Angela May

Exploring Product Design

July 2010

INSPIRATION – ReSTYLE

Now this is a bit more like it!


Restyle by James Howlett is a transforming, super-functional piece of furniture.

I think this would fit much better in the north american home, but I must admit that I prefer the sleek lines of the transforming landmat. The chunky aesthetic used in this piece.

I also don’t feel that it’s as intuitive as the landpeel. I can already envision myself having a stress attack trying to figure out how to put the darn thing back together! Once it’s apart it feels very cluttered. It’s designed for a child’s bedroom, which makes the most sense. The sense of play and exploration in the user interaction is very clear and present. I like that the interpretation of the shapes is entirely up to the user.

Still searching for a middle ground here.

Posted: July 28th, 2010
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Inspiration – Land Peel

I love this modular/transforming furniture concept from Shin Yamashita. Source: Designboom


Unifunctional rooms are a by-product of the suburban explosion, the process of transforming the room you’re in so that it suits your current need is much more suited to a compact, urban existence.

The concept and design is “very Japanese”. I’m not sure something like this could readily fly in a North American market. I would love to see it as a child’s room! For adults, however, I think this concept needs to be explored in a way that is better adapted to our current culture. A transforming wall, table or island comes to mind. I do like that this piece requires that the floor be kept very tidy!


I’m interested in learning more about how these “peels” are jointed and how much weight they can bear, especially the desk.

Sitting on the floor is an idea that needs to reach North America, however. Humans are not supposed to sit in a chair/chair position all day. It is not natural.

Posted: July 26th, 2010
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Inspiration – Chair Chair

Sorry, the repressed typography nerd got the better of me, I just thought this was really fun:

Chair Chair by Erik Ku (source: Makezine)

Posted: July 21st, 2010
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INSPIRATION – Bookmark Nightlight

I’m currently on the lookout for a new bedside reading lamp, and this little gem caught my eye.

Night Light Bookmark by Damjan Stanković

I really dig the beautiful and simple geometry, but where it wins me over is in the interaction. To turn it off, place a book over the top. The weight of the book triggers the off switch. (And as a bonus – it keeps your place!)

The only thing I worry about is how much light it’s able to give off. But it’s a great way to ensure that you’re always reading *something* – as soon as you finish one book, you have to find the next one to set on your lamp!

Posted: July 19th, 2010
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Inspiration – Shock Absorbing Generators

A team from MIT has discovered a system that converts energy absorbed by shock absorbers in car suspension systems into useable energy. A really interesting idea, and I like the idea of using “waste” energy, or finding ways to capture energy that was being wasted before.

I’d be interested to learn how well this works on smoother roads. Obviously, the bumpier the road, the more energy you would be able to harness… but isn’t the goal of infrastructure to build smoother, better roads?

For this reason I think that there are some very important things to consider with this technology – does the energy and cost to manufacture and maintain this system outweigh the potential energy harvests? Also I worry that this technology is treating a symptom and not addressing the core problem – that we rely on automobile transportation way too much.
All that being said, it seems as if their focus (buses, trucks – large vehicles that take long journeys) is in the right place, and the technology itself looks solid (robust, simple to install) so I wish them the best of luck!

Other variations on the “energy from bouncing” (spring energy) theme…
Energy generated from a bouncing backpack

Energy generated from bouncing on your feet

Lots of possibilities!

Posted: July 5th, 2010
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