A prefabricated cabin that doubles as a winter retreat to ring in 2021!

Winter is slowly revving up and, since quarantine kept us inside from enjoying the usual social perks of summer, we’re all hoping to find ways to make the most of the upcoming snowy season. Recently, new architectural ventures have led to the creation of prefabricated cabins, which very possibly might become winter’s saving grace in the age of COVID-19. Prefabricated cabins such as GROVE CAB, designed by Valerii Shcherbak, help make nature getaways feel a lot cozier and all the more accommodating.

This new type of architecture is garnering a lot of popularity in Europe and it’s no surprise. Prefabricated cabins are constructed prioritizing simplicity and modularity. Being that Shcherbak’s cabin is built from wood material and sturdy paneling, each component of GROVE CAB is designed for familiar and intuitive construction, and the light, natural wooden tones help open up each room. The cabin comes in two modules: the first containing a living room or recreation area and your bedroom, and the second comes with a kitchen, bathroom, and exterior patio. The two units are connected where the frames for both of the module’s hallways meet, which creates a space that feels like a one-bedroom home. Additionally, both of the modules have their own doors so whichever side you might find yourself, access to the outdoors is only ever a few steps away.

Equipped with butterfly roofs, the respective module comes with high ceilings to ensure that, despite the compact, manageable size of the whole cabin, it feels roomy and snug at the same time. Adding to the structure’s toastiness, a fully-integrated fireplace warms up this prefabricated cabin from the bedroom for a rustic ambiance and to help you feel right at home in wintery landscapes. Further, on the cabin’s modularity, glass windows take up entire walls in the bedroom and kitchen so that during the day, snowy horizons and forests fill your perspective and at night, closed curtains can keep the cold air at bay while you enjoy the fire. Outside on the patio, a bonfire can heat up late-night conversations or accompany quiet evenings with a crackling, intimate background. Since prefabricated cabins are built in order for you to situate them wherever you feel like visiting, they are inherently more eco-conscious. Instead of digging up land for a built-in log cabin, GROVE CAB lets the natural beauty of winter environments be your guide. Preconstructed cabins provide a gentle reminder for all of us that wherever we may find ourselves, all we need is a little bit of space and time and we can build a home.

Designer: Valerii Shcherbak

Fujifilm’s portable X-ray unit brings healthcare to the palm of your hands!

No one ever looks forward to a hospital visit, especially not right now – home healthcare is making a serious comeback in the year 2020, and not only for the older crowd. Product designs like CALNEO XAir, a portable X-ray unit, have come to prove it. The handheld device is authoritative and trustworthy in its conception and manufacturing. In 2019, CALNEO XAir received both the Bronze award in International Design Excellence from IDEA and the Gold Product Award from iF Design.

The award-winning design was created by the team at FUJIFILM in order to provide a convenient household healthcare tool that meets today’s medical guidelines and scientific standards. CALNEO Xair’s exterior is appealing in its intuitively cohesive configuration, making for a stress-free operation. Additionally, through advanced technological features, the product’s battery power and its ultra-high sensitive cassette for diagnostic imaging have also been improved. The high-sensitivity cassette utilizes FUJIFILM’s proprietary ISS method, which translates X-ray energy into optical signals with minimal electric currents and offers a noticeable amount of noise reduction.

Thanks to its super-sensitive imaging plates, CALNEO Xair captures high-quality images, and the radiation dosage necessary for CALNEO Xair’s operation is considerably less than that of X-ray machines found in hospitals. This means that even in the comfort of your own home, you can receive the medical attention and information necessary for healthy living. The product is handheld in order to provide optimal comfort and convenience. Its full weight comes out to an ultralight 3.5kg (roughly 7lbs) as a result of less battery mass and a lightweight X-ray tube. CALNEO Xair reduces radiation exposure for patients, provides reliable and quick information related to the user’s bone health, and brings the benefits of home healthcare to the palm of your hand.

Hospital workers have a lot on their plates, always, but especially in the year 2020, with COVID-19 ramping up again and medical centers understaffed or overwhelmed. CALNEO Xair could provide some relief by transforming the prototypical, heavy-duty X-Ray machine into a contemporary, modern handheld device that’s instinctive and accessible for everyone.

Designer: FUJIFILM

This Smart Robot Is The Perfect Quarantine Companion For Youngsters!

