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166 7th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
USA

Bomb lamps, artillery tables, and armored credenzas - Stockpile Designs adds impact to your decor with a line of furniture and lighting using obsolete military equipment.

Blog

Stockpile Design's blog covers upcoming designs and prototypes, shows and events, and the design community of Brooklyn, NY. Designer Jake Wright shares his creative process, decorating advice, and anecdotes about starting a business and trying to deliver antique bombs across state lines.

Filtering by Category: Other Designers

Modular Print Displays

Jake Wright

This Fall, I was approached by a local artist who needed custom displays to show her work at art and design shows. This is harder than it sounds, because in New York a design show can break out literally anywhere. Construction sites, empty factories, parking lots, baseball diamonds - any random weekend, rain or shine, one might sprout a tidy tent city, crowded with cheerfully brunch-drunk Gothamites. So these displays needed to be designed well enough to complement the work, while being easy-to-move and tough enough to survive muddy parks and baking-hot blacktops.

To reduce the effort of transporting and storing the racks, I came up with a stacking, modular design, which I made out of high-quality baltic-birch plywood. Every part of the display was made out of this plywood, except for the solid maple frame and dowel of the hanging print stand. For the larger racks, wire lanyards both stabilized the assembled piece and kept merchandise from sliding off the shelves on a windy day. The light-colored, minimalist style of the pieces worked very well with my client's highly-detailed work, which you can check out at naykii.com.

Processed Views from Barbara Cuirej and Lindsay Lochman

Jake Wright

A couple months ago, I went out to Arizona for a wedding. It was an oppressively hot weekend to visit the Southwest, despite a summer of heavy rains that brought a verdigris blush to the copper cliffs and mountains outside Tucson. The landscape has always seemed unreal to me, a kind of alien arcadia so different from the soft hills and lazy rivers of my home in the Northeast.

I experienced another, even more exotic landscape before I left the desert. At the Phoenix Art Museum, in a show of self-published photography books, I stumbled across "Processed Views," a set of gorgeous photos satirizing industrial food production. Artists Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman recreate historical photographs of industrial expansion in the American West, using junk food and soda to rebuild the dramatic scenery. Marshmallows stand in for icy boulders; a strip-mined cliff, the layers of a technicolor cake. The resulting images are as breathtaking as the antique originals, and as easy to ingest as the unhealthy food they pillory.

The complete series is available as a set of postcards for $25 here; limited-edition prints are also available upon request.

MindRider: A Psychic Helmet

Jake Wright

There are more than 50 other people working in the same space as Stockpile, in a semi-converted factory a few yards from the malodorous Gowanus Canal. Artists, designers and entrepreneurs inhabit a warren of open-roofed offices built up from the plywood floors, sharing three cavernous production shops and one severely over-taxed mini-fridge. In a studio just across from the wood shop, the two-person team of Arlene Ducao and Ilias Koen has invented something straight out of science fiction.

 MindRider design prototypes

MindRider design prototypes

It's called the MindRider, a bicycle helmet with a tiny BCI (brain computer interface) which measures signals from your brain to calculate focus and stress. Befitting a device that reads your thoughts, the stylishly creased, angular outer shell brings to mind a tin-foil hat, as made by some exceedingly fashionable milliner. Something Daphne Guinness might commission, were she concerned with alien surveillance and cosmic rays.

The technology that allows the MindRider to "read" "thoughts" is called EEG (electroencephalography), the measurement of electrical signals across the scalp. It isn't new technology - the first human EEG was performed 90 years ago, and it's still used extensively in medical diagnosis and brain research. What makes MindRider so innovative is what it does with the EEG data it collects: it adds it to a map.

 A map generated by a single ride, labeled with incidents that prompted specific readings

A map generated by a single ride, labeled with incidents that prompted specific readings

After only a few runs with prototype helmets, MindRider has produced a map of NYC's streets crowded with red and orange dots, representing problem spots like frequently-blocked bike lanes and crowded intersections. It's also mapped long green paths, showing those restful stretches free of double-parked taxis and jagged potholes. It's a useful tool for a bike commuter planning his or her route, but it has even bigger implications on a municipal level. A team of cyclists wearing MindRiders could help a city plan its entire bicycling infrastructure, and identify dangerous areas before an accident. Cities without bike lanes could use the mapping feature to determine where they're most critically needed, ultimately saving lives.

