kHyal + Karl


Read our latest posts

Zero Power Smart Fashion, New York

Zero Power Smart Fashion — Wearable Sensors and Green Energy, took place during New York Fashion Week on September 10, 2014 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. It featured an expo of leading research labs and companies showcasing cutting-edge products and technologies at the increasingly coveted intersection of fashion and science.

The event was organized by the Zero Power Smart Systems Initiative of EPFL and ETHZ in cooperation with swissnex Boston, and its Outpost in New York. The goal of the one-day exhibition and symposium was to connect the world of fashion and high-tech industries with research institutions and universities in the US and Europe. Leading international experts showcased forward-thinking ideas in the evolution of smart garments with sensing, computation, communication and energy functionality.

Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston, Consulate of Switzerland, introduced the speaker presentations by explaining that though Switzerland has no natural resources, they have invested heavily in brains and innovation as a mainstay. The evidence was clear by the content and quality of the event. It felt like a luxury to be enveloped by the intelligence surrounding this day, and although I had to skip the evening networking party in order to get to FashTech London’s first New York event, I was fully saturated with new intel by the time I left at 6pm.

Key topics included:

  • wearable computing
  • fashionable nanotechnology
  • smart textiles
  • smart patches, tattoos and epidermal electronics
  • ultra-low power movement and physical activity sensors for sports and wellbeing
  • hydration and nutrition monitoring by smart garments
  • wireless sensors embedded in garments for interfacing with smart hubs (phones and glasses)
  • environmental quality monitoring by smart garments
  • fashion, trillion sensor planet and Internet-of-Things
  • wearable energy harvesting and storage, and self-energized garments

The afternoon was comprised of two speaker sessions with discussion leaders for each. Presentations covered a wide range of topics centered on nanotechnology, smart energy use, the importance of data insights and healthcare innovations. Along with developments in the smart watch, smart glass, and smart jewelry/wearables categories. And, improvements in flexible batteries, smart textile developments, and how artists have used technology and fashion to produce music and generate energy for their productions.

Speaker sessions:

Felix Moesner, Consul, CEO at swissnex Boston


Head of Session 1 Discussion
Christofer Hierold, ETH Zürich

Zero-Power: Enabling Digital Smart Fashion
Adrian Ionescu, Professor and Director Nanolab, EPFL
Ionesco reminded us that 50% of energy is wasted, and that we are in need of technologies for humanity to improve quality of life and foster economic growth. And, that we are in the “Nano Era” where the size of a transistor is less than 100nm, 300 times smaller than a red blood cell. He went on to discuss the Guardian Angels for a Smarter Life project and stated that Zero-power technology enables Autonomous Smart Systems including energy harvesting, sensing, communication and computation.

Enter, Wearable Technology in the categories of: Fitness and Wellness, Healthcare and Medical, Industrial and Military, and Infotainment — and, the ability to sense environmentally related diseases. Ionescu asks the question: Can environmental and health co-monitoring help global science? He explained that Wearable System Architecture is broken down into feedback channels for behavioral change. This is a paradigm shift to a sustainable healthcare strategy based on prevention enabled by future zero-power smart system technology. Concluding that the Wearable Technology revolution has begun, and that Zero-Power technology: 1) enables autonomous smart monitoring of non-obtrusive and non-invasive wearables; 2) allows long-term monitoring; 3) is capable of generating Big Data; and, 4) includes feedback channels and prevention strategies.

Exploiting Silicon Nanotechnologies for Next Generation Wearables
Winny Tan, Ph.D, IMEC
Winny Tan heads up Business Development for IMEC, San Francisco and spoke about nanontechnologies for future-generation wearables. She cited what many of us are well aware of, that wearable technology was a top trend at CES 2014, and partnerships like the one between Tory Burch and Fit Bit are increasingly common.

