FSAE Design Possibilities

For the past four years I’ve had the privilege of judging the Formula SAE (FSAE). An event where university students from all over Australia take their passion and knowledge out on the race track with a car designed and built by the students in a battle of skills and technical knowhow. As an avid Formula One fan and an engineer myself, an event such as the FSAE is right up my alley. Every year I look forward to this new breed of designers and engineers pushing the envelope and the judges rule book by bringing out new and cutting edge designs; yet every year I’m left a little underwhelmed and can’t help but wonder where all the innovation has gone?

As engineers and designers, we’re always innovating but I think with the rules and regulations placed on events like the FSAE, it’s easy to fall into the “norm” of engineering. Rather than sit and complain each year, I put myself to the test to see what concepts I could come up with to innovate this event, so here are the top 25 ideas I came up with.

1. The 100kg Car
Remove weight from everywhere, if it’s not needed don’t have it, if you need instrumentation for testing then add it on for the testing but not the racing. Bespoke lightweight tyres, single ply carbon bodywork with extra layers only at fixing points, drilled bolts, glue items were possible, ceramic valves, multiple material pistons etc, if it can reduce weight use it, I understand that 100kg is an extreme target but lets see someone try to do it.

2. Sliding pillar front suspension
Morgan have been doing it for years and it would take out all compliance issues and tolerance from the suspension, this could possibly allow a further integration of the chassis, bodywork and aerodynamic elements that could see the positives out way the kinematic negatives.

3. Drum brakes within the wheels
Why not remove the disc and caliper all together and add the piston into the upright and have a brake shoe acting on the wheel rim directly, this could help heat the tyre up which is often a problem, plus remove the added fixings of the discs and calipers, so a few less grams of weight.

4. Planetary gear electric drive
There are several ways of using an electric motor for propulsion and its divided into a single large motor or several in-wheel motors, but if smaller electric motors were placed around the main output there would be the option for an in built gear reduction plus the option of switching motors for better efficiency at part power.

5. Covered wheel arches
The teams always complain that its hard to get heat into the tyres and yet none ever try to shield the tyres from the cooling air when driving, why not look at trying to overcome the rules for the bodywork and making wheel covers. If you had a clear cover over the wheel you can still see the tyre as per the rules but you smooth the airflow.

FSAE-Design-Possibilities-1-3
//Brabham Fan Car//Aluminium Foam by Havel Metal Foam//Magnesium Casting by Thompson Casting//

6. Blanked wheel covers
A lot of turbulence is created around the wheels and yet no team has tried to smooth either the inside or outside of the wheel to gain a small aerodynamic advantage, F1 did this a few years ago before it was banned.

7. High mount rear suspension
A lot of teams are going for a large diffuser but then have low mounted suspension, why not try to have a higher mounted lower suspension arms or even use a beam that goes around the back of the car at driveshaft height to give even greater room for single or double height diffusers.

8. Lowest drag car
The FSAE event limits the power by using small air intake restrictors and as such any efficiency gains possible give that low power less work to do, normally this is from the use of low weight, but what about a low drag car? While the big wings have an effect what is being lost due to the poor enclosures of the car mechanics and the turbulence on those wings and the general power sapping drag of the open cars, smooth the airfow and reduce power loss.

9. Covered cockpit
When a lot of people talk of a covered cockpit they immediately think of a fighter jet canopy, but what about something similar to a tonnau cover on a car that is either fixed to the car and the driver jumps out or part of the drivers clothing and fixed to the car. This would close the open area of the cockpit and help clean up the airflow to the rear wing.

10. Helmet aerodynamics
A lot of aero work goes into the wings and car but what about the drivers helmet, is there a small gain to be had by adding small wings or extensions to the helmet that could stop the head being buffeted around and improve the visibility.

11. Vortex modified air intake
The rules have a very clear statement about the use of charging the air intake through the use of a turbo or supercharger but what about the use of a vortex generator near the air restrictor to make the air flow through the intake cleanly when the air speed normally chokes the flow. There is even the possibility to have these devices spinning to create turbulence and help with distribution of the air in the plenum.

12. Exhaust blowing of aero parts
Most of the air that comes out of the exhaust is just pointed out of the car and does not seem to be used for any purpose, some are even pointed forwards, there is an energised airflow that can be used to aid or guide the rest of the aero package but it is often not being used.

