1960s/70s Italian industrial design was led by Olivetti, featuring products with "touches of joy that enliven everyday tasks" featuring bright color and playful forms, very different from the Braun look of minimalist, "Snow White" gadgets that are the precursor to Apple's design language.
If Apple is a 21st century Braun, then Google is positioning itself as a 21st century Olivetti, with new hardware that is colorful, with "lively, even playful, personalities."
Designer Sottsass said about his Praxis 48:
“The entire machine can be understood as a kind of inside joke: it aims to be a bit funny, joyous but also precious. It engenders a way of looking at mechanics as if you were looking at a toy rather than a real machine: it aims to be an object we are happy to look at, one we approach without fear and without thinking ‘I must get to work’.”
It’s this sense of humor (which doesn’t tip over in to becoming a kitschy one-liner) that we rarely see in product design any more, so it’s great to see Google picking up this mantle — especially given Google’s heavy engineering focus on design in the past, this makes it all the more unexpected.
Google and the Resurgence of Italian Design
(via Beyond the Beyond)
Yasukuni Notomi ("a writer who has covered the world of stationery for many years") provides an introduction to the creative explosion in Japanese scissor-design, beginning with the "Pencut," a scissor that fits in a normal pencil-case, with retractable elastic loops for your fingers and full-length blades so you don't sacrifice power for portability.
The Outdoor Element Kodiak Survival Bracelet resembles the basic paracord bracelet, but when unwound, it reveals a strand that contains firelighting tinder (similar to jute) and a fishing line and hook; the buckle doubles as a fire-striker and reflector. (via Red Ferret)
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