international newsstand
second issue: october 2000
 

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Aeron, Leap, Freedom--don't they sound like names for starships?
If you've got an Aeron chair, you know your ass has been bolted to that thing for the past five. But now your gluteus assimus can do some wandering; there’s finally some ergonomically-comparable competition.

The latest ergo-chairs include Steelcase's Leap chair and the Humanscale "Freedom," as well as product from Teknion, Nienkamper and Hon Allsteel. Of particular note is the Freedom, designed by hardcore ID'er Niels Diffrient
(who, you may recall, penned the first ever ergonomics book, way back in'73).
Check out all the chairs at once at:
http://www.canadianinteriors.com/trend_watch2.htm
or do it the hard way at:
Allseating - www.allseating.com.
Dauphin Office Seating - www.dauphin.com.
Girsberger - www.combo.com
Hon Allsteel - www.honcompany.com
Humanscale - www.neutralbydesign.com.
ICF Nienkamper - www.icfgroup.com.
Rexsitt - www.rexsitt.com.
Steelcase - www.steelcase.com.
Teknion - www.teknion.com.

 


USA
reported by N. Rain Noe

 

 

 

 


Fully Loaded Magazine
Remember when ID magazine was all we had? Now we've got Wallpaper, Azure,and a stack of other glossies propping up the wall.
The latest newcomer is [Manhattan design retailer] Totem's DSGN Magazine, "Totem's new publication of design and lifestyle." The anti-vowel DSGN features designers ranging from up-and-coming-obscure (TKTK) to meteoric (Marc Newson, Karim Rashid).
Upcoming issues will feature fascinating stories about how art and design influences lifestyle. And they've contracted this really keen up-and-coming writer, "Rain" something-or-other...guy's a real riot, from what I understand.... Coming soon, to a newsstand near you.

Branch Ovidian
Whatever else you wanna say about the swoosh guys, they're still trying to innovate. The latest wacky design concept: reversible shoes.
How did they (just) do it? The Nike Ovidians have a removable inner sock (with hard sole) that resembles kung-fu slippers; yank that out, and you can simply turn the outside of the shoe (also with a hard sole) inside out, from yellow to blue. Then replace the inner sock, and left shoe becomes right shoe.
Up next: reversible sports underwear, which should extend the time needed between washes.
[Editor’s Note: The opinions, comments and idiotic suppositions of Rain Noe do not necessarily or even possibly reflect the views of Core77, Inc. All lawsuits accusing this column of libel, slander or defamation should be directed to Rain Noe. (Address provided on subpoena.)]
 

Violence Concerto
A recent AP article lamented an alleged recent trend in so-called "violent" industrial design. "Designers of a wide variety of consumer products say that the American public is increasingly entranced by styling that suggests a high level of aggression," the article claims. Examples cited are vicious-looking powerboats, menacing SUVs, and skateboards with (gasp) dragons on the bottom.
The design world sounds off:
Bill Stumpf (designer of the Aeron): "It's sort of like ‘sex sells’--in this
case, violence sells... There's a meanness aesthetic being developed."
 
Clyde Foles (ID Chairperson at CCS, commenting on current stereo designs): "[They all look] like Darth Vader's helmet." Bruce R. Hannah (ID professor at Pratt Institute, commenting on the fashions of today’s youth): "Big, black, chunky storm-trooper shoes and crisp trousers."
Dr. Clotaire Rapaille (prominent Consumer Researcher): "[Chrysler's PT Cruiser looks like] Al Capone’s car... The message this car gives is: ‘Don't mess with me. I might have a machine gun inside.’" Rain Noe (commenting on the design of the Glock-9): "This thing is very menacing, very scary-looking, especially from the front. It looks like it can kill me... It’s enough to make me wet my crisp trousers



The second 'Biennale Internationale Design' will take place in
Saint Etienne, France from October 7th to 15th 2000.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Is it more expensive when it is beautiful?
Do you have the same in spotty Blue Bondy?
Are three legs enough for a chair?
It's ugly but is it comfortable?
And is it strong?
Design - what is it?
Do you agree with Moholy-Nagy that Design is not a profession but a social attitude?
Is it necessary to read the instructions?
Where are the handles?
Does the practicability of these products change the shapes?
Can one still propose a new aesthetic?
Is there a paradox of eco-design?

