Saturday, December 24, 2011

Droog Lab

Image from the article A.B.C.D.E.‚ An Open Discussion on Design Process by Francesco Galli for Domus

Droog Lab is a design platform run by Droog in collaboration with local partners and designers worldwide. With a goal of defining the next generation of global design, the Droog Lab seeks inspiration from diverse societies in a series of eight projects from 2009-2012. Lessons learned locally are translated into globally-relevant design outcomes and publications.

Droog Lab seems focused on the potential of locally-driven projects and uses a process which engages with established or professional design groups to facilitate discovery and co-creation. Some of the issues that have been identified include a future state of collaborative consumption, and the impact of informal economies, transparency, and service-based platforms versus object-based solutions.

In my opinion, Droog may be discovering what others of us have been uncovering around the future of design and quite frankly, how the world is evolving. Specifically, contextual design that is highly resilient involves working cooperatively i.e. horizontally with local communities to uncover processes and solutions that are able to address local needs and celebrate their specific talents and experiences; That there is a need for real flexibility in design offerings. People have become active producers not just passive consumers and subsequently want and need to bend, tweak and mash offerings to their unique situations; And recognition that intangible service systems are products in themselves and are fundamental to how people interact with one another to share and exchange resources and experiences.

I very much appreciate the Lab's working principles. Please read their report for a more detailed explanation of each:
1. Celebrate differences.
2. Visit to learn, not to change.
3. Observation is your greatest tool.
4. Take an optimistic perspective.
5. Listen to anyone.
6. Experience the ordinary.
7. Get used to mixing.
8. Be open to the outcome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Work by Tomas Alonso

There's a tension to Tomas Alonso's work. One one hand there's such lightness in the simplicity of his construction and gestures. They draw you closer and create a desire to understand. Not quite elegant, but still delicate in their thoughtfulness. So why, on the other hand, does his work also feels aloof, without a generous, warm inviting spirit. If his furniture is inspired by human gesture and intended to get into people's hands, why do I feel his pieces are greeting me with indifference. It seems a battle of heart and head are taking place in Alonso's process. Maybe a few more cycles of exploration until he brings those two lovers closer together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Swapping Clothes for Fun, Creativity, and a New Economy

I was recently out in San Francisco and had a chance to cross paths with Sarah Brooks who is the Director of Social Innovation at Hot Studio. She’s also a writer with the online journal, Shareable. She wanted to understand how design methods and tools can be applied to developing and building locally-based, informal economies. She was kind enough to write this article on Give-and-Take.