Melting Teacups

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Artist Livia Marin's melting ceramics are haunting, as if they're trying desperately to hold on to their identity even as they dissolve into puddles, a nice merging of spilling the contents and breaking the container. They might make ya think about all the big stuff: permanence, impermanence, change, mortality...or you may just appreciate them as a really good idea.

Via MyModernMet.

A Better Pencil

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Japanese designer Akio Hayakawa has developed a fix for the wasteful feature common to all pencils—the graphite that runs the length of the entire thing, even though you can't use all of it as the pencil gets shorter and shorter. Around 20% of the graphite is eventually thrown away. In Hayakawa's Easy Pencil design, the graphite stops about two inches above the end of the pencil. Small quibble: a pencil really needs an eraser, no? These are my personal favorites.

Via Fast Co Design

Design + Nature/Part One

Artist Luke Jerram’s Glass Microbiology series is just amazing. The pieces are designed using a combination of scientific photographs and models in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, and made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch. Meditations on the global impact of each disease, the clear glass artworks challenge the familiar but artificially colored images of viruses depicted in the media. Viruses, in fact, are colorless because they are smaller than the wavelength of light.

The sculptures are held in museum collections around the world, and photographs of Jerram’s work are widely used in medical journals, text books and media stories. They’re highly regarded as useful representations of virology within the scientific community. Jerram sells the pieces in limited editions of five on his website, and also offers (surprisingly affordable) giclée prints. Too bad I discovered these too late to make my Christmas list! 

Click through for four examples, and check out Jerram's gallery for more.

Fujifilm X Series: Nontoxic Nostalgia

I am generally not a fan of nostalgic design—for one thing, it's lazy and keeps us from arriving at newer, more original solutions. (If you want to hear the other things, I rant on here.) However, I really like these Fujifilm X Series digital cameras. Much smaller and lighter than a typical DSLR, they hold onto an iconic, classic camera-ness of form while providing all the advantages of digital function. Win-win.

Masazumi Imai, the chief designer of the X series, says it much better than I could: 

“When we were little, when we went into our father’s room or our grandfather’s room, there was an important-looking camera on the shelf, and we were told not to touch it because it was valuable,” Mr. Imai said. “We wanted to create that kind of look and feel.”

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Table/Birdcage c'est Magnifique

Many people, I know, have issues with birds. They don't like the noise, the feathers, the abrupt flighty movements, the droppings, the beaks. They think about Tippi Hedren and shudder in sympathy. These people will definitely hate this table. As for myself, on the other hand, I love birds and I love this creation by Grégoire de Laforrest.  The artist used stuffed birds but I think live ones would be awesome.