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Tuesday
Mar272012

Light, Strong, Mobile - The Boby

Designed by Joe Colombo in 1968, the Boby trolley remains a timeless classic due to its versatility and durability, being made of molded ABS plastic. The Boby has been used over the decades in environments such as homes, office, make-up rooms, and bar rooms. The nooks, drawers, and wheels helped this store-all unit transcend boundaries of use.

 

 Still in production today, one can find these in black, white, orange, or red in a variety of sizes. Other colors were produced over time, with the electric green being one of the hardest to find.



 

 

Joe Colombo was both an artist and industrial designer that unfortunately had his life cut short at the age of 41 due to heart failure. As with the Boby, he designed other goods that embrace versatility and modularity. His forward thinking ideas for environments and products secured his name on the list of influential Italian designers. Throughout the 1960’s, Colombo was set on embracing new technologies to further his designs and new ideas for living.

"The possibilities presented by the extraordinary development of audiovisual processes are enormous," he opined. "The repercussions on the way in which humanity lives could be considerable. People will be able to study at home and carry on their own activities there. Distances will no longer have much importance."

"Traditional families are tending to give way to small groups created on the basis of affinity. We will have, in short, the natural tribal society - these groups living and working in common will require a new type of habitat: spaces that can be transformed, spaces conducive to meditation and experimentation, to intimacy and to interpersonal exchanges."


 

Monday
Mar192012

Japanese Handmade - The Toyota / Yamaha 2000GT

The 2000GT is a rarely sighted car whose roots stem from The Land of the Rising Sun. This limited production car has made its mark in the world of collectors, racing, and one James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. 

Making its debut at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1965, showing the rest of the world that the Japanese could design a car that has performance and the good looks to marry with. It looked nothing like a Land Cruiser or Corona, and most definitely did not perform like them. 



It was a low, had flow, and go due to a 2.0L straight six engine with three twin Mukuni carbs, an aluminum head, and dual overhead cams. This produced 150 horsepower with competition versions getting north of 200hp.  Production started two years after its initial showing due to problems. This did not phase Carroll Shelby, the AC Cobra king, as he ran two of these cars during the SCCA / 1968 racing season, finishing just behind Porsche. Other noted racing finishes include winning the 1967 Fuji 24 Hour Race and third place at the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix.


Current day collectors seek out these this lesser known model, but as with other low production cars, first you have to find one. You see, only 351 of these hand built beauties were produced, with less than 60 making it to the United States. This was due to Toyota viewing this Yamaha built car as a design study and concept to show the world their capabilities.





There is a Raymond Loewy (U.S. industrial designer) connection to this car as well. It is said that an understudy of his, Albrecht Goertz, inspired the 2000GT design via a different sports car prototype that was developed and built for Nissan. Yamaha had their hands on this project too, but it did not go anywhere. Toyota brought in Satouri Nozaki to further and finalize the design of the 2000GT.

Friday
Mar162012

Design, Craft, and Assemble

Described as a “cosmopolitan craft designer”, Tomas Alonso’s influences stem from the pioneers of Modernism. Jeez, we already like this guy. After studies at The Royal College of Art and ten years worth of professional work in Italy, the U.S., and Australia, he made it full circle back to London. His views and pursuit of handmade design goods create something unique.Tomas strives to design and create pieces that coexist with the preexisting things that surround us. Flexibility is another key component when he creates, so that the end result can live within different spaces while being used in different ways.


“Design is a constructive activity that involves setting out an objective, a plan of action conceived after careful consideration of a situation, finding the means to carry it through and finally assessing its consequences. Sometimes it is rather difficult to define ones practice as a designer in our contemporary society with such an excessive saturation of objects. But I´d like to think that a cleverly thought out product still has a right to exist if produced in the right way. I guess that my commitment to design will go on as long as I feel that the work I produce has some kind of legitimacy in the world that surrounds it. My objective is to produce objects that make it to people’s homes and that eventually become part of their surroundings, they live for many years performing their function and hopefully ending up taking a place in the lives of the people that use them.”



“The basic steps of the process are always similar; as a designer you approach an unknown situation, you spend some time making yourself familiar with it, then you start weighting the possibilities and testing solutions, and finally you produce a result in the form of, either a set of instructions or the actual outcome. However, each project is a new world in itself and depending on the context - what is it, who for, where from, how is it done, where for, etc - the process of development is different and it makes you get involved with so many different types of problems, situations, people, techniques, contexts… It is because of this that some people say designers are "jacks of all trades but masters of none", personally I find this one of the most interesting factors in our profession. I think our brains work a little bit like sponges; they are continuously absorbing things and situations around us, which get stored somewhere and are ready to be squeezed out on demand during the course of a new project.”



“Another great source of inspiration for me is to visit workshops and factories, from small artisan workshops to big production plans with specialized equipment. The relationship between a finished object and the way it is produced is completely intrinsic and in most cases determines the product, if you fully understand how something is made, you also fully understand the potential it has.”



Wednesday
Mar142012

Workshop on a Mission

Mission Workshop makes bags and clothing that are geared for biking, general (store) use, and travel. With design and aesthetics in mind, MW sets out to create products that will last a lifetime while looking good on the end-user. In addition, their goods are made in North America using technical materials and strict production methods. This, in the end, makes for a product that they can slap a lifetime warranty on for defects of assembly / materials. What is the Mission component of this brand? It is a neighborhood within the city of San Francisco where they have a retail space and offices. But, we also see it as them being on a "mission", a mission to design and produce some of the best bags and active clothes around.

Some MGS favorites >

The Fitzroy - a rucksack made up of several weatherproof compartments, coated zippers, and internal frame sheet that has the ability to carry up to a 17" laptop along with your other gear.     15"x 20"x 8"


The Eiger Field Jacket - a waterproof piece that has classic looks mixed with a modern material that allows for breatheability and protection from the elements, all while looking good. You won't need another after getting this forward thinking wearable......from the MW Advanced Project Series.




The Shed - a rolltop messenger bag, with a killer chest strap, that will carry your laptop, breakfast, lunch, and 12 pack! As with the other bags, it is weatheproof and has several areas to stash your different cargo. 


Head to the Mission in San Francisco to see Mission Workshop on their Mission of creating good goods.



www.missionworkshop.com

Wednesday
Mar142012

O/K Cabin

Olson / Kundig Architects is a firm, based out of Seattle, that strives to bridge the gap between people, nature, and buildings. The firm covers all of the bases ranging from the architecture, interiors, and custom furnishings. MGS is focusing on one of the smaller structures they designed in 2005, The Delta Shelter. Located in upstate Washington, this 1,000 square foot cabin is built on a 20" x 20" footprint and is three stories high. 

Described as a steel box on stilts, it has the ability to be self contained by hand cranking shut the 10" x 18" steel shutters. The stilts help keep it dry during the occasional flood from a nearby river and snowfalls in the winter. The interior consists of plywood clad walls that make up the middle level / two bedroom and bathroom. Both living room and kitchen take up the third level, with both levels having steel decks that add space. We like the juxtaposition of the raw, indestructible steel exterior and the warmth evoking, mostly wood, interior.





Most of this structure was build off-site in a prefabricated manner which allowed for less disruption to the surrounding landscape and site location. This cabin is a great mix of functionality, durability, and thoughtfulness. It would be awesome to visit this structure during the different seasons and to return to it after a day of biking, hiking, fly-fishing, and/or snow-shoeing.