April 25, 2011
Since I first started going to Milano in the mid 1970’s, I’ve always wanted to be there for the April furniture fair. The definitive event for modern furniture and accessories design. So the Salone di Mobile’s 50th anniversary was to be the year (plus – I wanted to make sure my son was still making it to class in Florence).
I have a family of special friends in Milano who I’ve known for over 30 years now. And one, Giovanna, conveniently works for MDF Italia, one of the strongest contemporary furniture lines going in Milano. She held my hand into the enormous venue complex and wound me up for a smart day of touring. What a phenomenon. The exhibit grounds alone takes you aback. It said to me, “You have entered design mecca. You may be advancing out there wherever you live…but you’re only toying with Milano.”
I started the day full of energy and amazement. Five buildings later (there are over 20), I was crawling…and wondering if the world still needed yet another chair design. And did they need my designs. But that’s why it’s in Milano. A city where it’s about what’s next, trend-creation, homage to craftsmanship, tradition and tradition-busting.
What goes on outside the exposition grounds in Milan center city (called Fuori Salone) is as exciting if not more so. One of the most inspired collections of inventive pieces was at Spazio Rossana Orlandi. Rossana is an long-time Milano design trend follower and retailer with an impeccable eye. A store only possible here in mecca.
March 8, 2011
The 100 Worlds Project has been full of fun discoveries. Here are some of mine. – Ron
1. We need a different word for collaborator. Our language lacks a word between partner and helper. I think it’s exactly the type of activity we’re trying to do more of. But what word do you call it?
2. Working without commerce as the driving force is both exhilarating and in many ways more inviting for others.
3. People willingly participate in a vision they understand and can become a “part of”. They see that in some way, because they were involved, it changed the outcome.
4. Art openings are for people to see people rather than the art. Kind of like going to a bar to hear the band. (But what a great opening party it was!)
5. We need less of the processes and consultants than we assume are critical. The creative process itself, when undertaken with discipline, can be adequate to guide a vision. And often to a more exciting conclusion.
6. The globe form serves well as a neutral entry point for a bigger dialogue about art and the creative process.
7. A big victory for me was that people understand the “intent” of the vision. They may like or not like the work, but most understand the intention.
8. It was cool to see our branding and theming skills applied to a personal project, to be a recipient of the power behind a simple theme, or “brand”. I believe in what I do professionally more than ever.
9. Sharing the creative process, “the how”, is as powerful as showing the results. The more it’s demystified, the more people see that they are, themselves, a creative being.
10. Why is the most frequent question, ”When will you finish the next 50?” (We’re a very impatient and voracious lot.)
Thanks for caring.
February 21, 2011
Eighteen months or so ago, I found my self shaping some of my globe-inspired sketches into sculptures. I loved making models when I was a kid, which perhaps led me to minor in sculpture at Colorado State. I love the art of making, and I love visiting craftsmen when I travel. Various craftsmen have taught me patience, process, and sequencing. When I started making these globe sculptures, I didn’t really know (nor did I want to project) where this project may lead.
In a sense, it was more about not asking any questions of myself, not considering commerce in the process, and not having a plan or a schedule. I just let my creativity lead the way. That “way” found it’s destination, as the 100 Worlds Project exhibition of 50 sculptures and 50 photographic prints, which opened at JETT Gallery in the Little Italy section of downtown San Diego.
My hope for the exhibition was that different generations would be able to engage with the subject and find it intriguing. That different communities of people would collide and share, and that visitors would be inspired, in whatever form that would take.
By most measures, the 100WP Opening was a full-on success, with great energy, attendance and animated discussion.
I just wish the most frequently asked question wasn’t, “So when are you going to finish the next 50?”
Visit the 100 Worlds Project website for a look-see.
December 16, 2010
For me, Frank’s work is a leap ahead in it’s sophistication and ability to ride that edge between art/sculpture and applied craft and function. His lamps, all handmade in Berlin, defy any logical business plan. Other than to make the best possible executions of his fantasy light visions possible…and then sell them only if you must. I have no idea what his work costs, since the site is not about selling anything. But I’m all over his balanced shapes, interesting new/old combination of materials and his impeccable German craftsmanship.
