[Editor's Note: This product was sent to us from Savora for review.]
Among food lovers, graduating from "parmesan" powder out of a green cardboard cylinder to freshly grating Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table is a rite of passage. So too is grating your own nutmeg and zesting your own orange peel. The staggering selection of graters at a Williams-Sonoma indicates that more Americans are willing to GIY (Grate-It-Yourself). You can find graters in all shapes and sizes, tailor-made for specific ingredients (nutmeg, ginger, citrus zest, chocolate and coconut, to name a few). But with 3,795 search results for "grater" in Amazon's Home & Kitchen department, do we really need another one to throw on the pile? The people at Savora, a line of culinary gadgets owned by the North American Lifetime Brands, think so.
The Savora Hand Grater, a relative newcomer, combines rasp-like perforations with a removable container in one racy handheld grater. The company's lead designer, Sid Ramnarace—who has previously worked with Ford Motors—is behind the ergonomic designs that "mirror the smooth, aerodynamic lines of a modern automobile." Indeed, Savora's products have a whiff of something newly acquired by a man in a midlife crisis.
Burning Man is a bombastic playground for all participants, but it's paradise for the enthusiastic designer!
Starting with the preparation, no matter what you plan to do to get involved, what ludicrous costume you've thought up, or how good your survival equipment is, there will be tinkering and building, sketching, planning and teamwork. You might end up inventing the next generation of collapsible shade structures along the way, spend hours getting the heat sensor settings on your LED suit right, improve your dust mask for simultaneous karaoke singing, or sew the ultimate protection bag for your camera equipment.
On the Playa, it's time for co-creation and non-intentional design at its very best. The whole event is based on participation, so if you help to build a sculpture, engineer the best way to evaporate your gray water, or choreograph a new dance-based typography, you'll find creativity is oozing from all corners in Black Rock City. And the radical inclusion principle is both enjoyable and surprisingly productive.
Make sure to bring along your all-time favorite basics like lots of tape, markers, sugru, ziplock bags, hooks, clips, sewing kit, and the basic tools. There is use for everything, if not by you, then surely your camp neighbor. And the very best: once the event has started, there are no deadlines, no show stoppers, no best practices. And instead of blue sky thinking there are only blue skies.
Alongside all the productivity and involvement, don't forget to take lots of time to explore the art on the playa, and visit the many theme camps around you. There are some brilliant examples of experience design out there, and a lot of fun to be had. Imagine all your favorite classes in university thrown into the middle of the desert. Remove all requirements and grades, add some unnecessary decoration, stick an LED on it and always have a chilled drink at hand. Enjoy!(more...)
D-School Futures: SAIC's Lisa Norton on the 'Thinking-Making' Approach to Design Education, and Why Her Students Must Learn to Befriend Failure
This is the final installment of D-School Futures, our interview series on the evolution of industrial design education. Today we have answers from from Lisa Norton, director of Designed Objects within the Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects (AIADO) Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Tomorrow we'll have a list of what we consider the biggest insights and lessons from this eleven-part interview series.
How different is industrial design education today than it was ten years ago? Will it look very different ten years from now?
Industrial design education today is vastly different with respect to technology, manufacturing, distribution and the roles of designers within changing and expanding markets for their skills and offerings. Due to the exponentially increasing speed of the diffusion of innovation and the fact that design touches all sectors, I think it's safe to say that both design education and design practice will experience decisive shifts generated from within and outside of academia.
What would you say to a prospective student who worries about the relevance of an ID education in an increasingly digital world?
Industrial design practice and pedagogy are always changing in order to keep pace with emerging digital tools and new possibilities. Many leading programs in industrial design have long ceased making a distinction between digital and analog approaches to design education. Digital and analog methods are complementary avenues along a continuum of technological developments. Given the wide range of research, ideation and production choices available to designers today, it is no longer possible to make meaningful distinctions between these terms.
Lisa Norton and student work from the Designed Objects progam(more...)
The Aronoff Center at UC DAAP, shortly after it opened in 1996 (L) and present day (R). Photos by Patricio Ortiz and Kyle Oldfield.
For our September 2014 Back-to-School Special, we're going back to the basics and delving deep into the Core77 forums to answer common student queries. This seven-part series of crowdsourced wisdom includes an attempt to define Industrial Design, a comparison of ID degree options, some pointers on teaching (and dealing with teachers), insight into why it's never too late to get into ID, a handy list of resume do's and don'ts, and advice on overcoming design OD. This is our ultimate list of pro tips.
