This week in design: Floating orchestras, Mark Shuttleworth talks Ubuntu

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Looking to forms of functional design, we discover clocks that tell stories, orchestras that float, fashion that becomes food, bacteria that becomes fashion and a lamp that doubles up as a miniature greenhouse.

Also see what maverick entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth has to say about his open source Ubuntu software project.

Story telling

Story Time by Atelier NL with Laikingland is a time piece that doesn’t tell the time but tells a story as a sequence of events. By questioning our perceptions of time, Story Time encourages clock-watchers to look at time in a different way. Story Time is made in corian and glass with ribbon, stainless steel, a motor and custom electronics.

Floating orchestra

The Floating Orchestra by London-based Poietic Studio is a musical instrument of a different variety. Nineteen levitating balls are kept in the air with an iPhone app that puts the user in the role of “supernatural conductor”. Each ball becomes an orchestral instrument that increases in volume as it physically rises. The height of the balls is determined by the app that allows users to adjust the sounds, height and angle of the raising balls.

Green as glass

Czech designer Kristýna Pojerová’s Glasshouse is a little greenhouse inside a functional pendant lamp. It’s the ideal way to grow fresh herbs in an urban kitchen. The herbs are planted along the inside wall of the glass lamp, around the central opening. The opening allows for the passage of light via an electrical light suspended above the Glasshouse. This also ensures that the plants receive adequate ventilation to enhance this microclimate.

Cultivated couture

How about growing high-end fashion in your kitchen? Micro-Nutrient Couture by London-based designer Emily Crane is a form of “tailored gastronomy” that pushes the boundaries of fashion, food, science and materiality.

Through a range of experiments that include cooking, blending, forming and culturing Crane creates food silhouettes that can be worn as clothing.
The materials used for creating this couture include gelatine, kappa carrageenan, agar-agar sea vegetables, water, natural flavour extracts, glycerine, food colouring and lusters.

Knitting with bacteria

The Textured Self, a project by multidisciplinary designer Sonja Bäumel, takes the bacteria membrane from individual skin and the surrounding environment, and turns it into a hand-knitted and crocheted silhouette.

The silhouette shows the amount, colour and structure of the bacteria found on specific parts of Bäumel’s body and in her environment on a given day.

After being scientifically documented, researched and analysed, the scientific data is interpreted into a knitted and crocheted oversized body silhouette.

Mark Shuttleworth
South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth talks about the Ubuntu Project, a free, open source Linux-based operating system.

He tells of the challenges in designing a visual language for a dual interface for use by corporate and enterprise professionals, as well as passionate amateurs. While useability and a rich user experience is important, Shuttleworth emphasises that content is king.

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