinese and Soviet consumers. The primary function for design and branding of day-to-day-Soviet and Chinese items in 1950–1980 was to satisfy basic human needs. At the same time, designers—or 'artistic engineers,' as they were called in the USSR—were responsible for creating a new, unifying aesthetic, guided by the principles of functionality, sustainability and durability, while coming up with a design fit for mass production.
The Chinese and Soviet industrial and graphic design objects selected feature significant moments in the design histories and the similarities in material culture of the two nations.

BJDW2013-Dashilar-CommonObjects-2.jpgPackaging for confectionary goods



BJDW2013-Dashilar-CommonObjects-5.jpgBidon with logo of Youth and Students Festival 1985


Posted by Brit Leissler  |   3 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)

If you are among the two million people who would have liked to expose their senses to the biggest revolution in cooking since the discovery of fire by visiting the legendary elBulli restaurant on Spain's Costa Brava, but didn't manage to do so before it closed two years ago, here comes a consolation: The Art of Food show in the Embankment Galleries of London's Somersethouse narrates the story of the elBulli restaurant and its protagonists in an engaging and well-executed exhibition.

Drawings and carefully crafted putty models preceded every new dish that Ferran Adria put on the table.

The work in the upper gallery focuses mainly on the molecular cooking techniques developed by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert Adria, whereas the lower showroom provides (via countless photographs and personal memrobilia) an intimate view into how the elBulli restaurant came into existence and how it developed over the years into the Mekka of New Cuisine. In the late 80's, chef and elBulli co-owner Ferran Adria's priority shifted from simply creating dishes, to create concepts and techniques that would be capable of making diners live experiences.

This giant meringue Bulli (french bulldog) was created for the final dinner at the elBulli restaurant in 2011. It's now on show in London's Somersethouse.

By doing so, he is an artist and a chemistry professor in equal measure (holding a honorary doctorate of Barcelona University), while being considered the most influential chef of the past two decades. To put it with the words of Richard Hamilton (a passionate disciple of Adria's cuisine): "Ferran did for cooking what Shakespeare did for language—he completely re-invented its vocabulary".


Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)


This is the second of two posts on the INDEX: Design to Improve Life 2013 Awards program. See the previous post on the 59 Finalists here.

This past Thursday, we had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the winners of the INDEX Awards, recognizing "Design to Improve Life." Once again, the esteemed jury of the INDEX awards selected five winners (from the 59 finalists) to receive prizes of €100,000 each, albeit with a different tack than in previous years. Not only did the organization introduce a new 'telecast' format for the fifth edition of the biennial event, but they held the festivities in a handful seaside venues in Elsinore, Denmark, about 45km north of Copenhagen for the first time. Following a VIP cocktail reception at the Kronborg castle, historic site of Shakespeare's Hamlet (where one speaker attempted an ill-advised riff on "To be or not to be"), attendees took their seats at the adjacent Culture Yard for the live announcement. The massive, hangar-like space was a Siemens factory as recently as three months ago, and the raw space offered a nice contrast to the slick movie set feel of the production itself. All told, the fast-paced and tightly-scripted presentation was a welcome change from the plodding ceremonies of the past, and the threat of rain cleared up for the warm reception afterward.


The winning entries themselves are stronger than ever, not least for the fact that several of them have already made an appreciable impact in the real world, demonstrating the potential of design to improve life. Drum roll please...


Copenhagen Adaptation Plan

Along with execs from the INDEX Awards, Lord Mayor Frank Jensen made a few introductory remarks at the press conference, welcoming us to the lovely city of Copenhagen, only to return to the stage just a few moments later to accept one of the top prizes for the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan. Although the city has been considering plans to explore new models of urbanism for over a decade now, the crippling floods of 2011 sparked a renewed effort to create the city of the future.

And while the fact that the city is host to the awards—founded as a private initiative, INDEX now has government support—the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan is impressive both for its scope and the fact that it's on track to meet ambitious deadlines within the next few years and decades.




Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


It's a common refrain: ambitious designers develop brilliant, potentially world-changing solutions to the large-scale problems... which never leave the poster presentation or PDF precisely because they're simply too far-reaching. Even when researched and developed to a degree of realizable specificity, few designers have the resources or network to actually execute their vision, and investors are more inclined to support the likes of, say, Rap Genius, as opposed to a water filtration system for the developing world, which may never see any kind of quantitative ROI.

Yet social problems such as lack of food and water beleaguer the everyday lives of billions, and (perhaps more insidiously) environmental issues haunt our existence with no ostensible consequences... until a 100-year storm ravages a city or nation.

