Turnstone has spent the spring surveying other designers’ work for spring inspiration.
We’re just back from Budapest, where we climbed down a 200ft hole by the Danube to inspect how the Metro 4 line is coming along under the river, connecting Buda and Pest. Good to compare public transit projects between NYC and Central Europe, and meet the students at MOME, the Moholy-Nagy University of Design.
In June, we’re co-judging Open Plans’ “Beyond the Countdown Clock” competition, which invites interdisciplinary geeks from all over to design the future of transit. They’re still inviting entrants to participate, so get on it!
In London, there is a glut of shows that are fit for our design inspiration purposes. What one thing we can take from each?
Thomas Heatherwick’s reflections at the Then|Now show at the Aram Gallery resonated. He decries that design school didn’t teach him enough about the transition from “I” to “Us”, how to shift practice from solo to studio.
The Wim Crouwel exhibit at the Design Museum is predictably delectable and rectilinear, and proves that pink and red do work together, if you also happen to be a master of Dutch mid-century typography. More when we’ve shuffled around the Dirt, Yohji Yamamoto and Susan Hiller shows this week. Under our own personal Shengen agreement, we’re crossing from one design discipline to another without a passport.
Turnstone has also visited The Hunterian, a museum of medical specimens at the Royal College of Surgeons, at last. Noone usually asks ‘what did you do that for?’ about going to see a museum collection, but posed that question several times over, there is now an answer. It definitely was more ghoulish than the London Dungeon or Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors. I went on an empty stomach, and still lost my appetite. It’s beautifully displayed but you do have to overcome the waft of formaldehyde. But I went to look at the structures of things; to step out of my field of usual inquiry, and to conclude that disease looks disruptive. When that kind of ooh, that looks weird is scaled up, it might be a way to assess sprawl or other systems that mimic nature, or flatly deny it.
Back in New York, Turnstone just published a maiden wikipedia article for clients, Peter Gluck and Partners, on architect-led design-build. We also proudly handed over a copy of the essay on interaction designer, Durrell Bishop, to the curators of “Talk To Me“, a show about interfaces, which is due to open at the Museum of Modern Art in July. Bishop’s work does speak for itself – that’s mostly the point of it – but the 1999 written interpretation still holds up and predicts such crazy far-out futures as iphone apps and digital displays in shop windows. A true time capsule, that.
Reflecting on the contemporary context of learning and advancing interaction design, it was interesting to compare this year’s graduate candidates’ portfolios with last year’s, as admissions reviewers for SVA recently: Of a consistently high standard, applicants’ work seems to be a weathervane for the zeitgeist. In 2010, anxiety and efforts towards system-change stood out in the work, in a climate of deep economic uncertainty. This year, there are still a contingent of do-design-for-good-ers, but the applicants’ preoccupations seem to have turned back to enterprise and storytelling again. Happier times? And how will the bumps of the last few years impress on the next generation of creators and inventors?
Turnstone will be back soon to update our 2009 50 women we admire in tech story, and 20 years of architectural restoration we thought we’d left alone, report back on our talks to Harvard and Carnegie Mellon grads and Harlem 5th-8th graders, and dig up some press coverage curiosities we’ve come across during this season of Taxi of Tomorrow. Stay tuned.