A modular light fixture inspired by the abacus lets you add, subtract and have fun with your light setup!

Abaculux is a modular light fixture inspired by the abacus, an ancient counting tool used for centuries, allowing users to add and subtract as many light bulbs necessary to achieve that prime lighting.

The abacus is an ancient counting frame tool that can aid in addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. While they have been used for centuries, abacuses are still made today, often with a bamboo frame and sliding wires stocked with counting beads. Taking inspiration from the ancient mathematical tool, designer Pranjal Uday developed Abaculux, a modular light fixture that takes the same shape as an abacus, allowing users to add and subtract light bulbs however they choose.

The Abaculux is a minimalist light fixture, rising as a single standing rod with a collection of golden light bulbs lining it up and down. Outfitted with a flared trumpet base, Abaculux is bottom-heavy with a steady build that manages to carry multiple light bulbs at once. Uday created Abaculux in part to make the energy consumption of light more apparent by revealing to users how much light they use in a visual presentation they can actually count.

When users want to add a bulb to the electrical rod, they can be slid down and onto the dock where they light up once connected to the pole’s conduction terminals. Following the same method, users can add or subtract however many light bulbs necessary for their preferred lighting. The lightbulbs can also be configured in varying layouts, allowing users to bunch the bulbs at the bottom or appear more spread out over the pole.

Designed for users to witness how much energy they consume when using light fixtures like lamps and LEDs, Pranjal Uday’s Abaculux is a clever reinterpretation of the ancient counting tool we’ve relied on for accurate measurement for centuries. Inspired by the abacus’s shape and design, Abaculux is familiar in appearance but unconventional in design, enhancing its ergonomic build and savvy look.

Designer: Pranjal Uday

Users can either let the light bulbs bunch up at the pole’s bottom or leave them to spread out. 

The conduction terminal gives light to each bulb when connected.

The post A modular light fixture inspired by the abacus lets you add, subtract and have fun with your light setup! first appeared on Yanko Design.

Learning, Playing, Performing, this modular gadget with interchangeable gaming + music interfaces lets you do it all.

Designed as a direct opposition to devices that encourage endless media consumption, KANO-XP focuses on creation and experimentation. With a Game Boy-inspired aesthetic, the KANO-XP boasts of a modular interface system, alternating between gaming controls to a synth to a MIDI pad.

I imagine this is exactly the kind of thing the folks at Teenage Engineering would create, although the KANO-XP is the brainchild of Cameron Bensimon, a final-year student at Central Saint Martins, London. Designed to help empower teenagers when it comes to creation (and occasionally recreation), KANO-XP introduces them to the joy of music-making before they slip into the addictive grasps of social media and streaming apps.

The bright orange handheld gadget runs on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module, and features a small display along with the interchangeable interface system. The two main interfaces are the traditional synth interface, modeled on the popular piano keys, and the MIDI button layout, designed for electronic music production. “The modularity makes it a perfect tool for DJs as a soundboard or a synthesizer, or it could be the brains of a robot for a high school project”, says Cameron. The latter example would most likely be powered by the KANO-XP’s third interface, a gaming control layout comprising a D-Pad and 4 action buttons. Given that the KANO-XP is a student project and not a commercial one, there isn’t much clarity on the kind of software it would run, but Cameron mentions that KANO-XP’s design is open-source, and can support additional peripherals like sensors, transmitters, or even a webcam.

Ultimately, it’s merely a tool for youngsters to unleash their creativity. The musical interfaces allow kids to explore, experiment, jam, and compose, while the gaming interface either serves as an input for robotics-inspired projects, or just as a way to casually let off steam by playing a few games between projects!

Designer: Cameron Bensimon

The Polestar ‘Trambus’ concept is a road/rail hybrid designed to make public transport modular

Just like a train adds extra carriages when it’s running on high-capacity, the Polestar Trambus can expand in length to allow more passengers during an exceptionally busy day.

The idea for the Trambus comes from Seoul-based transportation design student Junghyun Kim, who developed the design as an entry into the 2021 Polestar Design Contest. Instead of putting more buses on the road during rush hour, Kim envisioned a modular bus system that could just allow you to expand a single existing bus by joining more buses to it, creating a road-rail hybrid that allowed you to transport people in an organized manner.

