Product design today is abuzz thanks to new fabrication methods, the desire for Internet-connected devices, and an increasingly transient and growing urban population. This week, we’re bringing you the products and tech that address these issues and more—from a starter furniture series crafted by several big name designers to a Wi-Fi–enabled window air-conditioning unit.
PS 2014 Collection, Ikea
Ikea’s products are more likely to be purchased on Craigslist for a 20-something’s first apartment than to be specified by an interior designer for a high-end job. But that isn’t keeping the Scandinavian furniture maker from assembling a noteworthy, global design team for the latest version of its PS, or Post Scriptum, Collection. Among the introductions, which target the company’s young and transient customer base, are a wardrobe designed by Paris-based industrial designer Matali Crasset, a barrel-shaped storage table by New York studio Rich Brilliant Willing, and a corner cabinet (shown) and wall shelf by Tokyo-based designer Keiji Ashizawa. Here’s to hoping that the products’ design sensibility extends to their assembly.
Dark Side, Michaël Malapert
The complex, thin-framed geometries in French designer Michaël Malapert’s new collection of decorative elements are 3D printed from polyamide powder. “The idea was to reveal the structure of the shape and use it as a graphic pattern,” says Malapert, who rendered the series in 3D Studio Max. Dark Side comprises a bowl, plate, cup, votive, and vase in red, yellow, blue, black, and white.
Twiggy Collection, Foscarini
With a slender composite arm seemingly arced by gravity’s pull on its sizable shade, designer Marc Sadler’s 2006 Twiggy floor lamp has become popular in residential and contract spaces. Italian lighting manufacturer Foscarini is issuing a limited edition of the design in a suite of seven vibrant hues including purple, orange, blue (shown), and green. Additionally, the update will give designers the option to specify the direct–indirect luminaire with a 33W dimmable LED at a color temperature of 3000K.
Flexure, Richard Elaver
Joining the ranks of toys designed to foster children’s imaginations is a system of wood dowels and flexible silicone connectors that are destined to be co-opted by the grownups. Flexure, which raised $46,471 through a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month, was designed by Richard Elaver, an industrial design professor at Appalachian State University, in Boone, N.C. With six connector types and three dowel lengths, the system is designed to attach intuitively to create forms whose functions range from molecular structures to toy balls and to beverage cozies.
Aros, General Electric and Quirky
Window units used to cool spaces can now have the automation and monitoring capabilities offered for centralized air-cooling systems. Aros, which is the latest product from a product-design partnership between Quirky and General Electric, is a smart thermostat that turns a technology that trends less-energy-efficient into the latest gadget to join “the Internet of things.” Designed for use in rooms measuring approximately 350 square feet, the 8,000-Btu unit distributes cold air from its top rather than its front. The concept was devised through Quirky’s crowd-sourced product development process and initiated by a former U.S. Department of Energy executive. The Wi-Fi enabled unit can be controlled using a related smartphone app that monitors cooling costs and recommends settings to help users stay within a budget.