Have you seen this? This clears it up for anyone who isn’t completely sure of the agenda at OWS. One of the injustices represented is gender discrimination. WWM doesn’t overtly address discrimination but rather points out the incredible pool of outstanding women around the world that add to our culture and our lives through leadership, creative talent, innovation, personality, perseverance and spirit. But the fact is that WWM and girlonthestreet before it were born out of the experience of discrimination and lack of voice in the workplace, watching young women like myself get shot down for exuberance and ideas early in their creative careers then deciding to seek alternatives to conventional media and corporate life.
In the spirit of collective individualism, let’s add our own personal wishlists, value, talent, and actions to the cry for change. How can we do this? Women are doing it all over but the voice is not quite loud enough.
I admit it’s been a shock coming back to the U.S. – the convoluted world of ‘organic’, the 24/7 marketing messages, the giddy vapid representation of women. Join What Women Make and let me know your thoughts, your feelings, and your plans..
I’m interested in starting a WWM Meet-up in NY. If you’d like to join, email me at chauncey at whatwomenmake dot com and let me know your project and if you think there’s an interest out there in representing female creative leadership.
Here is the video my partner and I put together from our time there – an immersive walk through of Occupy Wall Street (together we are Show Love):0 Comments
- August 24, 2011
“Good Design Is Long Lasting” Exhibition
Phaidon Flagship NY
Core77 and Phaidon held a contest to celebrate iconic German industrial designer Dieter Rams work and his ‘less is more’ design principles. Rams was the head of product design at Braun from 1961 to 1995 and has been described as the yoda of design. His designs are commonly considered to have influenced the designs of Apple, Nokia, Muji and more – that clean rounded nonfussy most modern of aesthetics). The drawings are on display in a product timeline at the flagship store for the next two weeks.
Here is a reposting of Ram’s principles (color) with some of my own thoughts (grey/black) ; Their essence resonates far beyond the confines of design.
1. Good Design is innovative
It does not copy existing product forms, nor does it produce any kind of novelty for the sake of it. The essence of innovation must be clearly seen in all functions of a product. The possibilities in this respect are by no means exhausted. Technological development keeps offering new chances for innovative solutions.
I wrote an article a while back entitled “new lessons from ancient Japan”. In it, i refer to the term “kaizen,” continuous improvement (process focus) which Toyota embraces as a core value. Their motto: ‘the right process, the right result.’
I want to look at the word innovation. I like to check in regularly with words that become buzzwords to make sure they still mean something to me. So why do we need continuous innovation? Did we always need it?
There is no more ‘the way things have always been done’. Has iterative, motivated ($$, survival) change always existed at this urgent alarm-shrieking level? It seems like we can break history down into 3 phases where innovation changes from being a base ‘Maslow’ style need to a self-actualizing ‘nice to have’ Maslow style need. I’d say it goes something like this:
A. The dawn of man, -history, ancient Egypt, Rome, through to industrial revolution: continuous improvement, better tools, better solutions – all the time. Base impulse of humankind. Gets increasingly less urgent once we start lying around talking about philosophy through to committing mass genocide on several continents.
B. Next phase: 40′s on – years of trying to find solutions that last (excepting planned obsolescence of course) so we could rest and be happy fat cats. No need to innovate to survive.
C. Where we are now. Screw ‘innovate and stop, innovate and stop’. Back to the most urgent of loop to loop innovation in every day life.
Is continuous innovation a fact of modern life as well as a fact of primitive life? Is life now mimicking primitive life?
Mandate: how can we continuously improve and reassess, stay objective, keep questioning meaning?
2. Good Design makes a product useful
A product is bought in order to be used. It must serve a defined purpose – in both primary and additional functions. The most important task of design is to optimise the utility of a product.
I used to tutor a 6th grade kid with anger issues and I always said ‘use your resources’. I don’t know where i got it form but it was the way to get him on track when he began to get frustrated with a lesson.
Then I realized that I don’t always use my resources. I forget my resources and seek new ones to the detriment of what I’ve already gathered.
Sometimes things are just easy. Don’t make them hard. What do you already have?
3. Good Design is aesthetic
The aesthetic quality of a product – and the fascination it inspires – is an integral part of the its utility. Without doubt, it is uncomfortable and tiring to have to put up with products that are confusing, that get on your nerves, that you are unable to relate to. However, it has always been a hard task to argue about aesthetic quality, for two reasons.
