Coffee Cup Inspires Innovative Relief Shelter

03.26

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Following the devastation and poor management of relief to the hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans, Mississippian Michael McDaniel was determined to develop a solution that would prevent inefficiency and waste in future disasters and avoid making things worse for the victims. The goal of his company Reaction over the past 8 years has been to improve the quality and cost of post-disaster shelters for victims. With the inspiration of a styrofoam coffee cup, McDaniel came up with the idea for the lightweight, stackable, and cost effective Exo Housing System.

According to the company’s website, the shelters are light enough to be moved by hand and strong enough to stop bullets. While the average cost of a FEMA trailer, the current post-disaster shelters, is around $20,000 each and designed for a single use, the Exo will be sold for about $5000 and can be reused. Apart from the cost and construction, they can also be stacked, just like coffee cups, fitting 28 housing units on one semi trailer that can only transport one FEMA shelter.

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The shelters are also more than just a roof over the inhabitants heads, they are wired with modern technology to allow victims charge phones and stay connected with updates through an integrated app called Populous. The company just finished raising $50,000 to send shelters to Syria and they are beginning the process of manufacturing on a large scale to make these available to all the areas in the world that desperately need them.

Fast Company just published this nice video interview with McDaniel about the Exo shelter’s creation and its potential for doing good in unfortunate circumstances. Disposable coffee cups are often one of the downsides to coffee’s popularity, but in this instance, a disposable coffee cup’s inspiring impact has the potential to do a lot of good for a lot of people around the world.

Read more: Reaction Housing

posted by on 03.26.2014, under Design, Misc.

The Unseen Bean: Blind Roasted Coffee

03.06

 
Gerry Leary, who is seeing impaired, was led by his curious passion and love for good food to start his own coffee company when he as introduced to coffee roasting on a visit to San Francisco in the early 90′s. After learning the audible cues of coffee roasting, Gerry began searching for a job with several companies, but was unable to find anyone who would hire him, unconvinced that he could roast by smell and sound alone. So Gerry opened his own roastery and later bought a struggling coffee shop to learn more about his coffee and his customers.

The film was created by Ira Chute for Whole Food’s online magazine Dark Rye and offers an inspiring look at how far motivation can take a person, no matter what obstacles they may face. Beautifully filmed and heartwarming. Grab a fresh cup and enjoy.

The Unseen Bean

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posted by on 03.06.2013, under Recommended Roasters, Videos

Drawing Inspiration from Draw Coffee

02.06

Ben Blake wants to learn everything he can about coffee—and he plans on doodling all the details along the way. The Ohioan started the blog, Draw Coffee, to capture his inspired coffee moments in a state that could benefit from new coffee energy.

The drawings, usually done on coffee filters, range from minimal depictions of daily brew methods to intricate homages of the coffee being brewed. Coffee Common and DCILY have both been doodle subjects, along with Intellisgentsia, Handsome, Verve, Coava and Kuma—who are even using some of Ben’s art on their new mugs.

DCILY was founded on the principle that coffee inspires creativity and Draw Coffee is one more example of that idea coming to fruition. So grab a fresh cup and start browsing through the archives, below are a few of my favorites.

Draw Coffee

 

posted by on 02.06.2012, under Design, Misc.

Sleep…

03.29

Stay awake and make something.

(via Romulan Whore)

posted by on 03.29.2010, under Design

Frank Chimero and the elixir of Life

02.10

Frank Chimero is a brilliantly clever illustrator and designer soon relocating to Portland, Oregon. Frank and I first met in the land of Intelligentsia (Chicago, IL), but we were usually out drinking beer together, not coffee. The first time we had coffee was a couple cups of Blue Bottle outside the Ferry Building in San Francisco. During which our conversations teetered between our love of coffee and world domination (you can’t have one without the other).

Is coffee a routine part of your workflow? If so, how important is it to your creative process? Yep! Most mornings start out the same. Wake up, get ready, do a cursory glance at my inbox, then head over to my local coffee haunt (the Mudhouse) to get some piping hot, locally roasted drip coffee. If I’m teaching that day, I walk the extra block to my classroom. If not, I usually plant there for a bit to take care of the morning niceties and communication obligations.

How many cups do you have a day? Typically two. Any more than that, and I think I can feel my heartbeat sync with the twitch in my left eye. Sometimes I have more than two cups. COFFEE!

Who makes your favorite roast and how do you drink it? I’m going to go plain jane here: Stumptown House Blend in a french press. Then it goes in a mug. And then in my belly. I take pleasure in the simple things. It’s not exotic, but I dare you to say it’s not good.

Any chance you will actually design a set of coffee mugs in the near future? I would love to! Who wants to get going on this with me?

Burning the midnight oil usually requires fuel. Check out more of Franks’s work at www.frankchimero.com

posted by on 02.10.2010, under Design, Interviews

Forget the world

01.27

posted by on 01.27.2010, under Misc.

It all began with a mug*

01.18

I started this site for one reason, coffee fuels my inspiration. It is the times when I have a mug of coffee in my hand, whether alone in the morning or in a cafe talking with friends, that I have my most inspired ideas. Because of this, I began writing a daily ode to coffee last fall that I planned to self-publish into a fun little book of poetry. After some thought, I realized that many of the people I know have the same adoration for coffee and are inspired to do many things in its presence. So I created a place where I can share that collected work inspired and fueled by coffee—as well as reviews of the fuel I’m running on.

Significant Objects is one of those great projects that began with a coffee mug(*partially). The project, started by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, has  created an entire library of fictional stories inspired by items found at yard sales and thrift stores. The items are then sold on eBay to see how much value the accompanying stories have added. The sites latest round of objects being sold will support 826 National(another great project).

As I’ve mentioned in a few interviews, a mug was partially responsible for inspiring this entire project. Specifically, the mug above. I bought it years ago on a trip to Baltimore with my now-wife; and in 2005, I broke it. Obviously this mug had no particular marketplace value at the time I accidentally smashed it — yet I was quite stricken. To me it was irreplaceable, precisely because there was a nice story to it. (I’ll spare you.) And that got me thinking. . . (Why did I photograph the mug? I knew that some day I’d cross paths with Joshua Glenn and we’d create Significant Objects! But I threw the actual object away. C’mon, it was just a busted mug.)

Read stories over at Significant Objects and support 826 National by bidding on an object!

posted by on 01.18.2010, under Misc.

Up & Atom with The Office of PlayLab, Inc.

12.11

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I’ll be sharing studio space with The Office of PlayLab, Inc. over the next couple of weeks, while they’re visiting from Brooklyn. The two partners, Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Scott Franklin I start each morning with some coffee and a stack of napkins to hash out ideas. Here are a few that have developed recently during our morning conversations. Enjoy!

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posted by on 12.11.2009, under Design, Interviews