Friday, March 31, 2017

A Tech Company in Helsinki Upgrades to a New, Fun Office Space

A Tech Company in Helsinki Upgrades to a New, Fun Office Space

Zalando, a tech company in Helsinki, hired Interior Architects Fyra for new offices that have been dubbed “the coolest tech hub in Helsinki.” The offices offer plenty of places to work as a group, or if the employees would rather have some quiet to concentrate, there’s space for that as well. Besides workstations, they incorporated lots of fun elements that would make it easy to roll out of bed in the morning knowing you were spending the day here.

Overall, Zalando wanted a raw industrial look with a color palette pulled from the brand’s colors. They jumped on the office when the space opened up in central Helsinki knowing it had lots of possibilities for the brand to grow, work, hold events, and just hang out.

They divided the office into two spaces – one with a double-height ceiling that was open and perfect for hanging out, and the other area more quiet for working. The open space allows games of pool and foosball, chatting with colleagues, and spots for lunch, with a stadium style setup next to a staircase.

Hop on a swing with embedded LEDs for even more fun!

Glass-enclosed rooms offer privacy for phone calls, meetings, or quiet work time.


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How to Create a Custom Business Website with Squarespace

The following post is brought to you by Squarespace. Our partners are hand picked by the Design Milk team because they represent the best in design.

How to Create a Custom Business Website with Squarespace

Neon colors have taken over the runways and street style blogs for the past several years so it was only a matter of time before neon signs infiltrated the decor space (move over marquee letters!). And they’ve been embraced with open arms by design magazines, blogs and Pinterest boards. Lately, neon has become even more affordable (and for sale at big box stores like Target). But unless you had a neon artist on speed dial (or very deep pockets), it’s been a little difficult to get your name written in lights. (Or your mantra. Business name…Or just about anything custom). Until now! Name Glo has taken up the challenge to get your name in lights.

The company was started by Lena Imamura and Sas Simon, in 2014. Sas was on the hunt for the perfect baby shower gift for her soon-to-be-born nephew. She hit on the idea of having a neon sign made for his nursery, but couldn’t find a source. In one of those light bulb moments, she remembered that her high school friend, Lena had a neon sign in her apartment, and so reached out. The rest is Name Glo history.

Of course, it didn’t happen quite that quickly. Lena had been making light-based sculptures post art school—not only did she love the power effect of neon, but she also loved that it didn’t take up too much space in her tiny NYC apartment. The pair spent the next two years taking commissions and fine-tuning the custom ordering process on their Squarespace site. (They had to develop a way of making custom ordering simple and intuitive.) Finally, they opened their cyber “doors” on April 12, 2016. On their “almost” anniversary, we asked them to look back on their first year of e-commerce and share the challenges (and highlights!) of making a custom business work on Squarespace.

What template did you use and did you experiment with others?

We use the Marta template (believe it or not) and we’ve really pushed the template with a lot of custom CSS. We love that Squarespace allows this.

We did a lot of research on different templates, comparing and contrasting all the various features. Yet despite all the research we went with Marta because it was just the most simple and clean. We trusted that the custom CSS would take our site to where we wanted it to be—and voila, it worked!

How long did you spend working on the site design? Did you work with a designer or did you do it yourselves?

We both like to divide and conquer, which is the beauty of having a partner who has totally different strengths from yourself. Lena does all the design work from the site to the branding to the neon designs. Our friend and great designer Stine Westergaard developed the logo for us. And from our rough estimation together, we probably invested a combined 1000 hours from inception to launch.

Can you tell me a bit about how you’ve used the platform to have a custom order business? I love the way you can try out phrases and envision how it will look in neon!

Thanks! We’re about to geek out on you, ready?

