City Hall, London

The Norman Foster design, on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge, is a deliberately iconic building. Its form – a distorted glass sphere, sometimes seen as head-shaped – is justified in terms of two sorts of function: environmental, reducing the total glass surface area of the building; and democratic, with the whole building designed around a magnificent interior ramp down which the people can symbolically walk above the debating chamber of their elected representatives. Link

Good Agile, Bad Agile

“Google is, obviously, a group of very smart people. But, as this post argues/asserts, if you can take just one tiny step back/out of Google-world, I think you will see these smart people are not living in the “real” world, by which I mean, *the world that their customers live in.* Blog

Children’s poverty marathon.

After a poor four-year-old Indian boy sprinted into local record books for running 65km (40 miles) in seven hours in May, many children are following in his footsteps. Budhia Singh’s run catapulted the little boy from the sleepy eastern state of Orissa into the national limelight and controversy with the country divided on the hazards of allowing children to run marathons. Emboldened by his feat, other children in the state are running long distances for fame and money. BBC News article

A Vatican for film-makers


How does a Havana film school attract lavish funding and the likes of Soderbergh and Spielberg? With a nod and a wink from Fidel Castro. Chris Payne reports on a little corner of Cuba that is forever Hollywood .

“If you’re unfamiliar with Cuba’s cinematic heritage, you might assume that a film school run with Fidel Castro’s help would be coaching its students in flag-waving reconstructions of the Bay of Pigs or promo reels exhorting the nation’s nickel workers to greater heights of production. Hardly any films produced on the island since the 1960s have achieved distribution in the UK. The Buena Vista Social Club, the internationally successful documentary about a group of old-time Havana musicians, which became the soundtrack of every middle-class dinner party, was made by the German director Wim Wenders.”

Guardian article reporting on this amazing discovery in Cuba.

RCA Design Interaction shift


The name of the Interaction Design Department at the RCA has now changed to Design Interactions ….

“designing for the complex, troubled people we are, rather than the easily satisfied consumers and users we are supposed to be.”

Design Interactions is a small change, but we think it is significant. It reflects our emphasis on designing interactions of all kinds – not just between people and digital technologies, or even other emerging technologies, but also between people and possible futures, and between design and other fields of art and science.

Hot Toddy

Quite simply the best kept secret for fighting of sore throats, flu and heavy colds. Some flu experts believe that cold drinks increase congestion, whereas warm drinks loosen secretions and are more flu-friendly. Try sipping a hot toddy before bed to help you sleep and clear your stuffy head. In addition to the hot toddy – crawl into bed, cover yourself with a lot of blankets to assist your body in sweating out the cold.

Dieter Rams

These are a few of the quotes from Dieter Rams. For those of you unaware of his work, put it this way, Jonathan Ive (Head of Industrial Design at Apple) is often mistaken for his work. Which is a nice way of admiring the sensibility of Rams.

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design helps us to understand a product.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is durable.
Good design is consequent to the last detail.
Good design is concerned with the environment.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.

As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, DIETER RAMS emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.

Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki

“Nobuyoshi Araki graphic erotica is revered and reviled in almost equal measures.” GQ October 2006.

Many label him a rebel genius, while others call him a misogynist who objectifies and degrades women by turning them into lifeless sex toys. His women, some of them models, some of them lovers, stare vacantly into the lens, giving the viewer the unnerving feeling of witnessing something deeply sinister.

The 2008 Berlin exhibition includes a highlight film.

At first glance the photos of tied up woman seem to be in line with the Western concept of Bondage, but Nobuyoshi Araki has emphasized a contrast: “Kinbaku (knots with ropes) are different from bondage. I only tie up woman’s body because I know I cannot tie up her heart. Only her physical parts can be tied up. Tying up a woman becomes an embrace.” Nobuyoshi Araki takes photographs of women because photography for him is inextricably linked to love and eroticism. Most models have asked Nobuyoshi Araki themselves to be photographed for the Kinbaku series. Concurrent to the exhibition at Jablonka Galerie, the Kestnergesellschaft Hannover presents 100 colored photographs of the Kinbaku series. May 3, 2008.

You’ll be drawn into this raw, stark approach.

Mind maps

Mind Map IDEO

David Kelley, founder of IDEO uses mind maps to foster creativity.

“When I want to do something analytical, I make a list. When I’m trying to come up with ideas or strategize, I make a mind map. Mind maps are organic and allow me to free associate. They are great for asking questions and revealing connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.”

