Sometimes, form suggests function, even when that form is broken.

In 2003, Adam Podlaski took his pile of damaged skateboards and brought them to his brother with a demand: make something of them!

With his degree in industrial design from Philadelphia University, Jason Podlaski saw quickly that all of the decks had snapped in one of two ways: either directly in half, or at the one-third mark.

These shapes suggested to him a seat and legs of a chair. And so deckstools were born.

Using an old skateboard truck — the part that holds the wheels — as a connector, Podlaski fashions a half-deck into the stool seat, and four of the longer pieces into legs.

Combined with the zealous effort skaters put into customizing their boards, this makes each piece of furniture completely unique.

You can select your one-of-a-kind stool from the website gallery and snag it for $199.

Recently, Jason and Adam teamed up with Victor Perez of sk8lamps, and show and offer their products at his Fishtown workshop and gallery.

Some new product offerings are on display there, such as the deckbench, and lid cushions that sit atop the wooden stool seats.

Additional collaborations with Perez, who specializes in lamps created from old boards, are forthcoming in 2011.

To Slick or Not Too Slick?

A client recently paid for an advertorial (“special advertising section”) in a national publication.

Included with the placement price was design & layout of the 4 page piece.

The idea was — as it usually is with these segments — for the in-house art department to use our photos and logos to create a layout that was in-line rest of the magazine, so that readers would not simply skip over the section on their way to the next article.

However, when the proof came back, my clients hated it. And I had to agree.

It looked… mostly… blah.


Whether or not it looked like an article in the rest of the magazine (and I don’t believe it did — I’m not convinced it wasn’t thrown together by a first-year college intern), it was lacking in design.

It did not intrigue, fascinate or sell!

Although the final art deadline was within 24 hours, I volunteered to redesign the piece.

Clients = happy.

In other words: advertising should be slick.

Hardwood Cycles

Renovo R4Ran into these gorgeously sleek bicycles with frames made of wood! And they are not just for novelty.

Apparently there are many benefits to these naturally sexy bikes, including strength, durability, weight (or lack thereof) and shock absorption.

Whereas in the past wood frames were only for show, these wonderfully performing frames are possible because of advances in adhesives and computer-aided machining.

Critics and users have put them on par with carbon-fiber vehicles.

From the Renovo Hardwood Bicycle website:

The real beauty of a Renovo frame is the ride, the looks are just a bonus.

Wood, nature’s carbon fiber, has unique engineering properties that promise superior ride quality and durability compared to man-made materials, and…it’s sustainable. When the right wood is combined with an array of advanced technologies, it becomes a high performance material that will forever change your understanding of ‘wood’.

Renovo R4 frameThe frames run from $950 to $2,500, which is well within normal pricing for high-end bikes.


[Via Core77]

Residual Chance

I was recently reminded of the saying, “Luck is the residue of design.”  This quote* was the title of a lecture given in the 1950’s by Branch Rickey, former Major League Baseball executive. He was most famous for initiating the integration of major league sports by signing Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers in 1947.

I am a believer in this saying. How to put the concept to use is another question.

One can pretty easily design to have bad luck. For example: get drunk at a bar and drive home while speeding. High chance of bad luck finding you, in one of a myriad of ways.

Good luck is not quite so easy to run into. We don’t know in advance what juxtapositions will be useful to us, and it’s certainly not only high-minded, “good angel” decisions that allow for fortunate chance meetings or ideas. 

My current best  guess on how to design for good luck is to follow your own instincts. Make each decision your own, and make sure you are doing what you truly want to be doing, at every single moment over which you have control.

That way your residue trail will be something you can appreciate and be proud of.

*It seems the full title is actually “Luck is the Residue of Opportunity and Design,” which is a bit more obvious but less interesting.