Frank Novak is the co-founder of Modernica, Inc. Modernica owns the original presses and the original preform machine that were used by Zenith Plastics for Charles Eames production of Herman Miller chairs. Their preform machine is the only such machine in existence. Both the presses and the preform machine are the very same pieces of equipment used to create thousands and thousands of chairs since their very first run in 1950 and now sixty years later, these seminal pieces of equipment are located at Modernica's new Los Angeles factory.
From the Modernica Archives
From the Modernica Archives
From the Modernica Archives
Frank Novak grew up in Omaha Nebraska where his family owned car dealerships from the 30's to the 70's, and an antique store from 75 to 2001. He went to Goddard College, Evergreen College and New College of California. Frank moved to California in 1986 and worked as a set builder and production designer for Roger Corman. He was the Art Director for Woody Harrelson's first film, Cool Blue. In 2000 his directorial debut Good Housekeeping was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. While working on films he began building furniture and in 1989 founded Modernica with his brother Jay. Together they were one of the first American companies to reproduce out of production mid century furniture. Modernica products, including the George Nelson Bubble Lamp and the Eames Fiberglass chair are sold worldwide. Modernica employs over 100 people in the Los Angeles area at their factory and film prop rental house.
Last week, a vacant industrial loft was magically transformed into an elegant gallery space for the evening, as the Rhode Island School of Design's Department of Furniture Design celebrated its graduating Masters Candidates in a show titled, 'The New Clarity.'
The title of the exhibition drew its name from "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke:
...Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."
Each designer took a fresh approach to that understanding, re-envisioning what furniture could be and giving a glimpse of what that development looked like on the path to their final work.
Bent-wood room divider by Elish Warlop
Pieces ranged from the bent-wood room divider above to a chair to facilitate sex with multiple partners simultaneously--running the gamut of what comes to mind (and doesn't) when one thinks of 'furniture design.' The diverse array of work explored not only a new understanding, but varying motifs of tradition, from daily traditions of the everyday to ornate, woven tapestries re-imagined in plastic.
One of the most memorable pieces from the evening was the latter, the work of Colantonio, which looked at commodities of the past, seeped in ancient tradition, and adapted them utilizing contemporary tools and technologies.
Plastic Persian carpet by F Taylor Colantonio
"Most of my work deals with historical 'types' of objects, at least as a point of departure," said Colantonio. "I'm interested in taking a thing like a Persian carpet, and all the baggage that comes with it, and abstracting it beyond the qualities we would normally associate with a Persian carpet. I wanted to create a kind of a ghost of the source object, something that is both familiar and entirely strange. In many of the pieces, this is done with a shift in material, often as a result of exploiting a manufacturing method in a new way."
F Taylor Colantonio
Patterns on patterns on patterns by F Taylor Colantonio
The Beer Bag, by Marco Gallegos
The aptly titled "Beer Bag" was part of Gallegos' "Rethinking the Familiar" Collection, which looked to further the relationship and value people place on everyday objects. With the capacity to carry a six-pack of beer, the bag fits snugly onto one's bike. Beer holders included.
The Lilu Table, by Marco Gallegos
The Lilu Table is also the work of Gallegos, who sought to create a self-supporting structure, where each part provides vital support to the rest--working together as a system. The power-coated steel legs fit into the top, locking them all together in a secure fit.
The breadth of the work left little to be desired in terms of heterogeneity, leaving the future work of each designer just as varied and unpredictable as the collection produced. We'll be eager to see what divergent paths they take after graduation this June!
The Graduate Furniture class, photo by Anelise Schroeder
More photos from the opening night after the jump.
Clockwork from top right: Matt Shaw, Tiffany Lambert, Brigette Brown, Cecilia Fagel, Bryn Smith
Each year the SVA MFA Design Criticism department hosts a conference, where the students present their research, as well as choosing the theme and format. This year's theme is "counter/point" and each student will present their work in counterpoint with that of a speaker whose views may differ from their own. We asked the D-Crit Class of 2013 to explain how they selected their speakers and what discussions they think will ensue at the conference.
Can you explain why you invited your speaker and why their areas of research or design practice relate to your thesis topic? What can the audience expect from your pair of presentations and the discussion to follow?
Matt Shaw: I think that Mark Foster Gage provides a good counter/point for my topic because at first glance we appear to have very different agendas. In my thesis, I advocate for the communicative possibility of what is called "roadside vernacular," or buildings shaped like giant objects. His advanced digital aesthetic is very different, communicating more viscerally and less directly, which he writes about in his book Aesthetic Theory. However, we both place an emphasis on the visual, and we agree that this could be the key to making architecture which re-engages broader publics. I think we agree about what needs to happen, but disagree about how to best accomplish it. These similarities and differences are nuanced and should make for a stimulating discussion in many ways.
