The perfect task chair … to my perspective

For about six months now, Simon has noticed that when sleeping, I put my right hand on the back of my head and bend my right arm above my body. We wondered why all of the sudden I had started that new sleeping pose until one day I caught myself sitting in front of my work computer with my right arm bent and my hand supporting my head. There you had it, unconsciously I had adopted a position to support my head while working.

As the designer that I am, I started to question what was wrong with my chair and why I had to hold my head. I observed that my chair didn’t have enough support for my head, and to avoid tiring my neck, I had created a support with my own body.

Now that I’m back to the long days of work starting at around 9:00 AM and finishing at around 9:30 PM (don’t worry I work this long only twice a week). I have been wondering how to enhance my long journey experience and what has won the price is having a better task chair that actually supports my head. Here are my top 5 and please let me know if you have any more suggestions.

Freedom Headrest Task Chair by Niels Diffrient

This chair is the winner of ten design awards to date—including the Design Distinction Award in the prestigious ID Design Review 2000 competition. Its weight-sensitive recline, synchronously adjustable armrests, and dynamically positioned headrest set new standards for task chair performance and functionality to keep the sitter exceptionally comfortable while also lowering the risk of long-term injury. You can get it at Human Scale.

Side view drawing of Freedom Headrest

Featuring :

  1. Automatic Headrest
  2. Recline Action
  3. Contoured Cushions
  4. Responsive Backrest
  5. Synchronouts Armrests
  6. Body Fit
  7. Intelligent Mechanism

Leap WorkLounge by Steelcase

According to Steelcase, the Leap chair adjusts to fit your body, so you don’t have to adjust your body to fit the chair.

Thanks to LiveBack technology, the Leap chair back flexes to change shape as your back changes shape, providing stable support and encouraging unrestricted movement. And with its simple and intuitive adjustments — like separate controls for Lower Back Firmness and Upper Back Force and adjustable armrests that move in four directions —it’s easy to adjust your Leap chair to fit you comfortably for the entire day.

I personally love the white one and would love to use it on a daily basis.

Me Too Task Chair by Nurus

This is a quite old chair (originally designed in 2001), but to me what matters the most is that it is functional and supports by head.

Me Too is designed with a view to improve the quality of office life, where we spend at least eight hours every day, one-third of our lives, constructing a healthy way of living at our offices. Conceptualized with Nurus D Team’s approach that “a well designed office chair is the health insurance for the employee”, and produced according to European Norms, Me Too holds LGA and GS safety certification.
The fact that problems encountered in waist, back and neck regions originate from using unhealthy office chairs was among the factors that brought Me Too the IF Design Award, another factor being that Me Too concept is masterfully finished with product ergonomics and technical details.

Eames Soft Pad Executive Chair

Designed by our heroes Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller, a cushy cousin of the Aluminum Group, Soft Pad is a luxurious chair that bears the unmistakable Eames stamp. The Executive chair offers an extra 7 ¼ inches of back height. Now this is a classy task chair with a soft touch.

Generation Chair by Knoll

This chair may not have a head support component but surely seems and is very comfortable and flexible. Generation by Knoll offers a new standard of comfort and unrestrained movement, supporting the range of postures and work styles of today’s workplace, Designed by Formway Design, Generation takes the idea of elastic design – where a product rearranges itself in response to its user – to a new level.

These chairs are all amazing, but for now, I must keep it low-cost, so I am going to find a head support that I can attach to my current chair and start saving for one of these chairs.

Thanks for visiting.

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Messenger/Bicycle Bags for Women? do they actually exist?

My frustration has been building over the last few years, and today I am sharing it with the world.

About three times a week, I ride my bicycle, and many times I carry a lot of things with me (books, clothes, tapeware, groceries). About four years ago, I decided to invest on a Timbuk2 messenger bag. Not only I wanted to support local designers, but I also was inspired by seeing all the bicyclists in San Francisco sporting their Timbuk2s. Once I started using my cool messenger bag, I realized that it wasn’t made for my body. When carrying a lot of things and leaning on my bicycle, the strap that was supposed to go across my chest started pushing my breasts. It was painful. Since then I have tried to change my pose when riding my bicycle, put pads around the straps, and pull the straps every five minutes, but I am loosing patiente with it. And please dear Timbuk2kers do not take this wrong. I love your designs and support them fully, but I am not sure if you thought about women when designing this product. Trust me, I would be more than happy to go over your studios and help brainstorming on how we may develop more female friendly messenger/bicycle bags.

My messenger bag

Because I am a designer ,and I cannot just sit and cross my arms when facing a design problem, I have decided to see what would be possible for bag developers like Timbuk2 or The Norh Face or even Jansport  to look at when designing a messenger biker bag for us women.

We women love tote bags and bags that  can be carried on the shoulder.

Super functional tote bag

Many of us dislike pink and flowers, so please do not think that by simply changing the color of the backpacks you have made them for us. You must be aware that we have anatomical diferences.

