Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
Posted in Cool Art Ideas, Inspiration, International, Just Cool, Video by Courtney on April 5th, 2013

Salt Art by Motoi Yamamoto

Unique art is our passion. So it’s no wonder why we’re so inspired by Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto, and his breathtaking art installations made from one of the most sought-after minerals in the world — salt. His project, titled “Saltscapes”, features incredibly detailed works of art created with basic table salt. His large installations have been known to take up entire gallery, church, and even soy brewery floors.

His installations take up hundreds of hours of time, and he must be very meticulous with pouring to avoid too many mistakes. While he does follow a basic guideline for each piece, most of his works of art are actually improvised. He often leaves his mistakes and imperfections intact as he is working.

Yamamoto uses salt as the main material in his art, as a way to honor his sister who passed away from brain cancer in 1994. Salt is often used in Japanese culture as a way to cleanse one of grief. To him the material signifies life, death, and above all, rebirth. Once the artist disassembles one of his complex installations he releases the salt back into the ocean, often inviting his fans to help him with the process. It’s a way of bringing new life to his masterpieces.

Salt Art by Artist Motoi Yamamoto

Salt Art by Artist Motoi Yamamoto

Salt Art by Artist Motoi Yamamoto

Photo credit: Huffington Post

Video credit: The Avant/Garde Diaries

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Posted in Inspiration, Just Cool, Video by Courtney on March 8th, 2013

We were intrigued when we came across this video by PBS Offbook, about the future of 3D printing and the opportunities it could bring to the world. 3D printing is a revolutionary new technology that allows you to take a digital file, and turn it into a physical product — toys, shoes, iPhone cases, replicas. Based on this video, it seems like the possibilities are endless!

Who knows where the future will take us — perhaps one day 3D DNA Portraits will exist?

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Posted in Inspiration, International, Just Cool by Courtney on January 31st, 2013

Now this is an example of  ingenuity at it’s finest! Viennese artist Andreas Franke has recently unveiled his photo project, The Sinking World, in an underwater art gallery. The exhibition is dubbed the Stavronikita Project, and will take place on the deck of the sunken SS Stavronikita, right off the coast of Barbados. We’re absolutely blown away by this mix of innovation and unique art. Via You the Designer:

In his most notable project called “The Sinking World, Andreas Franke brings a strange, forgotten underwater world back to life by capturing some stills of sunken ships, then recreated what life could have been like aboard the ship with real actors. The amazing images are displayed on the deck of the shipwrecks where divers and art lovers can see his underwater gallery.

He has created two projects so far in The Sinking World series. The first one was The Vandenberg Project, featuring a gallery of surreal photographs of the sunken ship off the coast of Florida and combined the stills with images of staged actors representing everyday life, thus, creating a re-imagined and forgotten world of the sunken giant.

Another set of his Sinking World was The Stavronikita Project featuring a gallery staging the European era, the age of decadence with all its intoxicating extravagance and vanity, on the deck of the sunken ship of the same name right off the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The Stavronikita Project, underwater on SS Stavronikita, will run until April 2013.

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Posted in Inspiration, Inspirational Design of the Week by Courtney on September 25th, 2012

Handblown glass lamps

Ever wonder what poetry emulated in a lighting fixture could look like? We are always searching for new designs that inspire us, and designer Laurent Corio has done just that with the unveiling of his Fioriness Lamps. His designs manage to be both dreamy and modern at the same time, and are sure to create a romantic ambiance in any room they light up. Via

In my imaginary world, Fioriness is the expression of a latin attitude where the word “flower” is the poetic link between french and italian: “fiori”, “fleurs”, “flirter” which means “to flirt”. The emotions and play of a candle light diner or august summer sunlight. These sparkles of light define the flower standing in its vase as the witness of a promising story.

Laurent Corio is a Paris-based designer who created this collection of hand blown glass lamps for design gallery Secondome. What do you think of Corio’s fuse of poetry and function?

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Posted in biotechnology, Inspiration, Inspirational Design of the Week, Science by Courtney on August 29th, 2012

Is that food really organic? How much radiation is present? What’s your ideal climate? We discovered the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor and—in the name of sublime science visualizations—had to crown it as Inspirational Design of the Week. Via Uncrate:

The various components that make up the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor are useful — they can individually test for radiation, whether food is organic or not, electromagnetic fields, and climate — otherwise known as temperature and humidity. And yes, they connect to your iPhone using nothing but a simple headphone cable. But what’s really impressive is how they manage to be so stylish while being so unbelievably small.

The device is highly sensitive and responds to the invisible world of particles, ions, molecules and waves, so it can analyze your surroundings and smartly combine the results into guideline values for your comfort.

The Lapka is coming later this year ($TBA) and the company says that “the experience of being able to take precise measurements and the beautiful visualization of what’s beyond our perception are inspiring and addictive”. We can’t wait!

What are your favorite apps for visualizing or applying science in our everyday lives?

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Posted in Inspiration, Just Cool by Courtney on July 3rd, 2012

Via The more that robots ingrain themselves into our everyday lives, the more we’re forced to examine ourselves as people. At TEDxBerkeley, Ken Goldberg shares four very human lessons that he’s learned from working with robots.

We’re always excited about robots, but we especially liked this video because we caught up on some new robotic advances while being reminded of life lessons we too often forget:

1. Always question assumptions.
2. When in doubt, improvise.
3. When your path is blocked, pivot.
4. There’s no substitute for practice, practice, practice.

Have you been humbled by technology and/or learned any lessons from it?

Ken Goldberg is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in Robotics, Automation, and New Media at UC Berkeley and holds a position at UC San Francisco Medical School where he researches medical applications for robotics.

