Tag Archives: bike

Unromantically singing in the rain

Simon Warne with his Brollii

Smart design takes into account has an object’s ultimate purpose in mind. The rain that has taken residence over Toronto today has me thinking of how many umbrellas I have bought and how many have faced either of the two fates umbrellas usually have: breakage or loss. There are too many to recall.

The umbrella is such a great design concept in itself. I can imagine our cave-dwelling ancestors using a giant leaf for the same purpose, raising suspicions of witchcraft from the elders. Anyways…

Simon Warne, a Brunel University industrial design student in West London had an idea for an umbrella design that is ‘unbreakable’ and safe to open when other people are around.

The Brollii is an upside down umbrella that opens from the top. Imagine an umbrella that will not hit your neighbour’s face or worse, their eyes. Apart from the obvious advantage of not inflicting injury on others, the Brollii might also find a niche market in over-cautious people who fear legal suits in overly litigious communities.

So here I am, taking refuge in a café because riding a bike home in the rain is less attractive than writing about design and having a green tea. Maybe one day, someone will design an umbrella holder for bicycles, preferrably an unbreakable one. Capes do have a limit.

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Filed under ideas, Industrial Design, nature

What’s the matter with you, bamboo?

Sustainable design has been the expression on everyone’s lips with the realization that natural resources we have taken for granted are finite.

As the forests thin out and at a less attractive rate than select Hollywood types’ hairlines, designers look to being conscientious of their choice of materials.  Certain issues come up because bamboo grows naturally in Asia, an ocean away from our backwards.  It is then treated either with heat or chemicals like formaldehyde for longevity.  Some say that it affects the quality of indoor air.

The Calfee-designed bike is made of bamboo sourced from Taiwan.  The bamboo is shipped to California where it is heat-treated and then shaped.  It is a beautfiul bike weighing about 19 pounds.  Isn’t coveting a sin? Forgive me.

Structures like Soren Korsgaard’s woven house were conceived with the idea that it would be built in a region that does not experience extreme weather and fluctuations in temperature.  To build such a structure in Canada would be as useless as a sequel to ‘Speed.’ Worse would be to ‘Titanic.’ Disastrous at best.

SANS is a collaboration between designer Lika Volkova and Alessandro Devito.  The designs include womenswear made of sustainable fabrics made of bamboo (!) and silk.  The designs’ simplicity is so elegant that Pol Chambost’s vases look too embellished.

Bambu‘s decorations for the home give a very natural element to the modern household’s ambience.  The natural tones that their bamboo pebbles are subtle but do not go unnoticed.  Imagine having such pebbles in the bath, with white scented Diptyque candles for a relaxing Sunday night soak.

The idea of relaxation is hard to conceive, on any other day, but the last weeks have led me to contemplate such an idea.  Having the time to relax is definitely luxury.  Nothing says luxury like having the choices and then making the right decisions when buying.

I trust that you understand the underlying processes to having ‘sustainable’ materials shipped from afar.  It would be a better choice than to produce an unwanted sequel.  The chemistry between Keanu and Sandra is a one-time deal.  Has anyone seen ‘The Lake House”?

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Filed under Architecture, City Life, fashion, ideas, Industrial Design, Interior Design

These wheels were made for riding

(Top to bottom: a photo from Tour de France, rush hour Shanghai, from Copenhagen Style, and lastly Omer Sagiv’s Izzy City bike)

I have mentioned before that the taxi is my favourite car. It is a stress-free form of transportation that does not regularly break the bank. However, the taxi is not a guilt-free replacement for the automobile.  It is the bicycle that will help offset a huge part of our carbon emissions.

The Izzy City bike is the perfect example of how design can make the world a better version of itself today.  The beauty of the bike would make non-cyclists want to commute to work, weather permitting. The two-wheeled beauty is made of plastic. Though not made of material that would make the eco-gods smile down (or up) at us, let’s play a game of give-and-take. The plastic that was used to make the bike would easily be offset through the life of the product. No other such commodity comes to mind.

Omer Sagiv‘s Izzy City Bike is a great way to reconnect with the cityscape, in a stylish manner. The more we incorporate smart design (see: self-locking mechanism on his design) into our lives, the more we get use to the purpose and function of all that surrounds us. We will be April fools no more.

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Filed under City Life, ideas, Industrial Design