Our first speaker Mark Tieszen has spent 7 years as a professional Telemark skier. Mark's transition from athlete to designer gives him a unique perspective on the relationship between the designer and user in the process of developing athletic equipment. As a professional skier and consultant, Mark worked extensively with Crispi, an Italian company on the forefront of Telemark Ski manufacturing and design. The talk will focus on his experience working on the NTN Telemark boot and binding and the struggles of innovating in a field that is entrenched in heritage and tradition.
The British Design Council has just announced a live webcast on Friday, 26 March about the implications of recessions, networks and on-job-learning for designers.
Are recessions good news in disguise for designers? Has the downturn forced designers to value their networks? Is on-the-job learning better than no learning at all? These are the issues we'll be debating in classic for-and-against style. And there will be no fence-sitting - each debate ends with a vote, for the online audience as well as the one in the room.
Digital design specialist Simon Waterfall is our compere for the morning and the pairs of speakers debating the motions are celebrated product and furniture designer Tom Dixon and creative industries number cruncher Mandy Merron; design business advisor Shan Preddy and retail design specialist Callum Lumsden; and graphics grandees Mike Dempsey and Brian Webb.
Please click here to register for the webcast. The discussion will be from 9:30 to 11:00 AM GMT so for people who live in the US this would mean a rather early start. However, the discussion will be available as an on-demand replay within 48 hours of the event, so you can still watch it then - even though not participate live in it.
Architecture for Humanity, the non-profit architecture and design network of over 40,000 professional architects, engineers, and designers has issued a sweeping long-term reconstruction plan to help the over 2-3 million people without shelter. In just four days they've raised over $45,000 in individual donations and have pledges by a number of companies.
In this month's Installment, Rocko and Michael sketch up a Chair concept with a base molded out of recycled industrial wood waste (like those nifty shipping pallets). Notice how Michael uses a straight edge to harden up those lines once the design is set, but he uses it loosely and keeps it sketchy. The color is applied just as loosely to give the sketch some dimension and convey material breaks, but he doesn't over render it.
Episode 3 of Michael and Rocko's sketch demos. This month, Michael and Rocko tackle the current Core77 1 Hour Design Challenge and sketch up a hydrogen powered Dodge subcompact car... in 6 minutes. This is not sped up kids, this is the real time stuff. Notice how he works the overall form of the vehicle before he starts to visualize what the details are. Form before detail always. Rocko's music pick went a little more obscure, to make the bonus name that tune a bit more challenging. If you missed the first 2 episodes, see them here:
Justina and Luke sent in this drive-by walk-through from Designersblock, the curated exhibition in the heart of Covent Garden. Featuring over 50 international designers showing a wide range range of prototypes, objects, installations and projects, favorites were the Liquid Light piece by Chooi-Leng Tan, fabric/wallpaper projects by Assma Hussain, and YLEM's reflective Brilliant Wings.
Greta Corke, one of the three partners of DIY Kyoto, makes an introduction to Wattson - their latest invention. It is an award-winning product that helps you save money and do some good for the environment at the same time. Impossible you think? Go and see how it works.
Brett Lovelady, founder of ASTRO Studios in San Francisco, has just launched a new, separate company to produce professional gaming products. With ASTRO's 14 years of hardcore video gaming experience (having designed hit products such as Microsoft's Xbox 360, Hewlett-Packard's Blackbird Gaming PC, and the premium line of Alienware Gaming PCs and laptops), ASTRO is deep into the space, and noticed that there wasn't a brand focused on high performance products for pro gamers...and their gaming lifestyle.
In this video for Core77, Brett talks about the new company, ASTRO Gaming, and tours us through their first products--the A40 Audio System--comprised of a design-forward headset & Mixamp. The two products have reset gamers expectations (pardon the pun), and are helping to to take pro gaming to the next level.
Jason Petty, a Brooklyn-based Luthier (yes, that's the real title of a "lute-maker") takes us on a tour of his music-makin studio. This 4 minute wonder is a nugget of one of the oldest crafts around. Take a look after the jump for some close-up stills of the space.
Kids, please try this at home. In this episode, Michael DiTullo and Rocko the Ruler sketch up an iSomething-or-Other in about 5 minutes. Check out how Michael gets multiple tones out of the same marker by varying pressure. Also notice how he starts with the overall form and then overlays layers of detail. The selected perspective is dynamic, but not at the expense of communicating the design. Remember, sketching is a communication tool, and practice makes perfect. As always, bonus points to whoever guesses the song first.
Brit Leissler, of Shoot the Stylist Studios in London, demonstrates the Octopulse, an experimental instrument designed for Yamaha's Product Design Laboratory. This little creature has as a goal to turn listeners of music into players of music, which, in practical terms, takes the form of a knitted synthesizer that turns unapproachable technology into an easily approachable, tactile and emotional object. With this cuddly 'alien bagpipe' you can control analogue sound synthesis through unconventional means. The 'tonetacles' of the Octopulse react to motion and light, transferring movements into information for an analogue synthesizer to convert into cacophonous noises. This unconventional soundscape alters perceptions of what music could be and allows the electronic sounds of a synthesizer to be accessed by anyone.
