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Sou Fujimoto’s Giant Serpentine Pavilion Converted into a Storm of LED Lightning by UVA

For the last thirteen years Serpentine Gallery has invited a guest architect to design a temporary structure on the London gallery’s front lawn. In what is billed as “the most ambitious architectural program of its kind worldwide,” designs have come from such visionaries as Ai Weiwei in 2012 and Frank Gehry in 2008. This year, Japanese architectSou Fujimoto (who at 41 become the youngest to accept the invitation) constructed a large network of 20mm steel poles and latticed metal that covers an area of 3,800 square feet.

While the white pavilion is impressive in its own right, the gallery further commissioned London-based United Visual Artists to create a network of LED lights that are meant to mimic the natural forms of an electric storm. At night the normally grounded structure becomes an electrified geometric cloud that flashes and pulsates with light. The installation is further enhanced by an accompanied soundtrack of precisely timed soundbites including the buzzing of electrical plants, effectively creating an auditory effect of thunder. A somewhat similar intervention took place here in Chicago a few years ago when LuftWerk transformed Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. (via WiredHuffington Post)

arch : violent volumes: california roll house

At times, the simplest form with least manipulation from its original form can offer visual amenities and adapted solution to the context. California Roll prefabricated house takes this methodology to create its morphological adaptation to its environment: desert. Homogeneous exterior material which provides high grade of energy efficiency and reflects heat from the sun covers the entire surface except for glass panels which is electronically controlled to change its transparency.
Modularization of every structure members and finish materials are maximized to provide mobility with rapid assembly and disassembly on site.

To sustain its challenging structural stand, carbon fibre truss frame underneath the exterior material holds the entire architecture. Hydraulic powered automatic doors and security system is used for main entrance door which allows less space to operate the door mechanism. California Roll house features these latest technologies applied to architecture which breaks the boundary of product or vehicle design and architectural design which brings more mobility to living spaces.

Plain surface on the ground extended from exterior surface provides paved area for outdoor activities which requires flat and artificial surface different from desert sand surface. As well as surface on the ground, inside of exterior shell is covered with fibre reinforced plastic panels.

Modularized skylights and windows along the exterior surface can be placed at desired location to light its interior space to meet resident’s requirement from his own usage of the space.
Passive and subtle control of privacy of bedroom area is provided by curtain divider and bookshelf with translucent midpart. These parts allow the residents to have sense of privacy by delicate visual hints over as well as providing lights through.
Overall, the privacy in California Roll is controlled rather passively with resident’s awareness than tight blocking of spaces in-between.

Automatic main door mechanism diagram

Since the main entrance is on the sloped wall, the door mechanism should be designed in unconventional way. Adopting ideas from automotive design industry, hydraulic powered automatic door controlled by number lock panel is installed on the sloped wall as main entrance to minimize the space required for operation to avoid contact with user while in operation. When the door is fully open, the clearance height is up to 2 meters.
The door opens into two pieces, the upper piece lifts up over head, and the lower piece unfolds onto the floor for visitors to step on. When the door is completely closed, the material on the outside of door continues with the material of the exterior surface to achieve conformity and hide the entrance.

An Online Retrospective Shows Why Braun Still Matters

DAS PROGRAMM IS A DIGITAL CATALOG OF GADGETS BY THE LIKES OF THE LEGENDARY DIETER RAMS. AND IF YOU REALLY LIKE SOMETHING, YOU CAN MAKE IT A PART OF YOUR OWN COLLECTION.

I’ve always adored the Braun TG 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder. Its lines and materials are pure machine—there is no wood paneling to mask its industrial bias—but its buttons make the slightest of concessions by subtly curving for human fingers. Each component on the TG 60 is placed with so much intent, as if its aesthetics were dictated as much by visual balance as underlying engineering. Some Apple designers are fans of TG 60 as well. They went so far as to skin their podcast app with TG 60 controls.

Of course, the TG 60 is only one of many, many classic Braun designs that you can see over at what very well may be the most extensive database on the topic in the world, Das Programm. Academic and researcher Dr. Peter Kapos runs the online museum and store, which grew out of his own obsession with Braun.

“Part of what’s distinctive about our offering is that it is premium quality, and all in one place,” Kapos explains. “Unfortunately for my family, that place is our home. I have boys of four and seven who have learnt not to touch anything made in Germany.”

