Sunday, August 31

Do You Know Swobo?

A focus on design, clear understanding of personality, and utilization of social communication tools add up to a yummy brand.

Sky Yeager
, designer for Swobo, foretold the rising appeal of city bikes. She has laid claim to the segment by offering form + functional rides that are influencing the industry–note the debut of the district from Trek.

Swobo's user-friendly and graphically fluent website covers the details in an interesting way.

Community is promoted at their blog How to avoid the bummer life. User contributions are encouraged but it is Stevil Kineval who gives voice to the brand, sharing stories and you tube links providing cues as to what it's all about.

Yes, I'm bike-curious, name another brand that makes themselves knowable.

Saturday, August 30

Grounds for Play

Recall your grade schoool playground. How and what did you play? Did you twirl on bars, practice penny drops? Did you climb on jungle gyms or simply use them as imaginary shelter in fantasy play? Did you make yourself sick on the merry go round?

In Fall Down Go Boom, Good magazine provides an excellent report on the history of playgrounds and how they have been dumbed down to decrease the risks that provide the opportunity to build cognitive functions.

Adjunct articles describe innovations that are afoot in parks like Berkeley's Adventure Playground (pictured) that use scrap materials to promote creative play or Imagination Park planned for Manhattan, that offers colorful oversized blocks and loose parts.

These examples challenge playgrounds to think outside the current out-of-the-box-style of play areas: sterilized, safe and familiar to fast food patrons.

And what about us grown-ups? Play continues to provide a sound antidote to the serious nature of our lives. PSFK recently reported on Bruno Taylor a renegade playground designer and advocate for play. Bruno is on a mission to bring play back into public spaces, evidenced by the installation of swings in London bus stops.

Photos via GOOD & PSKF

Friday, August 29

Library Love

Collective book love is happening, good cause for a library celebration. Seattle library fans may purchase “I read in a Koolhaas” t-shirts and indeed they do, Architectural Media breaks down the architectural wonder on their blog.

Aside from the library design star, there is renewed affection for books of the borrowed kind being professed here and there. At hula seventy the recent post little worlds documents the library pilgrimage and ensuing inspiration.

Are you borrowing or buying your books? What are you checking out? Where are your favorite libraries?

Courtyard views of one of my faves, the Boston Public Library.

Tuesday, August 26

This for that, free of charge

Madonna's not the only one getting political these days. In separate efforts, Radiohead and Sheryl Crow are promoting social responsibility by offering up their goods in exchange for fans' participation.

In July, at ease shared that Radiohead surveyed fans who bought their North American show tickets through the W.A.S.T.E. ticket store. The survey allowed fans to enter their travel information to and from the show and calculate their carbon footprint. The survey results will be used in planning future tour schedules. In exchange for filling out the survey, Radiohead offered fans a free download of a live track from this year's tour.

Sheryl Crow is working with rock the vote to promote voter registration. Fans can earn a free album by getting three friends to register during the month of August.

With digital delivery and musicians good intentions, we can expect so see more of this for that transactions.

photo via wired listening post

Saturday, August 9

commuter cycling up

Bicycling continues to gains fans evidenced by booming sales, strategic placement in fashion catalogs and a surge of commuter-friendly innovation.

Springwise reports that Trek has developed a prototype bicycle parts vending machine. Located just off a bike path in Madison, Wisconsin, the full-service vending machine is stocked with fix-a-flat items such as spare tubes, patches, tire levers, and CO2 cartridges; it also features an information center. A work stand and free air are also available beneath a covered work area.

The story also reports that Seattle-based Aaron's Bicycle Repair has offered a similar vending machine for after hours service since 2005.

Bikestation offers storage, bike rental and vehicle-sharing access at their sites currently located in Seattle and a handful of Californian cities.

And NYC is installing bike racks designed by none other than David Byrne who submitted his own designs after he was asked to judge a competition ny times story here.

J. Crew
photo found here cayenne & carob
additional info via

Tuesday, August 5

shared stories

Storytelling will never be a thing of the past. As Scientific American breaks it down
here, storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across culture and through all of known history.

It's no wonder then that communities are organizing around a love of lore. To wit, back fence pdx is a collective with the mission of telling stories. Self described, they are kissing cousins to Porchlight, a storytelling series based in San Francisco. The Back Fence pdx blog offers a weekly story by a writer, blogger, or someone with an unusual story about the topic.

Shared Experience
Select Back Fence performers share their 6-minute stories organized around themed topics bimonthly. True Colors, the current series, is scheduled for Wednesday, August 13 at 7:30p.m. You can register for the event here or visit the blog for an auto-odyssey. Another way to stay in the loop of future scheduled events is to follow Back Fence on twitter .