Thinking even bigger, why limit the MindRider to cycling? The computer system Ducao and Koen developed can help improve any high-traffic area, at any scale, from shoppers moving through malls to tractor trailers barreling along stretches of highway. Workers with hazardous, physically demanding jobs could integrate the device into their safety gear, receiving warnings when regular occupational stress reaches dangerous levels.

Making MindRider all the more impressive is its relatively humble origin. Nowadays, innovations with this kind of potential seem to come pre-packaged from major corporations, or well-funded teams at research universities. The archetypical Inventor, changing the world from a tiny office or shed, seems like another naive American fantasy, like the rags-to-riches tales of Horatio Alger. Ducao and Koen's MindRider prove that these capital-I Inventors are not only real, but they could be changing the world just across the hall.

MindRider is raising funding for the first production run on Kickstarter through July 10. Reserve yours and help bring an incredible idea to life!

Lost Type: Characters with Character

Jake Wright

scotty_poster_first2_1024x1024.jpg

Choosing a font is a universal chore, something shared by high-schoolers laying out PowerPoint presentations and graphic designers working on multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. And at one point or another, everyone has been stuck. Our computers come with pre-installed typefaces that run the gamut from dull to heinous. Software like Adobe's Creative Suite improves the selection with some popular and versatile fonts, but they're the "safe" choices. No designer took a risk by using Helvetica Neue.

So where do you go if you want your characters to have, you know, character? Veer and MyFonts have great, extremely professional font libraries, but the prices add up fast. An individual or even a small business might have trouble justifying hundreds of dollars for a single font family. Sites like dafont and fontsquirrel offer lots of free typefaces, but with inconsistent quality. Some are missing key characters (such as punctuation, numbers, and lowercase letters), and many are only licensed for personal use. In other words, they're free for a reason.

The Lost Type Co-op bridges the gap between these two extremes with a simple, pay-what-you-want pricing structure. When you see a font you like, you enter a discretionary payment which is sent directly to that font's designer. No fees, no middleman. It's a great way to support independent artists, who have populated the collection with type from a huge range of stylistic inspirations, from the art-deco hotels of Miami Beach to men's haircuts of the 1950s. I particularly like Homestead, a display font that brings to mind a high-fashion Paul Bunyan with contemporary, plaid-like patterns.

Next time you find yourself stuck, unable to choose a font, spend a minute and browse Lost Type's growing collection. You might find the perfect display font for your letterpress wedding invitations, or just the right typeface for your facebook header banner. With unique, professionally-designed fonts and flexible pricing, Lost Type enables designers of all skill levels to create more adventurous work.

Delivery Ordeal Featured in American Woodworker

Jake Wright

American Woodworker Blog Post

In a post titled "If You See Something...", I wrote about the hilarious security ordeal I went through to deliver a table via Amtrak. Now my friend and former instructor Yoav Liberman (who's been overdue for a shout-out here) blogged about it for American Woodworker! Yoav is not only a master woodworker, but an inventor with several patents for his innovative tools. See his work (which draws inspiration from, among other things, military camp furniture of the 19th century) at yoavliberman.com.

Steel Jewelry and Housewares from Munjoy Metals

Jake Wright

munjoy_avocado.jpeg

I share a shop (3rd Ward) with a lot of very talented artists and designers. One of my metal-shop buddies, Abigail Lloyd, just put her first online store together. When I met her, she was welding elaborate sets for an off-broadway play, but the goods in her store are smaller scale: rough-hewn steel jewelry and housewares. The pieces have a very fashionable barbarian-queen-of-Soho vibe, and are extremely affordable (for now): earrings start at $30, and theavocado bowl shown here caps the collection at $150. Keep an eye on Abigail and Munjoy Metals – if my first store looked this good, I’d be running an empire by now.

Incredible Mines from Estonia

Jake Wright

mine_carriage.jpg

While researching naval mines for an upcoming design, I came across this fantastic furniture and sculpture from Estonia. The sculptor, Mati Karmin, uses the remains of Russian mines made during WWII. Incredibly, these mines remained active until the early 1990s, at the end of the Soviet occupation. Hundreds of mines were left behind, basically as scrap metal.

Karmin has transformed these mines into furniture, aquaria, fireplaces, and sculpture. Check out the website to drool over his work, or (if you’re like me) drool over the prospect of turning one of those mines into a capsule chair.