- Key concepts:
- worldchanging.com, weblogging,
cybergreen activism, Tech Nouveau
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- You should definitely
take the time to read this Note. This is good news of
high importance to the Viridian scene.
(((Alex Steffen, Alan AtKisson, Jamais Cascio, Dawn Danby.
If you've been on Viridian List any length of time, these
are going to be familiar names to you. They're either hard-core, long-time conspirators from the Viridian Curia,
people who win our design contests, or really cool
futurist guys, or all three.
(((Now they've rounded up a pal or two, plus the services
of Laughing Squid – (likely the coolest ISP in the world)
– and boldly started a world-changing weblog.)))
(((I just got through surfing it. Man, does that thing
rock. It's shaping up to be a kind of BoingBoing of
Cybergreen. Practically everything on that blog is of
direct, penetrating interest to anybody who would be
putting up with Viridianism.
(((So go help them. Go help them right away. I don't know
what they need – probably everything – but whatever it
is, go try and give them some.
((("Worldchanging" is very much the same work the Viridian
movement has been doing since 1998, only now (thanks
God!) it's being done by a relatively organized team of
capable activists instead of by some wacky novelist in his
spare time! So go make them famous. Do it now.)))
(((And if that awesomely cool development weren't enough,
check out this great article that I just snagged off
"Worldchanging." It's the New York Times suddenly
discovering and validating Viridian aesthetics! There's a
tagline now! "Tech Nouveau."
(((TECH NOUVEAU. There may be prettier coinages, but
needless to say, we Viridians are absolutely down with
this trend, no matter what it may get labelled:
zoomorphism, organic minimalism, neo-organicism, Tech
Nouveau. That is our signature Look. It's amazing that
it can still fight its way up through a grimly
militarizing society, but that's a tribute to its power,
its burning need to exist.
(((Christmas is coming. Are you Viridian? Go buy
something "Tech Nouveau" and flaunt it! Give it to your
best friends! Go consume it, for heaven's sake! Waste
not an hour.)))
- (tiresome registry required)
NYTimes.com > Home & Garden
CURVE APPEAL Ross Lovegrove's stairway, with its helix
profile, is part of a new tendency by designers to borrow
forms from nature.
Biology and Biochemistry
(((I'm loving this already and the article hasn't even
GONE NATURAL Ross Lovegrove's staircase.
"Going With the Flow, Tech Nouveau Arrives
By PHIL PATTON
Published: November 6, 2003
"REAL estate in the Notting Hill section of London has
become a lot more valuable since the designer Ross
Lovegrove bought a building there nine years ago and
established his home and studio. So when he needed more room this year, instead of building outward, he expanded
downward – with a remarkable staircase.
"It looks like radiating flower petals or like part of
a double helix – the code for DNA – but with sensuous
blades of a glass and carbon composite instead of building
blocks of nucleotides. Mr. Lovegrove calls his design,
which echoes the sensibility of his bleached-bones Go
chair for Bernhardt, organic essentialism.
(((Hey! Are you rich? Buy me that Lovegrove Go chair!
I'll tell you where to ship it! I wanted one since
"That sensibility has also been called zoomorphism or
neo-organicism or biomorphism, and reflects a widening
interest among designers in borrowing the flowing forms of
nature. But because of new materials and aesthetics, these
influences are updating the effulgent, botanical shapes of
Art Nouveau of a century ago and rethinking the biomorphic
sci-fi boomerangs and kidney-shape coffee tables of the
mid-20th century. (((Hey Mr Home Design Critic, "sci-fi
boomerang" guys were updating-and-rethinking all this five
years ago! So there!)))
"There is a new, witty nouveau afoot, from the Vallo
watering can by Monika Mulder at Ikea, which looks like a
stork, to the coffee and tea set by Greg Lynn for Alessi,
which opens like a clove of garlic. Tord Boontje's
chandeliers for Swarovski look like clouds of slender
branches surrounding a light. A great deal of building in
Britain has biomorphic roots, for instance, Snohetta's
whale-shape museum addition planned for Margate, Foster &
Partners' Swiss Re sea sponge building going up in London
and Ushida Findlay's proposal to build a starfish-shape
country manor house in Cheshire.
(((Thank you Europe, you wonderful continent you!)))
"In the United States, the Spanish architect Santiago
Calatrava's addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum looks
like a giant bird about to take off. William Sawaya, a
designer based in Milan, created a blossom-like plastic
Calla chair for Heller, which was inspired by a lily. A
new digital camera for Creative Labs by the California
company Whipsaw Design takes its inspiration from the
many-chambered spiral shell called the nautilus.
(((Somebody go find us web-pics of all this stuff!)))
