From Pokia to Hulger
We first met Nicolas last year when he wowed the world with his custom-made line of Pokia retro-cell phone handsets. At the time, his production was extremely limited, and each handset was hand soldered (by him) and sold on EBay. Since then, Nicolas has moved into the big time, manufacturing his own line of handsets, marketed under the new name Hulger. We had the luck to test one of his first P-phones, and loved it. His latest offering (and our favorite), the Penelope handset has some of the kind of beautiful finish that's been missing from products since the 1950s. We caught up with him to see what his thoughts were on manufacturing, muscling with the big players, and what a new designer can expect in taking their designs all the way.
IDEO Vacation pt. 2 : Top Bill-ing
If you thought the last part of the IDEO vacation was cool, wait until you hear what happened next. Previously, I wrote about my meeting with Daniel Kushner, a designer in IDEO's San Francisco Offices. He and I talked about the certain qualities that make IDEO work as well as it does. About focused knowledge in groups, but broad collaboration throughout the firm. About a development cycle that puts "phase 0", a method for outlining the user and problem space, front and center. About a defined method for problem solving that is both repeatable and adaptable. The more we talked, the more I came to understand that IDEO is less an office full of workers executing some higher-up's wishes, and more a group of designers able to tackle the toughest of problems because of their unique collective state of mind. The next day, I had the good fortune to have a lunch with Bill Moggridge who, along with David Kelley, founded this group and crafted this state of mind. What he told me made me stop asking questions like "What will designers do in the next century?". Instead, I wonder what designers and design thinking won't touch.
IDEO Vacation pt. 1 : What makes IDEO so... IDEO?
Most people take vacations to the ski slopes, or tourist destinations. This winter, I decided that visiting IDEO would be more fun. So with a couple of taggalongs interested in getting some California sun, I headed off to sunny San Francisco, and its lofty neighbor Palo Alto. I wanted to see what makes a firm like IDEO -- which, let's face it, has an almost magical appeal when you're a design student -- what makes it so successful at continually turning out concepts that not only answer design questions, but answer them in ways that are often so far off the beaten path that they create entirely new product definitions.
Enzo Mari : Projects vs Designs
Last Wednesday, a couple of us were able to see the latest installment in the Art Institute of Chicago's lecture series discussing "Thick Design". This is the idea that design is, more than ever, about integrating layers and layers of meaning and understanding into a product or idea -- and therefore the resulting product is "thick". This month's speaker was Enzo Mari, a veritable god of Italian design, and he had some interesting insights into products, history, and what constitutes a good "project".
Interview: Jaime Salm, Sustainability Designer
Jaime Salm is the founder and Creative Director of MIO in Philadelphia, PA. Started in 2001 following the success of the Fibrid line of molded paper stools and bowls, MIO now produces a line of five furniture and decorating products for the home. The atelier continues to focus on sustainability, not only of materials, but also of community. By partnering with local manufacturers, its products help to ensure that jobs and income are kept local, and manufacturing waste is kept out of landfills. We caught up with Jaime and got the low down on his design style.
Interview: The Men Behind Clip-n-Seal
To help you all out in getting some inspiration for Bonfire #3: Clip and Seal It!, we thought it might be cool to hear from the men behind the magic. D.L. Byron is inventor and Technical Director of Clip-N-Seal, and Scott Benish is Brand Manager. Both these guys have done what many designers dream of but rarely get the chance to do: Take one of their products all the way from concept to creation. Here's what they've got to say about the journey.
Interview: The Milkman Himself
If you all didn't get a chance to see the super-cool exhibition of re-worked, mega-modernized Swiss milking stools on display at Swissnex in San Francisco, it looks like you missed a great show. Everything from surreal pieces, to new-age ergonomics, to the current "casemod fever" were represented. Being stuck here in Chicago, we couldn't go, but we did get to grab a quick interview with Alexis Georgacopoulos, Chair of Industrial Design at University of Art and Design of Lausanne (ECAL), and stool designer extraordinaire
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Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team