IMEC performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics and leverages scientific knowledge through its global partnerships. Tan reiterates that this allows the organization to provide solutions that accelerate product development in smart wearables that use data input and analytics; scalable architecture using sensor hubs for diverse outputs; and next generation features like single use, flexible electronics. IMEC’s partnership with CardioNet has led to a state-of-the-art ECG monitor with a focus on diagnosing and monitoring cardiac arrhythmias. The technology uses a family of algorithms that rely on motion artifact reduction, QRS detection and energy expenditure accuracy to boast an all-encompassing solution. Other products on the rise include smart patches, wristbands, shoes, glasses and headsets with hardware accelerators the enable new healthcare and lifestyle applications.

Can Nanotechnology Be Fashionable? Tales of Merging Fiber Science and Apparel Design
Juan Hinestroza, Cornell University
Juan Hinestroza is Associate Professor of Fiber Science & Director of Graduate Studies at Cornell University. He directs The Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at the College of Human Ecology. Hinestroza works on understanding fundamental phenomena at the nanoscale that are of relevance to Fiber and Polymer Science.

Hinestroza’s presentation centered on exploring and understanding nanoscale phenomena of fundamental relevance to fiber and polymer science. He works primarily with cellulose, which is found in cotton, to depose nanoparticles on natural substrates. Through his research he illustrates how synthesizing nanoparticles on cellulose can create color on surfaces without the use of toxic dyes, and efficiently kills bacteria. Hinestroza also reveals that controlling the space in cellulose fibers allows for repelling water and oil simultaneously. The spacing between particles can be filled with semiconductor polymers to create conductive cotton, which leads to the idea of weaving cotton transistors for wearable computing. This groundbreaking work has the potential for massive conservation in the fashion industry.

Wearable Energy Harvesting: Challenges and Opportunities
Dan Steingart, Princeton University
I first saw Dan Steingart speak on a panel at the Freestyle Fashion Conference earlier this year. His research focuses on energy storage, and I marvel at his work toward creating truly wearable flexible batteries. Battery life is one of the biggest challenges facing the wearable technology industry, and we all suffer the battery life problem on our cell phones daily. Steingart’s talk included ideas for energy harvesting from solar to thermal, from vibrations to excrement. (Yes, as it turns out, there is a lot of energy in excrement.) The ideal solution would be to weave battery-life into textiles in an unobtrusive way that would also be easy to care for. I can’t do justice to the extensive illustrations of battery mechanics Steingart presented, so I suggest instead you take a look at his research here.

Fashion and the Internet of Everyone
Davide Vigano, Sensoria Inc.
Sensoria was founded in 2011 and consists of a multidisciplinary team includes signal processing experts, material engineers, electronic engineers, software engineers, UX designers, marketing and business development professionals. The focus of the company is in wearables, to the extent that they’ve trademarked the tagline “The Garment is the Computer.”

Vigano explained that e-textile yarn is replacing traditional conductive materials, that smart fabrics can replace sensor technology and the microelectronics and batteries are now smaller and more powerful, and will eventually become transparent to the user. Using biometric sensors, electronics and the cloud, Sensoria products use proprietary textile sensors the detect force and pressure; textile electrodes that measure heart rate; and are thin, soft, comfortable and washable. The Sensoria Smart Sock won a best of CES award in 2014 without the company even exhibiting. Core product features include: precise activity tracking counting actual steps and identifying activity type based on signal patterns; a cadence metronome; heart rate and calorie information; and the ability to test which sneakers give you better performance.

Fashion-Technology Symbiosis
Chris Grayson, Wearable Tech Startup Entrepreneur
Christopher Grayson used his talk to announce the launch of his new company, Smart Jewel. You can check out the presentation he gave yourself, which he has posted here.

The Bio Body: Skinteractivity in Garments
Amanda Parkes, Manufacture NY, Columbia and MIT
I met Dr. Amanda Parkes at New York’s first Wearable Wednesday, where she spoke on a panel. I also saw her present at the Freestyle Fashion Conference. Her work is truly at the cross sections of art, design and fashion. Her presentation consisted of the artful work she did at MIT, which also managed to solve a substantial science problem, and the innovative practices she is tracking and developing in the fashion industry with Manufacture NY, which will be opening their flagship 160,000 square foot manufacturing facility in early 2015 — featuring: a fashion incubator, full factory production facility, technology R&D center, small run test factory and fashion media center. The facility has a full integration of sustainability as a core business mission and operational framework. This is good news.