We knew we needed a custom designing process but there really wasn’t an easy solution available. After speaking with a bunch of Squarespace developers and getting outrageous quotes left and right to build a custom designing feature on the site, we came up with a simple solution that involved 1000s of woman hours

In order to recreate a custom designing process, we setup the pages so that you could pick a font, then a color, then a mounting type and a display color. We started out with 8 fonts and 9 colors and 4 mounting options and 4 display colors — if you do the math that’s 1,152 combinations…. That’s 1,152 items in our store for every combination of font, neon color and mounting type that was mapped out across 100+ page flow that created a seamless selection process.

After a handful of sales we decided to invest into developing our own custom design interface that you see on the site today. It’s actually hosted on a separate domain because it’s a web application (an app that works in a browser window). What you see there now is an MVP (minimum viable product) while we learn more about user needs and get feedback from our clients.

We’re really innovating the medium of neon with our modernized approach and it’s our website, brand and the custom design app that’s creating that experience and telling our story. We’re so thrilled at the response we’re getting.

What have been some of your favorite phrases in neon?

We did a custom bee in LED neon for a nursery of a close friend. Their daughters name is Bar and they call her “B” all the time, so we loved this one for sentimental reasons.

One of our first pieces we made were neon eggs, which we get asked about a lot. An art gallery ended up displaying the piece in their window and by chance Refinery29 spotted it and posted the neon on their Instagram. That little post really helped bring us a ton of exposure and take us to a new level

If you were starting the business today, what would you do differently/the same?

I don’t think either of us anticipated how busy we’d be so quickly, which is a great problem to have, just sometimes a little overwhelming. We haven’t advertised our product anywhere other than our Instagram account and brand collaborations, so we were both pleasantly surprised with how quickly the word has spread. In hindsight, we would have a better system in place at the very beginning with how to organize all of our orders. At this point we have it down pat, but it took a few orders to understand how best to communicate the whole process from design to production to delivery to our clientele.

We would keep our mission statement the same, which is to make every moment shine, and we really do seek to do just that.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start an online shop?

Before you have your site go live, we would definitely suggest sending it to a core group of people who can give concise and helpful feedback. Be open and receptive to change and find people you really trust and listen to them. The way we thought the site should flow was often different than several of our friends and it was important to be receptive to their constructive criticism.

What have been your biggest lessons learned this year? 

I think our biggest success so far has been to say yes to everything, try it out and learn from it. Not being afraid to take risks at the beginning is very important. It’s better to learn hard and fast at first, than stay the safe course and be afraid to make changes later.

For example our first collaboration was with an illustrator in Dallas who we had never met yet she was a big fan of our work. We just went with our gut and ended up creating a beautiful piece for her which resulted in new sales. Looking back, we didn’t know her from a hole in the wall! But we took that risk anyway.

We know it’s easier said than done but trusting your instincts and taking the risks you can afford to take, only helps you grow. For a startup, we especially think it’s crucial

Any final advice for starting a business/ecommerce site that you’d like to pass on?

SHIPPING! Always think about shipping. The shipping always bites you if you don’t think through your business model carefully.

We have a pretty unique shipping situation since we’re delivering fragile glass neons. But at the outset everyone told us that everyone loses money on shipping. It’s just become a standard on ecommerce sites to have close to free shipping — no one expects to pay for that these days. So building-in shipping into your operating costs is important.

Even though we ship our neons all over the place, we still are constantly iterating on the best ways to package, ship and install them. Maybe it’s always a work in progress but it’s a big part of an ecommerce business that is hidden in plain sight.

Make your next website using Squarespace. Squarespace offers online store, templates and domains to help you get your business off-the-ground! And when you use coupon code DESIGNMILK at checkout you’ll get 10% off your first purchase.


from WordPress

The Withings Steel HR is One Fine Looking Hybrid Fitness Smartwatch

The Withings Steel HR is One Fine Looking Hybrid Fitness Smartwatch

I used to be a fitness tracking junkie. A fitness tracker in the guise of a watch was strapped onto my wrist during workouts all throughout my twenties; eventually I switched to strapping myself with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor across the chest for more accurate readings while pounding the pavement or lifting weights. Alas, I’ve (long) fallen off that bandwagon, no longer quite as serious about improving my mile time, interval workout heart rate, or training for races – all activities where tracking incremental improvements can be important.

