Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Local River, home storage unit for fish and greens

The Locavores appeared in San Francisco in 2005 and define themselves as ‘a group of culinary adventurers who eat foods produced in a radius of 100 miles (160 km) around their city’. By doing so they aim to reduce impact on the environment inherent to the transport of foodstuffs, while ensuring their traceability.

Local River anticipates the growing influence of this group (the word ‘locavore’ made its first appearance in an American dictionary in 2007) by proposing a home storage unit for live freshwater fish combined with a mini vegetable patch. This DIY fish-farm-cum-kitchen-garden is based on the principle of aquaponics coupled with the exchange and interdependence of two living organisms - plants and fish.

The plants extract nutrients from the nitrate-rich dejecta of the fish. In doing so they act as a natural filter that purifies the water and maintains a vital balance for the eco-system in which the fish live. The same technique is used on large-scale pioneer aquaponics/fish-farms, which raise tilapia (a food fish from the Far East) and lettuce planted in trays floating on the surface of ponds.

Local River responds to everyday needs for fresh food that is 100% traceable. It bets on a return to favour of farm-raised freshwater fish (trout, eel, perch, carp, etc…), given the dwindling supplies of many saltwater species due to over-fishing. It also demonstrates the capacity of fish-farmers to deliver their stock live to a private consumer as a guarantee of optimum freshness - impossible in the case of saltwater fish that has been netted.

Local River aims to replace the decorative ‘TV aquarium’ by an equally decorative but also functional ‘refrigerator-aquarium’. In this scenario, fish and greens cohabit for a short time in a home storage unit before being eaten by their keepers, the end-players in an exchange cycle within a controlled ecosystem.

[+ website]

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Friday, May 09, 2008


We've all heard of high-level advertising but now Flogos has created flying logos. The cloud-like logos are the idea of Francisco Guerra of SnowMasters, a special effects company that specializes in creating snow and foam.

Made of helium and soap (the company promises they are environmentally friendly), a Flogo generator (think big, complicated bubble machine) pushes the bubbly creation through a stencil that gives it the desired look. Flogos can be molded into any form and you can see some examples on the company's website.

[+ website]

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Thursday, May 08, 2008


In some of Manhattan's better Japanese-staffed bars, like Tribeca's underground B-Flat, ice cubes are noticeably absent; ordering your scotch on the rocks gets you a large ice sphere. With less surface area than the same amount of ice rendered in cubes, a globe of ice will melt more slowly, keeping your drink cold without making it watery.

As an industrial designer, your correspondent couldn't help but notice the parting line on B-Flat's ice spheres; after all, it has to come out of a mold. But now a company called Taisin has come up with a clever device for making a perfect ice sphere with no parting line.

How does it work? You sandwich a large chunk of ice in between the two metal pieces pictured above. As the ice slowly melts, gravity brings the top half to close over the bottom half, enclosing what ice remains in its spherical cavity. Because the ice is in the process of melting into its new shape as the top closes, there's no parting line. Clever!

[+ website]
via core77

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Friday, April 25, 2008


Enologix makes software that predicts how a wine will rate in reviews even before it is made. It claims that wine quality can be measured chemically, and a score assessed, much like a wine critic. In order to achieve the high rating, winemakers invest in processes rooted not in agriculture but in biochemical information. Wine making becomes an information science. Care for a nice norisoprenoid anthocyanin blend?

[+ website]
via wired

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


‘Soil Lamp’ by Marieke Staps. This lamps works with mud, the metabolism of the biological life generates enough electricity to light an LED. The only thing this lamp needs is a little bit of water from time to time.
photo by Rene van der Hulst

via pruned

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Big Dipper is a machine that produces candle chandeliers by automatically dipping wick into vats of molten wax. Designers Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren of Studio Glithero present new versions of their mechanically made candle-wax chandeliers in their installation at the Panta Rei exhibition Nilufar gallery, plus a new machine that produces individual candles.

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[+ movie]

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Friday, April 11, 2008


A Japanese company named Yumetai seems to have given some serious thought to the matter, creating dieter's sunglasses with deep blue lenses that make the food you're eating look, well, disgusting.

There's more to it than that - according to Yumetai, there's a scientific explanation behind these sunglasses and the lenses are blue for a very good reason: the color blue acts to calm the brains appetite center.

At the same time, the lenses block rays of red light which tend to stimulate the appetite. Make sense?

[+ more]
via moreinspiration

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Monday, April 07, 2008


Chocolate-pencils is a collaboration with patissier Tsujiguchi Hironobu, the mastermind behind popular dessert shops like Mont St. Claire and Le Chocolat de H. Tsujiguchi created a new dessert based on his impression of Nendo after conversations with us, and we designed new tableware for them.

We wanted our plates to show off the beauty of meals and desserts like a painting on a canvas. Based on this idea, our “chocolate pencils” come in a number of cocoa blends that vary in intensity, and chocophiles can use the special “pencil sharpener” that comes with our plate to grate chocolate onto their dessert.

Pencil filings are usually the unwanted remains of sharpening a pencil but in this case they’re the star!

via dezeen

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Friday, April 04, 2008


Link, has established since 2005, is aimed to exhibit at the international design trade fairs as not just students in the product designcourse of Tohoku University of Art and Design but independent professional designers.

So Sakai, of the link design group, exhibited this piece as part of the designersblock exhibition in london. phase of sound #08 'reflection' vibrates the surface of the water, creating interference patterns from the waves produced by the two or more motors. the various patterns produced draw out a visual expression on the water of the inputted wave form and its boundaries.

