Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Copper Hewitt National Design Awards 2009

First Lady, Michelle Obama will continue a tradition started under the Bush administration by hosting a series of events on July 24th in Washington DC to acknowledge the 2009 National Design Award winners.

10th National Design Awards

Events Planned Around DC

Music After MJ: Death of Audio-Tune (D.O.A.)

Could this video mark a new direction in Hip Hop? Is JayZ pushing the envelope with music videos that has the potential to be as influential as Micheal Jackson's Thriller?

The thematic quality is first rate, visually and sonically it seems to in a league of its own. The fusion of jazz undertones and the use of real musicians underscores the message of D.O.A. - a reference to a technology that many singers are using to distort or correct their vocals.

Beware some of the language could be offensive.

NYTimes Review of Blueprint III

Monday, June 29, 2009

Information Design: 9.20.21 Project

Led by Richard Saul Wurman, information architect and founder of the TED conferences, the initiative will explore trends in cities.

While based on statistical analysis, the project no doubt will deliver something entertaining and accessible, delivered through the Web, television, print publications, and exhibits and seminars.

So what’s the big deal?

The idea is to standardize the way information about cities is collected and shared. This means coming up with patterns of data, comparing trends, and developing communications strategies to provide a “roadmap for understanding the world ahead.”

19.20.21 Project

Video:19.20.21 Explained

Why 9.20.21 is Important?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bike Design: Trek's Chainless Bike

Instead of a drive chain made up of metal linkages and up to 3,000 individual parts, chainless bikes utilize a carbon belt similar to the drive belt on motorcycles and snowmobiles. (They're manufactured by the same Denver-based company that makes drive belts for Harley-Davidson.)

The carbon belt has a number of advantages over a traditional chain: lighter weight (80 grams vs. 300-400 grams), longer lasting (3 years vs. 1 year), minimal stretch, and lower maintenance (no lube required!). Belt drive systems are virtually silent and rarely catch pant cuffs, making them a good choice for commuters.

The carbon belt is a great solution for single speed bike like Trek's bike design with the urban commuter in mind, but it not yet ready for use on multiple speed bikes.

Trek's Website

Blog Site for Trek's District

Architect: Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphorsis Architects, based in southern California is responsible for some of the most praised buildings of today.

In the video below he describes his philosophy and approach to designing buildings that not only connects to its immediate environment, but also boldly expresses and redefines it.

Morphosis Architects

NYTimes Article:The Civic Value of a Bold Statement

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Design History: Georg Olden

A design pioneer whose legacy had been unknown to me. Georg Olden an African American Graphic Artist who achieve professional success at a time that proceeded the civil rights movement.

His 1963 design of a commemorative postage stamp of the 100th year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was the first stamp designed by an African American.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neuton: Battery Powered Lawn Mower

As I anticipate becoming a homeowner there are some tasks that I will be taking responsibility for that as a renter I did not have to consider.

This means purchasing tools that allow for the ongoing maintenance of the property. Though my goal would be to minimize the amount of lawn by using a variety of plants in lieu of grass, there will remain a need for the purchase of a mover. Here is one that appears to be a good solution to the conventional noisy and polluting gas powered machines.

Neuton Website

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Designers421: Kickoff at NeoCon 2009

Following months of planning the web based network devoted to addressing the need to increase diversity within the design professions.

The group intends to be a resource to all designers, but specifically designers of color.

Designers421 Website

Defining GOOD Design

Metropolis magazine considers the old adage that attempted to define Good design by aesthetics and sales only.

Peter Hall challenges this thinking with an argument that today Good design must consider other factors, such as the following:

Good Is Sustainable
Good Is Accessible
Good Is Functional
Good Is Well Made
Good Is Emotionally Resonant
Good Is Enduring
Good Is Socially Beneficial
Good Is Beautiful
Good Is Ergonomic
Good Is Affordable

Metropolis Article: A Good Argument

Dieter Rams Ten Principles of Good Design

Innovation Policy: The Next Frontier

The role government plays in seeding innovation is a subject I am keenly interested in not only because I am a designer employed in government. But, because the opportunities that are available for the application of technology within government to advance its goals is often perceived as something foreign and is often misunderstood by many of my peers in the public sector.

Above all, innovation policy is an attempt to bring some coordination to often disparate government initiatives in scientific research, education, business incentives, immigration and even intellectual property.

“It’s about setting an agenda and helping build a portfolio of skills that let an economy and a society move forward in smarter, faster ways,” Mr. Kao said.

NYTimes Article: Can Government Till the Fields of Innovation?

The World Bank's New Industrial and Innovation Policy

WSJ Article: Where to Find Innovation

Friday, June 19, 2009

Toy Design: Little Tike's Cozy Coupe

While the American auto sales slip the Cozy Coupe continues to rack up sales. In 2008 it actually sold (425,000 units) more than any other car model in America, more than 10 million since introduced 30 years ago.

To think that this popular toy does not rely on electronics but on the basic joy of the physical challenge of making an object move through space.

Fox News Article

Monday, June 15, 2009

Materials supporting Design Solutions

The series of case studies produced by Eastman's Innovation Lab speaks to the role materials can play in the design process. Admittedly it is an infomercial for Eastman but none the less revealing on how new materials can aid in solving design problems.

Eastman Innovation Lab Interview Series

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why WIFI is Not Yet Ubiquitous ?

This is a question I often return to since raising the question as part of my graduate thesis on of all things - the parking meter.

The article below asks the same question.

Wired Article

Monday, June 08, 2009

Auto Design: Saturn a New Business Model

With all of the necessary changes happening within the auto industry one of the brightest spots is the purchase of Saturn by the Penske Automotive Group.

I see this as the best chance for Saturn to get its mojoe back. Originally created to break the mold of American auto manufactures it eventually was left unsupported by GM brass for years. But in spite of the neglect it has an lineup vehicles that is worthy of its continued survival. But now that Roger Penske has taken over, my bet is that the company product offerings, stock and reputation will increase more than any other automotive brand. Ir once the shakeup settles and the new American auto industry emerges.

USA Today Article

Saturn's Website

The Form Function Relationship - No More!

The digital age continues to cause shifts in industry after industry and reverberations in company after company. The profession of Industrial Design is being forced to change as well. And the question is has it changed enough to drop the often misunderstood name and replace it with something more fitting?

Innovation design is what I would like to see replace Industrial design as the name for what product designers do. Innovation design better captures the idea of the value adding quality that designers bring to the product development process. Innovation is also the resulting output from that unique ability to synthesize information coming from various sources: technological, commerce and consumers into an idea that solves a problem or maximizes the potential of an opportunity.

NYTimes Article: The Demise of Form Follows Function

Article: The Shifting World of Design

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bike Design: Folding Bikes

As I look into replacing my own bike I have discovered a variety of innovative ideas from which to chose a new one. A feature that holds particular interest is bikes that fold, making them portable, and very useful when it comes to storing during the off season and travel.

One of the most durable and traditional looking folding bike is the Swiss Bike. Unlike, most folding bikes which opted for unique designs this bike maintains an aesthetic that would not at first glance be perceived as odd looking.

The GoCycle is a folding electric bike made for urban commuters.