Quarantine has been an adjustment period for everyone, but especially for young children who only got a taste of what socializing and education could offer prior to the onset of today’s global pandemic. The world is most likely forever changed as a result, which true creatives embrace accordingly. Designers behind products like Xiaole, an educational company robot for young minds, adapt to today’s world while acknowledging the connective companionship that molded our world of yesterday. Xiaole offers a touch of sentimentality in its friendly accompaniment and an artful amount of respect for the young person of today in regard to their future world.

Companionship is essential for young children, so globally mandated quarantines might get in the way of fundamental growth. Jerry C, the designer behind Xiaole, created the smart companion prior to 2020, but it’s timelier than ever. Xiaole’s digital library is filled with high-quality content that helps inspire self-motivated education amongst youngsters. Reminiscent of robot characters from science-fiction films, this robot is also naturally comforting and familiar to young minds, so learning will always feel welcome and accessible. Speaking to the product’s accessibility, the digital library is stocked with integrated translators, encyclopedias, and entertainment components. This all-encompassing library provides thoughtful and leisurely entertainment for children of varying ages and backgrounds. Xiaole is warm in its shape, emotional in its digitized expressions, and dynamic is physical gestures. This smart robot is intuitive in its control buttons, so anyone, no matter how old or young, will be able to bring Xiaole to life With this merging of innovation and sensitivity, Jerry C notes that Xiaole is a “smart companion robot with a sense of technology and affinity.”

Ahead of its time, Xiaole’s design was conceived before the age of COVID-19, but its early arrival speaks to the young human’s inevitable need for connection and stimulation. With or without quarantine, we all need some good friends in today’s world, especially young kids, and if there ever was a time to implement lighthearted respect for our unstoppable future world through design, the time is now.

Designer: Jerry C

IDEO’s Winter Dining challenge’s winning designs balance safety without sacrificing the experience!

IDEO launched its very own Chicago-based Winter Dining Challenge during the age of COVID-19. Through this challenge, the city of Chicago aims to stimulate and encourage safe dining from Lake Michigan to Chicago Lawn and everywhere in between. This challenge is 2020 pandemic-specific since alternative dining experiences have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, as you probably already know. On October 8th, IDEO announced the top designs for Chicago, each of which brought with them a distinct interpretation of safe, yet lively dining experiences.

Cozy Cabins

Inspired by ice fishing huts, Young designed modular, transparent cabins so that dinner guests can enjoy the bustling streets of Chicago while maintaining safety protocol for social distancing. The cabins are identical in size and shape, which makes it easy to reproduce in other cities, fitting easily within average-sized parking spaces. Best yet, the cabins are also simply produced, requiring only wood, corrugated metal, polycarbonate plastic, and standard framing hardware. Additionally, these cabins are inexpensive to make and integrate a floor-heating system in order to keep diners warm while they enjoy their meals. Cozy Cabin would offer Chicagoans a warm, appetizing retreat during the city’s notoriously frigid winter months.

Designers:  Amy Young x ASD | SKY 

Each Cozy Cabin is identical in size and shape, making the process of construction and reproduction manageable. Additionally, the cabins require minimal material, all of which can be sustainably sourced and maintained. Diners will have lots of personal space in these Cozy Cabins, depending on their party’s size.

Block Party

Urban designers, Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal designed expandable, life-size blocks for their alternative dining spaces. These blocks fit within parking lanes, in order to fully expand. However, if restaurants do not have enough space in their parking lots, then the blocks can be positioned on extended sidewalks or pocket parks. The blocks position diners amongst the busy and many pedestrians of city streets, bringing the communal experience of eating out to each block. Likely, the most exciting feature of this concept in particular is the expansion feature. If your party is bigger, then the blocks can be grouped together in order to enlarge the dining space. This dining experience is not fully enclosed, allowing for some air circulation. However, available curtains would allow diners to turn their dining experience into a private one. Each module would be constructed using Metal ‘C’ studs, in expanded polystyrene, and objects (tables, light fixtures, etc.) would be clad with sealed MDF, a material denser than plywood. By implementing a thermal mesh system, Block Party ensures a warm dining experience for each block partygoer.

Designers: Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal

Each module seats two guests comfortably and can be arranged to accommodate bigger parties if the need arises.

