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Back for good. May 9, 2009

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April has been full of sun, gardening on my balcony, sewing dresses, walks in nature and some studies’ related stress. I’ve also had a chance to discover some more beautiful secret corners of Netherlands.

I’ve received the first prize in unique design category in the competition organized by Latvian design magazine Deko.

And- no I haven’t been in Milan this year. But thanks to my friends I’m gonna publish some nice photos very soon!

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Latvian design icons April 2, 2009

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Over the last few months there have been a lot of discussions about the creation and content of Latvian cultural canon. Finally the list is approved and I would like to show you the design part of it. More information you can find here.

Ethnographic seat Stulpins. 17.-21. century.

The interior of diplomat accreditation hall in Riga palace. Designer Ansis Cirulis. 1923.-29.

Minox photo camera. Designer: Valters Caps. producer: VEF. 1936.37. At the time it was the smallest and most innovative photo camera in the world.

Motocycle “Riga 12”. 1970/80. Designer : Gunars Gludins. Producer: Sarkana Zvaigzne.

Latvian posters by Juris Dimiters, Ilmārs Blumbergs, Gunārs Kirke, Laimonis Šēnbergs, Georgs Smelters and others. 1970/80.

Latvian money by Rihards Zariņš, Imants Žodžiks, Valdis Ošiņš, Gunārs Lūsis, Jānis Strupulis, Olga Šilova, Arnis Kleinbergs, Artis Zvirgzdiņš and others.

I was tempted to put a question mark in between breaks after the title of the post. But, after all, even if the chosen design pieces are not superior to other exceptional designs created over the last century in Latvia, I think they give a good impression of our design roots.

Crisis is good for you. March 25, 2009

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The Dutch design blog design.nl published a few days ago a surprisingly refreshing interview with the “bad guy” in Dutch design Bas van Beek. His opinions express very well some feelings I’ve been trying to formulate lately.

“Van Beek’s point is that the big name Dutch designers are doing nothing original. Rather, they are designing for a bourgeois mentality that itself is hankering for a long-lost era that was decorated with pretty things.

“Designers are fully aware of this new market of wealthy people who desire such status symbols,” he says. “It’s made up mostly of middle-aged women who wanted to be artistic and had ambitions to paint, but gave up to have children … now they want to buy the objects of designers like Hella Jongerius, but what they actually want to buy is her fabricated identity.”

Using Hollywood as an analogy, Van Beek says all Dutch design does, and seems to understand, is romantic comedy. “But there are many more genres,” he says, “Thriller, documentary, drama, bad films and B-films … I’m just trying to explore those genres. In Hollyood, all genres are accepted and all genres need serious critique to survive. It works like a self-cleansing apparatus.”

Crisis definitely has numerous positive side effects…development of diy culture, a more conscious way of consuming… The Repairing Manifesto by Amsterdam based Platform 21 has recently become very popular. I really hope it will be more than just a trendy way to show off.

Here are some points from the manifesto:

4. Every time we repair something, we add to its potential, its history, its soul and its inherent beauty.

5. Repairing is a creative challenge. Making repairs is good for the imagination. Using new techniques, tools and materials ushers in possibility rather than dead ends.

8. Repair- even in good times! If you think this manifesto has to do with the recession, forget it. this isn’t about money, it’s about a mentality.

9. Repaired things are unique. Even fakes become originals when you repair them.

And as Li Edelkoort said in an interview to the same Dutch blog “I believe that many creative people will consider these circumstances a gift, necessary to bring about change.(..) Design will always be able to find new scenarios. Once you’re creative you’re not afraid, you will always be able to make something out of nothing, improvise, find solutions. Solely because we’re creative, the design community is less handicapped than the rest of the world. In that sense, we are all very lucky.”

Design star factory? March 20, 2009

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I was looking once again at the book “Design Academy Eindhoven- House of Concepts” published by Frame in 2008. It shows the work of a wide range of graduates of DAE. I think the list with designers that graduated DAE and are (inter)nationally recognized (which is not, of course, an ultimate sign of success & quality of their work, but still..) is quite long. Here I posted just some of the most active and visible ones (in my opinion). But there are many more of them, including my dear teachers!

I believe you will recognize many of the objects pictured here. Well, all of their authors have something in common. You can see that it’s not an accident if for the last 10 years DAE has become almost a synonym of Dutch design.

Here they go (in a random order), my “virtual” colegues from previous years:

Hella Jongerius

Jurgen Bey

Frank Tjepkema

Tord Boontje

Richard Hutten

Marten Baas

Piet Hein Eek

Joris Laarman

Wieki Somers

Max Barenbrug

Bertjan Pot

Joep Verhoeven (Demakersvan)


Studio Job

Chris Kabel

Of course, these designers are one of the reasons why I chose to study here. Even if I’ve changed my opinion quite a lot about the Dutch design over the last couple of years, I’m still happy to be where I am.

