design: August 2003 Archives

I just saw an ad for Gateway flat panel LCD TVs. It said, "Your big fat bloated TV went out of fashion with, well, big fat bloated TVs."

In The End of Fashion, Teri Agins says, "fashion, by definition is ephemeral and elusive, a target that keeps moving. ... Traditionally, the fashion system has revolved around the imperative of planned obsolescence." I doubt that original developers of CRTs were evilly plotting the introduction of LCDs 50 years later, though that's not to say that LCD manufacturers are above exploiting what now looks and feels like a dated technology.

Agins also says, "Today, a designerís creativity expresses itself more than ever in the marketing rather than in the actual clothes. Ö In a sense, fashion has returned to its roots: selling image. Image is the form and marketing is the function." Technology companies can play this game too. Apple's Think Different campaign from a few years back is a perfect example of this, as is Microsoft's pairing of Madonna and XP.

Such emphasis on design and marketing may not be surprising from companies that target the general public, but even Sun's mid- and high-end servers are designed with pretty purple details that remind me of running shoes.

Exponential growth in performance means that systems from six months ago are on their way to the junk heap anyway. Their longevity will only decrease as they are more frequently designed and used as fashion pieces. Have last season's iPod or a cell phone that is too large? Better get shopping!

What will the market look like when these devices are physically integrated into clothing?

wear your seat

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Oliver Peyricot has created a wearable chair. I'm not sure whether you can only wear it while sitting or if the seat is flexible so that you can also wear it while standing/moving. A rough translation of the product description from the babel fish --

"Comfort with nearest: self-service design to be related to oneself, more piece of furniture that one wears, the WYS (Wear Your Seat) settles like a seat and threads like a prosthesis. Maintained by a rigid file (with height of lumbar), it offers a comfort tender and measured to each part of the back, sitting or upright."

Peyricot also has also developed Body Props, several ergonomic forms intended to support the body while resting on the floor. His attention to human form reminds me of the Design for Wearability work done at CMU several years ago.

- seen in Clear magazine, vol III issue 3

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This page is a archive of entries in the design category from August 2003.

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