13. Use the silencer as a wing
If the silencer was made into a wing shape and the inlet used as the mounting then the rear edge could be a very small slit outlet that is used to pull the airflow over the wing and further generate the downforce, a similar idea is being used in the fanwing airplane concept.

14. Use a turbo to drive ancillaries
The rules do allow for the use of the exhaust gas to power other items, such as the generator or water pump, this would lower the parasitic losses of these items from the rest of the engine giving a small boost in power.

15. Use of waste heat to pre-heat the tyres
At no time is the heat generated by the engine being used to do any secondary job, there would be the option to use this heated air to blow onto the tyres to preheat them in some events, skidpan, acceleration and autocross and then by a simple valve have the air diverted to the normal path.

16. Part removal of batteries
The rules for electric cars clearly state that the cars cannot be charged or batteries changed at the driver change, but it does not state that they cannot be removed? So you have the battery pack split into 40%, 40% and 20% of the total power. In the endurance event you use the power from one 40% module and maybe part of the 20%, at the driver swap you then remove this spent battery, the second driver has several kilos less weight to carry around giving a small performance boost. Yes not sporting but also not against the rules.

FSAE-Design-Possibilities-4-6
//Blanked Wheel Covers//Clutch by ZF Racing//Exhaust Powered Wings by BP OMowe//Covered Cockpit//

17. Valveless intake system
What if you removed the intake valves completely? No air! Ok so replace them with 1, 2 or even more injectors that squirt air into the engine, there would also need to be a fuel injector. The injectors could be angled to give the best airflow in the engine for fuel mixing. There is also secondary benefits to this system, as the air injection is controlled it can be late in the “compression’ stroke which means less power is wasted trying to compress the air. On top of this as the air is forced out of the nozzle it expands and cools meaning that the air is denser than normal giving another small boost. A small onboard compressor would pull air through a normal restrictor and put it into gas tanks. This compressor charges the tanks before hand and maybe under braking (similar to a hybrid electric car) removing the need to use the compressor in the events.

18. Swirl generators on the valve stems
Currently the valve stem has a nice smooth transition from the stem to the valve but could you add in vortex generators to help the swirl of the airflow into the combustion chamber and better mix the air fuel together.

19. Carbon fibre engine block
If we can make high performance wheels and gearboxes from carbon fibre why not the cylinder block? With the use of wet steel liners it could be possible to make several complex parts and then bond them together to create a single block with through bolts to hold the head, block and sump together.

20. 3d printed piston
With the ability to 3d print any shape why not use this to print a new highly complex piston with internal oil ways for advanced cooling, you would need to machine the piston after for a smooth finish for the gudeon pins, rings and sliding surfaces but the reduced reciprocating mass might make a benefit and this would compound into a reduced mass conrod and crankshaft.

21. Weight optimised engine parts
With virtually all the engines being brought in from motorbikes where they are highly stressed items with usually a higher power output is there the ability to analyse the engine and gearbox and post machine all the parts to remove excess weight. Most of the aluminium casings will be 3mm for manufacture but this would possibly be too thick for the ideal engine

22. Stronger clutch
Standing at the start line it can be very painful at time listening to the engines being revved and the clutch slipping so that the cars can get moving, all of this is down to the higher weight of the car with the much greater friction of the tyres, is it about time that a team looked at making a new clutch to overcome this area of weakness.

23. Power cutting of the alternator
All of the teams seem to be running the ancillary equipment all of the time, with the limited power of the engines is it better to start looking at ways to optimise the usage of items to only have them powered at part load to give a small power increase at full throttle. The alternator is a prime target as you could over specify the power so it charges more when being used which compensates for the time when its idle.

24. Alternative material chassis
There seems to be a status quo on the material choice for the chassis, either mild steel, chrome moly steel or composite, yet why not look at other options that could be supplemented via a sponsorship deal, materials such as Magnesium, Stainless steel, Aluminium lattice/foam or even 3d print the chassis. Yes it would mean a big learning curve, testing and equivalency analysis but the stand out factor over using the normal materials could be worth it from a CV viewpoint latter.