These are some of the questions to which the organisers of this biennale give prominence. The responses are to be found in the propositions of the representatives of the 100 countries exhibiting on the 30,000 sq.m. of the show. The programme is very promising, discussion groups, exhibitions, fashion shows, workshops and other events too numerous to detail here. You will find complete information on the sites dedicated to this important event.
http://www.institutdesign.com/bien/pages/home.htm
http://www.institutdesign.com/journal/index.html
 


BELGIUM

 

 

 

 

 


Kartell donation
Kartell, the famous Italian company, has just celebrated its 50th birthday.
Following a beautiful retrospective exhibition in New York, today it is the
Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris which is showing about forty pieces of the Kartell donation. From September 13, 2000 to January 1, 2001 one can
revive a journey over 50 years of history of plastic design. Founded by
Giulio Castelli in 1949, Kartell always surrounds itself with the best
designers - Anna Castelli of course, but also Colombini, Castiglioni,
Colombo, Sapper or Stoppino in the 60's and Magistretti, Arad and Starck
today. Happy Birthday and long life to Kartell.
 

You can see about 50 pieces from the 50's until now at this address:
www.designaddict.com/collections/manufacturers/manufacturers-base/kartell.html
http://www.cnac-gp.fr


Kortrijk - Interior 2000
One of the oldest events dedicated to design will hold its 17th biennale
from October 13 to 22, 2000. The guest of honour is one of the favorite
designers of the Design Addict team - Konstantin Grcic, who is sometimes
called 'the designer of calm', which contrasts with the central theme of
this biennale 'Urban noise and bustle'. The projects presented in the
framework of the customary contest 'Design for Europe' will be judged by a
jury composed of Matali Crasset, Maddalena De Padova, Alfredo Haberli,
Matthew Hilton, Luc Rarnael and Ilkka Suppanen.
http://www.interieur.be
 



International Bicycle Fair Eicma
the international bicycle fair was held recently in milan
(it is the largest in the world for that sector). michael schumacher presented the first ferrari bicycle
(colnago for ferrari), created in the wind gallery in maranello, usually used for the development and construction of formula 1 vehicles.
a real revolution in terms of product and use, regarding individual urban mobility in the city, is the electric bicycle. the leading italian powerbike manufacturer let us try them on the streets of milan, and it was really something else.
http://www.colnago.com
http://www.powerbike.it
 


ITALY


Recycling Household Appliances
the results of a contest held by zanussi, a leading european
appliance manufacturer, have come out. many italian schools
and universities participated in the contest: among unfeasibile
solutions, there were a few unusual entries especially appreciated
for their formal casualness.
we liked the table with the incorporated acquarium, the stove top
which converted into a record player for dj housewives and the
refrigerator reincarnated as a neapolitan creche.
while these entries proposed the transformation of a product for
other uses, the first prize was awarded to the students of milan’s
domus academy who submitted the idea of a garden irrigator made
from the rotating disk of a dishwasher: in this case, the product
continued to perform the same task in a different environment.
http://www.designboom.com/eng/fanclub/zanussi.html

 


Armani Casa
in the already overcrowded “design made in italy” world a new character is about to make his debut. in the new 8000 sq meter showroom in via manzoni in milan (which will open october 5th) giorgio armani’s new home-collection will be presented. this is what the famous designer has to say about it: ...”it has been a long process, which I faced well knowing how risky and difficult it was. because without presumption, honestly, I asked myself: what can I do that is not too polite, with references to past eras, or too much design and precision; something new - in the sense that it doesn’t exist - but which resembles myself? and I replied: I have to do something that seems like an armani suit. basic, but never seen before.”
 

