A catalog of Indian style and design

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Look, it’s Indian design! Everyone has heard of Japanese and Scandinavian design, but few know that India also has a long history of design. It doesn’t permeate the culture as deep as Japan or Scandinavia, but I know from living there that India does have a critical mass of distinctly unique objects. To help pin down the essentials of that style, this catalog of India design examples makes a case that there is a very functional design approach both in historic and modern India. This is the first book I know of that presents that style in one place.

Sar: The Essence of Indian Design by Swapnaa Tamhane and Rashmi Varma Phaidon Press 2016, 304 pages, 8.2 x 1.0 x 10.6 inches, Hardcover $52 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

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EcoHelmet: this collapsible paper helmet just won a huge award

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Isis Shiffer just won a Dyson design award for the EcoHelmet, an ingenious paper helmet that folds down to the size of a banana but offers significant noggin protection. Read the rest

Incredible 1960 time capsule apartment

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Miles McDermott is a modern-day millennial hepcat from Phoenix who has set up the most impressive 1960-vintage pad I've seen outside of a soundstage. Read the rest

Not My Emperor

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Legendary Phoenix getting in on the timely political commentary. Darth Sidious hasn't been seen in public since the election. Coincidence? Read the rest

Virtual toilets reveal the souls of video-game companies

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People need toilets, or the poop starts piling up, so video games that are supposed to simulate human environments need toilets to attain willing suspension of disbelief. Read the rest

Vinyl Divas: vintage opera diva album art is weird and wonderful

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Vinyl Divas is a comprehensive collection of vintage classical music divas, and it ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous. Includes lists by artist name, collection based on themes, and even vanity albums by self-published divas. The fashion, the makeup, the styles, the taste both good and bad... prepare to go down a rabbit hole of 20th century nostalgia. Read the rest

Negative review of a $1,500 Silicon Valley toaster oven

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Mark Wilson of Fast Company cooked a piece of salmon in a $1,500 toaster over called June, which has a built-in camera, temperature probe, Wi-Fi, and artificial intelligence. He says the the oven isn't very good.

[June] required nearly $30 million in venture capital to create. It was the brainchild of the engineer who brought us the iPhone’s camera and Ammunition, the design firm that gave us Beats headphones.

...

But the June's fussy interface is archetypal Silicon Valley solutionism. Most kitchen appliances are literally one button from their intended function. When you twist the knob of your stove, it fires up. Hit "pulse" on a food processor and it chops. The objects are simple, because the knowledge to use them correctly lives in the user. If you get the oven temperature wrong, or the blend speed off, you simply turn it off and try again. The June attempts to eliminate what you have to know, by adding prompts and options and UI feedback. Slide in a piece of bread to make toast. Would you like your toast extra light, light, medium, or dark? Then you get an instruction: "Toast bread on middle rack." But where there once was just an on button, you now get a blur of uncertainty: How much am I in control? How much can I expect from the oven? I once sat watching the screen for two minutes, confused as to why my toast wasn’t being made. Little did I realize, there’s a checkmark I had to press—the computer equivalent of "Are you sure you want to delete these photos?" — before browning some bread.

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Call for submissions for Disobedient Electronics

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"'Disobedient Electronics' is a zine-oriented publishing project that seeks submissions from industrial designers, electronic artists, hackers and makers that disobey conventions, especially work that is used to highlight injustices, discrimination or abuses of power." Read the rest

Intricate mandalas created by Volt Agapeyev

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"Nature is transgression's church," says Vitaliy Volt" Agapeyev, who combines geometric forms with intricate patterns found in nature. Read the rest

Designing airplane interiors to feel bigger than they are

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A commercial airline is no Tardis ("bigger on the inside") but designers and engineers do use several techniques to reduce your claustrophobia in the sky.

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New show of Scott Albrecht's exquisite deconstructed typographical art opening in L.A.

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My friend Scott Albrecht, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer who creates fantastic typographical illustrations and hand-crafted, puzzle-like wood sculptures, has a show of remarkable new works opening on Saturday (11/19) at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery in Los Angeles.

"(Scott's) abstraction and deconstruction of type forms combined with his sophisticated color theory and surface treatments yield artworks that are immediate, yet command a deeper and closer look," Shepard says.

The exhibition, titled "New Translations," runs until January 7. Below is a preview of the show. Valley Cruise Press has also published a hardcover, full color book of Scott's work, available here. From the gallery:

The works are largely based in typography but have their legibility masked in a variety of techniques; bold color-blocking, varying depths, non-uniform grids, or a lack of spacing between words. This manipulation can make the work appear pattern-based at first glance; however, on further evaluation the viewer discovers there is no repetition. While his works are constructed from a literary idea, Albrecht's approach is mainly visual. In a series of new pieces for the exhibit, this process is underscored when he overlays two words on top of one another, and in some instances reverses the order of the characters. The end result renders the characters illegible with the exception of small moments or clues from the two words, visually presenting two ideas that are at odds with each other, hindering any idea from manifesting.

Albrecht's woodworks are the result of an extensive process that starts with a hand-rendered drawing and requires hours of precision production work.

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Kodachrome, Pt. 1

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Color slides were once the state of the art in family photography -- vibrant, immersive, ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that millions, maybe billions of them survive. A conversation with midcentury pop culture expert Charles Phoenix: What can we learn from the vast shadow world of abandoned slides about the way we used to live in our homes?

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe: 

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Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land

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In 1959 Disney released a 30-minute educational featurette called "Donald in Mathmagic Land." Everything about it is superb - the design, the animation, the music, the narration, and the presentation of the material. I remember watching this in school and realizing how interesting math could be.

From Wikipedia:

Donald in Mathmagic Land is a 27-minute Donald Duck educational featurette released on June 26, 1959.It was directed by Hamilton Luske. Contributors included Disney artists John Hench and Art Riley, voice talent Paul Frees, and scientific expert Heinz Haber, who had worked on the Disney space shows. It was released on a bill with Darby O'Gill and the Little People. In 1959, it was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Documentary - Short Subjects). In 1961, two years after its release, it was shown as part of the first program of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color with an introduction by Ludwig Von Drake. The film was made available to schools and became one of the most popular educational films ever made by Disney. As Walt Disney explained, "The cartoon is a good medium to stimulate interest. We have recently explained mathematics in a film and in that way excited public interest in this very important subject."

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Interview with far-out music video artists from 1984

From a 1984 episode of the fantastic USA Network series Night Flight, an interview with pioneering digital video artists John Sanborn and Dean Winkler about their latest pieces, "Act III," with music by Philip Glass, and their music video for Adrian Belew's "Big Electric Cat." Watch them both below.

(r/ObscureMedia, thanks, UPSO!)

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Homer Simpson fried egg portrait

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Dan Cretu created this pretty fancy Homer Simpson fried egg portrait. The broken-yolk-as-smile is a nice touch. Read the rest

Fine examples of the typographical sin of keming

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"Keming" is a nickname for bad kerning, and the fine folks at F**kYeahKeming have gathered some of the world's finest examples. Lots of "flick" and "click" kerning disasters, but some novel ones, too. The veracity and provenance of these have not been verified, but as long as we want to believe they're real, that's all that matters online. Read the rest

Posters for famous movies made from their key props

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Jordan Bolton makes cool posters comprised of objects seen in famous movies, like this one for Amelie. Read the rest

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