Field Trip #0

Today we went with school to visit the brand new FRAC museum in France. Or at least, that was the plan.

When we arrived after an 1 hour long bus ride we waited a few minutes before the doors were opened.
Ten minutes go by, and we see inside employees, construction men and security running around stressed and being busy. Another ten minutes go by, and somebody comes outside from the museum to say that there is a problem with the security system and that they never had experienced this before, because it is brand new museum which was open to the public for approximately 5 months


It was really a pity because I was really looking forward to visit it, having a look at the architecture which is constructed from a combination of polycarbonate, concrete and glass and visiting the Design story which featured works from designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.

But there's also good news coming: despite this cancelled field trip, we're going to (try) visit the FRAC again later this year and we're going also visiting Ghent again this wednesday and we're going to bring a visit to the Designmuseum. To see my visit to the Designmuseum of last year, visit this link.

Our teacher is also going to give as a small tour around Ghent, so this wednesday is going to be an exciting day!

Status: january 2014

Catching up

Today is the first day of school after the winterbreak, which I used to finish the Frame project because I had quite a lot of free time, 
and decided to use the last bit of free time I have to make a current status update. As you may know I’m in my last year Architectural Arts in secondary school, 
and we’ve been giving three different final school projects in order to be able to graduate:

- a follow-up of a construction of a house: 
a full report where you describe every step that’s taken in the construction of a house.

- thesis of an architect/designer of choice: 
make a full thesis of the chosen architect/designer where you describe all his work and give a full biography of that person.
And because I’m a great fan of Dieter Rams, I’ve chosen him because he really had (and still has)
a big influence on other designers and made Braun a pioneer in electronics with beautiful design.

- integrated test: 
this is the most important project of these three where we have the assignment of giving a particular empty area of Kortrijk (where I go to school) a new function. 
Each person of my class chose something different: someone has a museum, another person a kindergarten, … My function for that area is a dormroom complex for students.

The most interesting part of the integrated test is that we aren't allowed to use regular brick walls for example: we must only use containers (eg. container homes, container schools, ...)
Because of all of this, I won't be able to work on new projects - or at least make and post them very fast.

Field Trips

There is also a new thingy coming to my blog!
Say hello to Field Trips!

Field Trips are exactly what they sound like: when I go out to museums, visit cities, I'll be bringing you a personal report of the visit along with pictures, and this weekend there is a Field Trip coming up: I'm going to bring a visit to the FRAC in Dunkerque in France this Thursday with school, so by the weekend the Field Trip should be up and running!

See you later,
Robrecht Vanhauwere

1:Face watch Review

When I came across this watch, I immediately fell in love with it.

This is the

1:Face watch


There is an interesting concept lying behind the 1:Face watches: there are 9 different colours whereof each one supports a good cause.

So how does it support that certain good cause? Well, a part of the sum you paid for the watch gets donated to the specific charity you chose.

I went with the white one and despite the long waiting-time (international shipping from the US to Belgium), mine finally arrived.

The packaging exists of a plastic boxwith 2 enclosing cardboard parts that,

when put together, it mimics the simple shape of the watch.

Here it is.

I really like the minimalistic approach they took, the front of the watch has a mirror-like effect when you look at it from above and turns darker or lighter when you turn it away.

The bottom is a metal plate with a coarse finish, adding character to its entity.

To get back to the screen, they've done a great job blending the part of the screen

where the digits appear in the rest of the screen.

You may have noticed that on the packaging there was a big catchphrase saying "This is not a watch"

with further explanation on the side saying how they would be lying if something that feeds a child, quenches a thirst or provides a cure can be labeled as just watch.

I think it's a good way of helping to get the message across to the customer.

The clean 1:Face logo on the front complements the fresh design, though I think it would be better if it was a little bit smaller and was in the middle at the bottom,

creating a harmonious symmetry when you look at it.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the watch and I'd really recommend it to everybody.

It's clean, it's beautiful and you support a good cause by purchasing one for $40.

If you're interested, you can go visit their site at

Current status -- september '13

School has begun this month and I'm now in my final year Architectural & Interior Arts in high school - 1 year away from going to college to study Industrial Product Design - which also means that I've a lot of work to do, but because it has been a quite a long time since I posted I thought I'd let you know that I'm working on 2 assignments in school. Here's a sneak peak:

I know you might be thinking "what happened to Holiday House you were going to post?"
Holiday House is probably going to be postponed to autumn break because I was not able to find the rest of the pictures of it back from my old computer and then school begun and I had no time anymore for searching for the pictures. But don't worry, I'm currently working on 2 beautiful projects (Shelter+Marquise) and I post at least once a week an update about the process such as making a prototype maquette, making the bundle of the Marquise, ... on my new Instagram profile.

See you soon,

A month with the Lumia 920

After my Lumia 710 got water damage and didn't want to boot anymore, I decided to finally make the jump to Windows Phone 8. First I considered picking up the iPhone 4S, but decided not to because of iOS 7, so I got the Lumia 920 instead.

After using it for a month, I have to say I'm pretty impressed how smooth Windows Phone really is: the Lumia 710 had hardware buttons at bottom where you needed to push one of the buttons pretty 'hard' and you basically pushed the phone down your palm to search something, go back or go to the Start screen. But thanks to these touch buttons, the experience gets a lot smoother and less painful.

Talking about the exterior: Nokia has done a great job creating an unique design for the smartphone market which is flooded with rectangular slabs. The outside is made of (white in this case) glossy polycarbonate, a hard, sturdy synthetic material which can in contrary to most plastics, resist hot temperatures. The glow finish slightly distorts the light on the surface in an elegant way and makes the back look even more sexy.

