Friday, February 29, 2008

Le Décalé



I love Sala's design objects. From interior to furniture design, every piece will make you smile!



Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Adam Boulanger, Dan Ellsey and Tod Machover at TED 2008

Tod Machover chose scientist Adam Boulanger to live demo, at TED 2008, the latest cutting-edge research being done in his group at MIT. Tod worked for many years to invite everyone to compose music. Today Adam had the chance to present at TED his PhD's baby with partner Dan Ellsey. I had mentioned in a previous post his research.

Adam graduated from the prestigious Berklee's school of music, studied medicine and worked for a few years as a music neurologist-therapist in New York. When he arrived at MIT he decided to apply his specialty in neurology to music composition. He met with Dan Ellsey who has cerebral palsy and worked together on means to compose with the Hyperscore environment at the hyperinstruments research group.

For his research with Dan, Adam developed a head-set and supporting software so that Dan could expressively perform his hyperscore compositions as a soloist. Dan worked closely with the team to perform his songs using head movements. If you want more technical detail, I had interviewed Adam on the challenge in designing such device.

Congratulations to the team! More info about the event on TED's blog!


Adam, Dan and Tod - Picture from the MIT Media Lab's web site.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Impossible things? Negative Capability and the Creative Imagination

I came across an intriguing paper written by Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, researcher that I admire. She reviews the history and contemporary understanding of the concepts of creativity and the imagination, referring to poetry and visualization to explore the role of the imagination, and to reflect on the concept of creativity.

Excerpt from her paper
I challenge the popular view of the Romantic poet as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, and propose instead that these artists were committed to the project of understanding the creative imagination and being attentive to its modes of operation. Indeed many of their poems, such as Coleridge’s Kubla Khan (Coleridge, 1996, pp. 229-231), are expressions of their research. The Romantic project can be seen therefore as an attempt to understand the creative imagination through its own operation, and to articulate this in artistic expression. Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge were interested in how we see the world, and they proposed that the first act of the imagination was perception itself.

Summary offered by the Creativity or conformity conference:

Using examples from art, psychology and science, she illustrates a number of ways in which we have ‘imagined the imagination’. She proposes that education, with its increasing reliance on the jargon and practices of business and bureaucracy, has lost sight of its central role in developing the Keatsian concept of a ‘negative capability’ which is the basis of creativity: Negative capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

This ‘negative capability’ is the ability to deal positively with complexity, paradox, and ambiguity in processes which have uncertain contexts and outcomes. This capacity is increasingly of value in a world in which the contexts and fields of operation of academic disciplines, governments and businesses is expanding. Indeed, industry, whose leaders work within ‘wicked environments’ characterized by increasing complexity and change, is recognizing and rewarding this ability.

Professor McAra-McWilliam proposes that the current educational milieu, with its ‘final vocabularies’ of business and bureaucracy, is placing a relatively higher value on positive capabilities which lend themselves to measurement. Students’ and teachers’ negative capabilities are thereby marginalized or excluded, along with their ways of thinking and making, and their languages of expression.

She suggests that current educational models are driven by inadequate and outdated models of business which focus exclusively on productivity and results while, ironically, industry and management research is increasingly defining negative capability as essential to innovation in uncertain business environments. The presentation concludes by offering some insights into research practice in art and design as a means to reaffirm the role of education in the development of negative capability, and in imagining solutions to ‘impossible things’.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wooden Toys





After Paper Toys, one can update to Wooden Toys. Ben Wilson combines product and graphic design into his furniture kits. The chairs are routed out of one sheet of 8x4 15mm Birch faced ply-wood or MDF.



Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Accessories for lonely men


My friends Burak, Yasmine, and Jonah mentioned an exhibition at the Moma that I checked online. I now plan a trip to New York to attend it. Among the many stimulating pieces, I selected this very funny set of electronic objects in the vein of Design Noir, which I believe could sadly become a commercial hit! Accessories for lonely men are eight electronic devices designed to alleviate loneliness by stimulating the -sometimes annoying- traces that one's companion would normally leave behind.





