Raymond Hu - Selected Writing for Core77
Starting in late 2010, Core77, a longtime design magazine & resource, shifted towards a more structured web publishing model in order to keep pace with the increasingly competitive blogosphere. I joined the editorial team shortly thereafter and have written well over 1,000 posts since then—this is a selection of my very best.
As Managing Editor, my role primarily entails overseeing day-to-day publishing operations, ensuring editorial quality and consistency from copy to art direction. My latest posts can be found on my author page and author archive at Core77, but (NB) these pages may not display properly due to technical issues beyond my control.
Links open in new window/tab
October 28, 2014
Picture This: Fireside Offers a Smarter Digital Frame
How do you describe a tech product for which there may be no point of reference? Launched on Kickstarter in October 2014, Fireside is bicoastal startup that promises to revolutionize digital photography—not in how we create images and videos but how we share and enjoy them for posterity. [1,499 words→]
October 22, 2014
Book to the Future: The TBD Catalog Extrapolates on the Way We Live Now... and Ever After
Although the TBD Catalog is a send-up of traditionally utopian futurecasting, it's not so much an outright parody as an exercise in the uncanny: As a work of design fiction par excellence, it blurs the minor distinction between 'fictitious' and 'fictional.' [1,359 words→]
September 15, 2014
Industrial Facility: Designing for the Context in Which We Live
Kim Colin, a partner at the quasi-anonymous London studio, elaborated on their highly considered and conscientious approach to designing for mass production, a philosophy that shows in their work for the likes of Muji and Herman Miller. [2,274 words→]
October 8, 2014
Snow Art: The Man Behind the Mandelbrot Mandalas
As one might expect for someone who has made his name traipsing across frozen lakes for upwards of ten hours at a clip, Simon Beck is idiosyncratic to a fault.
[1,127 words →]
August 29, 2014
Who Knew? The Wearable Chair Was Actually Invented 37 Years Ago
While the mainstream media hailed it as a breakthrough, the basic idea of the 'Chair- less Chair' actually dates back to the 70's.
[1,238 words →]
July 2, 2014
Internet of Things Coming to a Home (Depot) Near You:
The partnership between Wink, a smart home app (and subsidiary of GE-Owned Quirky), and Home Depot marks a noteworthy step towards the long-rumored home of the future.
[1,034 words →]
July 19, 2014
Drawing a Foregone Conclusion: A Measured Defense of Airbnb's New Logo
Well, someone had to do it. Unveiled with great fanfare, Airbnb's logo was summarily met with backlash that quickly metastasized in relevant corners of the web. Yet the criticism proves to be as superficial as it was swift: The naysayers have completely missed the point. [716 words→]
June 19, 2014
Heir to the Chair: Introducing Keiji Takeuchi
Breaking a Japanese-born, Milan-based designer on the occasion of his debut in Milan. Although I made his acquaintance through his employer, Naoto Fukasawa, I befriended the well-traveled designer, who is looking to make a name for himself within and without the context of his mentor. [1,017 words→]
May 30, 2014
In the Studio with Marjan van Aubel & James Shaw
It's always a pleasure to actually meet designers with whom I've only exchanged a few e-mails and whose work I've only seen in JPGs: Although I met Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw very briefly in Milan, where they were exhibiting with their alma mater RCA, I had the opportunity to spend more time with them in their natural habitat in London shortly thereafter. [1,542 words→]
May 16–19, 2014
C77 Design Daily
I served as the Editor-in-Chief of Core77's first-ever print publication, a 16-page daily newspaper that was reported, designed, printed and distributed over the course of four days during the second annual NYCxDesign festival.
This project was far and away the most ambitious project I have spearheaded in my time at Core77, and indeed it marked a major endeavor both for Core77 as a publishing company and myself as a writer/editor. From the preliminary ideation to concept refinement and ultimately the execution, I oversaw the entire project, which culminated in the production of a daily tabloid newspaper for four days from Friday, May 16, to Monday, May 19, with a circulation of 4,000 copies per day.
With the blessing of the Editorial Director in Portland, OR, I was primarily responsible for developing the content with the editorial team and operated autonomously during the four-day production run. I was directly in charge of recruiting and managing a team of over a dozen contributors, including reporters, columnists, photographers, illustrators and fellow editors, as well as coordinating closely with the design and distribution teams both during the planning and production phases of the project.
Specific tasks included (but, as they say, were not limited to): developing feature stories; supervising a team of three correspondents; coordinating three photographers and a photo editor; securing press access and interviews for the team; writing heds and deks; original photography and art direction; assigning 'pre-loaded' content such as horoscopes and crosswords; soliciting questions for an advice column; writing daily agendas; adapting and tweaking sections on the fly; and, of course, copywriting and editing as needed.
Indeed, the modest 16-page format and 4-day run belie the scope of this effort; by the time I signed off on the proof of the fourth and final issue at 7am on Monday morning (after pulling an inevitable all-nighter), I felt that I had truly tested (and exceeded) my limits as a journalist. I will remember the C77 Design Daily as a Heraclitean blur of epicyclic exigence—a granular gestalt on a grand scale—and a significant milestone in my personal and professional growth.
Copies available upon request.