Head of Session 2 Discussion
Dudley Fetzer, Qualcomm

ST bridges Fashion and Electronics
Andrea Onetti, STMicroelectronics
Andrea Onetti spoke of the humanization of technology, how it enriches human interaction with our surroundings and creates a more interactive and immersive world. A merge of ambient intelligence, the Internet of Things and wearables. This connected world is rife with opportunities in fashion, as technology is already augmenting things like watches, jewelry, glasses and power plugs. Onetti illustrated that compact electronics with highly integrated features and ultra-low power devices can bridge fashion and electronics, releasing creativity to product designers. He went on to say that ST Microcontrollers offer highly integrated solutions for smart, flexible sensor hubs — more features in a compact module — and, that ST is a leader in wearables with a wide portfolio, strategic partners, low power technologies, and integrated solutions.

Garment Device
Geneviève Dion, Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory at ExCITe
Geneviève Dion’s background is in fashion, but at Drexel University she runs the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Lab, where the focus is expressive and creative interaction technologies. Dion sees the garment as a device comprised of textile-based, passive and active integrated systems. She uses the advantages of knitting over weaving as a form of digital fabrication, because it’s similar to 3D printing, produces a garment without seams — and, works for modeling, rapid prototyping and production. The lab provides opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations and the use of wearable power, WIFI harvesting, bellyband antennas, robotic skins, exo-skin and spider silk. Using industrial knitting machine technology, they are working on fabric supercapacitors, which store energy and are created using non-toxic, flexible materials that can be used to charge personal electronic devices like cell phones and health monitors.

Wearable Environments: Sense and Non-Sense
Despina Papadopoulos, Principled Design
Principled Design is an innovation studio specializing in design strategy, systems redesign, and technology prototyping led by Despina Papadopoulos. She reminds us of the friction from consumers in accepting wearables that don’t meet expectations, and that one-third of those consumers who have owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. While one in ten Americans adults own some form of activity tracker, half of them no longer use it. Papadopoulos defines value in this space when products and services instead provide a sense of play, desire, power, control, freedom, dignity, presence and balance.

Designing for Wearability
Roozbeh Ghaffari, MC10
MC10 takes rigid high performance electronics and reshapes them into human-compatible form factors that stretch, bend and twist to move with the body. Ghaffari, like many others, talked about moving beyond the wrist with wearables in sports and fitness, consumer health and medical applications. MC10’s products provide rugged, durable solutions that are soft, discreet and body/skin compatible. Using sensors, microprocessors, flash memory, wireless connectivity (BTLE) and battery power, MC10’s flexible circuitry dissolves the boundaries between humans and electronics.

Computational Fashion
Sabine Seymour, Moondial Inc
As a designer, entrepreneur and researcher, Dr. Sabine Seymour is omnipresent in the wearables world and crosses over from avant-garde concepts in art and music, to hardcore scientific research consultation for top companies including Johnson Controls, Vanity Fair Corporation and Intel. I first met her through Isabelle Draves of Leaders in Software and Art (LiSA) and have since seen her speak at Decoded Fashion at MAD, and the Wearable Tech Conference. In what she has coined as “fashionable tech” — the body is a node in a networked system. At Moondial, she and her team invent, ideate and curate technology-infused experiences at the intersection of fashion, science and technology. Seymour is also the Co-chair of computational fashion at Eyebeam; Professor of Fashionable Technology at Parsons The New School, and Curator at Fashion Lab, Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. As expected, her presentation wove together far-reaching science with the beauty of art.

The Body As The Next Digital Platform
William O’Farrell, Body Labs
Body Labs spun out from 10 years of research at Brown University at the Max Planck Institute in 2013, commercializing the world’s most sophisticated statistical understanding of human shape, pose and motion. The company offers web applications and an array of design/fit consulting services for the apparel, video gaming and fitness markets. O’Farrell went over the intricate stats and analysis of their product line, and the many applications it has in today’s world of personalization and online buying.

