Kevin Chiam designed Folks, a range of kitchen tools for the blind based on familiar cooking instruments, sensory feedback, and tactile cues. Aptly named, the collection aims to allow those without sight to prepare food “just like common folks.” As a student of the industrial design program at National University of Singapore, Chiam researched how blind people prepared food and noticed how they learned to cope with uncertainties like spills or knife cuts. Witnessing blind cooks—from household to a master chief—he realized that their actions were guided by spatial judgements formed by sensory references, or put simply, information they can readily gather from the environment. He explained, “I was thus surprised to find blind MasterChef Christine Ha working the stove and knife like a seasoned hand. Later, I come to understand that she could accomplish this only through rigorous practice. I was curious how we can imbue these individuals with confidence so that they can overcome physical and mental barriers to attempt and appreciate cooking.” With all this in mind, he designed a range of prototype cookware to make food preparation more safe and convenient: a knife, a cutting board, a stove ring, a pot lid, and a teaspoon. Chiam devised a set of tactile cues, feedback from each tool that helps to prompt and inform the user during the cooking process and reduce the risk of injury. He also implemented bold visual contrasts (yellow safety guides flush against the grey body of the utensil) to differentiate and accentuate the form of the tool and how it is used. As Chiam noted, "While the intention of Folks is to help the blind prepare food safely with convenience, confidence and dignity, the approach can potentially be extended to serve people with parallel needs, such as seniors with poor or low vision. The provision of tactile cues and feedback helps to prompt and inform them during the cooking process, reducing the risks of injuries and helping them gain confidence in the rituals." Folks is designed to assist workflow and enhance the kitchen with a system of tools that provide necessary tactile cues in the preparation and cooking process. More importantly, they are affordable, help the user to become self-sufficient, and are not high maintenance like battery-operated counterparts. Chiam will continue to work on developing prototypes with seed funds from NUS Enterprise’s Practicum Awards, aiming to optimize the product range for a small scale production through social organizations like Project Dignity in Singapore. His end goal is to make Folks available to all homes of the blind. Kevin Chiam’s kitchen tools for the blind will be on view in the Global Graduation Show at Dubai Design Week from November 13th to 18th.
Posts tagged with "Industrial Design":
The Parson's exhibit How Things Don't Work: The Dreamspace of Victor Papanek should have the tagline, "There are few professions more harmful than industrial design." Every designer should see the show before it closes on December 15. There are many designers today who believe that design—what we might think of as the planning or intention behind the creation of a material object—can solve almost any physical problem. But the Austrian-born and American-educated designer Papanek, the subject of this exhibition, had a different and more expansive view of the field. Papanek suggested in 1971 that "there are few professions more harmful than industrial design." Papanek's thinking gravitated towards anthropology and ecology, and, as a product of the 1960s, he wanted to shake up the design profession and cut its ties to product design for corporations. Instead, he would rather have it engage with social needs and conditions. His own design biography includes working to create a $9.00 television for developing countries and famously creating an innovative method for dispersing seeds and fertilizer for reforestation in difficult-to-access lands. The exhibit focuses on Papanek's radical (for the design community) design theories, research, and propositions, and asks if they are still valid in the 21st century. He wanted the profession to be driven not just by social needs but low-tech, bottom-up designs geared toward the "underserved populations that he felt truly needed the work of designers: the poor, the disabled, and the disenfranchised." Like any good critic, he attacked his own field—industrial design—in popular books and as a teacher and academic where he challenged designers to do better, and this exhibit focuses on the failure of our designed systems to provide the infrastructure for sustainable, equitable living. Parson's will sponsor "Permanent Garbage: Victor Papanek and Beautiful Visions of Failed Systems," a symposium on the designer on December 4, at 5:00 to 7:30p.m. in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, room L6. Symposium participants will include: Stuart Candy, Paola Antonelli, Gerald Bast, Alison Clarke, Fiona Raby and-Jamer Hunt. If you see only one design show this year make it How Things Don't Work at the The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons.
One of Chicago's most visible rust-belt remnants is up for sale, just in time for its cameo in the Transformers 4 movie. The derelict Santa Fe grain elevator has been a favorite hangout for squatters, graffiti artists and ruin-porn enthusiasts since 1977, when a fire and explosion ended 70 years of industrial history there. Crain's reports the state of Illinois is going to sell the riverside collection of concrete silos at 2900 South Damen Avenue in an online auction beginning November 2. Seven years after a previous attempt to sell the abandoned property for $17.3 million, Rick Levin & Associates (acting on behalf of the state Department of Central Management Services) has dropped the minimum ask to $3.8 million. The long-defunct monolith has become one of Chicago's unsung landmarks—a particularly visible beacon of industrial grit in an area of the southwest side with no shortage of such relics. Lynn Becker has a thoughtful analysis of the property's significance on Architecture Chicago Plus, and in 2010 David Witter wrote a modern history of Chicago's grain elevator for NewCity. As anyone who has read William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis knows, Chicago's explosive growth in the late 19th century is due as much to its grain elevators as to its famous railroads and stockyards. It's likely this particular link to Chicago's industrial heyday will be razed if it finds a new buyer, but given residential and retail development has picked up in the nearby neighborhoods of Bridgeport and Pilsen, it's possible other uses could be considered. Its position along the Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects to the Chicago River, may prove a valuable selling point—and not just as a means to convey grain in and municipal waste out.
