Sunday, December 26, 2010

André Kertész: On Reading

On Reading presents 100 photographs that examine the power of reading as a universal pleasure, made by Kertész in Hungary, France, Asia, and the United States over the course of his career. Collectively, these images reveal Kertész’s penchant for the poetry and choreography of life in public and in private moments at home, and evoke the love affair people have with the written word.
--Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography, Carnegie Museum of Art

The show carries us through over 50 years of Kertesz's eye. I walked away itching to get home, get somewhere, where I could sit with a book in hand and fall into that envious place of reading. Kertesz captured a state of grace in those portraits. Taken as a whole, he offered up a mood of calmness but at the same time, intense engagement. He focuses us on the people and their minds at work but never lets us forget the power of the physical environment. Beautiful thing being able to capture the two sides of existence at once. Don't miss this show.

Self-service electric cars in Paris

French conglomerate Bollore has won a contract to provide its small four-seater electric cars to France.The bubble-shaped Bluecars, designed by Italian partner Pininfarina, are powered by lithium polymer metal batteries produced by Bollore, and have a range of 250 km (155 miles) in the city between charges, which will take about four hours. The Autolib scheme, due to be introduced next autumn, will see 3,000 bubble-shaped, battery-powered cars stationed at 1,000 self-service hire points across the city and its suburbs.

Autolib builds on the success of Velib and replicates its business model. Launched in 2007 in Paris and now replicated in many other European cities, Velib is a bike rental scheme that allows customers to pick a bike from one of the 1,200 points in Paris (one every 300 meters) and return it to another, without having to worry about parking, maintenance or indeed theft. Autolib’ replicates the scheme with electric cars instead of bikes. In a way, one could argue that, albeit with a different vehicle, the Velib’ programme was a full scale prototype of the Autolib’ one.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Future of Health Report

Put out through a collaboration between PSFK and Unicef, The Future of Health Report is an delicious and finely articulated overview of the current trends and opportunities facing the intersection of technology and healthcare today. What I respect about this report is its 10,000ft view accompanied by real, ground level insights and examples. The basic gist is that "advances in technology are allowing for the provision of affordable, decentralized healthcare and are lowering the barriers for access in less developed markets [communities]." Hope you take a look. Well done PSFK.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Semiotics, Place Making, and The Body

So what is this?

It's a map made from wood. Rather than a traditional visual offering, it's tactile. The Inuit hold this map under their mittens and feel the contours with their fingers to discern patterns in the coastline. Some say the advantage of this map is that it can be used in any situation: in the dark, in the will float if you drop it into the water, and it works at any temperature. It will also last longer than one that is printed. What interests me is how much respect it has for the body as a tool for understanding and discerning. The body, not just consciousness, reads and interprets the world--providing valuable insight. In this case, through the interaction with the body, this map not only informs but guides a person through the landscape. Bless a culture who can design tools that not only offer clear function but can brush up against the poetic. Humbling stuff.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Future Well

I stumbled across The Future Well while over at psfk. This is a team that centers its attention on health and global well being, in simpler terms--happiness. Using human centered design practices, they seem to focus on collaborative efforts to uncover the needs around lifestyle and preventative practices which affect our mental, physical and social/spiritual well being. Consumer based innovator comes together with preventative medicine-focused physician to build teams that design meaningful products, services and health related moments.

Could be something there....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sugared Puppy Dog Tails: Gender and Design

This is a new article in Interactions by Elizabeth Churchill which focuses on questions of gender, identity, and empowerment provoked by design and technology.

In the article, Elizabeth holds the opinion that "designers should think about gender at a level of sophistication beyond color and shape. We should be reflective and conscious of the assumptions of use and user that are being built into our products. We should know how we are reifying and/or reinforcing behavioral norms or challenging them. And just as we recognize white space in graphic design is not an absence of content, we need to be conscious of who is not present in the cast of designed-for characters."

I believe she's bringing into light important questions about how design influences the ways we come to identify the world. And that design has the power to persuade us into believing there are "appropriate" ways of defining and interacting with it based on our gender. It does this by communicating through appearance, (re)actions, gestures, and embodied experiences and exists across the design gamut--communications, interactions, objects, and environments. In her view, "such representations lead to “incidental learning” about who we can be and what is possible/appropriate for us to do, and in this way, these characters embody messages about gender-appropriate behaviors."

Read all about it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

UX Techniques: Card Sorting

Here's a comprehensive article about card sorting, which is an extremely useful tool for getting to the heart of matters around product interactions. This was written by Donna Spencer and Todd Warfel.

ROA: Inside/Out

I found this work,"Inside/Out" by ROA at unurth. ROA is an installation artist who depicts large scale creatures in their natural, urban habitat. He seems to be willing a conversation about what happens when the feral is pushed up alongside the built, mechanical environment. Below is additional work being being held at Factory Fresh Gallery in Brooklyn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Louis Pons, Gleaning, and Agnes Varda

I want to make sure not to forget Louis Pons, a French artist who gleans from his everyday surroundings. He seems to have an eye for collecting every day cast offs and collaging them into these beautiful patterns of movement, activity, and some sort of storytelling. I love that his work isn’t haughty or layered in subtext. I love its straightforward, basic, and thoughtful expression.

From an interview with Louis Pons in “The Gleaners and I” by Agnes Martin:
Objects are my dictionary…useless things. People see it as clusters of junk. I see it as clusters of possibility. Each object is a line. It gives direction, picked up here and things there, indeed gleaned. I make a sentence of things whose shapes at first are very simple and seem the same but whose variations are infinite.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Makes Me Happy: Rethinking Everyday Objects

My friend Hector asked me last night, "So what makes you happy?" I wandered through a story about how I've just bought a house and am tearing it down to the studs and am now in the process of putting it all back together again. Over the months, I've been looking for inspiration and have come across some ridiculously mindful people who seem to take everyday objects, spaces, elements, etc. and turn them into delightful and arresting new experiences. The beauty comes from reworking the familiar by turning things on their head. I like the pause it causes in my day. One group I found yesterday is Union Eighteen. This is a couple of young turks out of Atlanta who take the rug remnants from manufacturers and re-purpose them into new configurations. There's a clear tie in with sustainability through re-use and recycle. The beauty for me lies in the playful and ingenious thinking around discarded everyday objects.

Everyone loves a picture, so here you go.

Healthcare Reform Infographic

GOOD recently announced the winners of its infographic competition which challenged designers to explain the current American Healthcare reform. Below are two of the winners. Head over to GOOD to see more winners.
Nicole Maria Rincon for "Best Information"

Marco Gianni for over-all "Best Design"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Service Innovation? The One Day a Week Restaurant

Came across this article in Good. Thought it was an intriguing way to envision service delivery. Basically, one restaurant rents the space of another restaurant when they're closed on Mondays. So simple it's genius.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dott 07: Revealing the Invisible

It's been a few years since I worked on this installation in the UK but I was thinking a bit about space and place since being holed up back in Pittsburgh during the winter months. A couple of years back I headed over to England to work with DOTT (Design of the Times) which is a federally supported 10 year project exploring what life in a sustainable world could look like. I was on a team with a handful of artists and designers and our gig was to see what it would take to support sustainable tourism based on the industrial heritage of NE England. What transpired was a 14 day discovery > design charette resulting in Revealing the Invisible--a series of light-based installations which illuminated the missing elements of Allendale's industrial past. Once you're on the page, hit the link about half way down that is called "Revealing the Invisible" to learn more. You can also take a look at some images I have here.