The Mining Project

The start of this past week kicked off The Mining Project, our main project for this term, running till the end of the term.  We spent 3 days in Boliden some 2,5 hours north of Umeå, to venture some 1323m below the surface into the Renström mine.
Should be interesting to see what the results of this project bring at the end of the term.


MA APD - Term 1, Part 1: Semantic Form Project

A brief recap of the first term of my masters at UID (Umeå Institute of Design).

The first term was pretty much divided in 3.  First we had 'The Water Tap' project.  

The challenge: to design a mixer tap fixture for the private bathroom which is both aesthetic and expressive in its form language.  Taking into account the context/environment, ergonomics, semantics, operation, function, and form, as well as thinking about the materials that would be used to produce it.  

This course was intended to be pretty analogue - meaning hand sketching, no computer 3D, and sculpting in grey clay.

-Water Tap final presentation - me in front of my poster, Thomas, the Program Director for APD (advanced product design) looking on pensively

-me explaining how it works

-me emulating using my water tap - this photo was used as the underlay for my main poster image

-båge - (bow in swedish), my final presentation poster

-Water Tap Pub - afterwards we celebrated by holding a pub up in the art studio at school, inviting all the other students at UID to come hang out and have a look at the projects over some beers


Intro Week At UID 2011

Ping-pong from Umeå Institute of Design on Vimeo.
Ben Hopson, industrial designer, artist and educator from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, led this year's joint kick-off project for all first-year students at UID. The idea for the annual kick-off project is to familiarise the students with each other, the facilities and the staff.

VDL Futura, International Coach of the Year 2012

Yes the bus that was done by van der Veer Designers, while I was there won the prestigious International Coach of the Year 2012.  Great job and congratulations to van der Veer Designers on this achievement, which is some great recognition.
And having that logo on the front I worked on sure makes me happy and proud too!


7 flights in 7 days

So on my journey to Sweden, I decided that it would be cheapest(?) to fly with Iceland Air via Iceland to Sweden.  At the same time, I also still had KLM vouchers left over from my whole flight fiasco from last summer where they routed me through Memphis on my way from Amsterdam to Toronto.  And with yet another wedding invite, this time of my cousin in the Netherlands, I thought I'd make good use of one of my vouchers for that trip.  
So with all of this lined up, and looking at my agenda, I had scheduled in 7 flights in 7 days.
Mon: Toronto - Reykjavik
Tues: arrive in Reykjavik, enjoy a planned 1 day stopover in Iceland
Wed: Reykjavik - Stockholm, Stockholm - Umeå
Fri: Umeå - Stockholm, Stockholm - Amsterdam
Sun: Amsterdam - Stockholm, Stockholm - Umeå

-Keflavik Airport, Iceland - and one of the very first things I encounter, while looking for my airport shuttle, it this bus, the VDL Futura that we did for work, with my logo prominently on the front.  That was a crazy cool feeling!

-volcanic landscape - the route between Keflavik International and Reykjavik has some crazy barren volcanic landscape, with no trees in site or much else either

-more volcanic landscape - the moss was neat, all in all, really different, bizarre feeling to see a landscape so devoid of Trees or much other vegetation beyond moss

-The Blue Lagoon Spa - having booked in a full day stopover in Iceland, and in planning a shuttle from the airport to Reykjavik, they advertised the option of stopping at the spa on the way, so, why not?

-early morning mist at the Blue Lagoon

-Geo-thermal energy - or just geothermal heating, I dunno, but still interesting to see (at least that's what I assume these pipes were for).

-Antoin & Nicole's Wedding - and yes, the traditional dutch wedding seems to involve getting married at a Castle, with a coach with horses these days (well, maybe not the norm, but that was the case this time)

Kenora Road Trip

Made the road trip up to Kenora mid/end August for Danielle and Peter's wedding.  Quite the trip.  Super long drive.  Ontario is really really really wide (i.e. some at least 24hrs driving from Ottawa to Kenora +/-, and that's still just one province)!

-Lake of the Woods boat tour

-The happy couple just before officially being married

-Yellow Bird Lodge - the main reception hall, which us ID kids helped deck (being tall, I was put on lights)


Intermission - Home on the range

So as a sort of intermission between working, and heading back to school to do my masters, I came back home to the farm, in Canada.  It served as a nice break and mental vacation, and I think was a good way of splitting up work and the start of school.  The farm can be really amazing and great, beyond just being home with family, it can just be a great amazing and relaxing place sometimes.  Almost therapeutic - which you may also infer from these pictures I snapped one evening when the lighting was so perfect I made a mad rush for my camera.

