Sunday, November 30, 2008

Language of ID

Standing at the culminating point in the class of ID history, I would like to talk about design as a method of communication and dialogue and as a way of embodying its poetic sense. Making and inventing something tangible and usable lets our lives to be better technologically, environmentally, and universally. Yet, our lives can also be enriched by design works that share one’s voice as language of thoughts, meanings, and outcry.

This is Global Warming Swimming Pool ad for HSBC created by Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai ad agency in India. On first glance, this might look like people swimming on top of a submerged city; in fact, an aerial photo of a city’s skyscrapers is glued to the base of a swimming pool to create the effect. The whole idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness of the possible consequence of global warming. If we look at the swimming pool in the ad, it is simply a swimming pool that has a photo on the bottom to make it look a city drowned into water. However, the message that the ad is trying to deliver rouses up viewers’ consciousness and becomes daily reminder of a serious existing problem in the world. The swimming pool itself has made to show the bank’s strong interest in global worming; however, the concept behind has enough effect to alert people to think what they can do to help the earth.

This is a one of a series of works created by a designer Joe Velluto blurring the line between art and design at his recent exhibition ‘UseLess is More’. At the exhibition, a chair has appeared without its primary function, but still containing the essence of its original function. Joe Velluto created the 'partial chair' extracting the main part of a chair - the seat and the back to show a dysfunction.'UseLess is More’ is the first interpretation of the ‘Manifesto of Adesign', a thought that partially denies design in favor of an original way of expression. The exhibition was on display as part of Torino World Design Capital Events. On Joe Velluto’s website, he talks about Manifesto of Adesign along with his thoughts in words and quotes including Anti Designism.

Anti Designism®
(Kill “di design” expression):
· Informal
· Unknownimous
· Radical
· Experimental
· Useless

This idea that Joe Velluto’s presenting makes people think again of what design is and what design means. Is he trying to simply say to think outside of a box? Or is he frustrated to be around with designs and concepts based of originality? He also says,

Vittime del Designism® --- Victims of the Designism
“I’m designER than you!”
“No, I’m the designEST!”

He sounds as if he is mocking some type of designers who has different focus than what he has. However, what is important here is not the fact that Joe Velluto has strong voice against other designers, but that he tries aggressively and powerfully to share his own opinions and true feelings for design with viewers, audience, and users.

Two examples, ‘Global Warming Swimming Pool’ and ‘UseLess is More’, shows clearly that industrial design is not just producing goods or inventing new technology. ID has voice and language. It has been trying to tell us many things for years. Now, it is time for us to pay attention and listen to what it says with open mind and considerate attitude.


Global Warming Swimming Pool
Joe Velluto - UseLess is More

What is Industrial Design for Me

Throughout the semester, I have gained knowledge about Industrial Design and found some answers to my questions. During classes, although I did not speak up too often, I have argued with opinions of my classmates with accord and discord. Also, writing short essays on lessons that I learned from lectures and presentations have helped me to really think and concern about matters that happen in the world with Industrial Design. In last class, I got to finally speak in front of my classmates out loud (Nancy asked me to talk about my idea) about Art + Design. The relationship between Art and Design has been my most concern for a long time, frankly since I entered RISD; I wanted to know what other students would say about artists, designers or design artists that work more towards considering aesthetic and artistic value. I am more on the side of appreciating the “art value” on products; however, people with great interest such as functionality, technology, and eco-friendly have had strong and harsh opinions on products that lack design value. I understand why there could be a gap between art and design, yet, I think that they should exist both together and separately. Now, I would like to show and talk about different examples with various focuses and purposes based on my personal choices of design works and projects.

Firstly, I have found a project that focuses using an accessible product with available technology to make people’s lives more convenient. BMW group research and technology has developed a prototype for a multifunctional car key. Through the use of a security chip (which communicates with a card reader via radio) that is inserted into an electronic key device, your car keys can give you the ability not only to access your vehicle, but also make cashless payments, functioning as a personalized credit card. The key can also be seen as a mobility device. The holder of the key is able to access personal data such as subscriptions to services, address books or favorite radio stations from inside their BMW, or any BMW hire car. This links the keys to the car owner rather than just a car, making them more of a personalized mobility device. Payment for tickets at the subway, car park and etc. could potentially be done using your car keys. Any purchasing or personal account information can be accessed online. BMW’s new multifunctional car key is a proper example of innovative idea for service design that can be provided to even bigger group of users on top of BMW owners.

Secondly, I would like to talk about products that are functional and considerate for users with more or less aesthetic value. This is ‘amplamp’, created by Dominic Bromley, one of UK’s most successful lighting designers, that works as both a high-tech speaker and amplification system and a table lamp in one. Dominic Bromley designs the ‘amplamp’ with an earthenware base and hidden hi-fi equipment. At the back there is a series of ports to allow users to plug in their stereo or iPod. The fact that He has tried to bring light and sound together, since they both have a strong influence in changing mood, appears to be a nice combination. However, in my personal opinion, the lamps are not aesthetically attractive enough for me to think that I want to buy them. The elegant lamp shades and bulky shape lamp base do not look to go together. There are some other products that are still functional and considerate but with more artistic value. The chair on the left is ‘Eclosion Stool’ and the table on the right is ‘Table Basse’ produce by Swiss design studio LIFEGOODS, working for public and private clients. Both pieces are made with steel and to be folded and clamped by users. The chair and the table are not only easy to produce as cut-out single sheet of steel, but also have nice weight and firmness of the material. Furthermore, they let users to be a part of completion of the furniture and give them an experience. The forms are interesting and intriguing and somehow clean and controlled; the chair even has different ways to be assembled. These two pieces of furniture seems to be good examples of good harmony between Art + Design.

