Because taxidermy can never be too creepy, Dutch (and super talented) designer Erik Klarenbeek has created Poekie. The battery-operated stuffed cat is fitted with a mechanism that re-creates the animal's breathing and purring.
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Seen at the Postmortem show in April 2006.

More taxidermy: taxidermy oddities, Maximilian’s Pet Shop, Afke Golsteijn, Cuddly taxidermy, Crochet menagerie.

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Issey Miyake's latest innovations, to debut in fall, 2006, build on the computer-driven manufacturing process he first developed, with design engineer Dai Fujiwara.

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In 1997, the duo invented A-POC (an acronym for "a piece of cloth"), a means of knitting or weaving entire pieces of clothing -- no sewing needed. Because the process produced material that wouldn't fray, wearers could then customize the clothes as they saw fit.

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Miyake and Fujiwara are now pushing the A-POC process in directions that could potentially revolutionize the way mass-market goods like upholstered home furnishings and jeans are manufactured. And because no sewing is involved, A-POC technology might eventually eliminate the use of sweatshops and lower costs in both fields.

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Before the end of 2006, Miyake will launch a product co-designed with Ron Arad that blurs the edges between designer clothing and designer chairs. Called Gemini, it's a streamlined, body-cushioning pillow, made of A-POC fabric, and designed to be used as a cover for Arad's plastic Ripple Chair. But what makes Gemini ingenious is that it can also be worn as a body-hugging jacket.

The A-POC Gemini chair cover and the Ripple chair will make their retail debut in mid-fall.

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Related: Oliver Peyricot’s wearable chairs, Assa Ashuach’s 501 chair and My Trousers (a pair of trousers with a built-in seat, pictures above), GoPingPong's wearable furniture collection, Hussein Chalayan's Living Room and Afterward collections (images below) which refer to the reality regugees have to face when they are forced to leave all their belongings behind them.

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Via Business News < The apt. The May issue of Blueprint has a great article about Arad/Miyake collaboration.

Looking for God, by Fernando Orellana, is an old General Electric radio that's constantly searching for God.

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The mechanism turns the dial of the radio either to the left or right. The microphone then captures a three-second sample of the audio signal. This signal is compared to a signal saved in the microprocessor's memory of the word "god." If the new signal is not equal to the signal in memory, the mechanism turns the dial again and the process is repeated. If the signal captured is equal to the signal in memory, the piece deduces that it has found the word "god". It then triggers an electronic bell and marks one unit on an electronic odometer. In this way, "Looking for God" tries to metaphorically replicate humanity's own pursuit of understanding the world.

At the Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, Dave Chiu and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino presented two other unconventional radios.

Commitment Radio rethinks the idea of preset stations. Moving a metal marker along the tuning strip allows you to scan for stations.

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Once a station has been found, the dial must be inserted into the radio to keep in contact with this station. Each selection leaves an indelible mark and as stations are added, a visual history of a person's radio-listening habits will develop. This also personalises the object and makes it unique for each person: the visual created by the choice of channels will vary as well along with the user's listening habits. The radio has a finite amount of space so Commitment Radio encourages deliberateness in your choices and actions.

The Stay Tuned Radio requires you to become its antenna. The device can only produce low-level static until you touch it. As long as you remain in contact with the radio, a randomly selected station will play. When you breaks contact with the radio, the signal reverts to static. Without you, radio signals are no different from static. The act of listening to the radio changes from passive to active. So to listen to that channel you have to keep touching it. Today, we listen to radio in the kitchen or in the car, as a background activity, but radio used to be an event, where families would gather to listen with full attention.

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This radio reminded me of Monika Hoinkis' research on how intimate moments can be created between a human and an object. One of the prototypes she created for her Living with Things project is a radio that you have to hold by its handle and keep close to your body to make it work (image on the right). If you leave it alone, the music will stop.

Images by Dave Chiu. Dave's and Alexandra's Flickr sets of the radio.