Firstly, it is difficult to talk about anything visual, since words have a different meaning for different people.
Some designers I speak to don’t feel comfortable with words. My job is sense making in this arena. In others, my words are more essence than organization. Words are my output. On the other hand, i can barely draw a straight line.
Secondly, aesthetic quality deals with details, subtle shades, harmony and the equilibrium of a whole variety of visual elements. A good eye is required, schooled by years and years of experience, in order to be able to draw the right conclusion.
4. Good Design helps a product be understood
It clarifies the structure of the product. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory and saves you the long, tedious perusal of the operating manual.
Every practical interaction should be so easy so we can leave the talking and words for literature, criticism, love, and debate.
5. Good Design is unobtrusive
Products that satisfy this criterion are tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained leaving room for the user’s self-ex ssion.
6. Good Design is honest
An honestly-designed product must not claim features it does not have – being more innovative, more efficient, of higher value. It must not influence or manipulate buyers and users.
7. Good Design is durable
It is nothing trendy that might be out-of-date tomorrow. This is one of the major differences between well-designed products and trivial objects for a waste-producing society. Waste must no longer be tolerated.
8. Good Design is thorough to the last detail
Thoroughness and accuracy of design are synonymous with the product and its functions, as seen through the eyes of the user
9. Good Design is concerned with environment
Design must contribute towards a stable environment and a sensible use of raw materials. This means considering not only actual pollution, but also the visual pollution and destruction of our environment.
10. Good Design is as little design as possible
Back to purity, back to simplicity.
What becomes of the baroque? (it certainly shows up in contemporary television but where else does the baroque make sense?)
That’s all for now. (not the most graceful exit but it’s time to rest and after all this is a blog.)0 Comments
Henrietta Thompson is an exuberant visionary and thought leader in the design world. The former design editor of Wallpaper – now editor-at-large – is responsible for the chair arch at the London Design Festival (pictured here), the popular ReMake It: Home (2009) a DIY design guide employing good design for a resourceful waste-free lifestyle, and is a shepherd for a myriad of upcoming projects connecting designers with innovation companies, most if not all fueled by technology. Her mission is to make design more accessible in the next few years. “Design,” she says, “should not be an elitist proposition or an expensive style statement. Design has so much more to offer.”
In service of her hypothesis, she finds ways to work with designers to explore new conceptual products along trends and themes that show how far innovative thinking can make a difference. One such instance was the Hearwear exhibition where she worked with fifteen top designers to rethink the future of hearing. The results kickstarted a wave of innovation in mobile phone companies as well as audio and hearing aid manufacturers. In a similar vein, after observing that more people are opting to stay in and entertain at home, she challenged designers to create elements that turn a home into a great nightlife space, a feature that appeared in Wallpaper. One whimsical design (whose company Kiwi and Pom is directed by a woman, Emma Young) was a disco chair; when the lights go down the electroluminescent wires fire up. (pictured)
Now she’s working on two new projects, both of which are under wraps but I can hint that one involves an approach to architecture that I’ve never quite seen before – one that genuinely made my jaw drop when she told me about it – and the other is with a web-based business that encourages a more interactive approach to consuming design.
While working on her mission to make design accessible to a wider audience she also has the goal to make a wider audience more accessible to designers. She says that designers are often frustrated. They have incredible ideas and could supply innovation for so many avenues but too often they get stuck in the styling side of the business – “making furniture and home accessories that only a very small proportion of the world’s population buy into”, and, she adds, “very few actually need.” But due to increased awareness toward a social agenda, she says that priorities in the industry are definitely shifting. If you look at the way the music, film, and art worlds have been transformed by the Internet, it’s only natural that design should follow suit. Open source means sky’s the limit. She mentioned Nina Tolstrup whose project allows people in developing countries to download patterns to make chairs out of shipping pallets (a.k.a. wood crates for us Americans), and which is as popular with design collectors as it is in developing countries – where charities are using the blueprints to create new employment and economic opportunities. We also discussed made.com, a site that works similarly to print on demand in the book business. Designs are shown on the site and furniture is made as orders come in. The convergent innovation is endless and she acts as a connector of sorts between the different worlds.