(Picked up from the Zero Power Smart Fashion event website.)

FORSTER ROHNER TEXTILE INNOVATIONS Founded in 2009 Forster Rohner Textile Innovations’ main focus is the integration of electronic functionalities into textile structures (Smart or Intelligent Fabrics). Core competency is the robust, textile interconnection of electronic components on textile substrates, the development of miniaturized electronic components for textile integration and the combination of functional and aesthetic embroideries. Examples are the integration of LEDs into textiles, as well as the development of textile sensor and heating construction. As an independent business unit with Forster Rohner AG, Forster Rohner Textile Innovations combines the century old textile tradition with founded knowledge in material science, textile technology and electrical engineering.

SENSORIA INC. Sensoria Inc. has a vision: “The Garment is The Computer.” The mission is to design and develop body-sensing wearables that improve peoples’ lives. Their technology IP is focused on integrated textile sensors, microelectronics, and software solution that target fitness and healthcare scenarios. The consumer line of smart garments includes our t-shirts, sports bras and smart socks that are marketed under the Sensoria brand. Sensoria Inc. is also working with apparel, shoe manufacturing, and fashion industry players to build their own lines of smart garments “Powered by Sensoria.”

MISFIT Misfit invents and manufactures great wearable and ambient computing products.

ETH ZÜRICH ETH Zurich – one of the world’s leading universities in the fields of technology and natural sciences, will be showcasing a vision of intelligent clothing and zero-power wearable sensor systems that utilize energy harvesting from the human body and the environment. The University will present thermal and piezoelectric energy harvesting, biopotential readout and body function measurements integrated into fashionable clothing.

XSENSIO The mission of Xsensio is to make autonomous smart sensing systems a reality in everyday life. The company, a spinoff of the EPFL Nanolab, develops low-power, non-invasive wearable technologies able to efficiently monitor physical and physiological activities. Xsensio will showcase its novel HydraSense concept: a fashion-forward wearable concept of intelligent garment and patches that seamlessly monitors hydration, and sends alerts if a critical threshold is reached. The multi-parametric concept exploits the integration of different core body and location-specific parameters, and relays the information wirelessly to a smart phone. HydraSense targets a broad spectrum of users, from the athlete who wants to be notified before dehydration affects his performance, to elderly people and infants.

BRICKSIMPLE LLC BrickSimple LLC is a leading developer of next generation web, mobile, and wearable computing applications.

JON LOU™ Jon Lou™ merges MIT engineering with Italian design to create fashion accessories that seamlessly interact with a user’s electronic devices. Their first product is The 314, a behavior-learning handbag that can charge devices for two weeks straight and automatically lights up in low ambient lighting.

EPF LAUSANNE The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) will be represented by the Nanoelectronic Deviecs Laboratory (NANOLAB) – Prof. Ionescu, the Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems Laboratory (SAMLAB) – Dr. Briand and the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces – Prof. Gratzel. The reserach teams of these laboratories will show and demonstrate wearable and portable technologies focusing on:

  • Flexible radios based on organic electronics on polyimide substrates
  • Wearable FinFET sensors for pH and protein detection
  • Low power gas sensors for smart nose exploiting Carbon Nanotube sensors
  • Wearable piezoelectric composite elastomeric generators
  • PZT energy generator transferred on PET substrates
  • Solar cells on flexible substrates exploiting artificial photosynthesis
  • These new devices and technologies are part of EPFL’s Zero-Power initiative aiming at the development of a technology platform for future Autonomous Smart Systems.

WEARABLE EXPERIMENTS Wearable Experiments (We:eX) is a socially driven wearable technology company. Our mission is to bring together fashion and technology with a functional design aesthetic, and use creative problem solving to help us live well and have a better quality of life. We aim for the community’s feedback on our projects to ensure we are giving the people what they want and making their lives easier. We:eX believes that people are not ready to become computers, but they are growing more interested in being connected all the time – whether they’re connecting with information, people or retrieving personal data. Our clothes are an untapped resource that, together with technology, can help people stay more connected and use their fashion in a more practical way.