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Tiffany Lambert: You can anticipate a glimpse into a future universe—one with mountain-shaped trains and cars grown from organic materials—and hear about how design mediates broader cultural and social experiences that go well beyond aesthetics alone. My research project interrogates the way design citizens (or end users) have become more engaged in processes of design. This participatory culture manifests itself in a variety of ways, shifts the roles of both citizens and expert designers, and raises important questions for the field and its surrounding discourse.
While my work aims to expose the implications of participation in order to establish a critical framework, Fiona Raby's most recent experiment with Anthony Dunne—now on view at the Design Museum in London—explores cultural and ethical impacts through speculative (and spectacular!) design solutions. Their project uses the design proposal as a participatory tool, involving the larger public and designers alike.
I plan to speak about my current work and how to build musical instruments on a small scale, at very high quality and with limited space and resources. I'll talk not only about building wood products, but about taking full advantage of what's around you and where you live to keep the creative spirit alive. I've lived in one bedroom apartments, shared spaces, houses and in each I've been able to build and craft goods from prints, to textiles, to musical instruments. I'll share my experiences and knowledge to help people build no matter where they are in life.
Late in high school, seeking alternatives for creativity outside of the school environment, Matt began woodworking with his grandfather. The instant passion that was formed lead to the discovery of industrial design and to a degree from The Ohio State University. Upon graduation, Matt moved west to Seattle and built his first basement guitar in 2002. Rather quickly that turned into a career and Matt has worked for music companies Dusty Strings, First Act Inc. and at music video game producer Harmonix as an industrial designer. More than ten years later, a constant in Matt's life has been building, no matter the living situation or resources at hand. Half Iron Design was started in late 2012 with an emphasis on building electric guitars and ukuleles. But in the basement, anything can be built.
Remember the days when all you needed to be a crack industrial designer was a knack for drawing, rendering and model making? Then we added the skills of how to talk to clients and well, that already seemed like enough. But then throw in 3D modeling and rendering, the understanding of materials—how they interact, their underlying structure—and how things are made, both for prototypes and for mass-produced objects. But wait. Now the online world is possibly more impactful than the "meat" world—so add web and mobile savvy, search engine optimization and you haven't even gotten started, because guess what? Now we all need to be fantastic entrepreneurs too. Oh, and that corporate job you might have hoped for after racking up a sizable student debt for your design training just might not really be around any more. Why? Because we are living in the era of downsizing and shifting jobs from full to part time to freelance to overseas. Now this may all seem gloomy, but the speakers at this year's IDSA Western District Conference—held at the Long Beach Hilton Executive Meeting Center on April 12–13—presented some serious silver linings to these storm clouds.
Dario Antonioni of Orange22 Design Lab came to the podium singing the praises of this new order, declaring that the design consultancy model is obsolete. His company had 15 full time employees until 2008, but now he has none. Instead, he works with a network of services and partners throughout the world—he's done with working 9-to-5 (or more).
Antonioni and his fellow "venture incubators" believe that if you look at it the right way, we are in the midst of a renaissance for designers in that funding for independent entrepreneurial projects is more accessible than ever before. It turned out that most of the speakers at this conference share his belief that there is a much more democratic system emerging for "pitching" your ideas. Unlike even the recent past, when designers needed a great job, client, investor, angel, venture capital group or independent means to take an idea beyond the drawing board, there are three cool new ways to bring your ideas to life:
- Preselling - Where 50% of the retail price of an item is collected at the time of the order, used to produce the item, for which the balance is charged at the time of shipping.
- Licensing - a.k.a. renting your ideas and designs.
- Crowdfunding - The best known platform for this is Kickstarter, where you go public with your design in the form of a video similar to a movie trailer and raise the money to produce your project from friends, friends of friends, family and strangers.
Dario related his recent success with a furniture venture, the Botanist Series, which he marketed by inviting high profile designers to decorate a minimal but otherwise generic bench or table with color, etching, graphics and perforations. Each guest designer chose a charity to support with a percentage of each sale. All of this contributed to the buzz, which allowed Dario and his now virtual team to raise almost $37K to be funded on Kickstarter.
But Dario wasn't the only designer in the house who is streamlining his company while increasing its global reach and recognition. Art Center graduate Gabriel Wartofsky also successfully used Kickstarter to raise the $25K he needed to produce his brilliant Conscious Commuter folding bike, which has a rechargeable electric motor for the urban commuter. He felt that the three keys to a winning new product are: marketability, technical feasibility and protectability. He also mentioned that research is about "getting out of the bubble of your own mind."