Each module can be moved using a caster wheel dolly and combined so that modules can increase room for diners by increments of two. The modules fasten together using pin joints, which is a good option in order to prevent the modules from rotating or drifting.

The modules can be arranged so that the restaurant’s outdoor seating space is optimized and after work hours, the blocks can be separated and organized depending on the space available.

While these blocks themselves represent a safe dining experience, the Chicago-based, urban designers intend to implement further safety protocols, such as one-way routes for wait staff and pedestrians, along with security blocks in order to minimize traffic flow on the sidewalk.

Heated Tables

Working from Japanese modes of dining, Chicago-based Ellie Henderson planned outdoor heated tables for IDEO’s Winter Design Challenge. Heated tables, also known as kotatsu, are common in Japan and provide an economical way to keep warm during cold months. Typically found indoors, heated tables represent a hub of warmth for households. By making a few modifications, Henderson hopes to bring Hygge dining, a Danish concept meant in regard to life’s simple pleasures, to the streets of Chicago. This design stands out for its open-air approach to dining. This means that servers and restaurant-owners will still have to maintain COVID-19 safety protocol. Air circulation is vital in reducing the transmission of Coronavirus, which means this design might thrive so long as initiatives such as the closure of streets for comfortable outdoor dining remain in place. Perhaps the most economical design option, heated tables’ construction would require only preexisting material: a source of heat, blanket, screws, and a table.

Designer: Ellie Henderson

Inspired by the Japanese way of dining (kotatsu) an economical, and familiar material make up this design. All that it needs is a tabletop, blanket, a source of heat, and some screws. The heating element typically remains out of view, underneath the table and blanket covering.

In addition to dining experiences, bars, festivals, and other indoor services have changed their indoor seating to similar variants of the heated table design, inspired by kotatsu, as pictured above.

A new Batmobile is probably one of the only good things to happen in 2020

Boredom and dissatisfaction are two of the biggest drivers for innovation and creativity. Maybe you don’t like something, maybe you have free time on your hands, so you sit and fix stuff and make them better in your own vision. That’s sort of why we’re looking at this absolutely vicious Pagani-on-steroids Batmobile that Encho Enchev designed because he felt the current Batmobile wasn’t intense enough.

Designed with edgy body-work, piercing looks, and the classic black design with yellow accents, the Batmobile GT 2020 feels like it could strike fear into the hearts of the toughest criminals (or at least get them to consider an honest living even for a split second). If the edgy, Batarang-on-wheels bodywork doesn’t do it, the pop-out machine guns near the rear wheels should spook even armed bandits… and when justice is restored, the Dark Knight can flee the scene at breakneck speeds, thanks to those three pretty illegal looking afterburners on the rear.

I hope it isn’t too late for Robert Pattinson to reconsider his ride.

Designer: Encho Enchev

The Batmobile GT 2020 is a conceptual creation and is in no way associated with the Batman franchise. The use of the Batman logo is purely representative.

Rumors of the 2020 iPhone 12 hint at a flat-edge design inspired by the iconic iPhone 4

When I see these renders float around the twitterverse, I don’t take them as entirely sacrosanct, but I don’t completely reject them either. Apple has, over the past few years, developed a very sound strategy to selectively leak its product designs just to help keep the hype and buzz going. By the time we’re a few months away from the actual launch, the internet has already painted a reasonably accurate picture of the phone Tim Cook’s about to unveil… even down to its color options!

Created by concept-designer Aziz Ghaus, this is perhaps the best representation of the upcoming iPhone 12, which is all set to launch this year around October-November. The iPhone gets a design-refresh every 2-3 years, and given that we haven’t seen much of a design change since the iPhone X debuted in 2017, this year might be the year the iPhone gets a makeover. Its new design isn’t a radical deviation though… in all honesty, the 2020 iPhone concept borrows a lot from the design language set up by Jony Ive and Steve Jobs (before his unfortunate passing in 2011). The iPhone 12 concept performs a hat-tip to the design of the iconic iPhone 4 and 5, with a flat-edge running around the sides helping break the continuous transition from screen to back. As far as the changes go, there’s also a noticeable update to the camera bump, which now features 4 prominent camera lenses instead of 3. Some may remember this camera bump from the 2020 iPad Pro launch and all indications show that the iPad’s camera layout will make its way to the smartphone, with space for a ToF sensor that’ll help the iPhone 12 perform 3D scanning to support Apple’s ARKit and possibly AR-based games that may roll out in the future.