WIACTS WIACTS is a wearable technology company Founded 2013. The company has recently introduced a multifunctional wireless wearable device, called SENSE. SENSE is primarily a human-computer Interaction (HCI) wearable technology worn on the user’s index finger. It enables the user to wirelessly control and interact with computers and other smart devices. SENSE also authenticates the user to securely log in and make transactions. In addition, it tracks users’ hand motions to improve athletes, artists, and musicians with their skills. SENSE revolutionizes the way we interact with our digital world.

Related posts on tech and fashion:

Karl joins FIT Faculty

AUGUST 2014 | Karl Heine recruited to Fashion Institute of Technology faculty

Karl Heine joins FIT Faculty

Starting this week, Karl will be teaching at FIT.  His class, “Starting a Small Business” is aimed at Packaging Designers. Karl was brought in to elevate the program and develop a new syllabus geared towards real world business practices for working as a packaging designer, then growing that skill set toward launching a packaging design firm in the future.
Karl’s recent election to the board of the Type Directors Club and role as Membership Chair will enhance student learning experiences, as will frequent visiting speakers from major design studios and brands, and TDC events featuring elite packaging design firms such as Stranger and Stranger.

A Post Wearable Tech Expo Meandering on Fashion, Form and Technology

Health and fitness wearables took center stage at Wearable Tech Expo New York. While I’ve tried a few, including funding the original Misfit Kickstarter campaign to obtain the first iteration of the Shine, along with more mainstream products like NikeFuel, these offerings continue to make me ask “what’s next?”

Smart watches were a central thrust of the Wearable Tech Conference, but like Google Glass and competitive products, they aren’t yet meant to replace your phone or computer, just to augment their use with additional capabilities.

While innovators are driving hard to move these technologies forward, the mainstream balk at the expense, lack of functionality and geeky style. Instead, enterprise solutions will lead the way for wearables and trickle down to consumers to what is said by some to become a 50 billion dollar industry.

Meanwhile technology companies are smartening up fast to fill the design void and hiring fashion experts to create products with mass appeal. In February, Fitbit announced Tory Burch for Fitbit for its Fitbit Flex accessory collection. In March, Google sealed a strategic partnership with Italian eyewear giant Luxottica that hopefuls feel will pave the way for a new market in smart glasses. And, in June, smart device company Withings announced the release of Activité — the first Swiss made watch with a built-in activity tracker for Fall 2014.

The women of Wearable Tech Expo were more plentiful than expected, as presenters, and attendees. Keynote speaker Myriam Joire, Chief Product Evangelist at Pebble — formerly from Engadget — gave us the skinny on smart watch technology and its current challenges. Nicole Tricoukes, Senior Maverick at Motorola Solutions Wearable Tech shared the nuts and bolts of designing for enterprise solutions. Linda Franco, Co-founder, Machina rocked her presentation of the MIDI Jacket. And, Dr. Sabine Seymour of Moondial showed off her sonic fabric Soundperfume project and other avant-garde concepts. Last but not least, I met the talented designer Sarah Angold in a corridor off the beaten track, who had just arrived from London. I’m still thinking about the incredible math-influenced laser cut acrylic necklace she wore.

All and all, these events are getting more interesting and inclusive. Although I’ve blended my own influences in the summary above, #wearabletechcon featured a diverse mix of the internet of things. However, I noticed a distinct lapse in attendance during what I considered the most interesting sessions involving art, music and fashion, which proves that this event could benefit from a farther reaching marketing and PR effort to include a broader demographic.

Related posts on tech and fashion:


kHyal featured on Knotwe — Surface Designers to Watch

JULY 2014 | Knotwe

11 FiberArtists/Textiles/SurfaceDesigners to Watch

tour de force of energy and creative vivaciousness. kHyal is an innovator impervious to boundaries. The work pulsates with infectious energy deftly combining visual cues that strike many chords. Her work is featured internationally.

kHyal featured on Knotwe

European Road Trip | Summer 2014

Photos by Karl Heine.