Like any forum, the C77 boards are full of smack talk and advice, but some corners are more sage than others. For our seventh and final Discussion Board Digest, here is our updated and evergreen collection of the choicest advice and insight that older designers wish they'd had when they were students, aggregated and adopted from the OG discussion thread "If I Knew Then What I Know Now."
Ready? There are a lot of 'em, so pay attention:
Food and sleep. Skimp on either and it'll dock your ability to think and work effectively. Yes, you will be broke sometimes. Yes, there will always be tight deadlines and red-eye projects. But if it comes down to getting a couple more hours of sleep vs putting the maximum finish on a model before a critique, opt for the sleep: you'll be more coherent, more convincing and able to get more out of the feedback. And basic nutrition is required for basic neural functioning. The guy who lives on ramen is probably not doing so well synaptically, and your ability to think critically and remember stuff is the point of being in school. Balancing your diet right now is worth having to balance your bank account later.
Get in the Studio!
Spend as much time as you can bear in the studio. As several people have mentioned, it's impossible to do great work at your desk in the dorm, and having a dedicated space to get your thoughts out and work through ideas is important. Camaraderie and company are helpful too, and you can learn a ton from peers. Though it's less sexy than a bolt of inspiration from on high, good work truly only comes with effort and hours, or as Frank Tibbolt put it: "Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." So get in there.
...But Get Out of the Studio Too
A breath of fresh air can make all the difference when you're stumped on creative pursuits, and inspiration strikes in unexpected places. Leave the studio if you're feeling stuck, take a walk or get a coffee, do something else with your eyes and mind and body and you'll find it easier when you get back. When you're not on assignment try to visit new places, different departments, and take in work outside of your focus. Movies, plays, lectures and art are all idea-stimulating and easy to find on campus.
Spend a lot of time improving your sketching. A lot. Really. Like, you can't spend too much time doing it, so stop reading and start sketching. Of all the technical skills a designer is expected to have, this is regarded as the single most important one. Practice a lot, not to impress anyone with your art chops, but so you can stay out of your own way and uncover ideas while problem solving. Sketching is faster than any other form of model-building or rendering. It's a portable, cheap, and (if you're good) immediate communication of ideas. It's the tool at the very core of being a designer. Careers have been launched over great napkin sketches—don't blow it off.
Chance to Own a Piece of ID History: Brooks-Stevens-designed 1941 Ford Western Flyer Goes Up on the Block
Brooks Stevens was a Raymond-Loewy-level industrial designer, and in fact, formed the IDSA in conjunction with Loewy and a group of other ID'ers. And while his name never seemed to achieve the recognition of Loewy's, he had a career every bit as colorful and influential. Upon his death in 1995, The New York Times called him a "giant in industrial design" and revealed that back in the 1940s, he nailed a certain appliance's form factor that still exists today:One of his early successes was with a prototype clothes dryer, which had been developed by Hamilton Industries in Two Rivers, Wis. At the time, the only way to dry clothes was to hang them on a line. Hamilton's engineers had developed a metal box with an electrically powered rotating drum inside and equipment for gas heating. The device was featureless except for an on/off switch. "You can't sell this thing," Mr. Stevens recalled telling the developers. "It's just a sheet metal box." Mr. Stevens suggested putting a glass panel in the front and loading it with the most brightly colored boxer shorts the manufacturer could find for demonstrations in department stores. That is what happened, and modern clothes dryers still follow the same basic layout.
As another example of design longevity, Stevens designed the 1949 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide. Harley-Davidson's 2014 Heritage Softail Classic has essentially retained the same front fender and tank-mounted speedometer.
A year earlier Stevens had designed a very different vehicle: These sweet Skytop Lounge passenger railcars produced by Pullman-Standard in 1948, and used to run the route from Chicago to the Twin Cities. The Skytop Lounges remained in service until 1970.(more...)
As Louis C.K. sits in a coffee shop, a millennial staring into a smartphone bumps into him. Instead of looking up or apologizing, the kid keeps his eyes glued to the phone and bumps into him repeatedly, like a fly at a window. In the background we see the place is filled with young phone-gazers bouncing off of each other like billiard balls.
