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Archives: August 2010

Kindle Packaging, Meyerhoffer Surfboard Among I.D. Annual Design Review Winners

meyerhoffer.jpgDearly departed I.D. magazine lives on in the I.D. Annual Design Review, which since 1954 has recognized the best in product, furniture, graphic, and environment design. This year’s winners range from Thomas Meyerhoffer‘s performance-enhancing surfboard (pictured) and the “unmistakably Swiss” first-class seats designed by Priestmangoode for Swiss International Air Lines to Lab 126′s no-nonsense packaging for the Amazon Kindle DX and the color-based approach to nutritional information dreamed up by IDEO and Hakuhodo.

The winning entries in all ten categories are featured on the retooled I.D. Annual Design Review website and at the AIGA National Design Center in New York City, where they’re on exhibit through September 10. In addition to the all-designer jury‘s impressive selection of best of category, design distinction, and honorable mention recipients, this year’s Design Review introduces the Rado Young Talent Design Award, which grants a $10,000 prize to one student whose work was distinguished by the innovative use of technology and materials. The winner is a Zaha Hadid-flavored room divider called “Phenomena” designed by recent Cranbrook grad Sang Hoon Kim of KEAME Studio. Created (somehow) from 92 pieces of wood, the divider’s eye-boggling curves succeeded in inducing a double-take from Rado president and CEO Roland Streule, who was struck by its “creative, visionary shape which brings dynamism into a room.”

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Harry Ransom Center Raises $30,000 to Restore Gone with the Wind Dresses

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Just three weeks after the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin kicked off a campaign asking for donations to restore five of the original dresses used in the film Gone with the Wind, part of their very large David O. Selznick Collection, which contains more than 5,000 boxes of the legendary film producer’s archives, the museum has announced that they’ve already reached their $30,000 goal. They received donations from more than 600 people across 44 states and 13 countries, helping them to reach their needed total in record pace. The money will be put into working to restore the costumes, which are scheduled to be displayed in 2014, the 75th anniversary of the famous film, as well as giving the museum the ability to loan them out to other organizations following that exhibition. Here’s a bit:

“Most costumes are not constructed to last beyond the production of the film nor are they finished in the same way as a ready-to-wear garment,” said Jill Morena, collection assistant for costumes and personal effects at the Ransom Center. “We’ve taken steps to prevent further damage, but we want to be able to safely display and share the dresses.”

“These generous donations confirm that the film’s legions of fans do, in fact, care,” said Steve Wilson, film curator at the Ransom Center.

EPA/DOT Rolls Out Two New Designs for Fuel Economy Stickers

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For those having to face the unfortunate task of going to a car dealership in the new future to buy a new automobile, you might have a few seconds spared from the impossibly dull and endless process by looking at the nifty new designs for the fuel economy labels stuck there on the windows. The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Department of Transportation, have rolled out two new designs for the signs, which indicate the fuel efficiency of a particular make and model. Our favorite, Label Option 1, features a big, bold letter, showing off the ranking the car receives on a scale from A to D, hybrid to SUV/sports car respectively. Label Option 2 looks fairly similar to what’s out there now, though cleaned up and looking much nicer than before. Both agencies are looking for public input before they put either into mass circulation, so if you feel strongly either way, here’s your chance to be a true patriot.

Report Finds Counterfeits of Designer Clothing Aren’t Causing Brands Any Major Damage

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Sure to ruffle some well-coiffed feathers, a new study for the British Journal of Criminology, assembled by the European Union with assistance by the UK’s Home Office, has been released, saying that counterfeit knock-offs of designer clothing does much less damage to brands than has been previously thought. While raking in billions each year, as well as the constant ire of fashion labels, the study says that these copies do as little damage as “one-fifth of previously calculated figures.” If that weren’t enough to catch a good deal of push back from the brands most often affected, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, the report goes on to say both a) the fight to stop knock-offs should be handled by the labels themselves and not the police, and b) that sometimes these counterfeits often actually help the brands by making people more aware of current trends. We’re thinking neither will be very happily accepted in the fashion design community. Here’s a bit:

A spokesman for Louis Vuitton said: “The sale of counterfeit goods is a serious offence whose revenue funds criminal organisations at the expense of consumers, companies and governments.”

A spokesman for Burberry said: “Counterfeiting is taken extremely seriously. Where a case is proved, Burberry will always push for the maximum penalty.”

In Brief: Etsy Raises $20 Million, Kikkoman’s Solar-Powered Soy Sauce

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  • Etsy, the craftacular online marketplace that is featured in the Cooper-Hewitt’s current National Design Triennial, has raised another $20 million from investors. This, the company’s fifth round of funding, was led by London-based Index Ventures. With 5 million members and 125 employees, Etsy is in the midst of its first profitable year, according to founder and CEO Rob Kalin. “The two biggest costs running Etsy are our servers and our employees,” he wrote Friday on the company’s “handmade” blog. “We want to make sure we can secure the best of both, and this investment helps us here.” Meanwhile, Adam Freed has just joined Etsy as chief operating officer. A veteran of Google, Freed is also the owner/guardian of Hank, a dog that bears a striking resemblance to a Muppet. We smell an Etsy store opportunity!

