Angela May

Exploring Product Design

‘Inspiration’ Category

INSPIRATION – Industrial Origami

Via Core77: a very interesting new production method:

Steel is a ubiquitous material, often used for its strength. Unfortunately, as a result it’s a challenge to assemble – you’ve either got to bolt it, weld it or bend it.

Industrial Origami has a new technique: with these curve-shaped cuts in the metal, it’s easier to bend.

The bending points are pre-assigned (you can’t bend it in the wrong place) so you’re able to ship it flat to a separate assembly floor where they can more easily form it into the final shape.

Obviously it has its limitations… but it has some very interesting advantages. Flat-packed steel plates can be shipped in much higher quantities and then more cheaply assembled.  It could support lower cost products… could even be interesting for pop-up architecture and interior design (imagine a bunch of these as chairs or tables).

I’d be interested in studying the strength properties of those bends at various angles… how much can you rest on an edge? How much can it support in cantilever?

Posted: January 25th, 2011
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INSPIRATION – Vertical Lunchbox

Via Designboom

I really dig this vertical lunchbox design by Japanese design firm Metaphys

Most lunchbox are designed to lay flat. As a result, whenever it’s tilted, contents that aren’t perfectly packed tend to roll around and cause a mess.

Instead, this lunchbox is a series of narrow, vertical containers designed to slide easily into any bag. (and check out the adorable collapsible chopsticks!)

I wonder how much space is wasted by the separations. While I can see how this would be ideal for a Japanese-style bento (rice + toppings + salad… tiny pieces of things) I wonder how an “american style” lunch would cope. Apples and sandwiches… Everything would need to be sliced into tiny pieces, I guess!

It’d be great if you could be separate middles… add vertical space as required! Perhaps you can, I can’t tell from a brief glance.

Great concept, beautiful design.

[update] Oh! look what just popped up on Lifehacker! (Tiffinbox) very clever.

Posted: January 17th, 2011
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INSPIRATION – Flowerpot Building

(And we’re back, after a bit of an extended holiday :) )

By http://www.gaetanopesce.com/

I’m not sure how I feel about the giant red squares, but I love the ways plants are incorporated into this building. As we urbanize more and more, we’re going to have to use every available method to bring living things back to our spaces.

I really dig the variety of shapes and plants and especially the way they evoke pipes (almost like Super Mario!).

Via Inhabitat

Posted: January 15th, 2011
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INSPIRATION: One milk-crate, two can ride

Via Designboom another bicycle gem:

A friend of mine recently made this milk-crate-mod for his bike, and used it to very handily carry a six-pack of beer home from a party. (The bottles rattled a lot, so there is definitely room for improvement from a design perspective there ;) but it’s such a simple, everyday mod that I was really taken by it.)

The Two Go by Yael Livneh (Seoul) takes the concept a bit further – take your every day milk crate and with a few modifications, turn it into a convertible! Either use the crate for storage, or use it as a bicycle seat!

I wonder how easy it is to make those cuts in a milk crate… seems like the type of thing where if you accidentally cut it a bit crooked, it loses all its ease of use. Still, I like the idea a lot!

Posted: September 28th, 2010
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INSPIRATION: Hydroponic Kitchen Island

I guess my fascination with indoor gardening is no secret now, another piece that caught my eye:

Via inhabitat, the Hydroponic kitchen garden by Peter Buley.

At first I was a little confused, because it seems like there wouldn’t be anywhere to put your feet? I saw this and I had immediately interpreted is a kitchen table, when it’s in fact a kitchen island. Kitchen islands are really useful, but usually they are full of desperately-needed drawers and cupboards. Sacrificing all of that for such a small planter… I’m not sure.

Still, I like the under-this concept a lot, and the design seems very simple and homely. Curious that there are only casters on half of the legs…

Posted: September 28th, 2010
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INSPIRATION – Vertical Gardening

Via Inhabitat -
Vertical Gardens by FLORA GRUBB

Vertical gardening is fascinating. It seems to address so many problems at once…

  • Growing in an urban environment
  • Limited floorspace
  • Bringing the beauty of nature to a sterile jungle of concrete
  • One less perfect painting you need to find!

So I really would like to give one of Flora Grubb’s modular vertical gardens a try.I love their simple, natural aesthetic (Wallpocket especially).

Of course it can’t be as perfect as it seems. I’m sure I’ll manage to over-water, underwater, fail to collect the water, burn it to a crisp, starve it in darkness… we shall see!


But while I’m at it, I may have to pick up a couple of the adorable cube terrarirums...

Posted: August 30th, 2010
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Inspiration: Cargo Bikes

Inhabitat has this great collection of cargo bikes over on their site.

How great are these!?

I like some of these designs much better than the clumsy cargo-thingy-that-you-attach-to-the-back-of-your-bike. It’s awkward, and it doesn’t feel safe.  I think if our culture is going to adopt bikes more readily, some better cargo bikes are in order!

Posted: August 27th, 2010
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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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