While the scene was just a gag for C.K.'s show Louie, a stroll down any New York sidewalk shows you it isn't much of an exaggeration. And it's not just New Yorkers and Americans, of course; as the UK designer Kenneth Grange told Dezeen, "I see people in the street walking around like zombies unaware that there's a person two feet from them, all glued to this bloody screen." And in China, if this Xinhua News Agency report is to be believed, the city of Chongqing has rolled out a bike-lane-like "phone sidewalk."
The topmost photo of this entry seems Photoshopped—something about the intensity of the arrows and the lack of shadows around the people—but it's possible that it's real, or at the very least not difficult to imagine.
So, file this one under Unintended Consequences of Technology. Who could have foreseen that creating tools that improved long-range communication would cause pedestrians to completely ignore their immediate environments?
Also, etiquette question: Do you guys walk around staring into your phones? As a New Yorker who well remembers the high-crime days of yore, if there are other people near me on the sidewalk I get out of the way and put my back to a wall, facing outwards, before checking something on my phone. It is inconceivable to me that a person would walk the length of a crowded block with their head down, completely oblivious to their surroundings. NYC's rash of phone-snatchings—some quite violent—is, I think, something like nature's cycle of predators and easy prey. Staring into your phone and forcing others to walk around you isn't just rude—it can get expensive, and dangerous.
Editor's note: Sadly this has been debunked as of this afternoon, but the implications are still valid.
Autodesk had a big presence at the inaugural Core77 Conference, "Object Culture." Not only was technology futurist Jordan Brandt one of the morning's most energetic presenters, but attendees also had the chance to view a number of innovations from the company in the foyer area of 501 Union, where the Autodesk Fusion 360 team was stationed.
If you didn't get the chance to make it to Brooklyn to see the work in person, here's a look at a few that were on display (you can also check out our recap on the entire one-day event here):
Adam Mugavero Eyeware
It started as an unfortunate accident when Adam Mugavero broke his glasses at a concert. He had been working on a wooden sculpture project and decided to use the remnant wood to fix them. The idea became a much more than a one-time fix and he began hand-sculpting couture eyewear. As his client base expanded and his creative interest in new materials—such as diamond wood, composite wood products, 3D printing and electroplating—grew, he decided it was time to make his eyewear more accessible through manufacturing. He starts by sculpting glasses by hand for a specific person then he reverse engineers the design in Fusion 360 to prep them for manufacturing.(more...)
Locale for Herman Miller (2013). Images courtesy of Industrial Facility unless otherwise noted
Given the current vogue for local, handwrought, artisanal or otherwise bespoke goods, the tide has effectively turned against mass production as millennials forgo the efficiencies of economies of scale in favor of purportedly more meaningful modes. The appeal of these objets is ostensibly the deeper level of personal connection—the prospect of shaking the very hand that made your wallet or dress or dining table is simultaneously atavistic and avant-garde—that justifies the cost of championing local production in the face of, um, faceless overseas manufacturing. This resurgence finds its most fundamental expression not in made-to-order heirlooms but in locavorism: Food products are literally rooted in a place, yet the fact that they are perishable precludes preciousness.
It's ironic, then, that "America has this great tradition of keeping kitchen appliances on the countertop." Kim Colin, co-founder and partner of design firm Industrial Facility, brings it up in the context of the broad shift away from the materialistic mentality of yore, rattling off a few generations' worth of examples. "Mr. Coffee's been there, the Kitchenaid's been there, George Foreman's grill was there for a while, the soda machine might be there now..." That these appliances have a shelf life (with the exception, perhaps, of the stand mixer) is a testament to the consummation of a consumer culture that revels in excess, the food itself being incidental. Whether or not we use them frequently enough to justify the countertop real estate, our society has long kept these objects on display, not only as status symbols in themselves but also because we have the luxury of space.
Or at least we did, before the world's metropolises drew in the majority of its 7.2 billion people and twentysomethings found themselves with less space and fewer things anyway. More kale, perhaps, but less of the other stuff.
The Branca Stool for Mattiazzi (2014)
We don't go out and find work, people find us.
Industrial Facility is arguably the best-kept secret in certain circles that extend far beyond its geographic locale of London. In contrast to the likes of Philippe Starck (with whom IF collaborated on TOG) or, say, friend-of-Apple Marc Newson, Kim Colin and her partner Sam Hecht opt for fly-by-night anonymity, much like one of their longtime clients. "[Muji is] not using design as a personality... if there is a personality, it would be Muji." Like kindred spirit Naoto Fukasawa, Industrial Facility's work dissolves into the client's brand—assuming, of course, that the client shares their refiend, purposeful design philosophy.
