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In An Absolut World Everything is Downloadable

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 09.30.07

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This Side Up Table by David Graas

In an Absolut world, we will download design on demand.

It is like the music for our iPod; dematerialized bits and bytes put together again where we need it, without the waste of a physical intermediary. In a world where we watch our carbon as closely as our waistline we don't want to be driving to stores; in a world where everything except Absolut can be digitized, why move material when we are interested in ideas, creativity and talent?

With digital designs we decide what we want from the best in the world, not what Mr. Store Manager picks out. The Long Tail is at our fingertips as we cruise from Korea to Kansas for the design that suits our taste.

Once we find it we email it to the neighborhood CNC shop (we could buy a Mr. Router home model but the shop is conveniently right next to where they print out our clothing and sew it together...) and bring home the pieces for assembly, no delivery van required. The long boat trip from China is a thing of the past as we choose local, sustainable plywood as the medium.

Jeffrey McGrew and Jillian Northrup of Because we Can

We don't want to own a lot so what we do should be the best and exactly what we want, what we choose, not what anyone else decides they will sell to us, because we live in a downloadable world.

Join TreeHugger and Absolut in this demonstration of a downloadable world. We have asked designers from around the world to give us one/sixth scale models of their designs that you can download, print, cut out and build. Collect them all!

Judging Your Downloadable Design: Josh Rubin

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 09.14.07

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Not only have we invited you to submit your own downloadable design, but we are assembling a panel of judges to pick the best one. First up: Josh Rubin of Cool Hunting.

"I started Cool Hunting in February 2003 after accepting that I'm much better at organizing digitally than physically. As an interaction designer I'm always looking for both inspiration and an understanding of the way people do things. I decided to catalog what I found on the web and haphazardly named it Cool Hunting because to me that's synonymous with finding inspiration. Some people think this site is about trends, but it is more about curating observations. I get excited about obsessive compulsive art, elegant uses of technology, unusual and limited edition sneakers, and general paradoxes.
::Cool Hunting

David Graas: Finish Yourself Stool

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 09.13.07

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Dutch Designer David Graas thinks garbage is poorly designed. He says " Wouldn't it be nice if the discarded products would not cause problems for the environment? That you could throw them away without feeling guilty? Or the materials could be completely re-used without much effort?"

He has designed the Finish Your Self Stool:

A stool made of cardboard has many advantages. It is very light, remarkably strong, 100% recyclable, easily assembled by yourself and, last but not least, quite beautiful. Also, because product and packaging are both made from the same type of cardboard, the packaging can be used to finish the stool by yourself. Two parts of the FYS stool are simply cut loose from the box containing the other six parts resulting in less waste.

Visit David Graas

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D. E. Sellers: Emergency Stool

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 08.26.07

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The Emergency Stool is designed to transcend function and question furniture as object, art, or image. The Emergency stool is a laser cut panel of Baltic Birch plywood where each part is connected to each other creating a panel that can be displayed an image on the wall prepared to be but into action for an emergency by simply breaking the panel into it's individual parts. The laser etcher graphic provides international assembly instructions. This kiche design adds ingenuity and humor to modern furnishings creating a useful stool or side table without fasteners or the need of complex tools.

Visit d e sellers


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What is a CNC Machine?

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 08.26.07

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Because we Can's Shopbot

A CNC (computer numerical control) router cuts plywood or other materials according to instructions from a computer, usually from a CAD drawing. All of the downloadable designs shown here are designed to be cut out on a CNC router. In an Absolut World, technology like this will be available as a neighborhood service like a Kinko's- you will download a design and send it to the machine, and then pick it up when your order is ready.

They are big machines, designed to handle full sheets of plywood, but in an Absolut world you may want to have one at home; right now you can buy little ones at Sears for under $ 2,000.

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Amy Law: FlexTable

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 08.26.07

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amylaw%20vertical.jpgStudents at The Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto, Canada were asked to design a piece of furniture out of a single 4 x4 sheet of baltic birch plywood. These wowed the crowd at the Interior Design Show this spring; We thought it a wonderful opportunity to present the work of these talented young designers as downloadable designs. So far as we know, none are in production, but that might change.....

Ryerson University School of Interior Design student Amy Law says:

Inspired by the concept of a table that is as flexible as our needs, it is designed to be multifunctional, transformable and compact to reduce mass consumption. Why purchase three different units when one can perform all the functions? When the need to accommodate more people arises, simply swivel the top and flip up the side panel. Its cubic form creates storage below and its sleek, clean lines are designed to be magazine slots. FlexTable is made of Baltic Birch plywood to ensure that it is lightweight and sturdy. The wood can be easily finished to provide users with their own unique style.


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In an Absolut World, Everyone Has Access to Tools

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 07.26.07

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In an Absolut World, everyone can design their own furniture and have it made; Everyone can submit their designs and have them published on this site. Just make up a 1/6 scale design and submit it as a letter or A4 size PDF, along with a jpg picture of the assembled model and a description of the project, and we will add it to the collection. Send to absolut (at) treehugger.com.

Absolut and TreeHugger reserve the right to be picky and not publish a design if we don't feel like it. We also have short legal statement here and a big long legal agreement below the fold that you have to read before you submit. There will be a test.

"I acknowledge that I am over 21 years of age and that I understand and agree that any "In an Absolut World" materials submitted by me to Treehugger and/or Absolut vodka may be used and reproduced for advertising and promotional purposes. I further have read, understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use outlined herein."

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In An Absolut World, You Can Win a Competition for the Best Downloadable Design

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 07.26.07

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In an Absolut World, a great jury will pick the best submitted downloadable design. Jillian and Jeffery of Because We Can will give it a going over to make sure it works and will build it on their shopbot, shown above, so that you have a professionally built prototype that you can sell online to others. In an Absolut world, you are designer in the furniture business!

Submit your design as per the instructions and legal parameters in the In an Absolut World, Everyone Has Access to Tools post and it is automatically entered in the competition.

Deadline for entries is 30 November 2007 but may be extended at the sole discretion of Absolut.

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