Monthly Archives: January 2009

Barcelona, fast and furious

I told you about the video game The Wheelman in an earlier post. It’s the one where Vin Diesel trashes everything and everyone in sight in “exotic” Barcelona. It’s due out anytime soon, we’re being told, and while we wait with bated breath we’re being teased with a new trailer. What I’m really liking about this game, is that for once a global product that commercialises the “Barcelona Brand” shows us something other than the usual suspects. There are plenty of those (Sagrada Familia, Plaza Real, waterfront and palm trees), but thanks to the exacting requirements of the script, bursting with car chases and criminal behaviour, we are paradoxically offered a more realistic version of the city, which includes nail-biting ring-road action, dreary mass-housing neighbourhoods, dusty parking lots and abandoned construction sites. Now there’s a Barcelona I can recognise!

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Fabricating and 3d printing roundup of 2008

Wedgwoodn’t ceramic tureen created by Michael Eden with 3d RP technology.

Wedgwoodn’t ceramic tureen created by Michael Eden with 3d RP technology.

Fabbaloo, the blog devoted to all things fabbed (as in fabricated, 3d printed and desktop manufactured) offers this roundup of the field’s trends in 2008:

  • The rise of sophisticated specialized printing services. Let’s face it; there have been 3D print services around for quite a while, but it’s only this year that a few breakthrough companies began applying advanced Web 2.0 approaches to the problem. Companies like Ponoko, Shapeways and others are breaking new ground and beginning to gather a large audience that will eventually become the personal manufacturers of the future.
  • The increasing capabilities of large-scale 3D printers. Increased build chambers, more colors, new and unusual print media and multiple media printing were all introduced by the major equipment vendors, Z Corp, Stratasys, 3D Systems and Objet. More, please!
  • We’re still waiting for the price breakthrough. The “Apple Laserwriter moment” has not yet arrived, but it’s surely coming. Equipment such as MCOR’s paper printer and Desktop Factory’s sub-USD$5,000 device should be generally available in their initial incarnation in the coming year. Meanwhile, we await an inexpensive device to really blow open the market.
  • The creativity unleashed by personal manufacturing. One can only look at Ponoko’s library of designs to see what is beginning to happen; nothing less than Web 2.0 for manufacturing.

I have no doubt that 2009 will be a turning point for Rapid Prototyping and desktop manufacturing – it will be the year when everyone gets extremely excited about its possibilities, and realises that there’s really a Second Industrial Revolution in the making.


Reactable design competition

I just got an email about the Reactable project:

It’s a bit late but, Reactable Systems are running a competition to design an identity for themselves and the reactable. It would be great if more designers in Spain got to hear about this.

Well, the deadline is January 11th, so yeah, it’s a bit late!

Still, it’s worth giving this a shout-out, if only to get you to check out the Reactable project, which is truly magnificent and has gathered a long list of awards, including the Ars Electronica Prix and two D&AD prizes in 2008. It’s an exciting interaction design project that brings together engineers, computer scientists and musicians, based at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Objectified – for the love of everyday stuff?

In 2007,  Gary Hustwit directed Helvetica, a small budget, feature-length documentary about the 50-year old typeface. A niche film with an undeniably nerdy topic, Helvetica soon became a global phenomenon. One of the film’s greatest achievements was the way in which it managed to convey both Helvetica’s extraordinary designer status and its truly impressive universal success as possibly the most ubiquitous and generic typeface in common use.

Now Hustwit is at work on stuff. Moving from graphics to objects, his next project, due to premiere in Spring of 2009, is aptly called Objectified. Here’s how the Objectified website describes the project:

Objectified is a feature-length independent documentary about industrial design. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the people who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. It’s about our relationship to mass-produced objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

And here’s the trailer:

Objectified looks set to become another runaway success with the design crowd, but the trailer really makes me wonder whether it will manage to provide us with any interesting views on our everyday relationship with things – with generic things. The beauty of Helvetica was that through the passionate and obsessive following of one font, the film took us deep into what most of us experience daily as no-design-land, the land of cinema tickets, road signs, TV news – just life, no designer tag. Objectified seems more concerned with designers and their creative process, a hardly innovative approach to the world of objects that yields little real insight into the average human relationship with manufactured goods, but lots of talk about ‘good design’ and ‘user needs’. But I might be mistaken. I really hope I am. I guess I just didn’t like the trailer. That’s funny, because I thought I did.

ADI-FAD 2009 Delta Awards

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From the Delta Awards website:

The Association of Industrial Design ADI-FAD calls for companies and designers from Spain and other countries to take part in the Delta Awards with products that are distributed in the Spanish market. The purpose of this competition is to encourage public recognition of those products which stand out because of their innovative character, for their conceptual originality, the response among the public and their environmental impact, as well as their design and their manufacturing quality.

The Delta Awards have been open to international participation since 2007. The aspiration to reflect the current situation of the market has meant that the 2009 Delta Awards are open to products designed and produced by companies and designers within Spain or other countries, as long as these products are widely distributed in the Spanish market.

Applications deadline 15th March 2009. has been extended to April 30th 2009.

The Jury for the ADI-FAD Delta Awards 2009:
Uli Marchsteiner ADI-FAD board of directors
Luki Huber Industrial designer
Konstantin Grcic Industrial designer
Luc Donckerwolke SEAT
Javier Nieto President Santa & Cole
Dr. Ramon Folch Estudi Ramon Folch – Gestió i Comunicació Ambiental, S.L.
Luisa Bonchietto President of ADI Italy
Monica Gili Director of Gustavo Gili Publishing S.L.
Florian Hufnagl director of “Neue Sammlung”

More information is available at www.delta-awards.com.