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robertogreco : charleseames   14

Opinion | The Magic of a Cardboard Box - The New York Times
"On April 20, Nintendo released a new line of accessories for its best-selling Switch game console. Rather than being digital add-ons, they were physical ones: punch-and-fold parts engineered to turn the Switch console into a piano, a fishing rod or a robot. All are made of cardboard.

On March 4, Walmart ads shown during the Oscars centered on shipping boxes. The writer and director Dee Rees, nominated for “Mudbound,” created a 60-second ad in which the threat of bedtime gets incorporated into a sci-fi wonderland a little girl has imagined inside a blue cardboard box.

In June 2014, Google handed out kits for a low-cost virtual reality headset to be used with a smartphone. The headset was named Cardboard, for what it was mostly made of, and users assembled the units themselves.

In April 2012, “Caine’s Arcade,” an 11-minute short featuring a boy named Caine Monroy, was widely shared on the internet. Caine had spent his 2011 summer vacation building an arcade in the front of his father’s East Los Angeles auto-parts store out of the boxes the parts came in. He had the freedom to create an environment because cardboard comes cheap, and his father gave him space.

These 21st-century storytellers turned to cardboard for the same reasons that children have long preferred the box to the toy that came in it: cardboard is light and strong, easy to put up, quick to come down and, perhaps most important, inexpensive enough for experiment. Cardboard constructions can be crushed, painted, recycled and stuck back together. Cardboard furniture can be adjusted as children grow, and cardboard creations become more sophisticated as children gain skills: It is as malleable as the body and the mind.

Technology companies’ embrace of cardboard’s cool suggests something parents and teachers never forgot: The box is an avatar of inspiration, no charging required. Cardboard is the ideal material for creativity, and has been since the big purchase, and the big box, became a fixture of American postwar homes.

Corrugated cardboard boxes were introduced in the 1880s, and slowly replaced wooden crates as the shipping method of choice. Robert Gair, a paper bag manufacturer in Brooklyn, realized that he could slice and crease paper on his machines in a single step. A box could quickly be cut out and scored, creating a flat blank ready to be assembled as needed, the same construction method exploited by Google and Nintendo. Because flattened boxes were easier to ship and distribute, manufacturers could buy them in bulk, assemble, and then ship their own product to consumers.

As household objects grew larger, the play potential of those boxes increased. The purchase of a new washing machine was a cause for celebration in my neighborhood as a child, as it meant access to a new playhouse in somebody’s yard. Dr. Benjamin Spock praised the cardboard box as an inexpensive alternative to a ride-on car or a readymade cottage. In 1951, Charles and Ray Eames mocked up a version of the packing boxes for their Herman Miller storage furniture with pre-printed lines for doors, windows and awnings: When the adults bought a bookshelf, their kids would get a free toy.

Cardboard was considered such a wonder material during this era that Manhattan’s Museum of Contemporary Craft (now the Museum of Arts and Design) devoted a 1967-1968 exhibition, “Made with Paper,” to the medium. With funding from the Container Corporation of America, the curator Paul J. Smith turned the museum galleries into a three-dimensional paper wonderland. The CCA also funded a cardboard playground created by students at the Parsons School of Design that included pleated trees, an enveloping sombrero and a movable maze for children to explore.

James Hennessey and Victor Papanek’s “Nomadic Furniture,” published in 1973, was part of a renaissance in DIY instruction, one that emphasized the cardboard’s open-source bona fides, as online instructions for making your own Google Cardboard did. The “Nomadic” authors demonstrated how to create an entire cardboard lifestyle, one that could be tailored to different sizes, ages and abilities.

Cardboard sets you free from the average, as Alex Truesdell discovered when she began to design furniture with children with disabilities. Truesdell, inspired by another 1970s cardboard carpentry book, developed play trays, booster seats, high chairs and other assistive devices made of corrugated cardboard that could help children with disabilities participate fully in society. As founder of the Adaptive Design Association, Ms. Truesdell was named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow for her work. Her organization offers classes and consultation in design and methods at no and low cost, and expects participants to pass on their knowledge. Cardboard, as a material, wants to be free.