Stay Tuned and the Commitment Radio, along with other IDII students projects, are exhibited from April 11th-21st (noon-5pm), at the Fabbrica del Vapore, Via Procaccini, 4 in Milan.

One of the few shows i couldn't miss during the Salone del Mobile in Milan was the Ingo Maurer one which this year "introduced new talents": Random International.

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I won't insits much on Maurer's work (unless you ask me to.) Il Corriere della Sera has a video of the opening and i took some pictures of Ingo Maurer work.

Back to Flo Ortkrass, Stuart Wood and Hannes Koch (the Random International team) who were showing two version of Pixelshade (LightRigs), one is suspended from the ceiling, the other is on a stand.

These stationery versions of the Pixelroller are large 360 degree screens that forever renew themselves and can temporarily "print out" any kind of digital information on the large phosphorescent surface, when you're bored with the patterns, just draw new ones. Patterns can be any image from your holiday in greece to elaborate William Morris prints. Will be available as bespoke pieces in the January 2007.

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Pendant lights (image on the rigt) use gravity and magnetism to slowly draw every increasingly complex, organic and erratic shapes on phosphorescent tables. The pendant lights are in development as piece of furniture and will be available in the beginning of 2007.

Re-luct has a short video of Random International's pixel roller in action in Milan. Enjoy my super lame images of Random International at the Salone, Mike did much better.

At the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea show during the Salone del Mobile, Vinay Venkatraman gave me some explanations about Sharer!, a very interesting project of service he had developed with James Tichenor.

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Sharer! connects borrowers and lenders in a same neighbourhood and allows them to earn money by securely renting out objects they seldom use to others in their area. Users can upload pictures, give description and browser other people object through a website. The system works in collaboration with the postal system and the postman is the point of contact to the lender. A series of secure electronic lockers are the transit point for the object and the borrower picks up the object and deposits it back there after the loan period is up. Besides, as each item lent has been fitted with an RFID tag, the owner can follow on a website the use of the object.

After looking at the type of objects people are willing to share, the project investigates interpersonal limitations and the possibility of sharing of objects within a local community.

Video scenario on the website.

At the Fabbrica del Vapore, via Procaccini, 4 Milano.
The show runs until April 21st (noon-5pm). Closed: April 16-17.

Each time i visited the Salone del Mobile, i snubbed the Swarovsky Crystal Palace extravaganza. But when i saw the name of Hussein Chalayan among the designers invited to rethink the concept of the chandelier, i thought it was high time for me to get a chandelier overload.

Over the past few years, Crystal Palace has launched amazing chandeliers like:
- Ron Arad's Lolita which displays the SMS you send to its number,
- Tokujin Yoshioka's Stardust, its thousands of individually suspended crystals act as pixels to display an image.

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Back to Chalayan who created Repose, a conceptual installation that encompasses the feeling of movement and stillness. An aeroplane wing (that guy he sure loves aeroplanes, remember his aeroplane dress that changes shape by remote control?) balanced against the wall and the large flap of the wing reveals slowly a strip of strass crystals illuminated from behind by LEDs. The movement is linked to a digital clock set on a time loop, indicating speed with the movement of the wing flap.

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Ross Lovegrove was showing the concept car for future generations he's working on. His Aerospace is a solar powered hybrid concept car that will rely on alternative energy source. Lovegrove is collaborating with Sharp Solar Europe, Swarovski Optical laboratories, General Motors Europe, and Coggiola to bring this car to "life."

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Gaetano Pesce's Mediterraneo was quite impressive (image on the left). It looks okay-ish at first. But watch it for a moment and you can see it changing colour and move like a jellyfish. The press release claims that besides, it exudes scents, but i didn't notice any smell.

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Two last one: Each single glass drop of Science and Fiction, Basso & Brooke's chandelier, is engraved with a different design; When the light is off, Jurgen Bey's chandelier is so light and grey that it is almost non-existent. When the light is on, the crystal sparkles and the gauze around it shine in the light. He made a set of them, they are called Cinderella AM and Cinderella PM.

Some pictures. Image of the Chalayan clock by Mike Kuniavski.

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