The organization also partnered with CNN to produce video 'vignettes' on each project

Thus, the INDEX Design Awards represents a new definition of design that is at once broader and more nuanced: moving beyond beautiful objects towards the intent to "improve life." The very premise of the award is that it might ultimately render itself obsolete—that humankind might eventually prevail over the various humanitarian crises that we face today, that we might achieve ecological homeostasis, that we might reach a point where there is nothing left to improve.

If it seems like a grand vision for what design could or should be, the organization is putting its money where its mouth is, with a total of €500,000 in prize money, as well as new initiatives to connect 'designpreneurs' with business training and savvy investors. And if the notion of "improving life" seems like too broad a directive, each of the finalists of the fifth edition of the biennial celebration of design offers a concrete solution to a remarkably broad range of issues.


The jury team winnowed the field of over 1,000 entrants down to 59 finalists, which can be viewed on the site (we'll have more on the five winners shortly). We've covered several of them before, but the INDEX Awards were a nice occasion to catch up with the likes of Massoud Hassani, who mentioned that his team is working on a new version of his much-lauded Mine Kafon; Dong-Ping Wong and Archie Lee Coates IV are hoping to launch the + Pool test tank in the East River next summer; and Scott Summit of Core77 Design Award-winner Bespoke Innovations, who mentioned that they'd actually started collaborating with another finalist, Ekso Bionics, just before we'd suggested that they work together in our write-up of the latter. We were also glad to see several previously-covered projects in the mix, including hydrogel, the Nest, Rabalder Parken, Skillshare and Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton.


Posted by Carly Ayres  |  29 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Founder Noel Wiggins describes Areaware as "a gallery for artists, sort of like a group show." A fourth generation painter, Noel brought a different perspective to the product design industry when he formed of Areaware in 2005. Since then, the company's line of "everyday objects" has struck the perfect balance between function and sculpture, as they continue to seek out young, local designers for objects to include in their line.

Core77's Carly Ayres had the opportunity to talk with Noel Wiggins at NY Now (formerly NYIGF), where he walked her through some of Areaware's latest products.

* * *


Core77: Areaware seems to strike the perfect balance between function and sculpture. Having a background in painting and the fine arts, what led you to form such a product-driven company?

Noel Wiggins: I'm an object guy. I like things. And I also have a lot of the engineer's mentality of wanting to do things better than they're already being done.

I come to it from a kind of problem-solving idea. Painting, honestly, wasn't collaborative enough for me. You have to be a really kind of solitary person to be an effective painter.

I love mixing it up with our staff and the artists, and then we're banging ideas around, so it's like movie-making with objects—you know, with crews—and thinking about things, and they have narratives, and stories behind things. So it keeps me very mentally engaged.


Posted by Ray  |  26 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)

IsaacSchell-RickJones-COMP.jpgPortrait by Isaac Schell / Additional images courtesy of Rick Jones

We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

As a specific manifestation of the burgeoning maker movement, the craft of building a bicycle by hand has seen a resurgence in recent years, in tandem (yeah, yeah) with the increasing popularity of cycling in major metropolitan areas. Although the Brooklyn bicycle builder community is a relatively new phenomenon—Johnny Coast is an elder statesman at a decade in the game—cycling aficionados have long regarded the greater Tri-state Area as a builder hotspot, home to the likes of J.P. Weigle and Richard Sachs, who have a collective 75 years of experience between them.

Indeed, one of Harry Schwartzman's goals in producing the event is to showcase the previous generation of builders—those that Jamie Swan of Northport, Long Island, calls "Keepers of the Flame." We'll have more on the elusive Swan (a cult figure in his own right) shortly, but we can glean some of his story through his young charge Rick Jones, to whom he has passed the proverbial torch and, by his mentor's account, may well surpass his forbear.

Nestled in a quiet corner of the North Shore, Jones' unassuming workspace is tucked in the back of his family-owned bicycle shop. Glen Cove is a short train ride away from New York City but a world apart, and if the Road Runners Bicycles storefront probably doesn't look too different from any other suburban bike shop, it's worth noting that it's been around for some 50 years now. The 33-year-old mechanic and framebuilder shared more in a recent conversation with his mentor and friend.


Jamie Swan: Ok, we're at Road Runner's bicycles in Glen Cove, New York. We're talking to Rick Jones, proprietor and framebuilder. Rick, how long have you been in the bicycle business?

I was kinda born into it—my family has owned this shop since before I was born; I've [been] spending a lot of time here since I was about eight years old. Since then, I've probably been here every weekend at least—now I'm here every day—it's just been a big part of my life since as far back as I can remember.

