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November 13, 2014

The ‘country’s most amusing bus driver’ sacked

Filed under: Automobiles,Design by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Bus, Enschede

Shandrick Elodia, the ‘most amusing bus driver of the Netherlands’ from Enschede was sacked recently for safety reasons. By sacked, I mean not rostered anymore to work, as he didn’t have a permanent contract.

“Are you ready for the ride of your life?”, he would ask depressed passengers and then chat on the microphone and play music like Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’. Everybody loved this guy, but he was way too much for his employer.

At some point, Elodia needed something more challenging and wanted to do something about all those sad faces boarding his bus. He once startled an old lady by wishing her a nice evening on the microphone and kept going from there.

Sure, Elodia should have followed the rules (only greeting people) and just done his job or quit and find something else — he is the first to admit that. Elodia has a degree in industrial design, and according to him, his global vision of ‘making poverty cool’ ended up spilling over into his work as a bus driver. “When you’re poor, you have to make due with rubbish products. When I drive up in my happy bus next to some guy in an expensive Mercedes, he sees how much fun the ‘poorer’ people are having and wishes he was in my bus.”

Since Elodia has been on television (in Dutch), work offers have been pouring in.

(Links: www.nrc.nl, www.nieuws.nl, Photo of Bus in Enschede by Daniël Bleumink, some rights reserved)

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November 5, 2014

Device turns fizzy drink into drinking water

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:45 am

glass water

Rotterdam based Helmut Smits designed a device that turns Coca-Cola into water, called ‘The Real Thing’.

“The installation developed with University of Amsterdam master’s student Martien Würdemann uses a simple distillation process. The Coca-Cola is boiled in a container, producing water vapour that is funnelled into a glass. Minerals are added at the end to make sure it is safe to drink.”

Originally conceived by Smits in 2006, the concept was turned into a complete distillation process for the Sense Nonsense exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, which opened in October during Dutch Design Week.

“When I looked at Coca-Cola that way, I saw dirty brown water, so it was logical to filter it back into clean drinking water, just as we do with all our waste water.”

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo of Glass of water by Cayusa, some rights reserved)

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October 16, 2014

Wearable tech onesie turns into Wi-Fi hotspot

Filed under: Design,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:35 am

BBSuit

Borre Akkersdijk, a ‘textile developer’, designed a onesie called the BB.Suit that “allows you to become technology”. Presented at the SXSW in Texas earlier this year, the knitted BB.Suit has Wi-Fi, GPS with room gadgets and computer chips. At the time it was a prototype, and the issue of washing the onesie with tech in it was definitely a problem. Akkersdijk aptly points out that wearable technology still has a long way to go.

Walking around and being a Wi-Fi hotspot seems like the most practical use of this outfit, especially abroad.

Embedded with copper wires that enable WiFi, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth, the BB.Suit turns its wearer into a mappable hotspot with mp3 streaming ability. Batteries, processor boards, and UI actuators live in the BB.Suit’s pockets, making the rest of the suit feel seamless, and it’s made of two layers of cotton to hide and protect the copper cables, with filling that puffs when it’s steamed, meaning the onesie is super-comfy too!

(Link: www.shinyshiny.tv, Photo: byborre.com)

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October 10, 2014

Chair translates body motion into on-screen cursor

Filed under: Design by Orangemaster @ 9:45 am

dynamic_chair

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Govert Flint has designed a chair that allows users to control the cursor with a range of body movements. He designed this dynamic chair so one could move in all directions, and worked with programmer Sami Sabik to translate the motions of users into on-screen actions.

“I started to think about how we make chairs that are disconnected from their activity. Working in the office is an activity we sit for. From then on I tried to design a chair based on body movements.”

Three accelerometers positioned around the chair measure movement in X, Y and Z directions. Collected data is then transferred along wires to a computer, which is programmed to use the information to move a cursor around a computer screen positioned at a user’s eye level. One sensor located below the seat calculates the chair position relative to the X and Y planes. The user’s shifts forward, backward and side to side move the cursor in corresponding directions on the screen

The dynamic and chair and much more will be on display during the
Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven from 18 to 25 October.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo www.lisaklappe.com)

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September 21, 2014

How Delftware is made

Filed under: Design,History by Branko Collin @ 3:00 pm

delftware-morgaine

The Indian Express has an extensive write-up about the production of Delftware:

I went to the Delft Pottery de Deltse Pauw, which was established in 1650. This factory exclusively produces and sells entirely hand-painted Delftware, which is a unique factor in this date.

The factory manager, Nico van Nieuwenhuijzen, discusses the origins of Delfts Blauw (Delftware), how it almost died out due to superior clays being used for competing brands of pottery and then gives the reporter a very thorough tour of the factory.

(Photo by Morgaine, some rights reserved)

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September 14, 2014

Faking a 42-day holiday to make a point

Filed under: Design by Branko Collin @ 1:36 pm

snorkelling-zilla-van-den-born

In 2013 graphic designer Zilla van den Born graduated from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht with a project in which she fooled family and friends into believing she was on a 42-day-long journey through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Fakebooking is so old hat that even British comedian Miranda Hart dedicated an episode, aptly called Holiday, to a fake vacation in Thailand.

