Dieter Rams exhibit at SF MOMA

Lobby at SF MOMA

Looking up! The view from the lobby at SF MOMA. Photo by Dave Schumaker

Earlier today, team gdgt took a field trip over to the SF MOMA, to check out the Dieter Rams exhibit. Known for his minimalist design aesthetic, the exhibit showed off timeless looking products that he has designed and influenced over the past 50 years.

Dieter Rams quote

Numerous quotes from Dieter Rams were posted around SF MOMA. Photo by Dave Schumaker.

One part of the exhibit was dedicated to his 10 principles of good design.

  1. Good design is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Good design Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
  3. Good design is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Good design Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Good design is honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Good design is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

It was pretty awesome and inspiring stuff. Check it out at the SF MOMA. The exhibit runs until February 20, 2012.

Blek le Rat stencil at Cafe Divis

This is a relatively new stencil that popped up at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop. It was created by a French street artist named Blek Le Rat. Some have speculated that Blek le Rat’s stencil style is the inspiration for Banksy.

Via Wikipedia:

British graffiti artist Banksy has acknowledged Blek’s influence stating "every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier."

A theatrical review: “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”

Originally posted on gdgt on February 10th, 2011.

Last night, we ventured across the bay to check out a play by Mike Daisey at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It was a 120 minute one-man extemporaneous show about the history of Apple and a look at the people who build the gadgets that we love.

Judging by the title (and with recent events relating to Job’s recent health), you might think this is a show taking a deeper look into the life and times of Mr. Jobs. This would turn out to be an incorrect assumption. Daisey’s performance is an insightful, an often hilarious tale of the two Apples under Steve Jobs and John Scully. “Steve is not a micro-manager — he’s a fucking nano-manager!” Daisey switches between this and taking a serious look into what goes on behind the scenes at “all factories” in Shenzhen, China.

Daisey is the perfect epitome of an Apple fanboy, calling himself a devout follower of the Apple religion and perfectly describes what it’s like to own an Apple product. For those of us who are equally under the influence, it makes him easy to relate to. (That said, I don’t think you need to be a fan of Apple to enjoy this show.)

This sets up his story for a perfect transition from faithful believer, to wavering skeptic. “One day,” says Daisy, “I began to do something that all religions fear — I began to think.” Daisey goes on to explain that it all started because of a post he read on an Apple news site (Daisey says, “Have you ever noticed there’s no such thing as an Apple news site? The only thing they talk about are rumors.”). The post was about an owner of a new iPhone finding a series of pictures from the factory in the camera roll of their phone. A few of the images even showed factory workers in their cleanroom jumpsuits. This changed everything for Daisey. Until that point, he had never thought about the actual people who made his gadgets.

Side note: I think this may be the post that Daisey speaks of.

Daisey ends up traveling to Shenzhen, China and poses as an American businessman. He shares some of the things he saw; from factories with tens of thousands of people working on assembly lines in complete silence, to young teenagers who spoke to him about their work days (12, 14, or 16 hours).

Throughout the entire performance, Daisey is switching between the seriousness of what he saw in Shenzhen and his light hearted story of Apple’s history. In the mid-1990’s, Daisey explains, “Apple needed Jesus Fucking Christ to save them. So, they got the next best thing and brought Jobs back.”

If you’re a fan of gadgets and technology, I think you’d get a kick out of this show. It’s an interesting look into Apple and makes you consider the consequences of using the gadgets we love. Daisey explains that while it’s shameful nearly all companies turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior, the onus is on us as consumers to let these companies know we won’t stand for it.

Fortunately, Daisey’s humor and stories make the show quite entertaining, and you never really feel like you’re being lectured at. That said, I definitely felt bad about using my gadgets afterward (I arrived at the show carrying my bag containing a MBP, iPad, and iPhone — all of which were made in Shenzhen). You leave the theater with a heavy heart.

“The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is performing at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre until February 27th, 2011. Ticket prices range anywhere from $45 – $75 dollars.

Show info: www.berkeleyrep.org­/index.asp

The Communist Party

 

The_Communist_Party.gif

I love this Threadless shirt, called “The Communist Party“, created by Tom Burns. Though I’m a sucker for puns. It reminds me of the Bad Religion song “Atomic Garden” which has the following verse:

 

And I’m glad I’m not Gorbachev

’cause I’d wiggle all night

Like jelly in a pot

At leats he’s got a garden with a fertile plot

And a party that will never stop