Monday, March 27, 2006

Design Interviews

Karim Rashid interviewed in Fab. It's a nutty Warholesque interview that reminds me for some reason of Jubal Early in Firefly licking one of the struts of the ship's cargo hold.

[High heels]
High heels are kind of misogynist, so if I’m going to make women walk around in high heels I might as well give them some comfort. I made the most comfy high-heel shoe to be worn. It is made out of three-part injection mould and it has a vanilla smell that lasts for two years.

[Blue collars]
If you want to be a good industrial designer, you need to go to a lot of factories and see how things are produced. I used to go to trade shows for machinery, to look at the way things are made. I would look at a machine that would do thermaforming and I would be so inspired by it. To this day I allow machines to inspire me.

Bruce Sterling in Metropolis. It reeks of nostalgia for five minutes ago.

The Art Center kids were challenged with a small budget, a tight schedule, and a need to do something really good for their portfolio--something impressive, something worthy of public display. It was never made entirely clear to them what "good" meant. They had to sop that up from the thick smog of cultural values in the Art Center air while shut up tight with their teeming fellows in the Modernist steel monastery.

Those students work harder than oxen. By show time at the end of the term, they're physically collapsing from their own ambitions. They grieve. They tremble with burnout. They slumber on the library carpets. They change a lot. Designerhood steals over them. It's like character transformation in a novel. That ditzy illustration chick, who shambled in wearing her Goodwill dresses, somehow develops her own look; she's still a freak, but now she's all together about it. That digital-arts kid, twitchy from his misspent youth of computer games, somehow learns to exude geek chic. He once had a thousand-yard stare. Now he's got the polished arched-eyebrow look of the cell-phone techie on Verizon billboards. You can't teach that to anyone--it's self-inflicted. What happened to them? They have recognized certain aspects of their pre-designer selves that, to their newly trained eyes, are no longer apt and fitting. So they prune those parts off. They take the gum eraser to it. They X-acto it. They mill it down to sawdust over in the machine shop. It's spooky. Even their parents can tell.

Nobody ever told me or ordered me to do anything at Art Center, ever. This benign treatment truly fertilizes one's eccentricities. For my last term there I constructed a giant mobile out of steel wire and PVC pipe inside an abandoned wind tunnel. Why? Because it wasn't there, that's why. I'm laughing about this now, but it's a rueful, wiser laughter. I never learned so much so fast as I did while brandishing those pliers

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