Monday, 2 January 2017

Snippet * 30    Be a Bird

Celebrated Dutch Artist  M.C.Escher's optical illusions play with patterns, perspective and evolution to create mind twisting drawings. Legendary designer Alexander McQueen's FW2009 collection was inspired by Escher's work, overlaying impossible looking art on garments.
 Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Snippet * 29    A 'ShOffice'


Sited in the backyard of a row house in England,  this shed/office designed by Platform 5 Architects is a sculptural extension to the existing house. It encloses 75sqft of office space, with adjoining area used as a garden storage and a timbered protrusion in front acting as a play space for the kids.

Indeed a lovely space to write a book in (as the owner is doing)!

 Images: Platform 5 Architects

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Friday, 2 December 2016

A   W e l l - C r a f t e d  S p a c e

'A space that reflects the vibrancy of our community, celebrates small and local artisans and supports employees' innovative working styles and overall well-being - all while adhering to some of the highest sustainability standards in the world.'

This is how Etsy's new headquarters in Brooklyn are described by the company on their blog.

An installation made by New York based SOFTlabs is just outside the Etsytorium

In 2005 Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade products, was founded in Brooklyn. With the number of employees going up to 500 from 50, the company soon outgrew its headquarters located in Brooklyn's DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and felt the need to shift to a new place. However, they did not wish to move away from Brooklyn because as Justine Chibuk, Etsy's capital project manager puts it, 'staying here is a part of our brand identity'.  

A 9-floor, 200,000  sq ft office space, found a few blocks away from the original office became their new headquarters. The design by Gensler is a true reflection of Etsy's values and commitment to sustainability and crafts.

Salvaging and reusing  

The new headquarters is actually two buildings dating back to 1927 and 1949. They were joined by bridge and housed a printing plant. The history of the building lives on with it in the new design because of the sensitivity of the designers towards reusing what others would call trash. The structure was in a good shape so nothing much needed to be changed. The concrete floors were left as they were so were the green painted window frames. the weathered Alaskan Yellow Cedar water towers from the roof became a part of the interiors in the form of staircase treads. The heavy sliding doors that closed the bridges were re-purposed as conference room doors. 

Crafting all the way

Art Installations made by local designers are an integral part of the interiors

In keeping with its philosophy of boosting the local economy, Etsy wanted its own sellers to produce 50% of the furnishings used. Most of the furniture pieces and all the lighting fixtures were crafted by local studios. The interiors were designed with pieces sourced from the sellers on the site. The challenge for the design team was to ensure that these seemingly varied pieces did not create a visual cacophony. The solution was to create specific frameworks where these products could be displayed as works of art and neither would they interfere with not would get lost in the interiors. On the ground floor is an art gallery displaying works from sellers on Etsy.

An Art Gallery on the ground floor displays works of sellers on the site. It is also open to visitors

A Green Structure

Etsy had stringent ideas about ecological and health impact of the materials used. As a result everything had to comply with strict protocols. There are solar panels on the rooftop and they along with other local sources of renewable solar power will ensure 100% green energy. The company is also aiming for Petal Certification through the Living Building Challenge - an advanced sustainability certification program for the built environment.

Solar Panels on the roof are one of the many sources of green energy used in the building

An Ideal Workplace

Freedom to work wherever the employee wishes to

At the end of the day, any office should cater for the needs of the people working there. With its new headquarters Etsy has done that in ample number of ways. The 1:1 ratio of task chairs to lounge seating takes the concept of employees 'working wherever they felt like' to a whole new level. For the employees there is the green library, room for yoga and meditation, space for bike storage and a shower area to encourage the employees to use the carbon neutral travel mode.

Maker space in the office

More space is now dedicated to Etsy Labs with stations for making things to help the employees find their creative streak.

With more than 1.6 million active sellers and 35 millions items listed on the site for sale, Etsy is no doubt the ultimate go-to place for crafters and lovers of handmade goods. The design of the new headquarters  blurs the lines office space and creating an environment. The result is a great space that is proving to be a great place to work at.

Images: Courtesy Etsy & Gensler

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( ) 

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Friday, 11 November 2016

 T h e   A u t h a G r a p h 


Hina Nitesh

Ever wondered that if the earth is an Oblate Spheroid, then why is 
the world map a rectangle? Not any more…

Designer Hajime Narukawa, the winner of this year's Good Design Award at the Tokyo Design Week, has designed an equal area type map. The new map fixes the problems of distorted land and sea sizes that exist in the current format. Authagraph, that the map is called creates a map method that can be transformed from a spherical to a rectangular shape with the correct proportions.

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Snippet * 28  BLOCK Play


Alphabet inspired wooden blocks by Lena Mühl. Birds perched atop As and snuggled in Vs. 
A very simple and imaginative block set for kids offering a promise of tireless playtime.

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Snippet * 27     Folds in PAPER


Divya Agrawal 

Extraordinary talent showcased extraordinarily well!
Here are Spanish musician Gonsalo Garcia Calvo's origami creations. Poetry in paper, shall we call it?

All images: Gonsalo Garcia Calvo

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Stories   in   S_T_I_T_C_H_E_S

Welcome to the heart warming, playful world of 'Miga de Pan' by Argentine designer Adriana Torres. 
With a formal education in Architecture and Graphic Design, here's an artist who works with thread and a needle to create other worlds using fabric and crochet. Her embroideries and crocheted toys are a treat to peruse, with immersing narratives woven through.

Mythical figures and quirky animals wrestle, cycle and meditate in the midst of mountains and flowers here. There is minuteness of detail and an unmistakable feel of the modern in the treatment of each figure. 

Being someone who herself embroiders, I can't help but marvel at the variety of embroidery stitches and the lovely, unusual pastel palette Adriana uses. 

"The mind selects and nests, and with its curious and intrinsic spirit incorporated to the daily effort and an endless imagination has resulted in a collection of precious art pieces..." Adriana Torres

The details are enchanting. French knots, running stitch, stem stitches and more create Russian fairy tale like stories!

Miga de Pan's line of kidswear, toys, rugs etc is equally endearing.

Ander the Lion, Farnesio the Elephant, Oswaldo the Bunny, Mr Kuma the Bear and the very unique Coco Terráqueo the giant Armadillo - all these crocheted beauties would touch any child's heart (adults too!) 

I personally found Adrainna Torres work very inspiring, enough to put to paper an embroidery project I had conceptualized some time back. 
I will continue to follow this talented designer's newer offerings at Miga de Pan. You can too!

Images: Miga de Pan


Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  (

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