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9 Examples of Smart Design That Will Blow Your Mind

Regardless of your definition of design, we can almost all agree on smart design when we see it. Whether it’s in the form of a car that’s using less to create more, an innovative community using natural resources to inspire change or an artistic movement that’s bringing attention to the causes that need it most, to all of us at DesignGood, smart design describes anything that’s using creativity to make something better than it was before.

Here are nine of our favorite examples of smart design in all forms:

1. Elio Motors

If walking, biking or public transportation aren’t realistic options for you, there’s now an eco-friendly, inexpensive way to drive a car. Meet Elio – the three-wheeled car that costs less than $7,000 and can go 672 miles on a single tank of gas. Elio was created with commuters in mind, and the half-car half-motorcycle design allows for only one, eco-friendly passenger. If car-pooling isn’t an option, this is your next best bet.

2. Form Maker

Looking to decorate your home without filling up a landfill with waste from mass market, cheaply made furniture? Form Maker, a small, Shanghai-based homeware business, creates original cardboard designs out of “Re-board” – cardboard that’s 100 percent recycled and both fire- and moisture-resistant. All pieces are also handmade and reasonably priced.

3. Macaw

Have you ever had a great idea for a site or blog but lacked the money to pay a developer or the skills to do it yourself? Enter Macaw – a new, very smart software program that lets you use a visual editing tool to build your own site while Macaw writes the code. If you’re a visual person who lacks high-tech skills, this genius program is about to change everything for you, and is something we actually can’t believe didn’t already exist.

Still need help? Contact DesignGood Studio – we’d be glad to help!

4. TECHDWELL Axia™ micro-homes

The term “micro-home” might not mean much to you now, but it could mean a decrease in the homeless population and a better life for many in the future. Axia™ micro-homes are small, cleverly designed homes made of recycled and recyclable materials. They take two-four days to assemble, are customizable and priced to accommodate low-income earners who may have trouble finding housing otherwise (the homes start at $12,500). TECHDWELL is also working with the mayor of Portland, Ore., on a concept of housing communities for the city’s homeless.

5. Le Comptoir Général

Can you call an artistic community an example of design? We think so. Based in the 10th Arrondissement neighborhood of Paris, Le Comptoir Général is a bar, secondhand store, restaurant, record label and gallery with a mission to “protect, produce and broadcast…the creativity that springs in poor or marginalized places all over the world.” Thanks to blogs and travel guides, Le Comptoir has become a destination for a certain type of Parisian tourist, which has led to an increased following, and an increased awareness for the causes supported by Le Comptoir Général. A creative space drawing awareness to issues through the power of art, design and the international community? Now that’s well-designed idea.

Photo by D Watterson III

6. Rotating rooms by nextoffice

Temperatures in Tehran, Iran, fluctuate widely, from lows that hover around the freezing mark in January to summer highs around 99 Fahrenheit. This dramatic change in weather sparked the team at nextoffice to think about how buildings could better accommodate their inhabitants. With that in mind, nextoffice designed something new at Sharifi-Ha House – three rooms that rotate 90 degrees and allow for open terraces in summer and turn inwards to keep the house warm in winter. We’ve officially entered the future.

7. Homeless Fonts

What if every time you chose a font, you were also choosing a message? If you’re a designer, that could be a pretty powerful tool. That’s the idea behind Homeless Fonts – an Arrels Foundation Initiative that creates typefaces from the handwriting of the homeless and urges brands and corporations to use them in their marketing. Each font is accompanied by a photo and the story of its owner and can easily be purchased online. Talk about clear messaging.

8. Vulkan Beehive by Snøhetta

It’s no secret that bee populations in the United States and some parts of Europe are declining. The trouble is that a third of the world’s food production depends on bees, and scientists aren’t sure why their numbers are dwindling. Enter Snøhetta – an architecture design firm in Oslo that created a bee colony that now lives on the roof of an upscale grocery store in the middle of the city. While the bees make honey, Oslo residents can track their activities online, all while information about bees and their importance is relayed to the public.

Photo by Morten Brakestad

9. Twist Tubes

Whether you’re obsessed with organization or just crave a well-designed storage solution, you’re going to want to see Jeffrey Bean’s “revolutionary” Twist Tubes. The images of these stackable, twistable small-storage tubes really speak for themselves. Support the project via the Twist Tubes Kickstarter, which promises to reinvest 5 percent of profits back to Kickstarter in true entrepreneurial spirit.

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