November 23, 2010
On November 4, the Art Directors Club inducted designer, architect, and author George Nelson posthumously into its Hall of Fame. Every two years the Club honors individuals who have made “significant contributions to art direction and visual communications, and whose lifetime achievements represent the highest standards of creative excellence.” The others inducted this year include Fabien Baron, creative director; Matthew Carter, typographer; and Brigitte Lacombe, photographer.
Nelson is a big part of Herman Miller’s history. He was director of design here from 1946–1971 and he designed many iconic pieces, including the coconut chair, the marshmallow sofa, and the platform bench. And we think his design philosophy—“total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything”—is more relevant than ever.
If you’re in New York, you can see works by the new inductees free of charge at the ADC Gallery until November 23, 2010.
Nelson’s work is also part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
First published on Discover.
November 23, 2010
The holiday season is fast approaching, as is Black Friday. Before you shop till you drop, it’s time to make some important decisions and considerations for this year’s holiday presents: does your loved one really want a tech gift, and if so, which ones do they want? Gifts for kids are significantly different from gifts that you’ll give to your significant other, so it’s good to do some planning before you do your gift shopping to avoid holiday gift disappointments.
In our opinion two tech devices seem to stand out this holiday season as strong gift options we’d recommend jumping on early: the Amazon Kindle and the Microsoft Kinect. Just make sure beforehand that the person receiving the Kinect has an Xbox 360 already, or you should factor in the console system into your purchase, or it will be one sad Christmas morning. The Kinect would make for a fun gift for the whole family to enjoy after gifts are all open, considering its multi-player nature and ability to make anyone look the fool while having fun.
The Kindle has been reduced in price, starting at $139. The 3G version costs $50 extra and it can be easily customized as a personal gift by downloading books that the person will enjoy. You don’t have to purchase them. You can just download some from the thousands of books that are available for free from Amazon in the ebook format. Adding a yearly magazine subscription is also a nice touch.
As an example, I don’t own a Kindle, but do own an Xbox 360. I’d probably appreciate getting a Kindle, as I read voraciously, but don’t believe that ebook reader technology is there yet. However, if someone were to give me one, I’d definitely be happy.
Another interesting gift combination would be one of those iPod Nano watch bands with an iPod Nano ($149). The one from Griffin is called the Slap and sells for $25. There are a number of similar products that were recently released that would be a good gift for someone who already has an iPod Nano.
Lastly, we’ve seen a few places that are selling iPads for $399, making this also a good, yet pricey gift for a loved one. The updated version of the iPad will have a bunch of extra features, so maybe it’s best to be careful with a big purchase like this, especially if the iPad 2 comes out in Q1 2011.
With enough early planning, Black Friday and the sales before and after are the perfect times to upgrade minor/major electronics and appliances at considerable discount. But knowing the when, where and how are important when it comes to a successful Black Friday.
By Range Govindan
[photos via Griffin, Squidoo]
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
November 23, 2010
Here are three of the home offices sent in response to our “Where Do You Design?” post. If you’d like to see your workspace posted here send it on with a brief explanation about the kind of work you do. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Home office of Maureen Soules, an interior designer and software consultant also happens to be an avid knitter. “All the books and bins contain knitting projects I’m currently working on.”
Above is the office of Glasgow-based graphic designer Colin Elliot. You can check out his blog here.
And lastly the office of Janet Kusmierski. “I am an Associate Art Director at Scholastic. My freelance illustration, stuffed 3-D sculpture and painting is created during my time off from book design and art direction.
My office is filled with my poured acrylic paintings, magnetic boards with family photos and art cards, books, computer, gouache by Serge Bloch, and my hand-made stuffed dog sculpture.”
November 22, 2010
I thought the time was right to share my very favorite Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvre—one that does double duty as a chic little snack year round. You are going to pinch yourself they’re so easy: Salmon Chips with Crème Fraiche & Chives. I love these for Thanksgiving because they take two seconds to assemble and salmon isn’t likely to be repeated at the holiday table but does go very well with a glass of lemony Prosecco to kick off the meal.
Salmon Chips with Crème Fraiche & Chives
6 slices smoked salmon
12 ruffled potato chips
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
In a bowl, mix crème fraiche with lemon zest, to taste (personally I am pretty liberal with the lemon zest to balance the richness of the salmon). Cut smoked salmon slices in half. Top each potato chip with a piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of crème fraîche mixture and sprinkle with chopped chives.
November 22, 2010
We’ve got a code that needs to be broken and you may be able to help. Jim Sanborn’s sculpture outside the CIA offices in Virginia is a sinuous piece of metal stamped with 4 codes. Three were broken in 1999 but to the sculptor’s surprise, 20 years later, one particularly difficult code still remains inbroken. Yesterday Sanborn released the answers to 6 letters in the final puzzle to The New York Times. The 64th through 69th letters in this code read NYPVTT. When deciphered, they read BERLIN. Now you just need to figure out the other 91 characters and put them in their proper order. Easy!
