In 1957 the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar was a spry three years young; that same year, Levi’s original 1873 patent for riveted denim work pants — the first jeans — was already an octogenarian. But that doesn’t mean those jeans didn’t love to rock ‘n’ roll. As part of a series paying tribute to America’s vintage Hot Rod culture, this spring Levi’s is rolling out one-off garments and items that would love to take your pink slip at the drag strip.
Souped up threads and a mean music machine
This is the incredible technology you're looking for
Want to use simple hand gestures to move around robots, control iTunes, play video games and way, way more without spending an entire lunar cycle on Dagobah bunking with a rambunctious green midget? The MYO gesture control armband ($149) is the answer.
True British Muscle
Aston Martin recently decided that being one of the most prestigious and sexiest car makers on the planet wasn’t enough. They needed to be audacious. Their execution of this? Surgically transplanting the 6.0-liter 510 hp V12 from the DBS into their smallest and lightest offering, the Vantage. The Carbon Black edition adds carbon-fiber side strakes, lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, piano black accents and gloss black painted wheels, which convey the same kind of ballsy aggression as the drivetrain underneath that extruded aluminum body. Read on for a video and photo essay of this Brit stunner.
The trailer that inspired the AirStream
We’re all familiar with the iconic design of Airstream trailers. But what about the name Hawley Bowlus? He was the designer and builder of the Spirit of St. Louis — the record-breaking plane used by Lindberg to fly non-stop across Atlantic Ocean. But a few years later in 1934, he also created the forebear of the AirStream trailer, a stunning piece of technically advanced machinery dubbed the Hawley Bowlus Road Chief. Today, the classic Road Chief is reborn as a stunner with all the modern trappings.
The Prohibition Kit by Francesco Morackini is provocative project that’s designed to help home hoochers mitigate the risk of discovery by “camouflaging” a small-scale still as everyday kitchen objects. Specifically, the all-copper setup splits into a watering can, fondue stove, cooking pot and fruit bowl while not in use for home-made lightning.
This faucet really blows
There are more inefficient and grosser routines in life, but washing and drying our hands has that certain je ne sais quoi — the feeling that there must be a more sensible, genius solution on tap somewhere. The genius solution comes courtesy of the folks at Dyson; their Occam’s Razor solution is the new Dyson Airblade Tap (call to discuss pricing), a hyper-efficient washer/dryer faucet combo.
Puts your igloo to shame
February 5 marks the official opening of the new Halley VI
Minnesota Antarctic Research Station, which replaces the 20-year-old (you guessed it) Halley V. Creating the new home of the British Antarctic Survey was a difficult project given the unique (a.k.a. wicked cold) weather on the southern-most continent. The end product is something straight out of science fiction.
Million Dollar Baby (maker)
Though most movies don’t cause the viewer to think about camera angles, lighting or color tone, there are some (Star Trek, Eagle Eye, Fast & Furious) with sequences and scenes that leave you wondering “How the hell did they shoot that?” This is how the hell: Chase Car Inc. We had a chance to check out their matte-black, modded out Porsche Panamera Turbo, replete with a full camera crane. Needless to say, we smiled for the camera.
Fly... or die
After adding his distinctive touch to typical consumer products like the Pentax K-01, Australian designer Marc Newson has now made the logical leap to… jetpacks? That’s right. Newson’s Body Jet is made from a carbon fiber shell and features all of the elements you’d need to make strapping a rocket to your back even remotely feasible: landing gear that retracts during flight, gyroscopic controls for steering and safety straps (…fine).
Fortress of Solid-tude
Looking to build a man-cave resembling something out of the Applied Sciences section of Wayne Enterprises? While undoubtedly Batman’s bivouac of choice, the Concrete Canvas Shelter (~$30,000+) is also an incredible achievement in British ingenuity and instant accommodations. Available in both 270- and 580-square foot models, these buildings-in-a-bag can be constructed by two people in under an hour and become semi-permanent structures in just one day. Simply unfurl, inflate and douse the shell with anything this side of sewage, and you have a weatherproof and insulated shelter ready for refuge.
50 mph on a skateboard, brah
If what you know about skateboarding is huge verts, Vans shoes, or longboarders on college campuses, then the Loaded Boards Chubby Unicorn deck ($360) and the whole downhill/freeride movement will blow your mind. Somewhere between snowboarding and street luging, this fun activity involves crazy talented and insanely balanced (maybe not mentally) human beings flying down streets at 50 mph, pre-drifting into turns and emasculating “play it safe” onlookers the whole way.
After 15 years, it's finally time for a wardrobe change
The final frontier of space — and the technology required to get there — once represented the pinnacle of innovation. Then stagnation (and budget cuts) set in. The core design of the Space Shuttle was developed in the late 70s, several years before the development of Apple’s Lisa computer and Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and served for three decades before officially retiring in 2011.
Similarly, the iconic Spacesuit designed to protect our fragile forms in the endless vacuum hasn’t received a major update since 1998, the same year Google was founded, Bill got naughty in the Oval Office and Céline Dion’s My Heart Will Go On was making our collective ears bleed. While advancements in the spaceship industry have shifted to the private sector, the space agency has finally shared its own internal plans for the next generation spacesuit, dubbed the NASA Z-1.
