Friday, 3 May 2013

The Empty Shop

A shop that starts off empty everyday, gets filled up during the day, and gets emptied out again at the end of the day. This has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with charity. 

A Loja Vazia" (The Empty Shop) is a Winter Clothing Drive Campaign in BRMalls Shopping VillaLobos, São Paulo, Brazil. This initiative turns the whole ideal of shopping on its axis, people are encouraged to bring clothing to the shop instead of taking it way. This creates a new way for people to donate clothing.

However, this shop with its clean and crisp design, functions like any normal retailer. 
They have stylists on hand that style up outfits on mannequins from the clothing they have received. This is an attempt to encourage donations that are of a  good quality.

After the store has filled up during the day, it will be emptied out and given to charity so that the donation process can start all over again the next morning. 
3.2 Tons later The Empty Shop has gain interest from malls across the globe and has now been open sourced that this concept is available to anyone who is interested.
This initiative provides a brand new take on the concept of a charity drive.  The Empty Shop, situated at the centre of the mall will be a constant reminder that we should not only take, but also give- 3.2 tons of clothing later helping thousands of people in need.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

From Salad Spinner To Washing Machine

Although doing laundry has nothing to do with making salad, the GiraDora washing machine uses all the principles of a salad spinner to create a washing machine that makes doing laundry in rural areas less back-breaking and time-consuming.

Problem: Rural areas sometimes have inconsistent energy supply and a lack of clean water. 
Solution:The GiraDora is a $40 foot-powered washer-dryer designed by Alex Cabunoc and Ji A you

Both of them are students at Art Centre College's Design Matters program. In 2011 they spent two weeks in a slum outside of Lima, Peru where they worked closely with a family to identify the needs of rural communities to which they responded by designing a consumer product solution.

Their final prototype includes a seat on which the user can sit while doing laundry,which can relieve the back pain usually associated with washing clothing by hand.

Word was spread around by these young designers to fellow academics and the press which secured a $19 500 sponsor allowing them to continues developing more prototypes and implementing these designs in rural areas. 

Their current prototype is approved by testers in Peru, Lima, Santiago and Chile.

Poverty cannot be solved by a single product but the burden can be lightened. The GiraDora addresses a very real social problem that we might not even give a second thought, but makes the world's difference to families in rural areas that don't have the luxury of a LG or Defy. This is the ideal design to be implemented in rural areas by governments across the globe. It may not work with electricity but it definitely has the potential to empower the poverty stricken world be live in.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


I'm proud to announce VARSITY Newspaper's first ever style supplement: Check out the cool DIY design ideas and much more :



Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Hotel(lo) on wheels

 Days of sleeping on the couch when friends don't have a spare room, are over. Just take your own portable hotel room with you. Meet Hotello, your new best friend.

Hotello is a four-square meter, instant hotel room consisting of a metal structure, sound absorbent curtain, bed, desk, lamp and stool. It is all packed into a bright red trunk with wheels.  The inside of the structure can be assembled in various positions to suit your needs.

This portable office space/hotel room was designed Italian architect Antonio Scarponi. He created Hotello to be used in empty urban spaces like lofts and warehouses. Also part of the project is Swiss firm Das Konzept which specializes in "design office innovation". The concept was developed  in collaboration with visual artist Robert de Luca.

Scarponi's  practice often involves only "small scale projects" which he believes will have a much bigger impact on the urban environment. He told CNN that "interior design is one of the biggest engines of urban transformation in Europe".

This design sure has everything needed to work and sleep on the move, and will possibly even move beyond the walls of the urban environment. Festival goers will look upon you will envious eyes when you rock up with this fellow while they pitch their two-man tents. 

You might want to limit yourself to summer festivals-because it doesn't have a roof (yet). But in due time this design might even develop an outdoor version with all the mosquito nets and whistles

Even without outdoor features the uses are endless. Being on a fashion shoot the past weekend we had to find a bush thick enough to double as a dressing room to get the model dressed in. At shoots like these (where we were removed from any signs of civilization) this pop-up structure would be the perfect substitute for the almost thick vineyard we ended up using.

When used indoors it will transform even the most useless empty space into a layer of functionality where you can work and sleep.

This design will be launched for the first time at the Fuori Salone 2013, a design event to be held in Milan on 9 April.

Next time you leave for an impromptu weekend away or just want to equip your office space with a place to take those crucial power naps the Hotello is a perfect travel companion and spatial solution.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Now you can have your news and eat it

By eating your news I do not mean scoffing down your morning  newspaper...