I also raced BMX starting when I was nine or ten years old. I took to it, like I wind up taking to a lot of things: full steam ahead, going for it. In a very short amount of time, I went from just riding a BMX bike to racing on a pretty serious level, full national circuit, becoming nationally ranked... I did that for about three or four years, and then I moved away from bicycles for a while.

And your grandfather started the shop?

My grandfather opened the shop in 1964. It was originally a motorcycle shop, but they'd [also] fix bicycles and eventually morphed from being a motorcycle shop to being a bicycle shop. During that time [in the 60's and 70's] when the shop started out, my father raced motocross, to show support for the lines that they were selling.

Do you still fix motorcycles?

Yeah, we still fix all sorts of old motorcycles and stuff. Mostly vintage stuff that we'd started working on, in that era, when they were doing motorcycles. Today, we still do some restoration work on British and German motorcycles; we do a lot of vintage British—Norton, BSA, Triumph—and BMWs.

And I understand that you worked in the automotive industry for a while?

I spent about seven years as an auto mechanic; I started out working on a variety of high-end European cars, and then moving to Mercedes for the last five years, where I was a factory-certified engine builder and diagnostic technician.

But throughout the time when I was working on cars, like I said, I was here any day off I had, helping out. When I left working on automobiles—it's been about 12 years ago now—it's been a full-time six, or seven, or eight days a week kind of thing for me. [Laughs.]

When and why did you decide to get involved in the family business?

It was almost a matter of necessity. I had lost my job fixing cars and I didn't know what I wanted to do. After working on cars for several years, I kind of decided that as much as I actually liked the actual work of working on cars, I just hated working for car dealerships. It was just a miserable experience for me. I weighed about 325 pounds, I smoked about two packs a day... I was at a very low, depressed point in my life. And just out of needing a salary, I came to work here to see where things were gonna fall for me and figure out where I wanted to head.

I immediately bought a bike, started riding again, and started to see this passion get reignited in me, that I had when I was a kid, racing BMX. And I started getting into mountain bike riding again, and I just started getting more and more and more... more deeply involved with bike riding, bike racing. And it was after a short amount of time when I started back up here again, it was just like, 'Ding, this is where I was supposed to be,' and I realized that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And it's just been like that ever since.

It's certainly not an easy business to be in—I often tell people that 'It's a good thing that I like what I do, because I gotta do it a lot.' [Laughs.] But it's great, I love every aspect of bicycles. I love building custom bicycles. I love being the guy that, you know, sells a four-year-old his first bike—having this kid look at you like you're god, you know, and you see this future 'Brother of the Wheel,' budding right in front of you. It's a really cool thing—it's a fun business to be in. I find it to be very rewarding.


Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  20 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our friends over at PSFK took their self-published "Future of..." trend report series to whole new level this month with a physical exhibition showcasing over 60 products, ideas and services from their latest research into "The Future Of Home Living." Located in the 5,000 sq. ft. future retail space of Stonehenge's latest building development, 101 at 101 West 15th Street, the exhibition not only addresses the changing needs of the modern-day New Yorker but also the global shift towards urban living and managing smaller spaces.

To examine our trends through a macro lens, we've organized them into three larger themes: Adaptive, On-Demand and Equilibrium, which point to the importance of a clean, efficient and responsive space that can flexibly conform to the ever-changing needs of its residents. This overarching framework is meant to inspire anyone to reshape their life at home, regardless of whether they live in a studio apartment inside a high rise, a split-level home in the suburbs or a remote cabin in the woods.

Anyone familiar with the Life Edited project will be aware of many of the concepts put forward, but one thing that resonated with us was the subscription-based services for: coffee, cocktails, exact ingredients for healthy homecooked meals, and a library for periodically rotating your wall art. The on-demand services are not only practical but offer a form of entertainment for the dweller, improving the quality of their life at home.

PSFK-popup-04.JPGKitchen and living room section.

PSFK-popup-03.JPGAT-UM Table for Lenovo's Horizon Tablet PC by UM Project.

PSFK-popup-05.JPGHome Aquaponics Kit by designers Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez.


Posted by Ray  |  12 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)


We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

Johnny Coast has been handcrafting custom bicycle frames in his Brooklyn shop for the better part of a decade now, but he first got his hands on a torch before he learned how to drive. Of course, seeing as his father owned and operated an auto body shop that specialized in custom work for hot rods, Coast was certainly comfortable behind the wheel by then. (As the story goes, his grandfather was also a machinist, and Coast inherited machine tools that have been going strong for three generations now.) "I basically grew up in [my dad's] shop," he says, reminiscing. "As far back as I can remember, he was teaching me how to work with metal, I was welding by the time I was 12 years old." Beyond the work itself, Coast's father taught him "how to work and think about metal, how to safely run a shop... Basically he planted the 'maker bug' in me."

