Grand Designs – another look

Our old mate Kevin McLoud is back revisiting his old mates from the successful TV series, Grand Designs, to see how they are getting on after living in their dream homes for a few years.

I caught the episode that revisited the couple of architects who decided to build next to the railway line in Islington in North London. The site was a large one by London standards, it had been a factory or workshop, but the fascinating part of the whole episode was the design of their home / office.

Because the railway line ran on the boundary where the office was situated, they set the structure on springs to absorb the vibrations from the passing trains.

They soundproofed the wall facing the railway by building it completely of sandbags mortared with cement, then clad the rest of the structure with quilted fabric.

Just to extend the quirky design theme further, they decided to build the home part of their design, separate from the office, out of straw bales on a wooden frame.
The walls had curves, which are achievable with bales, the outside cladding was a mix of corrugated steel and polycarbonate, this to make a design feature of the straw which was clearly visible through the corrugations of the polycarbonate.

The curves inside were lined in huge sheets of plywood, looking wonderful with what looked like a waxed finish, and the whole site was designed to look back down into a garden which linked the structures, providing an oasis and also growing food for the residents.

I could not help but wish we could all have the freedom to design our homes to suit ourselves.

Yours in Design,

Richard-actyl

Adobe CS5 is HERE!

Call me crazy, but I actually quite like Monday mornings. Here at Red-i Design, we get treated to half an hour of inspiration during our Monday Morning Meeting, whether it is through motivational speakers or examples of great art and design. Today, we had an extra special treat: a quick (but oh so amazing) tutorial on the wonderful new features in InDesign for CS5!

“The Adobe CS5 is a phenomenal release which enables you – our customers to create without boundaries while speeding the creative process from concept to execution.” (http://cs5.org/)

And boy does it ever! It smashes down the boundaries and practically throws you on the Great South Pacific Express! From having varying page width for EACH page in the ONE spread (!!!), through to illustrator ease for adjusting image boxes. But imagine Flash capability in InDesign… now that would be really something special… Oops, looks like Adobe heard me! You can now animate a heading, create a slideshow of images and navigate through a spread using interactive buttons – basically using Flash elements in InDesign! Stamp your feet and cry hallelujah!

“But what about all that code?” I hear you say in frustration. Well, Adobe must have heard you too, because there is not one line of code in sight to produce any of these effects.

It seems that with most technologies diversifying so your pockets and handbags are bulging with gadgets, Adobe has just taken a giant leap to integrate its suite into one awe-inspiring, sexy-sleek application!

We can not wait to get our hands on this little puppy, be sure to grab the new version and test it out for yourself. Seems like it is definitely worth every cent!

Yours in design,

Tar-rannosaurus

Microsoft launches social media savvy mobile phone to youth market

microsoft-kin-one-two

Microsoft have lifted the veil on their latest mobile phones – Kin One and Kin Two – designed purely with Gen Y, and even Gen Z, in mind. Long gone is the main necessity of a phone to actually administer and receive phone calls … no, today we expect our phones to be multi-level digital communication devices that we only occasionally make phone calls on. You know, when we’re not using it as a GPS, to read the news, to email the office, or to listen to our latest iTunes download. Thank you iPhone, and thank you Blackberry.

Now, the youth of today, prepare yourself … the new Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two mobile phones are designed solely for the social generation. You don’t need separate apps for Facebook, Twitter or MySpace – in fact access to apps is apparently not an option. Instead via the home screen the user can stream live feeds from social networks offering minute-by-minute updates and entertainment. Facebook updates, tweets, photo albums have never been so easily assessable before in an interactive pocket-sized package.

With touchscreens, slideout keyboards, cameras that record high defintion video, the Kin also offers online storage of photos and video through Kin Studio. Manufactured by Sharp and aimed to provide easy access to Microsoft online services, the Kin phones has hit the US market first, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK.

Social media is rife, influencing how we communicate to our friends, our colleagues and our customers. And now, with the rise of mobile phones supporting social media integration, especially the social-media super savvy ‘the Kins’, who knows where technology will take us next?

Yours in design,

Julia-saurus

Semi-Permanent: Design Conference

picture-11

So, what is Semi-Permanent? To put it simply Semi-Permanent is a design event. It consists of a conference and side events which include exhibitions, competitions, workshops and parties. It’s a week long celebration of all things design. Graphic Design, Film, Art, Illustration, Web Design, Photography, Visual Effects, Animation, Graffiti, Motion Graphics, Stop Motion; all these things and more. Semi-Permanent explores the diverse and exciting design world bringing together exceptionally talented artists and designers to speak at the event.

Find out more at: http://www.semipermanent.com

Yours in Design,
Tanya-zinosaurus

Microsoft release preview of ie9 for developers

You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief across the web development landscape. After years of holding onto their “We are the web”, old-dinosaur attitudes of the 90s, Microsoft have finally made an effort to produce a browser that can perform in today’s web environment. Rounded corners. Check. HTML 5. Check. CSS 3 Selectors. Check.

Of course modern browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari have offered these features already, but it’s exciting to see the company whose browser still dominates the market in spite of its comprehensive incompetence have finally made life a little easier for those trying to work with their below-par products.

I guess we couldn’t expect too much good news in one hit though. Outlook 2010, due for release in the upcoming Office 2010 package, will continue to use the Microsoft Word engine to render emails. Effectively holding back what the world can do with emails for another a decade.

And, oh, the latest version of Internet Explorer for all its commendable features, will not run on WIndows XP, the only decent operating system they have released in the last decade. Hmmmmm might be a hefty price for Microsoft users to catch up to the rest of us.

Yours in design,
Ben-ycneme

Skinput: Save money on computer screens and just use your own skin!

Can you imagine it? Pressing on parts of our body to activate certain programs or functions.

Hmm, if I touch my left ear the garage door will open! The possibilities are endless!

I was watching the following YouTube video on a mashable.com post and in one of the comments was mentioned a TED talk about some more amazing human interactive technology. So I’ve put that one up too for you to look at!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3XPUdW9Ryg&feature=player_embedded#

Yours in design,

Paul-oceratops

Make your own iPhone/iPod stand

I just come across this very cool little die cut paper dock for the iPhone from my favourite blog website: thedieline.com

It is a very simple and elegant solution. It was created by French designer Julien Madérou. It’s free to anyone to download, print out, and assemble.Visit his website to to download it. Maybe you could get created and put your own artwork in the template before you print it out!

Here is a quick video of the process of how to make it. Enjoy…

Iphone Paper Dock / Stand from Dessine moi un objet on Vimeo.

Yours in design,

Paul-oceratops