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Archive for the ‘Redesigning our Environment’ Category

It’s real and it’s spectacular.

I’ve been waiting a long time for this and Apple didn’t disappoint other than it only working on the Cingular network. I guess I’ll be switching carriers. I’ve been a long time Sprint customer and they have always treated me very well but they don’t have a phone that can compete with the iPhone at any level. Now what remains to be seen is how much it will cost per month. I want one of these in the worst way but if Cingular doesn’t have a reasonably priced all-you-can-eat data plan then it won’t be worth my while. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more about this up until the June launch.

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wheelchair.jpg

When will a designer take on the challenge of making a wheelchair that looks
great? Instead, everywhere you look, they are made of harsh looking metals and
awkward moving parts. It’s wonderful that people are trying to develop a chair
that makes life easier for the handicapped but does it have to look like some
strange robotic gizmo? What would this same chair look like if Apple or Herman
Miller designed it?

Picture taken from Mike Davidson’s Blog

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If you haven’t downloaded Google’s new Google Earth application then what are
you waiting for? The is a glimpse into the future. Google Maps redesigned
mapping programs on the web and this application jumps way beyond. Be sure
to check out the 3D buildings along with the tilt and rotate controls.

http://earth.google.com/

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Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

Read Full Post »

Last week, I discovered the work of William McDonough as I was searching the
web. For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. McDonough is, he designs
environmentally friendly buildings. This may sound similar to the thousands of
other designers and architects that claim to do the same but McDonough takes a
very different approach.

McDonough’s approach to design is one he calls “cradle to cradle”. The idea
behind this approach is to create reusable items which once you are finished
with, can be upcycled and reused as if it had never been used before. A great
example is McDonough’s own book “Cradle To Cradle”. It is made of reusable
plastic resin pages and ink. Every piece of the book can be used again without
any of it going to a landfill. The best part about this is that the reused items are
no different than the first time they were used. There is no weakening of the
plastic resin and the ink is as good as new.

Where McDonough truly excels is through is architectural design. He creates
structures that fit in with the environment rather than destroy it. The Gap
Corporate Office in San Bruno, CA is a great example of his work. The roof of
this structure is made of ancient grasses. These grasses help dampen the sound
of jets taking off at the nearby airport and they filter the rain water providing a
habitat for local wildlife. This only one example so I encourage you to read more
about his other designs.

The reason I find McDonough so fascinating is that his environmental approach
is very different from what we have all been taught to think about environment
friendly design. We’ve been told over the years that there are trade-offs to
environmental design. The truth is that there are no trade-offs. McDonough is
proving that by using nature as our model we can have a healthy lifestyle and
industrial growth without destroying the earth.

There is so much that we can learn by studying how other designers solve very
different problems from our own. There aren’t many similarities between
McDonough’s environmental design and web design but studying his approach
has taught me knew ways to approach my design concepts.

Additional Reading:

Read Full Post »

How long will it be before we can type a friend or family members name into
Google and have their location displayed on Google Maps?

Today, Google acquired Dodgeball.com, a social networking
service which allows you to tell your friends where you are through text
messaging. It will be facinating to watch this segment over the next few years as
Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and several others battle it out. The greatest impact
will be on the younger generations and it is sure to produce several new
advertising opportunities.

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Skype has been growing significantly over
the past year. They are changing the way people communicate around the world
with their free usage and huge user base. Now an enthusiastic group of users are
finding ways to “Skypecast”. Skypecasting, similar to podcasting, uses Skype’s peer-to-
peer telephone network to distribute digital recordings. Like podcasting, it gives
anyone the opportunity to have their own broadcasting network. The redesigned
radio is going to have a significant impact on advertising in the coming years.
Instead paying large amounts of money to essentially spam thousands of people,
skypecasting/podcasting is going to allow companies to market to the segments
of people interested in their products. Like Google did with search key words,
someone, possibly Google, will do the same with skypecasts/podcasts.

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