When Colin notes that "there's a kind of strange public awareness about us—we have what I would characterize as a cult following," she's referring to clients—Established & Sons, LaCie and Issey Miyake, to name a few—but the statement is true of consumers as well. It's not so much a signature style (again, they're designing for the likes of non-brand Muji) but a perspective that guides with their sub rosa appeal. "We're very interested in the actual ways we're living and the ways that's changing," Colin says. "We study it through the different kinds of clients we have... we learn how they're seeing the world, and we often have a very different point of view." She continues: "Those companies then realize that we have more to offer than a specific project on its own, and that we might have something to say about their business, or growth, or direction." Naturally, these deeper relationships tend to be self-selecting, and it's telling that Industrial Facility works closely with companies like Muji and Herman Miller in a design advisory role. "Our clients are unafraid of our questioning and our level of questioning."
Hence, Colin draws the distinction between their design practice and that of the 21st-Century artisan. "I think there are a lot of people working in design that are doing local products. Those are small batch, limited production or production-on-demand," she matter-of-factly declares. "Our scale is mass production, really, and that's why we named our studio Industrial Facility and not Sam Hecht and Kim Colin Studio. We want big companies not to be afraid to use design."
Formwork for Herman Miller (2014)
Prototypes of Formwork(more...)
D-School Futures: The University of Cincinnati's Craig Vogel on Why Today's Design Careers are Akin to Improvisational Jazz
Vehicle design by Brett Stoltz, exhibited at DAAPworks 2014
This is the latest installment of D-School Futures, our interview series on the evolution of industrial design education. Today we have answers from Craig Vogel, associate dean of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), and a professor in the School of Design with an appointment in Industrial Design.
How different is industrial design education today than it was ten years ago? Will it look very different ten years from now?
ID has continued to evolve since it came of age in the 1930s. The last decade has witnessed several key changes. Design process has continued to decrease in time from concept to market. Globalization in development and distribution has continued, and new markets continue to grow as emerging economies have developed a middle class hungry for products and services. Major markets have shifted from the U.S. and Europe to Asia, South America and countries in Africa. Companies are realizing that green design is not only responsible but profitable as well. Baby boomers in the U.S. and their peers in global markets are creating new market demands in inclusive design, and women dictate much of the consumer spending for domestic products.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the shift in emphasis from standalone products and interfaces to interconnected products integrated into the growing service economy. MAYA's concept of trillions provides a clear insight into this factor, and products like Nest demonstrate the need for designers to think of products embedded in systems.
Sports and performance products will continue to be a major area for design, as humans around the world seek to be more active and healthy. The concept of soft products overlapping with fashion has continued to complement traditional "hard" product categories. Shoe design is the new car design. Medical design continues to grow and expand with the emphasis on empathic centered healthcare, the percentage growth of individuals over 75, and the decentralization of healthcare. More patients are healing at home or choosing to age in place. Interest in opportunities for socially responsible design is also growing. Companies and individual designers are seeking to serve the needs of a global community at the base of the pyramid, who lack the resources to pay for design but are desperately in need of design services.
The role of design continues to expand horizontally and vertically as design processes and ways of thinking are seen as valid for strategic planning as well as product implementation. Finally, entrepreneurial opportunities are increasing and will continue to grow in the next decade as the cost of product development and introduction into small and medium markets allow young designers to start their own companies. Many students come to college today seeking to launch their own companies rather than looking for consultant or corporate opportunities. Students are combining social responsibility with new funding options, and they can compete in local markets and global markets with new ways to develop and distribute products. Cincinnati is one of many cities creating the new economy of young entrepreneurs networking locally and globally. Design Impact is a small Cincinnati-based company focused on local and global design for social change. Design also exists at various levels of scale; LPK and Spicefire are two examples of global consultancies based in the city. P&G continues to maintain its commitment to design integration across their business units and in R&D. Clay Street is a novel design-innovation function within the company, and Shane Meeker is the only industrial designer running one of the largest company archives in the world.
Left: Craig Vogel. Right: Scooter by Miranda Steinhauser and wheelchair concept by Sandra Lin, both exhibited at DAAPworks 2014
Shoe design by Jon Kosenick(more...)
