From Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, get off the beaten path to visit these 24 works of inspired design this summer. See an interactive map of these incredible locations here.
From Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, get off the beaten path to visit these 24 works of inspired design this summer. See an interactive map of these incredible locations here.
It seems like a counterintuitive idea: help a desperately poor community by enabling it to enter the luxury market. But that’s what has brought David Adjaye, an architect known for his celebrity homes, libraries and important musems, and the high end-but-humanitarian fashion retailer Maiyet together with two villages of desperately poor weavers in India.
Varanasi, in India’s northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh has been famous for its silk-weaving artisans for hundreds of years. Or at least, that’s what it used to be famous for. As machine looming has become more sophisticated and globalization has opened up other suppliers, especially in China, the Varanasi weavers have found the market for their goods shrinking, and many have fallen into poverty.
One solution might be to find new markets for these high end silks among well-heeled consumers with a conscience in the West. But for the silks to be attractive to really wealthy customers the quality has to be consistently skyscaper high, and as the weavers fall further into poverty, their product becomes less and less luxurious. Many of them work out of their homes and when roofs leak or structural damage goes unfixed, the silks can be ruined. They also have children at home, and one mishap can ruin many hours of work.
So Nest, a foundation that supports craft as a method out of poverty hired Adjaye to create a workshop for the weavers. Maiyet, a luxury brand that gets all its goods from artisans in emerging economies believes it can find buyers for the silks. “This wasn’t just about making a building,” says Adjaye. “It was about using architecture to create mobility and to create philanthropy within a craft that was disappearing.”
Work began on the Varanasi workshop in April. When completed it will have a workspace big enough for 120 weavers, a separate wing for women who do jobs that are ancillary to the weaving process, a child care center and rooms that can be used for the community as other needs arise, such as a medical clinic or a town hall. Most of the weavers are men and most of the finishers are women, so the workshop needs to accommodate both sexes, but the Muslim women cannot work in the same space as the men, so Adjaye planned his design around a separation of the genders.
The team has vertiginously high hopes for the project. Since it will bring Muslim and Hindu workers together into one space, they hope the two groups will find they have much in common as they ply their craft. They also have high commercial ambitions. “The idea is to create a distinction between handmade silk and a machine-made silk,” says Adjaye, who compares the silks to handmade Italian leather goods or an Hermés Kelly bag. He designed an exhibition space/showroom with them in mind. “If a brand like Hermés or Yves St. Laurent wants to come, they can see the collection and look at the the skill base.”
Adjye’s trademark, if he has one, is to metabolize the traditions and culture of his clients or end-users in his designs. The workshop is inspired by the Buddhist-Moghul-Hindu architecture of the region. And it’s in the same red clay color as the local buildings. “I’m trying to bring in this idea of weaving to the way the layers of the building are working,” says Adjaye. “And in certain details, like ventilation for the façade. I’m trying to speak about region and also about the idea of the craft. “
In the meantime the architect has been learning a lot about high end silk. “I’ve bought loads for my wife,” he says. “I’ve probably overdone it. “
When a simple shushing sound won’t suffice, flyers can now send chatty Cathy’s a more pointed message with the B-Tourist, a portable curtain that silently screams “do not disturb.” The elastic curtain, designed by Idan Noyberg and Gal Bulka, can be stretched between headrests to the back and the front of the passenger, thereby creating a cocoon of privacy around the passenger’s head.
Pouches sown into the curtain offer extra storage space for personal items, like pepper spray, and the flexible fabric can serve double-duty as a headrest, putting an end to that awkward moment when you wake up with your head resting on your neighbor’s shoulder, and vice versa. And if the user gets into a more sociable mood, plastic rings can scrunch the curtain into a taut little line, signaling a willingness to engage in eye contact and perhaps even a smidge of small talk about the weather.
The PC industry’s doldrums continue, yet many seem to be scratching their head as to why. The common answer is to blame tablets.
While there is truth to the tablet’s role in the shrinking PC market, some important context is still missing from this puzzle.
What many don’t initially observe is that since about 2007, the PC market — specifically the notebook segment — began to over-index to the consumer segment. Meaning that, gradually, more notebooks sold around the world each year were to the consumer segment rather than the corporate segment. Note this chart from Benedict Evan’s slide deck Mobile Is Eating the World.