-The homestead - sunset, perfect light

-Jules in a field of gold - (oats)

-sunset, rural Ontario

-field of gold - looks like its on top of the world

Last day of work

With the craziness and being busy with moving and lots of other stuff, it's been a little bit since posting.
I guess here's a quick recap on the end of June.  Last day of work at van der Veer Designers was cool.  We had a BBQ on the rooftop terrace, which was only slightly rained out.  Was a nice time, and people brought a nice variety of good food.
I tried to bring my bit of Canadiana by making a Maple marinade for some salmon which we grilled, as well as making 2 maple walnut cheesecakes which were VERY rich (like 4 bricks of Philly and 3 eggs per cake rich), which was super good.

-Moment of rain on the rooftop terrace - still a great location to hold a BBQ

-some of the spread - some great salads to accompany what was BBQ'd, as well as my maple walnut cheesecake

-things I'll miss - just a cool street scene in Utrecht which I recognized on one of my final evenings there as something I'll miss: the cafes/restaurants with the large street patios and street life, the human scale of things, and bicycles everywhere - a great way to live.

-life condensed - this was my final train trip from Utrecht (moving stuff to relatives in the NL), and walking around with a full size suitcase, 40L hiking pack, another bag, and a bike in a box is no easy task.


My Ride #5 - Finished!

And just in time too!  Finished it today (excluding some wiring), and this past Wednesday was my last day of work.  I'm very grateful for being able to use the shop here yesterday and today, despite the fact I wasn't really working here any more.  Now to determine what's happening with it before I leave to Canada on the 29th (and then Sweden at the end of August).

-Gazelle Primeur Special - In this case, very special I'd say.  The result of some 2 months of slow progress, hours spent after work in the shop, gradually curating parts and working out details, and also going through the time consuming (internal) debate as to whether or not to make the bike a belt drive bicycle.  I'm pretty happy with the results.

-Very classic - Also grateful to my colleague Bas for taking these nice studio shots for me

-Rear fender detail - Part of my choice on this type of bike, was how I like how the rear light and reflector are so nicely integrated into the rear fender

-Quality components - Part of my going away present from work, the Brooks B232 Team Pro Saddle

-Quality and timeless - another part of my going away present from work, the Brooks Plump Leather Grips

-Nostalgia - part of the look, the Basta Horseshoe lock

-Detail shot - just beautiful (if I do say so myself)

-Custom Gazelle - the polished logo I had made through Shapeways rapid prototyping

-Classic beauty - in my eyes at least (lots of work, especially on the fenders, as not everything went hunky-dory according to plan, with stuff coming back from the powdercoaters with holes, as the sandblasting went through the rest, so things had to be adjusted - add onto that other new components that didn't fit as they were supposed to, needing some extra finishing up to make it all work)

Dan Mangan @ Tivoli

-Dan Mangan - caught this concert at Tivoli last week on the 13th with 2 friends from Utrecht (Rosa and Jeroen).

-Great music, in a nice intimate venue - I overheard one of the staff at Tivoli say that they thought they sold about 300 tickets (small shows are the best shows!)

-Up close with Dan Mangan - for the final song, in the encore, Dan and the rest of the band waded out into the crowd, and played (Dan perched atop a stool, right in front of me)

All in all a great show.  The second time in just around 8 months seeing Dan Mangan play.  Really great music, clever lyrics, warm and powerful sound, and really down to earth (was great to be able to just chat a bit with Dan after the show, compliment him on the performance, and shake his hand).


The Naked and Famous @ Paradiso

-The Naked and Famous - caught the show @ Paradiso in Amsterdam last week on the 6th, with my cousin Hadewijch

-a lively beat, a lively crowd - the band were quite lively, with a good stage presence, and put on a show that got people moving

-sweet performance - all in all, twas a good show, and I highly recommend you check out The Naked and Famous of New Zealand

-fate? - searching for a parking spot at the concert, I noticed this black Fuji that was also sporting the same brand tires as my Montague



-Umeå pre landing - the view of the city just moments before landing at Umeå airport.

So, in a bit of prep for starting my masters of Advanced Product Design at the Umeå Institue of Design in northern Sweden, I made a quick trip up north to check out the grad show at the start of the month.  First time ever travelling that far north (north of Iqaluit, south of Reykjavik).  Had a great time, and came back with a really good impression of the school, and feeling well assured that this masters is indeed something I want to tackle.