The buses operate autonomously, which makes them perfect for creating a modular system. The Trambus operates either as independent buses that house 25 passengers or as an interconnected set of 2 or 3 buses with a capacity of 50 or 75 passengers respectively. Each module is connected to another using a flexible bellow-shaped channel – quite like the one found on trains, although it’s unclear if passengers can move between carriages. The carriages are designed to be different on the insides too, with seated layouts for regular customers, table-layouts for long commutes or first-class customers, and empty carriages for people on wheelchairs or commuters with bicycles.

Designer: Junghyun Kim

Modular Cabin + Architecture Designs that expand according to your living as well as working needs!

Modular architecture is officially on the rise! They give us the freedom and ability to create a home, office, or even a holiday cabin according to our needs and wants. Customizing or putting together a space exactly the way we want isn’t a far-off dream anymore. Your dream home or dream cabin retreat is now a reality with these amazing modular architectural designs. From a prefab modular tiny home that expands as you need, to a modular dome that can function as a greenhouse or tiny home – this collection of modular architectural designs can be anything you want them to be! The possibilities are endless.

Woonpioniers, an Amsterdam-based architecture, and design studio has created Indigo, a modular building system that designs homes to replicate one of your dreams. Depending on the home you’d like to build with Woonpioniers, Indigo’s structure and shape may vary. Recently, Lia Harmsen collaborated with Woonpioniers to design her live-in workspace for sculpting. The finished custom two-floor home measures 861-square-feet and features fixed-end moment building practices that produce a beautiful, curved interior leading from the wall to the ceiling. The fixed-end moment frame of the home offers an open-air floor plan, giving complete access for the building’s interior layout to take shape, leaving behind the spatial restriction of support beams and partitions.

Casa Ojalá has been constructed with carefully selected timbers, fabrics made from recycled plastic, and handmade ceramics. It also has integrated photovoltaic panels, a rainwater recovery system, and a black water depuration advanced biological plant – all of which allow it to be set up even in the most remote locations. Each cabin will source local materials and therefore no destination will have the same casa but each will be woven with the roots of the land creating infinite possibilities within the same floor area anywhere in the world.

Dubbed Micro Home, UOOU Studio developed the tiny home to be anything from a weekend retreat to a remote office space. Micro Home’s versatility comes through with its convertible roof that incorporates sliding awnings to open and close throughout the day as needed. This means that space can transform throughout the day from a sunbathing bungalow to a sheltered home office. Micro Home is constructed off-site with sustainable building materials like wood and OSB paneling, leaving a low carbon footprint and making it lightweight for easy shipping and handling. After it’s been positioned into place, Micro Home’s roof is tiled with solar panels to generate the home with power. While the building material and solar panels outfit each individual Micro Home, UOOU Studio made it so that owners can customize the interior and overall shape of their Micro Home.

Plant Prefab, a California-based architecture firm that prefabricates sustainable homes, recently collaborated with Koto, a UK-based studio that designs modular homes, to build two residences called LivingHomes. Devised to meet both LEED Platinum and net-zero standards, the homes were also designed and built on some Scandinavian design principles: minimalism and biophilia. Biophilia is the hypothetical human tendency to interact with nature. Biophilic design, which could be inherently minimalist, interprets that human tendency for both interior and exterior spaces, producing a design concept used to increase the connectivity between a building’s residents and the natural world. In order to meet sustainability standards that match Plant Prefab’s mission statement, Koto looked toward Scandinavian design standards.

This cluster of prefab cabins is located in a Slovakian forest for Hotel Björnson but can also be stand-alone homes. The minimalist shelters have a Scandinavian aesthetic and give you an eco-friendly getaway with minimal environmental impact. Ark Shelter has also won a Cezaar award in the category Architectural Fenomena – a recognition for the most exceptional architectural achievements of the year. The modern retreat is made of 11 cabins and four wellness units that include saunas and relaxation rooms. The shelters are built in one piece, which gives the incredible mobility to reach your dream location. Every cabin rests on stilts to minimize site impact and has been carefully placed in between the trees to give you maximum privacy and maximum views!