During the PC’s run when more PCs were shipped to corporate segments than consumer ones, the corporate buying cycle was like clockwork — every two to three years. Refresh cycles were predictable. As PCs and notebooks became more saturated in enterprise environments, the PC’s run continued as it bled over into the consumer segment. Consumers, who either only used a desktop PC at work or had no PC at home, started to bring PCs into the home.
The observation that gets lost is that the consumers who caused the PC to over-index to the consumer segment were not early adopters. If you are familiar with the concept of the diffusion of innovations, you know the late adopter parts of the market are much larger in terms of volume than the early adopter parts of the market.
As the late part of the early majority and the following segments started buying PCs, we saw growth, but more consumer PCs were sold than corporate PCs as a part of the overall mix. The trouble with this, which the past few years of PC decline has evidenced, is that people in the later years of these consumer markets behave differently with electronics. Many in this late-state early majority, late majority and laggards buy tech based more on needs than wants. More to the point, once a product is acquired, these people generally don’t replace it until it’s “beyond repair.” Technology products’ life cycles are extended when this very large part of the consumer segment gets into the market.
By this time, the market is to the point where it’s fully mature and reaching “post maturity.” Around this time as well, costs for components also come down, become mature, and generally can and will last longer. The perfect storm hit the PC industry where a significant part of the install base bought their PCs, and the maturity of the hardware allowed them to last for quite some time, dramatically extending the life cycle of the product for customers who won’t replace it until it breaks.
This is where we are today: The PC segment has reached a fully mature replacement market and growth is declining. So what observations from the fully mature PC segment can we glean for mobile?
While the PC is not a “one per person on the planet” product, the smartphone, for the most part, is. The total addressable market is significantly larger. The PC install base will settle around 1-1.2 billion, while the smartphone install base will settle around 4-4.5 billion. However, we have an install base of around 1.5-1.6 billion smartphones now, with the bulk — approximately 70% — in full replacement markets.
Because of this, I divide the smartphone market into two segments: There is a mature segment, rapidly going to post maturity, and there is an immature segment, which is the quarter to half a billion first-time smartphone owners coming on each year for the next few years. The two largest markets from an install base standpoint of smartphones are China (approx 525m currently) and the U.S. (approx 225m currently). Per my PC observations, I’ll focus on these two markets.
This market has been a defining one for mobile in many of the same ways it has for the PC. With smartphone penetration nearing 70% in the US, we are well into a mature replacement cycle market. But to get to where we are now, we have a huge install base of the late-state early majority, late majority and laggards who are in the market and will increasingly become so during 2014 as we drive saturation to 80-85%.
As in the PC space, we are already seeing the “I’ll replace it when it dies” mentality impact smartphones. This is stalling year-over-year growth, and making it harder for the likes of Apple and Samsung to drive the masses to their latest devices. While the refresh rate of smartphones will remain approximately 24 months for a percentage of the market, I sense there is a growing percentage who will wait a bit longer. Perhaps 2.5 years will be more common rather than two or less, as it will be for some segments.
The issue? Are there more people who will need to be persuaded to upgrade than there who will do it routinely because of their love of technology? This last bit is tricky but there is hope. For example, it is for the reasoning I just laid out that the time is right for Apple to release a larger-screen iPhone. That, plus perhaps longer battery life, enhanced security thanks to 64-bit and a few other simple features, could significantly move the needle for Apple in the U.S. (Note this ChangeWave survey indicating nearly half of all smartphone buyers who are intending to purchase a smartphone plan want to buy one with a screen size around 5″.)
The U.S. is an iPhone-dominated market, with Samsung gaining ground little bits at a time with each new Galaxy release. Both need to start moving the needle or we will continue to see refresh rates extend. Every PC OEM we speak to regularly follows the “give them a reason to upgrade” mantra. This is a key theme for consumer markets and applies to PCs, smartphones and tablets once they reach maturity.
China is crazy. It’s unlike any market I study in-depth. The swings of market-share as a percentage of quarterly sales by different vendors is staggering.
Xiaomi, in less than two years, is shipping more smartphones than Samsung each month. China is saturated with half a dozen and growing key Android OEMs all going after each other with new device releases every quarter or so.
Could you imagine in the U.S. having six to eight smartphone manufacturers releasing new devices every quarter? Or even twice year? It would seem like overkill, but in China it isn’t. Selling a few million each quarter is being fueled by rapidly releasing hardware. The average smartphone lifecycle in some parts of China is 11 months, and in upscale areas it is seven months. While the smartphone market in China looks and feels mature — and in some cases even post-mature — it really isn’t. While Xiaomi is all the rage, we have no solid data about what Xiaomi’s loyalty rates are. Are consumers jumping to different brands just to try the hot thing every year? The question of what are fads versus what are sustainable trends is much harder to predict in China.
