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#11 2020-04-03 12:26:18

jakob
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Re: Design and Designers

colak wrote #322457:

I wasn’t sure if this YouTube video of Richard Sennett in conversation with Srećko Horvat broadcasted live a few minutes ago, would be more appropriate in the Covid-19 thread but as Sennett is very much read by architects too…

Thanks for that. I enjoyed it, though it bounced about a bit. I do indeed have several of his books: I find I read them very slowly, not because they’re particularly dense or highbrow (on the contrary, he writes very lucidly) but because there’s so much food for thought, there’s only so much I can read before I have to stop and let things settle in my mind.


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#12 2020-04-03 13:45:23

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

jakob wrote #322466:

… there’s only so much I can read before I have to stop and let things settle in my mind.

Yes indeed, excellent stuff, and also with the Hustwit films, they open up new avenues of thinking and possibilities. I just watched Sennett and one thing that hit me was his view of the Left trying to lump everything into one whole, or coming from one standpoint, and that instead there should be procedures rather than fixed ideas. Imho, the UK Labour party is still fixed in the past and not adapted at all to what the people were telling them when they voted for a right-wing racist money-first liar. None of the new leadership candidates have addressed the issue and in fact I don’t think they even consider it. Over-population.

If we had less people on our small islands, we would not have half the problems that confront people every day. I don’t know the history of how migration became a right-wing agenda rather than an all-party discussion, but now Labour encourages immigration which is opposite to what the people want, because we want jobs, we want the jobs and training being given to immigrants in the NHS, we timely affordable access to healthcare, education, housing, less traffic jams etc etc, all of which are the result of too many people, and not having the flexibility, foresight or hindsight to cope.

Just mentioning population density immediately labels me as a racist to many Labour activists, which is completely untrue. If Labour would raise the profile of this issue, I’m sure all ex-Labour voters would listen. It’s a difficult problem but I feel sure that migration is only one part of the solution. Designers could offer some great ideas, as could other disciplines. But it’s not even on the table. Some career politicians in it for themselves may well be hoping the virus will remove the problem.


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#13 2020-04-03 15:07:14

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

Heart warming to see in Urbanized how local residents are being consulted for their input and that difficult problems are being solved with semilattice solutions. The bus lanes of Bogota were perhaps what informed Blackburn and Lancs councils to use similar bus lanes here, where journey times are now predictable and buses being used more. Replacement of traffic lights at crossroads with roundabouts and clear lane markings have also cleared a lot of congestion. There has been some increase in cycle lanes but nothing like that in Bogota or Copenhagen, but that will surely come if governments will be serious about pollution reduction we are now seeing worldwide.

The South African township where improved lighting, surfacing and safe places along once-dangerous but well-used routes is all down to people-centred design too. New Orleans couldn’t come up with a plan so it went ahead as a series of ad hoc buildings by different architects so that will be interesting to see how it develops without a top-down imposition. I got the feeling that many architects were always looking to find a tree (a la Christopher Alexander) solution to problems and that the real world solutions in Urbanized were exceptions to that rule.

Just a few thoughts, Jakob and Yiannis. I find myself often looking for a black and white simple solution or explanation, and these films have shown me the best solutions come from openness, collaboration and flexibility.


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#14 2020-04-03 15:18:57

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

jakob wrote #322466:

Thanks for that. I enjoyed it, though it bounced about a bit. I do indeed have several of his books: I find I read them very slowly, not because they’re particularly dense or highbrow (on the contrary, he writes very lucidly) but because there’s so much food for thought, there’s only so much I can read before I have to stop and let things settle in my mind.

The Diem25 streams are always informal. Admittedly, the only Sennett book I have and read is The Craftsman, but he has been one of the names most cited in the other books and articles I read. If it was not for Srecko, who is a long time friend, interviewing him, I probably would not have watched it. I was very impressed with his kind persona.


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#15 2020-04-03 15:43:39

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

zero wrote #322469:

Just mentioning population density immediately labels me as a racist to many Labour activists, which is completely untrue. If Labour would raise the profile of this issue, I’m sure all ex-Labour voters would listen. It’s a difficult problem but I feel sure that migration is only one part of the solution. Designers could offer some great ideas, as could other disciplines. But it’s not even on the table. Some career politicians in it for themselves may well be hoping the virus will remove the problem.

I know, that far before BoJo, Brexit was primarily a Corbyn/Labour idea which was quickly pushed aside in order to avoid the racist issues that could have emerged. The issue of migration is indeed huge. I would recommend the only book I have read by Saskia Sassen (Sennett’s wife) The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo as it provides a very good explanation as to what you are worried about.

The issue is not migration but the reasons for it. Many urbanists believe that a high concentration of people is actually more ecologically friendly. It requires less infrastructure, fewer energy resources etc. To cut it short, the underlying problem is inequality but I’ll come back to this on my next break:)


Yiannis
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#16 2020-04-07 19:21:41

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

Besides enjoying this video, it also made think about how design seems mostly about simplification and finding the essence or core. The best design seems to bring no attention to itself as we the users are given something we feel a strong connection with and our appreciation grows as we perceive its intrinsic beauty easily because it was designed that way.

