Wednesday, October 31

Pretty in Pink

Christmas revamp 'oblige', fashion designers are working their magic on champagne bottles, caviar is next.

Pucci/Cliquot (some years back)


Dom Perignon/Karl Lagerfeld

And this year Viktor and Rolf/Piper
Viktor & Rolf for Piper Heidsieck

via Wallpaper

Nobody could accuse impresarios of the fashion world Viktor & Rolf of being conservative when it comes to imaginative concepts. In the past when unlikely companies have enlisted the help of fashion designers to inject a product with a bit of creativity, the results have often been lacklustre: pretty prints have graced everything from laptop surfaces to washing machines but rarely have collaborations been anything more than surface.

But when the historic French champagne house Piper Heidsieck approached the Dutch duo to design a limited edition Rose Sauvage set, Viktor & Rolf approached the project with the same care, imagination and attention to detail as they would one of their collections.

‘How could we make something new out of something eternal? We only had one answer: invert the proportions by making an enormous cork and a narrower base,’ they explain.

Aware of the potential accusations that they were playing with the concept pointlessly, they said in their defence, ‘There’s always a danger in taking on this sort of project: a risk of creating a gimmick. The only way to avoid this pitfall is to be very thorough in the execution.’

And thorough in this case means mastering the technical difficulties of making sure each component of the collection follows the same principles: so an inverted champagne glass becomes more of a Martini glass and an inverted cooler appears more like an antique casket.

For Viktor & Rolf’s efforts to stamp a very traditional brand with their trademark wit, we applaud them.

It's Not the Media That Matter, but the Modes

Tune In: Understand the Mind-Sets That Drive Consumer Behavior We've all read stories heralding the death of advertising as we know it. But have consumers really abandoned advertising?

The answer, it seems, rests on the shoulders of the people who buy our brands and recommend them to others -- not with advertisers, marketers or consultants. That's why we went straight to the source by visiting people's homes in Columbus, Ohio (a test-marketing Mecca) to do the unthinkable: mess with their media. We deprived them of their TiVos, their laptops and their cellphones. We added ourselves to their e-mail lists. We asked them to journal their feelings and attitudes. We discovered that consumers don't do what they say, and that they've become experts in ignoring and rejecting messages. They can instantly recognize messages that are irrelevant or ill-timed.

More important, we learned that consumers aren't simply tuning us out; they just want us to tune them in. Spending time with consumers in the real world, where and when they actually engage with media, enabled us to see that when they spend time with media, they do it with a purpose, goal or need that drives their behavior. They enter different modes, or mind-sets, that drive their choices, actions and receptivity to marketing messages.

Part of the experience
Consumers don't think in terms of media when they're actually experiencing it. They think in terms of what they want to do and what they want to get out of their media experience. If they're craving entertainment, they want to be entertained. If they're seeking knowledge, they want information. If they feel like sharing, discovering or expressing themselves, they want us as marketers to help make that possible.

To be successful in this new marketing era, we need not focus on the media, but the modes that consumers are in when they interact with and experience our messages. Regardless of whether the medium is online, TV, print or radio, the key is to understand the consumer's desired experience and craft our messages to help deliver that experience to consumers. When we align our messages with the modes that consumers are in, we can actually become a part of the experience that consumers are seeking.

Imagine a world where consumers actually look for brand messages and content and no longer feel forced to endure continuous interruptions (that we hope have some positive impact upon their future behavior). Learning how and when people enter into different modes and aligning with them is the difference between being ignored and being invited to the party.

Outdated model
Historically, two consumer modes have been well-served by the media -- information and entertainment. In the passive model, consumers were able to subconsciously switch between information gained through watching the 6 p.m. news to the entertaining antics of prime-time sitcoms and telemovies. But that model is history, and today's media-rich environment requires a far broader exploration of modes.

The rules have changed. We must match our message with the mode. No one wants to be disrupted with informative messages when they're in entertainment mode -- it's jarring and off-putting. Being subjected to a humorous message when you're searching for something serious is no picnic, either. We can help by providing the means, motivation and reason to pass along the message.

If we want to succeed, we must stop shoving irrelevant, ill-timed content down people's throats. What matters is what people show and tell us, and our work should reflect what we know about them. We have all the resources necessary to identify what mode consumers are in at any given time. Aligning the message with the mode will determine whether our messages make it into consumer consciousness or become more wasted marketing efforts.

The Six Modes

The number of consumer modes is endless, but we've identified six of the most relevant ones:
    People in Entertainment mode are on a mission to be amused. This mode has been around for years (and has been well-served by the media), and TV is still at the forefront.

    Information-seekers are looking for knowledge to help them make decisions. This mode also has been around for a long time, but now people are searching for information online as opposed to in newspapers and card catalogs.