Some things remain immutable with the iPhone’s design though. The front still looks exactly the same, with the notch design that seems almost exclusive to Apple now, especially since its competitors have moved on to hole-punch cameras. The iPhone 12, from the looks of these renders, will still have FaceID too, a feature that I wonder why Apple hasn’t moved beyond, considering how everyone wears masks nowadays. The new phone also looks like it’ll still sport the lightning port, although prominent Apple insiders and analysts claim that the new iPhone will come without a charging cable and adapter in the box (they’ll need to be bought separately)… although in terms of change, that might be pushing things a bit too far, don’t you think??

Designer: Aziz Ghaus

Picture Credits: @smazizg

Say hello to the Lamborghini Sián, the Italian company’s first ever hybrid sportscar

Unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Lamborghini Siánn explores a whole slew of fresh possibilities for the company. After the conceptual Terzo Millennio, the Sián is the first car from the Italian automotive company to venture into a hybrid drive, relying on a V12 engine as well as a unique 48 volt e-motor, delivering 34 hp to provide immediate response and an uplifted performance. The e-motor also helps the car perform low-speed maneuvers such as reversing and parking the car. The new, ground-breaking hybrid system, which incorporates the low-voltage e-motor into the gearbox, also delivers acceleration in low gears, making the Sián the fastest-accelerating Lamborghini ever made, achieving 0-100 km/h in less than 2.8 seconds.

“The Lamborghini Sián represents the first step in Lamborghini’s route to electrification, and expedites our next-generation V12 engine. Its Sián moniker, meaning ‘flash or lightning’ in Bolognese dialect, denotes the first electrification of a Lamborghini production car and confirms our strong connection to the territory in which we operate. With the Sián, Automobili Lamborghini demonstrates its dynastic strength as a legendary super sports car brand for the future”, says Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.

Its remarkable engineering aside, the Sián presents a more concrete new direction for Lamborghini, which wants to adopt the electrification of its line of super-automobiles. Its incredibly edgy, aggressive design is highly indicative of its name, which translates to ‘flash of lightning’, while a few rather noticeable changes to the car’s design help set it apart from the rest of Lamborghini’s speed-demons. Unlike Lamborghinis of the past, the Sián doesn’t have the massive hexagonal air-vents under its headlights. Sián’s design switches things up, blending headlight and air-inlet in a design that truly captivates. Lamborghini’s iconic sideways ‘Y’ taillights are replaced with a series of three illuminating hexagons on the back, while the sideways ‘Y’ make their debut on the front of the Sián, as a pair of headlights. It’s a remarkable switch of design details, that in a lot of ways shows how the company is ‘switching things up’ with its cars too. Lastly, Sián’s paint-job is a stark deviation from Lamborghini’s signature warm hues like their yellow and orange shades. The satinesque olive green truly sets the Sián apart, and is probably the company’s way of differentiating between their incredibly powerful fuel-driven sportscars, and the Sián, which marks a beginning for the Italian company’s exciting journey into electric drives! The Lamborghini Sián is expected to launch in 2020.

Designer: Lamborghini

Toyota’s EV will transport people around venues during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Rather directly named the APM (short for Accessible People Mover), Toyota’s specially designed vehicle aims at enhancing the experience for visitors who will flock down to Tokyo next year for the 2020 Olympics. Created to help the organizers ensure that the entire 2020 leg of the Olympics and Paralympics go as smoothly as possible, Toyota’s APMs will help visitors cover last-mile distances between events and venues, and specially designed variants will even serve as ambulances in emergency scenarios.

Designed specifically for the 2020 Olympics, the EVs take on a more utilitarian aesthetic driven purely by function. Shaped much like a mini-van, the APM will be commanded by a driver that sits in the front-center, with two rows at the back for passengers, or a single row and an on-board ramp with space for passengers in wheelchairs or with accessibility issues. The driver gets an unobstructed view, thanks to a panoramic windscreen, while passengers also get a seat with a view as the APM’s design is completely open on both sides, much like a golf-cart. The APM facilitates zero-emission transportation at a relatively low speed of 19km/h, and a closer look even shows the presence of air-less tires, much like the ones unveiled by Michelin. Toyota plans on deploying 200 APMs during Olympic season, specifically to help people shuttle between locations, although there isn’t any word on what the company plans on doing after the event is over… but if Tokyo’s strong recycling efforts with the Olympic torch and medals are any indication, these vehicles most certainly won’t make their way to a scrapyard for sure!

