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Archives: November 2006

A Little Varoom In Your Day

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Well, you’ll say, I never knew that the super smart magazine Varoom had a website. Well, we’ll say, that’s because they didn’t. Until now, the baby of editor Adrian Shaughnessy and designers at Non-Format didn’t have a web home. Although not much is up yet in the way of content, you can peek inside at about a dozen pages per issue, where the stories sound awesome, and the pictures sure are pretty.

We also like the tagline, which skirts oh-so-sweetly around design but never really says it. Varoom is a “journal of illustration and made images.”

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Balloons Over Miami

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The Friends are coming! The Friends are coming! Check out this rendering from our friends over at Artkrush, of the Friends With You mega-blimps launching at Art Basel Miami Beach next week, which we told you about a bit ago. If you’re of the lucky ilk venturing to Art Basel, or its hotter sister Design Miami, you can even volunteer to be one of those people who hold onto the strings. You only need to be responsible and over 115 lbs. to apply. We’re not going to make a Nicole Richie joke so you can just get that out of your sick head right now.

The $100 Laptop Is Here (and Actually Closer to $150)

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Just in time for the holidays, the $100 laptop is available to everyone, provided you work in the MIT Media Lab or have the last name Negroponte. The 1000 working prototypes look a little different than the last time we chatted, but even more astounding is that although there are many mentions of the development process and even a nifty infographic of the features, they never once mention the designer, one Golden Boy Yves Behar, and his hearty band at fuseproject.

Although the price may seem like a Black Friday blowout for all the value-crazed moms and dads out there, Mr. Negroponte says this computer is not for you:

“They should buy Dell’s $499 laptop for now,” he said. “Ours is really designed for developing nations–dusty, dirty, no or unreliable power and so on.”

Not even for camping?

Thom Mayne Says “Watch Your Back, Eiffel”

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Watch out, Eiffel Tower, you’ve got Thom Mayne looking straight into your little criss-crossed tower-y eyes, just waiting to match you, floor by floor. It was just announced that Mayne has been selected to design the largest skyscraper in Paris, the “Phare,” a strange looking gigantic office building that will be just shy of the Eiffel’s 324 meters. Here’s some about how the building will also be earth-friendly:

Mayne’s design shows a striking building twisting asymmetrically upward and topped by a crown of spiky antennae. It also contains some “green” features. Wind turbines on the roof will generate heating and cooling for the building for part of the year and a retractable outer layer will cut down on the heat the building absorbs through its windows during the summer, Unibail said in a statement.

Nokia Wants Back Into the Game, Says Something Called “Design” Is the Answer

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Just last night, as this writer and his girlfriend drove home in the rain, enjoying the last comforting night in Chicago before snow comes and buries us for the next four hundred months, we were talking about her Motorola Razr phone and how she’d enjoyed it and didn’t really understand why it had gotten so much bad press. But apparently those bad reviews haven’t been enough to knock it from all the difficulty its given rival Nokia, who, in this interesting read, has decided that they need to return to their once lofty position as being the go-to designer of quality, attractive cell phones. Remember that big feature in the New Yorker a few years ago, about how brilliant the designers at the company were? Well, they want that to come back.

Nokia’s slim-phone miscalculation was a business decision rather than a failure of the design team, Nokia says. Still, the decision to elevate the visibility of design shows that Nokia, which has tended to emphasize function over form, is becoming more fashion-conscious. “As a company we are moving more and more to where consumer marketing and design are more important,” says Chief Technology Officer Tero Ojanpera.

A Whole Collection of 2010 World Cup Logo Hatred

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Remember a while back when we reported on everyone being upset about the logo for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, including the Russian design shop Park, who put together their own identity package for what they considered a much more fitting design? Well, turns out, even though most of us really stopped paying attention back in July when all the hubbub was abundant, the site Not the 2010 Logo launched and has been getting loads of entries and some press. It’s a site just based on receiving entries from designers of logos that they feel look much better. Here’s from their manifesto:

Only 6 agencies were chosen to pitch for the emblem, suggested by Think, the industry council representing the South Africa design industry…Would it not have been better to advise FIFA to open this up to the country as a huge PR exercise, to inspire and unify South Africa behind 2010?

Remember the national effort behind the design of the new South African flag. Anyone could contribute, designers, doctors, security guards, students and even kids armed with crayons in nursery school. It was a brilliant PR exercise and the result was a flag that unified the country. An exercise that should have been mirrored for the 2010 emblem.

Well Stuff My Stockings! A Wishlist!

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‘Tis the season and with that comes the inevitable question, like this writer has been receiving lately, “I don’t really understand what it is that you do and you will probably want something weird that I won’t understand what it is or what it does, so can you just tell me what you want for Christmas?” But we’re involved in film stuff, so to us, sometimes After Effects plugins can make us drool (and those don’t, you know, actually even exist in the physical world). So for you designers, the good folk at Airbag Industries have helped put together this Amazon wishlist, “Things Designers Want for Christmas.” It’s a great list of books that any designer worth their salt would love to have on their fancy, modernist bookshelf. Worth a look to see what you might need, or good to pass along to your poor, confused loved ones.

Is It Really Hot As H-E-Double Hockey Sticks?

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As we plummeted into the first legitimate cold snap of 2006, it suddenly occured to us that Gore might not be right. And then we read this article by David Womack on Think Tank, which investigates the claim that all that definitive information design previously used to communicate the immediacy of climate crisis is still, well, open to debate.

After we read it we kinda sat there, stunned, like everything we had ever known was a lie and we were like, whoa, dude. And David Womack was like, I know, dude. And we were like, dude. And then David Womack put on this weird little fur hat with earflaps and wandered away into the hills, whistling.

Update: Well, it turns out he won’t be wearing that fur hat this season, at all. David Womack writes us himself to say, please, make no mistake–he is in love with Al Gore and that climate change is absolutely real and must be stopped.

The Monster In Stefan Bucher

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We know, we just talked about the goodness that Stefan Bucher was committing in other corners of the country. But it turns out he’s also making daily miracles right in his own home. And if it’s good enough for Ze Frank to direct his swarms of fans to, it’s definitely good enough for us.

Everyday, Bucher spatters some paint on paper, spins it around to find the best orientation, then proceeds to create a monster. No kidding. Don’t believe us? Well, he turns the process into a short film, where we can hum along with the strokes of his Sharpie. It’s scarily captivating.

Sir Ive and Lady Rawsthorn Sit Down for a Chat

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Fresh from slaying dragons, the recently knighted Jonathan Ive spent some time with the former Design Museum director, Alice Rawsthorn (see, we told you we’d be reading her weekly column from now on), to talk about Apple, himself, and everything in between. It’s an interesting read, but if you have no stomach for getting fed the company line(s), you might want to turn away right now:

“It’s a shocking statement for a CEO to say publicly, as Steve has, that the goal of a company isn’t to make money, it’s to make great products,” Ive said. “We’ve been a long way through product development programs and canceled them because we had that sinking feeling that they weren’t good enough. That courage testifies that the product is at the heart of everything we do.”

We’re all nutty about Apple too, but c’mon. When have you heard a CEO of any company “say publicly” that they’re hoping just to rake in the cash? “Oh man, we’re rolling out total garbage to you peons, just so we can buy a new yacht!” Sorry, but that doesn’t happen and so, nope, sorry, that isn’t a shocking statement at all. But, hey, the guy’s just doing his job.

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