All photos by Deena Denaro
With the vote on Scottish independence just a few short days away, the United Kingdom may soon undergo a major geopolitical transformation that nevertheless feels like it's a world away from North American shores. Far be it for us to predict the results, but the forthcoming vote marks an apt occasion to share a photo essay from Glasgow, comprising photos from the XX Commonwealth Games and beyond.
The Games inherently have a political element—participating countries are former members of the British Empire—but more broadly speaking the international event was a singular opportunity for the host city to showcase the best that the country has to offer at this critical juncture in the nation's history. Whether or not the nation of 5.3 million chooses independence, it is certainly home to a rich design culture, from its long heritage in textiles to its contemporary makerspaces. Shot by Deena Denaro, these photos duly capture the spirit of the games and the pride of place in Glasgow itself.
At top: The Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, featuring motion graphics by ISO Design.
People Make Glasgow, the city's spot-on tourism campaign, launches our quest for pin badges, the unofficial currency of the Commonwealth Games. Each country, organization venue and/or sport mints it's own pin badge which are exchanged by athletes and delegates as a symbol of friendship.
The "Big G" was the cynosure of George's Square (recognizable as the backdrop for the opening of World War Z). The concept behind the logo is derived from time, data and measurement, with four distinctive parts. The red outer ring symbolises the fact that it is the 20th Commonwealth Games; the yellow ring (which is 17/20 of the size of the outer ring) symbolizes the 17 sports on the program; the blue ring (11/20 of the size of the circle; appears vertical in image) represents the 11 days of the event; and the 'G' in the center represents Glasgow, the color reflecting the Gaelic meaning of the city's name, "Dear Green Place." View the "Making Of" video here.
The venues featured two-dimensional incarnations of the logo, designed by Glasgow's own Tangent.
The view from the sky box at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during the men's 40km points race.
Scotland's tandem cyclists whizzing by as they take the gold.(more...)
Ants like to move things, presumably to carry them back to their nests. Which doesn't make much sense when ant hill entrances are tiny and you see them hauling back things like this relatively huge Dorito chip:
But who knows, maybe it's just about the accomplishment of dragging it back to the nest. And maybe they build dioramas and put the objects on display. Because there's also footage of these herpetology-minded ants transporting a lizard skull (and a second crew bringing back the spine):
So far nothing special, these guys move items the same way you, me and a few buddies would move a couch, by getting individual bodies around it. But someone in Southeast Asia recently posted this video, where a species of Leptogenys ants have apparently learned to form a daisy chain in order to haul this big-ass millipede:
What we have here is a sleek and squint-worthy concept project. Award-winning Artist-slash-Industrial Designer Philippe Starck recently partnered with the bike company Moustache to design a series of electric bikes. Not content to stop after attaching fur to a battery-powered snow bike, Starck struck out to reimagine the humble helmet too. Teaming up with bike accessory giant Giro, who have been in the game for a few decades, the result is the elegantly named "The Giro by S+ARCKBIKE Helmet Concept." It's an intentionally layered, architectural-feeling take on one of the least sexy parts of riding a bike.
The helmet was designed with the positive social and environmental impacts of cycling in mind. Its features include a thin aluminum outer skin, a cork body, aluminum and leather harness system. The materials chosen reflect Starck's interest in both "new ergonomics" and renewable resources. They tout the unusual use of "sophisticated, unconventional" cork as a good choice for its anti-microbial and water-resistant properties (properties not shared by the leather components), and the fact that it's a green resource. (For a peek into the [relatively] green production of cork check out our photo gallery or this video on Portuguese production.) Also, cork theoretically has good "impact energy management"—y'know, the entire point of wearing a helmet.(more...)
Last February, Kai Lin was watching YouTube videos of mountain goats jumping up a vertical mountain side when he was struck with an idea. Lin, now a senior at Pratt Institute, was enrolled in a prosthetic-design class at the time, and he wondered if the same anatomy that allowed the goats to so swiftly and accurately scale the vertical surface could be applied to humans.
This was the beginning of KLIPPA—the name is Swedish for "cliff"—a prosthetic leg designed specifically for amputee rock climbers. With the seedling of the idea in mind, Lin dug deeper into the anatomy of mountain goats, learning that their hooves have small cupped surfaces that create suction, coupled with a hard outer shell that allows the goats to stabilize their bodies on even the steepest surfaces. Looking for design opportunities, the student stumbled upon the documentary High Ground, which tells the story of 11 veterans who heal mental and emotional trauma during a 20,000-foot Himalayan ascent. Lin also discovered that rock climbing was the first choice of physically demanding sports for veteran amputees looking to maintain an active lifestyle after returning from Afghanistan or Iraq. "I realized from the demographic of amputee patients that quite a few of them are wounded soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and many of them suffer from physical and psychological trauma," Lin says. "That just gave me more reason to design something meaningful—not only for day-to-day patients but for someone who might use my rock-climbing prosthetic legs to help with their recovery process."