JohnnyCoast-Randonneur.jpgImage courtesy of Johnny Coast

Coast eventually parlayed his longtime predilection into a vocation at the United Bicycle Institute, with further tutelage from legendary framebuilder Koichi Yamaguchi. We recently had the chance to check out his Bushwick shop and hear him elaborate on these experiences and more:

Core77: How did you end up building bikes for a living?

I studied framebuilding at the United Bicycle Institute, a trade school for framebuilders and bicycle mechanics. I also learned fillet brazing and stem building from Koichi Yamaguchi, master framebuilder of the famed 3rensho bicycle company. Both [of my educational experiences] were great and almost polar opposites from each other. UBI has an almost lab like setting, with lecture in the morning and lab hours in the afternoon, very structured, as it is a state-recognized trade school.

The Yamaguchi classes, on the other hand, were one-on-one with the teacher. All of the hours spent at the work bench going back and fourth with the task at hand, I would work for some time then Koichi would take the file from me and show me how to file the coping. It was very intense, always with Koichi over your shoulder either accepting your actions, or rejecting them, and instructing you in his way. He was sort of mind blowing for me because we needed a part for the stem I was working on and not having one in stock, he shrugged and said, "we'll just make one." I kind of realized the brilliance of just fabricating anything you need...

After school, I set up shop and started making as many bikes as possible, putting this knowledge to use. My father used to say that [when kids graduate from] trade schools, they think they know everything but have no experience. It was true: UBI handed me all of these answers, but I had no experience, so I set out to learn some things by doing them.




Posted by Ray  |   7 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)

EzraCaldwell.jpgPhotos courtesy of Ezra Caldwell

We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

"I think the bike is inherently the most perfect thing that people have ever designed."

So says Ezra Caldwell, who isn't exactly known to exaggerate, a framebuilder who holds a unique place among their ranks, not least for his unusual background. At least a couple of clichés—Jack-of-All-Trades and Renaissance Man—come to mind, yet his story is anything but: the son of a woodworker, he enrolled at the University of Arts as an industrial design major, only to discover that he disliked the curriculum and "ended up in the dance department somehow and got stuck dancing for 15 years." Despite the fact that Caldwell was talented enough to land a cushy part-time teaching gig after a decade in the dance world, he eventually found himself back in the shop; by 2007, he decided he liked bicycles (and had grown disenchanted with the performing arts) enough to dedicate his life to building custom bicycle frames.

Fast Boy Cycles was barely a year old when Caldwell received a devastating diagnosis of colorectal cancer; up until that point, about five years ago, he "really did get everywhere on a bike." I first learned Caldwell's story via this beautifully executed short film in the documentary series "Made by Hand":

If the short doc successfully transcends the tragic trope of a gifted artist stricken with a terminal illness—a trait that threatens to consume the victim's identity even as he accepts his fate—it's a bit surreal to see him in the flesh, and in high spirits no less, when I visit him in his basement workshop in an unassuming brownstone in Harlem. "It may not seem possible to believe, but I am so happy right now," he declares. "There are parts of it that really bum me out, but on balance, I would say I'm the happiest I've ever been."


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  16 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)

New-Designers-2013-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Sam Dunne for Core77

Serving as a platform for design graduates in the United Kingdom to launch their career, the New Designers 2013 Show took place at the spectacular Business Design Centre in London with over 3,500 emerging designers exhibiting their wares and ideas in disciplines ranging from industrial design and furniture design to textiles, ceramics, jewelry and applied arts.

As usual, the work ranged from good to great, and we've duly taken stock of our favorites from the show. Head over to the New Designers website for more about the show, or check out the ArtsThread blog for more info on the young designers in this year's show.

» View Gallery

Posted by shaggy  |  25 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)


The Cyclepedia Exhibition
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Through September 8, 2013

Austrian collector Michael Embacher's attic might be creaking a bit in relief right now, having been recently dispossessed of about half of its contents. Embacher, who had amassed over 200 rare and unique bicycles in that very neat yet very full attic, has broken out two groups of bikes for simultaneous shows in Portland, Oregon and his home town of Vienna.