Naturally, the collection focuses on Braun’s golden age of the mid-’50s to the late ’60s, when Otl Aicher and Hans Gugelot, from the legendary design school HfG Ulm—and later, Dieter Rams—redefined the world of industrial design through the modernist ideal of functionalism, the philosophy that design should stem directly from purpose. (It was basically Bauhaus philosophy applied to the field of industrial design, and in fact, many Bauhaus greats actually lectured at HfG Ulm.) At Das Programm, you can scan through beautiful photos of Braun icons like the SK phonosuper, the Gugelot design and most popular vintage Braun collectible that questioned the very nature of audio equipment.

As Kapos writes on the site:

Until then, radiograms concealed their technical origin beneath folds of varnished wood and panels of fabric interwoven with gold, betraying a deep ambivalence about industrial technology. The SK phonosuper exulted its productive possibilities. Accordingly, the device’s constructive principle aimed at a complete disclosure of its industrial origin. The corpus was formed from one piece of sheet steel, bent four times on a tight radius along a single axis to preserve its flatness. Grills of pierced slot openings exposed the sheet’s gauge. Users, for their part, were addressed not as fearful fantasists but as operators whose needs in relation to the object stemmed from their practical engagement with it. Ornamentation was dispensed with; controls were rationally set out in an immediately comprehensible operational hierarchy.

These artifacts are mostly quite expensive, quickly reaching the $1,000+ mark. As an alternative, Kapos recommends considering work from the “somewhat overlooked” Braun household designer Reinhold Weiss, whose unique Braun HL 1 Multiwind table fan exudes charm and understated elegance, yet runs just a few hundred bucks.

One question I’ve always had about Braun, however, is simply: What happened? Why is the midcentury so collectibly iconic compared with years later, especially since Rams stuck around for over 30 years and ran a very respected design department (with products from the ’70s and ’80s that are incredible in their own right). For this, Kapos has a very reasonable explanation:

“In ‘68 the Gillette Company acquired a controlling share in Braun,” Kapos explains. “They bought with the idea of controlling the global shaving market. They really weren’t interested in audio, which Braun operated as a prestigious loss leader. So, they put a stop to the adventure. Post ‘68 Braun Design remained very good, of course. But it became focused in particular designs, as opposed to existing across the entire program.”

CRAFTING BEAUTIFUL RECORD PLAYERS ENABLED GERMANY TO LIFT ITSELF OUT OF WWII.

There is, of course, another explanation of our obsession with midcentury German design—one that’s deeply culturally significant. Following the horrors of World War II, the mere acts of crafting beautiful record players and speakers enabled Germany to lift itself out of a wartime economy and mentality. And if you can believe in this idea, then you can believe that a Braun SK4 isn’t just a beautiful record player that embraces its technological roots. It’s the tangible result of the world giving Germany a second chance through the Marshall Plan, and proof that the country’s talented designers and engineers could craft inventions that delighted humanity rather than destroyed it.

“I think these objects offer hope, an image of a world that in many ways is better than the existing one,” Kapos writes. “This was the original purpose of functionalism.”

Explore the database here.

The Future of the Airline Website by Fi.com

From Information to Understanding - Solving the Small Data Problems: Stephen Anderson at TEDxUtrecht

How Adobe Reinvented The Pen To Draw On The Internet

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE CLOUD-CONNECTED INTERFACE? HOW ABOUT A SIMPLE PEN AND RULER?

This week, Adobe announced that the Creative Suite was becoming the subscription-based Creative Cloud. It didn’t go so well. But amidst the bad news, we may have lost sight of Adobe’s rationale for pushing the cloud beyond profits. And you can see that rationale hiding inside Project Mighty.

On one hand, it’s just an aluminum stylus that can replace your finger on the iPad screen. On the other, it’s a cloud-connected pen—or humanity’s single-greatest, simplest creative apparatus, married to the entire world of digital tools and information. Today, Project Mighty allows you to draw an image on your iPad screen, then seamlessly continue drawing that same image on your iPhone screen. Tomorrow, such a tool could draw anywhere—screen or table—while constantly syncing with your creative depository in the cloud.

Now you have to admit, that’s at least a little bit intriguing.

HOW IT CAME TOGETHER

Project Mighty, along with an accompanying “short ruler” codenamed Napoleon, were both designed by Ammunition (and engineered byMindtribe). Ammunition has been working on various concepts with Adobe for the past five years. These are the first two designs to be made public.

“One of the goals of this was just to make a beautiful, sweet object,” Ammunition Founder Robert Brunner tells Co.Design. “The pen in particular is one of those simple, beautiful forms. But it actually has a purpose. We took the triangular shape—this classic shape that’s easier to grip—and twisted it. So the point at which your fingers hold it, the pen is at its best.”