Cardboard’s central role in childhood has not gone unnoticed: in 2005, the cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. “We were particularly motivated by the exceptional qualities that cardboard boxes hold for inspiring creative, open-ended play,” says Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections and chief curator at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. Nirvan Mullick, the filmmaker who made “Caine’s Arcade,” went on to found a nonprofit group, Imagination.org, that organizes an annual “global cardboard challenge” — one taken up by over a million kids in 80 countries.

At a time when toys have become ever more complex and expensive, it is worth returning to the box, seeing it not as trash but as a renewable resource for play.

For my daughter’s seventh birthday, she requested a cardboard-themed party. (I swear, I had nothing to do with it.) “Cardboard creations” is a highlight of “choice time” at her school, where kindergartners and first-graders have an end-of-day craft session with shoeboxes and paper towel rolls.

We gave up recycling for several weeks before the party and accumulated an embarrassingly large pile in the center of the living room. When the kids arrived, I waved them toward the boxes and bins of glue sticks, washi tape, paint, wrapping paper scraps and stickers.

“Make whatever you want,” I said, and they did."
alexandralange  cv  cardboard  2018  victorpapanek  nintendo  caine'sarcade  hermanmiller  benjaminspock  jameshennessey  diy  making  makers  alextruesdell  design  disabilities  disability  choicetime  recycling  eames  charleseames  rayeames  robertgair  technology  boxes  creativity  imagination  cainmonroy 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Natasha Jen: Design Thinking Is Bullshit - 99U
[via: "crit, evidence, and learning by doing > design thinking"
https://twitter.com/jkclementine/status/900943592235032577 ]

[direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/228126880 ]

"About this talk

If Google Image search is your sole barometer, “design thinking uses just one tool: 3M Post-Its,” says Pentagram partner Natasha Jen. “Why did we end up with a single medium? Charles and Ray Eames worked in a complete lack of Post-It stickies. They learned by doing.” In her provocative 99U talk, Jen lobbies for the “Crit” over the “Post-It” when it comes to moving design forward.

About Natasha Jen

Natasha Jen is an award-winning designer and educator. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she was invited to join Pentagram’s New York office as partner in 2012. In 2014 she was acclaimed by Wired magazine as one of nine ‘Designers Who Matter’.

Jen’s work is recognized for its innovative use of graphic, digital, and spatial interventions that challenge conventional notions of media and cultural contexts. Her work is immediately recognizable, encompassing brand identity systems, printed matters, exhibition design, digital interfaces, signage and way-finding systems, and architecture. Her clients, past and present, include Harvard x Design, Phaidon, Kate Spade, Chanel, Nike, First Round Capital, MIT, and the Metropolitan Museum, to name just a few. Pentagram made headlines in 2016 for their bold brand work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Jen has earned a variety of awards and appeared in a number of publications, including Wired, Fast Company, Kinfolk, Print, Creative Review, Metropolis, Flaunt, and China Art and Design. She was one of the winners of Art Directors Club Young Guns, for which she also served as a judge in 2007 and 2011. She has been a guest critic at Yale University School of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Maryland Institute College of Art; and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Storefront for Art & Architecture and AIGA’s New York Chapter."
designthinking  criticism  crit  design  natashajen  2017  graphicdesign  post-its  eames  charleseames  rayeames  sfsh  messiness 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Ray Eames and the Art of Entertaining - Curbed
"Ray Eames also understood housewifery as part, though far from all, of her and Charles’s design practice, as historian Pat Kirkham argues in an essay in a new book on the famous design couple. "Ray enjoyed nurturing through hospitality, and her ‘at home’ performances blurred the boundaries between her roles as wife, friend, and artist, designer and filmmaker with Charles," Kirkham writes in The World of Charles and Ray Eames (Rizzoli), a catalog which accompanies a recent retrospective at the Barbican in London. Other essays in the lushly illustrated tome cover their films, their dress, their multi-media exhibitions, and, in architect Sam Jacob’s contribution, their "California-ness."

