Saturday, May 28, 2005

Postindustrial Design competition

HyperWerk, a design team at the University of Applied Sciences in Basel (Switzerland) is looking for an interpretation of Postindustrial Design: "What does a Postindustrial Designer do?"

The task is to express your thoughts and ideas on this subject on a front of a postcard. Their site has more information on the competition, their idea of hyper post-industrial design, a gallery of submited entries, etc. Entries close on July 12.

Viel Glück
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Design is...

So anyway, what is design? To awnser that, here are some quotes from famous designers (and some not so famous) via a design legend: Gui Bonsiepe's blog. Seems that he's now more interested on web design but he still has some comments on emerging (periferic) countries design development. I am sure he would like this "bamboo bike" (via designboom).

His blog has many interesting links and resources to download (most in spanish, but some also in english and german). Here's a google translation of a conference on "dialectic of design" (Die Dialektik des Entwerfens und der Entwurfsforschung).

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Stop & shop

Product development depends on retail and we always talk about the "consumer's needs" but, is this a need? or just something to boost consumism?

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Mexican treats

We are enjoying my sister's gift (5 cans of diverse "guisos") and a bag of mexican candys that Moira was suposed to give to a mexican student, but she couldn't find him (or her) and now we've got them. We are planning to make a cultural hybrid and use the chamoy bars to make japanese rice balls...mmmm!

Today, my blog got accepted at the mexican blogs directory (see the small banner?) So, today I was browsing through some "compatriotas" interesting blogs. We mexicans are really one of a kind! Well, I visited so many blogs today, that I can't remember from which one I got this link to a very nice sample of mexican paintings (and some sculptures). It's really worth the visit, there are some amazing works like this one by Rafael Coronel:

At the library site there's also a link to a sample of Chagall's works.

Hasta la vista
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Time travel

I guess that the binary watch is not such a good idea, unless you'd like to practice your binary counting skills, just like when you learn a new language. I remember counting people in german when waiting on queue at the bank. Anyway, here's a clever idea (via ektopia) on how to solve the problem of calculating the equivalent time on a different time zone.

"Earth is now a place. In the future, as we get more connected one to another, this place will need a new common language of time. New Earth Time, or NET, is a proposed global standard time which measures the global day with 360 degrees. NET runs right alongside your local time. Now you can act locally in your time, and globally in New Earth Time.

Earth is a place. Nowadays, we may watch the Olympics in Athens, soccer in Seoul, buy a book in Seattle, chat with a Parisian, and win a computer game in Singapore. This is the neighbourhood. Another few years, and this will be much more so with mobile, fast, always-on Internet. Now, all of our interactions need to occur in time. But which time zone do we use? Greenwich Mean Time? No, GMT is not a Web standard - it is common to see Eastern, Pacific or local times displayed.GMT seems too confusing for daily life. Let's say you want to play an online game at 6:00 pm GMT and watch TV at 7.00 pm. This is confusing - the mind has difficulty thinking in two conventional time zones at once. New Earth Time solves the problem by using a different scale - the global day is divided by 360. It is an abstract time. You play online at 270° NET and watch TV at 7.00 pm. The times do not get inter-mingled and confusion is minimised."

To make it worst... summer/winter times change on different dates and are opposite on nothern/south hemispheres (i.e. Mexico vs. New Zealand) One day is 5 hours difference, then is 6 for a couple of weeks and later is 7 hours for example.

Something that puzzles me, is that we are on the day change line, we are the first ones to start the day, and still, we get the news from other countries 2 days later... is like there was a coriolis information-time effect : time goes clockwise, but news and events travel counter-clock wise.

If only we could time-travel... What would you do if you could time-travel? Don't tell me you would use it to achieve "world peace" this is not an american beauty pageant. OK.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

I have to get one of those...

I am not a starwars fan, in fact... I only went to the movies to see the first one, many, many years ago... all other sequels, including the new ones, I watched them on the telly. I have better things to waste my money on.

Can anyone tell me how is it possible to have better technology and more sophisticated spaceships 20 years in the past? Why Sauroman joined the dark force? Is that something like an intergalactic axis of evil? Why did they meet Harrison Ford and Chupaca as a strangers on a bar, and now Chupaca is one of the main characters? It just doesn't make sense, is like a science fiction soap opera. Any way, I would love to have a swiss knife with an utility lightsaber like this one. Speaking of things one must have... here's a binary watch for all those computer geeks from "" They have a nice collection of everything useless.

Liebe Grüße
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Thursday, May 19, 2005


Vectorpark is an interactive site. No clues, and you have to figure out what to do. The game with the levers is clever, but "moonwatcher" is my favourite.