[+ website]
via designboom

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Since its debut in May, CandyFab has gone from 5 ppi to 20 ppi (as demonstrated in the small photo to the right) and can actually produce edible content! Right now, they're working on a new heater to stick the sugar together.

An open source project, CandyFab is looking for volunteers to help bring the technology forward.

[+ post]
[+ website]


This project investigates the self-organization of two materials, plaster and elastic fabric, to produce evocative visual and acoustic effects. Inspired by the work of the Spanish architect Miguel Fisac and his experiments with flexible concrete formwork in the 1960-70s, p_wall attempts to continue this line of research and add to it the ability to generate larger and more differentiated patterns. Starting from an image, a cloud of points is generated based on the image’s grayscale values. These points are then used to mark the positions of dowels which constrain the elasticity in the fabric formwork. Plaster is then poured into the mould and the fabric expands under the weight of the plaster. The resultant plaster tile has a certain resonance with the body as it sags, expands, and stretches in its own relationship with gravity and structure. Assembled into a larger surface, a pattern emerges between the initial image’s grayscale tones and the shadows produced by the wall.

[+ website]

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These cake was designed by Jamie Fobert, an architect, for the London bakeries Konditor & Cook. He was inspired by the work of the sculpture Barbara Hepworth.
4 more British design talents did some other designs, they will all become available in course of the year at the London stores.

via wallpaper

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Oxman's "Cartesian Wax" is a material designed to replicate the multiple functionalities of living tissue. It uses a combination of flexible and rigid resin to create a building "skin" that evokes living matter and responds to its local environment; its transparency level is modulated based on local heat and light conditions. The work was inspired by Descartes's Wax Argument: Descartes argued that because we can identify wax as wax, even when its physical properties change in the presence of heat, we know our mind has an important role exceeding that of our limited senses.

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[+ blog]

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Japanese designer Nobuhiko Arikawa of Rice-Design has created edible tableware for Orto Cafe in Japan. The plates, bowls and chopsticks are intended to replace disposable paper tableware. The pieces are made from hardtack, a biscuit dough made from flour, water and salt which was traditionally used as dry emergency rations at sea.

[+ rice design]
via dezeen

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Thursday, March 20, 2008


For nearly four years, an obscure culinary discussion forum called eGullet has had an anonymous guru of sous-vide. The technique — which involves using vacuum-sealed plastic bags to cook foods in water at precisely controlled temperatures — is both relatively new to the home chef and poorly documented. But thanks to user "nathanm," eGullet offers a wealth of insider knowledge, everything from comprehensive tables of cooking times to tips on food safety.

So who is this mysterious Jedi Master? Turns out, nathanm is über-technologist Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft and noted billionaire. Myhrvold first encountered sous-vide at a culinary school in France, but he found the lack of practical information frustrating. "I wanted to figure out how long to cook things," says Myhrvold, now CEO of the "invention" firm Intellectual Ventures. "I did some experiments and then wrote a program using Mathematica to model how heat is transferred through food."

[+ more]
via wired lifestyle

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

S-XL CAKE :: DING 3000

It's for kitchen junkies, for half-portions, for insatiables, for dieters, for the undecided.It's a necessity for everybody. Whereas formerly you had to estimate and manually portion the cake The clever housewife now bakes with this new silicon form. built-in portioning sections and differently high levels magically produce piece by piece 15 different portions.

[+ website]
via moreinspiration

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Monday, March 17, 2008


In a freely available article, The Wall Street Journal reveals how chefs cook at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Cooking at the South Pole needs lots of innovation and creativity. Let's look at some of the challenges. First, the South Pole Station stands at an elevation of 2,835 meters and temperatures varied between -13.6° C and -82.8° C. Then, all the food for the 250 scientists based there comes by plane and is obviously frozen. And it can take up to two weeks to defrost meat or poultry. Finally, because of the moisture-free air, cooking must be exclusively done with electric equipment, which can take a very long time. But read more...

[+ article]
via primidi

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Sunday, March 16, 2008


Powers of Ten is a 1977 short documentary film written and directed by Charles Eames and his wife, Ray. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten (see also logarithmic scale and order of magnitude), starting from a picnic.

[ + website]

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


he Aquaduct is pedal powered vehicle that transports, filters, and stores water for the developing world. A peristaltic pump attached to the pedal crank draws water from a large tank, through a filter, to a smaller clean tank. The clean tank is removable and closed for contamination-free home storage and use. A clutch engages and disengages the drive belt from the pedal crank, enabling the rider to filter the water while traveling or while stationary.

The Aquaduct is the winning entry in the Innovate or Die contest put on by Google and Specialized. The contest challenge was to build a pedal powered machine that has environmental impact.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The passion for cooking and food are the central theme of Pixar's recent film - Ratatouille. This complex and multi-faceted problem posed many challenges that were solved using diverse computer graphics and production techniques. In this course we will comprehensively cover all aspects including modeling, dressing, shading, lighting and effects.

The story called for working cooking stations and sloppy mess of a busy, functional kitchen. We will review some of the set concepts, visual framework and even dynamics simulation techniques that were used to create this illusion. We will illustrate with several examples including final plated dishes, mis-en-place setups and the Food Locker.

The challenge of shading food on Ratatouille was to work within the stylized look of the film and yet keep it recognizable and appealing to eat. We developed subtle illumination techniques that added up to a general approach we could use on a variety of objects. We will breakdown examples ranging from vegetables to plated dishes.

Lighting played a key role in making the food look appetizing, a task further complicated by different types of food such as bread, cheese, soup and wine that pushed the boundaries of standard surface based lighting. We will discuss our general approach to lighting food as well as specific challenges and solutions posed by the various dishes.

[+ paper]
via pixar

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