To Feel Alive

To feel without inhibition, without cynicism, without jadedness, without the incessant need to find humor, to trivialize, to share, or to otherwise subdue an emotion; to allow unbridled emotion the power and the opportunity to subdue you, is what it takes—at least for me—to not just be alive, but to feel alive. Guy Tal. Continue reading To Feel Alive

Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz on Fashion, Technology & Selfie Culture

In a recent interview with Another magazine, Alber Elbaz, former creative director of Lanvin, and one of the most influential designers of our time spoke up against the impact of technology, Internet and instagram are having on the idea of creation, creativity and fashion. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, there are elements of truth in his comments. Here are some of the relevant and notable comments from the interview,  but the whole piece in itself is worth a read.

“In this digital age, we live through our screens, documenting the moment. We no longer look; we film. We no longer listen; we tape. And we no longer talk; we post.  There is an interesting relationship between fashion and photography – today, the camera is not just documenting the dress but is actually influencing its design. I mean, we used to be called couturiers, then we ended being designers and then creative directors – and today, the whole idea of image making has become the name of the game. The buzz is sometimes more important than the product, the packaging is almost stronger than the inside.”

Today when I see women trying a dress on, the first thing they do is take a picture: they want to see how they look in a photo. This is a phenomenon; I keep asking myself, ‘did the photo replace the mirror? Do women today dress for their body or for the photograph – what is more important to them?’ Then I start to question the whole world of technology and its rapidity: the fact that you can click and delete, that you can click and appear. There is something about the process, about the workmanship versus technology and the speed of the photo. Is the only way to be heard today to scream on the screen? Is there a place for whispering?

Technology brings the dream to everyone: you can be deep inside middle America, but you can see what is happening in Paris. But there’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything when you’re 16; you don’t need to be all over the world, you need to keep some dreams for yourself because that’s what keeps you moving. When I interview people who have graduated from the best schools in the world, and who live in the most urban cities… they’ve seen it all, they know it all.

Notes From a Talk by Industrial Designer Sam Hecht

British industrial designer Sam Hecht co-founded London-based design firm Industrial Facility in 2002 with Kim Colin. The studio has clients such as Braun, Muji, Whirlpool and Lacie, among others. Hecht recently visited San Francisco and spoke about his career and design process at an event organized by the furniture purveyors at Arkitektura. There were some good nuggets in his talk that are worth sharing. Here are some of the salient bits:

  • Architects are comfortable talking about concepts, whereas designers have to wait for things to be finished. And the product is the thing you can really talk about.
  • Many people are focused on consumers’ shopping habits and don’t worry about their experience with the product after they buy it. Hecht is interested in what happens after the shipment, though.
  • Most industrial design is thought about in isolation, as if nothing else exists.
  • Most companies don’t realize that people read words and sentences, not letters. So most companies think they are designing letters.
  • Marketing people think about consumption differently from engineers or designers. Marketing people want more features (so that they can talk about and sell them), while designers focus on design, aesthetics and usability. Engineers think about tolerance and other physical aspects.

hechtchairs

  • Design can have the lightest of touches.
  • Design is not about slaving over a sculpture; it is how you articulate a thought.
  • So much of design is consumed as images. People now consume all design at an image level. It is about being pretty. Many don’t realize that industrial design is not about learning through images.
  • Hecht believes in the haptic experience: How you feel and use a product is important. Most people think that since a machine is more expensive than a person, a chair made by a robot is better. That isn’t the case. Good design is about providing a sense of functionality, and that also comes from what feels and seems familiar.
  • Design as a provocateur is important in Italy. When the company doesn’t have a problem, it asks the designer to be a provocateur.
  • The stuff on lower shelves is often overlooked, and only the things at eye level get attention.

Additional reading: Arkitektura Assembly Interview with Sam Hecht (podcast + notes)

Only way to do great work is…

It is great to remember this quote from Steve Jobs today on the eve of WWDC 2015. It is important because most of us ignore what we love and chase things which in the end won’t really matter.  I know from reading about him and reading what he says that Tim Cook loves what he does and so do a lot of great people at Apple. I hope they have a great event this week. I will watch the live stream with my pals from Storehouse — where this reminder has been artistically drawn by one and only Jenni Leder.