If you spend any time trying to think big thoughts about how to make technology truly meaningful, or even if you just worry your smartphone is slowly taking your place, this is the short documentary for you. From the Vimeo writeup:
The 18 minute "Connecting" documentary is an exploration of the future of Interaction Design and User Experience from some of the industry's thought leaders. As the role of software is catapulting forward, Interaction Design is seen to be not only increasing in importance dramatically, but also expected to play a leading role in shaping the coming "Internet of things." Ultimately, when the digital and physical worlds become one, humans along with technology are potentially on the path to becoming a "super organism" capable of influencing and enabling a broad spectrum of new behaviors in the world.
This month in Washington D.C., the National Building Museum is staging an exhibition devoted in part to [architect David Rockwell's] Imagination Playground. Installed in the museum’s wide galleries, Play Work Build chronicles the history of active play in the most appropriate way possible: by asking visitors to actually play the games. A massive series of shelves offers more than 2,300 architectural and construction games, from Froebel Blocks to Tinker Toys. Some of the building games date back to the 1870s.
Inexplicably excellent: Out Of Print is a live printing installation that scrambles up Twitter trending topics with an iPad, then sends the results to be letterpress printed. From outofprint on Vimeo, via Creators Project.
Fan of graphic design? Fan of exhibit design? Have I got the blog for you. Reading Forms, a tumblr of images of graphic design exhibitions by Yotam Hadar, continues its year-long gorgeous obsession. Here’s to another year, Yotam.
A while back I created an exhibit design bookshelf on Shelfari (with the help of then-intern-now-designer Jess Griscti). For years I have collected books on exhibit design, museum planning and interactive space. I have the actual physical bookshelf, with all the actual books, in my office, so I don’t look at the virtual one that often. It’s worth a look. It still needs some categorizing and blurbs, but I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else.
Gravity Free, the “Only Multidisciplinary Design Conference In The World,” takes place next Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago. The lineup is great, and I have the, um, challenge of moderating the panel sessions. Wish me luck, and see you there!
Speaking of designing exhibits about design, here is a great short video by Walker Art Center about their current exhibition, Graphic Design: Now In Production. It features curator Ellen Lupton from the Cooper-Hewitt, design director Andrew Blauvelt from the Walker … and lots of installation imagery of the exhibit itself. Just in time, too: the show closes on January 22.
Reading Forms, a tumblr by Yotam Hadar, collects images of well-designed exhibits about graphic design. A must-see. (Above, an installation shot from the Yale 2006 Graphic Design MFA Thesis Exhibition.) Cheers, Yotam!
Another one I wish I’d done: Italian architect Werner Tscholl has created yet another lookout / observation deck / museum high in the mountains (here is the last one). This one, called Granat and overlooking the town of Moos, Italy, has two parts linked by a wooden bridge: one is a precipitous cage that glows at night, the other a gravity-defying, windowless exhibit gallery. Spectacular.
Speaking of virtual museums, “Road Inc.” is a new iPad app from Pyrolia in France. One reviewer has apparently said “Road Inc. is the closest thing you’ll find to a dynamic museum exhibition [in an iPad, I assume] and some of the best proof that there is life beyond coffee table books.” I’ve heard similar claims before, so I wasn’t optimistic. But this time, there may be cause for optimism.
I paid $4.99, downloaded it, and went through a few cars. (As their blurb says: “The first digital object dedicated to the automobile, Road Inc. comes with 50 iconic models to unveil.”) It comes with a Ferrari “exhibit” preloaded. The rest require individual waits for downloads, but they don’t take long, and otherwise that first download would take most of the day.
This frankly gorgeous app is utterly packed with interesting content of all kinds, from original studio photography to historic schematics to essays. And it’s full of little touches. Three of my favorites: you can choose what order you use to walk through this “museum”: sorted by type (racer, supercar, etc.), price (from 7,000 to yikes, 55,000,000), or (ha!) speed (from 15.6 to 254 mph). When you download a new car, you get to whisk off a little virtual tarpaulin to unveil it. And, at least for the ones I’ve done so far, you can listen to what the car sounds like when it accelerates. That all might not be the same as the real thing, but $4.99 is a little more in my price range than, let’s say, $2,100,000 (for a Pagani Zonda). More on “Road Inc.” after I have visited the whole “museum” but my initial visit made me smile.
A new book from the same source as New Exhibition Design 01 & 02, but now looking back, is now available for pre-order. Just pre-ordered mine. Due in January. (If you don’t have the first two, get them while you’re at it. Quite indispensable recent surveys.)
UPDATE, 30 Dec 2011: Just heard that the release date has been pushed back to March. Sigh.
I was recently in Germany and picked up “Scenography / Szenografie”, a compendium of work by the formidable Prof. Uwe Brueckner and colleagues at Atelier Brueckner in Stuttgart. In US stores in February, available for preorder now.
The book is rather spectacular, further evidence of the remarkable progress of exhibition designers around the world over the past generation, particularly in Europe, where Stuttgart is a veritable hive of brilliant firms. US designers would do well to get a copy of this book and others.