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PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy // YouTube

Sneaker Design Academy Prepares Students for Careers in Footwear

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PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy // YouTube

Aspiring fashion designers have plenty of options to choose from when pursuing higher education—unless they dream of designing sneakers. Basketball shoes have grown into a major sector of the fashion industry; in 2014, Nike’s line of Jordan sneakers alone garnered $2.6 billion in U.S. sales. But for young shoe designers looking to get their foot in the door, it can be hard to know where to start. D’Wayne Edwards set out to change that when he opened the Pensole Footwear Design Academy in 2010.

As Fast Company reports, the school is the first design academy focused around sneakers. Edwards, who’s created shoes for brands like Sketchers and Nike, launched the institution after struggling to find designers to hire straight out of college. He saw a lack of opportunities for young people to make the transition from their formal education to a career in shoe design, so he founded a school that puts footwear front-and-center.

The Portland, Oregon-based academy aims to fit a full semester’s worth of content into classes that span three to four weeks. Days average 14 straight hours, a choice Edwards consciously made to model the classroom experience after life in the design industry. Skills like prototyping and consumer research are taught by real sneaker professionals who come from companies like Nike and Adidas. Tuition and housing is fully covered by the brands sponsoring the program: All students have to do is be one of the 18 selected out of the 850-odd candidates who apply for each class.

This year, that applicant number reached 1400 for one special program. As part of a project called “Fueling the Future of Footwear,” Edwards led a team of students to create designs for a new Asics sneaker. After drafting up 40 different ideas, a winning design was selected to be made into a real-life product that will appear on the shelves in select Foot Locker stores beginning on September 17.

“The beauty of the process is that it’s never going to be perfect,” Edwards says of the project in a video from Footlocker. “For [students] to understand that becomes the actual design challenge: How can you achieve perfection within an imperfect system?”

[h/t Fast Company]

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Courtesy Umbrellium
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These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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iStock
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fun
Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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iStock

Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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