Ray was luckier than many working women of her day, in that she could call upon her workplace for help. "Before the arrival of friends for an ‘informal’ evening at home, Ray, like a stage manager, art director, or production designer, would oversee a small Eames Office team assigned to preparing the house for the coming performance of hospitality."

She would orchestrate the arrangement of objects, the plumping of pillows, and the burning of candles to specific lengths. Food was generally simply prepared but of high quality, with a focus on arrangement of fruit, cheese, breads, and chocolate on dishes selected by Ray.

"Composition, colour, and colour coordination were central to Ray’s table-laying, and she drew on her large collection of crockery, from finely made Japanese pottery in plain bright colours to Royal Copenhagen’s prettily patterned tableware in blue and white." Woven baskets added texture; tablecloths, napkins, flowers and candelabra more colors. Staff had to be out of sight before the guests arrived, however, so as not to dispel the illusion.

In the documentary The Architect and the Painter, architect Kevin Roche tells the story of being served three bowls of flowers after a meal at their house. Ray called it a "visual dessert"—he reports later going to Dairy Queen.

On occasion, Ray even did themes, as when, in 1951, she planned a tea ceremony to welcome sculptor Isamu Noguchi and his movie-star wife Yoshiko (Shirley) Yamaguchi. Photos show tatami mats on the floor of the Eames House living area, with one of their wire-base tables in front of each guest. The room is uncharacteristically uncluttered, with plants in the corner and a Toy, with its multi-colored plastic-coated triangles, on the wall as a piece of abstract art.

Charlie Chaplin was also a guest, and later posed for photos with a Japanese fan. Could these elaborate events have served as inspiration for a sequence in the Eameses’ multi-screen show at the 1964 World’s Fair, "Think," in which a dinner party seating chart is used to explain problem-solving techniques to the masses?

In a 2006 essay for the Journal of Design History, I suggested the Eameses were not alone in performing modern marriage for publicity; the Girards, the Knolls, and the Saarinens also blurred the line between life and work, appearing in photographs in homes barely distinguishable from showrooms, and vice versa.

The Los Angeles Herman Miller showroom the Eameses designed predates their Pacific Palisades house, but was set up the same way, with seed packets keeping company with Giacometti, Japanese kites, and tumbleweeds. Eventually the Eameses would turn the decoration of their house into a third piece, the film House—After Five Years of Living (1955). The performance rolled on.

Acknowledging Ray’s hospitality as part of the Eames Office—as labor, as well as a design project—causes me to reflect differently on the occupations of previous generations. My mother and her parents were trained designers, and I had a great-grandmother who was an art teacher.

But a talent for composition, color, detail and arrangement can be handed down through the generations without a curriculum, if you think of it as a set of affinities. Brilliantly composed quilts and intricate afghans, balanced flower arrangements and gridded gardens use some of the same skills, and show the same daily devotion, as design practice. More housewives than Kjartansson have made homes performance art.

I think of the mother of my artist uncle, who was president of her state garden club, or the father of my architect husband, a businessman, who spent his spare time building a hedge maze. They were also designing—as Ray knew all too well, and as Kirkham has thankfully now explained.

The design world wasn’t the only place where table settings had a professional role to play, either. When I was growing up the dinner party was still, in academia, part of a winning promotion package, and it was rarely the male assistant professor doing the cooking and arranging.

Ray’s dessert flowers remind me of an elaborate dish my grandmother made at Easter, one that would be a worthy final project for Housewife School: paskha, an Eastern European egg custard molded into a dome and then decorated with fresh fruit in symmetrical floral patterns. It is a definitely a performance, and one that combines cooking, knife skills, composition, and color sense. (It is also, to my palate, better admired than consumed—sorry, Grandma!).

