Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Betty la Starck

Is the idea of designer/model a real trend among designers? I mean, I've heard some people actually say things like:
  • chrissy : designer/model"I mean, I start with some "sort" of idea"
  • "I can take sort of a corner of an idea... and sort of transplant it into this other thing... now the other thing will grow... and I can kinda take that and mold it into something different... and before I know, I have something completely different than what I started out with"
  • "I am not a designer, I am an artist"
  • "Hotness is always the tiebreaker"
  • "We are serious about making great work as we are about having great hair"
  • "You have to be beautiful to create something beautiful"
As Prof. George Teodorescu from the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in Germany points out: "(Even) the designer status is far from an established one. It oscillates between that of a superstar and that of a marginal beautifier." Just like any semantic system, the meaning will be imposed by general perception. If the perception (and promotion) of what it is a designer, is actually "kinda like" designer/model... then that's what the general public will understand as designer. casino toireUnfortunately, the design profession is not promoted as an actual problem solver, environmentally committed, socially responsible, and culturally enhancing profession... and that's because we are not any of those things! Design blogs are mainly about kitschig and superficial gadgets. Design magazines like wallpaper are very similar to Vogue , cosmopolitan or even Ugly Betty's Mode magazine! Reality TV series are presenting designers either as crazy dudes inside a garage trying to come out with an idea for a better mouse trap out of the blue, or as fancy shallow vedettes. They don't show design as a holistic process... and of course, the fashionable designer is more attractive than the crazy dewd!

I liked Prof. Teodorescu's strategy to improve the design practice:
  • The regional identity and the local mentality, defining the design understanding
  • The professional reorientation, requiring a new professional focus on life quality, instead of object aesthetics.
  • The professional diversification in knowledge and skills, requiring a new design education focused on the all-round problem solving ability
  • A bipolar task field (sub optic design and design for the rest of 5 billions of humans), challenging the sense of design focus on visuals
  • The repositioning of design in innovation process, away from the formal variations, which demands a new design competence.
  • A repositioning of design responsibility, relevance and of his social status
  • A need for a full design certification and professional status protection
Last week I downloaded Philippe Starck's video talk on TED.

If you can't understand... here's a transcript... and some excerpts for meditation (no comments):
("Philippe Starck designs deluxe objects and posh condos and hotels around the world") 167 EUR!!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry, I couldn't help it!)

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's alive!

Remember when my iBook died? Well, the story is very much like that Chilean man: About a year ago it all started with what the apple care guys supposed was a simple cold... she froze every once in a while, then she didn't want to start properly. The wrong diagnosis was to reinstall the operating system. Just for that, I had to take her twice to the apple service centre, which was not cheap... her condition improved a little, but she was still freezing sometimes.

During my trip to Mexico it got worse, to the point when I couldn't use it. So I took her again to the authorized apple service. A couple of weeks later, the nurse called me with the bad news: the logic board has to be replaced and the cost was more than $1,000USD. I had no option but to "pull the plug" and put her to sleep. Just out of emotional grief, I brought her corpse back home just to give it proper burial at the closet.

It was until just a couple of weeks ago when I found out that the logic board problem was a very common problem... there was no recall, but apple had a free repair program until July 17, 2007... that's a bit more that a month later than when I got the final diagnosis that my iBook was brain dead! Why didn't they tell me about the repair program! If they knew... they should have told me! In fact, they should have recognized the symptoms a year before. This differential diagnosis would have been noticed in any House episode ! So, I ran to exhume my laptop to perform an autopsy... and there it was! the serial number is in fact one of those affected by the badly soldered video chip causing that specific component failure on the logic board... indeed, it was not chungopatitis nor Mal Infernal de Howkinson™ !

iBook voodooI was thinking about a voodoo cleansing to bring it back to life... but the idea of a zombie laptop was frightening... I mean, it's no pushing daisies matter: bring her back to life and then not being able to touch her! I have no pyromaniac tendencies, unlike all those people who have actually tried this... despite all warnings: do not try this at home! Well, maybe it's a friend's home, and a not so clever friend: seems that part of this voodoo ritual is to burn it over a kitchen table including the table cloth on it.

