Monday, June 21, 2010

Video - The 11th Hour

It can get fairly irritating seeing high end celebrities take up the humanity/environmental baton and running with it so that the world doesn't forget them. We've seen Bono at Live Aid Madonna with her adopted African kids, and the endless list of reformed drug and alcohol addicts with their ambassadorial roles for their resolved conditions. While there are tidal wave of examples some do manage to be quite genuine and I was fairly convinced that Leonardo Di Caprio is one of the few.

I'd be lying to say that the information he supplied was new to me but the facts are both shocking and destructive. The sheer volume of nature that we as just one spieces has eradicated is enough to make you feel uncomfortable in the planet we live in. Forests disappear, rubbish mounts up, biosystems are poisoned, another environment is killed. We don't just tear down our surrounds for population growth anymore, we do it to advance our technologies! We kill animals for mobile phones, we pollute the air to mass produce and then throw it out, back in the landfil. In an inexcusable act of vicious irony we digard 2 year old technologies and sentence the land we raped to hold our garbage. We displace nature that have been living for thousands and millions of years for our greed and in a relatively short time later we apply salt to wound and in return for its sacrifice we hand back our trash that will only destroy it further.

As the narration comments humans have mistaken their natural superiority to mean that the rest of nature is inferior to them whereas it should mean to take care of the nature that surrounds us particually since its supports our very existence. As Di Caprio explains our spieces came a lot later in earth's life, and if its life was 1 year we appeared a mere 60 seconds ago. Which means for all the time nature took to give us what it is today, we've permanently destroyed things here and there all over the globe in just a fraction of a second.

The truths are very real and very severe. The solutions can simple. He suggests natural gas cars, alternative energy resources, and building environmentally friendly buildings, but all this is just talk if no one does anything about it. As designers we can have a major impact on the earth's health if we design responsibly. 11th Hour shows how we are being lead down a dark path and it calls us to be brave and courageous against the ecomonic powers, and the greed of our race to help better it and lead us with nature back into the light and create a sustainable earth. But we have to be quick...the clocks ticking.

Video - Design for Life

What an amazing experience!! To be given the opportunity to work under Philippe Starck. Starck's quirky French personality shone through every episode and it was a rather honourable initiative to create his school of design. I dare say it was a learning experience for all; for me as the viewer, for the students interpretting Starck's briefs and designing in a professional environment and for Starck himself as their teacher and mentor as he faced challenges every time the students presented.

For me it was a learning experience seeing how each of the students presented their ideas and working out how I would have approched the problem, and compared myself the other students. Hearing Starck's critisisms was also quite useful to hear as he challenged them to think not only more professionally but to think deeper into the problem and solution and reinforced the idea that all poducts have a story and which should complement the user and the environment.

His unconventional methods were inspiring and challenge me as a designer in the way I appoach a design problem so achieve a fuller idea and to produce a wholistic solution.

Video - The Story of Cap and Trade

An interesting insight into the problems that are facing our planet. While Copenhagen has already happened, it takes a closer glimpse at how the climate change issue came about and how the same mindsets can't be realistically used for its solution.

As a designs we need to keep these things in mind so that we can design sustainable products that havce a low impact on the environment throughout the product's life. There is an instance in this problem where the job as Industrial Designer seems paradoxial as the logical solution is to create less things when our job is to design new things and hence more things. But our own personal challenge as a designer is to use this as inspiration to design for the planet, to draw the line where we are at now and design products that performs a reliable use, to design a lasting product, design sustainably for the market and the natural environment.

Designers may not be politicans and change laws and the way that business works, but we can introduce better materials and processes that lessen the current reliance on material harvesting and energy use and to create objects that change the way we regard objects.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Group Presentation - Earthquakes

Well well, what a day. Hanging on by 4hrs sleep, I think our group did alright. While theres always more that could have been done we did show our group's understanding of what an earthquake is, does, and how it affects people. And while seated, waiting, we also learned a lot about disasters at sea as well as flooding. This included some impressive footage of the recent storm that hit Melbourne, whose typography being as flat as a pancake didnt quite cope with the terrential rain which turned Burke St into Burke River sending Elizabeth crashing into Flinder St Station. While not part of the video I happen to know that Southern Cross Station's massive wave roof was partially taken down by the hail that swamped the Victorian capital. But onto earthquakes!!

