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robertogreco : slowdesign   8

4 Ways Slow Design Will Make The Super-Fast World We Live In Better
"In part, that means slowing things down. For years, proponents of "slow design" have been advocating just that—building healthy, meaningful relationships with our stuff, our planet, and other people through local and artisanal products, DIY resourcefulness, and sustainable lifecycles and materials. While that conversation has been thought-provoking, "slow design" also includes a heavy dose of neo-Luddism and anti-consumerist sentiment that has slowed its march toward the mainstream.

The question remains: How might our collective longing to unplug realistically inspire new products (and product ecosystems) that fit within our competitive business landscape?

At Altitude, we found four ways to product-ize the best elements of "slow" while still living in a world where our technology moves faster than our brains:


Slow used to mean inefficient. Now that technology has become less of a limiting factor, "slow" has taken on a more nuanced meaning. In certain contexts, such as virus-scanning software or medical diagnostics, slow is a reassuring signal for thoroughness and reliability, whereas faster-than-expected processing rates are signs of inaccuracy or lack of thoroughness.

In product design, slow can also improve functionality. Blindly chasing speed alone can come at the detriment of other, competing values. Altitude recently partnered with Oster to design their new A6 Clipper, and our research revealed that professional pet groomers actually preferred slower motor speeds because high clipping speeds created vibrations in their hands that reduced productivity and became painful over time.


If you manipulate workflow tempo through a product’s UI, it can make for a more emotionally satisfying user experience. That’s because it brings a human sensibility into a fast-paced, digital context.

User interface research by Chris Harrison, at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, has shown that people respond negatively to pauses or delays toward the end of moving progress bars. One study showed that when given the option, users preferred progress bars that were intentionally slower to start and which then ramped up in pace toward the end, "providing a sense of rapid conclusion."

There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all lesson about where to slow things down, but a product’s UI is often the place where the mechanical comes to life, and it’s important to design its graphical and temporal elements in ways that recognize common human biases and rhythms.


Sometimes, people want to take the harder route and invest valuable "elbow grease" in the activities they care about. There’s something about home-brewed beer and long-marinated steak that feels special precisely because of the effort they require.

The classic Chemex pour-over coffeemaker, a longtime design piece in the Museum of Modern Art, has seen a recent resurgence in popularity among Millennials. Though the product requires more effort than a Keurig or Nespresso machine, it offers a coffee brewing experience that feels meditative and deeply authentic in its simplicity. The process is evocative, a reminder of the way people made coffee before Starbucks and instant K-Cups appeared.

Similarly, Kamado-style cookers such as "The Big Green Egg," while more labor-intensive and complex than typical gas grills, enable people to slow-smoke specialty meats or pizzas; they provide an intriguing centerpiece for daylong social events.


While most consumer products inevitably deteriorate with use, others actually become better. Cast-iron cookware is a great example because continued use seasons it and protects it from future rust. Similarly, new Birkenstock sandals look identical to every other off-the-shelf pair. But after months of wear, those sandals have literally molded to the unique contours of the owner’s feet. "Smart" devices of tomorrow might learn to do the same.

Connected products, such as the Nest thermostat, learn from our past behaviors and proactively recognize patterns in our daily decision-making. When we use a product over time—and it continues to perform as well as (or better than) it did when we first started using it—our emotional bond with it gets strengthened.

Ultimately, when I think of "slow design," my mind returns vividly to my grandfather’s old fly-fishing lures, all hooked into his outdoors vest. He owned some of those lures for 20 years and had deep emotional connections to and great stories about each one. They became part of the fabric of his fishing rituals, and of his life.

Today’s electronic gadgets are different. They’re faster, stronger, and less recognizable than the simpler tools of the past. But by incorporating elements of "slow design," we can create enduring products and innovative services that help consumers overcome their anxieties around modern technology—without having to completely unplug."
slow  slowdesign  design  process  jeremyfinch  chemex  chrisharrison  anti-consumerism  neo-luddism  sustainability  diy  resourcefulness  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero × Blog × Concerning the Sandpit Outside My Studio Window
"Sometimes in the excitement of making new things, it becomes easy to lose sight of how it will mature. How will it look in six months? What will happen to it as the world around it changes? Does it have any true reason for existing? Often, doing nothing is better than the wrong thing."
slow  frankchimero  thinking  2014  time  slowdesign  lessismore  notdoing  treadsoftly  unconsumption 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Slow Lloyd
"In 2010, the design research organization slowLab (US/NL) began a partnership with the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam to explore the potentials of a ‘Slow-er' Lloyd.

slowLab recognized the Lloyd as a fertile context for exploring and transmitting principles of Slow design. As a historic landmark, it offers rich physical and social traces that bind the past and present and connect the building to the city at large. As both a business enterprise and a creative nonprofit, it offers a wide range of resources and supports many scales of relationship. The Slow Lloyd research program set out to investigate how Slow design ideas, tools and values might enrich the Lloyd’s existing collection of services, spaces and people, while reaching out to include a broader ‘ecology’ of resources and relationships from the local area, and the city at large.