JUNE 2014 | Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France

Our Summer 2014 European road trip included a loop around Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy — where we participated in Art Basel, stopped in at the Cannes Lions, met with international partners and explored art, design and culture.

I debuted my MegaGlam “I Do What I Want” action apparel at the preview of Art Basel, making the rounds to the main show, Design Miami/ Basel, Liste, Scope, 14 Rooms and later attending the Swiss Design Awards. A blend of street fashion and performance art, the work relies on interaction and impromptu, unexpected mashups with physical space, art, design and other humans — which Karl is kind enough to document. At Scope, we dropped off a batch of Weather sKwirl paintings to our gallery friends at C-Arte, which will ultimately find themselves on the exhibition walls of Solange Guez Contemporary Art in Buenos Aires. And, we were featured in CC’s Lifestyle’s Streetstyle picks.

During Art Basel week, our basecamp was in Zurich by way of Düsseldorf, where we explored the scene, visited with an artist friend from the US, and photographed street art, street life, architecture and decay.

We took a train from Zurich to Milan for three days of design exploration, which included an obligatory stop at Duomo di Milano — plus, the Fashion District, Brera Design District, and Leo Burnett Milan. We loved seeing Cracking Art Group’s “L’arte Rigenera L’arte” installation at Castello Sforesco and our visit to the Triennale di Milano where we took in ”Italian Design Beyond the Crisis,” “No Name Design,” and “Italian Design Icons.” The museum’s lobby also houses a permanent showroom for our friends at Materials ConneXion — the most extensive research center for innovative and sustainable materials — which Karl is a New York member of, and where we will both be on the materials jury in mid-July.

After our time in Milan, we rented a little Fiat and headed to the French Riviera, visiting Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Tropez, Hyéres and Toulon. We arrived in Cannes just in time for the tail end of the Cannes Lionsthe world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications — where our hotel beach had been taken over by Google and we met other creative professionals from around the globe while dipping our toes into the cooling ocean where the main festival venue sits on its own little beach.

After three days in Cannes, we headed to Toulon along the coast to Saint-Tropez, then through the mountains, on some of the steepest, narrowest, hairpin-turn roads we’ve ever experienced. My attempts at photographing this adventure didn’t do it justice, but Karl’s expert driving skills came in handy. Even the flat straight sections of this leg our trip were filled with narrow roads married to deep ditches on either side, but the ever changing terrain and dozens of vineyards we drove past provided eye candy to be thankful for. At last we landed in Toulon, where we had a meeting the follow day, so drove a bit further down the coast the stay at the port of La-Seyne-sur-Mer which was one of our favorite unexpected destinations. We spent hours in the charming streets photographing our favorite street art, architecture, signage and decay. Unlike most of our other destinations, there were no tourist attractions, luxury shopping or chain stores, which we truly appreciated.

Our visit to Blackbody was a thrilling scientific adventure. We stumbled upon the company in our own backyard, just a short walk from our office in Manhattan last year. Because of Karl’s passion for lighting design, the new showroom windows on Greene Street drew him to investigate which is how we met Steven, US Sales Director, and later founders Bruno and Alessandro. Karl has worked with LED lighting for years, and started using Philips OLED product as soon as they became available, but after a visit to Philips U.S. Headquarters last year, we were disheartened by the lack of creativity and innovation in the OLED sector. Blackbody brings some of the world’s top designers together to work with their pioneering OLED technology to produce an array of high-end design lighting, luxury accessories and automotive solutions for premium international brands. Our tour of the clean room, design, and production facilities was one of the highpoints of our trip. And, we got to wear Tyvek suits and surgical masks, which is my kind of DEVO space age throwback fashion.

