The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

Nov. 12 2015 12:03 PM

A New Online Visual Hub Offers a Peek Into the World’s Best Office Designs

Are you reading this from your shabby-looking office? Do you sometimes fantasize about how much better your work life would be if your office was a well-designed space?

Until now you could search Google Images for photos of inspiring commercial office spaces or browse Pinterest or design blogs for a voyeuristic glimpse of how the other half works. But Kontor (a Scandinavian word for office) is a new online network that is hoping to be a go-to destination dedicated to workplace design that is more than a safe-for-work portal for corporate-design porn.

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Nov. 11 2015 1:17 PM

This Affordable Portable Standing Desk Has an Origami-Inspired Twist

Another day, another standing desk design. But a new entry into the category of portable laptop desks that allow you to stand up at a moment’s notice has a welcoming price point (starting at $32) and a clever origami-inspired design twist that makes it look fun and easy to set up and break down.

Designed by a young team of Singapore-based industrial designers, Levit8 is a flat-folding portable standing desk that has no parts and requires no assembly. Made from water-repellent, stain-proof materials, it can support up to 20 times its weight and weighs less than a MacBook Air.

Nov. 10 2015 11:58 AM

Are These Singapore Apartments, Stacked Like Toy Blocks, the Future of Urban Housing?

The World Architecture Festival, which completed its eighth annual run on Friday, awarded a vertically stacked housing complex in Singapore as the World Building of the Year 2015.

The organizers said in a press release that the Interlace by OMA and Büro Ole Scheeren is a “vertical village” that offers a “radically new approach to contemporary living in a tropical environment,” calling the building “one of the most ambitious residential developments in Singapore’s history.”

Nov. 9 2015 10:59 AM

This Adorable Owl Is a Security Camera for Your Home

French designer Vivien Muller has invented Ulo, which he bills as a “cute surveillance camera” and “pet owl” that communicates through eye expressions. The little owl can sit on a flat surface like a shelf in your baby’s room or be hung outside your front door. A double tap on the Wi-Fi–enabled spy cam’s forehead puts it into alert mode, where it will deliver live video and email photo snapshots on demand to a secure Web page to let you see what’s going on while you’re away.

Ulo has already raised more than half a million dollars on Kickstarter.

Nov. 6 2015 10:08 AM

Fun, Kaleidoscopic Images of Produce That Remind You of What’s in Season

Photographer Henry Hargreaves and food stylist Caitlin Levin have collaborated on a new series of kaleidoscopic photo scans of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are a sly take on the usual earnest what-to-eat-now charts and calendars illustrated with twee food photography.

Nov. 5 2015 12:53 PM

U.K. Celebrates 500 Years of British Creativity by Releasing a Bland, Sexist New Passport Design

The notion that government documents should get a pass when it comes to clean, functional, or aesthetically pleasing design is outdated in an era where design consciousness has permeated every aspect of modern life.

Some countries have shown the world that there’s no reason passports have to be ugly: Norway introduced a minimalist passport redesign last year that included a surprise feature on the inside (with Canada at least partially following suit).

Nov. 4 2015 12:39 PM

A Stunning 20-Year Prison Diary Etched Into Ostrich Eggs

San Francisco native Gil Batle spent 20 years in five different California prisons for fraud and forgery. Behind bars he used his self-taught skills as an artist to keep him safe from gang violence by designing tattoos, portraits, and greeting cards for fellow inmates. (Batle isn’t the first inmate to use his artistic skills as a survival mechanism, like this Philadelphia man who made a gigantic contraband mural while incarcerated.)

Nov. 3 2015 11:56 AM

The Thinker and Other Famous Sculptures Reimagined as Action Figures

Anyone who has ever seen Michelangelo’s David at the the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, has surely fantasized about having that 16-foot, 5-ton solid marble ode to manhood come to life.* And who hasn’t wondered staring at the Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris what that ancient Greek goddess must have looked like before her arms went missing. But those, like all infamous works of art, are now firmly bound in space and time, fixed images that can only be animated in the imagination.

Nov. 2 2015 11:37 AM

Skype Co-Founders Want to Overhaul Local Delivery With Sidewalk Robots

Depending on where you live, navigating city sidewalks can feel like an unchoreographed dance performance at best or Parkour at worst as you try to get where you’re going without clipped elbows or aggravated assaults on your patience.

But if a new company has its way, you will soon be sharing the pavement with self-driving delivery robots that don’t fly like their drone cousins, but roll along at a brisk walking pace of four miles per hour. These lightweight, low-cost CO2 emission-free earthbound delivery robots are designed to make transporting packages and groceries cheaper for individuals and businesses.

Launched today by former Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, London- and Tallinn, Estonia-based start-up Starship Technologies was founded “to fundamentally improve local delivery of goods and groceries, making it almost free,” according to a press release. (Apparently they aren’t the only ones hoping to make sidewalk delivery robots a reality, like this start-up which has partnered with DHL.)

Oct. 30 2015 1:10 PM

The Standing Desk Is Over. Now You Can Work While Lying Down in a Dentist Chair.

“I am a completely horizontal author,” Truman Capote told a Paris Reviewinterviewer in 1957. “I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy.”

Capote wasn’t the first writer to lie down on the job or manage that feat without any special equipment (he wrote in longhand before transferring his handiwork to the typewriter).