It's that time again—with ICFF and its ever-evolving constellation of satellite shows, New York Design Week is nearly upon us. We're certainly grateful that the City Council has seen fit to promote the first ever NYCxDesign 'week'—an 11-day extravaganza that includes Frieze Art Fair on the weekend before ICFF—but it'll always be NYDW to us...
Anyway, they've been doing a great job with their event guide, but we're looking to supplement their comprehensive listings with our own annual guide, which, as always, will serve as both an authoritative guide and a quick reference to the design ongoings around town.
As with last year, we've streamlined the event submission process so all you have to do is fill out the form at http;//Core77.com/NYDW and we'll process your entry shortly.
We're looking to go live with the NYDW guide—which, as some of you may remember, works as a mobile app—in early May, so submit the details of your event ASAP! (No worries if you're a few days late—we'll accept submissions on a rolling basis, so here's the permalink to the submission form, just in case.)
In celebration of the recent release of Lincoln Center Inside Out: An Architectural Account (Damiani 2013), the New York Public Library recently hosted Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, principals of the eponymous architecture studio—stylized as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, or DS+R—in conversation with MoMA's Curator of Architecture Barry Bergdoll. Among other topics, the participants attempted to define the object itself, only to conclude that the beautifully-printed tome is beyond categorization: it is at once an art book, literally overflowing with beautiful full-bleed photography (more on that shortly), and a scholarly record of the decade-long redesign of one of New York City's iconic public spaces. Indeed, Diller offhandedly characterized Lincoln Center Inside Out as "an architectural porno book," though Bergdoll contended that it is as encyclopedic as it is eye-catching.
So too can the book be perused in a number of ways: At over 300 pages, Lincoln Center Inside Out is comprised almost entirely of gatefolds—which, as the panelists noted, might very well be a first for a comprehensive visual and quasi-technical document of such size and scope. The first tenth of the book consists of introductory text and a series of nicely laid-out conversations between DS+R's Ilana Altman and various, followed by some 30 gatefolds, each of which spans eight normal pages. The exterior panels of the pages invariably feature photos—interiors, exteriors, details, wide angles and even a few process shots—by Iwan Baan and Matthew Monteith, concealing explanatory text and images within. Suffice it to say that Lincoln Center Inside Out (pun most certainly intended) is about as comprehensive as they come.
Photo at top: Alice Tully Hall, Iwan Baan, 2008
Bergdoll lauded the book's built-in experience of discovery as Scofidio acknowledged that the design serves as "a metaphor for the travails [of the project]," which looks immaculate on the surface but actually goes several layers deep. In fact, he later disclosed that the "archaeology of the space" was a challenge unto itself: By some accounts, upwards of half of the total cost went into bringing the woefully neglected substructure up to code (fun facts: there is a full gas station in the parking garage and there is a river underneath Juilliard).
The metaphor applies not just to space but to time as well: Diller commented that the highly tactile, physical construction of Lincoln Center Inside Out serves to slow readers down and take their time absorbing the dense vignettes, which cover everything from grass species for the 'hypar' (hyperbolic paraboloid) roof lawn to the form studies for the prow-like geometry of the new Juilliard building.
We normally think of the Universe as being made up of the same things our Solar System is made up of: protons, neutrons, electrons and light. But when we look out at the Universe on the largest scales, it tells us a different story. In this talk, I'll talk about three key observations in the study of the large-scale Universe—distant supernovae, the Cosmic Microwave Background, and the clustering of galaxies—to show how we arrived at a Universe where the normal matter that makes up everything we know is less that 5% of what's out there. Dark matter and dark energy also play a heavy role in our Universe, and a discussion of that will ensue.
Fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (observed).
What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than with a series of events that examine the impact of design on business and society? The 2013 IDSA District Design Conferences kick off this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, and continue over the next two weekends in four additional cities across the States. Whether you happen to live in Cleveland, Long Beach, Indianapolis or Hartford or the unique opportunity for professional development happens to be the next state over, make a point of making the trip.
Make sure you register for the conference you want to attend the most as spots will fill up fast, and each conference offers a different focus. This year's themes range from color theory to entrepreneurship, and designers from each and every region can look forward to valuable insights and in-depth design discussion over the course of each two-day conference. Find more details on the schedule and each of the conferences here.
The people behind the upcoming Interaction14 conference invite you to attend a panel discussion in Milan on the "Long View of Interaction Design."