Our next meeting was a few days off in Fabriano, Italy, so we left Blackbody in Toulon, France and headed northwest along the coast and through Genoa. We landed in Florence that afternoon not having any idea it was Festa della Cultura San Giovanni Battista, Firenze. Our hotel was footsteps away from many of the main attractions including Michelangelo’s David, and the two fake ones. Although we explored the mainstream streets, we also headed off the beaten track after visiting the Florence Design Academy. Thanks to our artist friend Clio Newton, who we visited in Zurich, we knew about the Museo di Storia Naturale “La Specola” — a magical place including ten rooms of anatomical wax figures from 1656 through the 1700s. Although it was just down the street from where thousands of tourists swarmed, there was only a handful of other visitors at this charming museum.

We went to Fabriano for a meeting with one of our materials partners, a supplier to Karl’s cottage company DesignerJournals. But with Fabriano, came the Museo della Carta e della Filigrana, housing some of the oldest presses we’d ever seen carved from logs, dozens of watermarks, and holding live demonstrations of paper making and watermarking using ancient techniques. The watermark was founded in Fabriano over 900 years ago. That’s pretty cool, even for a pixel-lover like me. (Karl loves paper, so we are a well-balanced pair.)

After leaving Fabriano, we were headed to Bologna, a good stopping point before our next morning’s plan to be in Venice. However, we saw the ocean from the Autostrade, and longed for the sea, so we randomly chose an exit and drove immediately toward the water, where we found plenty of parking and one of the best (and cheapest) seafood and pasta meals of our life in a little outdoor café on the edge of the beach in Marotta, a coastal village located by the Adriatic Sea. When we happened upon it, it was mellow and beautiful, an un-crowded welcome respite. We didn’t have much energy left by the time we reached our hotel in Bologna on the outside of town. Luckily the hotel restaurant was also above average like all of the food seems to be in Italy. And, the drive through the Italian countryside with its miles of sunflower fields and old farmhouses was postcard perfect.

1500+ miles later, we landed in Venice for Karl’s birthday, and stayed two nights before heading back to New York, in Sant’Elena. It was great to turn in our car and travel by water taxi and on foot. Our hotel was once an original Venetian convent and had two sweeping marble spiral staircases off the lobby and a courtyard garden. Sant’Elena is the greenest part of Venice with a beautiful waterside park, and is very peaceful. A great place to escape the hoard of tourists, yet only a twenty minute walk to anything else you’d want to see. Highlights of our time in Venice included: the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Museo della Musica, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and my favorites — fundamentals biennale architettura and Palazzo Franchetti Lisson Gallery and the current exhibition Genius Loci — Spirit of Place. It was also fantastic to meet architect Fred Van Brandenburg from New Zealand during the reception of his show “Unfurlings” which showcased the design models he created for the Marisfrolg Fashion Headquarters in Shenzhen.


Basel, Switzerland:

Milan, Italy:

French Riviera:

Florence, Italy:

Fabriano, Italy:


Hotels we recommend:



SoNo Spaces Featured on The Whiteboard

MAY 2014 | The Whiteboard

Reposted from The Whiteboard, advancing entrepreneurship in Connecticut.

Stamford Area Coworking Is Diverse and Growing

By Kim Demers

Coworking is not new to the startup, freelance or techie world. There are more than 780 in the United States (when there was one in 2005), and the trend is growing in all corners of Connecticut. 

Last week, The Whiteboard talked with Katherine Warman Kern of COMRADITY, Karl Heine of SoNo Spaces and Sarah Robinson and Peter Propp of The Stamford Innovation Center and WorkSpace Stamford – four prominent voices in the coworking community in southwestern Connecticut, and members of The Business Council of Fairfield County’s Shared Workspace Initiative.

For many, coworking is the future of how we work.

Why? People are tired of working in cubicles. Coffee shops can get loud and crazy. And, at a certain point, working from home doesn’t work – it can be isolating and then there are distractions. Raise your hand if kids, a pet or spouse hovering near your workspace has ever hurt your productivity.

These are the main reasons why coworking got started, and why the number of shared workspaces has grown substantially in the last two years.

Coworking helps indie businesses, freelancers and startups recapture the best benefits of an office environment, specifically, community, collaboration and inspiration, without giving up the best perks of working for yourself: flexibility, independence and doing what you love to do.