Initially designed using a traditional synthesizer, the next generation of Octopulse will be made using Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform - which means this lil' guy may one day be portable enough to carry in your handbag! See the full length music video here.
In this video for Core77, Steve Portigal takes us into his company bathroom, uncovering examples of bad design and its consequences.
From signage to artifact and back, people are forever mistaking their cues for how to behave, how to use products and systems, and how different, often-conflicting indicators cause our expectations and realities to collide. This 2-minute video is a priceless example. What's in your bathroom?
In this video for Core77, Michael DiTullo, design director at Converse (you know him as Yo), has 2 blue markers and a microphone. Here, he throws down a casual, summer sneaker concept sketch in 4:39. This is real-time folks. None of that stop-motion photoshop stuff, and no aftereffects. (Makes you wonder how many sketches he can do in an 8 hour day?)
For those aspiring design renderers, notice 3 key ingredients:
1) He moves the page! Mike is constantly turning the page so that his fingers and wrist can draw the lines comfortably. Think of this as "drawing with 2 hands."
2) He keeps a supply of sharp pencils! This is critical: you can't get that line quality unless you start off with a nice point and work down from there.
3) He uses the tip as well as the side of the pencil. Duh, but you'd be surprised how many designers forget to change the grip of their pencil while sketching.
(Bonus factoid: That ironic straight edge he uses once at the start of the rendering? He's had it for 15 years.)
Enjoyed this video? Got inspired? Let him know in the comments!
In this video for Core77, Marco Perry of Pensa demonstrates the Tube Rotator, designed for Labnet International. (The design recently won the 2008 MDEA award.) The device is infinitely adjustable on both axes--taking the fuss out of testing messy fluids--and allows technicians to precisely determine velocity and agitation. Watch here as Marco shows before and after devices, describing the design process and coming up with a better solution. (For more on the Tube Rotator, check out the article on DeviceLink as well as this video. Ah, if we could only afford that background music!)
Troika is a multi-disciplinary art and design studio based in London, founded in 2003 by Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel, who met while studying at the Royal College of Art. They are possibly most well-known for their Cloud installation for British Airways in Heathrow's new Terminal 5 that was featured on Core77 in January.
Apart from the Cloud, they also created 'All the Time in the World', a 22m-long electroluminescent wall along the entrance to the First and Concorde Galleries lounges. They comprise an unusual combination of disciplines, ranging from graphic and motion design through to engineering and interactive artworks. Andy Polaine talks with Sebastien Noel (right) and Eva Rucki (centre) about Troika's inventive approach and the secret life of electronic gadgets.
Core77 Broadcasts: Live at the Nokia Design Studio in London
Nokia has over 300 designers worldwide, and ships over 1.2 million products everyday. So we were anxious to attend Nokia's recent London design event, offering a curtainpeek at their design process, ethnographic wanderings, sustainability initiatives, and plans for the future. Listen in as we chat with Younghee Jung from the services and UI design team, Rhys Newman from the Homegrown Project, and Anton Fallgren and Aki Layneh, two industrial designers out of the Copenhagen studio--all of whom share an enthusiasm for the power of design and an appreciation of the responsibilities inherent in creating the next generation of connectivity artifacts.
For a new site-specific installation, MERLETTI< inter >LACE, Manferdini interprets traditional Italian lacemaking techniques in a dramatic canopy that drapes across the SCI-Arc Gallery in downtown LA. Corelifornia correspondent Alissa Walker caught up with her at the opening just as the DJ cranked up the techno music. MERLETTI< inter >LACE is up until May 11 at SCI-Arc.
Jason Bruges, founder of Jason Bruges Studio, is one of the key figures in a growing trend of cross-disciplinary studios working across public interactive artworks, architecture, installation and events.
Some projects are high-profile public installations, such a the studio's Wind To Light project, commissioned by onedotzero, used 500 mini wind turbines to generate power, which illuminated hundreds of mounted LEDs, creating firefly-like fields of light, visually interpreting the power of the wind. Others are smaller scale but no less engaging, such as the interactive shared space for Beaufort Community School in Gloucester.
Andy Polaine talks to Jason in his London studio about his roots in architecture, the journey to interactive surfaces, sustainability and his thoughts about giving this emerging area a proper name.
Paola Antonelli's exhibitions for MoMA often feel like a science fair planted in a museum. Her current show "Design and the Elastic Mind" is no exception, showcasing the fertile relationships between design and science, sculpture, engineering, architecture, and computer programming. Alex Terzich attends the press preview and opening, where he interviews Chuck Hoberman and Peter Hall, and sits with Paola Antonelli for a longer interview the following day.