I finished reading Octavio Paz, but I will comment on that later... I've been bussy writing kiwiaventuras and uploading some pictures into the pictures album. If there's a picture you want me to upload there, just let me know.

bis bald
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Monday, May 16, 2005

Outsiders design

Today we enjoyed episode AABF-15. I am not talking about an underground version of some starwars movie... of course it's the simpsons! That's the episode when Homer becomes conceptual or better said "outsider" artist... you know:

Amazingly, this couple of weeks there were some "serious" tv reportages about "outsider artists" like a 7yr old girl and Tarzan's sideshow "cheeta", yes... the monkey from the tv series... is now an "outsider artist" just check the article to read about his exhibition at Palm springs.

I'll have to check on some art philosophers, but there must (or should) be something like "I paint, therefore I am" what I mean, is that to be art, it has to be created by humans only. Animals may feel pain, and have some instinctive intelligence, but animals cannot be artists, because they have no need to express themselves. Art is a form of expression. I remember very well when we met Takeshi Kamei and someone asked him "what do you do?" and he replied "I am in the business of communication" The other guy must have thought that Kameisan was a Keitai sales rep. I loved his answer. Yes, he was right, in fact, art is communication.

Therefore, art has to have a message. I doesn't matter if the message is anger (like Homer's BBQ) or pleasant kitschig emotions. The message has to be deliverately enclosed in that work of art... so, an animal cannot "talk" or communicate emotions through paint spots or footprints on a canvas. That only demonstrates that many of the modernist's paintings are at the level of communication of a chimpanzee: Zero, none, niente, null, nada!

Don't get me wrong... I am a great fan of artists like Kandinsky or Chagall among many others. But we have to understand that at that time, modernism was "deconstructing" i.e. smashing everything into small pieces so that the next generations could build using those powders of new recycled materials. Instead, 100 years later we are still trying to hold on too strong to the modernists. The uneducated think that paint splatters are still "avant garde". I don't know if it's because it's simple, easy or because even a child or a chimpanzee can do it! Or is it because capitalist imperialists (like Greenberg) saw an endless source of money on modernists paintings. Just think a little bit about it: a classic painting may take months or years to be completed, while modern painters can do hundreds of kindergarten drawings a day, and sell them for very good bucks. Astrid Weller was only making good business selling Homer's work, just as Scruton says that Greenberg was a only very good speculative broker (and bully) and not such a good art critic.

A similar thing happens with industrial design. During the same time frame as modernism, designers were only looking at form or function, or a combination... any exploration of cultural meaning or symbolism was considered "kitsch". Design also had to be free from any form of figurative meaning. It's until recent times through the understanding of material culture, that we realise that objects play an important part on the construction of our cultures. We have now the choice: we can choose to build our culture with "outsider's design" (objects that are a great commercial success but have no meaning and can be done by a chimpanzee) or start building with meaningful objects.

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Design Jobs

This time of the year is the end of the school year (at least on the nothern hemisphere). That means also graduations. Students from one of my favourite generations are now prepared for "kick off" or as Sichem said: Lucky kick. But there's also the reality as the apple brochure says: "One day you are a student embarking on a glorious career. Two verses of "Pomp and circumstance" later, you're unemployed" (see previous post)

I am not a good advisor on that, but I found some interesting information that might help young graduates. There's for example RitaSue's brochure published by IDSA: "Getting an Industrial Design Job" (at the bottom of IDSA's publication's page)... that article is not on her own site : where you can find loads of publications and tips for job seekers. From writing a resume and organising a design portfolio to interview tips, etc. My favourite article is ID's "Making the grade" about the challenges on design education. Maybe I'll review later some of the ideas on that article... after I finish reading Octavio Paz!

Have a nice weekend everyone!
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Not so "free"lance =$79

Today (or yesterday) I received an e-mail with an invitation to join a yahoo group for freelancers. That doesn't sound bad at all! Thing is, that the yahoo group doesn't do anything... it's just a page to re-direct to the real business, called :

In principle the idea sounds fine. You register as a designer and pay a $79US fee to get access to the information on the freelance jobs advertised. It's not that bad, when you think that many designers charge $80USD per hour. So if you get just a small job, it pays itself. Well, that just in principle, because each designer has to bid for the job, and the client chooses from them... So, there's no guarantee that you will get the job. In fact, you could spend the whole year biding for jobs without getting any. (being pesimistic)

Being optimistic, is a good way of finding international jobs. Clients and designers have different locations, so everything, including payment is done electronically. Have a look. I am not promoting this site, nor have registered myself... but someone might find it interesting.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ay caray!