Day 17


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#17 2020-04-12 11:58:54

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

Dieter Rams

A reminder to watch this video while it’s still available free for a couple of more days. Thanks for mentioning him, Jakob. He is so important. The film makes it clear how and why his “Less, but better” axiom has been so influential in the best designs. He’s always resisted the bells and whistles and stuck to his vision. The whole world, not just designers, can learn a lot from him. Excellent stuff.


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#18 2020-04-12 21:45:35

jakob
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Re: Design and Designers

zero wrote #322585:

Dieter Rams … He is so important. The film makes it clear how and why his “Less, but better” axiom has been so influential in the best designs. He’s always resisted the bells and whistles and stuck to his vision. The whole world, not just designers, can learn a lot from him. Excellent stuff.

That was the one film of the bunch I hadn’t seen before and I watched it a couple of days ago too. I thought it was good in that it focussed on the person and his ethos more than on the reductive style, which has since become iconic, first through Braun, then through its influence on / similarities with the design of apple products.

The interview with Naoto Fukasawa (a key figure behind Muji) was lovely where he says Rams nailed “the recipe” years ago while handling an object (a radio) that looks a bit like a 50-year old iPod and remarks “there’s nothing more to add, and nothing more to take away”. I also enjoyed the exhibition at Vitra near the end where he’s encouraged to comment on other work and then proceeds to disparage chairs and furniture by Ron Arad, Frank Gehry and Ettore Sottsass. They run entirely contrary to his credo of rational purpose – a very German trait – so while he’s “right” in that sense, he misses (or chooses to miss) their point.*

The stringency which he brings to his own life, and his idea of living, is perhaps admirable in its own way but people are rarely as “colourless” in everyday life. There were parts in the interviews, like his enjoyment of a piece of jazz that hinted at an appreciation of playfulness one didn’t see much elsewhere. I came away with an ambivalent sense of admiration but also of coldness. However, the “Less, but better” axiom I could subscribe too and would be nice in many aspects of modern life.

*An aside: Vitra is an interesting place to visit (not just for designers) because it collects together so many different ideas about living and being (in the broader sense) in one place, dispelling the idea that one is better than the other. Of course, some you like more than others and there’s as much to admire as there is to ‘revile’. The last time I stopped there (it’s a long way away from me at the very south-west tip of Germany just where it meets Switzerland and France) I remember being extremely sceptical about their new Vitrahaus by the star architects Herzog & de Meuron, which resembles a series of loaf-like extruded bars with an iconic-house-shaped cross-section stacked in an artful sculptural Christmas-tree like structure. From the press articles and online pics I thought it looked a bit “naff”, like a cheap idea blown up to jumbo size to achieve maximum effect. In a way it is just that, but the experience of visiting it was surprisingly thrilling and suddenly revealed much more depth than I expected. Far from being the ‘one-trick pony’ I had assumed, it is very carefully calibrated to its very disparate surroundings and acts as an effective container for showcasing the different ‘worlds’ of Vitra products and for showcasing their collection. Each view out of the cut-off ends of the ‘loaves’ frames a different vignette (vineyard, car park, industry, roadway…) and forms a different backdrop, and each half of a ‘loaf’ is a different ‘world’ of products/living environment, while you descend from top to bottom down the middle, with a few twists on the way for added variation. I saw then that the building is very much ‘of its place’ in more ways than one. For me it was a good reminder that seeing and experiencing in person often shows you more than what you see virtually (which applies not just to architecture…).


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#19 2020-04-13 13:10:49

zero
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,245
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Re: Design and Designers

It was the man and how the world and the people he met shaped his philosophy (which then expressed itself in his design) that impressed me. After the war, there was a need to be “economical” with design, there wasn’t room for excess or fancy or unnecessary. The aims of Braun for “modern” household appliances fitted perfectly with his philosophy of “less but better”. He rejected car manufacture because they were an example of wanting change for the sake of it, whereas he only wanted to change things if it would improve them. When Gillette took over Braun, they too wanted “different” rather than “better” so he left.

He realised the production process he was part of often added to pollution and environmental damage. There is now an an even greater need for “less but better” with ethically-sourced sustainable materials becoming essential. Unfortunately, Apple has used “less but better” for the look and feel of their products but are also using “more but better” with their upgrade after upgrade that is stripping the planet of rare earth and caters for people’s wants rather than their needs.

The Vitrahaus you refer to Jakob looks intriguing, perhaps designed like that so we must go and investigate its strange appearance? Otherwise it would would always be noise?

I also like how DR spoke of designing from inside out and that designing from the outside is usually an imposition. I don’t remember the word “organic” being used in the film but I think it would apply well to his philosophy and approach. Clean simple lines that work well but are unobtrusive and don’t shout, I think, will always grow on people.


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