Pink messenger bag for “women” … because it’s pink

We love soft materials and leather. We actually like earthy/natural tones.

Leather messenger bag that still needs to adress the issue of comfort when being used for bicycle riding.

We like bags that are thought out throughly for us, taking into consideration our needs, our anatomic challenges, our tastes, and our busy schedules.

Vera Bradley’s Barcelona backpack.

The thing is that, we probably don’t want to show up to girls happy hour with a backpack … that makes us feel too high school like.

I personally dream of a bag that doesn’t push my breasts …

Study of my current bicycle bag straps pushing my body

I also dream of a bag that can be multifunctional, and when needed, I can carry on one shoulder, and when riding my bicycle, can be carried on my back with the help of my chest … not my breasts.

Front solution for my dream messenger/bicycle bag

From tote to backpack … that is perfection!

And that hopefully uses reclaimed materias such as the beautiful bags from Cyclus Colombia .

Really cool design, made out of reclaimed rubber tires … that is what we like!

I can’t wait to get/develop the perfect messenger bag for women. If you want to team up or get some feedback, please feel free to contact me. It would be my pleasure!

Happy biking everyone!

Lighting Fixtures … To never leave your house …

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a lighting design lecture at the San Francisco Design Center and learnt about three incredible lighting designers. Here are they designs …

CLEAR BAND PENDANTS by John Pomp Studios. ~ Hand-blown crystal glass pendant fixture with thick clear band lens and edison bulb.

INFINITY CLUSTER by John Pomp Studios. ~ 15 pieces of hand-blown/sculpted glass crystal with iridescence.

NESTING CYLINDERS SCONCES by John Pomp Studios. ~ Two tiered hand-blown glass cylinders on blackened steel frame.

Ballad Wall Sconce by McEwen Lighting Studio

Signal Floor Lamp by McEwen Lighting Studio

Barrel Ceiling Lamp by McEwen Lighting Studio

Richelieu Chandelier by Jonathan Browning Studios

Cinq sconce by Jonathan Browning Studios

Keule 5 Light Chandelier by Jonathan Browning Studios

Now dim those lights and finish the day with a delicious glass of Carménère.

Loving Well Designed Jewelry by Talented World Designers

Yes, I am a jewelry lover and am always enchanted by the power of a well designed piece. Jewelry speaks for your style and what’s in your mind, and it does so either in a classy, quiet or loud way. … Continue reading

Top Five Bookends for Young and Not so Young Adults

Hola from the darkness! No, I have not forgotten about you. I was just finishing my graduate studies and was sucked right away into a few intense interior design projects. So Christmas is here, once again, and you may wonder … Continue reading

iDo Colombia – Two Powerful Videos Thanks to Steve Jobs

Yesterday, I spent all day editing two videos from the iDo Colombia final graduation ceremonies delivered at Fundacion Niños de Los Andes. Despite the fact that this was a time-consuming process, I was overjoyed by the fact that I could be my own video editor. This experience was facilitated by iMovie and my iMac, both by Apple. Thanks to Steve Jobs and  his vision of making technology accessible to everyone, I was able to choose what to share with the world. Cheers to his life and his direct influence in the work I do.

Today, I am asking you a favor. Please take twenty minutes of your time to watch these two videos. I would like to pick the best one to share at my graduate final presentation and to send to people interested in learning and hopefully supporting iDo Colombia. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions. If you don’t know what iDo Colombia is, please check my March 2011 post. You can also see the process on my June and July 2011 posts.

Thank you for your time and help,

~Isabel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHPayulijOk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sys_8zSgwa8

I cut an albero’s leg

Sometimes forgetting about projects that you worked so hard, you had dreams and nightmares with is very easy.

Two years ago, I was spending long days at the DAI wood shop working on a torchiere assignment for my Rapid Prototyping class. The goal of the assignment was not only to design but also to build a lamp using CNC (computer numerical control) technology. My goal was to become familiar with the ShopBot and to make the Epilog Laser Engraver my best friend. For a whole semester, this assignment became my life, then it came with me to the four different places I lived in, until finally landing at my current “stable” home. Through all the moves, my poor torchiere survived crashes and a few parties. Today, I hugged her and decided to give her a new look by cutting 15″ off her tall leg. I am not sure if I made the best decision, but at least now she has a new look to be around for another couple of years (hopefully without moving so much). After all, a $500 torchiere should last you at least half decade right?

Let me introduce you the process of designing and building my beautiful (no joke) Albero Lamp:

Research: Understanding how a torchiere works.

Finding inspiration in the Architectural and Fashion worlds.

Study Sketches: 3-4 out of 25.

Study Sketches: 7-8.

Study Sketches: 11-12.

Study Sketches: 15-16.

Study Sketches: 19-20.

Initial 1/4" scale study models.

First 1/2" scale study model. This day was a painful one.

Finding a double layer of inspiration at the Academy of Sciences.

First full-scale prototype out of cardboard.

Expressing my love for endangered species and the epilog laser. Match made in heaven.