But Van den Born went beyond the selfie with the giant poster of a palm tree-lined beach in the background. Writes Kickass Trips:

She followed an elaborate scheme of activities, all of it staged. The picture of her snorkelling in Thailand was taken in a swimming pool in Amsterdam and later photoshopped to make it look more tropical. She took photos in tropical aquariums at the Artis Zoo, went to a butterfly garden, bought exotic Asian souvenirs on the market and cooked Thai meals, in her own kitchen of course.

The book Van den Born created for her project is combined with a Layar app to recover the reality behind the manipulation. With her project Van den Born wanted to highlight the difference between our rational attitude to modern day photography (we know everything we see may have been manipulated) to our actual attitude: we still see photos as “the proof of an experience”.

Check her portfolio to see videos of her manipulations and the reactions of her friends and family to finding out it was all fake.

(Photo: Zilla van den Born)

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August 11, 2014

A sunken kitchen and letting all the sunlight in

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

Apartment_in_Amsterdam_by_MAMM_Design_dezeen_468_10

An 85-year-old apartment in Amsterdam was recently redesigned by MAMM Design of Japan to provide maximum sunlight for an apparently non-Dutch family of four, which explains the very bright white walls.

The sunken kitchen is quite nifty, creating more space vertically, and by taking away stairs, walls and a part of the upper floor, the designers managed to get sunlight to spread all over the house. Although it looks a lot like an office space in the pictures (see link), I’m still impressed by what this Japanese firm did to a Dutch flat, considering how well they deal with small spaces themselves.

(Link and Photo: www.dezeen.com)

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August 10, 2014

Miffy creator Dick Bruna retired two years ago

Filed under: Comics,Design by Branko Collin @ 10:34 pm

miffy-tdf-2014-thomas-bresson

Last month the retirement of 86-year-old Miffy creator Dick Bruna was suddenly world news. But there was nothing newsworthy about that fact according to Stadsblad Utrecht: Bruna retired two years ago.

“News about nothing”, Marja Kerkhof called it. She is the manager of publisher Mercis, the company that will continue to release new Miffy books based on an archive of Dick Bruna’s drawings of the past 60 years. “We will only use original drawings by Dick Bruna. We will not be using other artists.” Bruna has made over 3,000 Miffy drawings. Currently there are about 130 Miffy books.

Kerkhof used the sudden attention for Bruna’s retirement to squash rumours that the artist suffers from dementia in AD: “When I see him, and I visit him regularly, he knows exactly who I am, where we’ve met and how long we’ve known each other.”

Next year Bruna’s studio will be moved to and exhibited at Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The same year the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht, Bruna’s home town, will be Miffy-themed.

(Photo of Miffy in un-Bruna-like garb at this year’s Tour de France by Thomas Bresson, some rights reserved)

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August 9, 2014

17th century book of watercolour paints by A. Boogert

Filed under: Art,Design,Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:39 pm

spiegel-verf-a-boogert-p826 spiegel-verf-a-boogert-p827

Eric Kwakkel found this extensive 800-page book on how to prepare and mix watercolour paints in an online library in France.

It was published in Dutch in 1692 by one A. Boogert:

He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question [...]. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at.

The book is called ‘The Clear Bright Mirror of the Art of Painting’ (‘De Klaerlighte Spiegel der Verfkonst’) and is written in plain Dutch. Unfortunately I keep tripping over Mr Boogert’s handwriting, otherwise I might have treated you to a couple of paragraphs. Due to the nature of the work (three colour printing wasn’t available until the late 19th century), it is likely that the author produced only a single copy. And it’s very cool is that this copy survived.

Shown here are two opposite pages of the index (“blatwijser of regisster”).

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August 7, 2014

Queen Máxima makes Vanity Fair’s best dressed list

Filed under: Design,General by Orangemaster @ 5:13 pm

Much to the delight of the Dutch, Queen Máxima has made Vanity Fair’s list of international best dressed for 2014, along with fellow royal Crown Princess Mary of Denmark who have a lot in common. Both women were ‘commoners’, have non-European origins, are nearly the same age and both have a lot of children. The list also features Kate, Duchess of Cambridge who has also made the Hall of Fame list for appearing numerous times.

A television show in 2012 claimed Belgians had called Argentinian-Dutch Queen Máxima “photogenic but phony”, usually not having much to say about their own Belgian Queen Mathilde besides that she is ‘professional and actually born of Belgian nobel ancestry’, as opposed to being a ‘commoner’. Both Máxima and Mathilde are surely friendly to each other, Mathilde being the godmother of Máxima’s second daughter Princess Alexia and all.

Máxima caught the attention of VF by wearing a green vintage dress worn by her mother-in-law Princess Beatrix then Queen Beatrix. Yes, Máxima also wears Dutch fashion by designers like Jan Taminiau, but sadly that is not what got people’s attention.

(Link: www.fashionaddict.nl, photo from 2006 by the Netherlands Government Information Service, used with permission)

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