With backgrounds in sculpture and engineering, Hoberman is a kind of live prototype for the ideal Elastic Mind contributor. He specializes in the design of transformable objects at scales ranging from toys to tents to full-scale architectural enclosures. His kinetic sculpture "Emergent Surface" was commissioned by MoMA specifically for the show and he discusses its origins and ideals.
Peter Hall is a critic who has written extensively about product design, data visualization and emergent cartographic practices. His essay "Critical Visualization" is featured in the exhibition catalog. On opening night he weighs in some of the work in the "Data Visualization" section of the show and outlines his essay on critical visual practice.
Paola Antonelli began her curatorial career at MoMA in 1995 with Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design. Her exhibitions are consistently popular, challenging and expansive. In this interview she reflects on opening night and our emotional attachments to objects.
London-based Hector Serrano was recently hailed as "Britain's finest young designer" by Space magazine, although he is originally from Spain. Much of the work coming out of Hector's studio demonstrates a playful curiosity about our emotional relationships with the objects we encounter and possess. This is skilfully blended with an imaginative take on sustainability and the future of product design. Here he tells Andy Polaine about the challenges facing designers, tourist souvenirs of the future and giant clouds off plastic floating off the coast of Hawaii.
After a brief introduction by Allan Chochinov, Ze Frank takes the stage at Core77's Offsite Event at the Art Directors Club in New York City: Design, Wit, and the Creative Act.
In this video, Ze kicks off the day by introducing Marcel Duchamp's The Creative Act, and breaking down the triad of players in the metaphoric room--here, Designer, Object, and Audience--talking about the interrelationships and dynamics between the three. "What is the designer's relationship to wit?" "How does this translate to the actual process of making things?" "As you're designing things, do you have a proto-audience member in your mind that you're having a conversation with?" And finally, "What happens when the audience takes control of a piece--completely misinterprets it?"
All of these juicy questions and more in this wonderful start to a provocative (and amusing) day.
You've probably read about it, but if you haven't, spoiler alert: Tobias Wong's appearance at the Art Directors Club in New York City for Core77's Offsite Event, Design, Wit, and the Creative Act, was not exactly on stage.
What does that mean? Well, Tobias was indeed in attendance, but he was sitting in the audience, enjoying the day like everyone else. And instead of taking the mic for his presentation--and his director's chair for the panel discussion portion--he sat amongst the crowd, drinking in the design, wit, and creative--in this case subversive act--by having a stand-in take his place at the lectern.
Rama Chorpash, chair of the Undergraduate ID Dept. at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a great designer to boot, did what can only be described as a pitch-perfect job of presenting Tobias's work (and later answering, Q&A as Tobias, remaining authentic to the designs as well as the philosophical underpinnings of the Wong oevre.
Turns out that the two of them had rehearsed the event to death, preparing responses to any discussion points that might come up, and treating the event not as a stunt but as an artwork.
Chorpash later remarked that "there are a lot of parallels between doing this [switch] and teaching, because in teaching you need to give up your identity a bit to better understand the different models and possibilities of design. To be able to talk about Philippe Starck, for example, you need to understand where he's coming from."
People in the audience who knew Tobias or knew what he looked like were in on the joke, and those who didn't needed only to look in their program for Tobias's headshot. Still, an incredible gesture that provided a sly twist to the day and a workout for Chorpash.
Watch 'til the end of the video, when you can see the two of them together, never breaking character throughout the cocktail reception.
In this video, Paul talks about the role of wit and creativity in the work of Kidrobot, and in his own creative acts. After a quick review of some of the merch, he discusses abstraction and scale, followed by an amazing sequence on writers' block and how creativity is beaten out of us at an early age. (DO NOT MISS THIS!) It is essential to learn to kill the ego, he argues, because "to be creative, we need to find ways to work around our minds."
Next, he delves into the roles of nostalgia and appropriation, "since Kidrobot uses a lot of appropriation", discussing the SUCKLORD and his StarWars toys. He ends with a movie from the same, an hysterical romp through, well...you'll just have to watch it to see.
Heller keeps his remarks short at the start, telling a couple of jokes and then moving quickly to his main event: "Humor is all about timing," he asserts, "and since I don't think I have much of it, I did a little film for you." Well, we don't buy the first part of that sentence, but the audience was glad to sit back and enjoy a delightful, top-20 list of "what's so funny." We've got the reel film here [sic], so you won't have to sit through a crappy video of a crappy projection. Promise.
Dobson starts out talking about our relationship with objects and technology, examining how we communicate with them and the role they play in our lives. Showing footage from films she made around Screambody (a pouch-like device worn around the chest that users can scream into and play back later), as well as Core-fave Blendie (a tricked out blender that users growl at to activate), the role of humor and wit took center stage through, most certainly, acts of creation. You've gotta watch the videos to get the full hit here, and the last one--focusing on machine therapy and how machines can "comfort" other machines--is a riot.