25. Short long arm suspension
A lot of teams are looking at reducing the reciprocating mass and inertia but it always has a problem of getting the suspension points inside the wheel, but if you moved the upper joint to above the wheel then this could free up room to move other things inside the wheel and allow a new small diameter wheel while still maintaining the rigidity of the suspension pickup points, this top mount would then be ideal for a wing mounting.

25 ideas to move FSAE cars in a different direction. We’d love to hear your thoughts, or even better, if you’re part of the FSAE competition, lets see some of the these ideas in your vehicle.

//Bradham Fan Car image, courtesy of Flickr//

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Bank Account Folders

Bank Account Folder

As we approach the new year our thoughts turn to our dreams and hopes and we naturally find ourselves delving into bank accounts, now looking a little lean from the boxing day sales, and we search for a way to maximise our savings.

I can remember as kid sitting with mum and dad when they would receive this pay packets, the ones with actual, real, hold-in-your-hand money, and helping distribute when the funds. Known as the envelope method, each envelope was named an expense i.e. Mortgage, Electricity, Phone, etc with the remaining money being put in the “hopefully” overflowing savings envelope. This way of budgeting was simple and effective, once you had covered your expenses you knew exactly how much fun money you have for the week.

These days with our spending obsession and the ever growing debt surrounding it, not to mention that we don’t deal with physical money anymore, it’s difficult to grasp that “fun” money. What if we could get that back without having to step back in time?

Put simply, the idea would be to have folders connected to your online bank account.

Okay, I know, you’ve just read that and thought thats not a new idea, I’ve been using (insert-budgeting-software-name-here) for years now and it does exactly that, however, we’re proposing that this folder system be integrated into online and phone banking.

Let’s say you get paid $1000 which gets put directly into your bank account. Nothing new here, this happens all over the world daily. Now, while you might use another program or spreadsheet to track your budget, there’s nothing that links directly to the funds in your account. So your spreadsheet might tell you that you have $500 budgeted for rent, $200 for utilities and $100 for groceries, but because there is no link between the spreadsheet and your account, what’s stopping you (besides will power) from over spending on non-budgeted items?

Now let’s try this again but instead of one account that your money sits in, you have one account with sub folders. These are personalised folders you can set up within your account to help reach your savings goals. Rather than having to open up multiple savings accounts for each major item your saving for, you can set up a Christmas folder, a holiday folders, even a car rego folder so you know that when the time times to pay that $750 car rego, the money is there already. You could set up automatic deposits into these folders, or manually move the money in the same way you would pay a bill.

To make sure you’re really in charge of your own money, you could set up withdrawal options, giving you the ability to choose the order your money gets withdrawn. Let’s say you’ve allocated your $1000 pay to your customised folders and you know you’ve got  $50 fun money. You’re out having a great time, on your way home and oh no! You’re taxi bill comes to $55. No need to worry, you won’t need to transfer funds or go into a bank, the withdrawal options would allow you to nominate which folder your excess funds would come from, putting you in control of your money.

Your money, your way, wouldn’t that be nice.

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The Un-Branding by Quirk Design

The Un-Branding

Competition is fierce in the job sector and its not just your resume that’s the focus, these days, it’s sad to say, your looks, voice, nationality, everything about you is taken into consideration. The same is true for business, today it’s no longer about having the best product but customers are more savvy than ever and want to know about the company behind the product, making your brand and its values more important than ever.
We’ve been talking about this recently and got to wonder what would happen if you removed the brand and only focused on the facts. Would companies choose different interview candidates? Would your brand stand up to its competition? It’s an interesting thought and one that one of the worlds biggest brands, Coca Cola recently experimented with.
Encouraging people not to judge each other based on their appearance Coca-Cola Middle East, removed the name from their cans, replacing it with the words “Labels are for cans not for people”. Yes, they left their iconic shiny red with white swirl, which some might argue goes completely against the campaign itself, but the message is strong and should be the focus.

