A Maker of Morning People

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The latest in a history of collaborations between the designers at LAYER and tech brand nolii, the aptly named Rise lamp aims to make each day one you look forward to!

First and foremost, it works wirelessly, eliminating the need for cumbersome cords while giving users the ability to take it from room to room, wherever dimmable LED light is needed. A battery located in the base provides up to 12 hours of light time and it can even supplement power to your smartphone and other devices with an integrated USBC ports. That’ll also come in handy because you’ll be able to use your smartphone to control the light which also works in tandem with your alarm. Speaking of which, the design sports a “sunrise alarm” feature that will gently ease you into the day with a natural light progression that mimics that of the morning sun–which has been shown to improve your mood and overall outlook on life!

Designer: Benjamin Hubert of LAYER for nolii

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Footwear that Never Ends and Only Changes

A recent winner of the 2018 James Dyson Award, the Layer shoe explores modularity and sustainability without sacrificing style. Designed using biodegradable and recycled materials, users can customize their shoe from the start and continue to repair and reimagine their footwear to keep up with trends or adapt to their changing style over time.

The product arrives with the uppers, soles, insoles, and fastening laces fully assembled. If one of the components wears out, users can replace just that part. Its unique lacing system requires the user to fasten the upper and sole when replacing any of the 3. This encourages the wearer to have a greater connection to the footwear in which they’ve had a hand in making. Using a convenient online ordering platform, users can cipher through a selection of different recycled parts in a variety of different colors and finishes to create a look that’s all their own.

Designer: Evan Stuart

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INSPIRATION

Recently, “Fast Fashion” trends have resulted in shoes becoming seasonal, cheap and disposable products. However, at what cost to our planet and our society? Unfortunately, it is a fact that it is incredibly difficult to recycle footwear. Each year, roughly 22.5 billion pairs of shoes are made and 300 million pairs are discarded to landfill because they cannot be recycled. Most casual footwear is designed to be bonded and glued together in manufacture but are not designed to be repaired. Layer was designed as a possible solution to reduce footwear waste. It is a statement to the industry that sustainable footwear is a viable alternative.

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DESIGN PROCESS

This project required an in-depth understanding of the current issues of footwear recycling, product manufacture and it’s end of life. Initial research began with several interviews with industry experts in textile recycling and multiple site visits were arranged to view textile recycling companies. Over the course of 2 months of research, process studies and focus groups it was discovered that most footwear waste is generated because shoes cannot be easily separated back to individual materials. With this key insight, ideation and concept generation began. The importance of developing ideas in tandem with verifying them in a physical form was essential. Over 43 physical working models were explored to design a viable attachment mechanism. A lacing method was chosen. Initial prototypes were generated using EVA foam and cardboard reinforcing. These low fidelity prototypes were essential in understanding basic footwear principles. After analyzing and improving the design, a high fidelity functional prototype was created by utilizing various design techniques including CAD, 3D printing, molding and casting. Polyurethane was used to create flexible soles, while all other materials are the intended final materials and sourced from suppliers specializing in recycled polyester fabrics.”

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HOW IT WORKS

Based on the idea that footwear waste can be eliminated from landfills around the world, Layer allows users to repair and customise their shoes to keep up with trends. By creating products from biodegradable plastics and recycled polyester fabrics this decreases the overall impact of the product. Initially, the product will be purchased by the customer and arrive fully assembled. Comprising of four key components: The Uppers, Soles, Insoles and a Fastening Lace, the shoe is totally repairable. In time, as parts wear, tear and date, the user can replace individual parts with ease by ordering new ones online. A lacing system is used to sew the uppers to the shoe soles. Beginning at a start point, the user threads the lace through both parts until the reaching the endpoint. These endpoints fasten the parts together, preventing the lace from coming undone.

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Layer’s new wearable crypto-wallet is a CMF paradise!

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Aside from being a state-of-the-art piece of tech that houses your crypto-coins in an un-hackable offline device, the Trove is just refreshingly different to look at. Shaped literally like a coin, the Trove is simply secure, and its designers call it unhackable and unloseable.