Slow Lloyd is an invitation to consider ALL the layers that make up the Lloyd– not only its current enterprise and cultural offerings, but also the personal, social and creative movements that have unfolded within and around this unique location, and continue to do so today. The program leverages the unique conditions of this place, while: 1) Revealing additional functional and aesthetic expressions within the Lloyd's complex ecology of services, spaces and people; 2) Constructing additional layers of personal and social experience; 3) Creating new opportunities for interaction and collaboration across a diversity of disciplines; and 4) Deepening connections with the those living and working in the local community.

Hundreds of designers, architects, social and environmental innovators, students, and local community members took part in the ‘Slowing Experiments’ featured on this site. Individually and in groups, they investigated the functional, spatial, temporal, sensorial, and social expressions of the Lloyd system, while also expanding beyond its borders to imagine new forms of engagement in the local area and new scenarios applicable to the world at large.

Collectively, the projects found here begin to map out a set of Slow values not only for the Lloyd and its neighborhood, but for all of us. How can what we experience and learn through Slow Lloyd help us to be Slow-er as individuals, to strengthen our communities, and, in so doing, to move together toward a more sustainable future?"
slow  slowlab  netherlands  amsterdam  slowlloyd  slowdesign  design  local  ecology 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Slow Design Knowledge Index by slowLab — Kickstarter
"We’re raising money to create the Slow Design Knowledge Index: a comprehensive platform that collects, connects and helps people share a spectrum of Slow design knowledge.  Building this project will enable broader acceptance and understanding of Slow design, will catalyze new ideas, academic programs, local actions and dialogues, and will amplify the voices of the Slow design community. It's a resource that will be accessible to people around the world, and, importantly, it promises to transform how people think about and practice design into the future."
slowlab  design  slowdesign  slow  kickstarter  slowdesignknowledgeindex  glvo 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Built to Last - The Slow Issue - GOOD
"As an inventor, Saul Griffith has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make useful things. Griffith developed innovative designs for low-cost prescription glasses and energy-producing kites, founded the DIY website Instructables, and created a comprehensive carbon calculator called WattzOn. He was also awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2007. Recently, onstage at high-profile conferences such as TED and PopTech, Griffith has been arguing that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”"
glvo  heirloomdesign  saulgriffith  slow  slowdesign  philosophy  green  sustainability  design  lego 
january 2010 by robertogreco
slowLab > slow design laboratory
"What does it mean to be Slow? Mindfulness. Imagination. Intention. Collaboration. Action. As you greet 2010, we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on how these qualities might be part of your year ahead."

[more here:]
design  ideas  slow  sustainability  creativity  slowdesign  slowlab  lcproject  mindfulness  collaboration  acition  imagination  intention  activism  duurzaamheid 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Bientôt Demain : le slow design au quotidien
"Le processus du Slow Design est complet, détaillé, holistique, poussé, respecté et mûrement réfléchi. Il permet l'évolution et le développement des résultats de la conception. Il appartient aux domaines public et professionnel et insiste sur l'importance de démocratiser le processus de conception en englobant un grand nombre de participants."
slow  slowdesign  design  blogs  environment  green  art  crafts  french  clothing  sustainability 
december 2008 by robertogreco
"slowLab is an emerging organization based in New York, NY (US) and with activities worldwide.

The mission of the organization is to promote slowness or what we call 'Slow design' as a positive catalyst of individual, socio-cultural and environmental well-being. Our programming engages the innate creative capacities of individuals and the collaborative potential of communities to spur networks of cooperation and incite new thinking and approaches. Since 2003, slowLab has been growing a network of 'Slow creative activists' to exchange ideas and resources, share knowledge and cooperatively develop projects that positively impact the lives of individuals, the communities they participate in and the planet that we share.

slowLab’s current and future programs include public lectures, dialogues and exhibitions, an online project observatory and communication portal, academic programs and publishing projects. We aim to reach a wide spectrum of disciplines and communities, enabling slowLab's more holistic approach to take root and grow among an international public.

slowLab was inspired by the global 'slow' movements which serve to balance the demands of the fast-paced world on our bodies, our cities, and the cultural fabric.

slowLab is supported by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) who serves as our nonprofit fiscal sponsor."
activism  architecture  art  awareness  philosophy  slow  spirituality  collective  community  creativity  design  environment  innovation  urbanism  glvo  organization  nyc  nonprofit  inspiration  sustainability  society  labs  laboratories  lcproject  openstudioproject  slowdesign  slowlab  nonprofits 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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