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  • The Rubbish Vortex

    Environment, Audio/Visual Design

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    We all know about the fabulous IFF Crochet Coral Reef (the press has been outstanding!), but do not miss out on the very crafty Rubbish Vortex as well, created by Helle Jorgensen, a star contributor to the Coral Reef Project.

    Jorgensen's complex and mesmerizing vortex of recycled plastic bags thriftily spun into crocheting yarn is a brilliant solution to a menacing global problem.

    See the artist's blog, Gooseflesh, for more visuals and details: http://hellejorgensen.typepad.com/gooseflesh/therubbishvortex/index.html

    All of the artist's work, including her accessories, are state-of-the-enviro-art.

  • Go forth and aggregate

    Community, Communication Design

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    One of the key business technology trends of 2008, according to The McKinsey Quarterly [registration required], is making businesses from capturing information.

    As we know from shopping sites and business-to-business product directories on the net, there's money to be made from accumulated pools of data.

    But something we're failing to do in parallel is understand and exploit the value of accumulation and - more importantly - aggregation to social and economic progress.

    A huge amount of information and relationships accumulate in national local government.

    Extensive networks of diverse social, economic and physical assets aggregate around the commercial redevelopment and regeneration of towns and cities.

    A vast diaspora of hopes and interests sit in devolved off and online groups of people, be it 5-a-side soccer leagues, Facebook groups, community gardeners or moderators of Wikipedia.

    There's a vast amount of dispersed energy, enthusiasm, activity and innovation out there. And it's brilliant.

    But a key challenge has to be how public managers - not just designers of online entertainment platforms - public initiatives - not just pressure groups - and central and local government - not just eccentric entrepreneurs or innovators - can aggregate this activity.

    Why bother?

    Because new value might be captured for the benefit of all.

    Go forth and aggregate.

    And start trading and packaging social, not just physical assets.

    ...
  • Reduce your waste

    Environment, Communication Design

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    I took this shot in Islington, north London, few weeks ago. It is a great initiative to include the suggestion “Reduce your waste. Choose products with less packaging” as part of the design of the truck.

    We all know that by embellishing the package the probabilities of generating sale increases. However, there is no excuse to overuse plastic and cardboard. For example, I recently found in a popular supermarket a small full-colour cardboard container of a 45p chewing-gum wrapped by a delicate plastic protection. Are we inducing clients and customers to use and waste more material?

    It is our job as designers to add value to products not by including unnecessary material but by communicating effectively with simplicity and consideration to the amount of rubbish a single product can cause.

  • Kitchen tools by Dick van Hoff

    Environment, Environmental Design

    Kitchen-tools

    Utrecht Manifest, biannual for Social Design published several articles on design and sustainability. We have selected some products and questioned ourselves about what the sustainable factor is.

    One of the most important factors that ought to be taken into account is extraneous to the product: the consumer’s habituation to specific types of products. Take, for example, our addiction to electrical equipment. Since the invention of the electric vacuum cleaner and the electric lemon squeezer, a massive industry has developed with the aim of avoiding as much manual labour as possible in home and kitchen. This has spawned a never-ending stream of products for our comfort and convenience, but these appliances have undesirable side-effects even without their guzzling of energy. In his introduction to the 1981 book, Design ist Unsichtbar (Design is invisible), design historian Lucius Burckhardt tackles böse Objekte – ‘malign objects’ – and uses the example of the electric onion-cutter, which is intended to cut onions swiftly without the user enduring malodorous hands. However, in order to clean the machine it has to be dismantled, thus losing any time gained and leaving the user with smelly fingers all the same. The usual solution devised by designers, who think in terms of objects instead of problems: an onion-cutter cleaning machine. Ad infinitum. Burckhardt was saying that designers should devote more attention to cohesive systems than to autonomous objects that completely ignor...

  • Living and Working together

    Community, Environmental Design

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    'Living and Working together' was an exhibition from November 25th 2007 to January 11th. It was organised within the context of Utrecht Manifest, a design biannual for Social Design. Some of the products or ideas can now be seen until May the 12th in the exhibition 'Design and the elastic mind' in the MOMA New York

    Living and Working together showed about twenty inspirational graduation projects from international design courses. A growing social awareness is a characteristic of many young designers. The exhibition presented fresh concepts and products for the international society of the future, sometimes bluntly simplistic and sometimes highly detailed.