Full size graphic here

Stays in the shadows, Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

Apple chief designer, shy from public viewing, says a few rare words in Business Week:

His design process revolves around intense iteration — making and remaking models to visualize new concepts.

“One of the hallmarks of the team I think is this sense of looking to be wrong,” said Ive at Radical Craft. “It’s the inquisitiveness, the sense of exploration. It’s about being excited to be wrong because then you’ve discovered something new.”

Nothing new with this debate.

Form follows function seems like good sense but on closer examination it becomes problematic and open to interpretation. Linking the relationship between the ‘form’ of an object and its intended purpose is a good idea for designers and architects, but it is not always by itself a complete design solution. Defining the precise meaning(s) of the phrase ‘form follows function’ opens a discussion of design integrity. The New Strength of Style takes this debate and turns it 180 degrees.

Ross Lovegrove on TED Talks

Ross Lovegrove Industrial designer, speaking at TED said,

“I’m captain organic, that’s a philosophical and well as an aesthetic position.”

Speaking about Zaha Hadid, Richard Serra and Gregg Lin, who are preserving and pioneering with fantastic new ideas of how to create 21st century design/architecture/art. The interlocution of elements on a chair. Going on to mention how observation, curiosity and instinct are the ingredients for great work.

“Ross Lovegrove: About my work? You could say its organic, but that’s just a consequence of my private thoughts and feelings towards things.”

designboom interview with him plus his TED 2006 session

Cinematographer Sven Nykvist dies

Sven Nykvist

Oscar-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who often worked with director Ingmar Bergman, has died aged 83. Nykvist won Academy Awards for Bergman films Cries and Whispers in 1973 and Fanny and Alexander in 1982. He also worked on several films with Woody Allen and was the cinematographer on 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Other film work included The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Chaplin and Sleepless in Seattle.

Overnight flights to Europe

Practical tips to avoid jet lag.

First of all, I live in NY so travel to much of Europe usually involves a 6 hour time difference. Starting a week or more before my departure date, I make myself get up and go to bed progressively earlier – usually a half an hour – each day or two. The goal is to be getting up at around 4 am on the day of departure. Now this means to really be awake at 4am, not just to remain in bed with your eyes open, but still semi-comatose! You need to be up and around “pretending” that it’s a normal thing to do. Some people get up very early to begin with so they won’t have too much of a problem with this one.

K2 adventure


“Exceptional natural intelligence and the incurable desire to climb the ladder are necessary.”

Reading this posting for some technology executive position I was pondering more on the lines of the climbing a ladder on some big rock/ice expedition. K2 straddles the border between China and Jammu and Kashmir in a territory currently claimed by Pakistan.

Its name is derived from the fact that it is the second peak (of 35) in the Karakorum Range of the western Himalayas. In 1861 the mountain gained its other well-known (though unofficial) name: Mount Godwin-Austen. Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen, a British soldier and topographer, was the second European to visit the area and research the mountain. Many local names are also used to identify the peak, including Chogori, Lambha Pahar, Dapsang, and Kechu (K2).

Albert Maysles

Albert Maysles

I was lucky enough to met this legendary documentary filmmaker last year at a dinner. Albert captures the fragility of people’s lives. His stories are tales of great courage. Two of America’s foremost non-fiction filmmakers, Albert Maysles and his brother David (1932-1987) are recognized as pioneers of “direct cinema,” the distinctly American version of French “cinema verité.” They earned their distinguished reputations by being the first to make non-fiction feature films – films in which the drama of human life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets, or narration.


Offensive to accepted standards of decency: barnyard, bawdy, broad, coarse, dirty, Fescennine, filthy, foul, gross, lewd, nasty, obscene, profane, ribald, scatologic, scurrilous, smutty, vulgar. Slang : raunchy.

I’ll ping you frequently


“80 percent of success is just showing up” — Woody Allen

In anything you do, people want to know they can count on you. They want to know that those whom they buy from, and associate with, will be there for the long haul. One of the best ways to prove you are the real deal is to always be present. Out of sight is out of mind. People need to know they can count on you. Staying connected, remaining in-touch and ready to respond is a challenge. That is increasingly important in a widely connected, but increasingly impersonal world.

Donald MacKinnon


Creativity, according to Donald MacKinnon, long-time researcher in the field, it is

“a process that is extended in time and characterized by originality, adaptiveness and realization.”

For me, the essence of creativity is “connection” the ability to relate or combine, through flexible persistence and insight, seemingly remote, contradictory or irrational ideas and elements with an elegant, unified and complex simplicity. The creative concept, product or outcome is not only novel but has value and use” (Gorkin).