February 26, 2009

Stars and Ripe

So I've been exploring Chinatown, which is adjacent to our new office. On my stroll today I came across the fruit stand that was selling star fruit...so I bought some. I didn't know how to pick out a ripe one so I just chose a few, ranging from green to yellow. After the fact, I found someone’s blog post about star fruit that tells you how to tell when this winter fruit is ripe. The photos are nice, too, what a cool looking fruit!



Engineering + Furniture = Awesome

Have you ever heard of the Fletcher Capstan Table design? I have yet to see another table (or any other type of furniture design, for that matter) with engineering that's as complex and cool as this one! Check out the video below:

- Shelby

Paper ‘Cutting Edge’

The ‘Wonder Cabinet’ event last weekend was very cool and showcased some of freshest ventures in the arts and sciences. I came away from it with a new favorite artist in Tara Donovan and a deeper appreciation of the origins and effects of kindergarten as presented by Norman Brosterman. But the main attraction for me was the tag-team talk about the intersections of paper folding and conductive materials.

Matt Shlian and Max Shtein (there’s a vaudeville shtick potential in this pairing) did not disappoint as they discussed new paper engineering concepts in the renewable energy field with their collaboration on flexible solar cell designs. Matt also showed us the work of a few other paper folders who covered the spectrum- from a microscopic stent for closed arteries, to huge emergency shelters and everything in between.

I was lucky enough to have Matt visit my pop-up class this week to present his work in person. (He even came prepared with the actual paper models for everyone to handle after the slideshow!) Since he is the only other known teacher of paper engineering at the university level I was eager to have him at our critique of my student’s second pop-up assignment. It is always great to get a fresh pair of eyes on the work and Matt was able to get the kids very engaged in discussing their pop-ups. It was a real pleasure hosting him.

It was great to finally meet him in person, and I know we can expect some very interesting things from this guy in the future. So keep an eye on Matt Shlian.

- Kyle

February 24, 2009

Block Rockin' Beats

This boom-box could shake the entire city just stomping into town!

I so need one of these. - MR

February 20, 2009

Cool toys and a familiar book...

I've really been enjoying articles and videos on the website Grand-Illusions.com lately, especially the videos of Tim showing off his discoveries in the toy realm. There are some really cool toys and gadgets out there - have you ever seen the Mirage illusion?

The video on this page also caught me by surprise, because it features a familiar pop-up book from this studio!

- Shelby



This week I found some really cool photographs by Peter Menzel, picturing families around the world with a week's worth of their groceries.

It's pretty interesting to see what people are eating, how much packaging is used, and how much it costs. The family from Italy had a lot of bread compared to the family from Ecuador having a lot of bananas.

It's also nice to know these people were willing to let someone into their house for art's sake.


- Simon

Time Traveling

Yes. That is correct. I will be time traveling into the future this coming Monday. 13 hours into the future. But where will remain a secret until... next week when I blog from the near future. Stupendous!


Wonder Cabinet

There is a great event happening in Manhattan this Saturday, February 21, at the Cantor Film Center on the NYU campus.

The theme of the day will be ‘Wonder Cabinet’ which harkens back to a time before staid museums enticed the masses and eccentric people displayed their personal collections of rarities and oddities. Inside those display cases of old; one could find scientific specimens mixed with theatrical props, objects with fascinating descriptions that defied proper explanation and various items that blurred the line between fact and fiction. It is this commingling of science and art that is the central thread of the eight talks to be given on Saturday. I am most excited for a presentation wedged between literary heavyweight, Jonathan Lethem and innovative director, Bob Sabiston by an interesting paper engineer named Matt Shlian.

Matt is taking a break from his work in Michigan with Max Shtein where they are finding how complex designs in paper can be reduced to the nanoscale or incorporated into tomorrow’s energy saving materials. When he is not exploring the intersection of paper folding and protein folding, Matt can be found teaching a class on paper engineering in one of the only other university courses in the country.

‘Wonder Cabinet’ is curated by Lawrence Weschler and hosted by The New York Institute for the Humanities and the Humanities Initiative. This all day affair is free and open to the public, so stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

More detailed information including directions, a detailed schedule and presenter bios can be found here.

- Kyle

February 16, 2009


This is a music video for the band the Fleet Foxes - the song is called White Winter Hymnal. It uses stop motion Claymation and a neat concept for a time machine interface. If you like this song you should go out and buy the album.