It seems Eames-esque: a folk tradition based on handwork and patterns, a food arranged rather than cooked. Shot from above, a paskha would fit right in with the photographs of rainbow grids of spools, crayons, and buttons that adorn the Eameses’ House of Cards. In a 1973 article in Progressive Architecture, critic Esther McCoy, a friend of Ray’s, wrote, "They were the first to fill in the spartan framework so acceptable to modern architecture with a varied and rich content." Later, she ended a remembrance of Ray with a vision of "her wide craftsman’s hands placing the bouquets on the table, moving them an inch this way or that.""
eames  charleseames  rayeames  alexandralange  2016  design  dinnerparties  performance  problemsolving  housewives  housewifery  calvintompkins  ragnarkjartansson 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Small, Moving, Intelligent Parts – Words in Space
"Abstract: The great expositions and World’s Fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries were known for celebrating new technological developments. The world of index cards, fiches, and data management hardly seems germane to the avant-garde, one of the central concerns of this special issue – yet the fairs made clear that information management systems were themselves designed, and were critical components of more obviously revolutionary design practices and political movements. Cards and files became familiar attractions at expos throughout the long-20th century. But those standardized supplies came to embody different ideologies, different fantasies, as the cultural and political contexts surrounding them evolved – from the Unispheric “global village” modeled in 1964; to 1939’s scientifically managed World of Tomorrow; and, finally, to the age of internationalist aspirations that led up to World War I. We examine how the small, moving parts of information have indexed not only data, but also their own historical and cultural milieux."

[See also this thread,
https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/748180579426930688

that points to
https://twitter.com/npseaver/status/735140727806648320
http://savageminds.org/2014/05/21/structuralism-thinking-with-computers/
https://takingnotenow.blogspot.com/2007/12/luhmanns-zettelkasten.html ]
shannonmattern  2016  information  history  postits  hypercard  indexcards  cards  paperslips  1964  1939  data  archives  fiches  microfiche  datamanagement  officesupplies  ottoneurath  patrickgeddes  jamerhunt  evenote  writersduet  scrivener  notecards  obliquestrategycards  brianeno  peterschmidt  marshallmcluhan  julesverne  milydickinson  walterbenjamin  wittgenstein  claudelévi-strauss  rolandbarthes  niklasluhmann  georgesperec  raymondcarver  stanleybrouwn  marklombardi  corneliavismann  eames  fragments  flow  streams  johnwilkins  knoradgessner  williamcroswellcharlescoffinjewett  vannevarbush  timberners-lee  remingtonrand  melvildewey  deweydecimalsystem  srg  paulotlet  henrilafontaine  sperrycorporation  burroughscorporation  technology  kardexsystems  sperryrand  hermanhollerith  frederickwinslotaylor  worldoftomorrow  charleseames  ibm  orithlpern  johnharwood  thomasfarrell  wallaceharrison  gordonbunschaft  edwarddurrellstone  henrydreyfuss  emilpraeger  robertmoses  janejacobs  post-its 
june 2016 by robertogreco
What do elephants and Eames chairs have in common?: Design Observer
"I would love to get more nominations for charismatic megafauna from any design field. What object appears in every design museum exhibition? What building image always illustrates an architect's career? Which graphic stands for all of Russian Constructivism, over and over again? And how, having identified these beasts, can we expand the pool of imagery in order to expand the parameters of discussion. How can we allow the public to see design as part of a complex environment rather than a string of greatest hits?"
2012  alexandralange  eames  rayeames  charleseames  design  furniture  history 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Rough Sketch for a Video Essay as Design Criticism—Jarrett Fuller
"The video, or film, essay gained popularity in the 1950s and 60s that trades typical narrative plots for themes and investigations. Drawing inspiration from Orson Welles, Charles and Ray Eames, and film critics working today, I how the video essay can be used to further design criticism online and bring critical writing about design to different audiences."
essays  videoessays  2016  jarrettfuller  film  eames  charleseames  rayeames  design  designcriticism  visual  orsonwelles  everyframeapainting  mattzoller  tonyzhou  fisforfake  filmcriticism  criticalwriting  criticism  srg 
june 2016 by robertogreco
deborah sussman interview
"DB: please could you tell us about your background and how you became interested in design?