Here’s what he’s saying himself…
“For me, the idea of the machine lights developed over many years of dealing with the nature of modern technology, especially the mechanical artifacts of the industrial age. It is associated for me with the realization that an independent reality which withdraws itself from human access, exists behind the manifest appearances of mechanical objects and secretly determines the world of the machines. …
A common mistake of our time is the belief that machines are solely products and artifacts of human planning, design, and manufacture. Working on the machine lights was for me a guarantor and a constantly new examination of something hidden that interweaves and shapes the sphere of the machine like a secret principle…”
December 10, 2010
Fabrizio Scippa and Marc Hedges, designers from Encompus have been asking me to come to see their letterpress buddy. So we made a pilgrimage to Tim Butler’s very cool shop, Quality Letterpress, in San Diego.
I think all designers young or old, hipster or retired…respond to letterpress printing. Some downright love letterpress. Most have never seen letterpress in action or understand the patience, artistry, craftsmanship that go into it. That’s because it’s a classic “dying art”. Tim Butler is an anomaly in 2010. A mid-forties guy who is making his living with displaced equipment and block type that other failed business were jettisoning. Tim talks about the floor iron and the trays of type like most guys talk about their high school football trophies. He knows how to use all of it at a high level, and he even teaches classes (that patience thing he has.)
We talked about what one learns running a letterpress (old-school stuff like patience and resourcefulness) and about why this stuff is still so alive and exciting in a digital world. The conversation was a lot like talking about the Slow Food vs mega-farming, or a number of other cheaper-faster processes replacing the more soulful-human (and usually more expensive) ones. The dilemma of our era.
Seeing Tim, reminded me that I still have a first edition of the Rob Roy Kelly Wood American Wood Type book. And their University of Texas site that now houses the Kelly type collection, is a treasure trove of wood block and metal display faces.
Why do guys like Tim Butler make me so happy. Make me care so much that he succeed. That’s what designers do really, help others appreciate the value in things that may not be obvious at first sight. That’s what Marc and Fabrizio are doing with Tim, inventing new way to apply letterpress… and I’m waiting to buy whatever they come up with.
Quality Letterpress (619) 229-1072 firstname.lastname@example.org 7401 Princess View Dr., San Diego CA 92120
December 1, 2010
I’ve always enjoyed making objects since I was a kid. I learned how to be patient, letting the glue dry on my model cars. Making models, also taught me about working with a plan, craftsmanship and how to tweek and change parts to make things more cool and custom. My Minor in sculpture taught me about materials, and how to work from a sketch to a finished piece. So when I first read about CO2 laser cutting technology in products like the Epilog Laser, I needed to get my hands on one and try to tap into some of it’s potential. A CO2 laser is like a flat bed printer, but instead of a pen plotter, there’s a cutting laser tip, which cut through many types of materials with great accuracy. If the laser power is strong enough, it can even cut through metal and glass.
We’ve had an Epilog Helix 24 laser here at Miriello Grafico for about six months now. And it’s amazing. It allows you to go from a line file to prototype of short run production, all in your own space and with a level of dexterity never before imagined. As much as it is a new tool, it presents the potential for a new way of doing business – empowering efficiency in limited runs of custom products.
We’ve been experimenting with it to explore how we can expand our offerings for the clients we work with. And it’s been a big part of the 100 Worlds Project sculpture show (one of the 100 worlds in in the photo above) and we’re continually prototyping new ideas on the Epilog. It’s another big jump that can move the business of art and design forward- like scanners, design software, or the digital camera. Check out this video we shot.
November 22, 2010
I’ve always liked Rome. Considering the size and importance of the place, it remains a very livable and intimate city. So when my friends at Angelini Design asked me to come over and spend a week with them…who’s to say no?
With offices located a few blocks from the Colosseum and great work happening on every desk, it was a blast showing up every day. And after a week in Roma, I also put in a few days in their Torino office where I gave an interview to LanciaTrendVisions about my upcoming 100 Worlds Project sculpture show.
