Letterpress – a simple word game for iPhone and iPad by Loren Brichter of Atebits. OK. We probably all know about this one by now, but this game came up in conversation with a friend this morning over coffee in regards to its innovate UI design and I’d like to reiterate here how delightful I’ve found this game since it was released late last year. As John Gruber summarised over at Daring Fireball: [Letterpress is] a cross between a word game like Scrabble or Boggle and a real estate strategy game like Risk or Go. It’s addictive. If you haven’t already given this one a go – I’d highly recommend it. For those of you who have, I encourage you to share your experiences.
The T3 Player app for iPhone has recently taken the internet by storm. And its interface alone makes you see why. Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, the app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifo did not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The app allows you to add your favorite songs, organize them by ranking or alphabetically and enjoy. I like the simplicity of the controls and the fact that this application does not kill you with the excessive number of features. Just a few essentials, beautifully put together. T3 has special support for the iPhone 5 and Airplay. Watch the video to see it in action.
By now, there are plenty of minimalist weather apps for the iPhone, including WTHR, Blue and Solar just to name a few. But here’s another one by Jake Marsh called Conditions. Dead simple, the app shows the current weather and a five day forecast (although this can be hidden so that only the current weather is shown). The app features slightly different designs for day and night; overall the clean design is very pleasant and features Adam Whitcroft’s Climacons. Writing about the app, the developer writes: Many weather apps clutter their interface and overload their users with tons of details that aren’t all that useful. Conditions only shows you the most important information about what it’s like outside right now, wherever you are, anywhere in the world.
Brooklyn based Oak Studios create websites and applications. Last week, Oak released their first iOS app, Blue. The app provides 36-hour weather forecasts relevant to your location in a fast, fun and of course minimal interface. Simply swipe up to see each hour represented in a beautiful, colourful gradient visual – regardless of where you are in the world. The hourly colours are generated based on three variables: temperature, humidity, and sunrise/sunset times for your current location. Temperatures are shown in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. I have seen a few impressive weather apps with a minimalist interface, such as Solar, which is not dissimilar to Blue. Which of them offers a better user experience? I’m going to download them and find out for myself.
Rise is a beautiful minimalist alarm app for iPhone and iPad. Aside from its sleek design, it features a lot of useful functions and perks, including snooze with a shake or the ability create a playlist from iTunes to help you fall asleep. The most notable feature of the app, however, is the fluid gesture-friendly interface. It allows you to set and adjust the alarm time simply by tapping and sliding to the correct number. In fact, most of the actions can be performed by a sliding or pulling gesture, which makes Rise highly intuitive and fun to use. I love how the color of the screen changes from day to night and vise versa as you move your finger… Check out the video to see this and other features of the app in action.
Today we are featuring a house in Tavira, Portugal by Vitor Vilhena and photographed by Joao Morgado. The house is built around the original old building’s footprint and consists of two parts. Both parts are created through different architectural forms, one with sculpted geometry, the other with systematic, regular geometry but they communicate with a glass hallway. We get only a peek into the interior space but from what we see I like the option of enclosure with sliding doors (shown below). And as always, I enjoy when architecture nestles into the landscape and natural terrain. Not to mention the bonus of surrounding of 400 olive trees!
BeoPlay A9 is the latest creation of the renown electronics brand Bang & Olufsen and the winner of the prestigious iF award 2013. The laconic piece is a speaker, the one you wouldn’t want to hide. Here is how designer Øivind Alexander Slaatto describes this work: Sound travels in circles, like waves around a stone when it hits the water. Circles defines the grid of everything in this design and the result is obvious, minimalistic and poetic. I aimed towards a design, that looked more like a piece of furniture than as a machine. I love the versatility of the design. It can perform equally well as a free-standing speaker or a wall piece, mounted via an optional wall bracket. Check out the video to see how BeoPlay A9 was crafted.
Miami based company OCDesk, the self-proclaimed crusader for a more organized world (OCD – see what they did there?), created an OCDock – a neat iPhone docking station that attaches to your iMac and Thunderbolt monitors. The product’s most notable feature is the paper-thin cable that runs underneath the display stand, making it look wireless. Here is what designers say about OCDock on their already fully successful Kickstarter page: Less truly is more, but only so if the function is at the core. With these inspiring design principles in mind, we wanted to create a scaled back dock that would use as little material and space as possible while offering the most feature rich and comfortable docking and undocking experience. Designed as a seamless companion to Apple devices, OCDock is made using the same technologies and materials. It has been CNC machined from a solid piece of high-grade aluminium, glass bead blasted and anodized to match the finish of the iMac/Thunderbolt Display. The piece is also ergonomically conscious. It makes an iPhone easy to interact with while charging. Check out the video to see OCDock in action.
Realmac Software in collaboration with Helftone and Impending have collaborated on a Mac version of the now well-known iPhone application Clear. Popular for its minimalist and gestural interface, Clear succeeds at doing a small amount of features exceedingly well. Suitable for those looking for an alternative to heavy weight GTD systems, such as OmniFocus or Things, or as a sophisticated tool to keep lists. The Mac application will be familiar to those who have used the iPhone application, but includes some features specifically tailored to OS X. Now using iCloud, Clear syncs with the newly updated 1.2 version of the iPhone application.
The Squarespace Note iPhone and iPad app, designed by Squarespace, Inc., is a simple and intuitive way to capture thoughts, ideas, inspirations, and transfer them to various services. The app syncs seamlessly with email, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and your Squarespace account, should you have one. It does all that in a clean minimalist interface, which is a thing of beauty in itself. What is interesting about the app is that it’s not used as a database, but a passthrough. It becomes the first place you go to send a note or a reminder to yourself. Squarespace Note helps anyone record their ideas on the fly. Writers, bloggers, and others can use the app to record inspiration and ideas as they happen. The lightweight mobile app immediately loads a blank canvas when it’s launched. Unbranded, black and white feel lets you concentrate on content, not presentation. I love how seamless Squarespace Note is. Everything is done with minimum effort on the user’s part. Uncomplicated usability that fully matches app’s minimalist looks.
Today I would like to share a few quotes and diagrams from a book to which I often return to when needing a simple but meaningful pick me up during the design process. 101 Things I learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick has been around for a while and many of you might have already heard of it or even own a copy. For those of you who don’t, may this be a sneak preview of what is inside. The book aims to: Firm up the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive. One of my favorite quotes: Architecture begins with an idea. Good design solutions are not merely physically interesting but are driven by underlying ideas. An idea is a specific mental structure by which we organize, understand, and give meaning to external experiences and information. Without underlying ideas informing their buildings, architects are merely space planers. Space planning with decoration applied to “dress it up” is not architecture; architecture resides in the DNA of a building, in an embedded sensibility that infuses its whole.
In March of this year, multidisciplinary designers Signe Emma and Alice Young produced and exhibited an installation titled The Edge, at the Stour Space Gallery in Hackney Wick, London. The beautifully crafted project focuses on the vulnerability of the Eurozone, illustrating how the Euro is teetering ever closer to the edge of collapse. To demonstrate the effect of this collapse we used 100 sheets of A0 paper, which were individually cut to represent the imminence of a foreclosing gap. The assembly of the economy is ultimately the bane of its existence as expressed through each layer and finally to the last where none of the edges of the countries are cut out. An almost transparent Euro symbol in the top left hand corner serves to further the idea of weakness in the currency. I really enjoy the visual effect and simplicity of this installation whilst communicating a very complex issue. Very nice work.