DS: I grew up in brooklyn where my parents exposed us to the arts from a young age: we had dance lessons, piano lessons, french lessons, trips to museums, performances and galleries. after high school I went to study painting and acting at bard college in new york, which was a very radical school at that time. in those days I thought I’d become an actress or an artist but then I heard about a school in chicago, the institute of design, ran by lászló moholy-nagy and I really wanted to go there and see what it was all about. I got transferred to chicago and design completely took over my life from then on.

one of my teachers in chicago was konrad wachsmann, who was friendly with charles and ray eames. in my first year there the eames came to give a talk at our school and also afterwards asked konrad to recommend them a student who could work with them for the summer, as a graphic designer. he suggested it should be me.

DB: how was it to work at the eames office?

DS: I was extremely happy. as a young designer in my early twenties there was nobody I would rather have worked for. it was a dream job. originally I was only supposed to work there that one summer and then go back to finish my studies in chicago. at the end of the summer I approached charles to say goodbye and he said ‘goodbye? why? where are you going?‘ I told him ‘I need to go back to school and finish my degree‘ he simply replied ‘I don’t have a degree. why do you need one? ray and I are going to europe for a few months, why don’t you stay in our house until we come back?‘. I didn’t need any more persuading than that!

DB: what did you work on while you were there?

DS: a bit of everything; photography, graphic design, illustration, ads for herman miller, sets for films. many, many different things. after working there for three years I applied for a fulbright scholarship to study at the hochschule für gestaltang in ulm, germany and a year later I got it. so I was there for four years in my first stint.

DB: have the eames been the biggest influence on your work?

DS: ray and charles along with alexander girard who worked with us were great mentors to me. another experience from those days that really shaped me a lot was my first trip to mexico. I went there in the early 1950s to take photos as part of the research for ‘the day of the dead’ film and was really taken-back by the place, the people, the culture. the vibrancy of color that I discovered there has always stayed with me, the bright yellow and magenta icing on the sugar skulls and sweet breads – amazing! it was the first time I had been to another country and I absolutely loved it. that really whetted my appetite to travel more and before I knew it I was off to germany.



DB: what eventually made you want to start your own company?

DS: in my second stint at eames I worked on mathematica, then I went to india to work on the exhibition ‘nehru: the man and his india’ and then ended up back in california. at that time people started asking me to work on things for them and I was using my desk at the eames office after-hours to get these side projects done. as the side projects became bigger and more frequent I became uncomfortable working on them at their office, I didn’t want to disrespect them in any way so decided I’d go it alone. frank gehry offered me a space at his office and I started working from there. I worked with him on some projects and also with other architects, advertising agencies, shops and slowly ended up needing my own space. over the years the office has grown and switched locations several times and in the middle of it all I met my husband, paul prejza and we work together with our team on an interesting blend of civic, cultural and commercial projects.

DB: how would you describe your style to someone who hasn’t seen your work before?

DS: exuberant and bold.

DB: what traps should a young designer avoid when working on an environmental design project?

DS: one of the most common traps is not understanding scale. you need to test your design with physical scale-models and if possible at full scale. that’s a very important exercise, you can’t always understand scale on on a computer screen.

DB: what are your thoughts on specialization vs generalization?

DS: I’m most certainly a generalist. I enjoy all the different arts too much to only do one thing all of the time.

DB: what are you passionate about apart from design?

DS: poetry. I would have said photography some years back but now it’s definitely poetry. I write free verse poetry, often about the way I see things and for the last few years myself and juan felipe herrera (poet laureate of california) have been writing poems back and forth to one another, that’s something I have a lot of fun with.

DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?

DS: I do and it’s a bit silly but I’ll tell you! I think that whatever you do on new year’s day, you will do for the rest of the year… so it’s nice to drink plenty of champagne.

DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

DS: a couple of pieces of advice that I often remember are:
‘stick to the concept’ – charles eames
‘the best thing we can do for our clients is not obey them, but inspire them’ – alexander girard

DB: what’s the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?

several people have told me over the years ‘just give them what they want‘ with regards to clients, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have to inspire them and that can sometimes be a very dangerous attitude to have because you can loose yourself a lot of money!"
deborahsussman  2013  interviews  charleseames  eames  eamesstudio  design  education  losangeles  graphicdesign  graphics  konradwachsmann  illustration  alexandergirard  generalists  specialization  specialists  california 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Kenneth Goldsmith - Talks | Frieze Projects NY
[Direct link to .mp3: http://friezeprojectsny.org/uploads/files/talks/Kenneth_Goldsmith.mp3 ]

"‘I Look to Theory Only When I Realize That Somebody Has Dedicated Their Entire Life to a Question I Have Only Fleetingly Considered’

A keynote lecture by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, whose writing has been described as ‘some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry’ (Publishers Weekly). Goldsmith is the author of eleven books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of MoMA."
kennethgoldsmith  copying  uncreativewriting  mercecunningham  writing  internet  web  online  remixing  culture  art  poetry  originality  appropriation  quantity  quality  curiosity  harrypotter  poetics  digital  reproduction  translation  displacement  disjunction  corydoctorow  change  howwewrite  pointing  data  metadata  choice  authorship  versioning  misfiling  language  difference  meaning  ethics  morality  literature  twitter  artworld  marshallmcluhan  christianbök  plagiarism  charleseames  rules  notknowing  archiving  improvisation  text  bricolage  assemblage  cv  painting  technology  photography  readerships  thinkerships  thoughtobjects  reassembly  ubuweb  freeculture  moma  outreach  communityoutreach  nyc  copyright  ip  intellectualproperty  ideas  information  sfpc  vitoacconci  audience  accessibility  situationist  museums  markets  criticism  artcriticism  economics  money  browsers  citation  sampling  jonathanfranzen  internetasliterature  getrudestein  internetasfavoritebook  namjunepaik  johncage  misbehaving  andywarhol  bobdylan  barbarakruger  jkrowling  china  creati 
august 2014 by robertogreco
"Sincerity, Honesty, Conviction, Affection, Imagination, and Humor": A Profile of Charles Eames, 1946 | Brain Pickings
"He never worried much (as many designers do) about ‘what the public wants,’ or ‘what the public will accept,’ because he had a profound belief in the public, and the conviction that if they didn’t want or wouldn’t accept the furniture which he was designing for their use, the fault lay in his designs, not in the public. He knew very well the absurdity of trying to design to an assumed public taste. It is important to realize that the furniture is an expression of this direct approach; each piece is composed as much of the personal ingredients of Charles Eames as of wood and metal. If you examine this furniture, you will find sincerity, honesty, conviction, affection, imagination, and humor. You will not grasp how this furniture came into being or what it really means unless you understand this also about Charles Eames."
1946  furniture  eliotnoyes  charleseames  eames  design  honesty  sincerity 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero’s Blog: Everything you ever needed to know about design, answered in five minutes by Charles Eames.
"Everything you ever needed to know about design, answered in five minutes by Charles Eames.

The video was produced for the exhibition “Qu’est ce que le design?” (or What is Design?) at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais de Louvre in 1969. A full transcript of the interview can be found here, and the video is available as part of The Films of Charles & Ray Eames DVD set."
design  art  eames  charleseames  definition  frankchimero  action  creation  designethic  constraints 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero ["We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next." —Charles Eames]
"And so this is my favorite quote in regards to design. The Eames are heroes of mine: such virtuosity over such a wide array of practices. Products for the home, patterns, architecture, movies, I mean, it’s just silly. People have said that doing so was easier back then because the walls between the practices were lower, just like how Da Vinci was able to be on the cusp of understanding in science because we knew so little. I think that’s partially true, but not a convincing enough argument to stand on its own.

The Eames were sharks. One just has to read what Charles said. In work, it’s not that one project leads to the next, it’s that one subject leads to the next. If we’re really sniffing out solutions to the problems of people, then we’ll be going down some serious rabbit holes.

We don’t need to say “multi-disciplinary designer” any more. If we’re truly trying to make things that help all of us to live better, it’s implied and redundant."
design  quotes  eames  charleseames  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  generalists  crossdisciplinary  doing  making  work  glvo  working  howwework  curiosity  learning  unschooling  deschooling  postdisciplinary 
march 2011 by robertogreco

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