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Fly 2. Life on the road/life in the sky. November 30, 2008

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“The design of work and the experience of mobility are merging. In today’s networked economy, many people spend their lives doing projects to earn a living; they do not necessarily have jobs. For project workers, life on the road has replaced the daily commute to an office. (..)

The world’s airlines now carry one sixth of the world’s population- more than one billion passengers- on scheduled flights. At the moment 300 000 people are in the air above the United States alone.


Frankfurt’s airport, with a workforce in excess of 40 000, is the biggest single-site employer in Germany. London’s Heathrow employs 55 000 people directly- meteorologists, air traffic controllers, engineers, pilots, cabin crew, cleaners, police, security guards, firemen, baggage holders. Another 300 000 or more people are employed by myriad suppliers- all those van drivers and sandwich makers. Airports are also the world’s largest employers of dogs.

Costs on this scale are sustained because airports and railways termini have become large multinational business in their own right. Less than 50% of Heathrow’s earnings come from landing fees or servicing aircraft. Commercial activity on the ground is one of the main sources of airport revenue, and hence one of the main drivers of the airport design.”

(John Tackara)


Fly November 28, 2008

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“In Europe, where there are already 500 000 000 passengers fly a year, and there are already 28 000 flights each day during the peak season, fewer than 8% of the Europeans have ever been in an aircraft.” Can you believe this!?

“Modern mobility comes with a price, but the price tag is seldom visible, and we seldom pay it- or not directly. Its costs are hidden. Not only the transport is expensive n time and money to the user, but it involves such external and hidden coss as accidents, traffic congestion, air pollution, climate change, noise, and hidden infrastructure costs. (..)

There is no international agreement how to measure the matter and the energy burden imposed by aviation, but clever organization called CLiPP (Climate Protection Partnership), which sells “climate tickets”, reckons we should all pay roughly 6,5 euros per hour flown in order to found projects that foster the use of renewable energies or more efficient uses of energy. Aircraft manufacturers have promised to halve pollution from their aircraft by 2010- but the traffic as a whole will probably triple by then, meaning that the environmental impact of aviation will rise 50 percent. ”

Text from another “designers’ bible” I discovered about a year ago- “In the bubble” by John Tackara.

You can partly read the book online.

More to follow.

Latvian Design Store online now! November 27, 2008

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I have the pleasure to invite you to visit the Design Store online now! It is 100% Latvian product (:.

13-22 December Design Store will open it’s doors at Martas street 1 in Riga for a special Xmas edition!

Just a few examples of what you can find there.

Candle by Baiba Linga Berzina

Candle by Baiba Linga Berzina

Hanger Kocis by Zane Homka, photo: Ojars Jansons.

Kocis hanger by Zane Homka, photo Valdis Jansons

Moon shelf by Rihards Funts, photo: Ojars Jansons.

Ojars Jansons

Lamp Skara by Baiba Lindane, photo: Didzis Grodzs.

Eye shades by Ieva Laurina, photo: esad photo studio.

The most popular product in the world “made in Latvia”? November 25, 2008

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(If you are Latvian) have you ever thought, what is the most popular product in the world that is made in Latvia? It would be interesting to get an answer to this question.

My version is Reda – A set of 5 boxes made of polyethylene and polypropylene plastics. You can get the set at any Ikea store for 2,5 euros and they sell it for years already… I have one (:!

Do you have any other ideas about bestsellers “made in Latvia”?


Everything is shit. November 25, 2008

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This illustration by Latvian advertisement “guru” Eriks Stendzinieks was published in the national newspaper “Diena” some 5-7 years ago. It has traveled a lot with me since I cut it out.. hanging on a door, just being stocked in some folders..

It’s just SO true! I have to remind it to my critical mind from time to time (:

It says “Everything is shit”.

Thank you for your comments.

We are what we share 2 November 24, 2008

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Some more bites of the inspiring book “We Think” by Charles Leadbeater.

“Crowds and mobs are stupid as often as they are wise. It all depends on how the individual members combine participation and collaboration, diversity and shared values, independence of thought and community. When the mix is right- the outcome is a powerful shared intelligence. When the mix is wrong it leads to cacophony or conformity. (..) In We-Think innovators share their ideas quite freely and welcome others’ borrowing of their work and improving on it. They put a lot of effort into their innovations and then do not seek to profit from them. This behaviour we have learned to regard as bizzare and yet on the web it seems to be a part of the new normal. (..) The web’s power comes in allowing us to be social in new ways. It speaks to a deep, old-fashioned yearning people have to be connected and to share- yet one that serves a modern purpose, to generate new ideas and knowledge. The oldest habits of shearing will be central to how we innovate together using new technologies. (..)