Thirdly, I would like present works that have more highlighting on environment and atmosphere of where they would be placed. The series of lights that you see in the picture is the result of experiments with computer design and CNC manufacture and is assembled and finished by Liam Hopkins and Richard Sweeney by hand in the Lazerian Studio in the UK. The lamps comprise machine cut components and place emphasis on limiting the number of unique module shapes in order to simplify construction. As much as considered how well and constructively they can be made, the lamps create beautifully and attractively patterned shades in surrounding areas. If we were to imagine the lamps are constantly moving slowly, the shades will make us feel like we are in a moving space. Like this series of lamps, I would like to present ‘C-Lounge’, the new seating option, which is designed by Dima Loginoff, a Russian designer, who was once a professional hair designer. Dima’s C-Lounge has no symmetry or regularity in its form. It rather has flow, movement, and language. It is designed for Lounge Concept 2008; it is not yet commercially produced, however, we can all start to think about where it could be with each one of our own taste.

Presenting diverse products and projects with different design approach and purpose, I strongly believe that uncountable artists and designers from all over the world are constantly working, fighting, and challenging to make this world better whether it satisfies a small or large group of users or audience, and also whether it does more artistically or functionally. I can say we need all of the artists and designers who are different. Throughout my essay, I have been often subjective and personal, because I am also one of the users that designers should consider and satisfy. Industrial Design should not be for just one particular group of people, especially for those who have learned and known better about it. It values even when it gives one person a better life, because that moment can always be a start.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

As an ID major student at RISD, I have been very confused about what is ID and what is being an industrial designer. Before I try to find answers to my questions, I would like to talk a little bit about my background. Since I was in elementary school, I started painting and drawing particularly to become a fine artist. As I expand my ambition through attending art middle school and high school, it became clear that I want to work in painting, drawing, and sculpture. However, since I have always been interested in 3D stuff such as furniture, kitchenware, and lamps, I chose to go into ID major when I became a sophomore at RISD.

Learning ID through curriculums for the sophomore, I often faced problems with designing process especially in Design Principles class. People talk about eco-friendly designs. People concern about functionalism, universal design, and material usage. However, my concern is how I am going to design something that is artistically satisfying and pleasing to look at. For me, making something has often been creating a beautiful art piece, rather than producing something green or eco-friendly. On the other day, I had a guest critic from Microsoft, Bill Buxton, in my service design class. It was great to see someone who is that much experienced and also famous; however, I could not agree with him when he said, “you guys are not artists, you are industrial designers.” I get his point, but I believe that industrial designers are the subcategory of artists.

Researching and experiencing works by the Campana brothers, the winners of the Designer of the Year award at Design Miami 2008, I have found a totally new and different side of ID; it is almost exhilarating that I have met these people even through online. Their works are very unusual; each piece of their work seems to try to tell me something. Their website also has given me a feeling of watching a movie of some creation or going through a journey of an art piece from its birth to completion. Humberto Campana said during his interview,

“I think a designer goes much deeper than function or form. Today, he brings emotion, because otherwise all the chair, if we have just one chair it would be so boring. So I guess people nowadays they like to have a relationship, kind of interacting with pieces. And for me, design is to bring emotions, bring fun and bring joy to people.”

Fernando Campana also said,

“It’s that ten attempts to make function poetic and to make poetic functional which is never reachable, sometimes one is in the place of the other. Whenever both put together, at least about fifty and fifty or one tern and two terns in the projects, we make people happy, comfortable, and dreamy.”

Here I found all the answers of my questions, doubts and confusions. ID, for me, is beyond functionalism; I would like to create something that can talk to people, touch their hearts, and move their minds. Although a thing that I make may lack some functional value, I would like to start from what I believe is ID and expand it from there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When I was browsing through many people, organizations, or projects that concern a better world by design, there were two architects that caught my eyes, Michelle Kaufmann and Fritz Haeg. Michelle started looking for where she could leave, but she couldn’t find one that she wanted. Then she has come with an idea of making home that can give the most out of everything that’s used. She has designed home that requires zero maintenance, zero energy use, and zero waste of water and also are able to be mass produced. From use of off-site technology and sustainable materials and methods, her company reached to get these benefits,
  • significant time savings
  • 50% - 75% less waste
  • increased quality control
  • quicker to market
  • reduced risk
  • inventory control
  • easier to target the intended market
  • prepackaged green solutions
  • quicker to market
  • marketability of green solutions with high quality design
By giving people chance to have pre-constructed home created in a factory, Michelle’s company integrated pre-packaged green solutions.

The other architect, Fritz Haeg, has ongoing project called Edible estates. Fritz says, “the utopian fantasy of the project is that all the front lawns in the United States disappear and they all become replaced with highly diverse edible landscapes, each one differs from the next, reflecting the taste of owners.” Not only he is trying to bring back the idea of growing and eating your own food when there used to be a war and everyone in farms were away from country, but he is creating a whole new idea of involving community together through planting green and making the earth healthier. Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse Restaurant says “Edible Estates describes wonderfully how a garden in front of every house can transform a neighborhood, sprouting the seeds not just of zucchini and tomatoes but of biodiversity, sustainability, and community.” The “Edible Estates” project is just amazing to see how amazing to just plant on the small space with earth that you have been given can change such things in the world.