  • In other crafty business news, Kikkoman has seen the light. The soy sauce specialist is going smartly sustainable by installing solar panels on its Folsom, California factory. The new photovoltaic system will be up and running by late September. It will not only significantly reduce the need for fossil fuel-based electricity to power production but also allow the company to sell solar electricity back to the grid when the facility is not in operation. Installed as a fixed carport over the company parking lot, Kikkoman’s solar system will have the added benefit of shading cars from the Caifornia sun.
  • Zaha Hadid Returns Home, Commissioned to Design for the First Time in Her Native Iraq

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    After years of living and building in Europe, Zaha Hadid is finally going to be working at home. Bloomberg reports that she has landed the commission to design a new headquarters for Iraq’s Central Bank in Baghdad, her hometown she last visited more than thirty years ago and left in 1972. Since then, she has been living in and basing her incredibly successful architecture firm out of London. The bank’s current headquarters, which Building Design informs was designed with “marble-clad reinforced concrete with few exterior openings,” was recently attacked by suicide bombers just two months ago, along with armed insurgents, killing 15 people in the attack. Meeting in Istanbul with developers, Hadid has now been hired to design an entirely new structure, presumably with even more additional safety and security features in places in limit the danger of future attacks like these. Here’s a bit:

    A spokesman for the practice said of the Istanbul meeting: “This preliminary workshop concentrated on the vision of the project’s objectives, success criteria and the operational functions that will be performed by the bank through the coming decades as a national institution that represents the symbol of sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq.”

    …The Hadid spokesman said the brief made it clear the new bank would act as a symbol of the new Iraq. “The new headquarters will enable the monetary authority of the CBI [Central Bank of Iraq] to perform its continued role serving stability, development and economic growth in Iraq,” he said.

    Urban Art Foundation Seeks to Promote and Decriminalize Graffiti

    please_sir.jpgOver the weekend, street artists from around the world convened at P.S. 14 in Paterson, New Jersey, for the “Meeting of Styles.” The two-day graffiti jam filled the walls of the school with vibrant murals and also served as the official launch of the Urban Art Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and decriminalizing street art. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Sumathi Reddy described the fledging group as “an ACLU for those charged with grafitti-related crimes,” with plans to raise funds, marshal legal resources, and attempt to gain landmark status for some of New York City’s street art masterworks. The Urban Art Foundation intends to operate as a nonprofit organization. “We want to decriminalize art and at the same time promote it for future generations,” co-founder Craig Dershowitz told the WSJ.

    Mysterious ‘Possible Gas Leak’ at the British Museum to Remain Mysterious

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    If you were one of the thousands of people rushed out of the British Museum this past Saturday after visitors started complaining about sudden sore throats and eye irritation, leading museum officials to believe that there might be a gas leak, well not to worry: no one has any idea what it caused it or what it was. Could it come back again? Yes or no. Will it hurt you if it does? Probably not, but maybe! In a strange case of bizarre honesty, police and fire officials investigated after the museum was quickly cleared out, only to find that they had no idea what had happened. Then the museum’s spokesman had to come out and say things like, “The answer won’t ever be known for sure” and “It was just a strange one-off incident.” Personally speaking, we think all this “who knows?” attitude can point to only one thing: ghosts. They’d already bought off the museum staff, obviously, and now they’ve gotten to the police and fire departments. Soon they’ll be running the whole of Britain. Consider yourself warned, English people.

    Design Within Reach Tries a Reverse Stock Split to Bump Up the Value of Their Shares

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    Only having been with the company for nine months, Design Within Reach‘s still-new CEO John Edelman, is continuing down his promised path of big changes and turning the company around. Following successful marketing moves and patching up relationships with designers, now the company is trying to patch up its place in the stock market. Last summer, pre-Edelman, their stock had plummeted to the point where they voluntarily delisted themselves from Nasdaq, which was not a positive sign. Now, in the middle of their climb back up, they’ve announced a one-for-fifty reverse stock split of the company’s common stock. What this means in layman’s terms is that they’ll be adjusting the number of shares they offer by fifty (so if you had 50 shares, now you’d have just 1), while keeping the shareholder’s monetary value the same (your new 1 is worth the same as your old 50). This compression lets DWR raise the value of their shares and hopefully be more appealing to potential buyers. While there’s some stigma attached to putting this practice in place because often it’s an indicator that a company is in serious jeopardy, we’re not entirely sure how the situation will play out in this case, since DWR is digging itself out from being on its last legs and not still on its way down. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Wanted: Managing Editor at Elle Decor

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    elledecor082710.jpgNow that Michael Boodro has officially taken over as editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, the magazine has launched its search for a new managing editor. If hired, you’ll oversee all aspects of production for the magazine and website. You’ll be working with the editorial, art, photo, and advertising departments, managing budgets, approving contracts, and enforcing deadlines—nothing beyond the experience level of the ideal candidate.

    With five or more years in a managerial role for a national magazine, proficiency in InDesign and InCopy, and a true love of interior decoration, you have every chance of landing this gig. Are you detail-oriented and a self-starter? Even better. If you’re up for the challenge, apply here.

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