Meet Latvian design! March 19, 2009

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If you want to know more about Latvian design, you HAVE TO look at the activities of Design Drive!

The project was created to popularize design thinking, develop a culture that uses Latvian design products, promote the accessibility of Latvian design to a broader audience, enhance the understanding of Latvian manufacturers regarding design instruments and the important role of designers in creating competitive products and to promote the movement of design culture in Latvia. Design Drive hopes to become the creative platform for Latvian and European designers in Latvia, giving them the opportunity to exchange ideas, experience and knowledge.

Latvian designers want to be socially active, share their ideas and contribute to Latvian and European culture. Latvian designers currently participate in international design conventions and biennials and study at prestigious design schools across the world. Unfortunately.

A notable collection of Latvian designs was developed to create a foundation for discourse between designers and Latvian society. Considering the development peculiarities of the field in Latvia, all products are produced by the actual designers. Participants of the project include 12 Latvian designers, eight manufacturers and craftsman. The collection was exhibited in Latvia’s first pop-up style store at Martas iela 1 and mobile shops on the city streets and in parks. The Design Drive project was unveiled on 14 October, 2008, within the framework of Dizaina mēnesis and was included in the celebration programme for the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia.

For two weeks during October 2008, Design Drive became an active communication hub in the city, where all kinds of people with all kinds of interests and knowledge could meet. Design Drive started a new form of service in Riga – a store where communication between the seller and the buyer is vital (Design Drive sellers are the designers themselves). These conversations often resulted not with a purchase, but with new knowledge or an idea for a new project.

In 2009, Design Drive was invited for the first time to visit the Cēsis Exhibition Hall in Cēsis, Latvia; the project was a huge design event in the city. The exhibition hall hosted a notable exhibition, a creative room for children, a design shop and lectures on “Design Thinking”.

In order to stir the creative spirit in children and their parents, Design Drive designers hosted open Saturday Workshops at Martas iela 1 during February 2009. Saturday Workshop visitors are invited to express their creativity and develop their imaginations with toys made by the designers, as well as to create their own toys. The high count to the Saturday Workshop and responsiveness of the visitors has inspired the designers to work on a similar approach to design services in Riga.

The Design Drive project is open to designers and people with ideas and who are ready to invest their time and resources in bringing these ideas to life.

The Design Drive project was developed by the designers of the RIJADA Design Studio.Design Drive was born to be a platform for the exchange of ideas between designers in Latvia and throughout Europe.

Design Drive wants to create a world of Latvian design ideas and invites designers from around the world to visit Latvia. If you have design ideas and interesting projects that you want to share with society, Design Drive will be your support base for presenting your project in Latvia. If you would like to learn more about Latvian design, we would be happy to come visit you and show you products and design concepts made in Latvia host a creative workshop for children and their parents and tell you all about design ideas in Latvia.
Design Drive participants include experienced designers who are recognized not only in Latvia, but also in international design competitions and exhibitions – Rihards Funts (RIJADA), Ilze Zaceste, Juris Krūmins, Zane Homka, Baiba Linga-Berzina, Ieva Laurina, Diana Boitmane, Andris Teresko, Baiba Lindane (BU design), Ugis Gailis (BU design), Gundega Zake, Eva Vevere, Peteris Buks, photodrapher Valdis Jansons.
The project is implemented through the collaboration of the RIJADA Design Studio and Tasty Creative Space.

Project Manager: Rihards Funts RIJADA T: +371 29131152, @: rihards@rijada.lv
Online resources: www.tastyshop.lv, www.designstore.lv, www.rijada.lv


Pictures from Design Drive archive.

Why to design another chair? March 14, 2009

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Why not? 100 chairs in 100 days by Gamper Martino.

Doung Anwar Jahangeer (he won the South award for his mobile, fold-away shop)

A couple of years ago I had a very different point of view. I wanted to do design. I could imagine myself doing all kinds of things except designing a chair. I thought that the world is already full of furniture. So- why should I contribute to this over production?! I still think there is too much stuff around, but… If I’m planning to spend at least next 10 years working as a designer, there are chances somebody will ask me to do that. So, it’s time to get prepared. At the Design Academy we have to design a chair for De Witte Tafel restaurant in Eindhoven (the chosen one will be produced). And I have to say that I even enjoy the process!

Marcel Breure Vassily chair.

Its true that there are soooo many chairs around that it is a real challenge to create something new and exciting, that would would have an added value. It is vary rare that a new chair gets my attention. Most of the things we see around are just replicas of what we’ve seen before or uncomfortable egocentric creations of people who call themselves designers.