The Unbranding by Quirk Design

Taking this idea to a different level, we wondered what it would be like if the job interview became “unbranded”? Would companies still pick the same candidates? Would it make competition even more fierce? Would our education systems need to change to make sure all future job seekers are equal? I know it sounds crazy, and they say looks don’t matter, but it sure would be an interesting experiment.
Lets just imagine that your resume contains no personal information or facts. No age, birth dates, genders, likes or dislikes, starting every applicant on the same page. Employment and training facts only. Now comes the really interesting part. What if the interview process itself was blind?
The interviewer nor the interviewees could see one another, and to make it even less bias, the candidates voice would be disguised so that nothing personal, be it race, gender, age, etc can be attributed to the candidates skills, experience and talents.
I know what you’re saying, and I too am completely disgusted by the idea that your gender, race or looks can stop you from landing a job, but it’s a sad fact of the modern world that there are still too many companies that will only hire a certain type of person, regardless of qualifications and skills.
Looking at it from another perspective, how would un-branding your business make your customers react? Take the supermarket for instance; brands as far as the eye can see, but what happens if suddenly overnight, every package was white with back text, same font, no pictures, same prices! Would there be chaos? Probably not, but you can bet that your company values will make an enormous difference to the choices people made.
I guess the point we’re trying to make is that your brand is not just the perfectly illustrated logo, its in the materials you use, the way you run your business and the values you operate under.

Original Image from Unsplash, reworked by us. Coke image courtesy Business Insider.

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Good Design vs Good Price - by Quirk Design

Good Design vs Good Price

Whether its a chair, website, or business card, getting the right design first time will save you money which to me makes for a sound investment. But how do you know you’re getting a great design for the right price? It’s unfortunate but in todays world getting a bed design for the wrong price is way too easy and happens way too often.

We’ve been on both sides of the price vs quality debate so we have a good idea of what a client wants and what a designer can do. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some great people after turning down some very questionable quotations from others, which is why we thought it was time to have a look at some guidelines and questions that you should ask yourself when hiring a designer.

Times have changed and thanks to the internet we are now able to look beyond the local printer to get our business stationery, but as the saying goes ‘if it’s sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. Sure that online company might be able to give you 1000 business cards for $10 but will they be any good what paper do they use? can you have your own design? While the internet has opened up a world of possibilities, it can often come with a catch. Crowdsourcing sites such as CrowdSpring don’t even require you to have design knowledge to design a logo, merely a computer with access to Microsoft Paint. In theory sites like this should be a great way for emerging designers to show their suff, get some exposure and most importantly gain clients, but unfortunately what they’ve turned into is a far cry from what a designer can do for a business.

Now I know some of you a probably thinking that it’s unfair for me to say that just because someone charges less doesn’t mean they won’t have an idea that I’ll love. To be fair, you’re right they might but my point is not in the actual dollar figure, it’s in what you get for that dollar.

As an example let’s take a peek at one of the worst rebranding we’ve seen in quite some time. The Gap received a huge amount of negative feedback when they released their new logo, so much negative feedback that within a couple days they had reverted back to their old logo. In this instance it doesn’t matter whether they paid an agency $100 or $100,000 either way it was a bad investment.

Ok so I’m sounding a little doom and gloom but finding a designer that will give you the most for money can be a little time consuming but it doesn’t have to be too difficult and if you keep these few things in mind it should make your decision easier and your project run a lot smoother.

Do Your Research - by Quirk Design

Do Your Research
Haven’t I seen you somewhere before? One of the easiest things to do is to check out your potential designers portfolio. You wouldn’t buy a car or house from someone who couldn’t show you the said car or house, so why would you be happy to pay someone to design you a website without seeing any of their other designs? Seems like a simple task but there are too many people who forget this step and head straight to the price list and then wonder why after launching their new website, they need to replace it.

Most designers will happily provide you with case studies, examples or testimonials, even references so help you make your decision and if they won’t provide you with some sort of portfolio, walk away. Designers are proud of what they do and want to show it off so be wary of someone who doesn’t. And don’t forget good old fashioned word of mouth. If you find a website you like, ask them who designed it and whether they’d recommend the designer.

