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Archives: May 2006

Straddle Karim Rashid and Ride, Ride, Ride!

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As if bikes weren’t already cool enough, Biomega has cornered the market on Really Cool Bikes. Founder Jens Martin Skibsted (named to the I.D. 40 earlier this year) launched Biomega five years ago with two wheeled beauties by Marc Newson; then recruited gearheads Ross Lovegrove and Karim Rashid to twist more carbon frames into rideable furniture. Plus the fine art of color selection is performed by Beatrice Santiccioli.

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The Only Place Google Will Ever Look Pretty

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Nope, it’s not the chemical makeup of Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke. It’s not a map of FedEx routes in Florida. It’s not a psychedelic dandelion. That’s UnBeige.

Check out the genius of Aharef, the magician who turns websites into graphs. And you can play, too! Plug in your own URL and watch as your site explodes in a twirling fit of links and linebreaks. It’s like “Fantasia,” but starring those colored-headed sewing pins your mom used to use. Thnx, TMN.

A Big Metal Box By Any Other Name

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Whenever this writer reads one of these kinds of essays, there’s a
little sigh of relief breathed out. This time it came from Ideas on
Ideas’ newest piece “Think
Different
,” and is all about that old debate of PC vs. Mac, which
began well before the birth of the first dinosaur. The refreshing
thing about the essay is that they stand up to their own community and say, “We wanted to be like you, but we can’t. We’re sticking with our PCs.” And that’s the way this writer has always been. Starting from an IBM PS2-Model 25 (and a Commodore Vic-20, if you want to get all technical about it), he’s always been a PC person. When he started getting interested in production, he said, “Okay, if I’m going to be serious about making a go of this, I’ll need to get a Mac, because that’s what they use in the industry” and a small fortune was spent buying a fancy G4. What happened? The thing didn’t do what his PC could, so it sat there, unused, and was eventually sold. He uses Macs at work and really enjoys them there, and in freelance jobs has used ones so tweaked out that they’d make you drool, but they just don’t do it for him and the flak continues among his peers. So it’s nice to read this “sticking up for yourself” type of thing and hearing “really, it isn’t that big of a deal.” Bravo! (now you may commence throwing tomatoes)

Disney Hall Turns a Corner

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How does that little piece of tin foil fit in to LA’s future? In last night’s AIGA/LA presentation, its designers gave a comprehensive overview of Walt Disney Concert Hall, how well it works for the LA Philharmonic, and what’s in store for the Silver Queen.

Craig Webb, of Gehry Partners, begins by flipping through the famous working models of Disney Hall–14 years, 30,000 drawings and models. In the milk-carton, squiggly stage, potential concert hall shapes ranged from Legos to Millenium Falcons. The final design was actually dictated by Lillian Disney’s love for gardening; it was decided that Disney Hall would emulate a flower.

Inside, the Gehry kids worked closely with acousticians, your word of the day, to coordinate the hall’s performance space (it’s a 10 as music venues go–we’ll get back to that). The rippling, topographic map of wood in the concert hall itself is like a basket with an organ of loose sticks on one end. Webb described the entire project as “putting a boat in a box” and then “disguising a box” within a stainless steel shell. Oh yeah: it was originally planned to be limestone–the steel was a budgetary thing.

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And Now…More About Us

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This is always a nice experience. We were checking out what was being tracked back over to us and found that the fella, Adam Gillitt, who created our current UnBeige logo, which is part of our ongoing
Design-Our-Logo-Just-For-Fun experiment, had some really interesting things to say about his process of designing it. And a really good story about David Carson. It’s a real pleasure for us to read about, well, things to do with us, sure, but it’s a great insight on the mind of a designer, working in all those pieces to make the whole. Things we would probably never have figured out, but are essential to making connections. So our hat is off to you, Adam, for not only making us look good, but getting our brains a-thinkin’ too.

We Drove Over to Ask ‘What’s the Deal?’

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Following up on Alissa’s post yesterday about the new Pixar movie,
Cars, we drove by the first billboard we’ve seen for the film
today and were so taken aback by it that we had to pull over and take a photo. Because, really, what’s with the names there in the corner?
Usually, big name films like this, with marketing budgets equal to the expense of making the actual movie, have it pretty together and
everything, while often bland, is relatively flawless, but this looks
like the designers finished the billboard, it was already at the printers, and then someone said, “Ooh, you know what? We should have the names of the stars on there somewhere.” And so someone quickly just threw them on there in the corner. There’s absolutely no symmetry or anything comfortable about they layout with the names on there at all. It’s just…strange. Then again, maybe it’s just us.

We Like the Cars, the Cars That Go Vroom

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We knew our subscription to AutoWeek would eventually pay off, and this week we were blessed with what feels like an entire issue devoted to the upcoming movie “Cars.” You can spend a good hour familiarizing yourself with the car-aracters, including an interview with Lightning McQueen (or is it Owen Wilson?), but the issue’s highlight is a story about the five animators at Pixar who steered their love for the rumble seat all the way to the drive-in. Or a theater near you. But wouldn’t it be awesome to see this movie at a drive-in? Someone better be on that.

Via Core77‘s Monday Must Read, which definitely is.

A Park, Without

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Seems a shame to type out a bunch of babble when dealing with a great, well-written speech like the one David Rhodes recently gave at the School of Visual Arts, which has been republished over at AIGA’s site under the title Art, Censorship, and Courage, so we’ll keep this brief. The jumping off point for Rhodes onto larger themes of censorship and the whos and hows and whats of its function, is the recent rule mandated by the NY Parks Department restricting art from public display that doesn’t “demonstrate a proper resepect for public morals, or conduct or that includes material that is political, sexual, or religious in nature.” It’s a powerful read, so without further blab, we’ll let you to it.

Degree Programs in Business, Technology, Health Care and…Design Management?

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If you’ve found that you’re way good at explaining to your clients why they should change their logo, it might be time to supplement your design career with a few electives from the field of design management. As writer Kristin Leu defines it:

“Technically, design management is the identification and allocation of creative assets within an organization to create strategic, sustainable advantage. Simply, design management is design-minded leadership, the bridge between design and business. It moves design beyond the aesthetic to change experiences, organizations and opportunities–and design managers are trained specialists in this role.”

Her article on design management highlights some programs at Stanford, Pratt and UC Berkley, where grads go on to infiltrate corporate culture and get CEO types to realize the value of design for their companies. It’s like spreading the design gospel.

Make Sure to Use Big Type on the Masthead

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If your resume looks a little thin, maybe it’s time to pad it a bit with titles like Editor, Art Director, Lead Illustrator, etc. for a major international design/art magazine. This, of course, rarely happens, unless you and your friends decide to storm an office like in Die Hard and won’t release your hostages until you receive a Pulitzer. But, from our experiences, that never seems to work out very well. But all hope is not lost, as Colors magazine is giving you this opportunity. In a future issue, they’re letting their readership take over. You put together the magazine you’d like to see and they’ll assemble the best-of-the-best of all the entries. Sounds like a pretty great deal, if you’re up for it.

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