There is now an Image Toaster that burns the morning news onto your slice of toast. Think of it as a news and breakfast combo where your toast won't be just another slice of bread anymore  The Image Toaster is a project designed by Scott van Haastrecht , a prototype that he created for the Creative Technology course "Innovation Lab" in University.

This  is a Wi-Fi connected device that searches the internet for a photo related to the day's date and then burns it into your toast. The image will however be a fairly low pixel image and converts the original picture into a grid of black and white pixels. The toaster uses servos to change a grid of burners to on or off positions. 

Although this is not a substitute for conventional news consumption, it is a very innovative art project that offers a new way to submit information into society. The clip below shows a heart being toasted on the slice of bread announcing Valentine's day. The possibilities are endless. This may even be a convenient way to connect with social media, to announce the number of e-mails or Facebook notifications you have in the morning.

 It is also a creative way to get children, not usually slighted by news, interested in daily news topics and the world around them.

What do I want on my toast in the morning? News with a dash of butter please. Not a bad way to start your morning, very wholesome I might add. This low pixel invention might only be a slice of the design loaf coming our way in the near future, soon our toast might pop out with the latest news headline and News24 logo to go. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Scaffolding, from eyesore to community asset.

Previously only used for pedestrian security during construction, Sidewalk Sheds (also known as scaffolding) in New York are now the epitome of user- friendly multi functionality. 

Bland Hoke and Howard Chambers, both designers in New York city have researched the effects of these sheds on sidewalks and designed outdoor furniture to give these visually unappealing structures more functionality and might I add a bit more aesthetic quality. 

The initiative is called the "Softwalks" activation project. The project is aimed at making full use of these temporary structures. The project consists of a "Kit of Parts" that includes chairs and planters, among other things, to make the public space more functional and user friendly. Adding these features to sidewalks occupied by sheds will allow people in the city to do what we do best: socialize and drink coffee. 

"We discovered that when people see a function in a structure they generally appreciate it more" says Hoke and Chambers
This was the key idea behind their designs and who can argue against it. A design without functionality would literally be useless. 

The project still on-going and is used to empower the general public and business owners to decide what is needed to make their environment useful. The project concept was launched in December 2012, but is only getting into full swing now transforming these construction sheds into social hubs.

This will be sure to change the way we look at scaffolding the next time we see it. We will wish that we were in the streets of  and New York, could sit down on a bright green foldable chair and enjoy our coffee, all of this under a construction shed.

This outdoor design might even go beyond the streets and become household furniture due to the easy going, portable and environmentally friendly design.

 Although It sounds to good to be true it will change construction sidewalks forever. There is no reason why this project should not be implemented internationally to improve sidewalks by adding little pop-up parks everywhere.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Revising Design Hierarchy

CITY OF ART: Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn painted this Brazillian neighborhood with Santa Marta fevala community youth.
The exhibition,  Design with the Other 90%: CITIES goes beyond the aesthetics of design. Second in a series on until 4 May, at the David J. Spencer CDC museum in Atlanta, this exhibition has a clear focus on functionality and social upliftment rather than the visual appeal of design. The hierarchy of design is redefined by focusing on design innovation in areas that might not even have running water.

This exhibition showcases 60 projects each aimed at addressing various issues that arise in everyday informal settlements, in America known as slums and of course in South Africa better know as townships. These projects address problems like lack of running water and overpopulated living conditions. These projects inform about these problems while at the same time also providing solutions.

The exhibition is a collaboration between, communities, designers, architects and private, civic and private organizations to create innovative approaches to urban living, affordable housing, public health etc. South Africa has also been selected to take part and present a patented construction technology as a solution to help address the increase in informal settlements and implement sustainable development. Their housing designs are seen below:

Moladi innovative plastic formwork system
Moladi construction technology - shell of house completed in ONE day

This cost effective, environmentally friendly housing initiative created by Moladi, based in Port Elizabeth has been shortlisted for a Frost & Sullivan Green Excellence in Sustainable Development Award. With this housing 50 houses can be built in only 64 days. 

This initiative wants to make use of community members, creating jobs and securing them with the necessary skills. What is shocking is that this initiative has been recognized by international organisations such as Frost & Sullivan, but they have failed to form any alliance with the South African government. 

Failure to recognize Moladi will result in the loss of many job opportunities to empower communities. They are however building houses in 10 other African countries.

The Moladi housing program is just one among many other solutions to social crisis provided by the 

Design with the Other 90%: CITIES proves that design isn't just flashy jewelry, expensive cars and leather couches. Design can be found in the places where we least expect it while making the biggest difference.