May 16, 2014
Strong Sophomore Showing at Collective 2 Design Fair
Having witnessed the success of Frieze New York and the subsequent launch of its corollary the Collective Design Fair, I hope to chronicle the evolution of these events in the context of the international art and design world. [719 words→]
May 12, 2014
Hello World by Alice Rawsthorn
A fairly straightforward review of a fairly straightforward book: Alice Rawsthorn's Hello World (Overlook Press 2014) is highly recommended but for one shortcoming. In short, I hope that this lives up to its billing as a canonical text, with updated and expanded editions in the near future. [833 words→]
March 24, 2014
Naoto Fukasawa on the Future of Product Design at Design Indaba 2014
Event Coverage & Interview
My coverage of the 2014 Design Indaba Conference (for which Core77 was a media partner) culminated with this proper piece on Naoto Fukasawa, who,m I finally had the honor of meeting in person in Cape Town. The renowned Japanese designer is easily one my favorite practicing designers. [1,024 words→]Photos courtesy of Design Indaba, Artemide, Masayoshi Hichiwa & Issey Miyake
April 29, 2014
Mark Cavendish on the Launch of the CVNDSH Collection for Specialized
As a cycling fan, I simply couldn't turn down the chance to meet the Manx Missile on the occasion of a product launch.
[1,033 words →]
February 7, 2014
What Do Pickles, Cheese and Beer By-Products Have in Common?
A timely look at various de-icing techniques was an occasion for a bit of wordplay. (Warning: Barrels of bad puns ahead)
[739 words →]
Feburary 5, 2014
A Fleeting (and Possibly Contentious) Thought on Squarespace Logo
I felt compelled to chime in among the ambivalent reactions to the launch of Squarespace's lackluster logo generator.
[785 words →]
January 10, 2014
The Future Mundane Revisited
Essay / Film Review
Part philosophical follow-up, part tech forecast, part film review, I took the year-end release of Spike Jonze's Her as an opportunity to revisit Core77 columnist Fosta's suggestion that science fiction account for the future of banality in the context of design discourse. [1,488 words→]Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.
December 4, 2013
"Blur" Collection by Marc Thorpe for Moroso
I spoke to New York-based designer Marc Thorpe and design patron Patrizia Moroso on the occasion of the exhibition Blurred Limits, named after Thorpe's new furniture collection for the Italian manufacturer. The two industry veterans related the story behind the 'Blur' collection—realized in several seating pieces but in its essence a textile—peppered with discursive remarks about contemporary design on the whole. [1,994 words→]Photos courtesy of Moroso
November 19, 2013
Introducing Pencil by FiftyThree
Once they'd more or less perfected their 'canvas' app for iPad, our friends at FiftyThree invited us to preview their first foray into hardware. It turns out that they'd been developing Pencil alongside Paper (go figure), but the I.D. team wanted to get the BLE stylus just right before they released it. [1,482 words→]Photo courtesy of FiftyThree
November 7, 2013
NASA-Caliber Nuclear Engineer Wins $73m in Super Soaker Royalties
A lighthearted piece about engineer/inventor Lonnie Johnson, whose moonlighting as a toy designer paid off beyond his wildest dreams.
[876 words →]
October 25, 2013
From Slow Cooking to Fast Food and Everything in Between
Identifying the design angle in several disparate food stories, from service design to entrepreneurship to digital fabrication.
[1,482 words →]
October 8, 2013
The Way We Live Now: The Rideye Is a Dash Cam for Your Bicycle
Like a helmet, the Rideye is a safety device that a savvy cyclist might use in hope of never needing to do so.
[510 words →]
Beijing Design Week 2013 Coverage
Event Coverage (including Photos & Essay)
Having regularly visited Beijing over the past two decades, I have a personal connection to the rapidly-changing metropolis and am only now able to attempt to articulate it.
NB: The link goes to the photo gallery post, which includes links to all ten pieces I wrote, but my coverage culminated with an essay. [1,197 words→]
August 7, 2013
Bicycle Builder Profile
I was solely responsible for identifying and managing an exclusive media partnership for the first annual Bike Cult Show in Brooklyn, New York, including producing all of the content—a series of builder profiles—in the lead-up to the event.
This profile of a brilliant, beloved artist who has come to terms with his mortality was easily one of the most challenging pieces I have ever written. [1,654 words→]Photo courtesy of Ezra Caldwell
August 2, 2013
NYC Wayfinding Signage by PentaCityGroup
Feature / Interview
As a cartography/urbanism nerd, I was very interested to see this new initiative from the NYC DOT, Pentagram, Billings Jackson, City ID, RBA Group and T-Kartor. Designers Michael Bierut and Eoin Billings were happy to share the details of the collaborative design/development process. [1,906 words→]Photo courtesy of PentaCityGroup
July 29, 2013
Interview with Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Head of Design
I covered the global launch of the BMW's i3 Electric Vehicle and the complementary '360 Electric' service ecosystem.
[1,857 words →]
April 19, 2013
More Than You Probably Ever Cared to Know about Mason Jars
A brief history of mason jars (a.k.a. Ball jars), including present-day manufacturing and enthusiast subculture.
[1,166 words →]
April 17, 2013
Diller Scofidio + Renfro's "Lincoln Center Inside Out"
A review of the Damiani monograph, supplemented by additional details from a panel discussion with DS+R + MoMA's Barry Bergdoll on the occasion of the book launch.
[803 words →]
November 15, 2012
3D Printing: Mere Misnomer or Something More?
Ongoing hype notwithstanding, this opinion piece on 3D printing is a rumination on the fallacious analogy between two-dimensional printing and consumer-level 3D printers. Although it dates back to late 2012, many of the arguments still hold true today. [1,041 words→]
July 24, 2012
Rethinking the First and Last Mile
MIT Media Lab's 'Hiriko' CityCar, a folding electric vehicle, promises to revolutionize short-distance transportation in urban settings, but it struck me as a somewhat underwhelming stopgap, where a more systematic approach to urbanism would make for a better long-term solution. [2,163 words→]
March 9, 2012
Two (Non-Exclusive) Possibilities for the Future of Transportation
As far as autonomous cars have come since early 2012, they are still a long way from becoming a part of our day-to-day experience. This is an essay on what the very premise of the self-driving car reveals about the future of mobility (hint: it might be human-powered). [1,569 words→]