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Happy and creative new year! December 31, 2008

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(pic: Sebastian Errazuriz. Duchamp. Revisited.)

As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said it, CREATIVITY is what makes our “day-to-day experiences more enjoyable, more rewarding. When we live creatively, boredom is banished and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery. Whether or not these discoveries enrich the world beyond our personal lives, living creatively links us with the process of evolution.”




Organic cigarets or greenwashing December 30, 2008

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As climate changes and global pollution problems become bigger and bigger and more companies adopt “green” strategies to attract clients, we also get more and more greenwashing.

The term “greenwashing” is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green , rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by changing the name or label of a product, to give the feeling of nature, for example putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Environmentalists often use greenwashing to describe the actions of energy companies, which are traditionally the largest polluters. (wikipedia)

What should we watch out for?

– The claims are vague- using terms like “natural” , “environmentally friendly”, “good for the planet” etc. – and aren’t backed up with specific facts.

– The product is billed as having no environmental impact.

– The company claims that purchasing their products you can “save the planet”.

– The claims aren’t verified by an independant and credible third party.

– The green products/ services represent a tin fraction of the company’s overall business.

– The company doesn’t respond to specific questions, via phone, e mail, website.

(suggestions from the book “WorldChanging)

This list certainly makes me think of many companies who’s services and products I’m facing daily. Just look at some supermarkets that have a few organic products that they advertise day and night…

You can download the “Greenwash Guide” here.

Green lunch in 2015 December 29, 2008

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This Saturaday I was walking around the busy Antwerp and did some groceries at the GB supermarket. But back home, taking a closer look, I had a very unpleasant surprise about the piece of goat cheese I had just bought. ,,Porc gelatin replaced by beef gelatin,, :/. For me as a long term vegetarian it was almost shocking and the cheese ended in the rubbish bin.

I think most of the food we can by at normal supermarkets are making more harm to us than good. I tend to be optimistic and hope that things will change in the future.

So, here are some thoughts about our eating habits in the near future (most of them are already present- as minorities).

There will be a big switch to biological, vegetarian, locally grown and fair trade food. People who have a certain level of income – will have enough information of the impact the food has on their health and the possibility to choose. So they will make more and more reasonable choices to give to their bodies what they really need. As serious diseases (like cancer, allergies etc.) cases will rise dramatically, people will start to see more clearly the connection with the polluted food they eat.

Food will become like some sort of medicine, prevention and healing method. The dietitians will become doctors at the same time and will give very individual advises for their patients. Everybody will have a personal dietitian as we have family doctors today. There will be new technologies, methods developed that allow to find the best food adapted to every person.

The tailor made (“you design it, we make it”) food will gain a big popularity. Many companies propose already this kind of services, but the trend will expand enormously. Not only products we can choose ourselves, like a perfect energy bar or tea blend, but also ready, high quality, healthy made meals, delivered to the doorstep. Fast food will take a new dimension, it won’t have to be bad for you any more.

picture by Laura K Gibb’s

Backyard gardens (balcony/roof- gardens) will be very popular, there will be companies taking care of them, in case if the owners have no time for that. There will be a place not only for vegetables and fruits but eventually also for some chicken.
The restaurants with only locally grown food will be very popular. Weekly home delivered organic food box will replace visits to supermarket for many families. Farmers’ markets will be very popular.
We will also pay more attention to the dishes and tableware we use it will have to fit the same- sustainable/ individual criterias.
Internet will continue to play an important role in creating communities and exchanging information, making orders. Artisanal food will regain it’s popularity, traditional recipies from the old-days will get adapted to the future lifestyles. We will go back to old days’ habits, like milk man deliveries etc. There will be a search for “authentic” taste, smell and look.
The cooking courses will be very popular, as well as self service and even diy restaurants.

P.S. This optimistic description concerns the middle and higher classes.

P.S. bis. This is the way I WOULD LIKE to see the future. But, very probably people are too stupid and self destructive to take the reasonable path.

Back from holidays. December 28, 2008

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view from Tate Modern

I’m back from my intense holidays (which explains the absence of new posts recently..). I hope you have had some nice moments too this last week!

I came back from London-discovery-trip with a nice little pile of design books (the pound is going down and the prices are cheaper than in this side of Europe) and went a bit around Netherlands, Belgium and France.

the nice little book shop in Rivington street

The nice little book shop in Rivington street.

Christmas cards? Bills? Letters from lovers?

Back to work now!

The best way I have ever invested 10 pounds. December 22, 2008

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Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Centur.

Very exciting and inspiring!

21 century’s Xmas gifts December 18, 2008

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“Daddy, can I have a little dogg…. GENPET for Christmas?”….

From Genpets website :

The Only Bioengineered Buddy. Available in 7 different personality types.

Color Coding

Each personality type of the Genpets has been linked to its respective colour, and that color is then used as a base for each package. (Heart Monitor)
Each package has a built in low cost heart monitor that is fully functional, with green LED lights and built in speaker

Heart Monitor
Each package has a built in low cost heart monitor that is fully functional, with green LED lights and built in speaker.