The pen has a pressure-sensitive tip, a button to reveal onscreen menus and a glowing tip to convey modal information (designating if you’re drawing with any particular settings), and that’s it. The accompanying ruler is similarly sparse. Six shapes appear on the surface (it’s unclear if these will be actual buttons), a plastic back slides easily on a glass touch screen, and a few capacitive points convey its position to software.

“When [Adobe’s VP of experience] first said he had this idea for a digital ruler, to be honest, I was like, ‘I don’t know,’” Brunner admits. “As we actually started to work on it and play with it, we realized that it was very smart. You can certainly set up software to draw straight lines and snap to angles, but the simple addition of this other physical thing gives you so much more confidence.”

WHEN ADOBE FIRST HAD THIS IDEA FOR A DIGITAL RULER, I WAS LIKE, ‘I DON’T KNOW.’

Even still, why did the team pursue a pen and ruler at all? In the digital world, there are no physical bounds dictating a tip of a pen needs to be connected to a long channel of ink. Couldn’t Project Mighty look like an ergonomic swirly straw, or a creative pair of brass knuckles—any dream device that could reimagine the very core idea of what drawing can be, rather than the old default pen and ruler?

“It’s simply because they’re extremely familiar,” Brunner says. “That’s the thing. You can come up with something entirely unique, but the fact is, these two devices, or shapes, are incredibly embedded in our understanding of drawing and creating.”

THE POWER OF ILLUSION

Adobe frames Project Mighty as a high-tech, borderline magical device that stores your identity and your projects. In reality, the hardware itself is fairly dumb, but its implementation is ingenious.

The pen is just a Bluetooth stick in the simplest of senses. Software spots its unique Bluetooth identifier. That code is associated with you. And you’re associated with the files/settings you’ve stored in the Adobe cloud. In other words, Project Mighty is really just beaming software an alphanumeric string, which logs into your accounts very quickly so you don’t have to. Finding myself fairly proud of piecing this together, I ask Brunner about it.

USING OBJECTS AS A CONDUIT TO DATA IS A POWERFUL POSSIBILITY.

“You’re right, it’s an illusion per se,” he says. “All the pen is doing is IDing you and the app you’re in, and contextually allowing you to do things. But that’s an important idea! Using objects as a conduit to data is a powerful and interesting possibility. But for some reason, in the world of development, there seems to be a hard line between hardware and software.”

This hard line is exactly what Project Mighty is working to erase. It’s a peek into the most basic and powerful interactions that smart design can drive as we approach the Internet of things. This pen doesn’t need to gyroscopically record your movements, save them onto some flash drive, beam them back to the computer, then beam them to the cloud every moment. It just has to be a stick with a button that’s ready to be identified by software.

In other words, there’s nothing inside the hardware that demands the pen remain proprietary. Project Mighty could become popularized for apps living in the walls of Adobe’s own products. With a little modification (maybe an optional real pen tip?) Project Mighty could become the tactile, connective tissue between you and any surface on which you’d like to draw. This semi-smart pen could become the ubiquitous way we interact creatively with the world around us.

“Something I noticed: I used to always carry a pen,” Brunner says. “I don’t anymore, whereas my iPhone is always in my pocket. Maybe this thing can bring back the idea that the pen is always with you.”

Project Mighty and Napoleon are currently in developmental prototype stage.

99% InVisible : A Tiny Radio Show about Design with Roman Mars : Episode 65- Razzle Dazzle

This is probably not what you think of when you think of camouflage.
(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI..)

(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)
Becoming invisible with your surroundings is only one type of camouflage.  Camofleurs call this high similarity or blending camouflage.  But camouflage can also take the opposite approach.

(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)
Think about zebras: it’s hypothesized that their stripes make it difficult for a predator to distinguish one from another when the zebras are in a large herd. The stripes also might make zebras less attractive to blood sucking horseflies. This is called disruptive camouflage.When it comes to humans, the greatest, most jaw-droppingly spectacular application of disruptive camouflage was called Dazzle. 
(Anon, photograph of the USS West Mahomet in dazzle camouflage, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 1733.)
Dazzle painting emerged in the 1910s as design solution to a very dire problem: American and British ships were being sunk left and right by German U-Boats. England needed to import supplies to fight the Central Powers, and these ships were sitting ducks in the Atlantic Ocean.  They needed a way to fend of the torpedoes.  Conventional high-similarity camouflage just doesn’t work in the open sea.  Conditions like the color of the sky, cloud cover, and wave height change all the time, not to mention the fact that there’s no way to hid all the smoke left by the ships’ smoke stacks.   The strategy of this high-difference, dazzle camouflage was not about invisibility.  It was about disruption.  Confusion.Torpedoes in the Great War could only be fired line-of-sight, so instead of firing at where they saw the ship was at that moment, torpedo gunners would have to chart out where the ship would be by the time the torpedo got there.  They had to determine the target ship’s speed and direction with just a brief look through the periscope. The torpedo gunner’s margin of error for hitting a ship was quite low.  Dazzle painting could throw off an experienced submariner by as much as 55 degrees.

