Monthly Archives: December 2007

Instant Gratification

ZINK Digital Camera (with Interior Printer)

During the height of its popularity, in the mid-1970’s, Americans reportedly spent more on Polaroid film than on toothpaste. Dental hygiene aside, the appeal for instant pictures hasn’t waned in the digital age. With massive scrap-booking options, wallets awaiting familial snapshots, and the ubiquity of the camera phone, some images simply demand a place in the analog world of glossy photo paper. Bridging the gap between technology and nostalgia is ZINK ( ZINK (or Zero Ink), in association with printing mainstay Konica Minolta, has developed paper embedded with reactive crystals, that when heated, activate and colorize to create full color prints. A tentative launch date for the all-in-one printer/camera device and a mobile printer (which can sync to your camera phone) is set for January 2008.

In the meantime, you can pilfer a few photo composition tips from The Art of the American Snapshot exhibit currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (

Imagine– no toner, no cartridges; just crystals and captured memories.

Kenya Robinson for DESIGN FUTURIST


Less is More

Micro-Compact House

In the age of modern sustainability, the concept of luxury encompasses more than the collection of high-end baubles, it’s increasingly about exclusivity of experience. The Micro-Compact Home, or M-Ch, offers a unique short-term living space fully contained within 2.6 meters squared. Developed by a collaborative team of researchers and designers based in London and the Technical University in Munich, M-Ch incorporates design details most “at home” in the automotive and aeronautics industry. While currently only available in geographical Europe, the exterior is customizable (paint and/or graphics) and recyclable after an average 5-year lifespan. Basic expansion packages are also available, as modified doors can connect two units in a modular fashion. Plans for Stateside introduction are forthcoming; perhaps a streamlined weekend home will become the must have-item for Memorial Day weekend 2008.

Kenya Robinson for DESIGN FUTURIST

Marathon Material

Newton Running Shoes (Pair)

The future of design often includes elemental inspiration; improving upon ancient techniques and achieving contemporary innovation. Enter Newton Running Shoes. With a brand name that pays homage to Sir Issac himself, Newton incorporates the instinctual efficiency of the human body to create products that connect with dedicated runners. A favorite of professional Triathlete Michellie Jones, Newtown Shoes uses conscientious design to enhance the ‘strike and stride’ action of long distance training. By mimicking the musculature and connective tissue of the foot, the segmented sole acts as a suspension system, designed to sustain the kinetics of running barefoot. Developed by a team of runners and coaches, each selection in the Newton product range wraps the foot in a florescent concoction of silver and breathable netting, providing comfort cushioning, as well as protection from injury. Extremely lightweight (10.2 -7.2 oz), and available online for about 150 USD, Newton Running Shoes are a compelling choice for both professionals and hobbyists.

Kenya Robinson for DESIGN FUTURIST

A Case for Warm and Fuzzy

Simple Bag

Felt is the oldest textile known to humankind.  While it was probably an incredibly accidental discovery (around 6500 B.C.), Felt continues to showcase its versatility by its matted simplicity.  A recyclable material that far predates all the current eco-buzzwords, Felt isn’t just for kindergarteners.  Industrial uses abound- from insulation to production maintenance to manufacturing material- and it still manages to find its place on contemporary runways.  The Berlin based design firm, Parkhaus, has focused its efforts on Felt as a singular theme, exploring the infinite possibilities of the material.  Take the ‘Simple Bag’ (above) for instance; it’s practical and comfortably usable, but it’s the quiet undulation of chic that makes “simple bag” an oxymoron. Everything about its shape and color quietly muffles the inherent practically of its usage and transforms the piece into “ideas made tangible”. Parkhaus offers a full range of felt fabricated items that share a pleasing balance of design and functionality.  To view the complete collection (including customized options) visit .


