Concrete… My Very Favorite

11 02 2009


Inhabitat Rules.

Inhabitat Rules.



One of my regular evening reads, Inhabitat, has just published a great little post about concrete – my favorite material ever! Brilliant!

Check it out.


Its on! Lets get refracting, people!

20 03 2008

So, its on… Swarovski Crystal have launched a global design competition for the worlds budding designers and busy-bodies to enter – and the brief couldn’t possibly be more open.

“Come up with new products and ideas to fill the new SWAROVSKI concept store.”

Now, the bitter and twisted [underachieving] design graduate out there might be a little cynical, “They just want new concepts for free!” You may hear them splutter with unoriginality.  Of course they are… who isn’t?  I know I am, that would make life much easier.

But if you were to look beyond the blatant cry for IP free concept, this is a golden opportunity for everyone.  Crystal is, in no uncertain terms, fucking cheesy.   Take the £3,600 desktop swan for example.

Seriously Weird

That is simply horrendous – AND – expensive.  It adds nothing but clutter into the world and the saddest thing, to me, is its stark lack of potential.   Crystal, as a material, is beautiful and pure.  It carries with it the most incredible properties and makes light behave in wacky, wacky ways.  Why waste it on an extortionate paper weight?


Could someone come up with a good use for crystal?  Something that will exploit its every property and behaviour?  What if it wasn’t just crystal but it was fused with another material?  All whilst retaining its inherent beauty?  Touchy Touchy says, fuck yes.  Stop reading, start thinking!


Do something wonderful with your time, give Swarovski a new product that it really can be proud of, something new and wonderful.


For full details about the brief and deadline and how to submit, DesignBoom can, as always, hook you up and for inspiration [sort of] the Swarovski website has lots of twinkly things to see.


Good luck to you all!


OLEDs Printed Newspaper Style

14 03 2008

Thanks to the wonders of I just came across this… Well worth a gander!

General Electric has just successfully demonstrated a roll-to-roll printing (think newspaper style printing) process for OLEDs. It’s a state-of-the-art process for the production of Organic Light Emitting Diodes that’s high performance, energy efficient, and surprisingly inexpensive. The applications are endless for printing energy efficient light systems of all sizes.

Click here for the full Article at 


10 03 2008

Here at Touchy Touchy, I am always looking for new materials and new applications for those new materials.  It is a fun way to spend my time and it keeps me clear of Scrabulous on Facebook for at least an hour a day so that is splendid.

Today I stumbled across an absolute gem that made me grin from ear to ear (something design should always do).  Heli Hietala has reinvented a common place childhood tool of expression with absolute delight.

Design Boom

The humble crayon!

I would tell you more but that would prevent you from trying to translate her justification on for yourself!


The Mother of all Pearls

29 02 2008

On the 16th of July 1945, the first nuclear weapons test was conducted by the United States Government.  The ‘gadget’, working on the same engineering principals of Fat Man, the infamous bomb dropped on Nagasaki a few weeks later, was detonated in the New Mexico desert 35 miles out of Socorro.

The site was named Trinity– probably because of the bad-ass, ninja, leather clad, cyber-hag, character in Matrix.

At 5.29am ‘the gadget’ was detonated.  The explosion was equivalent to 20 tonnes of TNT and left a crater over 10 feet deep and over 1,100 feet wide.  The mushroom cloud, now synonymous with mass destruction, violence and apocalyptic war, rose 7.5 miles into the morning sky.

The rest, as they say, is history.  But…

When the massive, fuck-off, cataclysmic, man-made bomb was detonated merely 20 metres above dear mother earth to increase its yeild and destruction (as hoped would happen over actual cities full of people in coming weeks), something intensely beautiful was created.

 The truly unnatural heat created by the explosion melted the desert sand (mostly silica) producing a greenish, radioactive glass.  True to form, the narcissistic American generals and their scholar minions imaginatively named this desert glass, Trinitite… after the test site, Trinity… get it?

Some Trinitite contained more than just silica and a lot of ‘T’s; some fused with the iron pylon holding supporting the bomb producing a blackish colour and some fused with the ‘gadget’ itself (made of copper) producing a redish colour.

Despite the context in which Trinitite was formed and subsequently named, it is a beautiful material.   What adds to its beauty is its form; besides the lumps fused together by the massive force of heat smacking the desert floor, some sand was dragged up by the updraft of the ensuing fireball, miles into the burning sky.  Molten silica rained down on the test site like Vesuvius’ ash upon Pompeii, some setting during the decent.

If anyone knows how they used to make lead shot for old guns, it was like that… sort of.  Tall tower, molten lead at the top, pool of water at the bottom to catch the then solid spherical drops of lead at the bottom without denting.  Clever.

Anyway, the balls of skyward silica became Trinitite before hitting the ground, rendering them spherical also.  Now known as Trinitite Pearls, there is something inherently romantic about their delicate form from such a violent creation.

So, this mothers day, buy your Mum a [slightly] radioactive Trinitite Pearl as an extra special Thank You – what are you waiting for?!

NB: In 1952, the crater and its Trinitite contents were bulldozed over by the US Atomic Energy Commission.  Fuckers.

Aerogel Hits the Consumer Geek Market.

29 02 2008

It was three years ago when I first got to play with Aerogel, that wonderful, solid cloud of ‘something’ confirming everyone’s thoughts that NASA (amongst other American government organisations) have some seriously cool shit up their sleeves.

Back then my tutor had managed to acquire under 3 cubic centimetres of the stuff for ‘educational purposes’.  He was protective, it stayed in the jar never left his sight.  It was boring.


Thanks to our society’s ever increasing [terminal] desire to buy unnecessary things for the sole purpose of being able to say you own something, Aerogel is now available to buy.

It will cost you no less than $45 per ‘fragment’, geeks across the globe can get their hands on what is effectively nothing more than spongy glass.   Whilst Aerogel may have revolutionised mankind’s ability document  intergalactic specs of  dust, I am not convinced anyone is buying it for anything with a terrestrial purpose in mind.

Admittedly, a drunk or stoned friend trying to comprehend Aerogel for the first time will retain its humour until you run out of friends but no one has that many friendsnobody buying Aerogel has that many friends.  So, first one to come up with a useful [patent-free] domestic use for Aerogel wins (probably millions and millions…)