(Burnell Poole, Painting of the USS Leviathan escorted by the USS Allen, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 42691.
A journalist at the time referred to these dazzling ships as “a flock of sea-going Easter eggs.”

(John Everett, Painting of the SS Lepanto (c1918). Postcard. Collection of Roy R. Behrens.)
An American “Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps” did some of the painting.

(Anon, government news photograph of members of the US Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps camouflaging the USSRecruit in Union Square, NYC, 1917.)

99% InVisible : A Tiny Radio Show about Design with Roman Mars : Episode 65- Razzle Dazzle

This is probably not what you think of when you think of camouflage.

image(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI..)

image

(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)

Becoming invisible with your surroundings is only one type of camouflage.  Camofleurs call this high similarity or blending camouflage.  But camouflage can also take the opposite approach.

image

(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)

Think about zebras: it’s hypothesized that their stripes make it difficult for a predator to distinguish one from another when the zebras are in a large herd. The stripes also might make zebras less attractive to blood sucking horseflies. This is called disruptive camouflage.

When it comes to humans, the greatest, most jaw-droppingly spectacular application of disruptive camouflage was called Dazzle.
 
image

(Anon, photograph of the USS West Mahomet in dazzle camouflage, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 1733.)

Dazzle painting emerged in the 1910s as design solution to a very dire problem: American and British ships were being sunk left and right by German U-Boats. England needed to import supplies to fight the Central Powers, and these ships were sitting ducks in the Atlantic Ocean.  They needed a way to fend of the torpedoes.  

Conventional high-similarity camouflage just doesn’t work in the open sea.  Conditions like the color of the sky, cloud cover, and wave height change all the time, not to mention the fact that there’s no way to hid all the smoke left by the ships’ smoke stacks.  
 
The strategy of this high-difference, dazzle camouflage was not about invisibility.  It was about disruption.  Confusion.

Torpedoes in the Great War could only be fired line-of-sight, so instead of firing at where they saw the ship was at that moment, torpedo gunners would have to chart out where the ship would be by the time the torpedo got there.  They had to determine the target ship’s speed and direction with just a brief look through the periscope. 

The torpedo gunner’s margin of error for hitting a ship was quite low.  Dazzle painting could throw off an experienced submariner by as much as 55 degrees.

image

(Burnell Poole, Painting of the USS Leviathan escorted by the USS Allen, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 42691.

A journalist at the time referred to these dazzling ships as “a flock of sea-going Easter eggs.”

image

(John Everett, Painting of the SS Lepanto (c1918). Postcard. Collection of Roy R. Behrens.)

An American “Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps” did some of the painting.

image

(Anon, government news photograph of members of the US Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps camouflaging the USSRecruit in Union Square, NYC, 1917.)