Úbáli, which means chameleon in Bribri, designed their first modular cabin, called Kabëk, specifically to befit mountain living. The first model for the Úbáli Tropical Living’s eco-tourism initiative dons an inclined roof, which allows the modular house to tuck right into mountainous terrains and offers travelers the chance to fully immerse themselves and their stays in the quiet of the wood. The modular cabin has a simple design layout of four walls that enclose a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and dining room. The construction process also promotes frugality in regard to both time and money in that its modularity and simple layout caters to the prospect of easy and relatively affordable replication.

Amsterdam-based architecture firm GG-loop collaborated with Arup to design a modular building system that focuses on regenerative sustainable living and urban development. Created with biophilic principles and parametric design tools, the hypnotizing prefab timber modules we see will be optimized to be flexible and scalable. This will let the building continue expansion with time in several different urban settings while accommodating the changing times which often results in changing needs. The ability to expand the structural hub is where the building gets its name from. Mitosis can be used for a wide range right from creating communities with off-grid, single-family homes to high-density, mixed-use zones in cities. GG-loop’s pilot project Freebooter was the foundation for Mitosis and is in itself an award-winning pair of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber apartments that were completed last year in Amsterdam.

Treehouses inherently exude an air of myth and adventure. When stationed either in dense jungles as a natural hub to study wildlife or placed in a suburban backyard for kids, the treehouse is the place where the escapist can let their hair down. Take the treehouse and tuck it next to an old French castle in the countryside and it’s something straight from the storybooks. Forma Atelier, a Mexico-based architecture firm, turned that storybook setting into reality with their modular treehouse concept that cleverly combines razor-sharp triangular roofs with sweeping glass window panes to share the rural hills with that of an old French château.

Think of Ekodome as the grown-up version of building forts with bedsheets and pillows. Just like your fort could be anything you imagined from a storefront to a palace, these geometric domes are also designed to be anything from tiny homes to greenhouses! The modular design of these geodesic dome kits gives you endless possibilities and I, for one, would love to convert it into a creative home office. Ekodome is a New York City-based company and they have many different models and sizes for you to choose from. The base concept is simple, it involves an aluminum frame that you can easily assemble DIY-style. The dome is crafted from high-quality and durable materials so that it is more than a temporary shelter while still retaining its modular, scalable, and lightweight nature. Your kit will come with the aluminum hub and hub caps with an EPDM seal on.

In creating HOM3, which stands for ‘Home Office Module Cubed,’ the designers at JaK Studio felt inspired by the home-building system featured in Minecraft– the best part of playing video games. To build your own multifunctional HOM3 cabin, JaK Studio is currently working with game designers from AI Interactive to make the process of creating the floor plan feel and look very similar to the process of building your Minecraft home. HOM3 essentially turns the virtual home design process of Minecraft into reality. Speaking to this, founding partner of JaK Studio, Jacob Low says, “During [the] lockdown, our team became fascinated by the principles of games such as Minecraft which allow people to transform and customize their environments, and we began experimenting with the idea of customizable, modular micro-architecture. HOM3 transports what we found in the gaming world to the physical space, offering a really unique design solution for modern living.”

This geometric dome is a modular shelter that can be anything from a greenhouse to a tiny home!





Think of Ekodome as the grown-up version of building forts with bedsheets and pillows. Just like your fort could be anything you imagined from a storefront to a palace, these geometric domes are also designed to be anything from tiny homes to greenhouses! The modular design of these geodesic dome kits gives you endless possibilities and I, for one, would love to convert it into a creative home office.

Ekodome is a New York City-based company and they have many different models and sizes for you to choose from. The base concept is simple, it involves an aluminum frame that you can easily assemble DIY-style. The dome is crafted from high-quality and durable materials so that it is more than a temporary shelter while still retaining its modular, scalable, and lightweight nature. Your kit will come with the aluminum hub and hub caps with EPDM seal on. Both the aluminum struts and caps will be equipped with TPE SEBS seals and stainless steel bolts and nuts. Some of the popular uses for these geometric shelters has been to turn them into a greenhouse, a garden shed or even a glamping tent.

Once constructed, the geodesic dome can be used for a multitude of purposes such as a greenhouse, garden shed or glamping tent. You might want to employ it as a temporary work space, living quarters or a chicken coop. It would also work as an off-grid tiny home or disaster relief shelter.