Do you remember the radio commercial about the guy who discovered how to turn wine into gasoline? Well, apparently, someone found a way of turning apple juice into beer: (via I wonder if I could get a cold glass of coke out of my iBook...


I found the G3 brewery while browsing through some spanish design blogs. I also found some interesting notes, like the training bicycle, or "I hate design", where you can find links to amazing sites like this one: "carniceria llantero -oria". It all started when I was looking for kitsch on creative commons and found new examples of kitsch at "cultura del proyecto".

Update on the training bike at D E S I G N - E N G I N E . C O M

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Form causes function?

One thing always lead to the next one. Today, I received an article on New Zealand design that mentioned something interesting about Aristotle's design theories... so I looked into that, and found his 4 causes to why... :

The material cause is the basic stuff out of which the thing is made. The material cause of a house, for example, would include the wood, metal, glass, and other building materials used in its construction. All of these things belong in an explanation of the house because it could not exist unless they were present in its composition.

The formal cause {Gk. eidos [eidos]} is the pattern or essence in conformity with which these materials are assembled. Thus, the formal cause of our exemplary house would be the sort of thing that is represented on a blueprint of its design. This, too, is part of the explanation of the house, since its materials would be only a pile of rubble (or a different house) if they were not put together in this way.

The efficient cause is the agent or force immediately responsible for bringing this matter and that form together in the production of the thing. Thus, the efficient cause of the house would include the carpenters, masons, plumbers, and other workers who used these materials to build the house in accordance with the blueprint for its construction. Clearly the house would not be what it is without their contribution.

Lastly, the final cause {Gk. teloV [télos]end or purpose for which a thing exists, so the final cause of our house would be to provide shelter for human beings. This is part of the explanation of the house's existence because it would never have been built unless someone needed it as a place to live.

To put it in plain words: Objects have 4 causals or elements, it's matter (material cause), the aesthetic arrangement (formal cause), the designer or manufacturer (efficient cause) and the purpouse of the object (final cause). On the next page of that same web site, they say: Thus, for example, the material cause of this chair is the wood out of which it is made, the formal cause is the shape into which it was fashioned, the efficient cause was the carpenter by whom the chair was made, and the final cause is the sitting for the sake of which it was designed. So in that order of things, form doesn't follow function, it is a separate unit.

I never believed on Sullivan's dictum, at least not blindly. If that were an absolute truth, most modern items should have similar shapes and just slight variations according to particular specifications. I mean, all (modern) chairs would have then the same basic (perfect) shape for just the function of seating... but it is not so. Because matter is transformed by the designer (or manufacturer) each solution is basically unique. Each object has a unique combination of all 4 causals, and all 4 causes make the "whole". Although they are related, they are still independent, not co-dependant. They don't follow each other, they just are.

Jan Mitchl from Oslo wrote this article on Sullivan and explains step by step the whole deal. That is more or less how I see it, but explained with clearer thougts: "True functional solutions would be identical with true formal solutions, since each and every function was meant to have one - and only one - solution proper to it, and, consequently, only one proper form. The dictum form follows function, is then mistaken. The functionalist notion of function did not refer to the world of users but to the realm of what we called the functionalist design metaphysics, where the business of forms was to express 'functions' conceived by supra-human entities (guru-designers). In the reality of our day-to-day world, however, the functionalist notion of function operated as a carte blanche: having been empty the notion of function made the architects and designers free to define it in ways that always legitimized their own aesthetic priorities. We can say that in our commonsense world form follows function is infeasible as a design precept for objective design." (some editing/abbridging and emphasis added)

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Mac Groening

Have you noticed that the Simpsons always use Macs? For example: when Homer opened the "CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet" (which was later monopolized by Bill Gates). Last season, Homer becomes a coreographer and they play a Quicktime video on OSX !

This is a brochure with Matt Groening's illustrations for Apple in 1989. I posted this as a link to a blog where you can see the whole slideshow. Enjoy

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Moco Loco

I'm getting reaaaally old... I feel very tired today, and it's ...not that late, just 'round midnight. Anyway I wanted to post this link to MocoLoco before I got old. I know that the name in spanish sounds a bit wierd, it's just to make sense of Octavio Paz's comments on word's semantics.

The section on off-line magazines can give you good ideas on design magazines. Some of them are expensive or hard to get. OK. I'll just go to sleep now! I'm tired of playing beach volleyball all day, without getting to pass level 3!

Gute Nacht
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Monday, May 02, 2005

Must love the simpsons

Just so you don't say that I neglected this blog and forgot about posting new items. Here's a nice commercial: honda's ad about user centered design.

I started to read Octavio Paz's labyrinth of solitude. but it's not a quick read. Maybe next week I'll post my comments on that.
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