We had a chance to catch the Portland show, and highly recommend it based on both the collection and its presentation. Bikes are often defined by their components and require a close look to be fully appreciated, and at the exhibit they hang in an open gallery at eye level, saving the viewer the trouble of craning or stooping. Every geek cyclist relishes the opportunity to scan a dense rack of bikes, examining each, cataloging frames and components, paint-jobs and set-ups; the difference here is that each bike is followed by another more marvelous or curious.


Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  19 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)

Campana-Brothers-Concepts-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Glen Jackson Taylor for Core77

The Campana Brothers' exhibition at New York City's Friedman Benda gallery marks not only the duo's first solo show in the U.S. but also the 30th anniversary of the studio. Simply titled Concepts, the exhibition delivers exactly that with a collection of superbly well-executed one-off pieces made from exotic materials and their signature labor-intensive handcraft techniques. At first glance, it's a natural materials-fest: showstoppers include the "Pirarucu Cabinet," a free standing dresser upholstered in pirarucu fish scales; the Boca (Portuguese for "mouth") collection covered in patches of cowhide; and an incredible "Alligator Sofa," 'upholstered' with tiny stuffed leather alligator toys by Orientavida, an NGO that teaches underprivileged women embroidery skills.

The heavy emphasis on material experimentation and any notions of sustainability are reinforced with the galleries walls and floor covered entirely in a coconut fiber matting, imparting a womb-like warmth and suggesting a humble setting for what can only be described as design collectibles. Freed from the constraints of designing for production, the brothers have taken the opportunity to explore ideas, processes and forms without concern for outcome, in fact it feels very much like the objects themselves (be it a table or chair) are just a means of demonstrating proof-of-concept for new techniques.

One of the most iconic pieces in show—a tough call, given how much everything begs for attention—is the "Racket Chair (Tennis)," featuring a hand-stitched motif made from remnant backings of Thonet chairs. Another striking piece, made from leftovers, is the "Detonado Chair," which is crafted out of the scraps of caning that are discarded after a chair is repaired (At the press preview, Humberto joked that it took a lot of persuasion to convince the artisan to seriously consider producing a chair for them with these worthless scraps).

The exhibition runs till July 3rd and all the highlights can be seen in our latest gallery here.


Posted by Ray  |  13 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)


Caroline Woolard's furniture designs might be considered to be works of art—not in the sense that they are highly limited collectibles but rather as critical commentary. Billed as a "post-media artist" by Eyebeam (where she was a fellow last year), Woolard generally regards objects as a means to an end, and her broad practice reflects her research-based, collaborative approach to making. Per her site: "In 2009, Woolard cofounded three organizations to support collaborative cultural production: a studio space, a barter network, and Trade School." These projects might be described as socially-conscious in the sense that they are intended to be scale models of society.

Woolard has set up shop in the Museum of Modern Art for her latest project, the Exchange Café, hosted by the institution's Department of Education through the end of the month. "Taking the form of a café, the Studio encourages visitors to question notions of reciprocity, value, and property through shared experiences. Tea, milk, and honey—products that directly engage the political economy—are available by exchange. Instead of paying with legal tender, Exchange Café patrons are invited to make a resource-based currency."



Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  31 May 2013  |  Comments (0)

NYCxD-WantedDesign-Photos.jpgPhotography by Glen Jackson Taylor for Core77

Showcasing a vibrant mix of young international designers, studios and a few industry heavyweights, WantedDesign has quickly established itself as the most interesting destination on the design calendar. The 3-day event kicked-off with a blow-out party that had a line around the block leaving many design fans to some creative hustling to get in. The scope and quality of work has improved each year making a noticeable dent on the ICFF's exhibitor list. Checkout out our gallery for highlights from SVA's Products of Design students' design interventions, the El Salvadorian showcase "The Carrot Concept," RISD's furniture retrospective, new work from Great Things to People, Joe Doucet and some elegantly crafted design objects from Quebec.

Related Galleries
» Satellite Shows
» NoHo Design District

Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  30 May 2013  |  Comments (0)

NYCxD-Satellite-Photos.jpgPhotography by Glen Jackson Taylor for Core77

This year saw the debut of NYCxDESIGN, a 12-day citywide initiative to present New York's Design Week under one umbrella—finally—and as a result, the exhibitions gained noticeably more exposure and interest from the general public. Top on our list of favorites was Frederick McSwain and François Chambard's collaboration "Off the Grid" which presented a series of beautifully engineered design objects playing with the theme of designer camping—literally. The show runs till June 6th at Gallery R'Pure and is well worth a look if you're in town.

