Category Archives: Design

A Simple Design Fix to that Awkward Public Bathroom Moment

One of the worst things about public bathroom stalls is how hard it is to tell when someone’s in them. A lot of people end up resorting to that not-at-all awkward practice of peeking under the door, looking for feet.

A company called Tooshlights is promising a way to end this embarrassment and make that line of desperate people move more quickly, too. Its simple LED light sensors turn green when a stall is free and red when it’s occupied.

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The company just installed its technology at The Hollywood Bowl, which claims the lights have “improved the flow of traffic.” The company says its lights are appropriate for basically any venue where bathroom queues often form. According to Tooshlights, more than 66% of the time, facilities do have vacant stalls, but guests are not aware of them or are not moving to them quickly enough. Could an idea so simple be the future of public bathroom design?

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Images: Fast Company

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Charge Your Devices on Boston’s New Smart Benches

Thanks to a new park bench design equipped with solar-powered docking stations, it’s easier than ever for Bostonians to enjoy the great outdoors by staring directly into their phones. The benches, which are known as “Soofas“, include two charging docks and have begun popping up in city parks as part of a pilot program.

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The Boston Globe reported that these Soofas were created by a MIT Media Lab spinoff called Changing Environments, which is a Verizon Innovation Program. “The creators behind the smart urban furniture, Soofa, are three women who share one vision: Getting you out of the homes and into a new, smarter and more sustainable city,” the group explained on their website. These benches don’t just charge phones, they are also wifi enabled allowing them to report information on local noise levels, air quality, etc.

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Images: Soofa

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Need a Standing Desk? Pull Up a Chair.

By now, I am sure you have heard that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you. Because of that, you are now interested in one of those standing desks – whether it be designer or DIY. Or you could try the StorkStand, which recently passed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter.

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While it may not have the accessories that some standing desks do, StorkStand does offer you portability – allowing you to create a desk anywhere. All you need is a chair. A little tabletop you strap in place, the StorkStand was invented by Mike Goldberg from San Francisco. He explains in the pitch video (below) that he was tired of sitting all day (preach!) and wanted something different.

Goldberg says it weighs 4.2 pounds, supports 50 pounds (which is enough for several laptops) and comes with a built-in holder for your phone. One perk is that you can adjust the height (assuming you use an office-type chair), which is obviously important. It is not 100% perfect (where do you put your papers? Etc.), but it beats sitting all day!

Now that Goldberg has the funds for full production, you can buy your StorkStand here for just $199.

Images: Fast Company

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Brazil Celebrates the Wolrd Cup with Elaborate Street Paintings

Every four years, Brazilians come together to show their love for soccer by painting their streets. This year, they’re sharing it with the world. And because the World Cup is in Brazil this year, the people and their streets have that much more pride. See more of Brazil’s painted streets HERE.

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You can create photo spheres of where you’re celebrating the World Cup with the new Google Camera app for Android.

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TOMS and Make It Right make a stylish collaboration

Make It Right was founded by Brad Pitt to build sustainable, affordable homes and to educate others to change the way buildings are designed and built. Now, Make It Right has teamed up with TOMS to create new men’s shoes and eyewear. The TOMS Classics slip on shoes ($64) as well as TOMS Beachmaster sunglasses ($125) feature a pattern of the map of New Orleans, symbolizing the efforts of Make It Right in the region. With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need.

Shaw has been donating sustainable flooring to multiple Make it Right projects since 2008 – talk about another great collaboration! From the 150 planned homes in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans to affordable housing in Kansas City, Shaw has supplied Make It Right projects with thousands of yards of carpet and hardwood flooring since their partnership eight years ago.


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Images: TOMS

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