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  1. Modern Manufactuing Secrets Revealed
    How they make it

    Modern Manufactuing Secrets Revealed

    How does Emeco turn soda bottles into chairs? What's the trick behind the stitching in Ligne Roset's intricate Ruche sofa? Can you guess the magic number of veneer layers that go into Fritz Hansen...

    written by: Diana Budds
    08.02.13

  2. The Alessi 9090
    How they make it

    The Alessi 9090

    Alessi—In the 1970s, Alessi invested $300,000 to develop its first cooking appliance: a stovetop espresso maker by Richard Sapper. The northern Italian family business had made stainless...

    written by: Virginia Gardiner
    photos by: Alex Subrizi
    02.26.09

  3. Alessi 9090: Cold Press
    How they make it

    Alessi 9090: Cold Press

    The factory floor is a city of tall hydraulic presses. Humming and chinking sounds bellow down aisle after aisle. Workers wearing light-blue gloves spray grease onto sheet-metal pieces, place them...

    01.01.09

  4. Alessi 9090: Weld
    How they make it

    Alessi 9090: Weld

    Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welds and spot-welds join the molded parts. In TIG welding, the inert gas argon is blown out of a nozzle to surround a white-hot tungsten electrode at the tip of the...

    01.01.09

  5. Alessi 9090: Polish
    How they make it

    Alessi 9090: Polish

    Alessi uses two types of 18/10 stainless steel (the number refers to the chromium-to-nickel ratio): 2B, with a carbon content of 0.2 percent, is more malleable and less shiny than BA, which has 0.4...

    01.01.09

  6. How they make it

    Alessi 9090: Package

    After more than 100 steps, the completed parts are ready for packaging. Workers assemble the upper container, filter funnel, gasket, and boiler in much the same way that the eventual user will put...

    01.01.09

  7. Steelwood Chair
    How they make it

    Steelwood Chair

    Magis—The Steelwood chair from Magis is a product of experience—the suppliers who punch the sheet metal for the back, which adroitly supports four legs and a beech wood seat, are among...

    written by: Virginia Gardiner
    photos by: Erwan Bouroullec
    01.25.09

  8. How they make it

    Steelwood Chair: Shear and Coin

    The metal-punching facility is down the road from the Magis headquarters in Motta di Livenza, in northeastern Italy.

    01.01.09

  9. Steelwood Chair: Perimeters
    How they make it

    Steelwood Chair: Perimeters

    The next tool makes a perpendicular fold around the sheet’s perimeter, which allows the hard edges to be folded away from the smooth backrest. Parts of this fold will become armrests. &ldquo...

    01.01.09

  10. Steelwood Chair: Cuts, Curves, Cuts
    How they make it

    Steelwood Chair: Cuts, Curves, Cuts

    The tool that folds the curve of the back of the chair is the most dramatic, but it is no more essential than the others, which trim the edges, cut the holes, and add a final soft angle to the...

    01.01.09

  11. How they make it

    Steelwood Chair: Fitting Wood

    Four straight legs and a round seat are CNC-milled out of solid beech, bolt holes and all, ready for fixing to the punched and painted steel. As the chair began production in early 2008, the...

    01.01.09

  12. Little Field of Flowers
    How they make it

    Little Field of Flowers

    Nanimarquina—In 1987, Barcelona-based designer Nani Marquina established a textile and rug design studio. Since 1993, the company’s designs have been manufactured in northern India....

    written by: Virginia Gardiner
    01.25.09

  13. Little Field of Flowers: Sketching
    How they make it

    Little Field of Flowers: Sketching

    Little Field of Flowers was first conceived in 2005, when, in the cyclical course of design trends, flowery was at the height of fashionability. Nani Marquina says, “We thought it would be nice to...

    01.01.09

  14. How they make it

    Little Field of Flowers: Prototyping

    “We ordered the first prototypes in an embossed pattern,” explains Marquina, who works with several Indian manufacturing facilities. The Nanimarquina team instructed the manufacturers to use a...

    01.01.09

  15. How they make it

    Little Field of Flowers: Die Cutting

    As Boontje’s signature style is often associated with cutouts, Marquina’s solution was a good fit. Sheets of felt from Rajasthan go into a die cutter, which is essentially a combination of a waffle...

    01.01.09

  16. Little Field of Flowers: Weaving
    How they make it

    Little Field of Flowers: Weaving

    Depending on the size of the rug—they come in three sizes—one or two technicians at SPN operate the loom, which involves painstaking manual labor. “Every two or three lines,” Marquina explains, “we...

    01.01.09

  17. Mademoiselle Pillow
    How they make it

    Mademoiselle Pillow

    Looolo—When we think about products and their life cycles, textiles aren’t the first things that come to mind. But what went into your shirt?

    written by: Virginia Gardiner
    photos by: Jane Heller
    01.01.09

  18. How they make it

    Cut

    Organic merino wool arrives from Vermont, woven and mounted on rolls over a yard and a half wide. When asked what makes the wool organic, Notkin explains that the sheep grazed on pesticide-free...

    01.01.09

  19. How they make it

    Prep

    Zippers, buttons, and other add-ons are rendered unnecessary by Looolo’s pillowcase closure system, which uses a tried-and-true technique: overlapping flaps on the back. “Zippers and...

    01.01.09

  20. How they make it

    Pattern

    Notkin, who started her career making costume jewelry, has a knack for romantically contrasting hues and textures. In fact, her favorite part of the creative process comes before anything is made...

    01.01.09

  21. How they make it

    Stuff

    The fronts and backs are sewn to each other inside out and then turned right side out—“we just make sure the corners are nice,” says Notkin. Each pillowcase is hand-stuffed with a...

    01.01.09

  22. Skypephone
    How they make it

    Skypephone

    Last year saw the European launch of the world’s first mobile phone with integrated Skype, the Voice over IP software traditionally used via computer. This year, the phone arrives in the United...

    written by: Virginia Gardiner
    01.25.09

  23. How they make it

    Concept

    On every scale, from cottage industry to mass market, production starts with research. Johnstone begins by scouring the globe for team members who have the right skills and design sense to match a...

    01.01.09

  24. How they make it

    From 2-D to 3-D

    “Very aggressive” is how Johnstone describes the design schedule. They move quickly from a few rough sketches to a virtual 3-D model. AMOI and HWL take advantage of the time difference, working on...

    01.01.09

  25. How they make it

    Prototyping

    After the sketch-overlay and technical-design phases, AMOI provides a 3-D model. In the nine months that follow, the shape is subject to intensive prototyping before delivery to the factory line. ...

    01.01.09

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