A Spark of Genius.

Over the last few years there has been a steady growth in home automation, and smartphone connected solutions to help you control energy waste in your home. For the most part while innovative, they have been cost prohibitive. If I were to replace every lightbulb in my home with GE’s smart bulbs I would drop about 1800 bucks on them, and when the bulb goes in a few years I have to replace it.


This KickStarter solution from Scot Herbst is something that I can get behind because it turns any light socket in your house into a smartphone controlled one. The Spark Socket runs $59.00 dollars, is Wifi enabled, controlled by your smartphone, and allows you to manage the lighting in your home from anywhere in the world. Spark goes beyond simply turning lights on and off though. The smartphone app is designed to allow you program the lights to do thins like blink when you receive an email, or slowly fade up to function as a gentle alarm clock.

One thing that I love about this product though, is the practicality of the design itself. The fact that it removes the lightbulb from the solution is brilliant. (no pun intended) By removing the bulb, you open the door to using any lightbulb in any lamp for starters. Beyond that though, you open the door to any other kind of controller that can be screwed into the socket. This opens the door to a larger audience of devices that could be controlled by your phone from anywhere, at any time.

Brionvega Algol Portable TV. A Classic Reborn.

As anyone who reads my posts will attest, I am a design geek, and I do love my media gadgets. This morning I came across the Brionvega Algol portable TV, which has been updated and reissued for the 21st century. I remember seeing this TV set back in the 70’s and thinking how cool it was then with its bright orange case, chrome details, and amazing 8 inch black and white screen. Algol today combines new technologies with the nostalgic memories of a classic design, and memories of portability.

The original design by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso Algol was quirky with a  bright orange color, and upturned nose. Today’s version looks like the original but is offered in a bright grass green instead of orange. It has the same chrome handle, rounded edges and retro styling that made the original an instant classic. In a period of silver black ginormous flat screen  TVs Algol is a breath of fresh air.

The new set features a 10 inch PAL color screen, with a hyper band OTA tuner, multi-function remote, and an aluminum case. To bad it doesn’t have Wifi, for sharing with your home computer/media library. The Algol is being produced in a Limited Edition run, with a total of 199 pieces in military green with a rubberised matte finish. Because of the limited run, the set will cost you 2500.00 Euro. That breaks down to $3500.00.
The original design is exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Arts.

About the designers

Marco Zanuso was born in Milan in 1916 and died in 2001. He acted as architect, designer and town planner and graduated in 1939 in architecture.



The German Richard Sapper, living in Italy, is one of the most significant designers and university professors of the past 30 years.

Behold the iToilet.

Apple has a funny way of subtly influencing the industrial design world with the products it releases. I doubt the intention of the designer of the Monolith toilet for Geberit was to create the iToilet, but like it or not, this really does look like an iPhone 4. That black glass slab, banded in brushed aluminum while not a direct knock off, definitely bares a stricking resemblance to John Ive’s masterpiece from Cupertino. If it had an illuminated touch screen face, it really would be the iToilet. I wonder if Steve Jobs has one of these in his house?

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Norwegian Wood.

Sometimes a new twist on an age-old product is just what the world needs, and leave it to the Scandinavians to take an object so steeped in Italian culture, and subtly update it in a new and unique way.

The Linje Espressomaker is a prototype originally created by Husby, Audun Grimstad, Åsne Kydland and Mariko Kurioka Rohde as an assignment for their design school. Thinking about what distinguishes Scandinavia, they decided to design the machine using wood. A natural choice for them. The result is this strikingly beautiful espresso machine that is not only a wonderful, functional design, but an object that is softened by the choice of materials used to produce it.

For a complete read on the design and construction process, go here.