The First Meeting - by Quirk Design

The First Meeting
Meeting with your designer for the first time can be a little daunting especially when you’re trying to discuss your requirements but you’re still unsure of what they are. Let’s take XY Company for an example, they are going to meet with a designer to discuss their new website. Before setting off without any sort of action plan or ideas, XY Company sit down and write a little summary about what their business does, sells or makes and whether they are catering to young, old, families, singles, etc. Remember there’s no point in creating a site for children that looks like a funeral home. After the summary has been written down (remember to have things in writing) it’s time to check out the competitions websites and jot down their name, url, what you like about the site and more importantly what you DON’T like about the site. I’d suggest doing this for two of your main competitors as well as 3 or 4 other sites (they don’t have to be your competition or even in your field) you like or don’t like. How does this help? Well it helps XY Company and the designer to understand what XY Company needs and wants.
To make this step a little easier and to help you and your designer get a better understanding of your requirements, we’ve put together this super easy one page document to get you started.
Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s always the simplest things we forget to do. If your designer sends you a quotation that you don’t understand, ask if they can go through it with you. In the past I’ve spent many a phone call with new customers explaining to them the way a website works and how it relates to their quote and once explained in a way they understand, everyone is happy.

The Fine Print - by Quirk Design
Read The Fine Print
Are your reading glasses on? For the benefit of both client and designer, make sure you have everything in writing. Yes this sounds like an awkward pre-nup conversation but we’ve seen too many fights between clients and designers which could have easily been solved with some written communication. A solid signed contract between both parties will make for a happier project.

Client from Hell
Do you really want to be seen on Clients From Hell? Of course the answer should be a big NO! Nobody wants to be one of ‘‘those’’ clients but sometimes out of pure naivety you can turn yourself from good client to bad client. To avoid such things the first thing you need to remember is that just like you know your specific field, a designer knows theirs. So build a good client-designer relationship by trusting them to design your brand. A good relationship verus potential stalking comes down to trust and respect. Just because you’re paying a designer to create your website, doesn’t mean that you own them 24/7, remember that just like you, they have homes, families and other outside of work activities, so respect that and don’t call them on the weekend.

Hopefully this helps you make a good design choice for your next website, brochure or business card. Don’t forget the designer is there to help your business, so finding someone that will do more than just open paint or word makes good business sense. You’re looking for quality not quantity, so take a bit of time and choose carefully because a good designer is well worth their weight in gold and will become part of your business as it grows and evolves.

Original images from Unsplash reworked by us.

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LittleWren on The Quirk Blog

LittleWren

In this day in age with social media, magazines, television and films we are constantly exposed to over-photoshopped, over made up and over styled everything! So it’s no wonder that so many of our teenage boys and girls struggle with not just body image but I think a general life image. They are so used to seeing everything in a highly styled light that it can be hard for them to let their own voices be heard.

I’ve never been a big fan of the glossy magazines, you know the ones full of the next diet, the latest in celebrity news, etc; home and creative magazines have always been my thing but even with their beautifully styled and photographed pages, I never got caught up in the hype of “staged-perfection”. Maybe it’s the graphic designer in me that just naturally assumes most images are photoshopped or styled in some way or maybe its that my sister and I were lucky enough to have wonderful parents (you’re welcome I know you’re reading this xx) that encouraged us to have our own opinions and voices even through our teenage years when it’s a lot harder to just be you.

This brings me to a little something called LittleWren. When I stumbled on this brilliant idea I was so excited that the post I was planning on publishing today got tossed in the pending pile so I could bring you this.

LittleWren is a biannual publication designed for young women to inspire their creativity and general awesomeness. Isn’t that wonderful! Finally a magazine for young women that has nothing to do with celebrities, botox, or body issues, instead they focus on what creative women do best by bringing inspiring pieces and stunning showcases of skills and art which I think is what we need more of on the magazine racks.

How did I discover this little beauty? They had me at Vanilla Ice! I was checking out a campaigns over on Pozible as I tend to do once a week; always good to check out what exciting new ventures, products and ideas people are coming up with and show our support; when I noticed a little tribute to the oh-so-poetic Vanilla Ice and that was it, I had to keep reading.

I absolutely love the idea that young teenage girls who are incredibly creative but feel they can’t show their true selfs will have something to help encourage them to be just that; Creative!

Their first issue hasn’t been released yet, hence the Pozible campaign, but check out their website, Facebook and Instagram pages and of course don’t forget Pozible where you can also help make this magazine come to life with a little (or big) pledge.


 

Image from LittleWren, reworked by us.

We have not been paid of perked to write this post, I absolutely fell in love with the idea of this magazine and I’m sure you will too.

By the way have you sign up to our newsletter yet? You should we’ve got some exciting new freebies headed your way once you sign up. One email every week with no spam. We promise!

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Save Edit Delete!