Further research took the product design student to Brooklyn Boulders, a local climbing gym, where he interviewed experienced climbers about their technique, ankle articulation and muscle use. Lin took to the wall to give it a shot himself, attaching blue foam stilts to his feet to understand what it was like to climb without sensory feedback. Creating a series of blue foam stilts varying in surface size, Lin tested the ideal size for a prosthetic. "What I found was that when a [foot] surface is too big, it blocks you from seeing what is underneath and it becomes hard to step," Lin explains. "But when the contact surface is too small, you lose your balance." He created three main sizes of stilts in proportion to a human foot—full, half and quarter—discovering that the ideal solution was somewhere between a half-size and quarter-size foot, which limited the contact surface while still maintaing balance.
Lin synthesized this knowledge in a series of (really awesome) sketches, working to incorporate his research along with other identified problems amputee climbers face like strength loss, passive articulation, and a lack of sensory feedback and grip. The first iteration of sketches for KLIPPA was a direct biomimetic approach pulling inspiration from mountain goats, while his second series echoed a more human feel. From these sketches, Lin made five prototypes from blue foam and 3D-printed features like textured heels, hoof-like feet and rubber shoe encasings. His final design took the best pieces from each of these prototypes, resulting in a progression of human to goat anatomy moving down to the foot.(more...)
We're pretty big on process here at Core77—where other publications usually stick to pristine product shots, we like to show what goes on behind the scenes, not least because
you, faithful readers, are often the ones behind those scenes. And with the advent of inexpensive digital photography and videography tools—namely smartphones—it's easier than ever to document your process. Case in point, architect-turned-master-woodworker Frank Howarth demonstrates both his woodshop chops and his cinematography skills in his stop-motion videos.
The Portland, OR-based craftsman has been posting making-of videos YouTube channel for years, and they go beyond a superficial treatment to actually illustrate each step of the process—some of these mini films push ten minutes (and some are even longer). Most of them include Howarth walking you through each design decision. But my favorite one takes an anthropomorphic tack. It doesn't have a voiceover or even human presence at all—rather, each element and tool becomes a character in a production of sorts. Check it out:(more...)
If you've ever passed a park in Chinatown and seen the older folks playing Mahjong, you've undoubtedly seen them manually "shuffle" the tiles between games before rearranging them into fresh rows. This is how they've done it for thousands of years, but in the past few decades, Mahjong tile shuffling and dealing has received a rather awesome upgrade:(more...)
Strolling through any of London's more creative districts today, you're almost certain to see preparations in full swing as the eyes of the design world turn to the city over the next eight days. Now in its 12th year, the London Design Festival is set to kick off this weekend.
The branding for this year's event prompts revellers to 'Lose Yourself in Design'—perhaps a little less ridiculous than it sounds considering that this year sees some 300+ events (not including the parties), spread wider than ever before across the metropolis. Six areas across the city center have been given official 'design district' status this year, with the usual suspects Brompton Design District (with the V&A and its environs), Clerkenwell Design Quarter (design furniture showrooms abound), Chelsea Design Quarter (the crazy posh stuff) and Shoreditch Design Triangle (the edgier destination in the East) joined by two new comers—Islington Design District (North Central-ish) and Queen's Park Design District (West-ish)—set to join the fray.
As in past years, a number of 'Landmark Projects' headline proceedings with installations and interventions on a grand scale. Whilst true to form, this year's centrepieces sees the involvement of some big brands. In an expected move, AirBnb appear to be a major sponsor of this year's festival and will be taking over the famous Trafalgar Square in the heart of the city with an installation entitled 'A Place Called Home,' an arrangement of miniature homes each with interiors design by acclaimed designers. BMW will also get in on the act, taking over the enormous Raphael Gallery space at the V&A museum with a collaboration with industrial design darlings Barber Osgerby, involving a kinetic sculpture of giant mirrored surfaces.(more...)
