A cocktail served by milk carton shaped glass

Most cocktail glasses are designed to hold the unique aroma of the cocktail to maximize its taste. However, some glasses play different roles. While I visited Singapore, my friend recommended me to visit Loof, a rooftop bar. It is located across the famous Raffels Hotel, a colonial-style super luxury hotel in the downtown. According to the website,…

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Enhancing aesthetic appeal by sacrificing practical utility

About 6,700 cheese boards and cutting boards sell on the Amazon.com. Their prices vary between $5 and $370. Majority of them are rectanglular. However, not a few boards interesting shapes. At one of my favorite Canadian stores, West elm, I found a cow-shaped mini cheese board and cutting board. Its price was $22.     I bought this…

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Private Karaoke for two people

I have long believed Asians go to Karaoke for team spirit. When a popular song appears on the screen, they show companisonship by standing up and singing all together. When a song is new, they start their own conversations with the next person. Regardless of whether they sing or talk, Karaoke is the place people confirm…

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Stunningly beautiful paper clock

Some products are stunningly beautiful. They include Balmuda toaster, Dyson’s hair dryer, and LEGO brick. People sometimes buy these products without thinking much whether the purchased items are useful or needed. They seem to have a desire to posses the aesthetic quality of these products. Interestingly, they often become passionate ambassadors of these products. Recently, I met a…

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From Samsung 2013 to Huawei 2016

Although smartphone market is slowing down, smartphone manufacturers constantly open their stores. While I was staying in Shenzhen, China, I paid a visit to a nearby shopping mall called Yitian Holiday plaza (9028 Shennan Road, Nanshan District 南山区深南路9028号益田假日广场). As most other shopping malls do, it has a wide variety of shops and restaurants. I visited the same shopping…

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LEGO-like solution for error management in hotel

Today’s travelers are not looking for a just tooth brush. They are looking for an experience, something they can relate to. Whether an environmentally conscious traveler or business traveler, guests are demanding more out of their hotel stays than ever before (see Trends Changing the Way Guests and Hoteliers View Amenities). One of the frequent…

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Better designed ATMs

We frequently use ATMs to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money. However, as multiple ATMs stand side by side and people queue behind us, we often notice that strangers who stand behind us or next to us unintentionally overlook what we do (e.g., which buttons to press for our passwords). Therefore, we rarely feel safe while…

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How to avoid long lines for women’s restrooms

Women differ from men. Carol Reiley mentioned in her blog post titled When Bias in Product Design Means Life or Death that “female drivers are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash” because seat belts were historically designed to be safe for men and thus unsafe for women. When it comes…

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Hide doors to be popular

Most bar owners promote their places by placing a sign board outside or updating their menus on social network services such as facebook or instagram. Interestingly however, some bar owners “hide” their doors. I had a chance to visit the bar called Nightjar in London. Surprisingly, it has a super tiny metal sign on a wood door. Therefore, I passed over…

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Seoul: Past vs. Present

While Seoul grew rapidly from the ashes to become a metropolis, this city lost much of its uniqueness and beauty, in particular, a set of organically linked traditional buildings. Two miniatures at the Seoul Museum of History showed stark contrast.     Seoul became the capital of a sovereign nation in 1945, with Korea’s liberation from Japanese…

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Design massage cushion

Most massage cushions or pillows look masculine. However, I met different ones in Japan. These massage cushions are wrapped with carefully designed fabrics and therefore look like interior items or shoulder bags. These cushions are also intuitive to use; they have only one power button and one power cord. Color, Materials, and Finish (CMF) matters.…

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UI and CX of in-flight entertainment system: Air Canada

I recently traveled by Air Canada from Incheon (Seoul) to Vancouver and then to Toronto. I spent 9 hours in a new airplane (Being 788 Dreamliner) and then 4 more hours in an old one (Airbus 320). In two airplanes, I watched same movies and listened to same music to learn a commonality and several differences…

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K-Beauty items in Canada

The Face Shop is a skincare and cosmetic manufacturer, retailer, and a franchise business. It is a subsidiary of LG Household and Health Care of LG Corporation.   The Face Shop had its store inside one of the biggest shopping malls in Toronto, CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Similar to the stores located in Seoul, a lot of…

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Green package design: Boxed water stands out from the crowd

Many people are now buying water in bottles rather than drink straight from the tap because bottled water has been perceived to be safer and of higher quality than tap water, and it was viewed as a healthful alternative beverage to soft drinks or alcohol. Although purity marketing successfully increases sales of bottled water, it failed…

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Empathic story-telling print ad in Canada

Canadians living in Ontario buy wines at LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). People working at this place often check photo-ID (e.g., driver license) to verify whether the buyer is old enough to drink alcohol. These carefully-managed and highly safe liquor stores sometimes make their customers unhappy, in particular, those who forget to bring their IDs.  …

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Japanese pork and Canadian chicken?

Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm, that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid, according to Wikipedia. Warm soups are popular as a type of comfort food in the world.     People have their own favourite ingredients for soups, and different meats are…

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Louis Kahn, the architect of IIM Ahmedabad

I came to know Louis Kahn at the Design Museum, London. This little museum held an exhibition called the power of architecture and introduced him and his work. Louis Kahn (1901-74) was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. With complex spatial compositions and a choreographic mastery of light, Kahn created buildings…

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Do-It-Yourself chocolate kit for Valentine’s day

Valentines’ day is one of the most “commercially successful” holidays in Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. According to Wikipedia, this holiday was first introduced in Japan in 1936 when a company ran an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953, it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed…

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Yido, a successfully modernised traditional Korean pottery

Yido is one of the most widely-known premium pottery brands in Korea. It was found by Yi, Yoonshin, a ceramic artist. As introduced in her website, her work “reinterprets traditional Korean ceramics in refined contemporary design.” However, visiting Yido’s flagship store taught me a few “marketing” lessons how she has successfully established herself in the market. First, she listens to…

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An eye-catching sculpture in Seoul

A gigantic sculpture standing in front of the MBC media center is called Square M-Communication. It looks like two people touching their hands. According to Young Ho Yoo who made this sculpture, the red frame represents media and two human sculptures represent the contemporary people who actively interact with media. This artwork represents the meeting between media…

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Physical Products to Virtual Image: Vending machine in Shanghai

I have been to the 1933 Shanghai, the last slaughter house on earth. Although the interior and the exterior of the building were impressive, I was fascinated by a cutting-edge vending machine in this building. Different from typical vending machines, it displays the virtual image of the beverages and snacks on the right side. I…

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Unexpected usage of Absolut Vodka bottles

Absolut Vodka has offered many artists with a wide variety of collaboration opportunities. Now it has a long list of colors and shapes with much artistic flavour. Recently, it even introduced Absolut Colors saying that; We are proud to once again dress our iconic bottle in the pride flag, originally designed by San Francisco-based artist Gilbert Baker in…

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Umbra, Toronto-based global design company

Umbra is a Canadian design company. I have bought a few home decorative items including its signature garbage cans (Later I learned it is called Skinny Can and was designed by Karim Rashid and David Quan). Interestingly, Umbra items are not expensive. Its affordable price might have allowed me to try several different items. Every single item I have…

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Ubud Bali to boost creativity

Ubud is a small town on the Indonesian island of Bali. “Eat, Pray, Love” was filmed in 2010 in this town. IMDb explains this movie; A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to find…

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Two different ways to design a better fire extinguisher

Since we spend most of our time in buildings, we are literally surrounded by fire extinguishers. It consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire (Wikipedia). In general, we do not pay attention to them until needed. For me, I have never used any fire extinguisher…

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Standing desk: New way to work

I suffered from minor shoulder – and wrist pain for a long time. In order to lessen the pain, I decided to train my left hand for using the computer mouse a few years back. Certainly, using mouse with my left hand was very challenging in the first couple of years. However, 3-year of intensive practice…

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Reducing eye pain in a shopping mall

In a large scale indoor space, people need breaks to reduce pains. In a shopping mall or at an exhibition, for example, people often take micro breaks on a bench to reduce the pains in the legs or feet. At a recent exhibition, I met a relatively new solution for the pains that have been little articulated: pains in…

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Electronic Vehicle Charging Station in Seoul

An EV charging station stands in the parking lot at my university. Probably, the department of automotive engineering installed it and owns the electronic vehicle. My first impression about them is that they do not interfere the traffic flow inside the busy parking lot because the charging station occupies a tiny space and it charges…

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Pillow preference

Pillows are important for a good night’s sleep. Regardless of whether innate or learned, people have their own preferences for the firmness of pillow. When they go to hotels or visit their friends’ places, however, they cannot help but accept the given pillows. Some of my friends who have a strong preference carry their air pillows.…

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Old is good intuition

Although we are always attracted by something new, we sometimes try something old to enjoy its authenticity. For instance, when a restaurant places an nostalgic vintage signboard outside or when it serves dishes in an ugly pot or on the old-fashioned plates, we infer that the restaurant must have been loved by many people previously. This “old…

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