We’ve been blogging for sometime now and with running a blog and being the creative type, there’s always going to be site revamps. At the moment we are doing exactly that, we’ve got a whole new webspace coming soon that we’re super busy putting together. this week task was to move all our 300+ posts from one wordpress site to their new home, wordpress have made it an incredibly easy tasks thanks to their export/import functions so that part was easy to take care of.

Once I’d installed all the posts, I began taking a look at some of the early posts we’d put together and as with everything in life, things change and evolve and certainly our style or writing and presentation has changed and now looking at these older posts while the content was still good, the presentation wasn’t at it’s best. Since I’m always going on about building a strong brand, and how even the smallest things should carry your brand, we made the decision to pull these from the new site.

Panic moment I know! “Did she really take content off the blog?” “Is she crazy?”

For us, everything we put out into the world from Quirk Design, we feel needs to belong to our brand and vision. Not having deleted them permanently, they will sit in to-be-reviewed status until we get the opportunity to sort through them, clean up the images and just do a general spring clean of the blog.

How do you decide what stays and what goes?

This can be tricky. It’s like clearing your old bedroom at your parents place, do I really need that diary from year 10? Will those cool sand shoes you coloured with puff paint suddenly become a fashion must-have? We’d poured a lot of hours into our blog and to suddenly decide that our past writings weren’t good, or no longer necessary was a little heart-breaking. One thing that helped a lot was redesigning the blog. You see when we first moved across to WordPress from iWeb, the version we were on didn’t have things like Featured Post Image, or other fancy template items, so the posts that moved across were a million times better than their iWeb counterpart but with passing versions they no longer had the spark that newer posts would.

This made the selection process quite simple, we started from the very first post and “unpublished” all the way through to the posts where formatting had hit perfection.

Aren’t you worried about losing readers and subscribers?

Not at all. In fact we think because we’re taking the time to make sure every post is published with the same level of detail and care, we believe we’ll keep and increase our readership. Don’t forget we haven’t gotten rid of the posts, they’re just in maintenance mode as we slowly clean them up and make them gorgeous.

Should I do the same with my blog?

Each to their own I say. I certainly think it doesn’t hurt to look about at some of your older content and make sure that it still olds relevance to the blog you are now. If you’re just starting out blogging and you want to make it a long lasting site, then take the time to have a think about what you want your blog to say. How do you want it branded?

I have a logo is that what you mean by branding?

Yes a logo is a key component to your brand but it doesn’t stop there. Your brand encompasses so much more and starts with you. Particularly when it comes to blogging, your voice is part of your brand. A long time ago we decided that the way we write will be the way we talk. Now I know that sounds strange, especially since most blogs are written in the writers voice, but you have to remember back in the dark ages when we started blogging, the majority were written in very journalistic speak, whilst that provided a very structured, clean and monotone post we felt that it didn’t allow readers to hear our voices, our emotions or most importantly our passions. These are the things that should come through your writing when blogging and they reiterate your brand.

The look and feel of your posts is also important which is one of the main reasons we are not only redesigning our website, blog and shop but also removing and editing the parts that no longer tie in with our brand. As a new blogger, choose a structure that works for you and stick with it. Consistency is key and WILL make a difference to your blogging success.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying that a brand new blogger needs to have everything written out in stone before even starting to blog, but if you do already have an idea of the type of blog and/or brand you are trying to establish, then use those ideas from the start.

Now, since I’ve been talking about this redesign, I thought it was only right I share a little sneak peek with you.

Quirk Design ReDesgin Sneak Peek

What do you think? We’re pretty in love with it especially some of the new fancy features it’s got but more on that soon, for now don’t forget to sign up to our weekly newsletter to find out all the latest from us. Oh and in case you needed us to sweeten the deal, you might want to sign up soon as we’ve got a special newsletter edition on it’s way.

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Retropia

If you know me, you know I have an absolute unconditional love for all things Scandinavian. Not just the stunning, clean, simple and functional designs but the people, the culture and the weather (yes I’m crazy and LOVE the snow and winter), all draw me in and give me that warm cosy feeling of being home.

We lived in Sweden for a few years and loved every minute of it. Even with the dark, cold, wet and snowy winters, there was something so warming about strolling down the streets with every window lit up with candles or at Christmas time the adventsljusstake, seeing all the gorgeously decorated shop windows with candles lit up outside welcoming you in. It’s the most romantic place we’ve ever lived. Stunning!

