Latest Articles in Design


Inventables: Materials Database

Zach Kaplan is looking out for the little guys. In 2002, he launched Inventables, an extensive library of high-tech materials from manufacturers and innovators like Dupont and 3Form. The initial price tag on a subscription to the database—$70,000-$350,000—limited access to everyone but Fortune 500 companies, Kaplan says. So in 2010, inspired by the upsurge in DIYism and maker culture, he tossed out the sky-high membership rates and tossed all the information and products online—for free. "We wanted to democratize access to all this interesting research we've done over the last eight years," Kaplan says. The result is a prototyping designer's dream: an inventors hardware store where small quantities of samples can be purchased with the click of the button and the cash in your wallet (many materials costs less then $20). "When you're a really big company, suppliers will bend over backwards to do whatever you want them to do but if you're a small company it's see you later," Kaplan says. "Designers, artists, inventors, students—we think of them as little R&Ds. They have all the passion, energy, and drive. We want to get these materials into their hands." Click through our slideshow for 14 materials available on that have Kaplan's juices flowing—from rubber glass to translucent concrete.  
January 11, 2011
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An Architect's Guide to Silver Lake

One highlight of my recent visit to Los Angeles was a whirlwind tour of Silver Lake with the great architect Barbara Bestor, who has lived there since 1988. She drove me around, pointing out architectural (and culinary) highlights, and offering insight into the neighborhood's unique creative culture (she should know—she wrote a book about the place a few years ago, called Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake). Here's the scoop.
January 11, 2011
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Lost & Found, Part 1

I spent last week in Los Angeles, exploring neighborhoods, poking around design shops, and hoping to finally understand how the various corners of the sprawling metropolis fit together. In between getting massively lost (I have no sense of direction) I did find my way to a few previously (to me) undiscovered gems, which I'll share with you via slideshows over the next couple weeks. First up: a visual tour of Lost & Found, a shop recommended to me by architect (and blogger!) Linda Taalman. This was such an appealing shop I'm going to dedicate two posts to it—this one will be an overview, and the next will be more of a focused shopping guide, highlighting a few of my favorite products. Dig in!
January 6, 2011
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As You Light It

January 4, 2011
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Dwell Around the World

As we began dispersing for the holidays—heading our separate ways to SoCal and all the way to the Carribean—we take a look back at the best of what we saw worldwide in 2010.
December 28, 2010

Code Natural Kitchen by Snaidero

Kitchen systems are a lot like prefab housing: they're designed to be modular but they're endlessly customizable—not that that's a bad thing. The advantage of choosing a kitchen system or a prefab is the security of knowing what you're getting: what it will be made of, when and where it will be constructed. You purchase deliverable, detailed promises. The disadvantage, however, is that because they're not truly factory-made, off-the-shelf products, these products are often more expensive than we'd expect. But, if a kitchen system is something you can invest in, here's one that's caught our eye.
December 23, 2010
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Academy Rewards

A pair of photographers employed a pair of architects (they're all buddies) to transform an aging schoolhouse into a modern marvel.
December 23, 2010
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Cool Chicken House

Who doesn't love a chicken run? This cool coop is by David Rosen, an Associate Producer at CBS News in New York. His goal, in addition to sheltering four egg-laying hens, was to design a structure that complemented his house, a modern barn in Rockland County. 
December 23, 2010
<i>Why Design Now?</i>, the fourth exhibit in the National Design Triennial series, comes to a close after offering views of more than 125 projects spanning design disciplines from architecture to fashion. On view at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Mus

8 Exhibits to See Over the Holidays

With a few days off and some time to travel, now is your chance to catch new shows as well as the tail ends of the exhibitions you've been meaning to make it to. We've rounded up 8 must-see exhibits—with links to slideshows of images from each in case online is as close to on location as you're able to get.
December 22, 2010