Milano Moda Vintage
september 30th to october 3rd, 2000
finally in milan the first edition of a vintage show and sale. as designers turn to the past for inspiration, the hottest place to shop for everything from high-end vintage clothing to 'bargain'
worn denim, leather- and trenchcoats. visited by costumers, designers and vintage clothing lovers.
collectors of all kinds of used and new vintage clothing and accessories can here find what they're looking for. a must-see for those who apreciate the exclusivity of european fashion of historical and cultural value. if price is no object, you can shop for really outstanding items. a wide range of italian brands as gucci, valentino and pucci, french style as yves saint laurant, hermes and courrèges
but also homemade articles are available. everything old is new again. curator: a.g.a.d.e / italian association for restauration, study and valorization of vintage clothing and accessories.
http://www.designboom.com/fanclub/vintage.html



A Flower for BP
BP's new corporate identity goes by the name of "Helios" and is meant to be as dynamic, Internet and future-viable as the new firm itself. Apart from using the familiar colours green, white and yellow,
it breaks with all the brand's traditions. The reason: after the acquisitions of the last two years BP stands for far more than mineral oil - as the play on the company's initials, "beyond petroleum", is intended to convey.
The oil group is set to become a global energy provider.
It took Landor San Francisco 18 months to develop the new symbol,
although according to head of BP Sir John Browne the design fee
only accounts for "a very small part" of the seven-million-dollar research and development costs. Greenpeace noted critically that BP has invested more in its corporate identity this year than it did for research into solar energy last year. The conversion of the company's German petrol stations will begin in the middle of 2001. The accompanying advertising originates from Ogilvy & Mather.
 


GERMANY




Marc Newson designs a llama
having bought your marc newson dishrack, an orgone chair or two and a little 021c concept, you may be looking for somewhere appropriate to house them [and yourself].
 

AUSTRALIA

Turn your eyes to Brisbane.
morehuman, an Australian developer, know for their unique approach to living spaces and involvement in residential developments like Republic, Grid and The Italian Forum, have commissioned marc newson to design an apartment block. The ŒLlama, will be 40 storeys with 110 apartments. the tallest residential building in Brisbane.

Expect an identifiable newson look with the usual attention to detail from taps to wall finishes.

Brisbane was chosen because it is a developing city, with a casual lifestyle and not tied into any architectural style, open to a new approach to living space; and it has the bold climate to match a newson design. newson's plans are under wraps, but he talks about the concept as: ...a simple, clean, healthy place to live in, in a bright sunny city, using good quality materials and finishes...with large common areas to encourage a sense of community.

Dassy Bayni, chairman of morehuman, is using the Brisbane development as a jumping off point for an international collection of apartments. They are particularly interested doing a Milan hotel/residential project, along with plans for New York, Melbourne and London.

Contact morehuman on www.morehuman.com for information on this project,
and get an idea of morehuman's new style of development

 


The Egg and Ice
Neoz lighting design were commissioned to design a table lamp for the
Bennelong restaurant in Sydney's Opera House. The lamp they came up with breaks new ground in lighting technology. It is a stand alone object,
running on a nickel-metal battery. It doesn't need a cord - a big advantage for table lighting. One the company is exploiting by marketing the design for the general market.
The egg [pictured], 200mm high and the ice, ? a rectangle, 210mm x 100 mm, have three light settings: dim, medium and bright which give them 8 - 20 hours of light depending on the setting used. The battery can be recharged before it is completely run down, unusual for a rechargable
battery.
Planet Furniture, Sydney, distribute the lights, contact mail@m-pm.com
for Planet's details.

 

The Wollongong Smart Bra
International clothing companies are looking at the research and development of intelligent fabrics by the Intelligent Polymers Research Institute in Wollongong, New South Wales. Scientists have been testing a polymer coating applied to bra straps, where most of the stress in a bra occurs. They have developed a strap which will respond to an increase in movement, giving the wearer more support when needed.
Other uses for the coating may be in support bandages and prosthetics,
as well as health monitoring fabrics and clothes that respond to changes
in temperature, providing insulation by Œpuffing, up.