This weekend thanks to our beautiful friends who got married, we managed to have a baby free weekend…hello sleep in! With a very late breakfast on the cards we headed across to Albert Park to unfortunately the most horrid breakfast out we’ve ever had in Melbourne, which is hard considering Melbourne is renowned for a breakfast outing. After the world’s most disappointing breakfast we took a stroll along Bridport street and came across a piece of Scandinavian heaven.

Retropia is owned and run by the lovely Pia. Super friendly, welcoming and knowledgable about Danish furniture, it made for the perfect find on lovely sunny Sunday.

In Australia we do have a love for mid-century Scandinavian furniture, with so much of it in showrooms, it  can be hard to navigate through the real and the replicas but you can be rest assured that all pieces sourced by Pia are 100% authentic. Who would want to spend their time creating a replica piece when you could jump on a plane and spend yours days sourcing authentic pieces in Europe!

With so many beautiful pieces it was hard to narrow it down, but here are my three favourites.

DanishDelight

// PAPA BEAR OCCASIONAL CHAIR // SMILEY TABLE // TEAK SIDEBOARD //

Retropia has two locations, the main showroom in Williamstown and a pop-up store in Albert Park, if you’re not nearby, check out her website for more gorgeous Danish pieces.

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Is Social Media Killing Your Creativity?

Is social media killing your creativity?

 

Can you believe Facebook is over 10 years old? I remember signing up to it back in the day and thinking it’s a cool way to connect with friends and family from around the globe but I couldn’t see it taking off the way that it has. Social media has become such an integrated part of our lives, not just our personal but our business lives too. It’s allowed small and large business alike to flourish by connecting with their existing and new customers.

We all know social media can be a great time-waster which naturally kills productivity but I’m more interested in the demise of creativity now that social media has become such a huge part of our businesses.

I know you’re probably thinking “What on earth is this crazy lady on about, surely social media is what helps to inspire me and keep me creative??” And yes, this is true of most people and businesses. I for one love using Instagram and Pinterest to gain inspiration for new designs, but after speaking with some small business owners the other day I got the feeling that while these tools are fantastic for business, they are also becoming such a strict part of the business and it’s lost the magic of capturing candid moments.

We had been chatting about Instagram and how it’s a wonderful way to showcase new and existing products but it can also take a lot of time. Then one business owner mentioned that her Instagram feed was calculated! She had me stumped! As part of a seminar she went to, she was given a list of instructions on how to use her Instagram feed and how each first and third image needed to consist of certain “images” and every forth had to have a certain “message”, the list went on and on. Others in this group were saying what a fantastic idea, makes it so much easier, etc, etc; I on the other hand, walked away thinking how sad that we’ve managed to turn a creative outlet into something so corporate!

Now look, I’m all for everyone having their own opinion and own ways to do things, so if having a calculated feed works for you, then by all means go for it. For me though, I’m a creative person at heart and whilst I’m always one for a good list, I love that social media lets me market my business as I want. There are no rules! If I want to publish ten images filled with cats, then I’ll do just that, it’s my own creative outlet that I can share with the world.

For me, social media allows new and existing customers all over the world to get a glimpse into our business. Not just our products which they can see on our website and at markets, but the processes we use, the techniques, our muses, and I think sometimes we forget this. Too often it’s all about making money and we forget that it’s the creativity that got us to the point where it can make money.

I’m not here to tell you what to do, or how to run your social media feeds but maybe I can inspire you to keep things a little more creative and a little less corporate. As I mentioned in this post, your blog and your social media sites are a way to show who you are not what someone else wants you to be.

You Know You're Amazing Right?

Speaking of being creative, we’ve got a lovely free print for you to download and use however* you like. Print it, put it in a frame, use it as your desktop image, the choice is yours.


 

*Note that this is for personal and limited commercial use only. You can print it or share it but under no circumstances can you sell it. We wanted to make something lovely and inspiring for everyone to share.