"The spiraling nautilus shape is to the current crop
of designs as twining-vine leaf patterns were to Art
"Dan Hardin of Whipsaw Design said, perhaps a little
too floridly: 'I wanted users to feel an instant
connection with the camera by making it look like a
precious shell you find washed up on the beach and want to
examine and caress. With its natural beauty and tactile
curiosity, the familiar nautilus form, with its graceful
progressive curve, expressed this perfectly.'
(((What the hell is "too florid" about that? That's a beautiful piece of design rhetoric!)))
"But the new design also looks to new sides of nature
– sometimes microscopic, subatomic, cellular, even
theoretical. ((("Make the Invisible Visible" – We
Viridians have an entire list of principles about this!)))
BMW's X coupe concept car shifts from standard
aerodynamics to thermodynamics for the 'flame surfaced' look that Chris Bangle, chief of design for the company,
calls 'sexy math.' (((Oh to have lived to see the
day when there was a coinage called "Sexy Math"! Thank
you Chris Bangle! "Sexy Math!" Sure hope you can stick
some hydrogen in those damn cars!)))
"The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a show on
called 'Zoomorphism,' whose curator is Hugh Aldersey-
Williams. (((Get me the book of the show! Cost is no
object!))) It includes biomorphic buildings by Mr.
Calatrava (whose bridges and structures look like skeletal
remains) and Frank Gehry (whose titanium skins evoke fish
scales, and whose undulating shapes look like the frozen
billows of waves or flower petals) and also explores
Wilkinson Ayre's nautilus theater, which has a spiraling
arrangement of 20 movie screens of different sizes.
(((They're the greatest architects of our age! Them
and Foster, and Foster got name-checked up there in
"Steven Holl's new Massachusetts Institute of
Technology dormitory was inspired by the humble sponge.
The Dutch design star Marcel Wanders has created a riot of
nature-inspired shapes, including vases based on sea
sponges, a Flower Chair inscribed with fine wire flowers
and his voluptuous Egg Vase. (((I love that Wanders
guy! He's the greatest slapstick humorist north of Phillipe Starck!)))
"In Mr. Lovegrove's studio, bones and fossils are displayed as ideal forms – 'no fat' design he calls them – arrived at by nature. His organic essentialist movement, he said by e-mail, 'is almost biomimetic and inspired by new materials, processes (((Hallelujah!))) and technologies.'
(Page 2 of 2) (((incredibly, there's even more of it,
and it keeps getting better!)))
"The new shapes depend on high-tech materials and
methods: injection molding, carbon fiber, computer
modeling. New materials like carbon fiber, plastics and
resins lend themselves to more flowing shapes than metal
or wood. Computers that can render the flows of forces –
the loads, thrusts and twists – allow designers to work
with more dynamic forms. (((Blobject alert! Yowzah!)))
"To design his staircase, Mr. Lovegrove went through
countless computer analyses and consulted with engineers,
then built the staircase with tools and techniques more
often used to fabricate aircraft or Formula One race cars. (((Did I tell you how happy
this is making me? I am absolutely eating this up with an injection-molded
"Having built the molds, he is eager to make more
staircases. 'I have already received orders from a count
in Rome who would like one for his palazzo,' said Mr.
Lovegrove, who has not yet set a price. (((Man, that's
the Art Nouveau tradition for you. How totally 1912! How
on earth does a designer find "a count with a palazzo in
Rome" these days? Did Ross buy him off eBay?)))
"Scott Henderson, the director of industrial design at
Smart Design, (yay!) a company known for thoughtful
ergonomic tools, (i-rey, mon!) thinks he knows why the
curvy, organic new shapes are so compelling. 'Because the
human form is curvy, it makes sense that we'd want to
interact with curvy stuff,' he said. (((Couldn't
have said that better myself! In fact I did say it
"A new Museum of Modern Art book that focuses on
design, 'Objects of Design: From the Museum of Modern
Art,' (((hi Paola!))) includes Peter Reed's essay 'Modern
Nature,' which discusses Antonio Gaudi in company with
Charles Eames, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen and Philippe
Starck. Hector Guimard, the French architect who designed
the floral Art Nouveau entrances to the Paris Metro, is
cited in the essay for calling on designers to imitate
nature, 'the great architect of the universe.' (((I'm
breaking down sniffling with gratitude here... just
let me get my breath a minute...)))
"Mr. Reed said by phone: 'Organic is back in many ways.
Often it is because new technology and materials have made
it possible to produce forms you couldn't make before.' (((Yeah! See, that's called
"progress"! When it works, people think it's really great!)))
"The computer has been important in rendering organic
shapes, but designers are increasingly paying attention to
what might be called the software of evolution: complexity
theory. Half understood by laypeople, complexity theory,
which sees nature as evolving toward better-designed bones
and brains, has managed to inspire designers, too.
"After all, said Mr. Henderson of Smart Design,
'Things in nature have been going through a perfection
process for millions of years of evolution.'"
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
OH MY GOODNESS ME
IT'S JUST SO...
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O