    The participating schools were: Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, England Design Academy Eindhoven, the Netherlands Escola Superior de Artes e Design, Portugal Fabrica, Italy Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy George Brown College, Institute without Boundaries, Canada Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), the Netherlands Izmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Turkey Royal College of Art, England Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Germany

  • Lovely Language, words divide images unite

    Communication, Communication Design

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    Urtrecht Manifest is a biannual focussing on social design. In 2005 was the first edition. In 2007 I was asked to make the program for edition 2007. Within an international context and a small concept driven energetic group of individuals we where able to realise an interesting chain of exhibitions, workshops, documentary screenings and discussions. A one day theory program with lectures of among others Enzo Mari, Braungart, Fiona Raby was sold out.

    The main exhibition Lovely Language in the Centraal Museum Utrecht was vsiited by almost 30.000 visitors. In the 1920s, the Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath (1882–1945) developed an international visual language, for which the German-Dutch graphic artist Gerd Arntz (1900–1988) designed more than 4,000 pictograms. Neurath’s motto – ‘words divide, images unite’ – is the point of departure for the Lovely Language exhibition. Many of the duo’s designs were the forebears of pictograms we now encounter everywhere, such as the man and woman on toilet doors. How tenable is the ‘ISOTYPE’ (International System of Typographic Picture Education) by Neurath and Arntz in the 21st century? Lovely Language presents Neurath and Arntz’s visual language and the way it was employed as the basis for the development of an international visual language. Also on show is recent and inspiring work at the frontiers of word and image by Mieke Gerritzen, Koert van Mensvoort, the British-Finnish artist Charles Sandison and others.

    ...
  • Bounce Logo

    Communication, Industrial Design

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    BOUNCE logo

    best, Michael

  • _c0_db_c0_ba_c7_d0_b1_b3_c1_b9_be_f7_bd_c4_20173_177_

    My recent artistic research on the mainstream capitalistic South-Korean society brought me to a remote region in Jeollabukdo. A French and I are working as volunteers with the Korean organization IWO in this interesting community in the city of Sannae (산내).

    I wanted to put attention to this, because I believe the combination of traditional Buddhist education, co-organized farming by temple, community, and school is seriously an alternative to what I have seen sofar.

    The schools curriculum features classes like world peace, argricultural education, and Indian philosophy. It also teaches to life traditional Korean lifestyle and the gratetiude of monks. It has been very open-minded and therefore does freely inbed Christian and Atheist. Probably also Moslems, but I have not seen any around, yet.

    SilSangSa Little Middle School(KOREAN) 실상사작은학교

  • Interview: Deborah Szebeko

    Community, Communication Design

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    I have just listened to an interesting interview with Think Public's Deborah Szebeko, via Wodcast.

    Szebeko opens the discussion to talk through her definition of "Public Service Design". She continues to discuss Think Public's recent project "The Real Work Experience" - which I am ever more inspired by having (like many of those involved) left my BA degree in Graphic Design a bit lost at how to vehicle my work/skills/education toward positive change, rather than choosing a career path toward the more typical designer routes of advertising, for example. Szebeko further explains her motivation for starting Think Public and the Real Work Experience to have been driven from a frustration that designers have so little awareness as to where they can use their communication skills to design for greater good. Worth taking 12 mins to listen to the interview if you haven't come across Szebeko's work yet.

    - Wodcast_thinkpublic.mp3

  • TCT at The Royal Albert Hall.

    Aid, Communication Design

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    Previously unreleased footage from the legendary TCT at The Royal Albert Hall will be available on DVD from 14th April 2008.

    Packed with performances that capture the spirit of this unique event, including one-off collaborations between Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller and Razorlight and The Who’s Roger Daltrey, the DVD will be available from the Teenage Cancer Trust website immediately at a special preview price. All profits from the sale of the DVD will go to Teenage Cancer Trust, helping them to continue to build specialist teenage cancer units within the NHS for young people with cancer.

    Filmed live at London’s spectacular Royal Albert Hall, artists featured in the DVD include The Who, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, The Cure, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Bloc Party and Judas Priest.

    What a great contemporary design for such a great purpose!

    - TCT at The Royal Albert Hall.

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