Interactive video on high rise architecture

This entertaining exploration of the history of high rises has been created as an interactive video by the New York Times. It features some interesting insight into early communal living going right back to the early Romans and pre-Columbians in Arizona, as well as outlining the history of high rise from the 20th Century including public housing and the skyscraper.

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The video includes fantastic images from the NYT archives, with a narration and some interactive elements, including audio from experts in mass housing and other areas. Read more

Profile: Li Edelkoort and Fetishism in Fashion

By Penny Craswell

I wrote this article following an interview with Li Edelkoort, one of the world’s leading trend futurists. The interview was conducted over a garden breakfast during the Milan Furniture Fair 2014, was commissioned by Kobe Johns (now of JP Finsbury) and was first published in the DesignEX catalogue 2014.

Left: an image from Fetishism in Fashion exhibition, Right: Li Edelkoort
Left: an image from Fetishism in Fashion exhibition, Right: Li Edelkoort

“My job is to anticipate what will be coming.” Lidewij Edelkoort, or Li for short, is one of the best known and most respected trend forecasters in the world. The list of brands she has worked with reads like a who’s who, including Coca-Cola, Lacoste, Disney, Siemens, GAP, L’Oreal. She regularly releases trend books that are sold to top brands all over the world, she started a number of magazines, including Bloom, which presents fashion, design, perfume and more inspired by horticulture. She directed the Design Academy Eindhoven from 1998 to 2008 and established a new design school in Poland in 2011 that merges design with humanities subjects like psychology or anthropology called the School of Form. Read more

Design writings: Dezeen interviews Ex Machina production designer

“Alex Garland’s science-fiction movie Ex Machina features just one location: a tech billionaire’s minimalist hideaway in Alaska. Production designer Mark Digby told Dezeen how architecture was used to create the thriller’s clinical mood and provide a ‘seducing’ backdrop (+ slideshow + transcript).

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“‘It’s a very particular film,’ said Digby. ‘There are only three or four people in it and it’s all set in one house. There’s very little space to escape to somewhere else. So the house had to be important.'”

Dezeen’s Marcus Fairs provides an in depth interview with Mark Digby which covers the role of a production designer and how, at least in the world of film, hard, shiny surfaces are for bad guys.

Read the whole interview at Dezeen here.

Video: Round-up of Ventura Lambrate at Milan Design Week

Video: Round-up of Ventura Lambrate at Milan Design Week

While everyone goes to Milan for the Salone del Mobile, it has become apparent in recent years that the best design, the cutting-edge work, the really innovative stuff, is not happening at the fairgrounds, but in town, at precincts like Brera, Zona Tortona and Ventura Lambrate.

Although Ventura Lambrate is the furthest away, and can often be hit and miss, there is a huge amount of design talent shown each year. This year more than 900 designers from around the world showed their work. Check out this great video summary of the event by the organisers.

View here.

Video: Future gazing automotive style

Video: Future gazing automotive style

Dominic Wilcox’s stained-glass car and Lucy McRae’s human vacuum-packing experiment are just two of the concepts of the future shared in this video of the Dezeen and MINI Frontiers collaboration during the London Design Festival last September.

BMW and MINI have enlisted Alfredo Häberli and Jaime Hayón to create mobility-themed installations for Milan design week next month – BMW will work with Swiss-Argentinian designer Alfredo Häberli to create an abstract artwork, while MINI – part of the BMW family – has asked Spanish designer Jaime Hayón to come up with his vision for the future of urban mobility.

More here

Infographic: Multi-functional furniture design

The design team at Chicago-based Ghergich & Co (which produces visual content such as this great infographic), has teamed up with CustomMade (which teams customers who want one-of-a-kind creations with makers of those goods) to create an article on multi-functional furniture design. The post is written by J.H. Fearless, a blogger and writer whose work explores the intersection of art, nature and culture.

Multifunction furniture article, graphics by
Multifunction furniture article, graphics by Ghergich & Co.

“When is a chair not a chair? When it’s a bookshelf, or a table, or a wall panel, or a phone charger! The multifunctional furniture renaissance is here, and it brings seemingly endless ways to reimagine not only furniture’s function, but its form as well. Read more

Design writings: Christopher Boots studio visit

“We visit Boots in his Fitzroy studio. The streets lined by large oaks and restored facades are a far cry from the suburb’s working working-class roots, when Boots’ studio would have been home to one of many factories that formed the beating heart of the area’s industrial past.

via Broadsheet

“From an outsider’s perspective, Boots is living the dream: a studio in a fashionable suburb—which also doubles as his house—and luxury brand Hermes calling to design the Christmas lights in their New York store.

“Inside, Boots’s studio is a flurry of activity flanked by the fixtures that have brought him acclaim the world over. By one wall, there are iterations of Boots’ signature crystal fixtures, the Prometheus series: handmade chandeliers embellished with quartz around a ring of bronze.”

Alan Weedon visits Christopher Boots in his studio for Broadsheet, a well written article that gives in insight into this hard-working, talented designer.

Read the full article here.



Design writings: a workplace for extroverts too

Design writings: a workplace for extroverts too

“But even extroverts get worn out by the amount of stimulation everyone faces. We’re bombarded with information: according to The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor, people receive over 11 million bits of information every second, but the conscious brain can only effectively manage about 40 bits. Our technology allows work to follow us everywhere, even into places like the bedroom and bathroom that used to be non-work sanctuaries.



“We’re collaborating with teammates for longer stretches of time – sometimes the whole workday – requiring longer hours to handle our individual tasks. Even in countries like France and Germany that have long valued the separation of work and life, our jobs have seeped into nights and weekends. The pace of work has intensified everywhere. Which means that everyone – including extroverts – needs access to private places to get stuff done, or simply take a breather.”

This article in the Harvard Review discusses how Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking has changed how we think about workplace design, and how extroverts need privacy too.

Great article by Steelcase’s Christine Congdon in the Harvard Business Review.


Design writings: Alice Springs studio Elbowrkshp

“James and Elliat have been in Alice for the last 10 years. The move here was inspired by an 11-month camel trek to Broken Hill via the Snowy Mountains, after which they decided to trade in their coastal home for a life in the red centre. When Elbowrkshp launched in April this year, I made it out there to take part in the festivities. Once back in Sydney, I sat down to chat via the technological string that ties our lives together…”

Assemble Papers article on Elbowwrkshp
Assemble Papers article on Elbowwrkshp

This wonderful article by Genevieve Murray for Assemble Papers blog looks at two designers who took the road less travelled – designer Elliat Rich, and bespoke shoemaker James B. Young – who have set up a workshop/retail studio in Alice Springs. Assemble Papers is a blog with some great content on design, art and architecture, all related to small footprint living.

Read the article here.


Design writings: Nick Finney on timeless designs

Design writings: Nick Finney on timeless designs

“So how are timeless things created? I’ve always believed that simplicity is the key to good design. To endure, to ‘stand the test of time’ a design has to appear simple. And to achieve this simplicity the designer needs time at their disposal: time to think, time to experiment, time to reduce, reappraise and refine. Good design requires hours, days, months.

“It’s a contradiction. Effortless design requires effort. Graceful design takes blood, sweat and tears.


“Another contradiction: Let’s not forget that when the objects and logos I describe above were created they were not meant to be ‘timeless’. They were created as modern, cutting edge, a vision of the future. They were in many cases original, bold and daring, they were ‘against the grain’.”

Nick Finney, founder and creative director of NB Studio, a graphic design agency in London, has written an interesting piece on what makes timeless designs, using examples such as the Arco light and the E-Type Jaguar.

Published on Design Indaba