I asked her how she envisioned the future of design and she said: “Form and function are pretty much standard these days, so I’d like to see designers put more emphasis on beauty: products that are a genuine pleasure to use. And on the other side of the coin, I’d like to see designers apply their considerable skills to solving real problems, taking more of an interest in social issues.” She also renounced the superfluousness of the luxury industry. “I really think people are bored with ‘design’ in that sense. There are so many problems in the world. I want the ‘problems in the world’ and the design industry to together.” She added that a lot of people just don’t get what design and architecture can be, and as a result can be very suspicious of it. “I want to engage people in the process a bit more.”
On a different note, though based in London, Henrietta has a second home here in Barcelona. She is absolutely mad about this city and sees a lot of potential for its design future even in the wake of the lingering economic crisis. She gave me a list of her favorite design firms. I sorted through them and ‘favorited’ my own within the list. Here’s that slideshow:
Henrietta’s Barcelona Designers You Should Know
My Barcelona Favorites Plucked From Henrietta’s Picks
- EMBT's Santa Caterina Market
This is the view from our window taken by my husband Peter Crosby. It's of a famous piece of Barcelona architecture, the Santa Caterina Market. EMBT (neighbor Benedetta Tagliabue & late husband Enric Miralles) have 10+ awards for buildings local and global incl. Spanish Pavilion (Shanghai) & Scottish Parliament.
- Ana Mir of Emiliana Design
Ana Mir of Emiliana Design's not-so-slightly sexual rocking chair "made of polypropyleen and galvanized steel...Rocking Chair has been adquired by Indianapolis Museum of Art and Museu d'Arts Decoratives de Barcelona."
I happen to want this writing desk. It reminds me of child's playhouse furniture - but it's not silly. In the literature of this Make It Better collection piece, they tout it as a "formally rich and attractive object" that is easy to assemble. I love that.
The company, run by textile designer Nani Marquina - the first to sell designer rugs, since 1987 - employs a host of designers. This collection of cotton and latex containers (which do hold water) are made by Dutch designer Renske Papavoine.
A few final questions
What are some of your interests outside design?
I travel a huge amount, if that counts as an interest. I like yoga. I also like rock climbing, fashion, art, dance – especially contemporary dance but I love ballet and Flamenco. I just bought a guitar but I can’t play it yet. I like cooking but I don’t do enough of it. And I like cocktails, particularly martinis.
What’s your writing routine?
I write after I’ve done absolutely everything else. I procrastinate massively but I’m a very productive procrastinator. It helps for me to talk to others about the thing I’m going to write about so when I do get to writing I’m clearer about what I’m trying to say.
Do you do any other kind of writing ?
I wrote a children’s book. It is about a penguin. It was for my nephew. I don’t know that I would ever do that professionally but it was fun.
Why are there so few female players in the design world.? After this interview, she pointed out an article in the New York Times that came out then reporting that 68% of the student body of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are female.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Scandinavia recently, and I’ve noticed that you do seem to find more women in Scandinavia designing than you do in London. I think this is true of the workplace in general in Scandinavia though – they have systems in place to make it easier when it comes to maternity leave, and generally attitudes to professional women are a lot healthier. It’s interesting – many of the talented women I can think of off the top of my head in London are part of a husband and wife team or part of a collective.
I’ve just posted a New York design feature. What are your thoughts on design in the U.S. these days?
I think it is slowly picking up steam. There’s a new gallery in Chicago called Volume which is doing some impressive work. Design Miami is having an effect too. I went to ICFF for the first time last year, which I thought had potential There were a few interesting things going on around town. As for designers, I like Paul Loebach, Rich Brilliant and Willing (see the Julie Taraska feature slideshow for my favorite picks from both of those designers) and there are some talented designer-makers in Brooklyn. There’s definitely more of a scene than there has been but it needs to add something new to the mix, something that’s not going on anywhere else. It seems to still be in the catch up stages.3 Comments
2.11.11 – What does Julie Taraska make? She makes meaning of all the disparate design forces out there. Through her Product Placement series in New York – run with partner publicist Kimberly Oliver – she gives designers a chance to tell the story behind their work in a city not known for the level of design curiosity that characterizes cities such as London, Stockholm, or Milan. Through her writing and exhibits, she rips away the layers of consumption to force a recognition of the deeper role products play in our lives. She’s written for everyone from the New York Times to Fast Company to Details to Wallpaper and travels the world to design shows whenever possible. These days, she’s also the senior editor of Gilt Home, part of that most magical of all retail inventions, Gilt Groupe.
