Welcome to a second edition of "Designer Down Time,"
the column where designers get to remember that we have lives outside
the studio. This time around we have seven designers with rather
varying interests. From those who wrote in, we've met a few musicians,
a cliff jumper, a chopper builder and a few others with unique activities.
Check them out
|Let's start with a musician: Vic
Walter, a Product Designer for Dimension
One Spas in Southern California.
Vic has been playing the drums for the past 15 years and considers
it his first love (after design, of course!). He plays about
three times a week and is currently the drummer for two bands.
Vic lists his major influences as Pressure 45, Creed, Godsmack,
Drowning Pool, Led Zepplin, and The Beatles. He views design
and music as similar art forms in that they both express emotion.
Just as many designers express emotion through their design
work, he is able to express emotion through his music. For that
reason, he feels that his hobby helps him design. We could not
Reuben Wu is also a musician but his band is slightly less "main
stream." Reuben's day job is an Industrial Designer for
Consulting in Cambridge UK. However, his true love is creating
electric pop music in a band called Ladytron. He loves playing
live because design can really insulate you from the outside
world. Playing in Ladytron gets him out and lets him see the
world. In the past year, Ladytron has started to gain popularity.
They just finished a seven-country tour of Europe and will record
their next album in Los Angeles. Reuben spends most of his time
touring, playing live, composing on his laptop, and D.J.ing
in clubs. In fact, next year he will take a sabbatical from
design to pursue music full time. Best of luck.
Another designer with a penchant for sound is James Keeler,
a Product Designer for Mosa
Sports. James has a conceptual sound project called "Wilt"
in which he takes images such as paintings and pictures along
with abstract concepts such as entropy and chaos and illustrates
them through sound. He composes these sounds into an auditory
landscape. For instance, on his last CD titled "Flea Market
/ 1958," he took the concept of a French writer and heroin
addict in 1958. With inspiration from Marcel DuChamp, Jazz,
and art / design of the 1950's, he composed an album that captured
the daily struggle of the writer fighting his addiction, supporting
himself and trying to compose his next novel. This is not to
be confused with straight music, what James does is far more
abstract than that.
Another designer who has a rather cerebral hobby is Bilgi
Karan , an Industrial Designer for Demirdokum,
a heating and cooling company in Istanbul, Turkey. About three
years ago, Bilgi read "A
Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking,
a book that deals largely with the origins of the universe.
Since then Bilgi developed a rather unique hobby. Bilgi has
been studying astrophysics and Einstein's theory of Relativity.
Astrophysics gives him a different perspective, one where
the earth is merely a tiny spec in a rather large universe.
Relativity challenges his notion of space, time and distance
and shows mathematically that the sky above you may not exist.
Bilgi says that this combination evokes rather childish questions,
a great advantage when trying to be creative. It also gives
him courage when his company asks him to design the impossible.
For a much more physical hobby, we have Jason Veltz, an Industrial
Designer for Black and Decker HHI in Lake Forest, California.
For the past two years, Jason has been spearfishing and lobstering
for Halibut and Rock Lobster in the coves around Laguna Beach
and La Jolla. Something to bear in mind here is that Halibut
have razor sharp teeth that will take your fingers clean off
(not good for the design career). Jason also loves the feeling
of vulnerability he experiences swimming around barefoot and
half naked looking for his dinner; all the while having this
lingering suspicion that something is eyeing him for
dinner. It gives him a real sense of his place in the food
chain; you know, a little survival of the fittest never hurt
Another designer with a dangerous hobby is Monique DArcy,
a point of purchase designer in Dublin, Ireland. Monique is
an experienced surfer and kayaker. One day when she was in high
school her kayaking class went down to the beach and found that
there was no surf. So, her kayaking instructor introduced the
class to the madness known as cliff diving. Monique is afraid
of heights so it takes her a bit of effort to jump, but she
loves the rush she gets on the way down. Now, whenever she is
down at the beach and the surf is flat, off a cliff she goes!
I guess if you need to add a little excitement to your day at
the beach, that will do it. Spearfishing, cliff-diving: kids,
don't try these at home.
We have to close with a very "manly" hobby:
chopper building. Joe Moya, former chair of IDSA-NY and a
Product Development Consultant in New York City, builds choppers
in his spare time. About seven years ago, Joe started his
own business and found that there was a lot of "down
time" between landing accounts and finding new
clients. To blow off steam, he started picking up a wrench
during the day and working on motorcycles. Three years ago
he graduated up to his chopper, a bike that keeps evolving
to this day. He gets great satisfaction from building a piece
of Seventies Americana simply by exercising his design skills
and adding a little elbow grease. It should be noted that
when Joe moved his consultancy to a New York Loft, he even
put the chopper next to his desk. I bet that got his clients'
There you have it, seven designers and seven hobbies. I would like
to thank those of you who submitted and those of you who made the
last column so popular. If you have something cool that you are
into and would like to be included in the next installment, simply
follow this link, www.core77.com/hobby_call_out.html.
Darwin Keith-Lucas, while not designing cool cordless tools
pursues many out-of-the-studio hobbies. Currently, he and
his father are building a 45-foot steel yacht from scratch.
They bought a set of plans from a reputable company in Florida
and had the steel laser-cut in Holland. They weld it together
piece by piece. He says it's not unlike building a model except
that some of the pieces weigh 700 lbs. Using a small crane
for maneuverability, the project should take about three years