Tag: Design

When Good Design Meets Design for Good – How to Build with the Users in Mind

good design

When it comes to architecture and urban design we often hear about the designer’s intentions but we hear less often about the impact the design has upon users. But according to John Cary good design must be considered within the web of impacts on users, stakeholders, and community.

At every level, design is a matrix of relationships—from clients who make decisions about projects to designers who bring life to those clients’ visions. In between, in a health-care setting, for example, are users who range from doctors and nurses to patients and family visitors, among many others. Then there are those who give physical form to the structures: construction workers, artisans, craftspeople, and scores of others.

Consider the picture above – a corridor built of natural materials that incorporates sunlight as a design element to create a pleasing, calming and wholesome environment. This is part of the St. Jerome’s Centre, a home for disadvantaged children in Kenya. One of the requirements of the center was security, meaning that the building had to be constructed like a fortress with no outside windows. To compensate for this the designers built courtyards with screens to filter sunlight. The materials were produced with sustainable methods, using discarded materials from local manufacturing.

The effect of St. Jerome’s Centre is to give street children not just a place to be, but a place to be whole and thrive.

Read more of John Cary’s thoughts on design as a public good at City Lab.

Love Camping but Can’t Part with Your Mid-century Modern Life? Try These

Face it, sometimes you want to live in a better part of town. Maybe on the grounds of a rolling estate or some place you can fish from your back porch. Architizer features the Markies camper, something like an Eichler home in a box.

If you’ve got a spare $55,000 in your budget, then check out the Spartan Carousel, sparkling like a diamond among a bunch of canned hams on MessyNessyChic. The Carousel was a premiere offering of the Spartan trailer company, demonstrating that trailer life could be fashionable. (So many ironies.)

Maybe Frank Gehry type, if so check out this pop-out postmodern camping trailer.

But for camping in the era of the Apocalypse, this one has my money – a tent trailer that fits in a shopping cart.

What’s the Big Idea Behind TEDxConejo?

TED Notes by Nina Khosla

Buckminster Fuller believed that power and potential came from opposing forces. Fuller’s geodesic dome, an enclosed space with no need for interior supports, made use of this principle. But Fuller felt that the clash of opposites could do much more than keep buildings aloft. He saw in these forces the potential to end world hunger.

And so it is with TED. The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference bills itself as a symposium on “Ideas Worth Spreading.” And yet attendance at TED is either by application or invitation. TED talks are now shared freely with the world on the TED website. The TED experience, on the other hand is very exclusive. Opposing ideas these – exclusivity coupled with the idea of being all-inclusive.

TEDxConejo is an independently organized event in the pattern of the “Big TED” conference. The aim is to bring the TED experience to people like you and me. Well, people like me anyway. There is an application process in order to get tickets. The conference theme is “What’s the Big Idea?” and sessions will be grouped around the themes “Thinking,” “Doing,” and “Seeing.”

The first announcement of thinkers, doers and seers include the executive editor of Wired Magazine, Thomas Goetz who looks to be all of twelve years old. On his heels is Scott Patterson, Ph.D. head of Medical Sciences at Amgen Inc. Finally there is a seer, Mark Robert Waldman author of How God Changes Your Brain.

What I’m really excited about however, is not the talks – although anything that can inspire such fervent note-taking as in the example above must be truly inspiring (I wonder if Nina is aware that her notes bear an eery resemblance to the work of Dan O’Neill?)…no. What I’m excited about is the possibility of connecting with people who are focused on work that matters. More than 50% of the seats at TEDxConejo will be set aside for students and educators. The rest will presumably be filled with local doers, thinkers and visionaries. I really hope this event will touch off some vibrant conversation space, meet-ups and hot tubs for the brain on a local level.

I’ll be there, doing what I can. As my friend Howard Rheingold says, What It Is–>Is Up to Us.