Chromatophobia
By Michael Bierut | Pentagram, NYC | www.pentagram.com
The first step, they say, is admitting you have a problem. A long time ago, when I used to do a lot of freelancing, I got a call from a friend of mine who had just gotten a job at a well-known cosmetics company. She had an assignment for me. Her company was famous for using a color wheel — a specially printed diagram with dozens of colors arranged in concentric circles — at their department store counters. The time had come, as it did periodically, to update the colors. Various experts had been consulted, all the requested changes had been tabulated, and all that remained was for someone to designate specifications for the colors that were changing. This task was seen as more or less clerical, and kind of a pain in the ass. “We know exactly what we want,” my friend told me, “but no one here has time to do it.” She asked if I would do it, and said they would pay me $2,500. Now, this sort of thing didn’t exactly seem like graphic design to me — there was no typography involved, for one thing — but $2,500 was a stupendous amount of money for me at the time, probably the most I had ever been offered for a single project. I said yes. I was told I could buy whatever supplies I needed, so I bought every color specification guide I could find, even splurging on exotic imports from Germany and Japan. Finally, one day after work, I sat down at our kitchen table, with my pages of notes on the revisions on one side, my multiple specification guides on the other, and the color wheel in the middle. We even happened to own a matte-black Richard Sapper-designed Artemide Tizio lamp, which coincidentally was the exact model that was used at the cosmetic counters where the color wheel would be displayed. I trained it on the task at hand and got down to work. Or, at least I tried to work. Instead, I found myself staring helplessly at mess before me, clueless as to how to begin. There were just so many chips, so many samples, so many ambiguous notes from the client: this color was supposed to “pop” more, this one was supposed to be “warmer but more neutral,” and so forth. It was overwhelming. And, in the middle of it all sat the color wheel. For the first time I wondered, what was it really for? How did it help women choose and apply their makeup? Why were so many colors necessary? How could anyone tell that colors looked out of date? Did these colors really look the same to other people as they did to me? And how did they look to me, anyway? I sat for hours, disconsolately shuffling color chips around, getting more and more confused and despondent. Finally, my wife Dorothy, who had been trying to ignore my heaving sighs, came over. “Can you tell me again what this is all about?” she asked. Dorothy is not a designer and has never taken a single class in art or design, so I explained carefully. To my surprise, she responded with enthusiasm: yes, of course she knew this particular color wheel, all of her friends did, in fact she herself thought that it was out of date, and had thought so for some time. I was amazed. Really? She nodded. “Now, what exactly are you supposed to be doing?” I showed her the particulars of my assignment, and by way of example indicated a particularly vexing instruction from the client: “They say they want this one to be more like a soft…” (I had to refer to my notes at this point) “…celadon.” I had looked up celadon in the dictionary (“a pale yellow-greyish green”) but it wasn’t much help. Yellow, and grey, and green: really? That’s three colors, godammit! I showed Dorothy the chips I was considering and she snorted in derision. “You think those are celadon? Let me see what else you have.” She leaned over my shoulder and picked out a few options. “These look nice,” she said. She was right. They did look nice. She asked if she could sit down and pick out some more. And some more after that. It was fun for her, and she was good at it. Eventually she designed the whole wheel, and for the next five years or so, women at cosmetic counters across America chose their makeup based on colors that my wife Dorothy picked out at our kitchen table. That is when I began to realize that I had a case of chromatophobia, fear of color. From my earliest days as a designer I loved black and white. Such authority, such decisiveness. To this day, any collection of my favorite personal projects — posters, book covers, packaging— marks me as a follower of Henry Ford, another enthusiast for wheels who famously told buyers of his Model T that they could have whatever color they wanted as long as it was black. Every now and then, I dip my toe in the vast rainbow-hued sea. It usually comes up with no more than a little bit of red and an even littler bit of yellow. I admire people who can use color with authority. To me, they seem to be able to swim like fishes. They say any fear can be surmounted, and I hope one day to begin to conquer mine. Until then, it’s back to the comfort of my nice dry towel, well away from the water’s edge — suitably striped, of course, in my two favorite colors: black and white.This piece was written as an introduction to Color Works: An Essential Guide to Understanding and Applying Color Design Principles by Eddie Opara, to be published next year by Rockport.
Photo Credits : Moses Harris, Illustration from The Natural Systems of Colours, London, 1766. (Source: Sarah Lowengard,The Creation of Color in Eighteenth Century Europe)

Chromatophobia

By Michael Bierut | Pentagram, NYC | www.pentagram.com

The first step, they say, is admitting you have a problem. 

A long time ago, when I used to do a lot of freelancing, I got a call from a friend of mine who had just gotten a job at a well-known cosmetics company. She had an assignment for me. Her company was famous for using a color wheel — a specially printed diagram with dozens of colors arranged in concentric circles — at their department store counters. The time had come, as it did periodically, to update the colors. Various experts had been consulted, all the requested changes had been tabulated, and all that remained was for someone to designate specifications for the colors that were changing. This task was seen as more or less clerical, and kind of a pain in the ass. “We know exactly what we want,” my friend told me, “but no one here has time to do it.” She asked if I would do it, and said they would pay me $2,500. 

Now, this sort of thing didn’t exactly seem like graphic design to me — there was no typography involved, for one thing — but $2,500 was a stupendous amount of money for me at the time, probably the most I had ever been offered for a single project. I said yes. I was told I could buy whatever supplies I needed, so I bought every color specification guide I could find, even splurging on exotic imports from Germany and Japan. Finally, one day after work, I sat down at our kitchen table, with my pages of notes on the revisions on one side, my multiple specification guides on the other, and the color wheel in the middle. We even happened to own a matte-black Richard Sapper-designed Artemide Tizio lamp, which coincidentally was the exact model that was used at the cosmetic counters where the color wheel would be displayed. I trained it on the task at hand and got down to work. 