Nearly three decades after he was launched into design stardom by his biomorphic, aluminum Lockhead Lounge (above), famed Australian industrial designer Marc Newson will soon receive his first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Marc Newson: At Home" will collect furniture, clothing, appliances, and Newsons’ 021C Ford concept car within a mock, six-room home in the museum’s Collab Gallery. Gathered from collections across Europe, Japan, and the United States, in addition to Newson’s personal cache, the objects on display will highlight the various facets of the designer’s distinctive style of flowing lines, bulbous forms, bright colors, and industrial references which helped to define an era of industrial design. The exhibition opens November 23rd and runs until April 20, 2014. Newson's signature riveted chaise lounge, both one of his most recognizable and rarest works, will be exhibited in the living room along side the matching, cello-shaped Pod of Drawers (1987), Super Guppy lamp (1987), and honeycombed, marble Voronoi Low Shelf (2008), among other works. The kitchen will contain a more attainable collection, including the curving, plastic Dish Doctor dish rack (1997), dinnerware by Noritake, glassware by Iitalla, cutlery from Alessi, and the Champagne Coffret Magnum (2006) for Don Pérignon. Newson's playful forms and vibrant colors take hold of the children's room, wherein the classic, three-legged Embryo Chair (1988), modular, plastic Bunky Bunk Beds (2010), and "Rocky" Rocking Horse create a vibrant, Jetsonian environment. To catch a glimpse of some Newson-designed clothing from G-Star, head over to the adult bedroom, which will also contain the retro Nimrod chair (2003) and transparent Atmos clock for Swiss watchmakers Jaeger LeCoultre (2008). The minimalist, streamlined Wall Hung "Invisi II" Toilet and Wash Basin (2012) take center stage in Newson's bathroom, while the 021C concept car, designed for Ford and exhibited at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1999, is housed within the garage.
At J.C. Penney’s recent rebranding launch party, AN spoke with architect and product designer Michael Graves about his new collection for the company and some career highlights. He even offers advice for aspiring architects and designers and talks about some current design work. How did designing a collection for JCPenney come about? I’ve known some of the people at Penney’s since my Target days, so when this opportunity came around we were looking for a way to slow down our commitment to Target at that time. When Penney’s offered what they did to us, we grabbed it in a second. It was such a good deal in terms of having a shop within a store. For me, that’s the game changer. If we were close friends and you told me you had to do some shopping for a relative or something like that, I’d tell you to go to our shop in Penney’s. It’s all there and that’s what excites me. What was your favorite part about designing the collection? Designing the collection. Any challenges you faced with it? Every day you face a challenge; with the materials you’re using, price point, function, appearance. All of that comes together in the quest for good design. But it was wonderful to get to do it and so much fun. People think it’s a struggle and hard work and all of that—and it is—but that’s what’s so gratifying about it is to get to do those things and to make “stuff.” If you had to name a single success of your career thus far, what would it be? That’s a very difficult thing [to answer] because there’s the practice of architecture, there’s the practice and business of product design, there’s health design—which is something we’re engaged in now—there was teaching. But Paul Goldberger or somebody said, “Michael would ultimately be known for the office he made, the people that he produced, the people that came to work at the office then go run a school of architecture somewhere, or when he was teaching how he taught them.” But it’s so hard to say one [element] is worth more than the other because I’ve never thought that way of “what’s the best thing I did,” or “who is my favorite child.” I have a favorite child on given days but designing this [collection] is right up there with everything. To get to open these shops all across the country now and to see what you all say about it will be interesting, as well, because that will really tell us how it’s doing. We will live and die, to some extent, by the consumer’s reaction [to our products]. Penney’s won’t keep it if it doesn’t sell but I think it will do well. Do you have any advice to offer aspiring architects or designers? Yes, two things: read, read, read, and draw, draw, draw. You can’t draw enough. While talking to the new dean of the school of architecture at Princeton, I told him, “I have to draw everyday just like a pianist would have practice the piano everyday.” You have to draw everyday: Once you know how, you can’t suddenly give it up. It’s the same thing with designing. I hate days that I don’t get to work on a building. I go home and I’m in a little bit of a funk because I didn’t get to do my craft that day. I had to give an interview, or talk to students, or talk to a client—all of it interesting. But the thing about my life is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. What excites you about the future of design? What we’re involved in is very exciting and now, especially with healthcare design, we’re really pleased with what’s going on. We’re doing a new hospital in Omaha, Nebraska and I’m so pleased with it. It’s a rehab center and it caters to the whole family, but there are a lot of kids there and kids need their parents. So, when young patients are in the hospital for weeks, at least, we have a place for one or the other of their parents to stay there as well. It’s not just a chair that turns into a bed but a real, little cubbyhole of a room. It’s the first time in hospital design that’s been done. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s going to be a game changer.
