Welcome to eye candy, Reflow's top finds in the space of design, tech and sustainability. This week we take a look at sculptures rooted in childhood nostalgia, awe inspiring 3D printed shells for homeless hermit crabs and the breakthrough rise of eerie, sentient, robot dogs.

Thomas Barger

In Thomas Barger’s most recent collection, he reflects on the ideas of his childhood with a fond nostalgia for “faith, family and farming”. Growing up on a small farm, studying architecture in Illinois and moving to New York City not long after graduation, set the foundations for Barger to explore a complex range of themes in his work. With a uniquely innocent playfulness, he explores sustainability, functionality and human excess in an eye-catching way.

He obsessively memorises local municipal and commercial recycling schedules and on pickup days, heads out ahead of trucks grabbing bags of shredded paper and other bits and bobs which he blends into a pulp and applies to IKEA furniture. The paper pulp of the Charles chairs, for example, are sourced from recycled paper documents left outside West Village Police Department. Frames are either recycled from existing recognisable chair designs or one of his own making. Other works are carved out of large foam pieces found in the “free stuff” section on Craigslist.

The final result is a range of furniture that is strikingly similar to something you would find in a retro animation or stop motion claymation. Suggestive titles, primary hues and cartoonish forms all come together in a bizarre but perfectly functional set of designs. Barger describes his work as “eco-friendly but also economical”. It’s an incredible personal and DIY approach that really resonates with our team. His work is that rare combination of highly imaginative, trippy design with a foundation of sustainability that urges his audience to question prevailing manufacturing processes.

Aki Inomata

Aki Inomata’s exhibition “Significant Others” explores the relationship between humans and other species. Inspired by science historian Donna Haraway, she has showcased works like our favourite “Why Not Hand Over a Shelter to Hermit Crabs?”.

It’s a body of work that’s in keeping with a bunch of 3D printing projects that aim to restore the quality of life for wounded or damaged organisms. We sometimes refer to this as “Pawsthetics”, given that the first of these heart melting projects were often directed at unfortunate, loveable, domesticated pets like Sonic the Bionic or Derby the dog In this eye catching gallery of work, Inomata uses SLS 3D printing to create shells for hermit crabs that also contain incredibly detailed city skylines or recognisable public buildings, such as chapels or windmills. In these self-described “interspecies collaborations”, profound questions are raised about the realities of life on earth whilst also employing humour to grab our attention.

For this project, she had hermit crabs move into shells that were customised to the creatures anatomy. Using CT scanning and 3D printing she maps out the transformation of the hermit crab. This technology unlocks freedom in design yet ensures reliability of material choice. A bizarre take on the pimp my ride format with a strong ecological focus, we imagine these crabs are the talk of the town.

Jeong Greem

For Korean based object designer Jeong Greem, creating distinct showcases of the mundane are central to her vision. We recently stumbled upon images of her Mono furniture collection. Here, she uses silicone foam tubes, in a range of bold colours and unusual forms to create single-line pieces like benches, chairs tables and lamps.

While the material itself is considered somewhat boring and commonplace, to Greem this material represented the potential for endless variations in design. Her goal is to create interactive objects that stimulate our innate curiosity and creativity, not unlike Picasso’s light drawings.

This is also an artist that focuses on repurposing material in the most captivating, joyful manner. It’s a circular geared creative process. Greem’s choice of colours is also something that lands with our creative team, giving us some inspiration for our next palette release. Stay tuned ;)

Warren & Laetitia

Friends and of Reflow collaborators, Warren and Laetitia have released their new collection, the Mimo range. It consists of 3D printed half-vases and is designed to serve as an extension to reusable food jars to transform them into a variety of colourful, adaptable, functional objects.

For this range, Warren & Laetitia source their sustainable materials from Reflow.Their work focuses on the everyday objects that populate our homes and workplaces with a complete dedication to sustainability, repurposing, modularity and adjustability. These models can be adapted, for instance, to your old jam jars.

Their work is also imbued with a sense of warmth and calm that is reflected in their close design bond. Shop these designs today!

The Robot Dog: Solo 8

This is a story that has been steadily evolving over the past few years. Whether you’re optimistic about a future where robot dogs herd sheep on our hills or find the youtube videos of teams of these fellas opening doors or withstanding blows from hockey sticks, inherently creepy and reminiscent of Skynet, they are inevitably coming to a town near you. In honour of Boston Dynamics releasing their automated pooch design to the public, Reflow immediately began to look for low cost, easy and printable options. We found one. Researchers from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have designed and 3D printed and open-sourced quadruped robot dog called the “Solo 8”. It’s definitely time to clear the print queue when we get the chance. Solo 8 can be consistently upgraded and modified using additive manufacturing. This could allow research and development teams with limited budgets, to continue innovating and improving their mechanical dog designs for a range of functions. Black Mirror or Man’s best friend 2.0. You decide.

Tegan

Social Media Strategist
Plugged into the matrix, ex professional ballerina, aspiring trivia samurai and Margaret Atwood fangirl