Other shows of note included INTRO NY, which hands-down had the best range of pendant lamps seen in one place (you get a much better sense of space in our recent post here). Bezalel Academy's traveling exhibition showcasing work from the past five years made a stop in NY, and while the projects might be a little high-concept for some, they are extremely well-executed and thought-provoking.

Checkout more highlights in the gallery here and catch all the New York Design Week coverage here.

Related Galleries
» WantedDesign
» NoHo Design District

Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  28 May 2013  |  Comments (0)

NYCxD-ICFF-Photos.jpgPhotography by Glen Jackson Taylor for Core77

Feeling a little smaller in scale this year, the 25th annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair was injected with some new energy from Rich Brilliant Willing, The Future Perfect, Tom Dixon's fabrication partner TRUMPF and their gigantic laser machines, the quirky high-end speaker systems from OMA, as well as the debut of the DesignX Workshops. Check out our highlights in the gallery here.

Related Galleries
» WantedDesign
» Satellite Shows
» NoHo Design District

Posted by Ray  |  20 May 2013  |  Comments (1)


Now in its fourth year, Noho Design District has taken on a few different permutations over the years, encompassing various pop-up exhibitions from a tiny Japanese butcher shop to a four-story lumber company headquarters (which happen to be on the same block, no less), reflecting both the changes within the neighborhood and the landscape of American design as a whole. Once again, our friends Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov of Sight Unseen have masterminded a neighborhood-wide celebration of young and emerging designers. In addition to partnering with several co-conspirators such as Future Perfect and American Design Club, they've also curated the flagship Noho Next group exhibition, featuring 13 handpicked studios in this showcase of emerging design talent.


The exhibition took place over the weekend at Subculture, the event space in the basement of the 45 Bleecker Street Theater, which hosted Tom Dixon's London Underground exhibition last year. (I don't know if I'm dating myself with the reference, but I remember going to the Crosby Connection sandwich shop when they occupied the cafe a few years back...). Although it happens to be closing as I write this, hopefully our documentation can serve as future reference.

NohoNext2013-MishaKahn-0.jpgMisha Kahn, Brooklyn, NY

NohoNext2013-MishaKahn-1.jpgMisha Kahn

NohoNext2013-MishaKahn-2.jpgMisha Kahn

NohoNext2013-MishaKahnxChrisWolston.jpgMisha Kahn × Chris Wolston


Posted by Ray  |  16 May 2013  |  Comments (0)


Just over a week ago, we had a chance to catch up with Jean Lin and Jen Krichels of Reclaim NYC, who opened the doors to their second exhibition today and will be hosting an opening reception shortly. While the first edition of the group exhibition focused on reclaimed materials in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the show takes the much broader theme of collaboration this time around. (Once again, proceeds will go to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund.)



As Lin told us last week:

What started as a hurricane relief effort will hopefully grow into a larger initiative that could benefit a wide range of social and environmental causes, as well as support our independent design community. Our industry is filled with truly good, charitable and socially-aware people who are looking for ways to help. We hope that Reclaim can become an outlet for these talented designers to focus their charitable and creative energies without commercial pressure, and with a higher goal of giving back to a worthy cause.


This is a near-comprehensive survey of the work on view now at the third-floor event space at 446 Broadway. Tonight's opening is all but guaranteed to be a good time, but if you can't make it to Soho this evening, we highly recommend stopping by tomorrow or on Saturday morning before Reclaim x2 closes; hours & full address below. (Worst case, you can browse and buy the work at Lin-Morris.)


Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  15 May 2013  |  Comments (0)

FriezeNewYork-2013-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Glen Jackson Taylor for Core77

This past weekend, we took the water taxi to Randall's Island for the second edition of Frieze New York, which has established itself as an extremely well curated and produced art fair. The 250,000-square-foot temporary tent by SO - IL architects provides generous space for exhibitors, amazing natural light, and stood up remarkably well to the rolling thunderstorms that struck on Saturday afternoon.

Not one to shy from controversy, visitors were greeted by Paul McCarthy's giant 80 feet tall inflatable 'Balloon Dog', a dig at Jeff Koons' failed attempt in court to get exclusive rights to balloon dogs worldwide, if you're skeptical of the stakes, McCarthy's homage sold for $950,000.

LA-based Pae White won hearts with her suspended installation of tiny upward facing mirrors reflecting their bright geometric patterns underneath. Dan Colen's circular sculpture made from basketball backboards at the Gagosian booth provided awesome photo opps for 2001 style shots, and as far as found objects go, it's hard to beat the cement mixer by Alexandre da Cunha.

