Arranging sound devices in a small apartment can be a challenge, because they take valuable shelf space we always need for other things. But what if a sounds system is a shelf? This is exactly the concept behind the aShelf by Danish design studio Kreafunk. The piece is a speaker, amplifier, iPhone dock and an attractive shelf in one. Thanks to the bluetooth functionality, it can be completely discrete and blend into the room. No more cables, no more bulky docks. Just a simple minimalist object, which can also provide extra space for storage. I really love this idea.
Even if you’re not a techie, you will see the beauty of this project. Especially if you rent your dwelling. Benki is a compact, clever, smart outlet plug, that has a light sensor, temperature sensor, and a microphone. This mighty little device helps you to control a vast number of your other devices – heaters, fans, baby monitors, cameras, lighting fixtures, you name it. All these things, plugged into Benki, become easily programmable (and controllable) right from your smart phone. Neat! The implementation is as easy as plugging Benki into your existing outlet. No cables, no installation mess, no ginormous home automation system prices. And the best news – Benki is currently Kickstarting, so you can take advantage of the introductory price.
There is one European habit I can never give up, no matter how long I live in the U.S. – and that is the need for espresso. A day just isn’t complete without this fragrant heart accelerator. That’s why I understand every bit of thinking behind Piamo - a portable espresso maker by Lunar. This clever piece is envisioned to work in the microwave, which makes it a perfect contender for travel, office and, yes, tiny apartments with limited counter space. The principle is simple – just fill in water and insert an espresso pad or ground coffee, stack it, flip it and place it in your microwave for 30 seconds. The pressure from the steam will extract the flavor, filling the cup with strong espresso. Watch the video after the break to see the product in action.
If you are a reader of this blog, you know how I feel about untidy cordage piles. But with the number of gizmos we use daily comes the unavoidable multitude of cables and wires. We can leave them where they are, of course, and treat them as an OCD defying exercise; or we can implement MOS by Andrew Adams and Greg Petersen. The idea is simple enough – set the end of your cable on the MOS when it’s not in use and the MOS will magnetically hold it in place until you’re ready to put it to use again. Not all cables are created equally, however, and some do not respond to the magnetic field surrounding the MOS. For these cases, each MOS includes 3 magnetic cable ties that can be wrapped around these more troublesome cables adding the ability to be held to the MOS. Sweet!
If you are a bookworm with designy inclinations – your day has come. The Voronoi Bookshelf concept by Alan Rorie is a great interactive idea for us to design our own pieces of furniture via a clever app that Alan is now trying to fund on Kickstarter. The app will help us to create unique designs based on the Voronoi algorithm. Here is how he explains it: “Imagine designing & customizing your own Voronoi bookshelf on your iPad, then seeing it show up on your doorstep just a few days later, fully assembled or as a kit. My goal is not just to design beautiful objects, but to design intuitive, interactive ways for you to create beautiful objects with them. You are the designer-collaborator.” Pretty neat. Watch the video after the break for more details.
No matter how small our kitchens are, we don’t want to sacrifice our comforts. Which means bulky appliances take over a good portion of our pression counter space. To deal with the situation, designer Jan des Bouvrie and Dutch manufacturer Princess came up with Compact4All – a kitchen appliance system that incorporates all kitchen basics within the span of 16 inches. How? The items are stacked on top of each other, producing a uni-piece. The system includes a juicer, toaster, coffee maker and tea kettle. Each segment can be detached and used individually, but when fit together the quartet can share one outlet. Brilliant.
This rather beautiful piece of design is the ES 01 extension socket, created by Georges Moanack for Punkt. The idea was to make this ubiquitous household item attractive enough to be part of the room rather than a dusty ball of cordage, hidden under the table. “I wanted to make crawling under furniture to untangle cables a thing of the past, and the design challenge was to find an attractive and accessible solution to this problem,” – says Moanack. The piece features a sleek removable lead, 5 strategically positioned sockets, single power switch, C clip to keep those wires in order and an overload protection. It comes in a range of versions to comply with the different power supply standards of different countries. Available in three Punkt. signature colors – white, black and red.
Most of us are used to see the radiator as that hideous noisy thing under the windowsill we have no control over. New York based industrial designer Rochus Jacob decided to change all that and rethink the annoying item. His version of the radiator is smaller, more efficient and fun to look at. The campfire-like shape suggests placing the piece in the middle of the living space, allowing it to heat the room faster and save energy (and money).
Here is how Jacob describes the concept: ‘Rethinking the radiator is about helping people to reduce the average room temperature by 2° which could eventually save a ton CO2 a year and cut cost by 40%. Modern technology allows the use of lighter and more efficient materials in smaller forms. By moving the radiator deeper in to the living space the interaction becomes more present which enables the user to keep the heat consumption more often at a lower and constant level.’
The system works with hot water or steam just like regular radiators. And in the summer time, the piece can be easily stored away to allow more living space. Brilliant!
These technologically advanced furniture pieces were created by Verona based designer Paolo Cappello for Italian brand Miniforms. The collection is comprised of a small desk and an entertainment unit. Both pieces include integrated sound systems – not only a space-saving idea, but an aesthetically pleasing one. The desk, called Torototela, is big enough for a laptop and compatible with any audio source with output jack and playback high-quality stereo sound. The entertainment unit, Caixa, houses two speakers in its side cabinets. It also has an iPod dock and a hi-def amplifier, to which various devices can be connected. The item comes in two sizes and in three colors: white, black or red.
The war between our love for techno-toys and debilitating clutter is not going to end soon. But this clever power strip by Herald J. Ureña – Umaña might win you a few battles. The piece fits snugly into corners, freeing the remaining space for things more exciting than cordage. The beauty of the design is that the power cord can be maneuvered to face the direction of the outlet, no matter how you place the strip. I want 4 for every room.