The collection includes a Sheet Thief, which "winds the bedclothes up on the other side of the bed while you're sleeping". Other joys of sharing a bed are re-created with Cold feet and a Heavy Breather that breathes hot air down the user's neck. In the morning the Hair Alarm Clock swings hair across the user's face to wake him, while the steel finger of the Chest-Hair Curler gently swirls his chest hair in concentric circles.



Accessories for lonely men by Noam Toran, photos Frank Thurston

Jonah's piece the WIFI-HOG is included in the show. The Wifi Hog is a tactical tool to liberate public WiFi Nodes!

"Wi-Fi Hog is personal system for a laptop or portable computer that enables people to gain complete control over a public access wireless network. The idea is presented as an alternative to the utopian vision of wireless networks being open, shared, and utilitarian for everyone. This project is a cautionary one, and comes as a reaction to the battle over free wireless spectrum where corporate pay-per-use and free community networks are fighting for signal dominance in public spaces. Wifi-Hog exists as a tactical media tool for controlling and subverting this claim of ownership and regulation over free spectrum, by allowing a means of control to come from a third-party."


Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition opens February 24th, 2008 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Life-size dolls


London Life. Concept: Scarlet Projects and Matt Higgs

Laforet Museum presented a snapshot of London life as seen through the eyes of 10 of the brightest new stars on the London scene. A mixture of young designers, architects, club promoters, stylists, models and artists, came together to present their own particular style, and give us a glimpse into their personal and distinctive view of London life.

Each person was represented by a life-size doll, packaged like a Barbie Doll, and dressed by themselves in their own selected clothing. Their lifestyle was presented through the packaging – with accessories as well as personal information about them, detailing their favorite things and places. A tv monitor incorporated into the packaging played a personal video diary.



Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Toys to sew



Recently I have started crafting objects, dolls, and sewing stuffed animals. My goal and challenge being to design like Anano.

The books that I pre-ordered are Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give & Hug




Toys to Sew: Dozens of Patterns for Dolls, Animals, Doll Clothes, and Accessories.




Little Felted Animals : Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with Simple Needle-Felting Techniques by Marie-Noelle Horvath. If you have any outstanding craft book you recommend, let me know!



Fuzzy Felted Friends by Saori Yamazaki.




I already received the book Softies : Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals. I don't regret it, the explanations are awesome, the illustrations beautiful and the patterns easy to follow.

I also bought Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! and received it yesterday. The book is really cute, but it requires starting crochet. The book offers beginner crochet lessons, and it seems so easy! it is well organized as it starts with lessons, with examples and outstanding pictures of cute creatures, and finishes with pattern methods.








If you are already into crochet, her other book Lacy Crochet seems a great choice!




Finally, a magazine that keeps me going in crafting is CRAFT: Transforming Traditional Crafts, a magazine I subscribe to and that i recommend to any crafter!




Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Originally posted on my toy blog: The Terminally Juvenile!
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Tenori On by Toshio Iwai

I saw it many times on the net, but never quite understood the genius of it until I saw this video. It is a "64" buttons interface, very simple, but the sound works so well for its type of interaction and the device fits instantaneously with your expectation. The rhythm you create invites for more exploration.

Toshio Iwai Launch of Tenori-On


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where's George?

So today I go to the Algiers Cafe place in Harvard Square where I have been given this one dollar bill. On it, I can see a red stamp that says: "See where I have been. Track where I go next!"



So I look it up online. The bill traveled 2 Yrs, 241 Days, 14 Hrs and done 881 miles! I will soon release it, for it to continue some adventures ...

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Friday, February 22, 2008

Bar code revolution



To answer the question Why Has the Barcode Never Changed? the team at Bar Code Revolution studied the Barcode technology standards and invented a process that allows a design element to be integrated into the barcode.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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