My Ride #5 - No belt drive

-Chaincase in the spray booth - a nice RAL 7022 Umbra grey

After much consideration to the possibilities of converting the bike to belt drive, as well as checking out the prices of the drive, and also considering the time line I'm on, I ended up deciding not to go for a belt drive, but keep with the much more price friendly chain drive.  As for how to cover the chain, I decided against the minimalist Hebie Chainglider that they use on the Joep bikes, as they are only available in Black and Silver, and also as they don't make a solid mount to anything, but rather 'float' on the chain and sprockets.  Also, with they Joep bikes, they paint the Chainglider, which is a soft, (I think Polypropylene) plastic, which doesn't take too well to painting.  I decided that the chaincase that was on the bike to begin with, was actually not that bad, fairly classic and simple in design, and mounts to the frame of the bike.  Also, considering it's a hard plastic (I think ABS), it's much easier to paint properly, and have the paint stick and stay better.
The frame is currently at the powdercoater, and should be ready for pickup on Tuesday (fingers cross), leaving me possibly able to finish building the bike up on Wednesday after work, just one week before my last day of work.


My Ride #5 - Custom Branding

Things are still progressing, albeit slowly on the bike.
Did however receive the new head-badge I sent away for prototyping (using a voucher coupon that covered the cost), by Shapeways.   It's the Gazelle logo, but not the way it's presented on the head-badges on their bikes.  So this way, it's kinda my own custom version of the design, to go with what will be my custom Gazelle bike.

-The head-badge out of the packaging - has a nice patina to it, but I'm gonna polish it up to see how sharp I can make it look.

-Head-badge on the head-tube - Just to get an idea of proportion, and what it should look like when done.


Life without a computer

My laptop, (not) arguably past its prime - almost 6 - died on me about 2 weeks ago.  The computer shop guys said the motherboard was done.  Not worth getting a new one on a laptop that old.  With a little over a month left to go in the Netherlands, and electronics prices considerably cheaper in Canada, I think I'm going to hold out with just work computer and the iPhone until Canada.

-LaCie Rikiki 1TB - all that remains of what was once my computer, in a 75 x 109.7 x 13.4 mm Aluminium box.


My Ride #5 (a work in progress)

I  ordered a Joep bike back around September/October last year (see the My Ride #4 post back in July '10), but they've since had some issues with the company that was building the frames for them.  Think part of the issue may be the company started to build very similar bicycles themselves shortly after, and then there came a conflict of interest (or so I've interpreted and extrapolated thus far).  Very unfortunate for Joep, and his Joep/Arie bicycles here in Utrecht, as that leaves him with a waiting list of people wanting his bicycles, and he's trying to find a solution asap, with no guarantees on delivery dates for the next batch of bikes.  Since I'm leaving back to Canada sometime in the next 2 months, and then at the end of the summer off to Sweden for 2-3 years, I asked him last week about it, since I really still want a bike, but am now on a timeline, and he can't guarantee delivery, whether I might not be better off to buy an older bike and fix it up to about the level of a Joep bike.

So, this past weekend, I picked up a Gazelle Primeur Special, from I'm not sure when, but it had the frame geometry I was looking for, which was surprisingly difficult.  2 days work so far (not full days, just spare time on the weekend) disassembling the bike.

-Gazelle Primeur Special - as bought, in the shop at work

-already more Puur - surprising the difference it makes visually by removing the luggage rack and skirt guards

-raggedy saddle be gone!

-an exercise in minimalism?

-close to just the frame

-removing that lock was a bit of a trick, figuring out how it was mounted on there, and then removing it without destroying it or the frame

-just the frame - but it's still got the headtube cups, and bottom bracket (either we don't have the tools to remove those at work, or I just couldn't find them or not sure what they look like)

-rear wheel dropouts - ok, so part of my plan, to tailor the bike even more to what I envision to be the ideal bicycle, is to also convert it from chain drive to belt drive.  To do so will require making a split in the rear seat stay, or rear dropouts somewhere to allow the belt to slip through, and then figuring out a mechanical fastening system to mount in there to make it solid

Schindelhauer has a nice and elegant solution.
I'm thinking I might look at making 2 aluminium (so they don't rust) plates that mount on either side of the dropouts, that will bolt together, sealing the deal.  Sketching is still in the preliminary stages on that one.  Hopefully it's do-able (which I'm not sure of yet either).