Rather than rattle on about what and who and why, here’s a list of 10 things I learned while designing in Rome:
1.) Good taste IS in the culture, but that doesn’t mean everyone has it.
2.) Chaos isn’t something you try to eliminate, rather manage and redirect – like some zen martial art.
3.) The work pattern is akin to lovemaking – sustained periods where nothing of consequence seems to be happening, mixed with intense periods of fireworks and progress.
4.) Espresso is king.
5.) The long afternoon lunch break is dying in Italy. That means working late into the evening, but only taking an abbreviated American lunch hour. The worst of both traditions.
6.) Espresso is king.
7.) In the 1960’s, big American ad agencies influenced the way business is done in Italy by setting up satellite shops there. Now Italian agencies have been even slower to innovate than in the US. An old system is about to be revolutionized, if they can only figure out how.
8.) America represents innovation in Italy (one reason I was invited I think. Also why they love Obama). There’s a growing urgency to innovate and accelerate the pace of change in business. But process-innovation is not Italy’s strong suit.
9.) The center city streets are closed to traffic on Sunday. I realized that Rome was built to be walked – it comes alive on foot.
10.) Rome is an in-your-face- place that kept yelling out to me, “This is Rome for cryin’ out loud!! We’ve seen it all. So make it good, and make it fun, or don’t waste my time and yours. Life is too short.” Cannot argue with Rome. It knows too much.
October 1, 2010
, the medical version of the TED Conference, is in San Diego, Coronado actually, later this month. I was really high on attending, since it’s blocks from my house and I love the speakers list, until I was sobered-up by the $4K door charge. Medical stuff is expensive.
It makes complete sense to open a different approach- dialog on medicine, to turn creative thinking toward the most pressing social issue of our time- in a format that mixes doctors with visionaries with designers, with thought-leaders. Talk about design with a purpose…this is it.
While I was at my dentist this morning (no extraction needed after all) he flashed me this picture of the “Luke Arm”. Evidently his son is an engineer with Dean Kamen (the Segway inventor guy) who has also been working on this rather amazing bionic limb replacement technology. The Luke Arm was shown at the last years TEDMed Conference.
I’d love to see what comes about in the TEDMed 2010 “thought-rally”. (and how I’ll look in a Hotel del Coronado waiters gig.) – rm
September 13, 2010
THEO JANSEN Born 1948 in Scheveningen, Netherlands Studies physics at Delft University of Technology. His execution of technology into sculptural form is nothing short of inspired. I love the way Theo runs around the sculpture as it begins to slug into motion. It reminds me of the grainy black and white footage of Orville and Wilber Wright trying to getting their contraption off the ground…
There’s something to be said for financially irresponsible blind single-minded passion.
See Theo’s Strandbeest: at http://www.strandbeest.com/
More on Theo on YouTube.
This came to us via our great designer friend in Milano, Chiara Occhipinti.
August 30, 2010
We just said good bye to Michele Angelini from Angelini Design in Rome/Torino. He decided to come hang with us at MG for his August vacation, instead of tanning-up in Sardinia or going off to Cuba with is buddies for the “everyone to the beach” August vacation.
It was good for Michele – and it was good for all of us at The Logan too. When you have someone asking questions about how you ran a meeting, brainstormed a solution or the tone of your voice on a conference call, you learn a few things about yourself in the process.
Michele also blew us away with a lunch time showing of the work of their Rome/Torino/Paris studio and their latest effort for LANCIA/FIAT called TrendVisions. Still in it’s very early stages, it’s a grand concept we’ve offer to help and support from the US. That means sending in both our conceptual work and the work and creative we are inspired by around us- to post on http://www.lanciatrendvisions.com/. LANCIA is sponsoring the effort as a way to support and build community and exposure for upstart innovation and idea generation. They are offering in return for the sharing of ideas, opportunities to have work prototypes, realized, and exhibited. A careful balance between supporting work and getting free ideas…but they ‘ve put their money down on the side of supporting creative in the broadest sense. Ideas outside their core business.
So Miriello Grafico will be posting on LanciaTrendsVision and also heading to Torino later in 2010 to contribute to the venture first hand.
Good call on San Diego over Sardinia this summer Michele…