While I sense many of the same PC market observations apply to mobile in the U.S., they are not applying to China. Significantly, China has more smartphones than PCs and is largely now a mobile-first (and for a growing percentage, mobile-only) market. All of this is to say that mobile can learn nothing from the PC segment for China, which is a point in itself.
Perhaps the strategic dynamics of a mature market, and eventually a smartphone-saturated one like China will behave fundamentally differently than the U.S. If this is true of China, will it also be true of India (where PC penetration is less than 10%), Indonesia, and Brazil? I suspect this is the case, but we are in such early days that it’s hard to tell. Which makes it fascinating.
If you are interested in diving more deeply into where computing is going, I’m speaking at a conference called Post Modern Computing on June 4th in San Francisco. I encourage you to check it out.
Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology-industry-analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to the Big Picture opinion column that appears here every week.
Creating the most popular product of the year will make consumers and investors happy. But making an all-time bestseller can transform an industry and define a business for decades.
Many of the best-selling products were first in a new category. Apple, which has sold more than 500 million iPhones, was the first to introduce a touchscreen smartphone that could seamlessly handle music, web browsing and phone calls. Other bestsellers took a niche market and made it mainstream. Before Star Wars, film was either comedy, romance or drama. The Harry Potter book series was so successful that The New York Times Book Review created a separate children’s bestseller list in 2000 to account for the series’ popularity.
In some cases, top-selling products were a simply better than their competitors. Before the Sony PlayStation, video game consoles were largely cartridge-based. With the advent of the PlayStation, which relied on the new CD-ROM format, game files could be large enough to support 3D gameplay and full-motion video. Lipitor, which has become the world’s best-selling drug with $141 billion in sales, was far more effective than previously-released drugs at lowering bad cholesterol.
A number of these products continue to be dominate their markets. The iPad remains the world’s best-selling tablet, with a 32.5% market share last quarter, despite challenges from Amazon.com’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy tablet lines. The PlayStation 4 has sold over 7 million units since it launched last year, well above the Microsoft Xbox One.
Despite their success, some of these products face challenges. Sales of Pfizer’s Lipitor dropped each year after its maker, Pfizer, lost patent protection on the drug in 2011 and cheaper generic drugs came on the market. The ongoing Star Wars saga may lose its status as the all time best-selling movie franchise to Walt Disney’s Marvel Franchise. The Avengers broke box office records, grossing $203.4 million on its opening weekend.
To determine the best-selling products of all-time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed categories of products widely purchased by consumers and identified individual products that had the highest sales in their category.In some cases, we gathered figures from multiple sources and estimated the final sales figure. In other instances, where one company had a clear market lead, figures reflect data from previous years.
These are the best-selling products of all time.
> Category: Video game console
> Total sales: 344 million units
> Parent company: Sony
When Sony released the PlayStation in the United States in 1995, its 32-bit processor was the most powerful available on the console market at the time. Sony sold more than 70 million PlayStations worldwide by the time the PlayStation 2 was released in 2000. The PlayStation 2 also sold very well in the U.S. and abroad. Sony released the PlayStation 3 in 2006, and it sold 80 million units to retailers by November 2013. The latest generation, the PlayStation 4, has been wildly successful thus-far, already selling 7 million units as of April.
> Category: Pharmaceutical
> Total sales: $141 billion
> Parent company: Pfizer
Pfizer’s Lipitor is prescribed to lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol — high levels of bad cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Lipitor is classified as a statin, a class of drug used to reduce the risk of heart-related ailments. However, Lipitor sales have plummeted in recent years after its U.S. patent expired in 2011. Lipitor has lost patent protection in other major markets since. In 2013, Lipitor sales totaled $2.3 billion, down from $9.6 billion in 2011 according to Pfizer’s 2013 annual report. Still, since its introduction in 1997, no other drug came close to Lipitor’s commercial success. The closest competitor for all time sales is Plavix, which had slightly more than half of Lipitor’s lifetime revenue, according to Forbes.