Tell us about your path to becoming a design journalist?
In college, I wrote my thesis on British punk and was accepted for a Watson fellowship to go to London to explore it further. I was drawn to punk’s DIY spirit – the energy and passion to create and the sense that you could be anything you wanted. At the time, I wanted to be a music journalist – and for eight years I was. I was an editor at Billboard and wrote for magazines like Spin, etc. until a certain point where l I felt that music culture had just became so dull and commercialized. My interest in music morphed into a curiosity about architecture, design, and urban planning. The rhythms, arrangements, and layers in music informed a budding interest in how people move through space and engage with objects which in turn tell a story
What Inspires You?
- Food / dining out – The whole foodie thing is big where I live: artisanal goods, inventive combinations, beautiful presentations. Food can be the ultimate well-designed product, with its singular colors, textures, smells, and tastes. It appeals to the senses, as a good product should.
- Conversations I have with designers – I’ve always wanted to be in the privileged position of being able to ask people I find interesting nearly any question that occurs to me. That’s why I became a journalist.
- Factory tours – I’m a real geek about learning how things are made.
- The atmosphere in Milan during the Furniture Fair and in London during100% Design – There are just loads of ordinary, non-design-industry people who attend the dozens of ancillary design events during these two shows. That’s what I want: for design to be part of the everyday conversation. (Think what it’d be like if instead of talking about a film, you talked about a design that you saw!) Seeing this group interest fortifies me to fight the good fight back in New York where design isn’t part of the cultural ether.
- Museums and art exhibits — I am hopelessly visual. When I have trouble writing, I look at pictures and sculptures. They help me get through the block and articulate what I want to say.
- Music— Nothing can alter my mood faster or is as good at making me go from down to invincible in three minutes flat. I’m also mildly synaesthetic—I see songs’ rhythms and patterns in colors—which also adds a visual twist to something that, in the end, is pretty abstract.
London vs. New York. London is arguably the best design city in the world, and you’ve lived in both — but you ended up back in New York twice. Tell us about that.
Practicalities mostly. To be taken seriously, I knew I had to go back to school and get my masters. I had wanted to go to Goldsmiths (in London) even while in undergrad – so when I finally I had enough money, I went. Goldsmiths is where many of the YBA’s went (Young British Artists) and I liked the culture it produced. I got my M.A. in Culture, Globalization, and the City which is basically a fancy way of saying Critical Urban Studies. Looking at urban design I realized I really loved products. Also, just before I was to leave for Goldsmiths, I met my future husband so I always planned to go back and New York is also a much more affordable city. My specialty is European designers but over the last few years I’ve discovered a lot of great American designers (which leads us to Julie’s top American designers and New York stores below).
Julie Taraska’s Top 10 ‘New York Designers You Should Know’
The opening slideshow was about stores she wants you to check out but here are the designers she sees as leading the charge. I’ve made some comments along the way.
- Jason Miller
- Lindsey Adams Adelman
This light of Lindsey Aldelman's reminds me of a modern incarnation of Snow White's apple.
- David Weeks
David Weeks' Rod Laver Gaming beanbag chair inspired by the Adidas shoe of the same name.
- Paul Loebach
My favorite item on Paul Loebach's website, these beautiful melty wooden vases.
- Rich Brilliant Willing
Rich Brilliant Willing . I think we can all relate to that!
- Todd Bracher
Loved the problem solving, sense of whimsy. See more of Todd Bracher's designs here.
Team consists of Zoe Boira Coombes and F.David Boira.
- Jeff Miller
- Harry Allen
- Boym Partners
and last but not least, Boym Partners
And last, three good things about design in New York right now
HERE COMES THE CURIOUS – When we started Product Placement three years ago, we were conscious of trying to create something that was educational but not intimidating — something that helped foster a sense of community in the design world, but also do more than preach to the converted. Our audience is made of designers, industry folks, and ‘citizens’ — people who had no connection to the industry but are just interested/ had their curiosity piqued. That last group’s number has grown.
M-I-Y, MANUFACTURE IT YOURSELF – I notice more designers taking manufacturing into their own hands. They’re trying out new business models where they don’t have to rely on a big company for manufacturing.
