YD Talks: The Making of SPUN, the most exhilarating chair in the world

I remember the very first time I walked into a Herman Miller outlet. I walked right past the Aeron chair, Yves Behar’s SAYL chair, and even probably the most iconic thing in the room… the Eames Lounge Chair. I walked past all these hallmarks of great industrial design, because I had my eyes affixed on the most interesting object in the room. I say object because you couldn’t really call it a chair. It was an experience. It was the Spun.

“There was no intention to design a chair”, says Thomas Heatherwick in the video above. The Spun was the result of an experiment, rather than a conscious decision to make a seating device. This experiment finally evolved into a chair that was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was the furniture-equivalent of a rollercoaster ride. You feel uncertainty, surprise, thrill, joy, euphoria, in a matter of seconds, which is more than you can say of any seating device on this planet. Designed as an unstable seating device that could rotate on its rim and axis, the Spun literally spins you around, tilting you ever so gently that you get this feeling of almost falling over, but never actually ever falling over, thanks to some incredibly precise design engineering. The spinning action gives you a quick burst of adrenaline and a release of endorphins that bring about childlike joy no matter how old you are. The minute you complete half a rotation, there’s a sudden awareness as you feel you’re about to topple backward, but you never do. The immediate relief of anxiety is quite literally a stress buster, and the cycle continues with each subsequent rotation.

The Spun Chair was designed back in 2010 by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studios for Magis (eventually finding a home in Herman Miller too). Stand it upright and it doesn’t look like a chair at all… it only becomes a chair when you incline it. The rotationally symmetrical Spun is a rare type of chair that finds itself fitting perfectly into domestic as well as commercial spaces, and indoors as well as outdoors. Made using rotational molding (so it’s hollow on the inside) with polyethylene, the Spun comes with bands or lines across its surface that serve multiple purposes. The lines form a texture that prevents you from slipping off the chair. They provide a gripping surface not just for your backside, but also your hands that are bound to grip the chair as you find yourself feeling stable at one moment and unstable at another. Forming an element of CMF, the ribbed lines give the Spun a distinct play of light and shade, while also quite literally making it look like blur-lines from the spinning chair!

Watch the video above where Thomas Heatherwick breaks down the creation process for Spun in a video directed by Juriaan Booij.

Designers: Thomas Heatherwick (Heatherwick Studios) and Magis Design

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TouchID in your thumb-drive!

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USB have become a rarity nowadays, with how cheap and convenient cloud-storage and cloud-sharing is, but there’s a while before USB thumb drives go the way of the dodo, or the floppy, or the CD/DVD. Thumb drives are now primarily used for transferring files offline (sensitive documents, PDFs, work-files, images, etc)… usually confidential files that are safer off the internet than on, or files that are a little too heavy to transfer online.

Given that there’s still a large need to transfer sensitive files from one system to another, it makes sense that the Lexar JumpDrive F35 exists. With a built-in fingerprint scanner that can recognize as many as 10 fingerprints, the JumpDrive F35 is a rather effective way of making sure that your data is secure, and visible/accessible only to the intended subjects, thanks to its 256-bit AES encryption that works without any external or additional software.

Designer: Lexar

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Transparent suitcases are finally going mainstream!

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We covered the Rimowa X Off White transparent suitcase earlier this year, exploring the pros (and maybe a few cons) of a suitcase that’s absolutely see-through. The idea of covering the Xiaomi 90 Points transparent suitcase (which honestly is quite a rip-off) is to address an aspect other than product design. It’s to address the mainstream-ification of this design, and how Xiaomi, a trend-setter in the east, could help make this trend more popular and accessible to the world.

Designed by 90 Points, a Xiaomi sub-brand, the suitcase comes with a complete transparent outer body molded in PolyCarbonate. With 360° wheels and a TSA lock, the suitcase has the makings of a nice, mid-range carry case. With a price of 599RMB ($86), the 90 Points suitcase (available exclusively on TMall) has a large competitive advantage over Rimowa’s $1,200 transparent suitcase, which makes a great ‘case’ for it among the masses, who’ll definitely be motivated to buy the unique looking piece of luggage. A transparent suitcase, although it really doesn’t scream privacy, is most certainly a much more uniquely visible item. Its transparent nature allows your belongings to be visible from the outside, making different from each and every suitcase, primarily because its belongings are different. It also lets you know if you’ve packed everything without having to open the case and rummage through your things!

