Design

Posts about design & the design industry.

Diner Wall

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We finally got photos of this project from late last year! We had helped ClifBar out with an internal wall they were building to showcase and promote the philanthropy projects their employees could help out with as part of a company program.

They had a cool idea to show off the different projects available as "menu items", so the diner wall concept was born.

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We helped with designing the layout of the wall, sourcing the nessesary items and fabricating the specialty objects.... like these 'ticket takers' made out of old bike wheels!

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And this 1950's counter! complete with diner accessories!

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And finally, of course, a cool diner sign.

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The wall is a well used hit!

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New postcards

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Our new postcards from 4x6 showed up recently. And they look great!

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Each one showcases a different project that we completed last year, and covers a range of commercial and residential projects and well as a good range of styles.

This is from a residential office project.
A swiveling desk design for a muti functional room. Other elements have since been built:

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Next, a commercial project for Anno Domini, a San Jose Art Gallery.
Giant folding, rolling kiosks to expand their usable space:

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Then, another residential project of curving stairs and useful but still beautiful storage space in this
Library loft space:

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And finally, an internal marketing project with our own in-house library project.

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Then, of course you must check out the back!

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Secret Maker Superhero Armoire

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For those Makers that also want nice things, and have wonderful treasures to display, may we introduce... The Secret Maker Superhero Armoire Display Case!

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Looks like a regular large glass fronted Armoire you say?
Well watch this...

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The sides open to reveal not only access to labeled pull out cubbies, but also, le coup de grâce: hidden pegboard tool and utility belt storage.

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Beautiful etched glass and front aluminum detailing by day....

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Full on Maker storage by night!

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With awesome little cubbies!

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This armoire was made for the same room as the Swiveling desks we made a few months ago. More images of the room and all the pieces we've made for it can be seen on the project page.

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Instructable on the Serpent Twins Tails

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Our good friends over at the Instructables asked us if we wouldn't post up how we made the Serpent Twin's tails. So here it is!

Enjoy! It's our first big instructable so we'd love for you to go there and leave us a comment on it.

Also, if you want to see the Serpent Twins in person, there is a big party this weekend at Jon's shop. All are welcome!

The Serpent Twins project - in progress

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The Serpent Twins are coming along, but still have lots to go.
The heads of each critter is framed out, and now come all the details and finishing bits.

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One Serpent will be all black, and one all white. Here the white one awaits it's head...

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The fins for the "backs" of the serpents were cut out of sheet metal, then welded together.

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in the end, they will look like this:
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More to come soon!

The Serpent Twins

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We have joined up with our friends John and Kyrsten over at Form & Reform to design and build a fun project for Burning Man!
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The project has just launched its kickstater page. So please donate to the cause!

John and Kyrsten over at Form and Reform, have created magical pieces out of metal like the Golden Mean Snail Car, and the Zeppelini. Now we are working with them to turn these metal barrels into a Deco Nordic God creature called.... The Serpent Twins.

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The front will be powered by these little electric cars...

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And the barrels will be filled inside with programable LEDs. One of the serpents will be all dark metal with a "fire" light show on the inside. The other will be white barrels with a more etherial colorful light show.

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You can read more about the evolution of the project on the Form and Reform site.
And dont forget to donate!

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Desks with complex inlay complete!

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Stage 1 of the 'Hot Sharp Toxic' room. This swiveling desk is the first stage of a larger project to turn a room in a private residence into a splendid mad science lair. More pictures here and on Flickr.

Happy new owners

Check out our build video, where we show off the process we used to make these fantastically inlayed desks!

Business shouldn't waste money on their offices

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So with our recent press, a common comment came up that goes something like this:

"Business shouldn't waste money on their offices".

To which we couldn't agree more. Businesses need spaces that work. More than that, they also need spaces that support their vision and agenda.

But at the same time, businesses need to keep things reasonable, and not spend money they don't really need to.

Now, you may think that some of our more creative offices we've done for companies are more folly than functional. However, let's take a closer look at one of our past projects: the offices of Three Rings.

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Three Rings is a small creative game design studio. They live (and die) off of how good their people are. Unlike a big game company like EA, with armies of people, Three Rings is tiny, tight, and very talented. So one of the primary concerns with their office was to make it a place where their talent would love to work, and to make it a place other talented people would love to work at. This not only draws in talented people, but it makes them perform at their best.

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Three Rings also really wanted to create a real place. Instead of an office people dreaded to be at, they wanted a place where everyone was happy to be. Since the new office was completed, it's not uncommon for everyone to spend a lot more time at the office, even if it's just playing games into the evening. Better teams, better relationships, and better communicate all come from happier people spending time together.

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Another big concern was expression of vision. Instead of looking like every other game company with their seas of Ikea desks and dismal offices, Three Rings wanted to wear their hearts on their sleeves; to say loudly that they are a creative company like no other. Many talk about being innovative, yet few really follow through with that. Clearly communicating that is a key part of their marketing.

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Finally, Three Rings wanted a clear way to express their vision of being a small yet terribly creative company to other companies and investors. They knew that any potential employee or VC that walked in the door and was scared off at how over-the-top the office is would very likely be someone that they wouldn't want to work with. By clearly showing their vision it's much easier for them to find other people who may share that vision and want to help make it bigger and better.

Study after study shows that a better office makes for more productive and happier people. And having an office that matches your company's vision is a vital part of marketing and communicating what your company is all about.

More productive people + happy workers + clear communication + vision = more money being made.

Or, you could look at it this way too:

Inefficient people + unhappy people + muddled marketing + no vision = bad business.

When you add into the fact that due to our special process and talented people here at Because We Can the cost of the Three Rings office was totally reasonable.

We were able to design and build the whole Three Rings office for less than it would have cost of nice-but-depressing office cubes.

Sure, it costs more than just parking everyone at an Ikea desk, but just think: that boring-but-normal office that's not much more than cubes, a break room, and maybe a ping-pong table could instead be a vibrant expression of your company's core. While also making everyone there more productive and happier. And making everyone more money!

So we agree: businesses shouldn't waste their money. Which is something a boring, poorly designed office actually does.

We got interviewed on Adafruit's Ask An Engineer!

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Last week while in NYC we dropped in on Adafruit Industries. Run by the brilliant Limor and Phillip, they design and make and sell kits and parts for all your electronic project needs. We're big fans! We're excited they had us sit for a short interview for their great "Ask An Engineer" weekly internet show:

Ask an Engineer 3/19/2011 from adafruit industries on Vimeo.

Thanks Adafruit Industries! Totally inspiring to see you guys. They were nice enough to also give us a copy of the latest Wired that Limor is on the cover of (go Limor!) and a Ardino starter kit that we can't wait to begin playing with.

If you want to jump ahead and just watch the interview with us (and not the whole show above) then watch the video below instead. But the whole show is way better, we're so totally buying some of those new color-changing flexible LED strips for our private office library project...

because we can from adafruit industries on Vimeo.

Thanks again you two!

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