On Monday 8 April at 6 p.m. (on the eve of the Salone del Mobile), Claudio Moderini, Fabio Sergio, Jan-Christoph Zoels and Todd S. Harple will debate with Alok Nandi on how to design for those interaction design challenges that go beyond the immediate consumer product/service launch cycle.
What if your interaction design has to be integrated in a hospital or a building or a city? How do you design if your creation has to last 10, 20 or even more years into the future? What tools can you use as an interaction designer? How do you make it adaptive and resilient? How to avoid obsolescence?
Anna Meroni, Assistant professor of service and strategic design, Polytechnic University of Milan (IT)
I opened the email to read "Congratulations", informing me I had been accepted as one of the students in the first online Pensole class. To say I was thrilled is an understatement—I had known about Pensole for a while and was just itching to get myself into one of the classes. I happily accepted and knew it would be a great opportunity to further my goal of becoming a professional footwear designer.
For the online class—Pensole's first—we were all spread out across the globe, different countries and time zones. During the first meeting, it was interesting to see others just waking up when I was ending my day. Some of them were waking up in the middle of the night just to be in the live meetings. This made it very clear we were all pretty passionate about designing footwear and quickly established camaraderie. We all had to start with a brief of what kind of footwear we wanted to design, but D'Wayne informed us that in order to grow as designers, we had to design out of our "comfort zone."
I figured the best way for me to do that was to design a pair of women's platform heels. Of course, the object wasn't to just design another shoe but to design a shoe that served a purpose. We all had to develop design briefs and really developed who we were designing for and what problems we were solving. Once our briefs were completed, the ideas seemed to flow from everyone's thoughts through our pencils, brought to life in pages of sketches. With guidance from D'Wayne and our fellow classmates, we refined our designs over and over again to end up with one solid direction. Our last class session was great—seeing everyone's final designs rendered really ended the class sessions on a positive vibe.
Just in time for spring, the previously-announcedMakerhaus has opened its doors to the Seattle maker community. The 10,000 square foot facility for makers offers a comprehensive selection of essential fabricating tools including rapid prototyping equipment such as a CNC Router, 3D Printer and laser cutter, wellstocked wood working and metal shops, industrial sewing machines and the requisite workspaces and computer labs. While the doors opened on January 1st, the official opening party was February 28th, and it was rocking! Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn even stopped by to check out the facility.
The occasion also marked the debut of the Hand-Eye Supply merchandise counter at Makerhaus, a selection of supplies from our Portland store's cornucopia of tools for makers and designers alike.
Core77 is very pleased to present an exclusive look at an IDEO creative ideation exercise, "Brand New IDEO," centered on a 24-hour global Make-a-Thon that will take place next Monday in their 11 offices around the world, starting in Tokyo and ending at their San Francisco headquarters. In anticipation of this unique event, IDEO offers a bit of background on the history of their brand identity and how the project came about. Be sure to tune in on Monday, March 25, when Core77 will host an (almost) live blog of the process as it unfolds.
When Paul Rand designed the IDEO logo in 1991, he didn't anticipate the complex challenges IDEO designers would take on 20 years later. Who could have? It's crazy how many changes the world has undergone during the past two decades—34 new countries, tablet computing, Netflix, the Euro, and the Prius, just to name a few.
Like the world around us, IDEO has evolved too. Where we were once a handful of specialties, today we are dozens. Doctors, biologists, filmmakers, and storytellers rub elbows with industrial designers and engineers—all in the service of creating positive impact through design. And why not? If you listen to futurists, the next 20 years will be a combination of Mad Max and Xanadu. Ferns will become hard drives. Space tourism will be a thing. Thousands of new cities will emerge. We need all the bright, creative minds we can get!
Given these heady challenges, how might we evolve our identity to become even more dynamic in a complex and diverse world? To answer this question for ourselves, we've designed a maker experiment that explores extremes and helps us create a brief for the future. We call it "Brand New IDEO."
Years ago, we needed Paul Rand to design our own brand identity. Today, with communications designers and brand experts in every IDEO studio, we're looking inward to evolve our identity—and we're doing it in public.
Brand New IDEO is a "maker experiment" for everyone inside IDEO's four walls. For many of our designers it means rolling up their sleeves and making something new. For other IDEOers, it means sharing inspiration that explores one of six themes.
Talisman - A memento of the future; a totem capturing our spirit; a talisman bringing fortune to those who encounter it... Let's create objects that represent who we are and who we will become.
Biological - Living, growing, reproducing, aging and dying; perpetuating through offspring; symbiotic with neighbors... Let's create a living identity system that matures and mutates through time.
