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Fresh from Twitter/ Rethinking the kettle. By Nils Chudy

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We tweeted about this great exercise in simplicity by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Nils Chudy.

I’m guessing many folks have had the similar thought in their ideation sessions – but it was the efficient execution of the ID that caught our attention.  

Nils has devised a way to use induction power to heat liquid in a cup eliminating the kettle.

A few one-cup style appliances have been and gone in recent years, and contrary to the points in the original Dezeen article, electric kettles whilst the consume a lot of power they are 

actually extremely efficient – but nevertheless a simple induction device like this has a real appeal. Good luck Nils!

To read the full article click here or Follow Rodd on Twitter for more like this. 

Letting the air out – User centred design and the development of better tyres

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After suffering a couple of punctures on my bike in as many weeks, I began thinking that there must be a better way. Of course, I’m not the only one thinking this every time I am stuck on the side of the road struggling with tyre levers at the point of breaking down – luckily there are some people developing ways to get you moving easier and more quickly.

One such product I came across was the patchnride – a small handheld device aimed at making the whole process simpler for any type of tyre. The main benefit of this is that it removes the main problem when 

fixing a flat – removing the tyre. This uses a system whereby a glue is injected into the tyre acting like a patch over the source of the leak. This shows the benefit of a user centred approach, tackling the main problems and designing them out completely.

Another approach is to take a further step back and remove the source of the problem – air. The non-pneumatic tyre design race is gathering speed and could trickle down to the mainstream in a few years. Britek is the first to use this approach in a bike tyre, creating a wheel from

rubber held by composite rods, simulating the ‘cushioning’ found in standard tyres . A similar system is already being used on off road vehicles, originally designed for the military but finally hitting the consumer market. Hopefully these developments trickle down into the mainstream soon and the days of struggling with tyres and innertubes by the roadside will be a thing of the past.

100% Design

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It has been a few years since I last went to 100% Design and I have to say that it wasn’t as I remembered the show in previous years, with an overarching sense of trade fair rather than anything more ‘designerly’ or seductive.

That said here are my highlights;

Heading straight for the ‘emerging brands’ section I met with Nicholas Rose whose simple but very beautiful lycra stretched lampshade caught my eye. While the forms and premise (frame, stretchy fabric shade and a light bulb) are quite classic, what caught may eye, as it did others, was the soft, ‘floaty’ hues of blues and pinks, an effect achieved by shining the fitting through an edge-lit acrylic skeleton which, in turn, transforms the white lyrca.

As if to confirm that the pastels, burnt pink and warm grey trend is still alive, were the adjoining stand neighbours, Danish brand – Korridor. 

It was great to see the wonderfully minimal; Shaker influenced ‘Runcible’ (a family of American Maple kitchen tools by Mathias Hahn) – which we saw earlier this year at the Clerkenwell Festival. These, along with four other pieces, were commissioned to showcase the creative potential of other lesser-known timbers from the USA.

Staying with the minimal, I was taken by the bold simplicity of this exterior bench and table from UK abstract painter-cum-furniture-designer Jennifer Newman, which used a simple palette of black dyed, sustainable timber and brightly painted fabricated aluminum. The combined effect was bold but simple – something that UK outdoor furniture retailers seem to forget when sourcing their ranges.

Staying with the UK, my two highlights were both joyfully minimal and in stark contrast to the plethora of bling Italian brands that

surrounded them both. The first ‘Lowinfo’ from Nottingham, who make some of the most amazing poured concrete sinks and washbasins I have ever seen. The depth of richness and texture in these monolithic, geometric sinks was impressive, especially when paired with zingy Vola fittings in orange and yellow!

The second gem emerged from a florid, swarm of over-done Italian marble like a CNC’d modern day Michelangelo’s David. The objects in question are also washbasins and while they are machined from Italian Carrara marble (as is the aforementioned David) they are some of the most lovely, modernist pieces of UK industrial design I have seen for a long while – and what’s more they are machined in the heart of Manchester to only compound the perversity of it all even further!