D-School Futures: SVA's Allan Chochinov on the 'Difficult, Conflicted, Blurry Territories' Facing Design (and Design Education)
Top left: Ziyun Qi and Wan Jung Hung at a futuring workshop. Other images: The Cloud and a thesis presentation, both by Richard Clarkson
This is the latest installment of D-School Futures, our interview series on the evolution of industrial design education. Today we have answers from our own Allan Chochinov, partner of Core77 and chair of the Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
How different is industrial design education today than it was ten years ago? Will it look very different ten years from now?
I believe it's very different than it was a decade ago, and certainly will look different again in the medium-term future. Of course, much of this change is precipitated by tools and technology (digital manufacturing, physical computing, crowdfunding/sourcing platforms, etc.), but there have also been sea changes in the way we think about design and its offerings—the shift from product to service, systems thinking, design thinking, sharing ecologies, economies of abundance, interdisciplinarity—to name a handful.
But perhaps the biggest impact on design education will stem from one of the most important high-water marks right now: Design can finally be understood and engaged in as a more social, collaborative and transparent enterprise...hopefully with a discourse to match. So we need design programs whose pedagogy (both technical and philosophical) can respond to all these changes nimbly and quickly, and which understand design to be a fundamentally participatory enterprise poised to fortify for a time when the world desperately needs it most. (Of course, you could effectively argue that design has created most of the problems we're currently facing!) On the supply side, I think there will be many, many options for design education—from deep, prolonged investigations through undergraduate and graduate programs to less formal, a-la-carte classes, hackathon-inspired intensives and online learning. Design is unquestionably enjoying its moment right now, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.(more...)
–Spanish conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo, circa 1519 on first sighting of Tenochtitlan
(Original translation by J.M Cohen from the Conquest of New Spain)
Mexico City, formerly known as Tenochtitlan, is the fifth chapter in StudioFYNN's Brave New Modernism series. The ideas of progress and evolution are fundamental concepts behind modernity. The pursuit of growth, technological development and knowledge are seen as prerequisites for economic development and in turn influence how we build today's cities. However, progress may have many interpretations and there are no guarantees that all ideas of progress manifest in sustainable and enduring plans.
Founded in 1325AD, Tenochtitlan was the ancient capital of the Aztecs and prospered as one of Mesoamerica's greatest cities until its siege, conquest and destruction by the Conquistadores from 1519–1521AD. The ancient Aztec city incorporated complex ideas of cosmology, mythology and religion entirely alien to the Westerners, which were almost completely eliminated as a new city was built in accordance with European ideals and concepts of civilization. With a population at the time of conquest exceeding 200,000 (among the world's largest cities at the time), it appears that in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec concepts of civic function were masterfully integrated with the higher beliefs of their civilization. From the urban plan to the iconography so powerfully represented in sculpture, murals and artworks, the centers of trade, worship, governance and habitat were woven together with the coherent thread of the deeper belief systems.(more...)
Next weekend Toyota will unveil a concept car not at an auto show, but at the World Maker Faire in New York City. The chosen venue is purposeful: To create their Urban Utility (U2) concept vehicle, Toyota's CALTY design arm conducted interviews with previous Maker Faire participants. The resultant design has yielded a car described as "a flexible, functional gadget that owners can customize according to individual, on-the-go needs."
While text descriptions of the concept are light, the renderings tell the tale. Makers apparently expressed a strong desire to haul a variety of goods, as a lot of attention has been given to how onboard storage is to be managed via a "Multipurpose Utility Bar" and "Retractable Latching System:"
#ThrowbackThursday: Organized Chaos in the Form of One Massive (and Surprisingly Untangled) Telephone Wire Hub
Whether you live in an overstimulating city center or a more bucolic setting, the countless details of the built environment often barely register as designed objects. Telephone wires are among those often-overlooked systems. And judging by these photos of a telephone from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we've come quite a long way. The steely subject of these shots is Stockholm's Telefontornet ("Telephone Tower"), which was the main communication hub in the area from 1887–1913.
Despite the fact that the tower is a complete eyesore, it's hard not to be impressed by the fact that the the carefully routed lines comprised an entire city's phone network. As if it wasn't already the cynosure of Norrmalm, the city thought the tower was missing something, so they held a competition for an "embellishment" that would be placed at the top of the tower. In 1890, architect Fritz Eckert came up with the winning design, bedecking the tower with turrets on its four corners, each adorned with a pennant.(more...)