There was an abundance of bold new work on display with a lot of galleries choosing to promote the same artists they represented last year. Tom Friedman's solo show was hugely popular; we were really into Daniel Arsham's volcanic ash and broken glass cast resin pieces; and Liam Gillick's 'Scorpion or Felix' decorative door screens would probably do quite well at the ICFF this weekend.

Clearly, the organizers know their audience partnering with food vendors—Frankies Spuntino, Prime Meats, Roberta's, Mission Chinese Food and Blue Bottle Coffee, to name a few—and we were really impressed with the amount of water taxis they secured to ferry visitors to-and-from Manhattan. We'll see if The Armory Show, which takes place in March at the crowded Pier 92+94 complex, steps up its game in response next year...

» View Gallery

Posted by core jr  |  14 May 2013  |  Comments (0)


Starting this Friday night, the students of the new MFA in Products of Design will be appearing at WantedDesign from May 17–20, where they will present ALSO!, a series of interactions that explore how we experience new design.

Through a roving set of mobile interventions—both cart-based and human-worn—visitors to the show will participate in "an unfolding narrative around celebration, sustainability, digital mediation, storytelling, and scale, each expanding the conversation around design beyond form, function, and materiality." There are teasers up at, and ALSO! on Facebook, but here are some intriguing particulars:

A smartphone kaleidoscope and lift apparatus expose the distortion of constantly consuming experiences through our screens; a set of ViewMasters lets us peer into speculations around the unseen, "un"wanted, and marginalized; a sound crew with microphones and headphones invites visitors to listen in on the untold stories of objects; a digital microscope on a remote cable reveals hidden design details invisible to the naked eye; and a die-cutting station prompts guests to transform their printed materials, ennobling ephemera and inviting visitors to reflect their experiences to one another.

Through this series of moving, participatory installations, the work hacks the exhibition at large, prompting visitors to see design through a variety of new lenses.

The event is free. Located at 269 11th Avenue, New York City, WantedDesign is a creative destination for the design community that offers innovative installations, student workshops, and engaging discourse.

This year, WantedDesign is being held in concert with NYCxDESIGN, New York City's inaugural citywide event to showcase and promote design of all disciplines.


Posted by Ray  |  10 May 2013  |  Comments (0)


The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center won't be opening its doors for the 25th annual ICFF for another week, but the NYCxDesign festivities are well underway as of this weekend, and besides the second edition of Frieze New York and its satellites, today also saw the opening of BKLYN Designs at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO. After a brief hiatus (including a stint at the Javits in 2011), the showcase of independent designers from the borough du jour is back in Brooklyn for its tenth anniversary.

Organizer Karen Auster and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce have wisely opted for first weekend of the inaugural NYCxDesign festival so as not conflict with ICFF—the exhibition will be on view through this Sunday, May 12. (BKLYN Designs is rather more accessible than Frieze, both geographically and metaphorically, though we recommend the humble bicycle as the most pleasant mode of transportation to either location; rest assured most of next week's events are clustered in the more central districts of Soho and Noho. Check out our NYDW Guide for more details.)

Here are some of the standouts from our quick tour of the space this morning:


Palo Samko, an elder statesman of the Brooklyn scene, has been exploring with casting in earnest ever since he started making his own brass hardware (drawer pulls, table legs).




As with many of the woodworkers at the show, Bien Hecho was a custom/contract studio for years before debuting their first collection at BKLYN Designs.

BKLYNDesigns-BienHecho-2.jpgFounder John Randall noted that "Water Tower" was made of reclaimed wood from the very same; it's intended to hold a standard five-gallon water bottle, as an alternative to the mundane water cooler.

BKLYNDesigns-Hooker-1.jpgWhat's that around the corner...?


Posted by core jr  |  10 May 2013  |  Comments (1)

CCAID13-AndrewCheng-CopperChair.jpgAndrew Cheng - Copper Chair

CCAID13-CandiceLin-Loungi.jpgCandice Lin - Loungi

CCAID13-NuriKim-NuServeWare-1.jpgNuri Kim - Nu Serveware

By Colin Owen

These projects are the culmination of a course I've been teaching in conjunction with Sandrine Lebas, Chair of CCA-ID, building on a 'research' semester last fall, which I co-taught with Raffi Minasian. Per the syllabus:

This studio will investigate the role, mechanisms, history, and potentials of the concept of comfort. We will leverage this foundation into a particular project in which the students will use the mechanisms and conceptual paradigms of comfort to challenge, lead, or disrupt a chosen facet of human life. We will use comfort to alter behavior through the practice of Industrial Design.

