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Latest Articles in Product Design

Modern in the Making

Modern in the Making

It's easy to obsess over mid-century design and forget what came before it and ignore modernism's evolution during the six decades since. This week, Modern in the Making: Design 1900-2000 opens at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and highlights the different forms "modern" has taken. From enamel vase to Michael Graves kitchenware, it's a tour not to be missed. Here, we offer a peek at what's on display, in chronological order.
October 6, 2010
suck it up

8 Modern Vacuum Cleaners

Sweeping up is a crummy job, but someone’s got to do it. Luckily, these eight vacuum cleaners are here to help you eliminate even the biggest of messes.
October 4, 2010
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Crowd-Sourced Product Design

Founded by the 23-year-old entrepreneur Ben Kaufman—who previously developed an award-winning iPod accessory when he was still in high school—Quirky offers a, yes, quirky new approach to product design and development.
September 28, 2010
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Inside Woodshop

We trekked to San Francisco's foggy Outer Sunset neighborhood to check out Woodshop, a collective of four artist and designers who came together through a shared interest in craft, design, and surfing. The studio consists of Luke Bartels, who creates custom furniture from local hardwoods; wooden surfboard maker Danny Hess; Josh Duthie, who reinvents old chairs with new ideas; and the artist and sign painter Jeff Canham. After I poked around the front showroom (open by appointment only), Bartels took me around their 2,100-square foot woodshop and studio, one of the coolest workspaces I've seen.
September 13, 2010
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Murray's Law

“Form follows function” has been the go-to paradigm for evaluating good design since American architect Louis Sullivan articulated the idea more than a century ago. For Murray Moss, a former actor and fashion executive who opened his eponymous design shop in New York’s SoHo district in 1994, industrial objects are far more than merely the sum of those parts. “My job is to illuminate someone else’s ideas,” Moss says. Visitors to his carefully curated store-cum-gallery can view one-of-a-kind conceptual commissions alongside traditional crafts and a selection of mass produced pieces. By incorporating the narrative of theater and the drama of couture, he has assumed the role of arbiter, shining a spotlight on modern design’s growing imperative to both show and tell.
September 7, 2010
Olivetti Poster

SFMOMA talks Olivetti's Design

Earlier this year SFMOMA hosted a big extravaganza marking the opening of it's 75th anniversary show 75 Years of Looking Forward. In addition to finely-curated group of paintings and objects, a number of curators, artists and local writers were asked to do a series of informal gallery talks on what was on display. I happened to catch assistant curator of architecture and design Joseph Becker talking about Giovanni Pintori's poster design at the Italian firm Olivetti and generally about how the company embraced design. Though the video was shot months ago, it recently went up online. Needless to say, the SFMOMA press team knew I was champing at the bit to show the Dwell crowd what Becker had to say. Now you can take a look. 
August 31, 2010
Fly Swatter Lehman

Leather Fly Swatter

I was in Maine last week for my yearly vacation back East, and was happy to discover a new shop in Camden called Sugar Tools. All told it has something of a shabby chic vibe, though I did come across a couple nice little mod touches for the home, the most exciting of which was this totally cool leather fly swatter from the Ohio–based company Lehman's.
August 30, 2010
Produce Bags by Flip and Tumble

Flip & Tumble Produce Bags

Like many, I'm a big fan of reusable bags (Timbuk2's Hidden bags are my favorites) but am quite guilty of bringing home handfuls of plastic bags after a trip to the grocery store. For the past few months, I've been eyeing Flip & Tumble's reusable Produce Bags.
August 25, 2010
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BDDW's Handmade Record Players

When Tyler Hays founded BDDW more than a decade ago, the company wore many hats: depending on the project, it might be a design-build construction company, a recording studio, an architecture firm, or a furniture business. Over time Hays narrowed BDDW's focus down to furniture—"that's the scale I prefer to work in," he says—but he's kept his own interests remarkably broad. "I've got literally fifty hobbies," he told me over the phone, when I called to chat about one of his sideline projects: making exquisite, and exquisitely expensive, custom record players and speakers for audiophiles, under the name Phila Audio Corporation.   Hays defines 'audiophile' as "a person who likes to spend too much money on stupid audio equipment," and he counts himself among them. He's been making high-end, handmade audio equipment since college, but now that he's got a fabrication shop, he makes every part of every piece of equipment, down to the bearings, excluding the motor and stylus on the record players and the drivers on the speakers.
August 24, 2010
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