Kenya Robinson

Sustainable Escapes

Twenty-five years ago the term “eco-tourism” didn’t exist, but a look at today’s hospitality landscape reveals a growing number of ecologically mindful options. While hotels/resorts are notoriously taxing on the environment, newly developed design concepts are increasingly reliant upon the inclusion of sustainable elements. Using a green approach to problem solving, designers, architects, and engineers create destinations that actively reduce Carbon footprinting, nurture community connections, and effectively employ architectural conservation. Fortunately, these earth-friendly practices do not preclude luxury, as evidenced by the DESIGN FUTURIST selections below.

Kenya Robinson


British Columbia, Canada

Nestled on the British Columbian coast north of Vancouver, Nimmo Bay is a pristine respite from the monotony of urban development. Enjoy catch-and-release fishing, kayaking or listen to a scenic waterfall provide a soothing soundtrack to a full-body massage. This same waterfall (and others like it), along with a waterpower generator, supply the resort with 80% of its energy needs. The floating bakery and lodge demonstrate architectural conservation by minimizing land usage.


Tasmania, Australia

The Avalon Coastal Retreat on Great Oyster Bay is a private eco cottage where the minimalist leanings of the thoroughly modern design serve as a lens to view the area’s austere beauty. With the inclusion of only indigenous specimens in landscaping and using rain water tanks as a primary resource, Avalon successfully creates luxury, responsibly.


Patagonia, Chile

With accommodations comparable to a 4-star rating, EcoCamp is a remarkable mix of the rugged outdoors and a sumptuous take on ‘basic’ comforts. The design of the dome shaped units that comprise the EcoCamp compound are directly inspired by the original inhabitants of the region, the Kawesqar and the Alacalufes. This attentive approach illustrates a unique community connection and pays homage to an ancient and sustainable way life. Here, solar power is rarely in short supply, as during the summer months daylight can last up to 17 hours, powering everything from food preparation to the heaters that help maintain the composting units. Various hiking packages are also available (from novice to expert), while the ceiling windows located in each dome, offer equal opportunity access to the spectacular view of the night sky.


St. John- U.S. Virgin Islands

One of the most renowned eco-resorts in the world Maho Bay is an early example of green tourism. Located within a National Park, the Maho Bay resort is constructed with recycled materials, and features elevated walkways that protect the land from harmful foot traffic. The extremely reasonable rates and various work exchange programs, act to democratize accessibility to the picturesque getaway. Still, if a high-end experience is the goal, then Maho Bay’s Estate Concordia Studios will certainly deliver. Consisting of nine luxe suites, with vaulted ceilings and wraparound decks with full ocean views, this section of the resort maintains its green rating through the use of solar power and rainwater collection.





Arm Architecture


Luxury for men has traditionally been relegated to timepieces or high-performance automobiles; here to expand the offerings of this growing market sector is ARMREVOLUTION. Specializing in thoroughly modern cuff links that speak to architectural inspirations, and the sleek elegance of Japanese steel, this London-based brand infuses its product with a cloak and dagger sexiness that is hard to resist. Engraved with a unique identification number, and housed in a polished acrylic box, each pair grants the owner access into exclusive ARMREVOLOUTION events.


A visit to the website ( reveals a world of ambiguous intrigue, where you’re introduced to Arm Architecture by a trio of raven-haired beauties. It is the seamless combination of urbanity, opulence and function that makes ARMREVOLUTION a performance pick for masculine style.

Kenya Robinson


Slow Dancing

Sloooow Dancing

Dance is a world of movement within the moment; where artistry is found in the fleeting choices of the here and now. David Michalek’s large scale installation piece, Slow Dancing, seeks to (literally) stretch the notion of the ephemeral nature of dance, transforming it into a meditative work of fascinating stillness. Projected on multiple screens, the piece is composed of 43 video portraits of dancers from around the globe, representing various disciplines from Capoeira to Ballet. Using an HD camera that’s generally employed by the military for ballistic analysis, he records images at whopping 1,000 frames per second (commercial films are usually recorded at 24 frames per second); beautifully extending the 5-seconds of each dancer’s original movement into a collection of 10-minute films.

Through the use of cutting edge technology, Slow Dancing embodies, for both the audience and artist, future horizons of creativity.


Kenya Robinson