    When consumers look for something new—whether it's a dessert recipe, a tropical vacation spot or a new station wagon—they're in Discovery mode. They do this because they want to nourish their minds.

    Consumers in Connecting mode are building relationships. They now have a world of tools enabling them to stay in touch with friends and family. E-mail is the most popular choice, and social-networking sites give them the next best thing to being there. Text messaging and online gaming allow them to have continuous and instantaneous connections.

    Similar to connecting, Sharing mode is a way to create common ground. Video- and image-sharing sites invite millions of people to swap their experiences.

    Expressing mode refers to conveying an individual point of view. This is essential because almost anyone can become a valued resource by posting a blog, vlog or podcast.

Zopa Listings: Personalised Social Lending or the future of banking

by Amanda Gore

via PSFK

We at PSFK have written before about Zopa, the clever UK-based social lending service that enables people to lend and borrow money from each other, completely redefining the traditional banking model. Now, however, the service is about to get even more personal with the launch last night of Zopa Listings.

Zopa Listings

Currently in Beta, Zopa Listings allows borrowers to make their own specific loan listings, display their own credit information, and invite lenders to bid against their loan requirements. Within this, each Zopa listing can include a very personalised request with photos, and in the near future video, highlighting exactly what the money will be used for. Sections within listing pages include ‘Why I’m borrowing’, ‘Why I’m a safe pair of hands’ and ‘The state of my finances’, and borrowers are rated on a 5-star system displaying their credit score, affordability and stability.

Feel like lending to Drew to help finance his honeymoon to Vietnam or help SailorBoy pay for a car for his partner and new baby? Just ‘bid’ on a listing, showing how much you are prepared to lend and at what rate. These details will also appear on the listing page which , Zopa hopes, will encourage competitive bidding among lenders to offer the best rates.

This open, personalised system is not for the black coats out there, but by turning the premise of established banking on its head and putting the control back in the community, individual social lending can only go from strength to strength. As Giles Andrews, Managing Director of Zopa explained:

“Our launch comes at a time when more and more people feel let down or even failed by their bank and indeed the ‘old system’ as a whole. The results for our borrowers and lenders over the last two and a half years has proven that people are better than banks – that Social Lending can be a better alternative for people seeking to borrow, or to find a more attractive return on money they have saved. Zopa Listings adds new levels of individuality, personal control and choice, extending the appeal of this innovative alternative to the banks even further.”


related PSFK articles: Zopa: Social Lending

Strategic Gaming

Nintendo grows further from fun and games, closer to the practical and utilitarian

Nintendo's as cagey as tech companies come, but the WSJ is reporting on a recent and unusual high level, high impact strategy presentation where in top 'Tendo execs revealed what's described as a change in its current business model: using its foothold in the video game market to sell casual gamers and non-gamers products focused more on utilitarian functions. You know, boring stuff -- like, stuff that's not games. What they want to sell Nintendo wouldn't specifically say, but they're focusing first on the flagship portable, the DS, rolling out what the WSJ describes as "features [that] will be useful in places like train stations, amusement parks or museums and [that] could be accessed wirelessly," as well as a new "television-programming feature for the Japanese market... to check television listings, run searches by keyword and genre, and highlight each family member's favorite programs." Maybe this pseudo-DVR like functionality will somehow play into their forthcoming 1seg tuner, but precisely how the rest of this completely underwhelming and disappointing news will manifest itself is currently up to one's imagination -- something Nintendo's apparently lost. We have heard, though, they might be getting back into the playing card business, and possibly in keeping with that vertical integration, opening up a string of Nintendo themed casinos. Not a bad business to be in.

The Look of Music

Daft Punk are promoting their new single with an embeddable widget (embedded here) which allows you to read the biography, listen to the preview tracks and buy the single. Die hard fans are now able to promote their favorite bands themselves on their sites and blogs (at very little cost for the bands)

Can we hear the future of music marketing???

via Brand Republic, Fallon Planning

Monday, October 29

Design for the Other 90 Percent

Design for the Other 90 Percent

The Q Drum by P. J. and J. P. S. Hendrikse: A simple but yet so effective tool if you live miles away from a water source and you’d have to carry it all the way back. This container made of low-density polyethelene holds 75 litres and can be rolled easily. Manufactured in South Africa; shown at the Design for the Other 90% exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt in New York. © 1993 P. J. Hendrikse

How about improving people’s lives and bringing an end to poverty? These Utopian aims aren’t impossible to obtain: The recent Design for the Other 90% exhibition at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt demonstrated that simple but effective gadgets for use in Third World countries and elswhere wouldn’t require so much effort to develop and produce. PingMag talked to curator Cynthia E. Smith.