Designer: 90 Points (Xiaomi)

Click Here to Buy Now

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The Voyage Sleep Mask is Designed for Instant Power-naps

Designer Matt Benedetto loves to travel. As a result, he knows pretty much every con there is to traveling. Whether it’s not having the correct travel bag to accommodate your luggage, or whether it’s the fatigue associated with red-eye flights, Matt has spent a sufficient amount of time designing products that make traveling and spending time outdoors easier.

Designed to make long commutes easier, the Voyage Sleep Mask is a padded microbead eye mask that follows the contours of your face to absolutely cut out any light that might sneak in. The padded pillowy eye-mask applies a light pressure on your eyes, not only keeping light from trickling in, but also massaging them to lull you into a slumber. The lycra construction on the outside stretches wonderfully to fit around your face, while the microfiber inner lining feels great against the skin and eyes. With a velcro strap at the back, you can strap the sleep mask around your head as tight or loose as you want, and the mask comes with its own miniature nylon drawstring bag that you can easily fold your Sleep Mask into and stash in your travel bag.

Benedetto’s Sleep Mask works perfectly with the travel pillow he designed last year. Both come with a microbead filling that adjusts to the contours of your body, giving you a comfortable and snug surface to rest against as you grab a few winks. The eye mask’s puffy design also makes it great for sleeping with your head facing downwards… because there’s nothing worse than wasting a 10-hour flight trying to catch some shut-eye and not getting any!

Designer: Matt Benedetto

Click here to Buy Now: $16.00. Hurry, less than 48 hours left!

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The Voyage Sleep Mask is the compact and adjustable sleep mask with 360° microbead padding for the perfect nap for your daily commute, a mid-day power nap, camping adventure, international flight, and anywhere in between!

360° PADDED COMFORT

The Voyage Sleep Mask features 360° microbead padded comfort around your entire head to allow for maximum support when it’s time for you to take a nap. Find your own perfect position to rest your eyes knowing you’ll find comfort and support from any angle.

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MULTI-LAYER MICROBEAD SUPPORT

They designed the Voyage Sleep Mask with their multi-layer support for equal distribution of padding throughout. Never worry about the microbeads falling all to one section of the Voyage Sleep Mask.

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ADJUSTABLE VELCRO DESIGN

Enjoy the perfect fit around your head with our fully adjustable velcro design. This design allows the Voyage Sleep Mask to fit almost any head shape and size while enabling the customization of pressure against your face.

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Use the velcro to loosely wear it around your neck for quick access between naps.

COMPACT DESIGN & CARRYING CASE

Bring your Voyage Sleep Mask with you on every adventure with our included carrying case! Simply Roll the sleep mask in a compact ball before heading out. The carrying case features our signature water-resistant nylon fabric found within our Voyage Bag which features a custom two tone topographic print and a paracord closure.

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Simply roll it up into the carrying case and be on your way to your next adventure.

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FABRIC DESIGN

They selected the best possible fabrics to add flexibility with a soft touch and feel against your body for amazing comfort. The exterior fabric is comprised of our flexible poly-spandex blend fabric which allows to a light stretch to move with your body just as you do. The interior plush fleece fabric will feel extremely soft again your skin allowing you to easily and comfortably fall asleep.

MULITPLE COLORS & MINIMAL BRANDING

select the colorway that best fits your life! Similar they strive to let their products speak for themselves! The Voyage Sleep Mask features extremely minimal branding to never get in the way of your next nap!

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Click here to Buy Now: $16.00. Hurrly, less than 48 hours left!

The World’s Fastest Tripod is Also One of the World’s Smallest

Believe it or not, I’m a little surprised that tripods have existed for millennia, and has been synonymous with photography for over a century, but the Lumapod hasn’t existed for over a couple of weeks. A small, powerful device, the Lumapod scales down the tripod to a third of the space when closed, but retains its functionality and height when opened.

Literally the size of a collapsed selfie stick, the Lumapod comes with 3 incredibly small legs and a long pole that’s fortified by three Kevlar wires that keep the tripod upright. This arrangement not only allows the Lumapod to collapse down to an extremely tiny form factor, it also makes setting the tripod up easier and dramatically faster.

