December 27, 2009

Video: Mathieu Lehanneur demos science-inspired design



From TED.com:
Naming science as his chief inspiration, Mathieu Lehanneur shows a selection of his ingenious designs -- an interactive noise-neutralizing ball, an antibiotic course in one layered pill, asthma treatment that reminds kids to take it, a living air filter, a living-room fish farm and more.

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December 22, 2009

Video: Rem Koolhaas - Interview

Part I:


Part II:


Part III:


* A rather unfortunate yet slightly humorous mistake occurs 3 minutes and 11 seconds into Part I. When talking about Rem's work with Prada the makers of the film mistakenly show Herzog and de Meuron's Prada store in Tokyo rather than the store designs carried out by OMA - notably in New York and Los Angeles. I'm sure Rem is not amused and it is a rather embarrassing mistake for CNN.

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December 19, 2009

Video: Rory Sutherland - Life lessons from an ad man




This was just an inspirational talk that discusses issues from a unique point of view. The story about improving the train journey between London and Paris was particularly insightful, in my opinion. Throughout our lives, we need to focus more on quality over speed or convenience.

From TED.com: Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value -- and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

From unlikely beginnings as a classics teacher to his current job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland has created his own brand of the Cinderella story. He joined Ogilvy & Mather's planning department in 1988, and became a junior copywriter, working on Microsoft's account in its pre-Windows days. An early fan of the Internet, he was among the first in the traditional ad world to see the potential in these relatively unknown technologies.

An immediate understanding of the possibilities of digital technology and the Internet powered Sutherland's meteoric rise. He continues to provide insight into advertising in the age of the Internet and social media through his blog at Campaign's Brand Republic site, his column "The Wiki Man" at The Spectator and his busy Twitter account.

Rory is the original advocate of '360-degree branding,' a persuasive and charismatic speaker and has a tremendous knack for making ideas come to life in an easily digestible way. He has been walking the walk longer than anyone.
Gary Leih, Ogilvy Group Chairman


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December 8, 2009

Video: Jacek Utko designs to save newspapers



From TED.com: Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.

Newspaper designer Jacek Utko suggests that it's time for a fresh, top-to-bottom rethink of the newspaper. (At this point, why not try it?) In his work, he's proved that good design can help readers reconnect with newspapers. A former architect, Utko took on the job of redesigning several newspapers in former Soviet Bloc nations, starting from basic principles. He worked closely with newspaper executives to figure out the business goals of their papers, and then radically reformatted the product to fit those goals. (And he wasn't afraid to break a few grids in the process.)

As the art director at Warsaw’s Puls Biznesu in 2004, he redesigned this small business-focused newspaper and immediately won the SND award for world’s best-designed newspaper. Readers responded, and circulation went up. He’s now art director for the Bonnier Business Press, overseeing papers in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, and the work he oversees consistently wins major prizes (including another SND world’s-best in 2007 for Estonia’s Äripäev), despite their small teams and limited resources.

"Who knew that the world's best designed newspapers are in Poland and Estonia?"
-June Cohen, TED

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December 5, 2009

Video: Majora Carter's tale of urban renewal


From TED.com:
In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx -- and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who's seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. (The release of her TEDTalk in 2006 prompted Guy Kawasaki to wonder on his blog whether she wasn't "every bit as good as [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs," a legendary presenter.)

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, now serves as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, where she pushes both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise.

"We could not fail to be inspired by Majora Carter's efforts to bring green space for exercise to the South Bronx. We need more ideas like these to bring solutions to minority communities."
- Time

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December 1, 2009

Urbanisms: Steven Holl + Li Hu

On Monday, December 7, Steven Holl Architects opens the exhibition Urbanisms: Steven Holl + Li Hu: 4 Projects in China by Steven Holl Architects in the Horizontal Skyscraper/Vanke Center, in Shenzhen, China. The exhibition tracks the process of designing four ambitious projects in China from 2003-2009: Nanjing Museum of Art and Architecture, Beijing Linked Hybrid, Shenzhen Horizontal Skyscraper, and Chengdu Sliced Porosity Block.

As China experiences one of the world’s largest urbanizations in history, these works explore the creation of collective urban space- as opposed to object buildings. Rather than monofunctional buildings, these are new hybrid buildings with rich programmatic juxtapositions. Each project investigates the phenomena of light and tactility through material development and experimentation. Geothermal cooling and heating, solar PVC and gray water recycling are among several green strategies utilized in all the projects.

The exhibition illustrates the design process from initial conception to current status; documenting the collaborative process of model making, drawing, and animation. The works presented are the product of a cooperative effort between Steven Holl Architects’ offices in New York and Beijing, where the difference in time zones often facilitates a continuous 24 hour cycle of production, the result of which are unprecedented works that are a fusion of landscape, urbanism, and architecture.

The exhibition will be on view in the newly finished Vanke headquarter offices in the Horizontal Skyscraper/Vanke Center in Dameisha, Shenzhen. This hybrid building, a design by Steven Holl with partner Li Hu, includes apartments, a hotel, and offices for the headquarters for Vanke Real Estate Co. ltd. A conference center, spa and parking are located under the large green, tropical landscape which is characterized by mounds containing restaurants and a 500-seat auditorium.

The decision to float one large structure right under the 35-meter height limit, instead of several smaller structures each catering to a specific program, generates the largest possible green space open to the public on the ground level. Suspended on eight cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the building’s structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge technology merged with a high-strength concrete frame. The first structure of its type, it has tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.

As a tropical strategy, the building and the landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects. A microclimate is created by cooling ponds fed by a grey water system. The building has a green roof with solar panels and uses local materials such as bamboo. The glass façade of the building will be protected against the sun and wind by perforated louvers. The building is a tsunami-proof hovering architecture that creates a porous micro-climate of public open landscape; the first LEED platinum rated building in Southern China.

Interiors including the auditorium, conference center and hotel will be completed in late 2010.

For more information on the work of Steven Holl Architects, please visit www.stevenholl.com

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I won't hide that I am a big admirer of the work designed by Steven Holl's office. His attention to natural light, materiality, and his dedication to phenomenology closely ties into my architectural interests. However, in this particular building I feel he has move a bit towards the monumental form driven architecture of the Dutch and Danish practices making waves today. The interior photograph looks like a standard, and not very pleasant, corporate cafeteria - an an incredibly deep space reliant on fluorescent lighting. The exterior materials seem conventional even if Brightly colored. I love the perforated sun screen and the use of channel glass around the cores, but otherwise the interest in this building stems from its form rather than its phenomenological properties. A bit disappointing in my eyes but still an interesting building. I still do admire the integration of sustainable features and respect the LEED Platinum certification the building has received.



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