Fresh Strip
Every single package includes an easy to use “fresh gauge”. Four simple blue LED lights display the status of the Genpet™. The display will also display if the Genpet™ has been sitting on the store shelf too long, or if the package circuitry has malfunctioned in some way.

Bio-Genica IV System
While the Genpets hang on the store shelves they are in a form of hibernation. Each Genpet™ package has a special nutrient feeding tube attached to it, supplying our specially formulated mix and keeping them healthy and asleep.

Genpet™ Restraints
Restraining the pets in their packaging ensures no damage to the product, as well as allowing for optimal consumer viewing.”

Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s reality.

Consumers- the new (co)creators. December 17, 2008

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I recently wrote about the design-it-yourself trend. Here is the part 2.

“Broad cultural, technological, and economic shifts are rapidly erasing the distinctions between those who create and those who use, consume, or participate. This is true in digital experiences and information environments of all types, as well as in the physical and conceptual realms.”(Joe Lamantia)

More and more companies make sure they satisfy the needs and desires of consumers, letting them be heard, developing systems of (often online) communication. For example, the French company MyFab produces the objects (furniture) that get the most votes on their website.

All kinds of crafts and diy (do it yourself) are gaining popularity. More designers will soon provide users more possibilities of using their designs for free or low costs, by downloading patterns from internet sources. Will we soon be able to make our own “Prada” coats? Open source, open data and co-creation will be the keywords for anybody who does diy.

There are more and more companies that ask for consumers’ opinions, so that they can get free or cheap business ideas and give them feeling their opinion matters. There are firms like Starbucks that successfully use this principle. They collect real ideas’ banks that are worth… a lot!
Letting consumers choose and decide is for sure one of the shortest ways to their hearts (and wallets).
In the future active and successful co-creators could benefit of different advantages from the companies, integrating their structure.

Nowadays one doesn’t need to be a designer to be a creator. Like the Latvians who made the TrousersLondon brand as a result of their own difficulties to find cool jeans.

Consumers and creators won’t have totally separate roles any more. Already now the Second Life owners earn millions of dollars thanks world the to the users contributions. They have developed a sophisticated world comparing to the primitive one the Linden lab started with.

Diy also matches the “going green” trend. It encourages to recycle waste materials, reuse things we would throw away otherwise. It also stimulates small scale community creation and development (online and off line). We are already familiar with all kinds of knitting groups. These communities will become even more popular, bringing together people from different parts of the world, allowing exchanging ideas, tips and cultural questions.

The quick ongoing technological development will also stimulate the diy in the future. The technologies will become much more affordable and will provide more high quality possibilities for creating in virtual and physical world. One could draw a piece of furniture, jewellery etc. and order it from a rapid prototyping company and get it delivered in a few days. Or “print” directly at home (at least small scale) 3 dimensional objects.
This will change business and economical structures. One of the results will be the growth of virtual economies.
What role will have designers when everybody will become a designer?

For sure, it will change. Will they be there just to make systems and tools for creation? Will designers become some kind of design “coaches”, teachers? Probably they will be like gurus, the ultimate “know-how” holders and some kind of translators, who know, how to give 3 dimensions and life to the ideas people have? Will they be mostly preoccupied with designing services and experiences? There will be creativity courses for children and adults- to help them to develop their creative skills and imagination. Creativity and ability to improvise will be extremely important in the future for each one of us.

Back to clasics. Ray and Charles Eames. December 16, 2008

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1796 white rocking chair

Last Friday at the Academy we had a lecture by Eames Demetrios. He is a charming man, a film maker and the grand son of designers Ray and Charles Eames. The presentation made me even more enthusiastic about them and their work. Personal pictures and stories, insights in Eames creative and family life, it added a whole new dimension to the ingenious objects they made.

“Take your pleasure seriously,” said Charles Eames. And it sums up one vein of his and Ray Eames’ work. Together, they created the House of Cards, in 1952.

“The toys are not as innocent as they appear.”

They said that the most important thing is to be a good host and to treat the person who will use your design as a guest.

Here is a drawing with everything that is going on at the same time in a house.

“Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.”

Stamps with Eames’ work.

One of them- a Christmas card with their picture they sent to friends.

Design Biennale in Saint Etienne 2008 December 15, 2008

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The International Design Biennale in Saint Etienne (France) is finished since a while already (November 15.-30.).

In 2002 (and 2006) I went there and it was my first design biennale ever, so I have some warm memories for this place (: . Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to go there this year. But I got some photos from my friends Baiba Lindane (lv) and Michal (cz). Even without appropriate comments (please check out their website for closer information!), I find it quite interesting. So here are some impressions in images:


graphic design of the event

a bar with eco ideas where everybody can find something for him

eco kitchen, natural material table surfaces
a cat house from natural fibers' non wowen material

Baiba Lindane with her lamp Skara

construction blocs from pressed natural materials

urns for ashes

sorry, guys, but I think in 99%of cases only Dutch are capable to design a beautiful and functional bike...

nice, anybody knows the author?

Him / her December 11, 2008

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I red this article a while ago already. It made (and still makes) me think about quite a few things.

from movie Angela A

“Men and women have become so independant that they no longer need each other. They only want each other. As a result they refuse to settle for anything less than their respective mental images of perfection.” (Kay S. Hymowitz)