> Category: Vehicle
> Total sales: 40.7 million units
> Parent company: Toyota (NYSE: TM)
Toyota announced last month it sold 1.2 million Corollas in 2013, a 5% year-over-year increase. Since its introduction in Japan in 1966 — the car became available in the U.S. in 1968 — Toyota has sold more than 40.7 million Corollas, more than any other car model. The Corolla’s success on the market is likely due to its reliability, relatively low gas mileage, and affordability. The newly redesigned 2014 Corolla is the model’s 11th generation, and it claims to have better gas mileage and a slightly larger interior. Brand new, the Corolla’s starting MSRP is $16,800.
4. Star Wars
> Category: Movies
> Total sales: $4.6 billion
> Parent company: 20th Century Fox
Only “Gone with the Wind” brought in more money than the original Star Wars movie. Combined, however, the original trilogy grossed $2.4 billion, accounting for inflation. When Star Wars: Episode I was released more than 20 years later, it grossed $675 million, considerably more than the later installments — episodes two and three — which each still grossed more than $400 million. In total, the Star Wars movies, including special editions and re-releases, grossed $4.6 billion adjusted for inflation in the U.S. While 20th Century Fox still owns the rights to the original Star Wars, Disney purchased the Star Wars universe — Lucasfilms — for $4 billion in 2012. Disney will release the final three movies under J.J. Abrams’ direction. The first of the three is scheduled to hit the box office in 2015.
> Category: Tablet
> Total sales: 211 million units
> Parent company: Apple
Despite losing market share in the first quarter, Apple’s iPad is still the best-selling tablet. The iPad held 40% of the tablet market in the first quarter of 2013, but only 32.5% in the first quarter of this year, according to market research firm IDC. Close rival Samsung picked up much of that market share. IDC analyst reported that iPad lost some of its market share because consumers are holding onto their tablets for longer rather than immediately purchasing the newest version. Apple sold 16.4 million units in the second quarter alone, and more than 211 million since the iPad was first introduced in 2010.
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A video released Monday and posted on Gizmodo shows the most detailed view yet of Apple’s new corporate campus.
It’s pretty astonishing. Shaped like a perfectly rolled bagel slathered in shiny solar panels, the verdant campus will run on 100% renewable energy, according to Apple vice president Lisa Jackson. The goal is to build a campus that has no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And it certainly looks like it descended from a distant future: 80% of the campus will be green space, and with large glass walls, open workspaces, and leafy swaths of forest outside.
The project’s legendary architect, Lord Norman Foster, claims in the video that the campus will ultimately redefine how people socialize and work. The 176-acre campus will house as many as 14,200 employees, Bloomberg reported in 2012, and the main circular building will total 2.8 million square feet.
The video is the first extensive look at the building since Steve Jobs presented the plan to the city of Cupertino in 2011. (That presentation, no surprise, is also pretty incredible.)
What would some of the world’s most famous writers, thinkers, and politicians’ stationary look like if they were alive today? Online printing company MOO has an answer—sort of. The firm has designed a collection of modern letterheads and business cardsfor the likes of Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. For more, check them all out here.
The Z-1 Spacesuit — named one of TIME’s best innovations of 2012, FYI — is upgrading to a Z-2, made with the help of 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware. To fully engage its core audience, NASA is allowing its fans to pick which high tech design will be built. Here are the options, each with a subtly different theme:
This suit is meant to look like the world’s oceans:
And to embrace the “bioluminescent qualities of aquatic creatures found at incredible depths,” it also glows in the dark:
This design uses Luminex wire and light-emitting patches:
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This is what NASA thinks a spacesuit would look like if it was ‘reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future”:
And here’s the 2012 Z-1:
Of course, like most awesome things on the Internet, there’s a bit of a catch. The spacesuit isn’t actually space friendly. According to the frequently asked questions section, it isn’t designed to fly in space because the outer layers doesn’t have the functionality of “micrometeroite, thermal and radiation protection.” This is a prototype used primarily for aesthetics. Womp womp.
Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive is one of the most well-respected designers in the world. But the shy British-born creator rarely talks about his work in public (aside from Apple product introduction videos). Ive, who brought consumers everything from the original Bondi Blue iMac to the most recent iPhone 5S, opened up about his process, his team, and his friend Steve in a recent interview. He says his team of designers “is really much smaller than you’d think — about 15. Most of us have worked together for 15 to 20 years.” That comes in handy: “We can be bitterly critical of our work,” he says. “The personal issues of ego have long since faded.” Here’s a closer look at how Ive’s designs have changed your life in ways you may not have realized.