Powers of 10 - Cellular to spectacular; micro to macro; neutrons, neurons and nebulas... Let's create an identity system that is too large to comprehend, too small to see and every step in between.
Code Junkies - Born in the digital world, forever a resident; viral, logical, & combinatorial; obedient to math- made laws... Let's create an identity that originates from binaries and algorithms.
Writer's Block - High brow and low brow; short stories, poems, lyrics; bumper stickers and billboards... Let's create an identity that lives in the written word- no graphics allowed.
Alternate History - China 1991,* the birthplace of IDEO... Let's create an identity that is unique to its origin, celebrating culture, materiality, craftsmanship and industry. *and/or Munich, Tokyo
L: Michael Hendrix; R: Paul Bennett
Recently, IDEO's Chief Creative Officer, Paul Bennett, sat down with IDEO Boston Creative Director Michael Hendrix for a chat about the experiment. Below is an excerpt of their conversation.
Mr. Green Beans "Home Coffee Roasting - It's That Easy!" Hand-Eye Supply
23 NW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
Tuesday, March 19th, 6PM PST
Home Coffee Roasting is fun and easy. For a modest price and very little to no investment in specialized equipment, you can turn raw green coffee beans into a spectacular cup of coffee. It only takes a little practice and you can easily create freshly roasted coffee that will rival even the best commercially produced coffees.
Why roast your own coffee? Everyone seems to answer this in a slightly different manner, but the main ideas are the same. The biggest reason for most people is that fresh roasted coffee just tastes better. It's smooth and rich and doesn't have the acrid acidic bite that many associate with store bought coffee. Unfortunately, roasted coffee has a very short shelf life and is only fresh for about 7–10 days. Raw coffee on the other hand is shelf stable and can be easily stored until you are ready to roast it. This allows you to roast only what you will consume within a reasonable amount of time, allowing you to always have fresh roasted coffee. Another reason people choose to roast their own coffee is the price. For as much as 1/2 the price of store bought coffee and as little as six minutes of your time, you can create delicious craft roasted coffee. One big benefit of roasting at home is control. By roasting your own coffee, you gain control of the process and you can dial it in to your own personal preferences. Great coffee roasted just the way you like it, and for half the cost! Why not roast your own coffee?
As co-owner(the male half) of Mr. Green Beans, Trevin has unintentionally become Mr. Green Beans. From helping coffee shop owners who are just starting down the coffee roasting path to helping homeroasters trouble shoot their latest batch, Trevin is always willing to share ideas and pass on the insights he has gained from the many pounds of coffee he has roasted. Even though he has access to some of the best professional equipment, Trevin is quick to fire up his old popcorn popper to show a visitor just how easy it is to roast coffee.
'Dare We Do It Real Time' by body>data>space (photo by Jean-Paul Berthoin)
Over an intensive two days at the end the month, 100 delegates at MEX 2013—the international forum for mobile user experience, in its 12th iteration this year—will gather in central London to discuss and attempt to envision the development and future impact of mobile technology.
With speakers at last year's forum including Dale Herigstad, four-time Emmy award winning creator of the iconic Minority Report conceptual user interfaces, as well as connected car experts from Car Design Research, this year's event boasts inspiring input from the likes of content strategist at Facebook Melody Quintana, UX research guru of WhatUsersDo Lee Duddell and Ghislaine Boddington creative director at experimental connected performance outfit, body>data>space.
Insight - How should we improve understanding of user behaviour and enhance how that drives design decisions? Diffusion - What are the principles of multiple touch-point design and the new, diffused digital experiences? Context - How can designers provide relevant experiences, respect privacy and adapt to preferences? Sensation - What techniques are there for enhancing digital experience with audible and tactile elements? Form - How can change in shapes, materials or the abandonment of physical form be used to excite users? Sustainability - How can we enable sustainable expression in digital product choices? Can we harness digital design to promote sustainable living?
Sam Dunne, Design Strategist at Plan and Core77 UK Correspondent, will be reporting live from the event.
MEX, Mobile User Experience
Walllacespace St. Pancras
22 Duke's Road
London, WC1H 9PN
March 26–27, 2013
The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Wentworth Institute of Technology have something no other schools have: two different Industrial Design programs literally across the street from each other. This proximity inspired a unique design competition that would showcase each school's respective talents. 16 Hours to Glory was a design challenge issued to the students of the schools by a panel of outside judges made up of local professionals. Matt Blunt and Mike McDuffee of 11, Dave Fustino of Bose, Michael Miller of Radius and Evan Hutker of The First Years collaborated to create a brief that would both inspire the students and be feasible in a 16 hour timeframe. Hence, "Room to Improve."