As a profession or a hobby, photography is always highly time critical. The amount of time it takes for you to set your gear up can often cost you that perfect shot. The Lumapod’s design brings the tripod setup time from minutes to a mere 4 seconds, even verbally simplifying the process to three words. Twist, pull, set. Lumapod’s aluminum frame is both light and sturdy, and the Kevlar cords hold the tripod up using tensile strength. A ball and socket joint allows you to position the camera at any angle you want, while the inherently convenient design allows the Lumapod to be used as both a selfie stick as well as a conventional tripod, making it the perfect accessory to your smartphone, action cam, and even your professional shooter!

Designer: Martin Grabner

Click here to Buy Now: $80 $125 (37% off). Hurry, less than 72 days left!

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Lumapod is the world’s fastest tripod for smartphone, GoPro, Mirrorless and DSLR cameras, designed for speed and ultra-portability. Never leave your tripod behind again.

A quick and simple setup will empower you to take full advantage of every photo opportunity… 4 seconds and you’re ready to go.

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On the right is the Go85 (85cm height). The Go85 was designed to be as compact and lightweight as humanly possible without compromising on quality or performance. The result is a perfect travel buddy for your smartphone, GoPro and cameras that weigh up to 1kg / 2.2lbs. It is also equipped with integrated terrain levelers to accommodate for those situations with uneven ground.

On the left is the Go120 (120cm height). Go120 has all the benefits of Go85 but with an overall larger height and build that will support cameras that weigh up to 2kg /4.4lbs

In addition, Go120 has modular leg extensions which creates a wide-range of possibilities for adaptability.

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Lumapod is extremely adaptable (use it with your smartphone, GoPro, mirrorless, DSLR and more). Easily use it to snap a selfie and then quickly set it down to capture a self-portrait. Either way you can always be in the shot.

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Lumapod is specifically designed to be brought on all your adventures.

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They carefully selected premium materials like high-grade aluminum and kevlar ropes to ensure reliable stability.

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There is a simple mechanical principle behind the Lumapod designs: replace compression parts (traditional legs) with tensioning components (Kevlar Ropes). Perhaps it’s easier to understand when compared to something everyone knows:

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Much like how the mast on a sailboat withstands wind with its tensioned ropes, they use the same theory to achieve stability. It’s no rocket science but the key to their design is being able to lock and tension Lumapod in any position.

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Lumapod’s stability isn’t just by luck. They did extensive research and testing to measure the vibrations and damping of many tripods. Their electro-mechanical test setup enabled us to optimize Lumapod and ensure it is as stable as possible.

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Click here to Buy Now: $80 $125 (37% off). Hurry, less than 4 days left!

The rising tide of smallphones and dumbphones

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Over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen quite a few smartphones that went against the cultural norm of innovation and progress. The Punkt MP02 stripped the phone of its addictive camera, screen, and internet connectivity, forcing people to communicate using voice, rather than send each other notifications and messages on apps. The Palm Phone shrunk your feature phone to a size that seemed handy, going against the wave of massive phablet-sized phones with 97% of the front just dominated by pixels.

Kyocera’s KY-O1L is a bit of both (although the name could be a little catchier). A recipient of the Japanese Good Design Award, and also touted as the world’s thinnest phone, the KY-O1L is literally the size of a credit card, and just a couple of millimeters thinner. Designed for the white-collar workers who still rely on business cards, the KY-O1L fits right into cardholders, allowing you to have a phone along with your cards that you can A. carry around with you, and B. Use to instantly make calls, save contacts, and access the web for work-related reasons.

The phone comes with a monochrome e-ink touchscreen, and a 380mAh battery that’s more than enough to power the phone. Built with LTE, the phone can be used to browse the internet too, and although there isn’t an app store (or Android compatibility), the phone does come with a web browser that’s more than sufficient to access information on the web. Running a browser in black and white can be a slightly unnerving experience at first, but it’s definitely rewarding in the sense that it allows you to be purely utilitarian with your phone. A perfect phone for the kind of person who believes in hustling, keeping technology in check while being able to communicate with the world, and most importantly, safeguarding their privacy with technology that doesn’t use apps or cameras to spy incessantly on them. It doesn’t sound that bad when you say it that way, does it?