PAUSE TO RECONSIDER – People are reconsidering their purchases. Should they buy the Ikea bureau or maybe invest in something that will last instead. At least there’s been a pause in the way we were living before the crash which was not sustainable. Is it really important to go out for dinner four times a week? Maybe not.
To Attend – Upcoming Product Placement Events
Product Placement has a series of three events coming up at David Rockwell’s Rockwell Group office, with the first, on lighting, happening on February 23rd: Innovative directions in lighting with designers Lindsey Adams Adelman, Matt Gagnon, Jason Miller, and David Weeks.
Wednesday, February 23rd 6:30-8:30pm,
5 Union Square West, 8th Fl.
NY, NY 10003
The list – WWM has been up since the summer 2009. (GOTS, of course, much much longer). I thought the coming of the sun would be a good time for the first benchmark, a moment to check in on who’s been talked about so far so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. For that purpose, I’ve compiled this list. I have to warn you, it’s not complete because there’s way more content than I thought possible when I started putting it together but I think it will at least set you on your way to navigating through the site as it starts to have a past.
Next bit of news: There’s now a video page here where the incredible women featured on the site and others can come to life. Top notch creativity and thoughtfulness to engage and inspire you. I’ve replicated it here as a single stream but it will be a page (above, in the black top nav) forever and constantly growing:
- Chauncey Zalkin
WHAT HAVE WE HERE?
(a partial yet substantial list of women featured on What Women Make)
Fashion Week F/W 2010
Samantha Pleet, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, Melissa Kirgan, Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard, JoAnn Berman, Lizz Wasserman, CooperativeDesigns
Lorna Walker, Dr. Vicky Lofthouse, Angharad Thomas, Dr. Angela Lee, Beth Perry, Linda Relph Knight, and Rachel Cooper
Rineke Dijkstra, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Dana Schutz, Tamy Ben-Tor, Nathalie Djurberg, Klara Liden, Ellen Altfest, Huma Bhabha, Cao Fei, Misaki Kawai, Mary Reid Kelly, Josephine Halvorson, Tacita Dean, Isa Genzken, Rachel Harrison, Julie Mehretu, Mary Heilmann, Cindy Sherman, Faiza Butt, Jean Shin, Swoon, Maria Lassnig, Janet Cardiff
Dr. Afsaneh Rabiei, Edyta Cieloch, Front Design: Sofia Lagerkvist, Anna Lindgren, Charlotte von der Lancken, Capsters: Cindy Van Den Bremen, Lynn Jackson, Yin Xiuzhen, Dr. Annalee Newitz, Wieki Somers
Eva Zeisel, Ma ke
Girl Drive: Nona Willis Aronowitz, Emma Bee Bernstein
Anita Roddick, Zaha Hadid
Janine Benyus, Dayna Baumeister
4 Women on Top 11.09
Herta Mueller, Angela Ahrendts, Kazuyo Sejima, Malalai Joya
Sahar Ghaheri, Ashley Thorfinnson (other mentions: Deb Johnson and Emily Pilloton)
Too many. Go to link.
Caroline Swift, Sophie-Elizabeth Thompson, Paola Masi0 Comments
Dr. Rachel Armstrong is a Senior TED Fellow working on building a living building, she’s also a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture and a science fiction author.
Tuba Kocatürk wrote Virtual Futures for Design, Construction and Procurement.
Leonora Oppenheim focuses on turning information into conversation in public spaces with her company, Elio Studio.
The founding team also includes: Lorna Walker, Dr. Vicky Lofthouse, Angharad Thomas, Dr. Angela Lee, Beth Perry, Linda Relph Knight, and Rachel Cooper – editor at Design Journal, author of The Design Experience. All of them are supremely intelligent beings and highly contributive to the initiative for a more sustainable world. New Frontiers should be an exciting new addition to the sustainability playing field, headquartered in Manchester (as they point out, home of the first industrial revolution) and with the support of NGOs, Universities, and some of the world’s best thinkers in support of the endeavour.
The brainchild of futurologist and design scientist Melissa Sterry and developed in partnership with environmental scientist Matt Prescott, New Frontiers is working with leading universities, professional institutions, NGOs, government agencies and pioneering global brands to embed a strong understanding of sustainability; form new collaborations; and promote the best innovation for this new and fast-moving sector.1 Comment
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