I picked up this set of kids cutlery today at the granite hall general store. For a place that still sells penny candy they have a surprising quantity of interesting new "green" products. After doing a little experimentation and having the boys use them, my conclusion is that they do not work very well. The fork can not puncture anything and the spoon is too shallow. They do look great and the hang tag is sweet.
I am sure that it is well known that the team at Apple knows their design history but I think that this is a good example of how it can be refined and made contemporary. Also, Dieter Rams' 10 principles for good design are always worth a quick review.
• Good design is innovative.
• Good design makes a product useful.
• Good design is aesthetic.
• Good design helps us to understand a product.
• Good design is unobtrusive.
• Good design is honest.
• Good design is durable.
• Good design is consequent to the last detail.
• Good design is concerned with the environment.
• Good design is as little design as possible.
I just finished "Profiles in Audacity" and really enjoyed it. Although the writing is a little sappy and preachy at times and you have to get past thinking about how the author choose the chapters it is a very interesting collection of brief biographies.
This weekend Ian and Edison swam from the end of the dock to the floating raft off shore about 10 times but the best part was watching their faces when their feet touched the very mucky grey silt bottom just outside the sandy area and when they tried to swim through the lilypads to catch a duck.
I was talking with a friend about Fiskars last night and learned that they have a new line of products. (At least new-ish.) They are well known for their scissors and the innovative cutting/craft devices but this is equally if not interesting. It is a rain water collection system that attaches to standard downspouts. By the look of the rendering it is still somewhat conceptual. My only question is, where is the design? I sort of expect more from them don't you? Check it out on Fiskars.com
To me Fiskars has been done more good design more consistently than almost anyone. This bow maker is new to me but I saw it at a craft store and wondered what happened to get them to deviate from their standard black/grey and orange palette. The video of this in use on YouTube is also worth a look.
The BMW Gina. Also called the fabric car or the tool less car. Just when you thought that Chris Bangle could not get any more pompous, now he actually has good reason to be. If you can not follow the link search BMW Gina and watch the you tube video.
The concept for the Smart Car was initially developed by Nicolas Hayek, president of Swatch Group, the Swiss watchmaker famous for its fashionable plastic watch dials and band graphics. Swatch's original idea was to produce a radical new small car suitable for city driving using advanced technology, such as a hybrid powerplant. It was to be priced low enough to be affordable to the young people who made up much of Swatch's clientele. Hayek also believed there would be a good market for rentals at train stations, where visitors could get a small car for traveling relatively short distances. Originally it was also intended to be short enough to allow the driver to nose-into a normally parallel parking set-up and thus allow more parking. Hayek began the development by working with the Engineering School of Biel in 1990. In 199. eventually, Swatch set up a joint venture with Volkswagen. Both companies pretty much lost their way and make nothing noteworthy now but when they were on the upswing it was some combination.
These forms look really well resolved. Here are the stats on the product:
Crafted from a virtually-unbreakable material
Store, freeze, microwave, reheat and serve, all in one container.
Sleek, beautiful design and Cosmos Black finish are ideal for any serving setting.
No-worry valve is the first of its kind on the market; automatically adjusts to allow steam to escape during microwave reheating.
Raised hub in center of base ensures even heating of contents, from center to edge.
Complements our entire line of Heat 'N Serve™ Containers.
While I was at Timex a few days ago I remembered that it has been a while since I visited Timexpo, their store and museum in downtown Waterbury, CT. I am very happy to see that our Timex Kids Digital design is still in the line and performing well. The design was done by Michael DiTullo, Karl Vanderbeek and me almost 8 years ago.
Here is an image of our recent design created with VBrick Systems. This fully featured Wireless high definition encoder/decoder design shown at NAB was very well received. The complete features and specifications can be downloaded from Vbrick's website. There is a lot to be proud of here especially the interface work and the team work it took to pull this together.
This new Krups unit features a minimal foot print and is a good example of two other trends. The first is simplified geometric overall form that frames a material change. In this case highlighting the interface. The second is an emphasis on information and technology in the interface. I have not seen one in person so I can not speak about the scale but overall it is successful in simplifying a traditionally visually complicated and intimidating product without losing the tech appeal. I think that this idea could have been pushed even a little further.
The designers on the Zune team have got to be frustrated. I am sure that with the talent they have they are more than capable of besting the ipod which at this point seems doomed to "innovation" that is nothing more than becoming even thinner and having new colors. I admit that I am not an ipod fan. While I recognize that it is wildly popular I think it is a little undehwhelming. The iphone is much, much better. I received one an ipod as a gift and have never really used with an consistency. I am not really sure who has the time to be constantly loading songs. Anyway, as the image here shows, the Zune team must have the most well rested creative muscle in all of design.
All of the Gordon Ramsey restaurants we went to were well detailed but what was most impressive is that they really allowed the food and the presentation of the food to be the focal point. The finishes and materials were not bland by any means but they were certainly secondary to the people and the food, as were the tableware and finishings.
My experience of London was that it is pretty much like most major cities with a slightly easier to understand mass transit system. It is every bit as expensive as everyone says it is and the historical landmarks are as impressive and interesting as any I have ever seen. The people I encountered from fellow tube passengers to the waiters to the hotel were all very pleasant, kind, witty and helpful. The real surprise was the food. Gordon Ramsey's restaurants are every bit worthy of the hype, from the casual neighborhood feel of Foxtrot Oscar to the perfect presentation and service of Petrus it was an inspired and impressive showing. The service and the food were incredibly varied and appropriate for each setting and style but all were stunning and memorable. None were more exceptional than Jean-Phillipe's Petrus. His warmth and charm made it almost like having a friend in London. Obviously a person who loves his job and enjoys people, you would never know he was on a major network TV show.