I decided to take a DIY allopathic approach (don't confuse that with Don Zoilo's selfmedication) and perform a resuscitation surgery myself. I carefully performed open heart surgery 3 timiBook G3 DIY logic board fix es with help of some on-line medical advise. The first operation... I just placed some EVA foam over the affected organs... and it came back to life briefly! For the second surgery I was prepared with some silicone implants (not for aesthetic purposes) but to increase the pressure on one of the ATI video chips. I was afraid that using a big implant would cause worse damage to the logic board, so I cut the silicone implant. I worked very well, but still I noticed some flickering a couple of times... So I had to open her again. This time I put a full F cup size silicone implant (see the blue arrow on the picture). I tested the laptop for a while with no problems or flickering at all. Now she's on her way of a full recovery (I hope). I am still not certain about going in again, and increase pressure on the other video controller (the one behind that yellow foam), but certainly the extra pressure on the smaller ATI chip delivered good results.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Project Run-away

Some alternative titles I had in mind when I was collecting some of these links were: when geeks go fashion / fashion goes geek / Frankie goes to Hollywood, or maybe : Ernest goes to the beach... I am being unPC here but, what is it about fashion and orientation? Has shaveeverywhere actually became a metro design trend? I mean, for real?! I have no idea if I'm on stage 1 (denial) or stage 5 :"awesomeness"! He, he.

Keitai GirlWith all this gizmo frenzy going on, we are reaching a stage when I can only imagine that many people are starting to have different sets of gizmos to accessorize according to the occasion just like we (kinda) dress differently , i.e. wear an appropriate cell phone/watch/palm/iPod for work/school, parties, evening galas & events, going to the gym, church... etc. This only demonstrates that many of such gizmos are not utilitarian, they are just fashionable desirable objects/accessories. The Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (acm siggraph) organized UnRavel a very geeky fashion show. I am not going into each project detail... some are well executed, some are statements of superficiality of fashion/ emotions/ technique/ nostalgia/ paranoia/ sarcasm/ lifestyle, some we may actually see (or not) in a near future, some are chindogus or art pieces. You can watch a video of the whole show (Click on "Gallery") or see some pictures.

day for night by studio 5050One of the most interesting projects is Day for Night by Studio 5050. (via) It's quite interesting to read the rationale behind the dress... and I love that is Mac compatible... I wonder if it's PPC or Universal binary? I liked the idea of powering up your gadgets... and the design reference to Paco Rabanne / Francoise Hardy is fabulous.

Geek fashion has evolved and became more sophisticated since the C:\_RUN> t-shirts or the barcode t-shirts. Nowadays we even have geeky girl power! The CeBit05 video opening was controlled from a dress, or you can subscribe to a RSS site and then get your subscription on a knitted RSS sweater (via) but if you want to find out what's new in the geeky fashion industry, next week will be the seamless v.3 fashion show in Boston where you can see some of the projects I just mentioned... and many new ones!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The world has changed

the world has changed
  • It's nothing compared to a $5.30 Venti... That's high maintenance fuel!
  • Besides, we get a 4 cents fuel discount coupon when we buy our 2.5 l cokes from the supermarket... that's irony!
  • Since I started to have yellowish coloured eyes (like that shell fuel) for several weeks, I started to drink a mix of regular 91 coke and premium 96 coke zero... That's incredible!

PS : BTW this is 'round design's 300th post

Iraq Body Count web counterAddendum PS : (warning: images may be disturbing)

In my opinion, the actual price of a gallon of gasoline for our cars is something like: this, and this, and all of these, this one too, not to mention all these. Check out the ultimate price of loss ... and we are being fooled into believing that the only problem with gasoline is global warming!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grow your own museico

The Nomadic Museum just opened the exhibition of Gregory Colbert's "ashes and snow" in Mexico City. This time, the beautiful building was designed by Colombian architect Simón Vélez. The 5,130-square-meter structure is composed primarily of bamboo and utilizes other recyclable and reusable materials that demonstrate sustainable practices and an innovative architectural approach. He also used the cargo containers just like Shigeru Ban did previously. I guess those are also used to transport the museum itself. But this time the predominant element is bamboo which looks spectacular!