Each frame can be covered with your choice of material, ranging in thickness from 4mm to 10mm. This allows you the ability to adapt the unit for use as a greenhouse with plastic or as a shelter with fabric. You can form your own coverings using company templates or wait for the pre-cut panels, which are expected to be offered soon. The modular design allows you to connect units together via tunnels for the true Mars experience and also for protection from the elements here on Earth.

The geodome concept isn’t new and has been used for tents and full-size homes with an understanding that the design is strong, light and efficient. However, these domes often have notable issues in regards to water resistance and reliable, protective cladding options. Ekodome has overcome those challenges using innovative technology to create strong seals throughout.

The company now offer five geodome solutions. Ekodome explained, “The five different models at various sizes are named after the feelings they evoke at first sight: Seed, for being the smallest in size; Luna, for being able to connect to bigger sizes like a satellite; Terra, for being the most common size for greenhouses; Stellar, for its stunning look and Cosmos, for its massive dimensions.”

Designer: Ekodome





This modular ebike flaunts swappable battery packs & optional hub motor wheels to go from work to outdoors!

Ebike designs may leave us wanting more simply because of their well-thought-of design and practical functionality. The Pelikan is one of the exceptions with its pure design ingenuity and modular function – letting it change the character depending on the rider’s needs. Designed by industrial designer Fabian Breës, this ebike takes pride in its components like the battery and the hub motor. Rather than hiding their electric-assisted character behind the body frame design, Fabian believes in exposing them. That is the core sentiment of the project, as he wanted to use the “battery and the motor as visual centerpieces for the bike.” This approach brings a very muscular, dynamic flow to the two-wheeler. The result? A sculpted body somewhere between a motorcycle and a bicycle. In fact, you can call it the iPod of ebikes – just like Fabian believes too.

Named Pelikan, the design name takes inspiration from the expanding characteristics of the bird’s beak – apparent in the expanding modular bodywork of this ebike. It took Fabian almost four iterations of the basic design blueprint before settling for this mindful concept design. The bike’s frame bears a very triangular aesthetic with a front-loaded battery pack situated along the downtube. Power to the wheels is delivered via a dual-drive wheel system. The ingenuity comes in the form of a swappable standard rear wheel with Pedelec Motor having a top speed of 25km/h. You can choose the powerful version having a heavier Speedelec Motor with a top speed of 60km/h powered by its own integrated internal battery pack.

Understandably, the Pelikan ebike lets users choose from two battery options for urban commuting or long-distance travel. A smaller elegant battery pack of city commutes or the larger rugged battery for speed enthusiasts on freeways. Fabian even plans to design an off-roading capable version of the Pelikan with a swappable rear triangle for mounting a mountain bike suspension and aggressive wheels. The ebike comes in three color options Jet Black, Serious Cyan, and Beautiful Beige to appeal to urban riders. Genuinely, this is one of the best concept ebike designs I’ve seen lately, as its practical modular functions open up many opportunities to take your life’s adventures to the open roads!

Designer: Fabian Breës

Xiaomi tries building what Google and Motorola couldn’t – the modular smartphone

The modular smartphone still remains an elusive pipe dream, nearly a decade after the Phonebloks surfaced on the internet. Google tried it, Motorola managed to execute a strange version of it with the Moto Mods, and every company that considered it eventually abandoned it because it was a logistical nightmare with very little net positive benefit. It’s safe to say Xiaomi isn’t ‘every company’. The Chinese giant’s company’s name loosely translates to ‘little grain’, and it talks about a philosophy of building a lot from a little. This means they’re not averse to taking risks, and they’ve definitely surprised before, with their phones like the Mi MIX 2 that was designed by Philippe Starck, the Mi TV LUX, a transparent television, and even their latest bit of innovation in the Mi MIX Fold, with its liquid camera lens. According to LetsGoDigital, it seems like the company is also trying its hand out at designing the modular smartphone by splitting the device into four distinct parts – the screen, the camera, the battery+pcb, and the speakers.