Olympic Colour Scheme
How do you stand out from the colour noise in a city like Sydney, in the midst of the Olympic games? This was the problem for designers who were given the job of decorating the city with banners, Œlive site, signage and the general urban Œlook,. Sharon Francis of the Central Sydney Look and Games Design says of the colours: they are a „...festive palette reflective of the bright natural and created environment of Sydney and it's dynamic, culturally diverse and celebratory nature‰.
 

The palette works well for a number of reasons, they are sufficiently primary [rubine, cyan, orange, dark blue and lime] to be set apart from the billboards, signage and general advertising colours; the banners are used in a detailed colour system to identify olympic locations; and most remarkably, the designers were able to convince the corporate sponsors to allow them to dispense with their corporate colours and print all logos in white.

The colour display system was to use ŒSydney blue, [the dark one] in the central city, changing it to rubine at the Œlive sites, with free entertainment and large screens to view the events. At high profile civic locations the banners used are white with olympic rings. At the entry nodes, like off the Harbour Bridge, lime banners are incorporated with the blue. Placed on the corridors to the Olympic site are blue, cyan and rubine banners, integrating the complete colour range at the site itself. So wayfinding, location and celebration are all functions of this hardworking colour palette.


Cardboard Furniture for Olympic Village
The furniture at Olympic villages gets heavy use for the months the
athletics are using the accommodation and is then discarded. So the
Olympic organisers gave Ramler Furniture the job of manufacturing
cardboard furniture that would be recyclable.
The manufacturers claim the chairs, tables and other furniture is strong
enough to well outlive the Olympics. And some of the furniture has been
used in a Œpainted-furniture, charity auction, where celebrities paint a
piece which is offered for sale. [the chair pictured was painted by
charlie brown]. So there is a good chance that it at least some will be
turning up in collections around the world.
See Ramler Furniture http:www.ramler.com.au
 



Are there similarities between
Danish and Swedish design?

To an international audience this question – brought about by the opening of the new Öresund bridge – might seem odd, since a lot of people did not know there were any differences in the first place.
As a Swede one is used to the fact that visitors, particularly those from overseas, tend to mix the two countries up, and name Copenhagen the capitol of Sweden. Certainly, both Denmark and Sweden have contributed strongly to the famous concept of Scandinavian Design, born in the Fifties and still more alive than ever.

What makes this Scandinavian tradition so vital is its affinity in values and forms with theinternational minimalism of the Nineties.
The simplistic design of the Nordic countries (also Finland, Norway and Iceland) grew out of poverty and closeness to nature.
During centuries the simple farmers developed a deep knowledge
of the materials growing or just existing outside their houses
– wood, stone, clay, leather, metals, linen and wool.
In the twentieth century this democratic tradition of everyday design
was carried on by the Nordic welfare states.

So the two countries on each side of the new bridge have a lot in common. However, there are also differences, not in the least concerning design.

The Danes are clever marketing people. With great skill they have placed their beautifully designed products all over the world – from the Ant chair and PH lamp to Stelton jug and CD-players from B&O.
This thorough ambition and success in keeping all the already existing objects alive has also led to a certain conservatism in the view on form.
A tendency sometimes criticised by the younger Danish designers.

The Swedes, though, are industrialists. As international in ambition
as their Danish neighbours, but the task here has been steel,
wood and engineering rather than textiles, porcelain and furniture.
The Swedish design classics have not been able to survive commercially like in Denmark. At the beginning of the Eighties the concept of Swedish design was practically dead.
This vacuum, though, also made it easier for a new generation of
designers to flourish and to overtake the scene.

This is what we see today; Danish icons (like Jacobsen, PH and Wegner) and younger Swedes (like Sandell, Dahlström and Claesson-Kiovisto-Rune) also gaining international acclaim.
The two of course – the old and the new Scandinavians -- are very useful to one another, and the interaction is already there if you scrap the surface. Young Swedes and Danes collaborate in different projects and Swedish companies, particularly in furniture, love to work with designers from the other side of the Sound.
This tendency is not likely to vanish now, since the linking of the two shores by an eight kilometres bridge (designed by Danes).

Ingrid Sommar
Journalist

 


SWEDEN