de BoerVelez's design of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives ZERI in Hannover attracted a great response and became a source of inspiration for other architects like Darrel DeBoer, whose Gatehouse design plans are for sale at for just 'round a thousend bucks... I loved those little storage sheds on the sides btw! I guess that bamboos are a better structural solution than cardboard. They are at least more sustainable if you think about all the industrial processes involved in preparing the cardboard tubes.

risaraldaNot just structural, but bamboo also offers great possibilities for social housing. Decent affordable housing is not just a problem in developing countries: New Zealand is also facing a dwelling crisis. Houses in NZ are now the least affordable in the world! Where is the kiwi ingenuity to produce decent houses at decent prices? The "Affordable Housing Bill" is just passing the problem (and eventually the blame) into city councils. That same article in the Herald shows that the real problem are developers and the Master Builder's Federation, because they are focusing on medium to high end dwelling which has a greater profit margin for them, and leaving behind the social or "entrance" level housing. Of course expensive houses have greater profit margins!

bamboo houseToday we went to Parnell to have an ice cream, after Sir Edmund Hillary's mourners were gone. Anyway, I had a good idea while eating ice cream (it may have been the sugar rush): NZ should limit or cease the power of those nasty master builders, and give the chance for developers to bring their own workers from overseas. Then... forget all those stupid regulations and get creative into allowing new viable options... think and build (literally) outside the square! Just look at this extraordinary examples of social housing and amazing architecture done around the world (check out this virtual reality movie of Velez and Villegas). Velez is proposing to "grow your own home" using guadua (bamboo) also known as Iron grass/vegetable steel; likewise, I've been saying for a while that Kiwis could use all that sheep's crap to manufacture adobes to build sustainable and better insulated houses. Those are more or less the issues that John Key mentions as the constraints that are killing the building industry but the government is just too shy to act upon that in an effective way.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ethan Haas was lost!

Today, I was catching up with some so called viral "stuff": from the dramatic chipmunk doing the Peje to numa numa, the Loituma girl... to a combination of dramatic-Loituma Leekspin and Loituma remixes... and my personal favourite: the dramatic lost chipmunk! When I found out that they have been using viral advertising to promote the Cloverfield movie. They posted viral videos, created bogus companies, started blogs and games sites to add-up to the mythology of their Godzilla like story... it's like creating an actual "acme" company or setting up a web site for Oceanica airlines to make the stories credible or just to hoax people. If people can get fooled and scared with a radio performance... imagine if the company deliberately hides any disclaimer to disguise it as true! I mean, it was very clear at the start: Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in The war of the worlds by H. G. Wells.

Ethan Haas was Rigth - level 5Anyway... the puzzle games are quite good. Levels 1 -3 are quite easy... (for level 2, I recommend you do a capture screen: command, shift and 4) then level 4 was a challenge to my 3D thinking, I could only put 2 of those things in place but the third one was always facing some other direction... then I wandered around randomly just to mess with the direction of the balls until I finally could put all 3! It was frustrating... or the OS of my neuron is not compatible with these new technologies! I have to take a rest before even trying to solve level 5... any ideas are welcomed.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Emotional journey

I'm very disappointed with emotional design... it has become merely a tool for high prices, brainwash about lifestyles, and manipulation of people's insecurities. People nowadays are not buying products because they need them, they are buying because they are being brainwashed and exploited into being insecure... just, trust us, we're experts!

How many times have we heard: "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" meaning that we have to eat a heavy hearty "international" breakfast : (bacon and eggs). When in reality, internationally (meaning outside the USA), traditional breakfast includes only juice or coffee and toast, cookies, croissants, chilaquiles, or similar types of bread like or cereal. Did you know that the idea of having bacon and eggs was artificially implanted as propaganda (Public Relations) by Bernays in the 1920's? The meat industry was concerned that the only meal of the day when people didn't eat meat was breakfast... so they needed to convince people about having a heavy breakfast to increase their sales by 1/3rd. Listen to Bernay's own words about how he developed the idea at NPR. It's an eye opener!

baby-travel samsonite

Anyway... Samsonite is looking for new plasticGod architectsideas on how to exploit the parent's instinct to protect their babies with new products for desperate housewifes when they travel. One of those sumo wrestler costumes might do the trick of keeping them safe if you send them as checked baggage on a plane. If you take them (your babies) as carry on baggage, don't give them this lego toys by PlasticGod to play with while on the plane! Better give them the architect's lego figurines... except those may contain small plastic parts... In conclusion, you better not travel at all, that will keep them safer.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Let's start warming up for a discussion on VeriChip. This commercial featuring Kermit and Pepe is actually more scary than the programs you can censure from your telli. The next step will be implanting your kids with a vChip to automatically match the viewer with the TV content. "All 13-inch or larger screen televisions that are manufactured or imported for use in the United States are now required by law to be equipped with the V-chip."