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
November 19, 2010
This is the last in the BROODWORK Ideal Live/Work Space series. It seems fitting to end with Iris Anna Regn, Broodwork’s co-founder, and her husband architect Tim Durfee. Here they share thoughts on their own soon to be expanded home. For Iris and Tim – aided by an open, thoughtful design, and imbued with their combined intelligence - this home is where a central aspect of their work will be woven into the fabric of their lives.
Work, space, some practicalities: we are more interested in how work happens in places than in “places for work.”
We both have multi-disciplinary, collaborative design practices and often work together. We live in a small cabin of a house in Los Angeles with one child, one cat, a Mini, and a dwarf hamster. At home we share a desk located in front of a big window from which we can watch our daughter and her friends play on two tree-swings.
In our future house we hope to build on this small example of telescoping space: where the different parts are simultaneously visible, welcoming different modes of living.
ABOVE: Over-easy house, DurfeeRegn
Iris: I have always admired the way Marguerite Duras worked – stolen spaces in her living room, or in a simple sunny nook. Having work areas in various locations of the house, somewhat defined (by Duras as stacks of books and ashtrays), allows for the different functions and humors.
Duras writes: “There are houses that are too well made, too well thought out, completely without surprises, devised in advance by experts. By surprise I mean the unpredictable element produced by the way a house is used…” (Practicalities: Marguerite Duras Speaks to Jerome Beaujour, Grove/Atlantic, Inc, 1993)
Some situations engender productive improvisation. “Misused” programmed spaces, leftover or residual spaces, selective ambiguous specificity
Iris: When our daughter was an infant we took her to R.I.E. parenting classes, where we learned about open-ended play. Encountering this idea as the result of serious developmental research lent new conviction to thoughts we had about spaces which allow occupants to define their own desires.
Tim: I believe the best architecture balances the use of somewhat abstract, objective systems with subjective specificity. To consider a place for working is equally a process of structuring an environment with an optimistic potential for use, and a somewhat intuitive referencing of places I have experienced. For me, “live/work” inescapably conjures an adolescent memory of the fake wood-paneled basement room we called the “library,” where all of the books not worthy of the living room were shelved: I’m OK, You’re OK, The Amazing Mrs. Polifax. I wrote term papers to the sound of the freestanding dehumidifier periodically shuddering on, pulling gallons of water from the summer air.
Duras: “… most modern houses… don’t have passages… for children to play and run about in, and for dogs, umbrellas, coats and satchels…passages and corridors are where the young go when they’re four years old and have had enough of grownups and their philosophy.“
ABOVE: Rather than being an idle “deck,” an outdoor space could be on its way somewhere. hood-House, DurfeeRegn
At times merely the appearance of utility can be comforting, and inspiring – even when it is not clear exactly what the purpose of a space or object might be. We think of it as a kind of selective or layered specificity that encourages thought, participation, and sometimes even community.
ABOVE: Growth Table, DurfeeRegn. Photographs: Matt Shodorf
Tim: Kitchens in particular, have this quality – they are the most purposeful-looking of domestic spaces, and can lend a certain focus to tasks that have nothing to do with food. A kitchen makes for an excellent place to pay bills, as though the responsible management of money is assured in the location where the food is kept and prepared. As a teenager in Brussels I built model airplanes and plastic Big Daddy Roth hot-rods in a tiny kitchen on the third floor of our house. I sat on a high stool, which afforded a view through a single, small window. The gray patter of low-country drizzle, David Bowie on auto-rewind.
Balance, Design, Products
November 19, 2010
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Room Images Photographer Jason Busch has put together a beautiful website full of images that make me want to dash out and renovate my house (unfortunately I need to buy a house first…but that’s a whole other story). Where to start: Click on the Study series. Lots of amazing home work spaces there.
2. Design Related An online community for creatives, this is a great spot to check out new work. The blog, rather annoyingly, starts with an explanation of the site but scroll past that for some great eye candy. Where to start: I like the post on fold-out guides to the world’s trouble spots. Smart design.
3. Dribble And while we’re looking at online design communities we can’t forget Dribble. Did you like show and tell at school (I admit that I did!) This site offers a place for designers to show off their latest work – it’s a joyous show and tell for grown ups. Where to start: Jeff Sheldon’s typography work.
4. Addictive Color A blog on design and architecture from photographer Colin Elliot. Where to start: The post on Lego Letterpress posters…perfect art for a home office.
5. Life.Style.etc Living Etc, a wonderful English interiors magazine, launched this blog that gives you a behind the scenes look at what makes this highly successful magazine tick. Where to start: Stairway to chocolate heaven…I’m not going to spoil the surprise. Just check it out.
Design, Products, Technology
November 18, 2010
Photographer Diana Walker got the rare opportunity to take a peek inside the home of Steve Jobs. He had just recovered from his surgery in 2004 when he invited his favorite Time photographer to stop by and shoot some photos of him and his home office. The outcome was rather surprising.
We figured he would have a sleek and modern all white office with state of the art technology (well, he probably does have that, we just can’t see it). Much to our surprise, his office is strangely normal. The man that has control of one of the largest technology companies in the world has a normal home office. We appreciate the somewhat standard size of the monitor and of course, the stacks of papers. The screen saver of his son Reed is of course very endearing as well.