Designer: Toyota

One designer went and redesigned the cheese-grater Mac Pro

You’ve got to admit, whether you like or dislike the Mac Pro 2019, there’s no ignoring it. Especially if you’re from the design community. As a designer (turned writer) myself, here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt the hard way. There’s a general air of designers “knowing what they’re doing”. I’m just as complicit, when I defend my design to a client, or to a marketing team. Sometimes criticism, even if its constructive, can often deliver a slight blow to our ego, which comes from the philosophy that designers make the world a better place. Another very strong behavior that I’ve tried hard to unlearn is the fact that designers tend to look at everything through the lens of a designer… which means everything is a potential redesign project. With my negative feedback of the Mac Pro’s “disgusting” grille, I, for a second, became that person. I still think that Jony could do better (or different), but hey, he operates in a world of unlimited potential, zero constraints, and zero answerability (a part of me is jealous too, yes). My appreciation (or the lack of appreciation) has zero bearing on Ive’s strangely secretive design process. That being said, feedback for the Mac Pro has been extremely divisive, and Hasan Kaymak’s put together a design that he believes captures everything good about the Mac Pro’s 2006 and 2013 editions.

Hasan’s Mac Pro 2020 doesn’t deviate from the silhouette of the 2019 Mac Pro. In fact it embraces it, and comes in the 2013 Mac Pro’s black color, giving us the best of both worlds. The most noticeable change is the absence of the dual-side CNC machined grille detail, which Hasan replaced with a much more traditional slot and mesh. While the revised design detail isn’t particularly eye-catching, it plays it safe… and considering the grille never really faces the user, a relatively normal design detail seems like a fairly logical way to go. Besides, playing it safe would also bring down the relative cost of the Mac Pro by a couple of hundred bucks (given that you don’t have to have a complex CNC machining task), making it slightly less of a pocket pincher. On the opposite side of the grille, Hasan’s added 8 USB-C ports, for connecting all sorts of devices, from hubs, to the iPad Pro, to any other compatible devices you may have. Two audio jacks also sit right above the ports for good measure.

Another design detail change is the vault-lock mechanism on the top of the Mac Pro, which seems absent in Hasan’s concept. Rather than corrupting a clean surface with a fairly large clamp and handle, Hasan goes for something much more discreet, allowing you to simply remove the upper body by pressing down on the stainless steel rods on the top.

The redesign touches upon a common public sentiment, that the Mac Pro doesn’t need to be outright revolutionary. Unlike the iMac or any of the laptops, Mac Pros usually either sit behind monitors, or under tables, or even in render farms. As a device, the Mac Pro has always aimed to look beautiful, but its intent has always been to be functional first… especially given that people are shelling out large sums of money not for looks, but for raw computing power. It doesn’t need to be made using a complex, thick, two-way machined aluminum grille. But hey, who am I to express distaste? I’m just a guy who uses WordPress on a Windows laptop.

Designer: Hasan Kaymak

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch takes inspiration from Japanese cherry blossoms

The Sakura, or the Cherry Blossom holds an iconic role in Japanese culture, finding its firmly rooted place in Japanese tradition, art, outdoor spaces, music, manga, anime, and film. It now finds itself as the inspiration source for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch.

The torch, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, pays tribute to the flower that literally covers the country in a pool of pink every spring. Made from extruded aluminum, the torch comes with a pipe-shaped design that branches out into five outward truncated sections to form the motif of the Sakura cherry blossom – the traditional flower of Japan – when viewed from above. The torch comes with a rose-gold tint too, to complete its appearance, giving the torch a pink hue, just like the blush-colored flower.

The torch comes made from recycled metal used in the temporary housing units that were created post the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Olympic medals are also being made recycled metal too, obtained from electronic waste across the country.

Yoshioka claims that the recycled nature of the torch was a way of “transforming materials that witnessed the rebuilding of shattered lives into a symbol of peace,” according to the creator, “to convey to the world the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one step at a time.”

The release of the torch design is also coincidentally timed perfectly with the beginning of spring, and the blooming of the cherry blossoms all across the country.

Designer: Tokujin Yoshioka