Finishing the Albero Torchiere. Made out of FSC certified maple appleply, brown English oak and plexiglass.

Her original height was six feet and starting today she has become a four-foot and three-quarters babe.

Happy indian summer,

~Isabel

Prototype development at Fundacion Niños de Los Andes

Hi all. I wanted to share with you the latest images of prototypes that the teenagers at Fundacion Niños de Los Andes and I have been working on for the last couple of weeks. These are musical instruments made with reclaimed plastic lids and inspired in the teenagers’ personal experiences.

Hope you enjoy them …

iDo Colombia: Week 1 at Fundación Niños de Los Andes

Did you know that your body is capable of getting used to many environments? including highly polluted ones? Yes! Finally my throat doesn’t hurt and my eyes don’t cry any more. I have assimilated Bogota’s pollution.

On Tuesday June 13th, I began to apply my design curriculum with the teenagers from the Children of the Andes Foundation. Although the first day was overwhelming and challenging, as of today, I have learned so much from the kids and am more than happy to have the opportunity of working with them.

Day 1: I introduced the kids to the world of design by presenting a visual gallery with designs made by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarine, Le Corbusier, Carlos Montana, Custo Barcelona, Desigual and truly yours Isabel Perdomo. I also shared with them inspiring art by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Rodin, Botero and Guayasamin.

They thought about identification through art and design, as well as the different ways design affects their life and they affect design. At the end of the class they made road maps on how they identify themselves through design and exposed their ideas to the class.

Creating road maps in relation to Identification and Design

Day 2 & 3: I introduced them to the creative process by creating a visual gallery in which I showed my personal process to produce the Albero Lamp and the Gaudi Pen. They learned the words sketch and prototype.

After understanding the process of design, they began the sketching process in which they explored their inspirations and how they could transform them into musical instruments.

At the beginning of day 3, I showed them their constrains (exclusive materials they could use when making a musical instrument) that way they could start thinking as a designer (within constrains). In addition, I created a visual gallery with different instruments around the world that could serve as inspiration. On this day their sketches started taking a much more design oriented form. At the end of the day, we had a critique session in which each student exposed his inspiration and possible idea for his design.

Sketching and Critiquing work in order to design a musical instrument

Day 4: Today we began making the first prototype of what will be a musical instrument made with reclaimed plastic lids and leather. I showed them how to use the crop-a-dile, gave them materials to build their prototype and helped them to solve design problems.

We played music and enjoyed ourselves as we wandered around the world of design with our own hands. Today, was the most productive day and, to be honest, the most exciting. Indeed, they like to use their hands and their imagination. Some kids worked on their own, while others partnered with a close friend in order to explore and create.

Exploring, creating, working together, Designing!

Please feel free to comment and of course to follow this blog in order to receive updates of this exciting and inspiring project.

Warm regards,

Isabel

First Visit to Fundación Niños de Los Andes

Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia!

Here I am, updating you with the beginning of my Design education experience, as I try to fight what seems to be either a cold or an allergy to the Bogotanian pollution.

I arrived Bogotá on Monday June 6th at 11:30 pm, had a day to rest and today headed to two of the houses belonging to the Fundacion Niños de Los Andes. My first stop was the emergency center called Casa Corazones where I met with Martha Gozalez the Coordinator of two of the foundation’s emergency centers. She explained to me that the emergency centers were places where male teenagers stoped for a temporary period of ten days as a way to enter a rehabilitation program from being in the streets. She also made clear that most of these teenagers had problems related with substances. According to Martha, the emergency centers’ goal is to provide initial protection to these kids that is health services, food and housing. After ten days, some kids leave the house to go back to the streets, others are reintegrated to continue the temporal rehabilitation process, and some are taken to permanent centers where they begin a rigorous therapy. After introducing me to many of the educators, social workers and even cooks, she took me to where the kids were playing.

I was incredible nervous about meeting the kids I was going to have under my wing and to whom I was going to introduce to the world of design. When I saw them, they looked vulnerable and sweet at the same time. They were playing soccer under supervision of their teacher Diego. I saw many of them had beautiful bracelets, and Martha and Diego told me that the kids made those bracelets themselves. With authorization, I was able to take a few pics of those bracelets.

Manillas weaved by kids

Kids showing their manillas

They were quite excited about having me taking pictures of their “manillas”. They also asked me what was I going to be teaching them. After I told them Design, they got happy and started asking me if I could teach them how to take photographs as well. Of course I will!

Martha suggested me to focus on transcending from the idea of creating a product to the idea of sensibilizing the teenagers. She made me aware that my work could be therapeutic, and I could help them become aware that by staying in the program they could have better dreams for themselves. Finally she made emphasis in the importance of collecting their opinion on the workshops, that way I could make changes accordingly.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at the house to prepare materials and see what I need to buy, and thanks to all the donations I have received, I will be able to buy what’s necessary, important and even exiting for them. Again Muchas Gracias for all your help.

See you next week with an overview of the beginning of the workshops.