Written by Aroldo Cardoso Jr.

Curator Cynthia E. Smith of the Design for the Other 90% exhibition.

What was your initial motivation to gather and present all these objects?

I trained as an industrial designer, and for the past decade I’ve planned projects for institutions working in an architecture firm in New York City. Like so many others, I realised that our lives changed in September 2001… For two weeks, I roamed the streets looking for a way I could help in the aftermath - and found my design skills were nowhere needed. I began questioning: In what ways could I, as a designer, make a difference? While a number from my office volunteered with Imagine New York, I wanted to do more: A political activist my whole adult life, I decided to run for office to try to make an impact locally. I lost the race, but was accepted at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where I studied with people with a wide range of professions, from diplomacy, law, and human rights to economic development, housing, and architecture. We all endeavoured to help make the world a better place. After graduating, I felt I was armed to make that happen. Arriving back in New York, I was asked to curate an exhibition about affordable designs to help people out of poverty…

Now this is high tech with a fashionable touch: Sierra Portable Light Project by Portable Light Team, United States, 2006 - LEDs from pedestrian walk signals, water-resistant tactile switches from dishwashers, and rechargeable batteries from the cell-phone are woven into Mexican patterned textiles, such as easy to carry mats. Have an instant light source wherever you go! Photo by Stanford Richins.

The mat by day: Sierra Portable Light Project by Portable Light Team, consisting of a woven aluminum textile, recyclable PET, flexible photovoltaics, semiconductors, and flexible wireways. Photo courtesy of KVA MATX.

How did you collaborate with producers and institutions?

I began looking for existing design solutions and put together an Advisory Board. As with all research, as one looks further you discover other items and stories along the way: from how a single engineer in Nigeria created a low cost way to bring vegetables to market with the Pot-in-Pot cooler, to a group in Switzerland who works with international aid organisations to stop the transmission of water-borne diseases with a personal mobile water purification tool; or a multi-sector collaboration to provide low cost laptops directly to governments in an effort to collapse the developing world’s literacy divide.

What would a socially responsible object be?

Innovations which help, rather than exploit, poorer economies, minimise environmental impact, increase social inclusion, improve healthcare at all levels, and advance the quality and accessibility of education. This is socially responsible design.

Solar-powered street lighting and WiFi in one. Really. StarSight by Kolam Partnership, Ltd. features light, battery, nex-g WiFi receiver and solar panel, developed in Malaysia and Indonesia, 2007. Currently used in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon and the Congo. Photo courtesy of Kolam Partnership, Ltd.

In terms of design, what can we learn from these solutions?

One of the contributors to Design for the Other 90% suggested that their work does not involve invention, because invention is starting with a broad problem, coming up with a very specific solution, and then trying to find a specific user for whom that solution is a good match. Design, on the other hand, is starting with a broad problem, finding a client who can narrow that down to a very specific problem, and then designing a specific solution to meet that need.

Prevent waterborne diseases and unsafe drinking water with this handy purifier: LifeStraw by Torben Vestergaard Frandsen, China and Switzerland, 2005. Inside, it consists of halogen-based resin, anion exchange resin and patented activated carbon. © 2005 Vestergaard Frandsen

More and more designers are helping people create micro enterprises with their products, a development in how these organisations are seeing how best to help people emerge from poverty. Potters for Peace’s Ron Rivera teaches NGOs how to manufacture the ceramic water filter in small batches. He would come back after a couple years only to find the project abandoned. Martin Fisher of the ’social enterprise’ KickStart from Kenya had similar experiences. Only when the microenterprise component was added did the different solutions become economically sustainable.

My hope is that this exhibition has opened eyes to the multitude of ways any one of us can take action to help end poverty. May the stories found in this exhibition inspire young designers, professionals working in the design field, educators, journalists, and each of us, to take a look.

In a developing country, even the battery for the hearing aid might be too expensive. Enter the SolarAid by Godisa Technologies, Botswana, 2003 as solar-powered hearing-aid battery recharger. Photo by Matt Flynn. © 2006 Smithsonian Institution

Can you talk a bit about how developed and underdeveloped regions can work together?

For example, for building on the appropriate technology movement which uses local materials, the designers work with the locals: One result, a cleaner charcoal made from sugarcane residue, is made and sold locally in Haiti. On the other hand, the Solar Aid hearing aid battery re-charger, designed and manufactured in Botswana, makes sense for every market: It uses renewable energy to recharge the battery, the most expensive part of the hearing aid. And the AquaStar Plus! UV water filter retails at close to US$100 for hikers and military personnel in developed countries - which allows the designer to provide a low cost version for large batch water filtration in developing regions. A product developed expressly for the needs of the developing world may very likely influence the next generation of products in more developed countries.