Or, at least I tried to work. Instead, I found myself staring helplessly at mess before me, clueless as to how to begin. There were just so many chips, so many samples, so many ambiguous notes from the client: this color was supposed to “pop” more, this one was supposed to be “warmer but more neutral,” and so forth. It was overwhelming. And, in the middle of it all sat the color wheel. For the first time I wondered, what was it really for? How did it help women choose and apply their makeup? Why were so many colors necessary? How could anyone tell that colors looked out of date? Did these colors really look the same to other people as they did to me? And how did they look to me, anyway? 

I sat for hours, disconsolately shuffling color chips around, getting more and more confused and despondent. Finally, my wife Dorothy, who had been trying to ignore my heaving sighs, came over. “Can you tell me again what this is all about?” she asked. Dorothy is not a designer and has never taken a single class in art or design, so I explained carefully. To my surprise, she responded with enthusiasm: yes, of course she knew this particular color wheel, all of her friends did, in fact she herself thought that it was out of date, and had thought so for some time. I was amazed. Really? She nodded. “Now, what exactly are you supposed to be doing?” I showed her the particulars of my assignment, and by way of example indicated a particularly vexing instruction from the client: “They say they want this one to be more like a soft…” (I had to refer to my notes at this point) “…celadon.” 

I had looked up celadon in the dictionary (“a pale yellow-greyish green”) but it wasn’t much help. Yellow, and grey, and green: really? That’s three colors, godammit! I showed Dorothy the chips I was considering and she snorted in derision. “You think those are celadon? Let me see what else you have.” She leaned over my shoulder and picked out a few options. “These look nice,” she said. She was right. They did look nice. She asked if she could sit down and pick out some more. And some more after that. It was fun for her, and she was good at it. Eventually she designed the whole wheel, and for the next five years or so, women at cosmetic counters across America chose their makeup based on colors that my wife Dorothy picked out at our kitchen table. 

That is when I began to realize that I had a case of chromatophobia, fear of color. From my earliest days as a designer I loved black and white. Such authority, such decisiveness. To this day, any collection of my favorite personal projects — postersbook coverspackaging— marks me as a follower of Henry Ford, another enthusiast for wheels who famously told buyers of his Model T that they could have whatever color they wanted as long as it was black. Every now and then, I dip my toe in the vast rainbow-hued sea. It usually comes up with no more than a little bit of red and an even littler bit of yellow. I admire people who can use color with authority. To me, they seem to be able to swim like fishes. 

They say any fear can be surmounted, and I hope one day to begin to conquer mine. Until then, it’s back to the comfort of my nice dry towel, well away from the water’s edge — suitably striped, of course, in my two favorite colors: black and white.

This piece was written as an introduction to Color Works: An Essential Guide to Understanding and Applying Color Design Principles by Eddie Opara, to be published next year by Rockport.

Photo Credits : Moses Harris, Illustration from The Natural Systems of Colours, London, 1766. (Source: Sarah Lowengard,The Creation of Color in Eighteenth Century Europe)

Home: Facebook’s Bold New Vision For Social Smartphones

THE NEW FACEBOOK PHONE PUTS YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS AND TEXT MESSAGING AT THE CENTER OF THE SMARTPHONE UNIVERSE.

The Facebook Phone is finally here. And, as expected, it’s not really a phone at all. Home, as the new product is called, is a free, downloadable skin that gives existing Android phones a total Facebook makeover, transforming both lock and home screens into immersive, edge-to-edge slideshows of photos and status updates. (It will also come pre-loaded on the HTC First, which will be $99 from AT&T.) It is, of course, a huge power play by Facebook. But it’s also a genuinely exciting new vision for mobile design. Here are three places where it’s charting new territory.

WHAT’S EASIER THAN TAPPING A FACEBOOK APP? NOT HAVING TO TAP AT ALL.

CONNECTING, ABOVE ALL ELSE

Home isn’t about apps. It’s about people. That was the refrain for the day, and it’s something that’s very much evident in its design. The most immediate transformation comes in the form of a new lock and home screen that continually rotate through Facebook updates, presenting them as flashy, full-screen slides. Weather forecast? Stock quotes? Those old stand-bys are nowhere to be found, getting the boot in favor of one thing: your friends.