LetsGoDigital uncovered the patent on the 26th of April, and partnered with Jermaine Smit (aka Concept Creator) to bring the patent drawings to life. The phone’s components attach to one another using sliding dovetail joinery, with contact points that allow for communication between modules. Finally, a primary screen snaps on the front, hiding the crease-lines and providing a large, bezel-less display. The three modules play a rather interesting role when combined together. The upper module houses the camera, but also contains the phone’s motherboard. The central module houses the battery, while the third contains the speaker along with the phone’s charging port. Conceptually, the modules would be interchangeable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to switch the phone off prior to swapping parts.

Jermaine Smit’s camera modules give this conceptual Xiaomi smartphone a variety of features, including camera modules with different capabilities. The different modules have anywhere from a 3-4 lens setup, with one of the higher-end ones even coming with its own backward-facing display that’s emblematic of the Mi 11 Ultra that released earlier this year. Unlike the Ultra, which had a tiny display, this concept’s display is a respectable 2-inches diagonally. I’d assume it would be big enough to use as a viewfinder for selfies (given that the phone doesn’t have a front-facing camera) and even for notifications.

Although this concept, and Xiaomi’s patent, unlocks some pretty interesting possibilities, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Not many of these patents really make it to a public reveal or to a retail outlet, but instead, aim at protecting a company’s intellectual property and research. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Xiaomi just announced it as a one-off concept to show that their tech isn’t just a dream, it works in reality too. Until then, all we have are these (pretty intriguing) renders!

Designer: Jermaine Smit for LetsGoDigital

Image Credits: LetsGoDigital

This 3-in-1 kitchen appliance with voice assistance is the butler you need!

The kitchen is one of the most important sections of any home, and for me, growing up in a small house, the kitchen was almost sacred. It’s the first place in the day where everyone began their mornings, and in every big family gathering, everyone would eventually end up chatting in the kitchen. This A’ Design winner lets you upgrade your existing kitchen without the requirement of an expansive space or the limitation of existing elements in your kitchen. The Open Suite Cooker Hood by Fabrizio Crisa for Elica is designed to keep in mind modern styling requirements and, most of all, modularity to bring out the most in everyday practical usage.

The Open Suite merges a hood, a large LED light panel, modular shelving units along with a voice assistant integration that provides feedback on filter maintenance and overall system management. The unit is tailored for all your modern needs – the modular structure of the hood brings flexibility in how you actually want to set up the function and complement it with the visual appeal. This freedom comes courtesy of the 80 cm/160 cm modules that join in endless configurations depending on the user’s requirements and personal taste. The lower front section of the hob houses a large LED light panel (with color toggle and intensity adjustment) for illuminating the area while cooking. So, whatever the mood you’re in, Open Suite can create the right ambient environment for enjoyable cooking sessions. The designer explains, “A monolithic structure, in which the functions of air and light become complementary: in the lower front side of the hob there is, in fact, a large LED light panel. The panel acts as a strategic light point during food preparation, to be also used as ambient light for the most convivial moments. You can adapt the intensity and color of the LEDs, from cold white to warmer tones, to create the perfect atmosphere. Thanks to the double suction unit and the special Long Life filters (which can be regenerated in the oven for 3 years), Open Suite has been designed to guarantee maximum performance in the filter version and maximum freedom of movement in the kitchen.”

All the functions for interaction with the cooker hood come in ergonomic controls on the front. For those who are used to voice assistants, the kitchen appliance comes with Alexa, Google Home, and the in-built Elica app support. For easy filter maintenance, the appliance comes with the convenience of automated tips to keep the hood at its best for years to come – just like a butler who takes care of the smaller things in life to keep the kitchen running smoothly! The intuitive design to bring modular kitchen shelves and cooker hood into one is worth appreciating and something that budding home chefs will want to own right away!

Designer: Fabrizio Crisa for Elica

Magnus, A Modular, Magnetic Children’s Sofa for Making Furniture Forts

Remember making pillow forts as a kid? Those were the days, weren’t they? The only thing missing? Magnus, the magnetic play couch. It can be assembled as a children’s sofa or disassembled and built into various fort configurations using its integrated magnet system. Don’t worry. I already emailed demanding an adult-size version.

