All posts filed under: Things for Learning

Pangea 3D Wooden Contour Maps

Using bathymetric data, Pangea’s 3D maps depict the contours of the ocean floor, revealing the often unseen beauty that lies below the surface. Combining modern surveying techniques and CAD technology with the art of cartography, these handcrafted waterscapes are made from layers of Baltic birch plywood. Carefully considering the scale and composition of each map, the company sources accurate bathymetric data (underwater topography) for each location before laser-cutting the plywood sheets to form the contours of the ocean floor. When finished, each map goes into a hardwood frame and is finished with a layer of glass. Maps arrive within two weeks and ship in a wooden box. In addition to a standard line of maps from Boston to Sydney, Pangea also offers one-of-a-kind custom maps through its online map builder. Pangea Maps donates $50 USD for every referred sale on its website to The Ocean Cleanup, an organization developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove up to 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years. …

Little Free Library Design Competition

A competition to design a new version of the Little Free Library touches on two of my favorite things in the world — product design and books. If you aren’t familiar with Little Free Libraries, they are small containers that are installed in front yards, community centers, and public spaces all over to world to help people exchange books for free. There are nearly 40,000 of these structures worldwide, and Chronicle Books. Little Free Library, and AIA SF are inviting architects and designers to rethink the structure and solve some problems cited by users in the field. Challenges that the new design should try to overcome include keeping the doors shut, making it accessible at night, keeping it water-tight and heatproof, and perhaps my favorite, serving small children and tall adults alike. The jury includes architects, editors, and designers, and the prizes include an architecture library from Chronicle Books and other goodies. If I designed one, I’d love a little solar panel on top that lights it up at night when the door opens and …

Book Review: DesignPOP

Hitting bookshelves this month, the neon pink, padded vinyl covered DesignPOP is a 216-page tome to contemporary product design written by designer and collector Lisa S. Roberts. Published by Rizzoli, DesignPOP includes 82 works created from 2000-2014 from Frank Gehry, the Campana brothers, Hella Jongerius, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Jasper Morrison, James Dyson, and other design icons. It includes 95% original photography, designer biographies, and a “where to shop” guide along with resources for each product. Though I haven’t handled the physical book and its retro-plastic cover (I was sent a PDF to review), the internal layouts with their oversized pull-quotes and high-quality photographs certainly make for a fun read for consumers. Even design-insiders should find enough new products to keep their interest. DESIGNPOP By Lisa S. Roberts HC w/jacket / 9 1⁄2” x 9 1⁄2” / 216 pages / 175 color illustrations US $35.00 / Can $35.00 / UK £25.00 Rizzoli New York All images courtesy Rizzoli.

Disruptus Game

Disruptus is a new award-winning game from U.S.-based Funnybone Toys that combines function and fun with a minimal design. The game, which includes cards, a die, and a small hourglass timer, asks players to look at objects and ideas and use different approaches to innovate. The game draws inspiration from the practice of ‘disruptive thinking’, a powerful way to innovate that has been used by corporations and designers to create ideas and objects like digital music, camera phones, and car-sharing programs.  It’s a fun gift for designers, students, teachers, or anyone that likes coming up with better ways of doing things. Best of all, it does it while taking you off the electronic grid, even if for just a little while. $24.99. Ages 10 to 99. All images courtesy of Funnybone Toys.