The other big feature is a new messaging system called Chat Heads, which keeps conversations on top of your screen, no matter what app you’re using, in the form of small circular avatars. It’s a new way of thinking about messaging—not as an app but as a layer on top of everything you do.

Connecting, be it passively through the new lock screen or actively through the new messaging system, is what Home is about. Connecting with your friends—and with Facebook. The new experience reduces the friction involved in using Facebook to a fantastic degree. What’s easier than tapping an app icon to open Facebook? Not having to tap anything at all. With Home, you no longer have to make the decision to use Facebook. You’re already using it.

IT’S NOT “FACEBOOK”

But it might not feel like you’re using it, and that’s key. One noteworthy thing about Home is the name. When Zuckerberg talked about it today, he didn’t call it Facebook Home. It was just “Home.” And that signals something that’s evident throughout the design: Facebook, as a platform, taking a backseat to the content it carries. As another presenter today boasted, there’s “no chrome, no logo.” The home screen doesn’t show your Facebook feed, as some predicted. That’s too Facebook-y. It blows status updates up and shows them one at a time. It looks nothing like any other version of Facebook we’ve ever seen. The words “Facebook” are nowhere in sight.

FACEBOOK WISELY PUSHED THE CONTENT TO CENTER STAGE.

And that’s smart. Facebook’s certainly facing some challenges—for older users, it’s becoming a guilty pleasure; for teens, it’s quickly becoming passé—and that’s got to be worrisome to the company. Facebook isn’t cool. Tumblr’s cool. Snapchat’s cool. But with Home, instead of trying to rebrand itself, Facebook wisely let the platform step into the background and pushed the content to center stage. It doesn’t need to be loved; just to be used. And even if people don’t want to use Facebook, they’ll always be game for flipping through pictures of their friends.

THINKING BEYOND THE APP

But from a user experience standpoint, perhaps the most significant thing about Home is simply the way it thinks beyond the “app” in a broader sense. It’s something Zuckerberg harped on continually: moving beyond apps. And that’s a big departure.

With Home, you can still get to all your old apps through a built-in launcher, sure, but they’re put in a little drawer like so many toys. Apps made smartphones like Swiss army knives. The whole idea of Home is to remake the smartphone user experience around its most important function: connecting us with other people. As Zuckerberg said, Home turns your smartphone into a “a great, simple social device.”

The idea of mobile apps as discrete, cordoned-off experiences is something Apple entrenched with the iPhone very early on. Build whatever you want on your own rectangular plots, Apple told developers, but this phone is ours, and we’re the ones responsible for how it looks, feels, and functions.

The Home lock screen shows incoming messages and e-mails against a backdrop of full-screen status updates. On the right: the built-in app launcher.

A new messaging system puts texts and FB messages as a layer on top of everything you do. On the left, Chat Head avatar hangs out on top of Instagram. On the right, the UI for quickly managing conversation threads. Avatars can be rearranged or hidden with a swipe.

Google never put those restrictions on Android, and now Facebook is moving in to exploit that in a big way. The result is something entirely different from the apps we’ve come to know—something that reaches far wider and is integrated far deeper. We don’t even really have a word for it. It’s not an OS. It’s not an app. For most users, it will just become what their phone is. And while that is in many ways a scary prospect, it does offer some interesting possibilities.

WHEN YOU MOVE BEYOND THE APP, YOU CAN DO THINGS APPS CAN’T DO.

When you move beyond the app, you can do things apps can’t do. Home shows us messaging and communicating in ways we haven’t seen before—and, frankly, in ways that are much more relevant. Mobile messaging is no longer an asynchronous thing, as it was back in the days of 160-character texting. It’s more like chat, and Chat Heads, which doesn’t get knocked to the background when you’re using another app, reflects that reality. And it works in a way a simple text message app never could.

During the event, Zuckerberg mentioned Android’s wide reach and how, for many people around the world, the smartphone represented their first real computing experience. And in a sense, Home is a bid to transform that experience—to move it away from the app paradigm that Google and Apple have put forward in recent years to something based on connecting and communicating, with Facebook conveniently facilitating it all.

But from one perspective, today’s event not only offered a peek beyond apps, but beyond smartphones too. It showed how the app model might not make sense on devices like Google Glass, where we won’t have the luxury of screens to tap at.

To succeed, that next generation of devices will have to be far more fluid and flexible, in terms of bringing in data and content from a variety of sources and giving us simple tools for digesting and sharing it. That may very well require a more holistic approach to design—a single driving vision that assimilates functions and features into one cohesive experience. Facebook Home is a glimpse of what that next step might look like.