Each place has its own vibe. The beauty of coworking is that it can come in different stripes. Some spaces accept everyone. Many other coworking communities are specialized on entrepreneurs and business startups, innovation, social enterprise or creative professionals, for example.

These spaces are stimulating, inspiring, and fun. Members love to come to work and stay for the increased levels of productivity and community. A community that is helping to grow the local economy.

If you’re starting to think you might need a change of scenery and live in the Stamford area, consider these shared spaces, only some of the 12+ in Fairfield County:

SoNo Spaces

SoNo Spaces, is a vibrant place in the heart of historic South Norwalk, or SONO as it is affectionately referred to, for creative professionals to find their ah-ha moment.

SoNo Spaces
It looks cool, because it is cool.

“We created an open-share environment as an extension of the way our own work styles have evolved,” says Karl Heine, who runs SoNo Spaces with his wife kHyal. The couple had begun to work remotely, from places like Paris and Berlin, and became interested in the share culture cultivating in New York because of the rising cost of real estate.

“We believe there’s a pretty tightly woven relationship between inspiration and education,” Heine said. “Over the years, we’ve hosted New York guests for collaborative events, workshops and talks on a range of topics, including gourmet typography and hand lettering through Push Workshops, as well as special events to bring together the creative community.”

Long before Hurricane Sandy, their North Main Street space had already become an inspiring and trusted gathering place for Norwalk’s creative community. When many were out of power during the storm, Karl and kHyal opened their door to any professional in need of space and a place to charge laptops and phones at no cost. And, SoNo Spaces quietly opened later that year.

Its location close to I-95, Norwalk Harbor and the Long Island Sound, combined with its architectural authenticity, have made SONO a vibrant, thriving community to work, live and play. It’s also a cultural mecca filled with highly-skilled creative talent. SoNo spaces offer access to this creative marketing community, including those in the design, interactive, creative services and tech sectors. The space has been a magnet for businesses that want easy access to recruit top-quality talent, and creative professionals that want to grow alongside like-minded individuals.

SoNo Spaces provide all the technical amenities, as well as hosting a creative, idea-rich environment that inspires networking and collaboration. They offer desk space or private offices on a relatively short-term basis. It is a less expensive and flexible option – and not more space than an entrepreneur or startup team would need.

Walking distance from the Metro North train station, SONO makes it easy to toggle between New York, Connecticut and Boston. Blazingly fast high-speed WiFi, secure 24/7 access, use of their swanky lounge and an open and friendly environment to co-mingle are just a few more of the available perks at SoNo Spaces. Click here for more information.

See the full article here.

creativeplacement promo wins in FPO Awards

FPO Awards | Creative Placemints by creativeplacement

Proud to have worked with Karl on this fun project!

The FPO Awards is a judged competition organized by UnderConsideration, celebrating the best print work from around the world during 2012 – 13. The FPO Awards reward the most successful combinations of design and print production. A panel of five judges convened in Austin, TX on June 21, 2013 to collectively select the 111 winning entries to be included in this website and a printed book, published and distributed by UnderConsideration.

FPO Awards Creative Placemints



cre­ative­place­ment pro­vides 25 years tal­ent of sus­tain­able solu­tions. Our exper­tise is in pack­ag­ing, print, inter­ac­tive, and adver­tis­ing pro­fes­sion­als. Senior level through emerg­ing tal­ent build­ing brands, agen­cies and design firms through­out the greater New York Metro area.


We wanted to show off the metal­lic nature of our illus­trated type. Foil stamp­ing was the only option.


We’ve always loved humor in mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing and we’re not immune to play­ing with words our­selves. So we bring you “Cre­ative Placem­ints”, a deli­cious play on words. The label needed a styl­ish retro feel with a mod­ern twist. We used Ter­raskin for the sub­strate, which is highly sus­tain­able. The main focus was to high­light the illus­trated type with cop­per foil to achieve our desired effect. The matte var­nish allowed the label to dis­ap­pear so it looked like it was directly printed on the tin.

See the orignal post here.

Contact us