The application of comfort as a theme for the studio was to explicitly address the emotional component of product design. Comfort is a deliberately slippery theme—highly variable from client to client and context to context. Students immediately grappled with the 'goal' of the products, the various means by which that goal may be physically manifested, and the mechanisms which lead and reinforce feelings and behaviors. It allowed the group to ask the deeper questions, not just "What's a better version of device X?" but "What's a better solution for problem Y?" The theme also lent clear guidance to decisions of detail, material, and brand aspirations—how does this engender that?

The students really ran with the theme. Each applied their own interests and career aims to the effort. Responses range from hyper-ergonomic cutlery, open-ended construction toys—ahem. the world's best blanket-fort kit—new notions in play and childhood fear, furniture that encourages the new habit of working from bed, novel snowboard bindings and a superior chemotherapy sling.

CCA's Industrial Design class of 2013 is excited to share its thesis work: Comfort Objects, the culmination of eight months of design and research covering a wide array of expertise, including soft goods, furniture, sports products, and homewares. Come hang out, eat some good food, and don't miss the opportunity to see 24 unique projects in the field of Industrial Design.


Comfort Objects - Senior Thesis Show
1999 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110

CCAID13-AndrewCheng-NylonChairs.jpgAndrew Cheng - Nylon Chairs

CCAID13-ScottRoss-AxiomKnife.jpgScott Ross - Axiom Knife

Hit the jump for more...


Posted by Carly Ayres  |   9 May 2013  |  Comments (0)



Last week, a vacant industrial loft was magically transformed into an elegant gallery space for the evening, as the Rhode Island School of Design's Department of Furniture Design celebrated its graduating Masters Candidates in a show titled, 'The New Clarity.'

The show opened its doors in downtown Providence to members of RISD and the local community who came out to show their support. 'The New Clarity' exhibited the Masters' theses of seven graduate students, featuring work by Adrianne Ho'o Hee, Elish Warlop, F Taylor Colantonio, Chen Liu, Carley Eisenberg, Simon Lowe, and Marco Gallegos, this year's graduating Masters' candidates of the department.

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-FTaylorColantonio-Woven.jpgWoven vessels by F Taylor Colantonio

The title of the exhibition drew its name from "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke:

...Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."

Each designer took a fresh approach to that understanding, re-envisioning what furniture could be and giving a glimpse of what that development looked like on the path to their final work.

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-ElishWarlop-Divider.jpgBent-wood room divider by Elish Warlop

Pieces ranged from the bent-wood room divider above to a chair to facilitate sex with multiple partners simultaneously--running the gamut of what comes to mind (and doesn't) when one thinks of 'furniture design.' The diverse array of work explored not only a new understanding, but varying motifs of tradition, from daily traditions of the everyday to ornate, woven tapestries re-imagined in plastic.

One of the most memorable pieces from the evening was the latter, the work of Colantonio, which looked at commodities of the past, seeped in ancient tradition, and adapted them utilizing contemporary tools and technologies.

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-FTaylorColantonio-PersianRug.jpgPlastic Persian carpet by F Taylor Colantonio

"Most of my work deals with historical 'types' of objects, at least as a point of departure," said Colantonio. "I'm interested in taking a thing like a Persian carpet, and all the baggage that comes with it, and abstracting it beyond the qualities we would normally associate with a Persian carpet. I wanted to create a kind of a ghost of the source object, something that is both familiar and entirely strange. In many of the pieces, this is done with a shift in material, often as a result of exploiting a manufacturing method in a new way."

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-FTaylorColantonio.jpgF Taylor Colantonio

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-FTaylorColantonio-Patterns.jpgPatterns on patterns on patterns by F Taylor Colantonio

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-MarcoGallegos-BeerBag.jpgThe Beer Bag, by Marco Gallegos

The aptly titled "Beer Bag" was part of Gallegos' "Rethinking the Familiar" Collection, which looked to further the relationship and value people place on everyday objects. With the capacity to carry a six-pack of beer, the bag fits snugly onto one's bike. Beer holders included.

RISD2013-TheNewClarity-MarcoGallegos-LiluTable.jpgThe Lilu Table, by Marco Gallegos

The Lilu Table is also the work of Gallegos, who sought to create a self-supporting structure, where each part provides vital support to the rest--working together as a system. The power-coated steel legs fit into the top, locking them all together in a secure fit.

The breadth of the work left little to be desired in terms of heterogeneity, leaving the future work of each designer just as varied and unpredictable as the collection produced. We'll be eager to see what divergent paths they take after graduation this June!

DSC_0291.JPGThe Graduate Furniture class, photo by Anelise Schroeder

More photos from the opening night after the jump.