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Monday, January 14, 2008


We've come a long way since the early Horseless Car-riages and the horrible futuristic dream cars of the 60's, the titanic "lanchones" of the 80's, etc. It's a fact that cars have an enormous charge of semiotics, emotional desing, PR, or whatever you'll like to call their "character". In other words, since Edward Bernays, automobiles became the best example of emotional design, they were not utility vehicles (need objects) anymore, they became "objects of desire" (more about that later).

mobster or drug dealer carCar design is charged of emotional and social meanings. It's not a secret, although some are naive enough to believe that automobiles are just utilitarian, and there's no manipulation or meaning at all. Like I said, those are just being naive! If common people can tell there's a specific car aesthetic for "nacos / rednecks", "narcos / mobsters" it means that the aesthetic for those styles are quite obvious and the encoding of those meanings is not "highly encrypted".

In some other cases, the encryption of the "desire effect" comes in other levels. For example the more recent boom of eco-friendly vehicles which are anything but eco-friendly. It's like Bernays' publicity stunt to persuade women to smoke, hiring rich debutants to smoke during the easter parade in New York, and simultaneously telling the press that those women were protesting by lightning "torches of freedom". Just the same way that women QQfelt empowered by smoking and they were not aware of the serious health damage... eco-car buyers feel they are helping the environment and reducing global warming by using bio-fuel... never mind that sumatran tigers and many other species could be wiped off from the hundreds of acres being destroyed to make room for bio-fuel crops plantations... the publicity stunts by green pis and others, are certainly embedding our minds with encoded messages of eco-friendly nonsense. Car races are similar encoding tools, from F1 races, to the eco-race challenge they provide with emotions which can be encoded into aesthetic, semiotic or simple emotional advertising elements.

Of course during the 50's and 60's the oil (petroleum) corporations in the USA used the usual brain washing propaganda of those times: "Hi, I'm try McClure, you may remember me from such educational films such as : "Fuzzy Bunny's Guide To You-Know-What", "Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory" or corporate business ventures such as "So Sue me Sashimi and Sushi, Have Some Raw Fish While We Talk to You About Your Raw Deal!".

Anyway, now that Elektra introduced Chinese cars into the mexican market and they are expecting to build a "coche azteca" some day soon, Mastretta MTXlet's look at some other mexican cars, like the Mastretta MXT. In terms of aesthetics, it doesn't bring any mexican style. I mean, the fact that the only traditional car manufacturing in Mexico has been buses and trucks only, means that there are no explored elements which can be used for a sports car. I can imagine a Mexican car evolving from the popular aesthetic of city taxis, buses, people riding on an open pick-up. In fact some of the cars recently developed in China or India have very strong encoding that looks like a Taxi, Tanga , Tuk Tuk, Rickshaw, or moto-rickshaw / bajaj, etc, etc.

tata nanoEl mas barato del mundo - domingo, 13 de enero de 2008

El fabricante indio de automóviles Tata Motors, perteneciente al conglomerado industrial Tata Group, ha presentado, en el Salón del Automóvil de Delhi, el automóvil más barato del mundo, que se lanzará al mercado indio a finales de este año con un precio cercano a los 1.700 euros (2.500 dólares).
2008 ©

The Spirit of Berlin is actually a German car, but the development team leader is Prof. Raúl Rojas from Freie Universität Berlin. The system is a self driving automobile robot but it can also be turned off for normal driving. GM is developing a similar system which they expect to be commercially available in less than 10 years. Well, if a baby can drive a robot... or better said, the chauffeur robot just drives us around... the redneck ingenuity solution could be actually a trunk monkey "chauffeur /auto-pilot edition"... Those have been available for public transport buses since ages ago!

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