There aren’t very many photos of his actual workspace, but we’re happy we got a glimpse inside none the less. We are pretty jealous of his view and the easy access to the patio just outside. The remaining photos are available on All About Steve Jobs.
By Kristen Lubbe.
Images: Diana Walker (The whole set from Diana Walker’s photoshoot is viewable over at AllAboutSteveJobs.com to dissect and nitpick.)
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
November 17, 2010
To say that music and technology have guided the career of James Lynch III is putting it mildly (read his extensive bio here). Now the Chief Technology Officer at ecoReserve.org, he’s working to help protect endangered land—all while listening to a library of music that’s almost 14,000 songs strong. Here’s a list of tunes that recently showed up after he hit “shuffle.”
What do you listen to while you work? Although I will occasionally listen to entire albums, I usually put my 13.5K song collection on random.
How do you listen? Through Bose speakers or with my headphones on.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I have feeds from a ton of music blogs coming into Google Reader, and I hear about new releases from them, and from friends of mine. I used to share office space with The Rights Workshop, a music-supervision and licensing company, and discovered a lot of new music through Brooke Wentz and her team.
Does music influence your work? Before ecoReserve, I worked as software architect for Creative Allies, a startup that enables musicians to post jobs for creative content (CD covers, t-shirts, etc.) and have their fans compete to create the piece chosen by the musician. The team behind the project was made up of music business veterans as well as younger folks, and we all wound up listening to a lot of music by the artists involved in our initial launch. This is an example of the opposite of what you’re asking… for years, my work has influenced the music I’ve heard, rather than the opposite.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? I use SonicLiving.com to find out about gigs that interest me. Having spent years in and around the “music biz” such as it is, there are friends whose taste I trust implicitly (Cerentha being one of them!), and I always check out anything they send my way. I probably recommend more music to friends than they recommend to me.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? What a question!!! Hmm. ecoReserve, my current project, allows people to create their own nature preserves for as little as $25… so it would be something connected to nature—maybe Peter Gabriel, something apocalyptic: “Here Comes the Flood.” When I had my prepress company in New York, things ran at an insane pace… perhaps “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads.
Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough), Steve Earle
Capital Punishment (from “Back in Town), George Carlin
Sparrow, Ken Stringfellow
I Feel Fine (Beatle’s cover), The Harvey Averne Dozen
Bottomliners, Brian Eno
I Want You Around, The Hunting Accident
My Son Cool, Guided By Voices
Eleanor Put Your Boots On, Franz Ferdinand
Tough Guy, Beastie Boys
Bummer In The Summer, Love
California Stars, Billy Bragg and Wilco
Under Your Breath, Whiskeytown
Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out, John Lennon
Fussing and Fighting, Bob Marley and The Wailers
See How We Are, X
Images: James Lynch III
November 16, 2010
With more people looking for environmentally friendly products, bamboo has become a popular material for making all kinds of things. There are definitely some legitimate concerns regarding the processing and possible over use of bamboo, however I stand by the belief that we are better off with as many alternative sources for materials as possible – it’s a good way to ensure we avoid the depletion of any one source. Let’s take a look at some really cool bamboo office supplies.
Three by Three Seattle makes some incredibly well designed and beautiful supplies. Their Large Bamboo Dry-Erase Channel Panel (31.5” x 15.75”) is one of my favorites. This great looking dry erase board is made from real bamboo that is specially treated so it acts as a dry erase board, and it has plenty of extras like a bamboo pen cup, magnetic strips, hooks, and a mail slot to help organize yourself. It is available in two sizes, and also in a plain and accessorized version. $40 – $100 via Three by Three Seattle
Retro 51 makes a line of very popular pens called the Tornado that come in tons of different colors. They recently introduced a bamboo version that I’ve had the privilege to try out, and not only does it look fantastic, but it also writes flawlessly with a super smooth feel as it glides across the paper. For each of these pens that are sold, Retro 51 makes a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation to rescue 250 square feet of rainforest, and the habitat it protects. $40 via Goldspot
You may not be able to tell that these notebooks are made from bamboo just by looking at their colorful covers, but they have a little secret. The pages inside of these notebooks are all made with 100% sustainable bamboo pulp. Unlike some environmentally friendly paper, the paper in these notebooks has a strong sturdy feel, and holds up well to many different inks. They come in multiple sizes ranging from pocket sized to full letter sized. $5 – $10 via Amazon
Chair mats might be one of the ugliest, and one of the most environmentally unfriendly items I can think of, but thankfully the folks at Anji Mountain turned the once ugly item into something that looks so nice that you almost feel bad putting it on the floor. These bamboo chair mats come in a dark and light shade and in multiple sizes and shapes, so you have plenty of options once you ditch that ugly old, yellowing, and probably cracked, plastic chair mat. $120 to $350 via Amazon
Everyone has a USB flash drive, but not everyone has one that is environmentally friendly like this 4 GB Bamboo USB Flash Drive from Staples. With a comfy 4GB of storage, and a magnetized bamboo cap to keep the USB plug securely covered, you cant go wrong with this great looking little storage solution. $25 via Staples
Illustrations by Jordan Awan.