Designer: Kyocera

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Gillette lets you 3D print custom razor handles for a more personal experience

You could say that Gillette’s practically perfected the shaving experience, with its state-of-the-art blades, housings, mechanisms, and lubrications, a Gillette razor is a sheer feat of engineering, designed to provide a near-perfect grooming experience. Gillette now wants to conquer the next frontier… personalizing this grooming experience.

Partnering with Formlabs, Gillette introduces the Razor Maker, a tool to personalize your razor with a bespoke handle that’s chosen by you, and specially SLA 3D-Printed for you. You can choose from as many as 48 different form-based designs, even decorating them with images for a razor that’s unique to you. The handle designs come compatible with Gillette’s MACH3 or Fusion5 ProGlide razors, and the final product, once designed by you, ships to your doorstep! I call dibbs on the water-swirl one, although I know it probably isn’t going to be particularly ergonomic to grip.

Designers: Gillette & Formlabs.

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Porsche Design x Huawei breathe a new life into smartphone Aesthetics


I’ve been rather verbose in my appreciation of Huawei’s experimentation with smartphone aesthetics. First came the stunning metallic gradients, then came the Mate 20, with its unique square shaped 3-lens-plus-flash arrangement, and a metallic gradient that was even richer than before. Porsche Design put a spin on this particular model in Huawei’s line-up, and the Mate 20 RS was born.

The Mate 20 RS is worth talking about because it’s no secret that smartphones are looking almost eerily similar nowadays. An industry that once prided itself in some wildly designed phones that went on to become icons of their times (the Moto Razr and Nokia N.Gage come to mind) is now filled with an eerily similar suspect line-up of phones, where the user literally spends hours trying to tell apart phones and sort the good from the bad. In getting Porsche Design on board, Huawei doesn’t just push the envelope, it also shows that smartphone companies should, once in a while, look outside their hardware design teams to work on aesthetics and detailing (take Philippe Starck’s Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 for instance). Porsche Design’s reinterpretation of the Huawei Mate 20 RS involves a leather and glass construction. With leather on two sides, you’ve got a phone that is great to grip and doesn’t slip easily off your palms. The glass strip running across the center forms a canvas for reflections and highlights to give the phone its mirror-finish appeal. It also looks like a racing stripe, giving the phone a sportscar vibe. Lastly, the presence of the glass strip allows the phone to charge wirelessly (at breakneck speeds of 70% in half an hour) too.

The Mate 20 RS makes a great case for getting product and industrial design studios and professionals (with interdisciplinary experience) on board to design smartphones, possibly making them stand out again, and ushering in the second golden era of mobile phone design!

Designers: Huawei & Porsche Design.

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Anicorn and NASA made some ‘out of this world’ watches

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Anicorn is probably one of our favorite watch brands. Their signature simplistic style and creative twists usually result in watches that can be minimal yet extremely interesting. The lack of elements doesn’t really make the watch feel empty, because the treatment of these elements give the watches their sheer beauty (case in point, the Hidden Time watch)

Their latest watch comes as a collaboration with NASA to celebrate the 60th anniversary of NASA’s establishment. Limited to just 60 pieces (and sold out in under one minute), the watches come with the color scheme of NASA featuring white with red and blue accents. The hand-less watch contains a Miyota 9015 automatic movement on the inside, encased in 316L Stainless Steel with a Sapphire-coating reinforced Plexiglass window on both sides. To add a signature aerospace touch to it, the watch comes with white textile straps and an embroidered NASA logo (making it feel almost like an extension of the spacesuit). You even get a NASA embroidered patch to put on your clothes, and a metal card with the GPS coordinates of the Kennedy Space Station etched into it (with a sneaky remark that says “Designed on Earth”)!

Designers: Anicorn & NASA

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The single-person-operated stretcher promises faster rescue times

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The Just One is fundamentally simple. A cross between a stretcher and a wheelchair, it allows patients to be taken from one place to another not by two, but by just one person. The stretcher’s horizontal design gets ditched for something that’s more like a recliner, and the patient gets strapped in place too. Carried around like a hand-pulled rickshaw, a medical assistant pulls the stretcher from the front, with wheels at the back replacing the need to have a second human carrier. The patient lies in place, bound by harnesses, and can easily be transported to medical zones with just one assistant. That being said, the Just One stretched comes with handles at both ends, allowing it to be used as a conventional stretcher too!

The Just One Stretcher is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2018.

Design: Qi Qiu, Xin Guo & Ning Wang.

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