In the century to come, the well being will come to depend less on what we own and consume and more on what we can share with others and create together, especially as consumption becomes increasingly constrained by environmental concerns that means we have to lie more within collectively binding limits. In the 20th century we were identified by what we owned, in the 21th century we will also be difined by how we share and what we give away. That is why the web matters so much. It will allow us to share and so to be creative in new ways. (..) By making tools of cultural producion ever mere wildely available, Web 2.0 has unleashed new waves of authentic talent- pensioners on YouTUbe, bloggers like Salam Pax, i-or internet performers like Ze Fank and Ask a Ninja, who can find their audiences without succumbling to the cookie-cutting marketing of the mainstreem culture industry. (..)

Artists encourage others to borrow from them rather thatn protecting their rights as authors. As Woody Gutherie’s copyright notice put it:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singing it without permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.””

Latvian graphic design history. November 22, 2008

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jauna gaita magazine I was reading an article in Metropolis magazine about a Turkish design group. It was titled “The birth of a tradition”. “Istanbul has everything- everything, that is, except a contemporary-design movement to call its own. (..) You really have to understand your roots to produce an identity.” And, of course, it made me think about the situation in Latvia (we’re not the only ones to have this problem, hah..)the discussions all around- do we have design in Latvia, where is it, is there a possibility for design to exist, for designers- to work… I think a big part of the problem is that we are not aware of our past. How can we build the future without knowing our past!? I spent 5 years in an art/design school in Riga and I can say that I didn’t get almost anything from our design history and that is really a shame.

So I was very happy to discover the collection of Mikus Vanags.

Here you can find a wide range of examples of posters, books and magazine covers from Latvian graphic design history (approx 1920-70). The collection is made by Latvian graphic designer Mikus Vanags:” While living in Estonia I noticed that people have a very strong sense of visual identity of their country. So I wanted to find something similar in Latvia. It was hard to get good materials. It is essential to gather this visual information to understand what makes us different.”

It’s all in our heads. November 21, 2008

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‘You are getting better day by day.’ by South Korean design studio Broadhong.
These pills are designed for long-term pill takers. The size of each pill gets smaller each day. The changing size gives a huge psychological boost to the patients’morale. They will feel as if they are getting better. This psychological effect will actually improve their mental physical health.

Question. November 20, 2008

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As a designer, would you rather design something that is produced in an edition of 10 and sold for 100 000 euros/piece or edition of 10 000 sold for 100 euros/piece?

cindarellaJeroen Verhoeven from Demakersvan in his lecture at the Design Academy yesterday let us know he would choose the first option. I somehow think that the second one is more “moral” . Less about your own ego and more about offering people good design (beautiful and functional things!)… Sure, unlimited freedom of creation is tempting. But the outcome often has nothing to do with design any more. I can’t really imagine using this table in a dining room or even less an office…

There are so many designers around working mostly on limited editions, selling them for crazy prices… filling up the pages of magazines. Isn’t it at the end a bad publicity they are making for design? People just think that design is not for them, because it’s so glamorous and expensive.

What would be your choice? What is your choice?

new surrealism November 20, 2008

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(Table with bird’s legs by Meret Oppenheim, 1939.)

No, surrealism is not only a trend of the 1930’s. It is still around us! Just take a look at the work of Pharrell Williams or Fabio Novembre. And there are many more examples.

Vladi Rapaport, an Ucrainian designer who just graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts (Netherlands) makes surprising, figurative but still functional pieces of furniture. You can see his Vanitas collection also at the Design Huis during the exhibition Talents 2008 (selection of more than 100 design graduation works from 50 academies all over the Europe). Here is the skull chair, brain seat and a spine lamp. Vladi is not taking the easy way to work with erotic human body shapes. Instead he adds some deeper meaning and historical connotation to his furniture.vanitas-001

Go and see also the awesome speaker- robot!


Trakajiem pieder pasaule (it goes smth like this: the crazy ones own the world) (: .