 

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Growing Up

Growing Up Big Boy Style

Our little man has been busy growing up and just like every parent there comes a time when we need to make the move to the BIG big boy bed. Let me clarify the double big! Our little guy is pretty cool and five or so months ago he worked out how to climb out of his cot, so naturally at that point we took one side off the cot and gave him his own little-big boy bed. He’s been loving it, I mean which kid wouldn’t love getting out of bed first thing in the morning and running straight into mummy and daddys’ room for cuddles. Actually it is pretty awesome.

Now that he’s having a crazy big growth spurt and those legs of his just keep getting longer, its time for us to think about a real big boy bed. So as you can imagine I’ve been perusing Pinterest and the world wide web to gather inspiration, wishlists and of course lottery-win lists to find the perfect bed for him.

So today I’m bringing you the best (well in my opinion) of big boy beds. Be it big or small, there’s a bed to suit them all…did I really just say that??

Growing Up Big Boy Style// CABIN BED // THE HENRIK BED // CAMPING BED // PLATFORM BED //

// CABIN BED // Not the best choice for the budget conscious with a starting price of $2799(!) but it sure is a beauty. You could always turn it into a stunning four poster bed once the kidlet has grown up.

// THE HENRIK BED // Epitomises everything I love about great design. Designed by a mum looking for the perfect bed for her little one. Sleek, timeless and very Scandinavian (a.k.a. everything I love)  the Henrik is hand made from locally sourced maple. Starts from $800

// CAMPING BED // How cool is this bed? Alyson over at The Ragged Wren has put together a full and detailed tutorial over on her site. Her tutorials are excellent, check out the felt campfire, we made that last year for our little man who LOVED it.

// PLATFORM BED // Another diy option using parts from everyones favourite hack place IKEA. What I love it that it doesn’t look like a hack. It looks polished, comfortable and super function, check out all that storage.

We’re still completely undecided on a bed for little H but with these in mind we’ve got some great ideas.

Growing Up Big Boy Style

We always give credit where credit is due, but sometimes it’s tricky finding who owns what. This bed, which I think would be great for a kid even as they get older is gorgeous but I have no idea where it came from. If you happen to know I’d love to credit the maker. In the meantime, just look at it’s loveliness.

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Zara Home

Quirk Design - Zara Home

My love of Zara began when we lived in Sweden. Stylish clothing for a reasonable price, how can you go wrong; so when we moved back to Melbourne and the Zara store opened, I was pretty happy but then to hear they’ll be opening their Home store I was even more excited.

I’ve always been a fan of their clothing and accessories because not only are they on trend but they also stock a lot of timeless classics that are always going to wear well year in, year out.  I’m also a big fan of the stores themselves, laid out in a not-too-crowded way, with simple lighting and items grouped together like a capsule wardrobe, perfect for someone who isn’t a fan of clothes shopping.

Needless to say, when Zara Home opened at Highpoint, I was there and ready to enjoy all the gorgeousness.

Anyone else remember shopping at Harris Scarfs when they were still a big store? Remember how the shelves were filled with way too many items, lots out already outdated pieces and unless you were over the age of 60 there really wasn’t a need to shop there.

Well, this is exactly how I felt walking into Zara Home. To be honest, I felt it before I even stepped foot into the store. I loved the open shelving and the large imposing lit up opening but what I didn’t like was what was on the shelving. I was expecting to love almost everything in the store and spend hours in there like I do with IKEA but I had the opposite reaction and still do.

I certainly don’t feel obligated to love everything that’s fashionable, I’ve always been one to have my own opinions rather than following the heard, and because I didn’t want to dismiss the store I did have a look at their online version which I found much more appealing. In fact I found some very lovely pieces which I’ll will be added to my wishlist.

Even looking through their lookbook, you’d certainly need to have a home or love the nautical style and country vintage look which I guess while I love a bit of country and a bit of nautical, the idea of filling my home with it just doesn’t suit me.

I’m sure some of you will completely and perhaps angrily, disagree with me and you know what, that’s fine by me. Each to their own I say, especially when it comes to home decor. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.

Now speaking of buying, here’s a few pieces I really did love and I think would fit into any home style.

Quirk Design - Zara Home

• Round tray tableLemon basketCloud wallpaper • Velvety resin frame • Gold vase • Crystal Jars • Crystal Jar with ball lid • Cord door stop • Metal door knob • Whale hook •

Have you ever been disappointed by your favourite store? What are your thoughts on the Zara Home store? We’d love to hear from you, why not leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

 

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