Say “Tim Gunn” to ten people and nine of them well immediately reply, “I love Tim Gunn!” (The tenth doesn’t watch television or read style manuals). The debonair and decanal Project Runway mentor, who has a vivid childhood memory of touring FBI headquarters and seeing J. Edgar Hoover dressed as Vivian Vance, is bringing his sharp eye and make-it-work mantra to Quirky. Gunn will visit the NYC offices of the social media-meets-product development company this evening to help evaluate products. Tune in here at 7 p.m. EST to watch the live webcast, during which Gunn will weigh on in on more than a dozen potential app-enabled products for the home that Quirky will develop in partnership with GE.
Fab made a splash in Milan with more than cushy Warhol Brillo boxes. The online retailer invited designers from around the world to pitch new products for the chance to have them produced and sold on Fab. More than 150 creative types from 30 countries turned out, and now it’s onto New York. In addition to showcasing its new private label alongside collaborations with the likes of the Albers Foundation and Blu Dot at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which opens to the trade tomorrow, Fab is hosting another “Disrupting Design” competition.
The fearless leader of the judging panel will be Fab co-founder and chief design officer Bradford Shellhammer. “At Fab, we are constantly reinventing ourselves and rethinking what Fab can be,” he says. “By directly engaging with designers to find the best new work out there, we’re hoping to help even more of our members find things they love.” Today’s ever-changing offering ranges from a Louis Ghost Chair signed by Philippe Starck and vintage Kodak Brownies to a subscription to BirdWatching magazine and a pepperoni pizza t-shirt. Shellhammer paused in his booth preparations (find Fab at #1220 at ICFF) to answer our questions.
How did the Disrupting Design competition go in Milan last month?
We were overwhelmed by the response in Milan, which is why we’ve decided to do it again in New York during ICFF. We had so many great entries from all over the world when we did the call out in Milan. Initially we were planning on selecting three winning designs, but we couldn’t narrow it down so we ended up shortlisting twelve designs which we are working to put into production and sell on Fab–the revenue of which we of course share with the winning designers.
What advice would you give to those interested in presenting their designs to the Fab jury on Tuesday at ICFF?
Take a look at our site and keep the Fab viewpoint in mind when presenting. The winning designs from Milan all embody the Fab ethos–they tell great stories, utilize interesting materials, or have a sense of whimsy. We are looking for designs that will be appreciated by our global community of more than 12 million design lovers.
What are some qualities of a successful product on Fab?
Great products tell a story, elicit emotions, or solve problems. It’s that simple. It needs to check at least one of those boxes (hopefully all three). They can be in any category and at any price, as long as there’e something compelling.
What is a product that you’ve sold on Fab that has surprised you, in terms of expected versus actual interest from customers?
Yves Behar‘s medicine accessories for Sabi I thought may be targeted for a customer older than ours, but we sell a lot of them!
Best known for its widely coveted modular shelving system designed by Dieter Rams, Vitsœ recently scored the exclusive worldwide license to Rams’ original furniture designs. First up on the relaunching pad for the London-based company is the designer’s 620 chair, which hits the market this month following a top-to-bottom reengineering. Every last purpose-designed stainless steel bolt in the chair, designed for Vitsœ in 1962 and later the subject of a legal scuffle that led to the design being copyrighted, has been given the once over, and the versatile seat–add castors for swivelling, connect a few together for a multi-seat sofa–emerged from the makeover with a reduced price ($3,340, sans casters) and a footstool.
So many collaborations, so little time. Last night in New York, Versace launched its Versus Versace J.W. Anderson capsule collection, for which the British designer mixed 90′s-infused androgyny (Body Glove brights, cropped and slashed black knitwear) with house signatures (gold lion heads, safety pins). Those not in the market for pricey unisex clubwear should mark their calendars for the ides of September, when Target will unveil its one-off line with Phillip Lim. The designer, who describes his aesthetic as “something between classic and that sense of madness,” set out to create something “cool and chic, but still very accessible.” For the range of women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, he kept the focus on autumnally appropriate neutral tones and prints in materials such as jersey, French terry, and leather. Prices for the approximately 100 items in the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collection will range from $19.99, for a travel pouch, to $299.99, for a leather moto jacket.
Adobe’s David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, speaks at Adobe MAX on Monday in Los Angeles. (Photo: Adobe/David Zentz Photography/Novus Select)
Adobe is bidding adieu to packaged software, the company announced Monday at its Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. As part of an expansion of the Creative Cloud subscription model launched in May 2012, Adobe will not release any further versions of its CS applications, although it will continue to sell and support CS6. Instead, it’s betting big on the cloud. “We believe that Creative Cloud will have a larger impact on the creative world than anything else we’ve done over the past three decades,” explained David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, in a Monday keynote during which he unveiled a more integrated, collaboration-minded line of Adobe “CC” applications.
Many of the new features require access to Creative Cloud. “‘CC’ represents the next generation of Adobe apps,” he said. “Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and all of the other apps will continue to run on your desktop, whether you’re connected to the Internet or not…but the apps will increasingly be part of a larger creative process centered on Creative Cloud.” The major update will be available in June. Adobe exited the first quarter of 2013 with 479,000 Creative Cloud subscribers and expects to reach 1.25 million by the end of the year.