Also a lot of people complained about the weight of the phone being a problem. The first time I held it, I only noticed it weighted a bit more than an average phone -but then again, I come from a mid-range Lumia 710, not a high-end smartphone such as the iPhone or Galaxy Sx. After using the Lumia a few days, I don't notice any struggles in terms of weight, instead it gives the device a solid feeling when you hold it.

They even got the small curves at the end of the glass panel to be gorgeous. Totally love how the glass display flows into the polycarbonate body.

If you look at the bottom of the Lumia, you can find two screws, two speakers and the usb port. Somehow I end up seeing the whole bottom as a face, with the screws being the eyes and the usb port being the mouth. Probably not the intend of the design team, but I just can't unsee this.

Now let's talk about the UI.

The Start screen isn't much different than from Windows Phone 7.8, except that the Xbox Music Tile doesn't show the latest artist played as a live tile, but turns back into a static green tile when inactive.

The calculator app is a perfect example that you don't need a leather-stitched UI to make an app look beautiful. This is how minimalism should be.

Another stunning sample of the formerly called Metro design language is the Storage Check, unfortunately it's hidden in the Settings app so you have to search a little bit for this gem. It indicates how much of your phone storage has been used and where it has been used.

Despite Instagram not being officially available on Windows Phone, there are plenty of third-party apps to choose from such as Instance, Instacam, Hipstamatic Ogl,... just to name a few. But the one that really stands out is 6tag. Its fresh unique UI, huge dedication of the developer (Rudy Huyn) and ability to shoot videos makes 6tag the must-have Instagram client for Windows Phone.

And last but not least, Xbox Music itself. Nothing bad to say about it (maybe because I don't use the cloud music storage) but if you want a background image for an artist and Xbox Music can't seem to find one, download MPAtool, a very handy app which let's you pick custom artist background 

Current status

As you may have noticed the last few weeks (or months) my blog hasn't been much updated.
But that's because I've got to do a lot of school work and within a few weeks I'm going to have my finals and after that I'll post new stuff such as my school assignment for the last trimester of this schoolyear.

See you within a few weeks,
Robrecht Vanhauwere

HTC One + Google Glass

A week after several images leaked from the infamous @evleaks, HTC introduced their new flagship phone running the latest Android version. However, I have mixed feelings about this. On one side, I'm very happy to see that HTC has decided to simplify their name to simply 'One' and to reduce its high-end phones to just one phone. What is also very positive I think, is that it is the first android phone that has a premium design, with materils being used such as aluminium instead of cheap plastic (I'm looking at you Samsung).

On the other hand, I'm a bit disappointed about the looks of the One. The front looks very similar to the back of the iPhone 5 and the new Blackberry Z10 (but those 3 all look almost the same). Which was also my first reaction when I saw the HTC One: "Its like the back of the iPhone with a screen on it, a speaker grill and buttons.

And of course, HTC decided to re-skin their Android skin called 'Sense', which will get the name Sense 5.
As you can see, they removed all the glossiness, reflections and the fancy animations from the clock widget and replaced them with
a black square that only displays time, date and weather without a lot of fuzz.

Google Glass.
For me, I think this is the first step we take into the direction of the future.

Many people online tend to complain a lot about how ridiculous it looks, but I think it's actually not that bad.
Even though it looks quite out of balance, they have made a great solution for putting the projector and computer in one sleek casing.

The interface is very hardcore minimalistic: it only shows you the necessary elements projected in a white translucent canvas. But the white text can cause problems if you're staring to a light background while you're in a hurry and don't have a lot of time to stop and look at the projected display.

This can be seen here.

Shiro Kuramata + Design Museum Ghent

Today I went to the Shiro Kuramata exhibition in the Design Museum in Ghent

When we entered, there was a motorcycle in front of us designed and signed by Philippe Starck, the famous french designer.

Shiro Kuramata is known for preferring form over function, resulting in beautiful objects that aren't comfortable to use.

These cabinets are clearly influenced by De Stijl. More particularly Piet Mondriaan.

He is also known for the use of odd materials you wouldn't associate with furniture, for example acrylic glass and steel wires.

Self portrait.

At first sight it looks like an umbrella in an umbrella holder, but in fact it is plate on the ground and a metal ring held together with a bar with a curled end that looks like an umbrella's body.

This chair was not only exhibited but was also used as a functional chair in front of a television.

Yes, that is a chair.

After visiting the floor hosting the works of Kuramata, I proceeded upstairs, 
to see the permanent collection. There you are greeted by a prototype of the first rocking chair made by Thonet.

I then stumbled upon a school chairs, put together like they have less value than the other furniture.
I found this a pity because 3 chairs of them were designed by famous designers/architects, such as:

Gerrit Rietveld,

Marcel Breuer,

... and last but not least, the Barcelona chair by Mies Van der Rohe.

Also two beautiful posters of Mies Van der Rohe and the Bauhaus.

After you go upstairs again, there are shelves made of glass on the wall, holding up chairs, each made of different materials.
Here we see, pretty obvious, a paper/carton chair...

... a rebar and concrete chair,...

and a chair made of compressed carton.

The exhibit ended with seeing a closet with objects from electronic brands (i.e Philips, Bosch, Siemens,...) related to industrial design. I was disapointed that there wasn't a product of Braun in it, since they are clearly know for its design in the post-war era and had this reputation thanks to one of the most well-know industrial designers, Dieter Rams.