Keeping your crypto-coins offline, the Coin is a physical representation of a cryptocoin, and something that you can wear on your person as a necklace or a wristband. Aside from safely storing your cryptocoins offline, it comes with a state-of-the-art ECG sensor to even take the worry of remembering passwords. Simply press your skin against the Coin and it reads your unique bio-rhythm (the rhythm at which your heart beats) to identify you from the others, eliminating the need to remember complex passwords for your crypto-wallet. With a slim Kvadrat wristband and neckband, you can wear the Coin on your person, carrying it around with you, and pairing it with your phone to use the cryptocurrency within.

Aside from the remarkable technology behind the workings of the coin, it’s more of the aesthetic that we’re wowed by. Benjamin Hubert pushed for a finish that’s virtually unseen with the “Aerated Aluminum” construction of the coin. Looking like a pristine, polished piece of pumice rock, the Coin is simply wonderful to look at and has a tactile quality that’s unmatched. It looks wonderfully ornamental on one’s person, and pairs brilliantly with the Keep, a charging platform made for the Coin. The Keep is actually made from pumice, a volcanic rock that’s known for its bubbly, aerated physical appearance. Place the Coin on the Keep and it inductively charges the wearable, while the two of them look just beautifully complementary with their perforated aesthetic. The keep even comes with a tinted acrylic case to ‘preserve’ the Coin, making it look almost like a relic.

The Trove aims at making cryptocurrency storage more secure, while effectively introducing another category to the wearable market. It also showcases a new type of aluminum production, aerated aluminum, that not only looks incredibly natural and unique but also results in lighter products that use less material too. I can’t wait to see this being used more!

Designer: Benjamin Hubert/Layer

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No Battery? No Working Cables?

Sick of scrambling through those cables in your bag? Unable to separate your charging cable from your headphones? Me too! Driven by tech user’s common difficulties with everyday smartphone accessories, nolii was born. The nolii family range of products has been designed by Benjamin Hubert of LAYER to keep you connected, wherever you are. The inaugural collection comprises five key products – Couple, Bundle, Keep, Set, Stack. Together, they form an intelligent eco-system of accessories that make your relationship with technology – and the people you connect with – effortless.

“We believe in doing more with the tools you have, so you can be more focused on the important things in life.” said Hubert, expressing the need to say goodbye to “chaotic cords” and “broken cables”. Nolii does exactly that, with it’s contemporary, minimalistic design and purposefully chosen materials which challenge conventional tech patterns.

nolii is a partnership between Benjamin Hubert, founder and director of strategic design agency LAYER, and tech and design entrepreneur Asad Hamir. Next week Hubert and Hamir will greet the world with the nolii brand and inaugural collection at the launch of Design Frontiers, bringing 30-or-so multi-disciplinary designers to Somerset House at London Design Festival.

Designers: Benjamin Hubert & Asad Hamir

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Couple
A versatile smartphone case which is not only designed to showcase the phone’s original form but integrates a twist-clip for interchangeable accessories. These being – a battery with the ability to fully charge your phone – and a wallet to carry several cards when you want to travel light.

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Bundle
A heavy duty cable made to last. Bundle has an inbuilt loop which allows the user the option to stow away the cable in a know-like shape when not in use. The Bundle isn’t just all good looks, it’s got brains too. Bundle comes with optional USB storage, allowing the user to backup what is really important.

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Keep
The ultimate – bring everywhere and anywhere – accessory. Smartphone batteries can be highly unpredictable and run out just when you least need it to. Keep has an inbuilt battery pack with a burst of power enough to bring a smartphone from 1% to 40%. With 5GB of storage and Bluetooth tracking, Keep is the accessory that keeps on giving.

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Set
It appears that traveling means bringing every cable and plug your own with you in fear of something running out of juice. Set is an all-in-one power pack designed to combat against this. Using the plug, you can charge from a mains socket. Using the battery pack, you can charge on the go. What makes this product truly wonderful, when the plug and battery are connected you can even charge your device too. No more deciding what’s more important, the phone or the portable power bank.

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Stack
Stack is the ultimate charging solution for ALL of your devices – smartphone, tablet, laptop. Stack gets its name as it comprises of two batteries – a large battery and a smaller battery. The smaller battery can be separated and used for compact charging on the go. Stack, the multi-functional charging pack covers the changing needs of a busy user throughout the day.

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