Sharpen up your business plans, design lovers, because Pratt Institute is launching a design entrepreneurship program. The three-week intensive, which gets underway June 3, will give designers the tools to successfully run their own businesses. “These days, entrepreneurship is a critical life skill that will allow a talented person to design and live the life they want,” says Debera Johnson, executive director of Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, which developed the new certificate program. Courses include “Business and Design,” “Turn Your Idea into a Product,” and “Staying Out of Trouble.” So who should fall out for this entrepreneurial bootcamp? Design professionals interested in starting businesses in fashion, product design, footwear, jewelry, design consulting, or social entrepreneurship. Learn more here.
More than a year after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Kodak has made a deal to sell the camera film business on which it was founded, among other assets. As part of a $2.8 billion settlement agreement with its largest creditor, the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP), the company’s personalized imaging and document imaging businesses will be spun off under new ownership to KPP. The deal, announced today and subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, will also give Kodak $650 million to help it emerge from bankruptcy.
So what is actually set to be spun off? You may recall that Kodak recently sold its digital imaging patents for $525 million and then pulled a Polaroid by licensing the Kodak brand name to Los Angeles-based JK Imaging for consumer products such as digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and portable projectors (having shuttered the Kodak digital cameras business last year), as it moves to focus on B2B commercial imaging. The business units involved in the KPP deal are personalized imaging, which includes retail photo kiosks and dry lab systems, photographic paper and workflow solutions, still-camera film products, and “event imaging solutions,” which allows theme parks to sell garishly framed souvenir photos to queasy, fresh-off-the-rollercoaster types. The deal will also divest Kodak of its document imaging business, a line of scanners, software, and professional services.
After four generations of family ownership, Maharam is changing hands. The beloved New York City-based textiles firm, founded in 1902 by Louis Maharam, is being acquired by Herman Miller for $156 million, the company announced this week. “Much as we’ve struggled with this decision, our philosophical kinship with Herman Miller helped make this difficult step a far easier one,” said CEO Michael Maharam, who along with his brother, Stephen (who serves as COO), will remain active in the day-to-day management of the company for the next couple of years. “Herman Miller’s potential to provide the wherewithal to pursue important new initiatives, as well as an established reach into both retail and international markets and the greatest possible strength of association, offers a powerful lever in achieving our design-centered strategic vision.” Maharam is perhaps best known for its re-editions of iconic 20th century designs, including the work of Anni Albers, Charles and Ray Eames, and Alexander Girard. In recent years the company has developed textiles with collaborators such as Hella Jongerius, Paul Smith, Marian Bantjes, and Sarah Morris.
Two of of the seven 2013 Time 100 covers, which feature portraits by Mark Seliger.
Today Time revealed its annual selection of the 100 most influential people in the world, and while we remain suspicious of any list that includes both Christina Aguilera and Elena Kagan, it’s difficult not to enjoy the logistical wonder that is the Time 100 issue. On newsstands tomorrow, the massive editorial effort commissions a diverse group of notable figures—many of them Time 100 alumna—to write a paragraph or two about the chosen influencers. And so this year we get Richard “I know a thing or two about building spaceships” Branson on SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, Claire Danes‘s clear-eyed look at the uniquely vanity-free and shameless Lena Dunham, and Michael Bloomberg‘s cliché-ridden paen to Jay-Z, who emerges as a 21st century Gatsby that gets the girl–she also made the Time 100–and the American Dream.
Art and design stars that made it onto this year’s Time 100 include Apple’s Jony Ive, Michael Kors, who joins the likes of Uniqlo honcho Tadashi Yanai and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg in the “Titans” category; artist Ed Ruscha, who Richard Lacayo likens here to “a SoCal Magritte;” 2012 Pritzker laureate Wang Shu; and Jenna Lyons, executive creative director of J. Crew. “She has made fashion relatable,” writes fashion designer Prabal Gurung of Lyons. “Being fashionable doesn’t mean being trendy; it means having a sense of style. Jenna has made J. Crew more than a brand or a company–it’s a philosophy that believes in style.”
Break out the champagne and the ampersands, design fans, because there’s a rebranding afoot at the legendary brand design firm of Chermayeff & Geismar, the creative brains behind identities for the likes of National Geographic, the Smithsonian, NBC, and Chase. For the first time in 56 years, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar have company on the masthead–in the form of partner Sagi Haviv, who has been with the firm since 2003 (the same year that he graduated from Cooper Union). The firm will now be known as Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.
“In the last ten years, Sagi has proved to us time and time again that not only had he absorbed our design philosophy, but had contributed to it and enhanced it with awareness, energy, and talent,” said Chermayeff in a statement announcing the change. “Tom and I felt that the firm had reached a point where credit going forward into our common future should be shared equally amongst us.” For a taste of Haviv’s absorption and enhancement skills, treat yourself to “Logomotion” (below, created in 2008), his award-winning animated tribute to the firm’s famous trademarks.