I found a blog that shows recent (mostly) creations in chair design, and I find it quite fun to look at. You can check it out here .

Last weekend I saw a great installation by Danish art group Superflex in Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.

Copy right chair installation.

So, I take a deep breath and keep on going with MY chair.

shaping our brains March 4, 2009

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Today we had a lecture at the academy by Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk. They graduated the Design Academy Eindhoven 8 years ago and are both doing pretty good now. They presented each their work and told briefly about how they started and where are they now, about the money they spend for Milan presentation every year since 2005… Well, sure, some nice pieces, lots of things you couldn’t figure out ,,WHY??,,. In fact lots of things to think about… but maybe telling these things now would be too much gossiping (: . But what I felt the most concerned about was- how the school is shaping our brains! Most of the times you can clearly recognize a DAE student or graduate. There’s this idea about a “Dutch Designer”. And I have a feeling that it is even in the air we breath every day at the academy! Without even noticing it, I have accepted it as well in most of it’s aspects!

Well, maybe there is nothing really bad about it! I just find it curious that we are so willing to put on ourselves this big brand of the school we are studying at… Sure, it has also something to do with paying respect to the ,,one,,who has educated you…

kikispecial carpet by Kikiby joost

This morning I assisted to a presentation about Olafur Eliasson‘s work. Being Islandic, he doesn’t like to talk about his origins and tries no to accentuate the fact that he is a “Scandinavian artist”. I see it as a totally opposite approach to the question. Maybe more honest ? He’s not trying to take advantage to be an artist from a small, in a way exotic country. And he doesn’t need to!!

Kiki and Joost were also talking about the “posh” side of design- when you have to present it. I have the feeling that as an artist- the more known and recognised you are, the less you have to worry about this. I was surprised that being a world famous artist he has on youtube some pretty crazy video that you might think belongs to a 18 years old one. It put a big smile on my face this morning (:, there are some really funny parts! And, in case you don’t know his work- you have wasted your life till now…

waterfall by Olafur Eliasson

Delicious packgaging March 1, 2009

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Packaging is definetly an important criteria to make a choice when we do shopping. Most of us are often ready to pay a higher price for a good presented in a particularly appealing way. I also love to go to local supermarkets when visiting other countries and I always find some nice surprises there. I’m sure you know the feeling…

I’ve been seduced by packaging design since years. Here are some interesting examples from an interesting site dedicated to the subject. Text- from the book “Eat me. Delicious, desirable,successful food packaging design” by Ben Hargreaves.

“Packaging is one of the only forms of branding that interact directly with the consumer in their home. Ideal packaging appeals not only to vision but also to all of the senses. A well designed package appeals to touch- through convenience and ergonomics- promises and delivers good taste and aroma, and often has a sound attached to it that indicates quality or freshness, such as the pop a Snapple cap makes when you first twist it off. Package quality is often seen as a sign of product quality and can go a long way to enhancing the image of a brand. Successful brands can often find themselves in the home for years, and sometimes- for generations.”

“The upper and middle classes are busy staging great gustatory theater. They’ve turned kitchens into the sexiest rooms in their ever-expanding abodes.It’s not that the formal dining room has been scratched, more that the kitchen becomes the focus of the most ritualistic social behavior. Here, food packaging designs have their part to play in creating packaging that matches up to the lofty, aspirational ideas of the 21th century kitchen.”

The joy of Monday February 23, 2009

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Updated Rey and Charles Eames hanger…

This is an image I found this morning and couldn’t stop smiling. It pictures the work of Columbian artist Gabriel Sierra. It is so fresh and inspiring! Especially comparing to the work of most of the designers that are going ,,experimental,, and ,,artistic,,… Like the chair (pic.) of the young (and awarded) Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop. I’m not trying to say that designers can’t or shouldn’t do free, artistic work. It’s more about how they position it and where they get their inspiration from.

“Hang it all” originally designed for Tigrett Enterprises Playhouse division in 1953. Material : Steel frame with white powder-coat finish, solid wood balls painted in ninecolors (purple, yellow, blue, green, red, pastel pink, mustard, bold pink, and black) 50cm x 35cm x 16 cm ( each one ). Reedited by Vitra.


How far will we go? February 19, 2009

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What are we ready to accept? What are YOU ready to accept? What are you ready to give? Who do you want to help?

What do we consider to be normal, ethical and not?

Why do we consider ourselves superior comparing to other people?

Irfak.

“Over the past few years, IRFAK had developed an optimal production system for making excess human fatty tissue acquired by liposuction suitable for human consumption. This tissue has been acquired by IRFAK by means of donations. In this, IRFAK had the support of several international clinics which have a broad spectrum of liposuction treatments at their patients’ disposal.”

More information  about the project of Mieke Smits you can find on Irfak website.