A new chess set lets you checkmate with New York City’s skyline. Developed by Skyline Chess, a company founded by two London-based architects, the game pieces capture the city’s early 1900s construction boom and the expansion of skyscraper architecture, along with more contemporary and recognizable structures. As contemporist discovered, the pieces are silhouettes of buildings like One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building, Guggenheim Museum, and traditional brownstones.
As a way to escape the stress of urban life, a dome construction company has created a mobile geodesic dome for do-it-yourself nature lovers. The Slovenia-based firm smartdome construction created a dome that users set up and dismantle themselves. The elevated dome can be set up almost anywhere, is built on a set of adjustable steel legs, and is made of prefabricated modules engineered for energy efficiency.
Arckit, an architectural model kit manufacturer, has recently added to its family of offerings a series of playful yet professional three-dimensional modeling sets designed to satisfy the needs of building professionals, as well as aspiring designers. Traditional methods of model building include “cut and glue” techniques or 3D drawings, but these kits, called Arckit Cityscape and Arckit Masterplan, provide the same tactile experience with no special skills required.
Design, art, and technology are intertwined in this new product co-developed by wallcovering company Flavor Paper and design firm UM Project. Conduct, an interactive installation at Collective Design, which is part of New York’s design festival NYCXDesign, is a wallpaper that doubles as a power source. As Fast Co.Design reported, the installation is composed of five motorized or electrical objects. If a person touches one of the copper dots on the wall, which is covered with paper that’s printed with conductive ink, they complete an electrical circuit and turn on the object.
It’s been about a year and a half since MUJI first announced their MUJI Hut, a modern prefab take on the micro-home. Costing $27,000, it’s a well-priced housing option for those with land—and it’s finally hit the market. Although the price tag may still be out of reach for most New Yorkers, those blessed with a backyard and some extra cash can easily turn this hut into a stylish extra room or office. That’s right, at just 97 square feet this little guy appears to skirt the need for a building permit, keeping well below the 121 square feet that would require plans, approval, and tedious visits to the Department of Buildings.
Spring has us thinking about greenery, with roots and shoots popping everywhere we turn–but most city dwellers don’t have a garden to grow. Enter the smart planter from LeGrow. These snappy planters fit together like LEGO blocks for plants, making our design sensibilities happy by adding a cool modular element while allowing us to add living greenery to our indoor surroundings.
Thanks to Growkit, a farming kit for beginners developed by Portugal-based startup Noocity, city dwellers short on time and space can still take a stab at gardening and harvest their own organic food (h/t Gearminded). The kit includes an entire gardening system–a Growbag irrigated planter, a Growpack with seasonal plants, potting soil, fertilizer, and step-by-step audio instructions–all delivered right to your doorstep.
This fun product from the innovative design studio Nimuno takes our childhood LEGO obsession to a whole new level. Nimuno Loops are a flexible and cuttable plastic equipped with a block-friendly top surface and a reusable adhesive backing, allowing you to make any surface LEGO compatible.
As busy New Yorkers, we always welcome new products that help fill our interiors with lovely greenery while also making it easier for us to care for our leafy friends. Boskke, a design company known for their innovative planting products, recently introduced to the market Cube, a self-watering plastic planter that’s perfect for the plant-loving urbanite. Not only is this compact pot self-watering, it’s also fully transparent, integrating the look of earthy soil into your home decor.
Hopefully, you’re one of the many who plan on taking part in New York’s citywide book club. But even if you aren’t, what better way to show your love for books and this fantastic city than getting your hands on these beautifully designed bookmarks from Another Studio? Laser-cut from stainless steel, “City Clips” is a fun series that immortalizes four of the Big Apples’s most famous skyscrapers in a lilliputian scale 5,000 times smaller than the real thing.
If you don’t have your nonna cooking for you, good news is here. Slow cooking, which first appeared kitchens in the 1950s, has been redesigned for a new generation of chefs. The updated crock pot, or “Oliver” as it’s been named, uses a new setup that releases ingredients slowly and churns out better results than the brown mush we’ve all come to expect from the gadgets.
While smart home technology includes everything from turning on the heat to monitoring air quality, the simple job of a doorbell has been oddly overlooked until the arrival of Ding. A collaborative effort between the London-based startup and creative consultancy MAP (an arm of the industrial design studio Barber & Osgerby), the smart doorbell is a three-part system made up of an exterior button, indoor Wifi speaker (cleverly named Chime), and a corresponding iPhone app. When visitors come to the door, Chime functions as a normal doorbell, but the app allows residents to communicate with whomever is at the door remotely.
Spending time outdoors is a beautiful thing, however, Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors. What’s more is that the air we breathe inside can be five times more polluted than what’s outside. Indeed, indoor air can harbor everything from pollen to pet dander and dust, to more harmful things like mold, bacteria and viruses. While plenty of air filters have been designed to catch these pollutants, none of them have the ability to eliminate them—until now. Molekule is being called the first “molecular” air purifier, and it uses nano-technology to completely eliminate airborne contaminants.
For many New Yorkers, the after-dinner ritual of loading up the dishwasher is pure fantasy. But while we’re stuck scrubbing away in our under-sized sinks, this fun dish rack from the Whitney museum’s gift shop is a nice reminder as to why we make the compromises we do. The flexible 3D model of Midtown Manhattan comes from Italian designer Luca Nichetto, who was inspired by the scene in the 2010 movie “Inception” where NYC folds into itself “like rubber.”
NYC apartments often have irregular layouts and odd corners, and finding pre-made furniture that will fit nicely can often be a lofty task. As such, the founders of Be-elastic have designed an innovative furniture solution called SNAP to solve this problem. The SNAP assembly system is comprised of a simple snapping mechanism that allows users to design and assemble tables, stools, or shelving using whatever material they can find. The team has already experimented with a variety of items, creating tables from dart boards, vintage doors, and even bicycle wheels. But you can use your own design savvy to decide the color and number of legs your item requires.