Viridian Note 00213: WIRED Design Issue

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts: Wired magazine, design, Viridian Energy meter, noted designers

Attention Conservation Notice: Another magazine appearance.

Source: Wired magazine, January 2001 issue,
pages 168-169, 176-183.

The latest issue of Wired, just now out on the stands, centers on design. Although I've written many articles for Wired, this is the first time I've ever appeared in Wired without writing. I seem to have graduated to the anomalous status of a demented celebrity.

First, we have a glossy two-page spread on the Viridian Energy Meter. What a beauty. All kudos to Alan AtKisson and the noble souls at Sustainability Institute. Somebody needs to put this Wattbug gizmo into production pronto. Failing that, they should at least make an instant global celebrity out of Inci Mutlu, who is the best-looking female Turkish industrial designer who is not Ayse Birsel.

Second, we have a WIRED round-table discussion on design chaired by the fabulous and ultra-informed Chee Pearlman. This event took place in the San Francisco offices of IDEO. Everybody in that office has a Tolomeo lamp designed by Michele de Lucchi for Artemide. They definitely know what they're doing over at IDEO, folks. You should probably get one of those magic lamps right away.

It's a pretty good discussion, but it's worth buying this issue of WIRED just for the sake of the wondrous portrait gallery on pages 176-177, which shows you what actual, functional, no-kidding designers (and, uhm, one science fiction writer) look like in real life. The legendary Donald Norman, Paola Antonelli of the New York MOMA, Lorraine Wild, David Kelley of IDEO, Bran Ferren, Chee Pearlman, Tim Parsey of Motorola, Lee Green of IBM, Ted Selker, Ray Riley of Nike, Tucker Viemeister, Ayse Birsel of Olive 1:1.... A full set of blockbuster design heavies, and they are all looking just great! (Even though none of them have their top buttons buttoned, as designers normally do.) I am frankly besotted with these people! They walk the earth like colossi and should be treated as demigods. Anyone who gets in their way should be immediately arrested.

Designers, who are the kindest, sweetest and most civilised of human beings, especially if they are Lorraine Wild, sometimes ask me why I, a science fiction writer, ever came to hang out with the design crowd. Granted, this doesn't seem at all plausible. So I tell them that story of how, eleven long years ago, I met my very first industrial designer. Tucker Viemeister. "Oh, *Tucker Viemeister,*'" they always say, comprehension dawning. "You met Tucker? Okay, that explains everything."

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