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Posted in Art+Science, Cool Art Ideas, Educational, gift ideas, Just Cool, Science Tattoos by Courtney on December 8th, 2011

If you’ve already ordered your DNA 11 Gift Kit but still need something for the science-lover in your life, look no further! We’ve curated a few must-haves of the season, celebrating everything from molecules to DNA, sterling-silver to jellyfish.

Steampunk Rock Star Scientist Poster Art Prints (above)
If you’re like us, everyday is a celebration of Watson and Crick, the duo who together proposed the double helix/spiral staircase structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. Now you can pay tribute to your favourite scientists in style with these Steampunk Rock Star Scientist Prints.


Intro to Molecular Bonding T-Shirt
If you put six H’s, two C’s and one big O in a room together, what would happen? Consult Figure 1: Alcohol at a Party. Available as both men’s and women’s tees, it’s a perfect gift for those scientific party animals.





Biochemies DNA Plush Toys
These DNA plush toys magnetically interact where they hydrogen bond! These little guys aren’t available for purchase yet, but you can back the project on Kickstarter for first dibs on a set of your own when they’re released in March 2012. These happy bases would make great desk toys, educational tools, or gifts for current and aspiring scientists.



Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit
This culinary kit is more like chemistry set, containing sachets of agar-agar, calcium lactate, sodium alginate, soy lecithin and xanthan gum to help aspiring molecular chefs experiment at home. The kit also includes an arsenal of tools like a syringe and silicone tubing, plus a DVD of 50+ recipes for molecular implosion.
via Wired


Desktop Jellyfish Tank
Because regular aquariums just don’t cut it anymore! This kit includes all the essential tools to get started, from the 7 gallon tank, air pump and feeding tube, to a voucher for moon jellyfish delivery (they’re guaranteed to arrive alive!).  It’s the first affordable aquarium designed specifically for jellyfish and it’s as easy to maintain as a regular fish tank (which jellyfish can’t live in because they get sucked into the air filtration system). Available for pre-order.
via Kickstarter


Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed
Body art meets popular science in this mind-blowing collection of science-inspired tattoos. Written by renowned science writer Carl Zimmer, each tattoo provides a leaping-off point for reflection on the science in question—whether it’s the importance of an image of Darwin’s finches or the significance of the uranium atom inked into the chest of a young radiologist.




DNA bases charm bracelet
Charm her with a DNA bracelet! This sterling-silver bracelet was created to honour Rosalind Franklin, who’s x-ray crystallography work was critical in Watson and Crick’s determination of the double helix structure of DNA. The bracelet features charms of the four bases found in DNA: A, C, G, and T.


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Posted in Educational, gift ideas, Just Cool by Courtney on November 24th, 2011

We could barely contain our excitement when we found Biochemies’ DNA Molecule Plush Dolls on KickStarter. How could we not back this?

From Kickstarter:
DNA is the most fundamental component in our biology and is composed of 4 bases: adenine (green), thymine (red), guanine (black), and cytosine (blue). Furthermore, the bases interact with each other via hydrogen bonds (accomplished by magnets) to form base pairs. Adenine and thymine form a base pair via 2 bonds while guanine and cytosine form another via 3 bonds.

Jun Axup kickstarted this project after she crafted and sewed the mascot of her science education website, She then set out to create chemically-accurate DNA toys.

Backers of $35 or more will receive a set of 4 DNA plush dolls, a set of 4 DNA stickers, plus their name and link on Biochemies website. Pledges will support the dolls’ production, making them available in March 2012.

Biochemies aims to inspire youth to love and pursue science by promoting the positive implications of science in a fun and informative manner. The site features a directory of science games and activities, plus free wallpapers, a blog and more.

Jun is a PhD candidate in chemical biology in San Diego, CA. Her thesis work involves developing targeted cancer drugs. She is a strong advocate of science education and changing cultural attitudes towards science.

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Posted in Cool Art Ideas, Inspiration by Courtney on November 17th, 2011

We love one-of-a-kind personal art, so when we stumbled upon Kyle Bean’s Pencil Shaving Portraits via design milk we had to share:

British artist Kyle Bean, best known for his intricate sculptures made out of unusual materials, has created a series of portraits from colored pencil shavings for the contributors page of Wallpaper* Handmade 2011.

The only reference point for these delicate creations were photographs of the subjects—all of whom are fellow contributors to Wallpaper* magazine.

Twenty-four year-old Kyle specializes in hand-crafted models, set design and art direction. Since graduating in 2009, he has worked across a variety of platforms including installations, window displays, editorial and advertising.

We can’t wait to see what he creates next!

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Posted in Educational, Inspiration, Just Cool by Courtney on November 2nd, 2011

A few years ago we were introduced to Jules Pieri and her team at Daily Grommet, an online marketplace that not only showcases cool products, it also tells the stories behind them. (Check out DNA 11 on Daily Grommet here)

Jules is also a Harvard MBA Grad, Class of ’86, and since we have been one of their most popular “Grommets” to date, she asked us to be a part of her 25th reunion at her alma mater.

“Attendance exceeded all projections and we even broke the all-time record with 55% of our 25 year anniversary class showing up,” Jules said.

DNA 11 gave one lucky Harvard alumni their very own DNA portrait. Also, in recognition of how special this class of 1986 is, each graduate was also given a $100 gift certificate.

A real treat to be at such a landmark educational institution with the likes of truly interesting and successful people. Cheers to the Class of ’86!

Looking for corporate art? Create a photo canvas for your office: Visit our sister site CanvasPop.