Jeffrey McGrew's blog

Gamer-themed coffee table ideas

Design is an iterative process, where changes occur as the best solution presents itself from the back-and-forth between the client, the physical constraints, and our ideas. And so sometimes ideas we've come up with for a small part of a project no longer fit into the larger picture. These orphaned ideas are still cool, so we love to share the sketches for them with you!

Recently we were asked to produce a gamer-themed coffee table as part of a larger office remodel we're doing. The lounge it was slated for changed ideas, and a so overtly gamer themed custom coffee table didn't really work anymore.

The first idea we came up with was this Tetris-styled table, where the blocks are various shades of wood inlay into a maple top portraying an endless perfect game falling into place.

The next idea was for an 'ultimate battle' space invaders styled table, where the 'bad guys' get more and more modern as they ascend up the table. This one would be black resin inlay into a maple top.

Really loved the progression of characters on this one.

The last idea was for something a little more modern as games go, and it's for a portal-themed table. An LED-ringed mirror on either side of a nice maple butcher-block top makes it appear as if the top is endlessly passing between the two portals, one red and one blue!

Shame that these three rough sketches won't be made real for this project. Maybe next time!

BWC Business plan update

One thing about our company you might not know: we're an Open Business. We release almost all of our work under a Creative Commons licence. Even our Business Plan.

Which just got majorly updated! We've learned a lot since we posted it last time and feel it really reflects that. If you're either into business or looking to be, check it out.

We'd love to hear what you think about it!

Friday, October 5th, it's the Oakland Art Murmur and our Fall open house!

Fall is here and this Friday is First Fridays in Oakland (i.e. the 'Murmur'). So stop by and help us join in the fun!

We are opening our doors for Because We Can's fall open house.

We'll be starting early at 5PM and going until 8PM-ish.

All are invited, so come on by! We'd love to see you.

We'll be celebrating and showing off recent projects completed and underway. It's a great time to drop by and talk shop with us as well!

We'll have some snacks, some drinks, the now-almost-complete paint job on the '67 van to show off, and more. Lots check it out!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words!

Friday, October 5th

5PM - 8PM

2500 Kirkham St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Summer open house at Because We Can!

July is here and this holiday weekend is First Fridays in Oakland (i.e. the 'Murmur'). So stop by and help us join in the fun!

We are opening our doors for Because We Can's summer open house.

We'll be starting early at 5PM and going until 8PM-ish.

Come on by!

No roller disco this time.
Instead we will be enjoying our new enclosed fruit tree laden yard along with some BBQ and drinks (while supplies last).

Come meet and greet the designers of Because We Can, Jillian & Jeffrey, as we show off some of our recent projects, including the progress on the LongNow SF bar design, a Robinson Crusoe & HMS themed office space, lots of local residential work, and some big 3D carvings for Wikipedia.

We'll have some snacks, and some drinks, the paint job on the 67 van to show off, and we've reconfigured the Shop. Lots check it out!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words.

Friday, July 6th

5PM - 8PM

2500 Kirkham St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

Meet us at the Maker Faire 2012!

See me at Maker Faire!

We're excited and proud to once again be included in this year's Maker Faire!

It's so great to have participated every year. This year is talk-a-riffic for us! First you'll find us on Saturday, at 2:30 PM on the Make: Demo Stage giving a repeat from last year: The Secrets of Secret Doors.

Later on Saturday, on the Innovation Stage at 4:00 PM we're on a panel with Jon & Kyrsten and other co-creators of the Serpent Twins. We'll be talking and showing off all about how we made them. We're really excited that the Serpent Twins project we helped with will be at the Faire! You'll probably see us helping unload them and taking a shift of babysitting them during the day.

Then on Sunday, again at 4:00 PM on the Innovation Stage we'll be giving a special 'Ask a Master Maker' panel with a nice selection of experienced Makers to answer your every question! Ask us about projects, going pro, how we did something, or anything else you can imagine!

Looking forward to seeing you at the Faire!

Lots of new projects up on the website

We've been busy! Too busy to get some of the great projects we've gotten done on our website. So we took a moment, and posted up a few past projects for you to see. Enjoy!

We love coming up with concepts for what companies could do with their offices. It a service we offer, where we're brought in to help brainstorm some big ideas as inspiration.

A few recent examples are helping out Joyent, a cloud software service provider:

We also helped come up with some fun ideas for local hometown heros, Pandora:

And a little longer ago we helped YouTube out with some ideas too:

Now some more tangible office interior elements! We did some signage and branding elements for video game company Envie Interactive. Love that glowing 'V'!

Speaking of games, we also did some early conceptual art & 3D models for their video game:

One area we've really expanded upon is in our architectural services, undertaking some larger buildings. Two examples from last year are the ideas we came up with for a commercial building in SOMA:

And some value-engineering focused redesign of a small live/work loft complex for Oakland:

Now back to work! ;-)

Professor Kitty, the office kitty, working hard

New Maker Faire Blue Ribbon website

The good folks at Maker Faire just launched a new website devoted to the Blue Ribbon winners!

While the Faire started in 2006, in 2007 they got the great idea to hand out blue ribbons as awards to the best projects that year. Just like a state fair!

We won big in 2007 with our Artgolf project, getting five blue ribbons and entertaining an army of kids. We've also gotten ribbons in 2008 & 2009 for Artgolf revisions & other projects.

Last few years we've just given a talks, like the one we did last year on the secrets of secret doors, and talks aren't eligible for ribbons!

Frankly we're honored and humbled to be recognized by such a wonderful group of people. See you at the Faire this year!

March Open House

March 2nd is First Fridays in Oakland (i.e. the 'Murmur) and we are joining in the fun!

We are opening our doors for Because We Can's quarterly open house.

We'll be starting early at 5PM and going until 8PM.

Come on by!

We currently have 2,000 square feet of open concrete floor behind our studio, so bring your roller skates! Really no fooling.

Come meet and greet the designers of Because We Can, Jillian & Jeffrey, as we show off some of our recent projects, including a San Francisco bar design, a San Diego office design, and some local residential work.

We'll have food, homebrewed beer, we've got some new toys to play with, and we've cleaned up the place. Maybe the BWC band will even play!

Kids welcome, but it is a shop and a party. Lots of sharp corners. And they might learn some interesting new words. You have been warned!

Friday, March 2st

5PM - 8PM

2500 Kirkham St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 922-8846

Click here for the Google Map.

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