Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Half Monty

I guess that men are actually from Omicron Persei 6, and we are no martians after all. Proof is ex-MP Locke (green), who walked through New Market with a G-string and a painted suit, to pay a lost bet. Many have regrets now... I mean those who voted Act just to see Locke's wearable art.

A more enjoyable view were the girls at Expo Ferretera in Guadalajara this weekend. When tool-men go to a trade fair, sure there will be pin-up girls. It was like being live in a Benny Bennassi video! There are some more pics at my Yahoo photos like this paint stand. The fair was just huge! It took us (Raul and I) 2 days to walk through all stands. The register was outside the building to allow more stands inside! just nuts! and bolts, and many other tools.

After 2 days of search, and some careful analysis of tons of free catalogues and literature, I returned alone on sunday because we were looking for a specific hinge that no-one seemed to have. I don't know if it's really so complicated: all we need is a hinge from 180 deg to 270 with 1/16" of difference between plates. The hardest thing was not the explanation, but to get the people to understand the need... Raul says, they are fixed with cabinets, or common applications and they just answer in automatic mode. They can't shift to any other idea. I had to bring parts of the prototype to show them... and still some didn't get the idea. The closest match is a 2 wing hinge... but still, is not a perfect fit.

Today I went to the store to get that (not so) famous 2 wing hinge, and mounted one on a trial prototype... I am still not happy, because there's still the thing of the 1/16" mounting plate. There are two options: to add an extra plate on one side, or make a mounting hole on the other side... both not so acceptable solutions. That means, it is solved but, we're still looking for a better way. I guess that's the hardest job of any designer.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Good design conference

Next wednesday I'll be giving a small talk about good design and other design dimensions at Tec de Monterrey campus Guadalajara. Auditorio 2, 10:00 am. It's a combination of other previous conferences, but there's some new material and new pictures to enjoy.

Look at RCA's web site on Better Product Design for some guiding principles.

see you there.

(yes, that's me)
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I like to move it, move it...

The assignment was to create sculpture based on the drawings of Chris Van Allsburg "The mysteries of Harris Burdick" using principles of spatial arrangement like golden section, reflexion, etc. The catch: the sculpture had to make some kind of movement using a simple mechanism. The task proved to be not as easy as it seems, but my students did a great job. Here the pics:

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Big Red Car

Well, today it's not about THAT kind of wiggles. Today my students started the typical cardboard chair project, so this post is about some other famous cardboard designs like Gehry's chairs for Vitra: Wiggle and Little Beaver which is not so economical on material (or price) and definitively is a nice decorative piece.

Nice furniture for a modern home are Shigeru Ban's cardboard chairs. Or this dinning chairs from (via Treehugger). Makes me wonder if we should build the real stander out of cardboard like the simulator!

We tried to look for some useful functions for a cardboard chair... we came up with some ideas: decoration, trade fairs, parties and events (like children parties)... but there must be some more... if you think of something let me know.

Viva Mexico!
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Monday, September 12, 2005

Bleach Design

I've just got the BleachDesign newsletter from Portugal. Some of their objects will be displayed at several shows over the next months:

:::EXPONOR / CERANOR Porto / Oporto Portugal ::: 8/12 September

:::EXPOHOGAR Barcelona Espanha / Spain ::: 8/12 September

:::TOP DRAWER AUTUMN Londres/ London Inglaterra / England ::: 11/13 September

Or you can alternativelly browse through their site to see some of their work.

Next wednesday some writers from Design-engine are going to give a small conference at ITESM Campus Guadalajara. I'll keep you informed as soon as I know some more. Meanwhile, look at this article about the new MacMouse.

Veja-o mais tarde,
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Arriba las chivas!

It's been a really busy time. I'm building a simulator of the stander. The first idea was to use wood, but it's more flexible to use cardboard if there are changes... So I got a few plates of corrugated cardboard, and in fact, there were some changes and it was easier to just cut and glue again. Sorry I can't show you yet the full images of the standers.

The hardest thing was to find a wood-shop. Most of the wood-shops around this area are now closed... and the prices at Home-Depot are just sky high. So after a few hours of driving with both books of the yellowpages on the passenger seat, I decided to try "El Coli". El Coli is a very poor neighborhood in Guadalajara. If there's a place where there is a traditional old style carpenter, it should be at such a place. In fact, there were several traditional carpenters (sorry, pictures later) Most of them Huicholes (indigenous). For 30 pesos (3 USD) I've got most of the wood I needed and cut to size. I discovered what I called "corrugado aligerado" (light cardboard) which is just a sandwich of triply and cardboard. First, I thought about using a single side of wood just to have a hard surface to put on some screws, but when I saw the nice finish, I decided to put triply on both sides. So I had to return to the Huichol carpenters.

