Turn Your Phone Into a Reusable Notepad With This Silicone Case

Kenma Inc.
Kenma Inc.

Using your phone's notes app to write yourself reminders is convenient, especially if you're someone who stays glued to their phone at all times. But some people still prefer the feeling of jotting down notes by hand. Wemo, a new type of phone case from Kenma spotted by Design Milk, combines both methods: Just scribble your thoughts directly onto the case, then clean off the ink with an eraser or a finger when you're ready to write something new.

Wemo (short for "wearable memo") started as a line of notepad-slap bracelet hybrids. This new product takes the reusable sticky note concept to a new level. Thanks to the silicone case's special coating, anything written on it with an oil-based ballpoint pen will be visible. Using your phone or even getting it wet won't erase the message: You need to intentionally wipe it away to clear the slate.

In addition to the phone and tablet cases, the Wemo concept comes in writeable pad form. It's the perfect size for sticking to a desk, laptop, or any place else you might apply a paper sticky note. The major difference is that these pads won't fall off, and you can reuse the same one every time you want to write a new note.

Kenma's silicone notepads are perfect for people who like to write down ideas as soon as they come to them, or for people who forget things unless they're written right in front of their faces. The second generation of Wemo products, which includes the phone case and pads, isn't available to purchase just yet, but the company has plans to release it in Japan this fall and in the U.S. in April 2019. In the meantime, you can shop for existing reusable notepad products on their website.

Hand holding phone with text written on it.
Kenma Inc.

Hand writing and erasing ink from pad on laptop.
Kenma Inc.

Notepads on computer monitor.
Kenma Inc.

[h/t Design Milk]

Architect Creates Renderings of Frank Lloyd Wright Designs That Were Never Built

Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than a thousand works in his lifetime, but hundreds of his ideas were never built. One of those was the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective, a tourist attraction commissioned in 1924. Now, thanks to new renderings by Spanish architect David Romero, you can get a better idea of what the proposed project might have looked like had it been completed, as Curbed reports.

Romero is the creator of Hooked on the Past, a project in which he translates plans for Frank Lloyd Wright's unbuilt designs into photorealistic scale renderings. He imports data and plans Wright drew up for the projects into modern modeling software in order to create the most accurate renderings possible of what these structures would have looked like. For the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective images, he collaborated with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which recently ran the images in its magazine, Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly.

A spiraling building on top of a mountain
David Romero

Intended to stand atop Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the plan for the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective called for a planetarium and restaurant to accompany a scenic overlook. Its developer, wealthy Chicago businessman Gordon Strong, envisioned it as a destination where families would drive for the day from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The design shifted substantially from draft to draft. In some, it called for a dance hall instead of a planetarium; in another, a theater. He also designed in waterfalls, pedestrian paths, bridges, an aquarium, and a car showroom.

A rendering of a pedestrian bridge
The unbuilt Butterfly Wing Bridge
David Romero

Above all, it was to be a destination for drivers, as the name suggests, and visitors would have driven up to park along its spiral structure—similar to the one that would later come to life in the design of the Guggenheim museum, which Romero looked to as inspiration while translating Wright's failed plans into 3D renderings.

A rendering of a spiral-shaped building at night
David Romero

Romero also painstakingly researched the context and location of the building, including adding era-appropriate cars, traces of rain and dirt on the building, and other details in order to bring the project to life. As a result, at times it can be hard to tell these are illustrations rather than stylized photographs.

Romero has also created similarly detailed renderings of other unbuilt or demolished Frank Lloyd Wright projects, including ones that have long since been destroyed, like the demolished Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, New York and the burned-down Rose Pauson House in Arizona. You can see more here.

[h/t Curbed]

Dutton's New Young Adult Books Are the Size of a Smartphone—and They're Horizontal

Sometimes, the desire to read takes a backseat to how cumbersome it can be to carry a hardback book around all day, but a new line of pocket-sized volumes will ensure that’s never a problem. Dutton Books for Young Readers, a Penguin Random House imprint, has released a new line of books that are only a fraction of the size of the traditional hardback, as The New York Times reports.

The new design takes inspiration from the popular Dutch books known as dwarsliggers. In contrast to nearly every other book on the market, the text of these minute volumes is oriented horizontally, creating a flipbook effect. (The term comes from the Dutch words dwars—meaning crossways—and liggen—to lie.) The Dutton books are about the size of a smartphone, with extra-thin pages that make each volume only as thick as your finger. In other words, you'll only need one hand to read them.

A copy of the Penguin Mini version of 'Paper Towns' resting on two open copies of the book
Penguin Random House

The Penguin Minis are made by a Dutch printer, Royal Jongbloed, which is currently the only company in the world that makes books in this specific format. It uses ultra-thin paper sourced from just one Finnish mill.

The first books released in the new format are young adult novels by none other than Mental Floss friend John Green, host of our YouTube series Scatterbrained. You can buy the tiny versions of The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, and Looking for Alaska at major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and Walmart, as well as at independent bookstores for $12 each. (There's also a boxed set of all four books on Amazon for $27.)

A boxed set of John Green novels released as Penguin Minis
Penguin Random House

Dutton is printing 500,000 copies for the first run, and if the compact novels prove popular over the holidays, there will be more volumes on their way in the future.

[h/t The New York Times]