Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Feminine Hard Drive?

Here’s ‘Costume‘ – a concept design for a 2.5″ hard disk drive by designer Joongoo Lee, which obviously takes inspiration from ladies accessories, specifically the compact powder case. While the Samsung mark is on the product, this is almost certainly not really from Samsung design.

Diane from Popgadget (a blog dedicated to technology from a feminine perspective) here mistook it for an official Samsung idea – but it’s interesting to see her reaction to this product:

…Samsung has designed a concept compact hard drive that looks similar to a piece of make-up – and this picture shows it surrounded by make-up, to prove the point. You know, ‘cos we women are so crazy about cosmetics, we’ll buy anything if it looks like we can paint our faces with it.

So far though, this is just a concept – and maybe it should stay that way. I think the design is sleek and all, but I don’t agree with making tech designs gender specific. (Don’t small, sleek designs appeal to men, too?)

As a (male) designer, this is often a question that I ponder too. While I think simply ‘pinkifying’ a gadget is superficial, I can’t help but wonder if it (sometimes?) works. When designing a functionally neutral object (e.g. a hard disk drive) is there really no gap between male and female’s preferences? If there are (I think there are) – what are they (or what are they likely to be)?


Funny Street Theatre

The Natural Theatre in the UK has a ‘Street Theatre’ section that I thought was pretty cool:

We don’t perform ‘a show’ but rather people an area with immaculately turned-out, visually striking characters acting out a scenario. Often we are unannounced and at first might blend with the surroundings and passers-by. Gradually our eccentric behaviour becomes noticed and onlookers start pointing and laughing. Eventually the whole street comes to a standstill and the onlookers become willing participants.

It’s a bit like Improv Everywhere, though Improv tends to involve high numbers of volunteer amateurs while this Street Theatre are a few professional actors dressed up playing interesting (and often very weird or out-of-this-world) characters in an attempt at spontaneous guerilla drama. Check out some of their very creative scenes:

Striding in strict formation, these serious looking gentlemen stop in mid-step and freeze for up to five minutes. A crowd gathers to investigate. Suddenly, the freeze is broken with a blood-curdling primal scream. They then continue their progress, repeating the exercise. People love to follow them to watch the reaction of the next unsuspecting audience.

Pointy-Headed Aliens
Pointy-headed aliens equipped with the wrong information about Earth, and naively puzzled by the reaction of Earthlings. A traffic-stopping scenario.

Grey People
Strange, sad, monochrome people creating wistful tableaux as they move slowly and silently down the street. A haunting moment in a busy day.

[Natural Theatre website]

Improving Video through Photos

This research is pretty interesting. Here’s the premise: photos are easier to capture (and in a better quality) and it’s also easier to edit/manipulate. Put the ease-of-maneuver of photos into video shots, and composing them together as if they were originally one to begin with.

Here’s the description from the researchers:

The work presents a system for automatically producing a wide variety of video enhancements and visual effects. Unlike traditional visual effects software (e.g., After Effects, Shake, Boujou, etc), the system is completely automatic and no manual labor is required from the user. The major limitation of the work is that it can currently handle only videos of static scenes (i.e., videos shot with a moving camera but containing no moving objects in the scene). Efforts are being made to lift this restriction in future work.

Design Posters for Designers!

Frank Chimero is a talented graphic designer from Missouri, with a particular knack (as far as I see) blending wholesome goodness and bits of humor into nostalgic designs. This post features one of his series ‘Inspirational Design Posters’:

I decided to embark on creating some “inspirational” posters aimed specifically at designers. The topics range from various truisms I’ve discovered about the field in the past few years to snarky tongue-in-cheek comments. I think we designers spend an awful lot of time talking to ourselves, and I consider this my contribution to the monologue.

I quite like how most of his posters are simple and well-proportioned juxtaposition of just a few elements – and there’s no harm having a few of these to inspire you. Some of them:

That’s just 3 out of the 14 he has over at his website (with many other interesting/beautiful works!)

Shadow Signage

The sign is discreet – not too common for a marque bearing the name of a tourist-attracting business like a hotel. But that’s how this hotel in Florence, Italy roll. A faint spotlight at the top of the wall casts light upon what we usually see as an awkward ensemble of wires and voila – the name of the hotel is spelled out in the shadows on the stucco facade.

Subtle art!

[via hyperexperience]

Japanese ‘We are the World’

Trust the Japanese for the weirdest and yet engaging content on their variety show. In this one, they’ve managed to (in my view) put nostalgia and creepiness into one – a variety-show rendition of the famous ‘We are the World’ MTV.

Domino Logic Gates

This brought me back to the times of school physics – I remember we were introduced to a bunch of abstract symbols (the icon for each gate type), what each meant (bunch of truth tables), etc. This video shows each of the logic gate in a more physical form though – through domino constructions. Much more interactive isn’t it?

Put together a bunch of these dominoes, and we’re on our way to a Pentium (or something)…

IDEA Awards 2008

The IDEA Awards 2008 is out – check out which products are deemed this year’s best industrial design, get inspired, get motivated, find your favorites, express your disbelief at a particular product clinching an award…all here over at Business Week.

Greatest Taglines

Each line above was concocted as part of a commercial campaign, and each of them has resonated with us, associated strongly with the brand behind it, and became classic in their own rights. Tagline Guru has a list of the top 100 most influential taglines in history – check it out to see if you agree!

Jenga on Buildings

Wow, that’s way cool – demolishing a building from the lowest level first:

How do they do it? First they replace the support pillars at ground level with computer-controlled metal columns. Then, a crew carefully demolishes the entire floor by hand, leaving the structure resting on the mechanical pillars, which then go down slowly until the next floor is at ground level. They replace the support pillars again with the mechanical ones, destroy that floor, and repeat the operation until they get rid of all the floors. This makes it look as if the building is shrinking in front of you, or being swallowed by the street.

According to the company, this method greatly reduces the environmental impact of the demolition, as well as the time. Kajima says that it speeds up the task by 20%, while making it easier to separate materials for recycling, as well as reducing the amount of products released into the air.

I suppose a method like this would also work very well in a congested urbanscape like Tokyo. The marvels of engineering!

[via Gizmodo]