Bright Ideas: the future of lighting

April 18th, 2011

My first feature for the new Port magazine is now on their website. It discusses developments in efficient lighting technologies and how they may affect the future of the industry and our relationship with light. You can read the article here.

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Classics Reissued

December 18th, 2010

50th anniversary AJ Lamp by Arne Jacobsen

Owning the rights to reproduce a seminal piece of design is a coup for any retailer, however, it would be unwise to rely purely on sales of the original versions as this drastically limits the potential market. A popular solution employed by many manufacturers is to sporadically release alternative versions, often in limited edition runs, offering an opportunity to own a classic design in a version that is different to that which everyone else already has.

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Signs of Sweden

September 1st, 2010

During a brief visit to Stockholm and Gothenburg I noticed an abundance of classic neon signs outside shops, restaurants and bars. It may be related to the influx of American culture that occurred following the second World War or perhaps it just made a lot of sense in a country where it’s dark a lot of the time! Either way, these retro signs fit perfectly with the vintage vibe that is massive in Sweden right now.

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Sennheiser Eco Earphones Packaging

February 23rd, 2010

I didn’t buy these earphones because of their sustainable packaging (though every little helps I guess) but I was quite impressed when they did arrive. It’s so unusual to be able to buy anything that doesn’t use any plastic at all in its packaging and still looks good and does the job of protecting and presenting the product well. I guess that it’ll take a bit more time for other companies to adopt similar practices but well done to Sennheiser on this effort, corrugated cardboard can be cool.

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Death in Design

February 9th, 2010

Julia Lohmann - Lasting Void

After reviewing Julia Lohmann’s latest work for Gallery Libby Sellers (see previous post) I thought I’d examine the recent prevalence of morbid symbology and references to death in design in a bit more detail. Lohmann herself is certainly one of the key protagonists in this trend having based the majority of her previous work on giving a new lease of life to animal carcasses that would normally become waste. Two such pieces featured in the recent exhibition Telling Tales: Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in which curator Gareth Williams dedicated an entire section to the theme of death entitled Heaven and Hell. The show featured disturbingly direct evocations of human vulnerability (the flesh-like Rubber Table and a rug resembling pools of blood called The Lovers by Fredrikson Stallard) as well as references to the terror of natural or man-made disasters and acts of human brutality and war. As well as Lohmann’s work there were a number of other designers who made use of taxidermy to create provocative objects with a dark sense of humour including Kelly McCallum, Niels van Eijk and Wieki Somers.

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A Return to “Good Design”

February 1st, 2010

Vincent van Duysen - Pottery

The inevitable result of our sudden dive into recession and the endless talk of cuts, deficit and depression is the call for designers to stop fooling around and get back to the business of helping people live more efficient lives by creating purely functional products that do just what you expect them to do, preferably using as few materials as possible for the lowest possible price. No frivolity, no fancy functions and no fun. This is the antithesis of the expressive and expansive attitude that dominated design and architecture in the noughties where newness was a necessity – whether it was adding more functions to electronics than anyone could possibly know what to do with or generating new forms and adding superfluous decoration just because we could.

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