I thought our tutorial as a whole came up with quite interesting concepts to tackle the problems faced with our disater areas. I was quite glad I managed to pull together 4 concepts, the 4th coming to fruition about 5mins before I was due to present my ideas!! and it proved to be one of the better ones too. A water bottle shaped for secondary use in temporary construction. Either that or an expandable shelter that can be set up easily and quickly and offer more than the conventional pole tent. So the next couple of weeks will be interesting to see which idea prevails..

Monday, March 15, 2010

Charrete ONE

Today's Charette...the IKEA Chair

Today we were challenged in our small groups to construct an IKEA Chair. Already familiar with assembling IKEA furniture i could see this was going to be an easy task. But as it turned out, it was just the calm before the storm! Our groups changed throughout the design session as we were asked to think of reasons why people would disgard the IKEA chair we had created. This too wasn't so difficult as the chair was very stereotypical, lacking charater, originality and structural integrity! It was the cheap of the cheap chairs and I felt like I was in a lower finacial bracket for sitting in it. But while the thought of getting ones tax back wasnt too bad, I'd rather have a sore wallet than a broken coccyx.

Our challeged progressed further as the storm brewed, and we had just 15min to create 3 concepts of how we could improve the chair by redesigning it. Then if that wasn't enough brain tackling again 15min was bestowed upon us to generate 3 aftersale concepts that could make people want to keep this chair longer than their first hospital visit! And finally the design beasts that we were were challenged a 3rd time only this time an aftersale attachment to better enhance the product. And amongst the fishtanks, and the padded backs, through the table extensions and backrest adapters we were to choose just ONE of these 40 ideas to create as we lined up for the final group sprint to the finish line. And we came up with The Stable - its sweet as!

The Stable is a slide out table that retract under the seat and can be pulled out from a rotating hinge to provide a stable surface of nutritional support. The user can rest their drink, their plate, their dessert bowl...or even the remote control! With the Stable, there'll always be a table. 'Cause its sweet as!

And it came first too! Well done group, because you're sweet as too! :-D

Video - Objectified

Objectified looks at the story of a product. And addresses the concept of design that every object has a story. Gary Hustwit doesn't just take you through what an object is but how it is made, what role they play and explains the relationship that we as users have with the object we own and also those we choose not to own.

It looks at symbolism in products and how they give meaning to form. Every object has its own character and when we purchase it we are positively responding to the message the object is offering. Symbolism can be colour or a shape or word that we recognise to have meaning as well as the form which helps us physically communicate and interact with the object.

It looks at products from an artistic/functional point of view and shows how industrial design has helped the product as well as the user become closer together. Making better sense of function through form and symbolism in today's technological context.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 1, Year 3

As the sun set on Sunday, a great party came to a close...there was lots of jumping and dancing and singing, although I don't think my voice box would agree with that. I only realised at 1am Monday morning that i had uni in just hours. When i actually woke up at 8am (yes i was quite surprised too) I dragged my hoarse beaten voice with A3 paper and pens in hand to Studio 3. And what an interesting day unfolded. I think for the first time in studio we had professionals who have worked directly on and who had experienced the very scenarios we are to be designing for.. THE DISASTER ZONE... We heard from 3 people who have worked directly in the survival efforts of serveral overseas natural disasters, studied the science and geology of natural disasters and worked with an international humanity organisation which is heavily involved with such events (The Red Cross), respectively.

Having split up into groups we chose earthquakes as our core focus for designing and created a mind map around all the aspects before and after, environmental and human, rescuer and survivor, unfolding the key elements to our chosen topic.

Through both we learned about the natural, phyical, political and humanitarian challenges that we will face designing for earthquakes. As homework we will be researching deeping into the epicentre on of topic (I couldn't resist) to further refine our understanding.

By the time I get home, 1hr is left to relax before work beckons.. cleaning at my aunties pathology lab.. and although uni has finished the designer does not rest for my uncle is trained for earthquake response in the SES :D ....homework done! woo! or so I thought.