Elegant Solutions No. 3

Thanks for all the retweets, pingbacks and reposts of the first two Elegant Solutions installments. Here’s the third in the series. As always, please feel free to point me toward products, services and experiences YOU consider elegant…that achieve the maximum effect with minimum means…that pair uncommon simplicity with surprising impact.

MUSGUARD

bike-side

Water and mud is the constant bane of city cyclist’s existence. You’d be surprised at just how many designers have tackled the challenge of the mud guard–the fact that you don’t need them all the time, that they detract from a bike’s beauty.

Now comes Kickstarter project Musguard, a flexible, rollable mud guard that is, in the words of its makers, a “smart and elegant solution for protecting your back when riding on wet and muddy roads.”

The roll ability factor rollable is key, because you can pack it small when not in use. It can be rolled on your frame or simply stored in your bag, pocket or even hung on your keychain.

bike-deactivatedMusguard is nothing if not minimal: lightweight, nothing to mount, completely removable, with no extra parts to ugly up your bike. “It is die cut from a strong, resilient and recyclable polypropylene (PP) plastic sheet using a unique folding system for stability and firm fit,” according to the site. “Originally designed for use on fixed gear/single speed bikes, Musgard fits most frames with paired seat stays and works best on bikes without a rear brake.”

If this video is accurate, it’s a lifesaver, worth more than the $29 asking price. There are 10 different colors available, and preorders are taken here, with delivery starting in September.

[vimeo 65846514]

 

IOTA

doucet-iota-cards-818-0006I love the clean simplicity of this deck of playing cards designed by Joe Doucet. These elegant and sleekly designed cards do away with overdressed kings and queens and oversized hearts and spades.

According to Joe, “IOTA is a deck of regulation playing cards that dallies with the idea of how much you can take away while still maintaining a playable deck. Simple geometric symbols are reductive versions of hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades and while it’s necessary to mark the back of regulation playing cards, we’ve done so with a minimal diagonal line.”

If you’re not familiar with Joe Doucet’s work, here’s how he describes himself:

doucet-iota-cards_0003As a designer, inventor, artist and auteur, his work deftly hybridizes function and visual appeal while conveying layers of meaning and message. Doucet believes that design and, more importantly, a designer’s thought process can play a larger role in innovation and problem solving, as well as aesthetics, whether that be for brands, their product portfolios or for a broader social context. His portfolio therefore encompasses furniture, consumer electronics, corporate identity, jewelry, fashion, technology, children’s toys, environments and architecture, delivering innovation across a variety of industries and clients such as Bernhardt, BMW, Braun, Hugo Boss, Lexon, Moet & Chandon and Target.

You can buy IOTA at Module R for $25. Think of it as an investment in art and design, not a deck of cards.

CLEAR

You can’t go wrong with a name like Clear, at least in my book. Clear is my checklist app, and it’s the best I’ve found. The beautifully simple interface is gesture-based and intuitive: Everything is a pull, swipe, drag or pinch. I think it actually adds to my productivity…or at least minimizes time spent making lists!

Clear

Here’s the tutorial: Pull down on a list to add an item. Pinch apart to insert tasks. Swipe an item to complete. Drag tasks about to easily rearrange them. Swipe from screen edge to change lists.

There’s a visceral charge from swiping an item off your list that you don’t get from other apps where you touch the screen and a check mark appears. The swipe in Clear gives me some sort of evil, physical pleasure, like I’ve wiped the thing off the face of the planet, almost like a game.

I only use the $1.99 iPhone version, but the desktop app ($9.99) is built from the ground up to take advantage of the Mac OS. In both cases, you can store your lists & tasks in iCloud.

WRIST-BORNE DEVICE

Oh how I wish this was a real product. And I’ll be the first customer if it’s ever produced. Alas, it is but a concept, from designer Zissou (yep, his real name…former Jawbone director of R&D now located in Bali).

He calls it only “Wrist-Borne Device.” Love that. Maybe Apple’s Johnny Ives could pick Zissou’s brain on the whole watch concept. This thing is everything and nothing.

Zissou’s mindset:

Like making a beautiful meal, the trick is not in trying to use everything in the kitchen, rather, finding the right balance of essential ingredients to give the meal the maximum flavour and nutrition. The device needs to find the best balance of functionality versus aesthetic flavour. When delving into this area of wrist-borne devices, there is provenance so it would be advantageous not to fight that aesthetic comfort zone and keep any newer functionality subtle, at least outwardly. The build quality also needs to be outstanding.

The “Ingredients”: “Bluetooth – 3axis accelerometer – retina-quality touch display – battery – processor – usb connector/storage – blood-flow monitor – perspiration monitor – thermometer – capacitive bezel and screen (works underwater) – NFC / Digital wallet capabilities. The strap is made from a flexible moulded fabric mesh with inner, water-tight tunnelling.”

Here’s what it looks like:

watch1

The face is digital, and you swipe it from 3 to 6 o’clock to get things going. You can personalize it…don’t like the standard clock face? Go timestamp. It’s Nike Fuelband meets Jawbone meets watch meets iPhone…without becoming a Swiss army knife-looking thing.

watch2watch3

 

 

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Check out the full array of images and capabilities HERE! WOOT (want one of these!)