900,000 people, mostly from landmine-affected countries, wear one: The Jaipur foot prosthesis by Master Ram Chandra Sharma and Dr P. K. Sethi, India, 1968, is made of various rubber compounds and a wooden heel.

Indeed. How did developers come up with something like the Jaipur foot and below-knee prosthesis or the Bamboo Treadle Pump?

For that, designers were working across disciplines. An orthopedic surgeon teamed with a craftsperson to develop the Jaipur Foot. By creating local workshops, this organisation has produced and distributed close to one million of the prostheses since the late ’60s.

Also, the International Development Enterprise works in co-creation, interviewing rural small-plot farmers in Asia who are barely existing on less than $1 per day, to determine what they need to emerge out of poverty. For them, the Bamboo Treadle Pump is just one tool that can generate income, allowing even very poor farmers to access groundwater and lift surface water during the dry season. The irrigation water provides a basis for increased agricultural production and market participation. The treadles and support structure are made of bamboo or other inexpensive, locally available materials. The pump, which consists of two metal cylinders with pistons that are operated by a natural walking motion on two treadles, can be manufactured locally by metalworking shops. Almost two million have been sold in Bangladesh and elsewhere, generating US$1.4 billion in net income in Bangladesh alone.

Walking on water: the Bamboo Treadle Pump for poor farmers to access groundwater during the dry season. Designed by Gunnar Barnes and International Development Enterprises Nepal, Nepal and Bangladesh, 2006. © 2003 International Development Enterprises

Might something like the Bamboo Treadle Pump have been used before, but people somehow forgot traditional techniques?

These designers innovate by combining and sampling not only from current technology, but also from previously abandoned and even emerging technologies.

Big problem, simple solution: How to preserve tomotaoes in the desert heat? The Pot-in-Pot Cooler has a sand-water combination between a smaller and a bigger pot, thus cooling the vegetables inside. Design by Mohammed Bah Abba, Nigeria, 1995. © 2000 Tomas Bertelsen

…to be also used for crisis situations, such as for the victims of Katrina in New Orleans…

There were several objects that were developed in response to natural disasters. One New Orleans solution, the Katrina Furniture Project, used debris from the storm, but also addressed the limited social and economic capacity that existed prior to the hurricane. The furniture is built in local community workshops. This example illustrates how this area of design addresses not only function, but also has a very strong social and economic component.

Speaking of economic matters: It’s expensive to be poor, says one member in the other90% website trailer. Could you explain what he meant by that?

You are referring to Paul Freedman, who found that often the poor end up spending more of their limited resources to repair a poorly made bicycle - their main mode of transportation and source of income. Even purchased new, they must pay a repair person an additional 20 percent of the purchase cost just to get it in working order. Any modifications and maintenance costs are also high. He states that’s why we got involved in this challenge, because the riders are spending so much to maintain these bikes. I mean it’s truly unfair. It’s one of these examples where it’s expensive to be poor. Thus, the Worldbike exists as a challenge to the bicycle industry of how to design bikes for customers in developing countries for manufacture in the world’s bicycling centres of Taiwan, China and India.

Easy to assemble furniture for hurricane victims: Made of recycled cypress, e-flute material and paper stock, the YouOrleans boxes by the Art Center College of Design’s Graphic Design department. Photo courtesy of the Art Center of College and Design.

And lastly, in terms of distribution, how does a tool like that get to the people?

There is a whole range of ways: From fully subsidised water filters like the LifeStraw, which are distributed via international aid organisations to populations hit by natural disaster or living in refugee camps. While the Kenya Ceramic Jiko stove is selling locally at a very low cost: This successful product began with multiple input from various non-profits and NGOs until it hit a tipping point where over 50% of the households in Kenya now use this efficient cooking stove. Many projects require this front-end investment until they become locally accepted and economically viable.

So, projects like these need designers that love to work interdisciplinary. Come on, folks! Thanks Cynthia.

Warp your room

Wallpaper Technology

Surrealien wallpaper "a wallpaper company that lets you warp the pattern of the paper over existing objects on the wall". Via MoCo Loco, design*sponge and Studio Brinson.

Maison Go

via Plataforma Arquitectura


Obra: Maison Go (Casa Go)
Arquitectos: Périphériques architectes (Marin-Trottin)
Equipo: G. Mangeot, N. Stragier, N. Spinetto, T. Wegener, M. Neri, S. Truchot, P.Bialek
Ubicación: Thionville, Francia
Cliente: Privado
Superficie: 310m2
Inicio Proyecto: 2003
Entrega: 2006
Créditos fotografías: Architectes Peripheriques (AP) y Luc Boegly (LB)

Cuestionario sobre la Maison GO (PDF en francés)

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