The brief was framed around Boston's well known history of being a college town. One thing that all college students have in common is the experience—both good and bad—of living in a dorm room. The brief:
And as college students, one of the things you all have in common is that you've lived in a dorm at one point or another. You know what it's like to share your space with someone you may or may not like. You know the space limitations, the frustrations revolving around storage and food preparation.
You also know that dorm rooms can be fun places, a tiny party in a box. Dorm rooms are your living rooms, your bedrooms, your studios, your kitchens, and where you entertain ourselves.
The challenge you are issued today is based around a 'standard' dorm room. It could be on any college campus in city. What you have been tasked with is making the experience of living in a dorm room better.
More than 35 students from three schools rose to the challenge, spending the entire day Saturday working in small teams researching, brainstorming, designing and finalizing their solution. The music was blaring, the pens were flying, the paper piling deep. Many of the teams ventured out to their respective campuses to conduct in-person interviews or ask students about their dorm room experience. As the hours wore on, the 14 teams buckled down to finish by midnight—a tight deadline, but everyone made it!
Designers and thinkers alike are invited to join the Seattle creative community for an evening of, well, thinking about design. Tomorrow night, join panelists Jon Winebrenner (partner of OneOak Design and longtime friend-of-Core), Karyn Zuidinga (Analytic Design Group), Alysha Napes (TEAGUE) and Carl Ledbetter (Microsoft Xbox) for a film screening and subsequent discussion and reception at the Seattle Art Museum:
Produced by One Time Studio in San Francisco, 'Design & Thinking' was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and features interviews with a some of the world's best design minds—including laptop inventor and IDEO cofounder Bill Moggridge; Smart Design cofounder Dan Formosa; and AIGA CEO Richard Grefe. One Time Studio's Yang Yu Hsiu says: "From our point of view, design thinking did a good job of bringing forward the value of design to address changes in the world. There have been many backlashes over the topic recently. We want to introduce many voices by form of documentary to look at the topic neutrally. It is important for people to know both the good and bad of design thinking, at the same time."
View this new documentary and then engage with our panelists and your peers as we further explore this fascinating topic and how its impact is being felt in Seattle, Vancouver, and beyond.
Over the course of three posts, we take a look at the highlights of the second edition of the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW), which took place from February 16–24, 2013.
Colorful "Midgets" by Bastian Müller at the downtown Filser & Gräf gallery
Historical wardrobe area transformed into exhibition displays
Lifting the "Blackbraid" bicycle with a single finger
At the Alte Kongresshalle, we found a collection of exhibitions and company presentations. One of the highlights was meeting the lightest bicycle in the world. Manuel Ostner from PG explained how they developed a new procedure to produce braided carbon frames with Munich Composites resulting in the "Blackbraid" bicycle that weighs less than 5 kg, all (hand)made in Germany. [Ed. Note: Designer Jacob Haim also used this manufacturing process, as seen in our exclusive look at the RaceBraid bicycle from last November.]
The recent Ecodesign exhibition received no fewer than 140 entries but only a handful of them made it to the exhibition in Munich. Luckily, poster presentations explained the 14 winning products in detail (which can be seen here). Nevertheless we hope that this year's Ecodesign competition features more tangible entries. More information about the competition is available at the Bundespreis Ecodesign website (in German).
The study, In the Hands of God (1.4MB PDF), explored the strategies adopted by salaried Afghans for mitigating financial (or more accurately asset) risk, the role played by extended families in levelling out drops in income, and reflects upon what this means for more formal financial services and the future of Afghanistan.
We also wrote up some thoughts on running research in higher risk environments, strategies for mitigating risk, and coping with extreme gender dynamics.
Jan and Mark will be speaking to the research at the World Bank in Washington DC, at an event hosted by CGAP on the 28th February. To join RSVP here.
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frog presents In The Hands of God - Insights on ethnographic research in some of the less predictable places of the world:
Welcome words by Ralph Wiegmann (iF design's Managing Director) at the reception.
Gianluca Armento (Brand Director of Cassina) explaining the importance of their archive
Over the course of three posts, we take a look at the highlights of the second edition of the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW), which took place from February 16–24, 2013.
"Die Neue Sammlung," an impressive museum run by the Free State of Bavaria, houses the largest collection of industrial and product designs in the world. We found it difficult to concentrate on curator Corinna Rösner's introductory remarks about the museum as we walked by amazing products that most of us only know from design history classes. During our 20-minute walk, it felt like we are traveling through time, passing by Gerrit Rietveld's chairs, Richard Sapper's TV and AIBO dogs. Suddenly, we found ourselves in front of a huge paternoster system featuring the "secret archive of Cassina" with a dozen items from the Italian manufacturer, which has been archiving products and prototypes since the 1930s. Gianluca Armento (Brand Director of Cassina) elaborated on the importance of an archive and how it can help brand management. As a company, you need to keep track of your history in order to make strategies for the future.
