Design Wire December 2020

ADIDAS and design studio KRAM/WEISSHAAR have created a robotically woven shoe upper, called STRUNG, that is made to the exact specification of the wearer’s foot, including factors like what the individual’s foot shape and stride is like. “With bespoke software and robotics, we are able to place threads of different material types in any direction, which is a first across industries,” says Adidas innovation designer Fionn Corcoran-Tadd. The manufacturing process allows for a lightweight and super durable upper to be made from threads placed exactly where they are needed, meaning extra parts and pieces typically used to make a shoe can be eliminated. The result is a single, anatomically accurate, high-performance piece. While Strung is currently only being developed for elite athletes, Adidas hopes to produce a commercially viable option by 2021.

Design-build firm KNICKERBOCKER GROUP is opening the second location of its interior design branch, COVE by KNICKERBOCKER GROUP®. Located at 82 Hanover Street in Portland, the studio is filled with curated accessories, a library of thousands of textile and wallpaper options, and furniture with samples in every stain and color. COVE also offers an exclusive, private line of upholstered furniture, custom cabinetry, and one- of-a-kind pieces produced by local artisans and craftspeople. The resource studio is the ultimate destination for collaborating with Knickerbocker Group’s interior designers; custom mobile workstations allow for easy side-by-side client collaboration and exceptional project organization. The new location is open to the public starting December 1 by appointment only.

Finnish studio BERRY CREATIVE has created heat-sensitive stamps that send
a message about the negative effects of climate change. Commissioned by the FINNISH POST, the CLIMATE CHANGE STAMPS collection comprises three designs: a snow cloud that changes to a thunder cloud, a portrayal of limited immigration that changes to a mass of climate refugees, and a bird that turns into a skeleton. “Unlike the effect in the stamp, climate change is not reversible,” says the studio. The stamps are printed on gradient backgrounds in a color-transforming ink that changes from black to clear when it’s warmed; their jagged edges and eye-catching colors evoke a sense of urgency.

The UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND (UNE) received a $30 million gift from
the HAROLD ALFOND FOUNDATION toward the construction of a new building for the COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE, which is currently based in Biddeford. The planned 110,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost $70 million and will be constructed on UNE’s Portland campus behind Innovation Hall. The Portland campus is already home to numerous medical programs, such as dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant education, nursing, and physical therapy—integrating the College of Osteopathic Medicine in with other health care programs will allow for more robust educational curricula and practices. The grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation is part of a $500 million investment to grow the state’s workforce and economy and support health care.

The FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION collaborated with KONZUK, a design firm that specializes in making concrete jewelry and objects in geometric forms, to create the CONCRETE MOTIF SERIES. The interpreted motifs include Saguaro Form and Cactus Flowers, March Balloons, and Imperial Gate. Each motif collection consists of earrings, necklace, ring, and cufflink designs—every design is available in various color patterns, including black, dark gray, Taliesin red, indigo blue, cypress green, and flax yellow.

Maine has been awarded $45 million from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’s BETTER UTILIZING INVESTMENTS TO LEVERAGE DEVELOPMENT program for infrastructure improvements. To replace one compromised and five at-risk bridges, the MAINE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION will receive $20 million. The bridges are in Litchfield/West Gardiner, Stonington, Greenbush, Southport, Milo, and Bridgewater. The remaining $25 million will replace the 111-year-old Ticonic Bridge between Waterville and Winslow. An additional $2.5 million was awarded to support public transportation systems adversely affected by the pandemic: the Maine Department of Transportation will receive $2.1 million from the FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION’s CARES ACT, and Biddeford–Saco–Old Orchard Beach Transit will receive $440,944.

The MAINE COMMUNITY BANK, a new entity created when Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings merged, broke ground in October on a facility on Larrabee Road in Westbrook. The 23,000-square- foot project will be completed in roughly one year and is expected to cost $8 million. The three-story structure will employ 50 people and serve as a full-service branch as well as a bank operations center. WRIGHT-RYAN CONSTRUCTION is the general contractor, and the building design is by ARCHETYPE ARCHITECTS. The project is set to reimagine an old metal building into an energy-efficient space with air filtration systems and spaces for socially distant business operations.

French candlemaker AMEN is delivering its products in innovative new packaging made from mycelium and agricultural waste. Many companies use hidden plastics to ship their fragile items: while the outer packaging may be plastic-free, bubble wrap or plastic foam is often used to protect items from breaking during transport. Amen partnered with bio-technology startup GROWN to create a cylindrical box made from mycelium for each individual candle. The process takes roughly seven days to complete. Mycelium is mixed with agricultural waste, such as hemp, and placed into a mold. Fungi feeds on the waste and grows to fill the mold before it’s dehydrated. The process is also carbon negative— the packaging captures more carbon than it produces.

Earlier in the year, as the pandemic pressed on and medical supplies became scarce, CARBON and RESOLUTION MEDICAL designed, produced, and launched a 3D-printed nasopharyngeal swab with a lattice tip in less than three weeks. The flexible tip conforms to the shape of the nose and easily rotates around the nasal cavity, affording greater patient comfort, and the hollow structure allows the swab tip to collect more mucus. The design improves the efficacy of COVID-19 testing—Carbon and Resolution Medical are currently working to produce one million swabs a week.

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