12 gifts for the aesthete
They speak to Adobe software like a petulant brother, organize bookshelves by color for “fun” and fill photo albums with typefaces. They find calm through arranging objects in right angles (whether it’s their property or not) and take pleasure knowing that they’ll always notice the details we philistines ignore. “They” are designers of course, that…
Drink it all in
The plastic pitcher currently filtering water in your fridge is a far greener way to stay hydrated than pounding down bottles, but it stills leaves plenty to be desired — both in terms of form and function. Its tupperware aesthetic isn’t exactly ready for the bright lights of the dinner table, and if you fill…
The fastest sailboat in the world
One look at the Sailrocket 2 shows that your teacher wasn’t full of s**t when he said physics can be fun. This 600-pound carbon sailing vessel is truly a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its British sailing team (and the badass sailor that steers it). Reaching a certified speed of 54.08 knots (62.2…
It's not Jarvis...yet
Oakley’s Airwave goggles are a new breed of advanced snow sport eyewear equipped with a heads up display that simulates viewing a 14-inch screen from five feet away when a user looks in the lower right corner of their peripheral vision. That description sounds confusing, but the important thing to remember is that the technology…
Like a brick through a plate glass window
And so James Bond reluctantly retires his Beretta 418, in .25 ACP — and takes up the Walther Polizeipistole Kurz (police pistol, short) as his issued weapon, in both the original novel and the movie. Ian Fleming had Bond’s original Beretta catch in his holster in From Russia, With Love ; but in 1956 he…
Knockout On Wood
Upstart Allied Maker is one of those stories we love exposing. All the elements are right. An individual pursuing a passion, an obsession with making things and a handsome product. Craftsmanship. The most overused word in recent history, but we’re saying it anyway. The young man behind Allied Maker is self-taught woodworker Ryden Rizzo. But…
If you’re lucky enough to visit the Limeys in London, you’ll need a memento to remember all the rare roast beef, English IPAs and au naturel smiles. Forego the last minute airport tchotchkes and get the far more clever MONUminis by Another Studio (~$24). These tiny etched stainless steel pieces lock and fold together to…
You Are My Sunshine
The Boy Scouts of America’s motto is simply “Be prepared”. They’re spot on: failing to do so can lead to some seriously bad outcomes when true disaster strikes. The AE Light SolarMine Emergency Lantern ($115) is made to give you light in exactly that unfortunate occasion, and having proved itself during Japan’s horrific 2011 earthquake…
The humble business card is an antiquated yet necessary tool of business communication. Their simple swapping is a time honored tradition the world over, and not a form of etiquette that is likely to disappear. But in today’s digital world, taking the time to transfer those vitals to a useful place seems downright tedious. MOO…
Carve the aqua apex
If sporting the three-pointed star on land just isn’t enough for you, aim your vehicular aspirations to the water. Mercedes-Benz’s plans to broaden their design chops to more than just cars are officially under way, mimicking Porsche-like endeavors. Mercedes and U.K.-based Silver Arrows Marine have partnered to create the high-end, 46-foot Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow of…
Tron de France
Want a cycling game-changer? You’ve got it. The Cannondale CERV by Priority Designs is a concept bike that adapts to a constantly changing riding environment. Typically, the rider’s body has to compensate for such changes, but the CERV has a “dynamically adjustable headset” that moves both vertically and horizontally during riding. For example, in a…
Improving on Edison’s original incandescent light bulb design has been a mixed bag — the soft-serve CFLs save energy but cast a bluish cadaver pallor and require a HazMat response to clean up mercury released if they break. A different, albeit expensive, approach to energy efficiency comes in the Switch LED light bulb. Continues after…
The deep end
Most landlocked divers recall with a shudder the pool sessions that were required to learn skills for open water certification. Often conducted in an over-chlorinated high school pool, they’re more a rite of passage than an inspiration. Well, for divers in Brussels, Belgium, pool sessions have a whole different meaning thanks to John Beernaerts’ NEMO33,…
Sayonara helmet hair.
Helmets save lives at the “expense” of what some misguided cyclists think of as “looking cool”. They’re also bulky, and a pain to schlep once the ride is over. Two female Swedish design students spent seven years researching crash data and over $10 million developing a new form of head protection that avoids both of…
How considered design is impacting the future of the beautiful game
Everybody knows Nike. How could you not? The global sportswear company is ubiquitous, thanks to decades of developing gear and sponsoring athletes competing in every sport imaginable (seriously, they even sponsor Curling). But while marketing savvy has unquestionably assured the brand limitless time in the spotlight — there’s an equally innovative half to Nike’s success…
Sledge hammer, hoe, crow bar, hook, wire cutter, nail puller. They sound like the members of a punkrock metal band, but sorry, this isn’t an album review. Those tools make up the individual components of a prototype tool that could save your life. A strictly utilitarian tool of survival, it has the makings of a…
Depending on where your trivia strengths reside, there’s a good chance you might have read the title of this article in your RSS or Twitter feed as either the former name of JFK Airport, a Prohibition-era movie starring Big Boi, or an Allman Brothers album. But you, good sir, would be incorrect because today’s Design…