The "Refuge Tonneau" reconstructed by Cassina
Basic kitchen inside the Refuge Tonneau
The exhibition also features the so-called "Refuge Tonneau," designed by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret in 1938, during the threatening early years of World War II. The space-shuttle like mountain shelter has been reconstructed by Cassina for the exhibition to demonstrate that design is not only about objects but also about vision and ideas.
Over the course of three posts, we will take a look at the highlights of the second edition of the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW), which happened from February 16–24, 2013.
The R32, BMW's first motorcycle
BMW clay model
Our time in Munich kicked off with a guided tour through the BMW museum, led by designer Antonia Cecchetti, who passionately explained how the brand started making motorcycles and engines in 1917 and expanded throughout the years without loosing its identity. The first motorcycles used to be available in only in black with white stripes, followed by a color alternative of "white with black stripes." Today, the brand (and its colors) have expanded enormously without compromising its signature design elements, such as the iconic round headlights and kidney-shaped air intakes. We were lucky to have Antonia guide us, being a great BMW fan. We enjoyed it when she told us how the new BMW7 tail lights makes her heart beat faster.
One of the highlights at the museum is the kinetic sculpture, which was used in an advertisement for the BMW 5 series:
We're very happy to announce that Lindsay Howard and Igal Nassima of 319 Scholes are hosting the second annual Art Hack Day at the Brooklyn gallery space. Starting next Thursday, February 28, event founders Olof Mathé, Paul Christophe and David Huerta will work alongside 50+ fellow artists, designers and hackers in the converted warehouse to collaborate and produce as many projects to be exhibited two days later, when the one-night-only exhibition will be open to the public. "Visitors are invited to engage and interact with the works as they are uploaded online throughout the hack and join the teams on Saturday March 2nd starting at 7:00PM for an exhibition, live performances and party."
This time around, Art Hack Day has a theme—one that geeks, nerds and technophiles of all stripes are sure to appreciate:
What would you do if you were granted the power of invincibility? It's an age-old question and one that game developers have been playing with since the early 80s by incorporating a feature called "God Mode" which offers players unlimited strength, seconds of invulnerability, a change in camera perspective, or access to previously unreachable areas. Since then, God Mode has reached beyond gaming and become pervasive in digital life. It's the secret backdoor embedded in all our electronics, it's the jailbreak, it's how phone companies know where you are, it's how ISPs know where you surf, and it's how the NSA can eavesdrop on your communications.
Kenny McElroy is a computer security geek with interests in circus arts, mechanical engineering, dancing, electronics engineering and pie. The pursuit of figuring out how stuff works, especially security related stuff, tickles his fancy. After a year of hosting multiple monthly meetings with guided tutorials on various aspects of opening locks without their corresponding keys or codes, Kenny is ready to show you some fun tricks, challenge your dexterity and answer your questions.
The workshop starts with a basic introduction to pin-tumbler locks. Practice locks and picks will be provided so you can try out everything we talk about yourself. With the progressively pinned locks, it is easy to start out at level 1 and work your way up to a lock very much like the one you probably have on your door at home. Just how much security does that thing provide anyway? Find out for yourself, first hand.
While people are having fun testing their new skills on the provided practice locks, questions about slightly more advanced topics are welcome. Want to see a demo of a bump-key? Or how to decode a combination lock? Can you escape a pair of handcuffs? We will have lots of the most common locks and some of the easiest, non-destructive methods for opening them. Are the practice locks falling open too easily for you? Beat our challenge locks and you will win fun prizes!
Can you feel it? We are officially in the thick of awards season and with all those deadlines looming, it's important to keep your dates in order.
The next major program deadline coming up is for the International Design Excellence Awards. Their late deadline for entry is February 25th. While you'll pay a bit more for the privilege of the late entry, all the recognition, glory and bragging rights are still up for grabs to everyone who enters.
If you're curious about what won the judges over in years past, the IDSA website has 12 year's of winners online. You can also check out our favorite winners from 2012 and 2011. Then, imagine what it would feel like to see your work featured there, and go enter!
2013 IDEA Deadline: February 25, 2013 - Enter here
Tonight's talk starts at 6 at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!