Each cushion has dozens of magnets inside for connecting to other pieces, and the covers are all removable and machine washable in case somebody pees on them. Ahem, Ellie! Ellie’s my dog, just so we’re clear. Currently a Kickstarter project, the 14-piece Magnus set costs $199 but will increase to $320 after all the early-bird rewards have been fulfilled.

Looks fun, doesn’t it? I just wish there were even more pieces for more building possibilities. Because if we’re being honest, I still make the occasional pillow and blanket fort as an adult, and I don’t even have kids. I do have a bunch of people at IKEA pointing and staring at me, though.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Herman Miller’s latest office furniture range abandons the ‘cubicle’ and promotes social freedom

With changing times, social spaces need to change too… and it seems like Herman Miller has noticed that. As a world that’s slowly preparing to step out of their homes and go back to offices again, this unique window of time we’ve got is perfect to redefine productivity and how offices should look in this new future. Herman Miller’s OE1 series of furniture helps define the ‘new age’ office by creating a space that’s more conducive to co-working and socializing, instead of locking people in cubicles to make them more productive. The OE1 series brings an element of openness, dynamism, and fun to the workplace, giving it a unique facelift that definitely contrasts from the restrictive atmosphere created by working from home.

Short for Optimized Essentials, the OE1 range is “designed to help people experiment with space, discover what works in the moment, and change rapidly for the future”. It focuses on adaptability and on agility, by allowing modules to interconnect or separate, and work well both as a part of a team or as individual units… sort of like humans. The furniture elements can be scaled up, scaled down, or fine-tuned to create the workspace you need. Filled with basic forms and vibrant colors, the OE1 series has just the right amount of character to ad a minimalist yet vibrant touch to the workspace.

“The ideas behind OE1 predate COVID-19. The collection is the result of two years of development, driven by an international research project, in which the team interviewed everyone from office managers to sci-fi writers about the future of work. But as the collection came to a crest in 2020, amid a rise of remote work in response to the global pandemic, this future-forward design became a much more urgent one”, reports Fast Company.

“I often say with a mixture of pride and sorrow that Herman Miller invented the cubicle… probably envisioning a utopia, and it became something different,” says CEO of Herman Miller, Andi Owen. “We envision a future where [modular, flexible] furniture styles are the ones that are most dominant” Owen replies, indicating the demise of the restrictive cubicle, and the creation of what is referred to as an “unsystem” – or a series of individual elements that can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways, without ever really ‘going wrong’.

What’s immediately characteristic of the OE1 is that even as it creates separate, independent workspaces, it does so without putting the user in a bubble. People are still welcome to look each other in the eye, exchange pleasantries and ideas, and work as a collective whole instead of as individual cogs in a machine.

The Agile Wall [above and below] is a series of vertical panels that act as functional elements even serving as room dividers. The upper example showcases a wall-hung whiteboard that even has a soft-board attached to it, while below, a series of shelves helps functionally partition a space without visually creating a partition.

The OE1 series even relooks desks, with the Micro Pack [above] and a more traditional seating arrangement below. Each Micro Pack comes with an adjustable desk system, letting you choose between sitting and standing formats, while even organizing your cables into a central channel. Along with it all, the Micro Pack even lets you hang your bag or backpack on a hook placed right beneath the desk, so you don’t have to drop your purse on the ground when you sit at your desk.

For more traditional sitting desks, you’ve got OE1 Storage Trolleys that nest nicely under them, allowing you to cut the clutter on your table yet still have all your stuff at hand. The trolleys can be moved around as you shift workspaces, and can even be turned into stools by popping a seat on top, so you can have a quick conversation with your colleagues without dragging your chair around.

Ultimately, with the OE1 series, Herman Miller aims at building up the workplace by breaking it down. Plagued by the ‘cubicle culture’ that they themselves created, the OE1 is Herman Miller’s way of going back to the drawing board and redefining creativity and productivity in a way that is less bound by rules and is more accommodating of diverse work cultures. In a rather bittersweet way, it also takes into account the fact that workplaces may see downsizing, budget cuts, and migration to smaller office spaces. With the modular design of the OE1 and those innovative Micro Packs, Herman Miller hopes to create a workplace that fits ‘more into less’ while still “making [the workplace] as comfortable as possible.”

Designers: Herman Miller in collaboration with Kim Colin and Sam Hecht