Hello Hollow Face

Check out this cool optical illusion you can print out and put together, called a "hollow face" illusion. When the effect is working, it seems as though the dragon's eyes follow you around the room - so cool (and a little creepy)!

There is a video on the site showing the effect, if you want to see it before you make one.


I made one for the studio once long ago...he's still around!

- Shelby

Popup Workshop 2.0

Shawn Sheehy just tipped me off to a fun free pop-up design program called Popup Workshop. The creator is a woman named Sue Hendrix who developed this software as part of her doctoral work at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her bio shares that her current work is in the area of children's technology and focuses on tools to help children design their own pop-up books and cards, and on effects on spatial and mathematical reasoning in this activity.
Sue combines a simple interface where you design your pop-up card with a wonderful 3D viewer where you can test your virtual card to see how it will perform. Now don’t think that the Popup Workshop is just for kids as I downloaded the software, dove into the Pop-Up Editor and printed and built my little “frog” face in under ten minutes.

Click here to go to the Popup Workshop webpage and learn how you too can develop your own masterpieces.

- Kyle

February 14, 2009

Pink Townhouses Rock!

While researching for a top secret project here in the studio I came across one of my favorite toys as a kid, Barbie's Townhouse! I have to tell you, mine had different colors and background art than in the picture. But nonetheless you get the idea. Three glorious stories complete with elevator. I also had some furniture to put in the house! It was such an awesome toy for all my Barbies and one Ken to play in. I think I had it for about 4 years and then had to sell it when we moved to the Caribbean.

So yeah. Nostalgia is pretty great.

February 6, 2009

Fitness with Freddie

One of my favorite books in our pop-up library is "Freddie Works Out" by Ruth Tilden. The pull-tab mechanisms are very simple but they're effective - and Freddie is so cute!

The best one of all is at the end - Freddie slurps down his drink, his feet relax, and his eyelids droop, all with a subtle timing that is sometimes difficult to pull off with pull-tabs.


And the Grammy goes to…

This Sunday the 51st Grammy Awards will air on CBS. I will be keeping close tabs on this year’s celebration and it’s not just in the hopes that Radiohead will be recognized for their tremendous album and innovative video for ‘House of Cards.’

I will be rooting for fellow paper engineer, Renee Jablow, who is in the running for “Best Recording Package” this year for her beautiful CD packaging design for ‘Summer Rains’ by The Ditty Bops.
I met Renee years ago when I tried begging for a job from her at Intervisual Books.

Nowadays she is a freelance designer in California where she can be found creating interesting dimensional products and movable books like last year’s collaboration on “Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound.” Let’s cross our collective fingers and hope that Renee will be bringing home a mini gramophone this weekend!

- Kyle

Baia or Bust

An important film in the history of the world and maybe universe itself has recently come to my attention. That film is 'The Three Caballeros'. Basically, it's Donald Duck's birthday and all of his South American bird cousins send him a package about the different countries they come from.
Now, I am not a big fan of Donald Duck, in fact I think he is kind of annoying, but this movie is so epically awesome/weird/trippy 1945 animation, that it makes up for being so Donald-centric. Plus, it's the first time Disney put live action and cartoons together.
In these clips Donald's parrot cousin from Brazil is talking about the wonders of the city of Baia. So he decides to take him there.



PS: there is a magic pop-up book that takes them there.

Good dog!

I'm a big fan of Rex the Dog - UK electronic musicians/producers/remixers with a late 70's/early 80's flair. The latest video from their album The Rex The Dog Show for the single Bubblicious is quite brilliant. Cut paper models animated to a fabulous electro-tune that samples the renowned 80's band Yazoo. Watch it below!

That's pretty much how things happen here in our studio everyday.


SoCal So Cool

Those who know me know that I absolutely L-O-V-E color! And I absolutely L-O-V-E shoes! Now Pantone has collaborated with SeaVees for a collection named 09/63 (the date Pantone debuted!).


Using vintage colors from the Pantone archives, they created a line of shoes that have a 1960s Southern California feel.And if I had the chance to pick some Pantone colors for a line of kicks, well, I'd chose these below! I'm not sure what feeling I'm going for, but it's definitely bright!


Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinhart on Babble.com

Parenting website/magazine babble.com interviewed Robert and Matthew recently at the studio. Check out the interview, complete with pictures and video!