But I couldn't find the place... there was a tianguis along that street! So before buying my pieces of wood, I visited the tianguis. It was amazing, So many stuff, food, objects, pirate movies, shrimps and prawns for just a few pesos. I ate some quesadillas with pumpkin flowers, and huitlacoche... and to drink: chivacola. All my friends know that I am loyal to Cocacola, but I couldn't resist having a Chivacola. Of course it is manufactured by Omnilife, and the bottle will go into my collection of cola bottles. The can is nicer, but I had to let go of my cans collection, because they didn't survive this last move to New Zealand =(

Anyway, back to my Huichol carpenters... there was a guy that wanted to return a chair. The carpenter made a very nice carved frame with 4 lathed bars. But the guy said he wanted 6 bars and just a table on top and no carved frame. He had difficulties explaining that to the carpenter because he (the carpenter) barely spoke spanish. I was somehow annoyed, because it was not a matter of language, but the guy was not clear enough explaining what he wanted, and the carpenter did a very good job. Next weekend I'll take my camera to the tianguis and perhaps I'll take some pics of my indigenous carpenters.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lado A, lado B

This is the winner of the D3 one week workshop. There were many good projects like "garratool"(2nd place) and the spoon items (3rd place). The winner within our group was "chescolito" (chesco is slang for soda) a fusball table made out of pepsi and cocacola bottles. Runner up was a giant lego made out of cardboard tubes and empty cans. Check out the pictures of the whole event at my Yahoo gallery... or read the review at

The presentations were last saturday. First, each student voted for the best project within the group. There were 6 groups. Then, all teachers reviewed the 12 best, and voted. There were 2 rounds of votes to select 3 winners and 3 honorable mentions. All projects will be published and the best will travel to Rome. Everybody asks about the cost of sending "Toña la gorda" by plane... she will need 2 tickets! Toña the fat one, is a sofa made out of an old propane tank! She's about 200kg.

After judging, there was the compulsory party. The architecture student's union organized the party. But they forgot to tell grandma! We were just about to open the first beers, when an old lady came to the teacher's table and said: "Excuse me gentlemen, what are you doing in my house? It is the first time that some strangers just come in here" - Well, your niece organized this party, we even have some tickets here... is this the address? -But my niece is just an escuincla (small girl) to have a party with so many (older) friends...

We just sat there very seriously... for 20 minutes the situation was bit tense. The niece went to her room to change... and her friends were urging her by mobile to come downstairs. We started to joke and imagine when she asked her granny for permission: Abue, may I have a garden party next week? -Of course my dear... just let me see my "novela" (soap opera).

There were tacos with "guisos de la olla": mole, rajas, tongue, beans, asada, etc. I took one of each... and a big glass of jamaica. I will post something about mexican food later... there are so many delicious meals to enjoy!

A few minutes after the prices ceremony, it started to rain. Not just any rain... typical Guadalajara rain. With no warning on any sunny day, suddenly is 30 minutes to an hour of rain storm. Ciudad del sol is particularly nasty when it rains... it gets flooded 30 to 50 cm on a typical rain, up to 1m or more with heavy rain. Everybody is so used to it, that nobody takes it seriously, so the party went on despite the heavy rain.

Hang over next day? Not at all... but my iBook got sick... the cable that connects to the monitor broke. Poor thing spent the whole week at the doctor... but is now running like new. I was impressed with a 17" powerbook that had a broken monitor! The owner must have put on something really heavy over that poor thing! I hope that Santa will bring me a miniMac this Christmas... I guess the deal it's going to be a MiniCooper for my wife to get even! Not so lucky was my video camera... Canon doesn't want to sell spare parts to private repair shops, all repairs should be at their own workshops... or buy a new camera!

na ja,
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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mexican Design

During the closing party of the TV05, some colleagues told me about this site : with link to designer´s sites, some interviews, galleries, and coverage of some design events in Mexico. They also have an electronic bulletin with more than 13,000 voluntary subscribers (not spammers). Nice work!

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