Category: Design

Geometric Wood Toys by Designer Mat Random 

Argentina-based toy designer Mat Random has designed a new geometric wood figure as a follow-up to his previous piece The Feline, another posable toy that he has named The Simian. Due to similarly placed joints for the animals’ legs and head, parts can be swapped between the two breeds to create an entirely new hybridized creature. Each low poly work can also be posed on two or four legs by maneuvering the object’s nine components, adding a puzzle-like quality to the wooden toys. You can see more of Random’s designs on his website and Behance.

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Take a Tour of a Japanese Manhole Factory Where Neighborhoods Create Their Own Designs 

In most countries, the design of manhole covers is scarcely given a second thought other than the basics of material and a generic pattern resulting in drab metal circles with a purely utilitarian function. But after World War II, city planners in Japan proposed the idea of allowing each local municipality to design their own manhole cover as part of an effort to raise awareness for costly sewage projects. Designs would reflect local industry, culture, and history. The result was a huge success, and now over 19,000 manhole cover designs can be found embedded across 95% of all municipalities in Japan.

John Daub from ONLY in Japan recently visited the Nagashima Imono Casting Factory to see how the manhole covers are designed and built. He also stopped by an annual gathering of enthusiasts called the Manhole Summit that began in 2014, and learned about a new deck of Japanese Manhole Trading Cards.

If you can’t make it to Japan anytime soon, you can go on your own manhole adventure by exploring the Instagram hashtag #japanesemanhole. (via The Kid Should See This)

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Hand-Painted Planetary Push Pins 

Tokyo-based industrial designer Duncan Shotton (previously) is known for his unique approach to houseware and stationery design, where he takes common objects from pencils to bookmarks and conceives of a novel twist. His latest creation is a series of push pins designed to look like the solar system called Planet Pins. The set includes the 8 planets (sorry Pluto fans) and an optional moon pin cast in concrete. Planet Pins just launched on Kickstarter and 100 sets are available as a signed limited edition.

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Dual Bowls: Striking Mixed Metal Bowls Forged With the Ancient Art of Sand-Casting 

Fusing ancient techniques with contemporary aesthetic, Dual Bowls are one-of-a-kind vessels forged from a mixture of recycled brass, copper, zinc, or nickel in this new project from artist Kawther Al Saffar. The bowls are made in partnership with the Alwafi Foundry in Kuwait who utilize a variety of sand-casting methods
with sand acquired from the nearby Nile river. Instead of masking or eliminating imperfections left behind from the casting process, Saffar chose to highlight them, giving each bowl a unique design while referencing the inherent complexity of forging a single object from two different materials.

Saffar was born and raised in Kuwait and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied industrial design, and you can see more of her work in her portfolio. Dual Bowls are currently funding on Kickstarter, and it looks like they smashed their funding goal almost immediately.

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A Stained Glass Cabin Hidden in the Woods by Neile Cooper 

Stained glass artist and jeweler Neile Cooper had a vision for a sanctuary: a small cabin behind her home in Mohawk, New Jersey that would feature her glass designs on every available surface. The result is Glass Cabin, a structure built almost entirely from repurposed window frames and lumber that features dozens of panels of her stained glass work, depicting flowers, birds, butterflies, mushrooms and other scenes from nature. Cooper explores many of these same motifs in her popular jewelry designs. You can see more photos of Glass Cabin on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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New Designs Printed Directly From Urban Utility Covers by Berlin-Based Pirate Printers 

Berlin-based art collective Raubdruckerin (which translates to pirate printer) (previously) uses elements of urban design to create guerilla printing presses, adding ink to manhole covers, grates, and street tiles to create utilitarian designs on t-shirts and bags. The experimental print makers view the works as footprints of a particular city, with current designs collected from Amsterdam, Athens, Paris, Lisbon, and their hometown of Berlin.

By printing each of the works outside, members of Raubdruckerin are immersed in the population of each city they print, imparting spectacle on aspects of a city’s design that are often overlooked. Other motivations of the project include a desire to stimulate a new perception to their audience’s surroundings, redefine everyday routines, and encourage printed sustainability. The group is incredibly considerate of the source of all materials that go into production, making sure to choose the right manufacturers for each certified organic cotton wearable and eco friendly ink.

The collective is currently on a tour through Europe through early May. You can follow their printing stops on their Facebook and Instagram, and see more urban printed designs on their online shop.

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