Bridgetown Forge "The Hand-Forged Chef's Knife: The Japanese Perspective" Hand-Eye Supply
23 NW 4th Ave
Portland, OR, 97209
Tuesday, February 5th, 6PM PST
Bridgetown Forge was founded by Arnon Kartmazov after many years of practicing his craft. He served his first apprenticeship with the last working blacksmith in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1985. He then spent 12 years in Japan, where he was apprenticed to a knife-maker, then a sword-maker, and then opened and operated his own shop in the hills of Northern Kyoto, where he specialized in both hand-forged chef's knifes, as well as architectural pieces designed to blend with both traditional and modern Japanese architecture. He also trained with many smiths both in Japan and in other countries, including Uri Hofi of Israel, an internationally renowned master smith.
Arnon Kartmazov's presentation will give a historical background in blacksmithing covering both traditional methods and contemporary applications and processes. Using modeling clay, Arnon will demonstrate the ancient yet still relevant techniques used to create a variety of forms in modern blacksmithing. Arnon will give a general outline of what it means to forge a quality knife, and explain the Japanese approach to creating high-performance, hand-made cutlery. The talk will conclude with a question and answer session, as well as an opportunity for hands-on time with some samples of Arnon's hand-forged pieces.
Over the past weekend, Core77 ventured up to Boston to check out the inaugural edition of the HarvardxDesign conference, a collaboration between the students of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The conference explored ways to use the principles of design to transform business and education and included both a speaker series and a design challenge. We hit the ground running on Friday night with a series of rapid-fire presentations from the likes of Hunter Tura, CEO of Bruce Mau Design; Paul Pugh, VP of Creative for Software Innovation at frog; and Marco Steinberg, Director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund.
Hunter Tura preached how imperative it is for designers and businesspeople to collaborate as early in the product development process as possible in order to create the most holistically successful results. "The Design School students need to introduce themselves to the Business School students," said Tura, "because these people will one day control the fate of your brand." Tura continued with describing how innovation, certainly the buzz word of the conference, has become like irony. "It's very difficult to define, but you know it when you see it," said Tura, while showing examples of products that have changed stagnant markets. Most importantly, though, innovation is not some stand-alone goal to achieve—"innovation is not something that exists in a vacuum"—but rather something that is dependent on the design process.
Paul Pugh talked about bucking the stereotypes in design in order to find happiness. He put up the typical design thinking process, with steps like Discover, Concept, Refine, and Deliver. "These are really marketing diagrams about how design works," said Pugh. "At frog, we try not to stick to that." The very rigid process of design thinking can be limiting, so teams at frog are allowed to come up with their own processes and ways of working, all in the pursuit of turning a sort of happy chaos into the best end results. Pugh described how software design projects are often regarded as trivial, especially in comparison to social innovation projects. "But look at software design as a humanitarian project," said Pugh, flipping the modality on its head. "People sit in front of screens all day—we can make them happier and make their lives better. Always think about how products can change a person's life."
Lastly, Marco Steinberg stole the show with a passionate and down-to-earth talk about using design to face the world's biggest problems. "Our challenges are on such a grand scale. Combine that with diminishing resources and now it's about redesign, not just making the systems more efficient," said Steinberg. He described the aging populace in Finland where the tax base is shrinking, yet the need for services is quickly increasing. This seemingly necessitates the need for service designers, yet solely using service designers as the solution "will only make the services more pleasant—we'll just die more pleasantly," but not solve the root of the problem. Government needs to engage all stakeholders into to administer its services better.
During the panel, Steinberg continued to inspire the audience with his stories of struggling to change the culture of government through embedded designers. "The public sector has no history [of design]," said Steinberg. "If we can figure out how to get in, then we're not burdened by any legacy." However, unlike the oft-repeated design thinking maxim of failing early and often, designers in government cannot be allowed to fail since there won't be another opportunity to try again. Steinberg also offered two "sinister" strategies that he uses to effect change more rapidly: the Trojan horse—"we give you what you want, but load it with what you need"—and creep—"do small things, work at the margins, then take bigger and bigger bites." Although we had never heard of Marco Steinberg before today, he is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Saturday started off with a somewhat status-quo yet highly enjoyable lecture on using design to shape business strategy from IDEO's Colin Raney, who proffered Richard Buchanan's Orders of Design as a basis for understanding business design. The Orders of Design start with graphic design, then evolve to products, to interaction design, and finally to system design, which includes businesses, government, education and other organizations. "Business is the platform for design," said Rainey. He then described the steps for integrating the design thinking process into business strategy, which include visualizing the system, looking for areas of potential leverage, and then implementing a series of systemic changes to redefine the system.