That said, I feel like there’s still a place for fitness tracking somewhere in my life, even with a less intense fitness regimen. The Steel HR by Withings might be the impetus for a return to keeping count of distance, intensity, and a caloric use on a daily basis automatically.

A fitness tracker is only useful if you wear it. Previous fitness tracking devices – whether in the guise of watch, bracelet, or strap – never appealed as an all-day wearable no matter the amount of marketing. Even something as multi-functional and aesthetically less-techy as the Apple Watch – which keeps tabs on my activity with questionable accuracy – hasn’t quite won me over as a “I’d like to wear this every day” accessory. Call me old fashioned, but I like watches that look like analog watches…watches my father and his father before him wore.

The Withings Steel HR captures some of that classic horological spirit I desire, but with an extra veneer of minimalist aesthetics and an even deeper layer of technological functionality. This is a watch I can imagine wearing all day, every day.

The Steel HR is available in both 36mm or larger 40mm edition with larger bezel design. We think the smaller edition offers a more sophisticated design of the two.

Most impressively the Steel HR is an activity tracker outfitted with a heart rate monitor that can last for 25 days between charges. This is made possible because unlike large digital display smartwatches, Withings kept the digital display small and monochromatic, pushing the heavy graphical UI lifting over to an interconnected iOS or Android app.

The Steel HR pushes all activity tracking data over to iOS or Android smartphones automatically and wirelessly, displaying activity duration, intensity, energy expenditure, and goal tracking clearly from within a compatible app.

The fitness watch tracks heart rate, steps, distance, calories and sleep with a monitor sensor programmed to keep tabs on heart rate while moving, “from ping-pong to volleyball to dancing”; water sports enthusiasts will appreciate the 50 meter water resistance.

At $179 for the 36mm edition with thinner bezel face (my preference) or $199 in a black 40mm edition, neither Steel HR heart rate monitoring version will break the bank. Withings has made the laudable decision to forgo complicating the watch as a watch, designing a wearable fitness tracking device that doesn’t require constant attention and recharging. Thus, the Steel HR succeeds as wearable technology that seems genuinely wearable throughout the day, week, and nearly for a month.


from WordPress

PAIS: Adaptable Privacy Screens for the Desk

PAIS: Adaptable Privacy Screens for the Desk

Hungary-born, Austria-based industrial designer Brigitta Nemeth designed a privacy screen concept that not only looks pretty cool, it adapts to your needs as they change. Most screens are fixed or they’re big and awkward making it difficult to move around, but PAIS lets you set your own boundaries when you need them.

PAIS privacy screens are flexible letting them be rotated around your work surface thanks to a magnets. Besides increasing privacy, the screens act as acoustic panels to absorb any sound you make as well as the sounds around you helping to dial down the noise.

The irregular shapes add more visual interest as do the fun colors.

The embedded magnets let you attach it to any table with a metal edge.

The cushioned nature of the screens allows for also using it as a pin board for important notes.

PAIS was designed as a diploma project for blaha office.


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Dark Matter: A New Collection from Resident

Dark Matter: A New Collection from Resident

Resident, a design house based in New Zealand, recently launched their latest exhibition, Dark Matter at Euroluce 2017. This bold and dramatic exhibition includes lighting and tables, where they also partnered with other designers.

Circus Lights consists of a system of interconnected rings, much like a circus contortionist’s rings, where each brass ring illuminates in a 360 degree plane.

Bloom Pendant is a lighting collection designed in partnership with Tim Rundle. Inspired by paper lanterns, each pendant has a mesh core and frosted blown glass, resulting in a warm ambient glow.

The Offset Coffee Table and Stool / Side Table by Philippe Malouin (also pictured with the Bloom Pendant above) features a block of solid oak in an unexpected, irregular shape. Each leg connects to the table with a threaded connector, meaning each leg has its own individualistic position.


from WordPress