Eye-Glasses are apart of my personal identity. Since i was 14 years old, I take great pride in taking care of my eyes and selecting the eye glasses that speak about me. Can Google take us there?
Orly Angelo | UI/UX Designer | Producer/Dj

The Google Glass Design Patent

Originally filed by Google in August 2011, the “Wearable Device with Input and Output Structure” goes into deep detail on how the Google Glass wearable computer could be constructed, with deep technical schematics describing everything from the frames to the mounting and adjustments, as well as touch pad input and the wireless controls. 

The video camera is shown positioned on the side arm of the frames. Although the diagram show just one camera, more video cameras may be used and may be configured to capture the same view, or different views. 

"The video camera may then be used to generate an augmented reality where computer-generated images appear to interact with the real-world view perceived by the user," the patent states.

February 21, 2013 11:58 AM PST

Through the Lens of Google Glass: How It Feels.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display (HMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project,[3]with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer.[4] Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format,[5] that can interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands.[6][7] While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, Google is considering partnering with sunglass retailers such as Ray-Ban or Warby Parker, and may also open retail stores to allow customers to try on the device.[4] The Explorer Edition cannot be used by people who wear prescription glasses, but Google has confirmed that Glass will eventually work with frames and lenses that match the wearer’s prescription; the glasses will be modular and therefore possibly attachable to normal prescription glasses.[8]

Glass is being developed by Google X Lab,[9] which has worked on other futuristic technologies such as driverless cars. The project was announced on Google+ by Project Glass lead Babak Parviz, an electrical engineer who has also worked on putting displays into contact lenses; Steve Lee, a project manager and “geolocation specialist”; and Sebastian Thrun, who developed Udacity as well as worked on the self-driving car project.[10] Google has patented the design of Project Glass.[11][12]Thad Starner, an AR expert, is a technical lead/manager on the project.[13]

Reinvent Payphones Winner: Beacon - Best Visual Design

Gently rising out of the sidewalk and topping out at nearly 12 feet, BEACON is a slender concrete and stainless steel structure enclosing a stack of indestructible LED matrix screens, similar to those found on Times Square billboards.

The upper screens function as digital signage, creating an ad-supported revenue stream that allows Beacon to provide its other functions free of charge. These screens also adapt to public events throughout our city, from NYC marathon mileage markers to themed banners, celebrating with the city during its many parades.

The lower screens are dedicated to New York City’s local street life and communities, with hyper local advertising, community message boards, and of course, the telephone functionality. Controlled by your voice and gestures, Beacon is touch-free and hygienic, and is highly accessible. It uses directional microphones and noise canceling speakers to create the right acoustic environment for making phone calls, and an array of sensors to track gestures. Fire, Police, and Taxi are physical buttons, always at the ready to signal our needs direct to the city and via the colored light crown.

Beacon is also there for us in times of emergency, such as when we experienced Superstorm Sandy. The upper digital signage and the light crown on top give us clear instructions on how to respond during these events. Beacon becomes an information kiosk during times of emergency, providing updates on critical services, evacuation instructions, and directions to local shelters in multiple languages. Beacon’s solar cells trickle charge an integrated battery, creating an uninterruptible power supply to update the information on a regular and consistent basis, even during a blackout.

Beacon is New York City’s next generation open communications platform, connecting the city and its services with our communities, businesses, residents, and visitors. Beacon makes New York City more accessible, safer, healthier, greener, and better informed in our best of times and our most challenging.

Beacon was designed to connect New York City with New Yorkers, businesses and visitors. Beacon takes everything chaotic, colorful & loud about New York City and connects it back to us in an intelligent, purposeful & familiar way.

About Beacon:

Beacon is a next generation communication and information hub. Its integrated technology includes LED matrix screens, sensors, speakers, lighting and solar cells. Beacon is controlled by your voice and gestures, making it hygienic and highly accessible. It uses directional microphones, noise canceling speakers and an array of sensors.

Vote for Beacon:
facebook.com/nycgov/app_168524029882519

Connecting The Film : A short film that explores trends in UI, Interaction, & Experience Design

The 18 minute “Connecting” documentary is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry’s thought leaders. As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming “Internet of things.” Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a “super organism” capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world.

Featuring

Created by

Bassett & Partners
Tom BassettAndrew CasdenScott FitzloffAmbika Jain, and Cassandra Michel

Produced by

Windows Phone Design Studio
Albert ShumMike Kruzeniski, and Kat Holmes

Get in touch

To inquire about a screening or for more information please email us at connecting@bassett.tv