During World War II, the U.S. Government asked Wilton Carlyle Dinges, founder of the Hanover, PA-based Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (now Emeco) to design a lightweight chair rugged enough to "withstand water, salt air and sailors." That design became known as the Navy Chair (or the Model 1006 for purists) and today has become a staple of industrial-chic design. Now you can add "copycats" to that list after a legal dispute, involving a nearly-identical chair from Restoration Hardware called the "Naval Chair," has been settled. Emeco sued Restoration Hardware last October alleging infringement of Emeco's trademark of the Navy Chair. "The irreparable harm caused by Restoration Hardware, an established company, to Emeco’s reputation and significant goodwill is massive, incomparable to that caused by a typical, small-time counterfeiter," the company said at the time in a statement. Now, Unbeige reports that the dispute "has been settled for an undisclosed sum." According to a statement released by Emeco Monday, "As part of that settlement, Restoration Hardware has agreed to permanently cease selling the chairs that Emeco accused of infringement, and its existing inventory of such chairs will be recycled." The larger significance of this settlement is its implications to protecting the intellectual property of designers. Design copyright protection has been a contentious issue between designers, manufacturers, and counterfeiters—even reaching recently to the scale of architecture—and will continue to play out in coming years.
KieranTimberlake has been looking to buy a building for over a decade now, and after a long search, the Philadelphia firm is putting down roots in the Northern Liberties neighborhood with the recent purchase of the 1948 Henry F. Ortlieb Company Bottling House. The firm’s substantial growth first prompted the partners, James Timberlake and Stephen Kieran, to search for a new home, and this two-story, 63,000 sq foot building located on the Ortlieb campus will provide more than enough space to accommodate the firm’s 90 plus employees. Timberlake and Kieran have drafted a preliminary plan for all three levels of the building, designed by architect Richard Koelle of William F. Koelle & Co. and a protégé of Paul Cret, and will begin renovations in 2013. The exterior will remain the same, but the ground floor will house a workshop and the second floor will be transformed into studio, office, and conference space. Timberlake says the building features the hallmark details of contemporary post-war era design such as stripped windows, industrial sashes, and linear light on the top floor. “What appealed to us about it is that it is a piece of modern industrial architecture from the late 1940s still intact in Philadelphia. And from the outside it is a contributing piece to the neighborhood,” says Timberlake. “It affords a column free space that suits our culture very nicely.” KieranTimberlake will begin to make improvements to the envelope within the next six to nine weeks and the firm is currently moving ahead with a sustainability study to devise a strategy to make the project environmentally ethical. They’re exploring the possibility of ventilating the building naturally and implementing day lighting with the help of lighting designer Charles Stone from Fisher Marantz Stone. KieranTimberlake has been the architect for projects such as the US Embassy in London and the Sculpture and Gallery Building at Yale University, and will be working on a series of buildings and a 1700-acre site design for the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.
Local hot-shot designer, Craighton Berman, has left the firm gravitytank to go solo. He’s keeping himself busy with all kinds of stuff—from illustration to design workshops. Craig, whose illustrations regularly don the pages of Dwell, designed the Coil Lamp, which graced the pages of this paper and many others. The Coil Lamp was recently added to the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Better get one before they become pricey collectibles.
The Outdoor Office The Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue Chicago Through July 15 Jonathan Olivares takes a human-centered approach to industrial design and research. His 2011 book A Taxonomy of Office Chairs, published by Phaidon, provides an encyclopedic history of the office chair from 1840 to present day; building on this research, Olivares presents the speculative project The Outdoor Office (above). The advent of mobile communication means that work can be done outside of traditional offices and that the utility of outdoor space is no longer limited to recreation and leisure. Olivares examines how productive work environments can be created with new types of outdoor furniture and architecture, with consideration of privacy, shelter, and adaptability. The exhibition showcases the research and results of his findings, with images drawn from television, film, and existing offices, in addition to conceptual projects and models developed for new outdoor work spaces.