Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘Gestalten’

20 MAY, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dieter Rams: Revisiting Less & More

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What your favorite coffeemaker has to do with the cultural value of the unspectacular.

I love the elegant, minimalist yet eloquent visual language of iconic designer Dieter Rams (who doesn’t?), whose principles of good design I’ve previously covered, and I have a soft spot for the lavish design books of German publishing house Gestalten. (Previously: The Story of Eames Furniture and Papercraft 2: Design and Art With Paper).

Today, as Dieter Rams turns 79, there’s no better time to revisit Gestalten’s fantastic Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams — an ambitious look at Rams’ seminal work at Braun, which established him as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, shaping both the aesthetic norms of design for decades to come as well as society’s most fundamental understanding of what design is, does and should be. The lush bilingual volume explores the underbelly of Rams’ design philosophy in 800 pages of archival photos, original sketches and models, alongside thoughtful essays by international design experts that examine Rams’ work and legacy in a contemporary context.

Design should not dominate things, should not dominate people. It should help people. That’s its role.” ~ Dieter Rams

Not the spectacular things are the important things — the unspectacular things are the important things, especially in the future.” ~ Dieter Rams

Don’t miss last week’s The New York Times interview with Rams, in which he talks about everything from what an average day is like for him to why he started a foundation to help young designers get an education — an excellent companion read to Less and More.

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02 MAY, 2011

Papercraft 2: Analog Creativity for the Digital Age

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Retrostalgic craft, or what analog art has to do with digital design.

Nearly two years ago, the fine folks of Gestalten brought us the exquisite Papercraft: Design and Art With Paper. Today, they’re back with a delicious, highly anticipated sequel: Papercraft 2 — a stunning anthology of exploring how designers and artists are re-discovering the analog magic of paper in the digital age. Through a showcase of groundbreaking work, the collection reveals how designers are using various techniques — cutting, folding, gluing, collaging, shredding — to craft stride-stopping visual storytelling.

In addition to the 250 pages of mesmerizing artwork, the book features a DVD of the best paper-based stop-motion, animation and music videos from the tipping point of this art form, unraveling the bleeding-edge creative potential of this age-old material.

Needless to say, given our love for creative book trailers, Papercraft 2 gets serious bonus points for the lovely video sneak peek.

Other Gestalten goodies we love: Data Flow 2, which collects seven years of data visualization eye candy in one place; Bompas and Parr: Return of the Jelly Knights, the fascinating microdocumentary about London’s jelly architects; The Story of Eames Furniture, an astounding 800-page volume 13 years in the making documenting the golden duo of modernist design.

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19 APRIL, 2011

Bompas & Parr, Jelly Architects

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Last year, we looked at artists creating incredible edible landscapes out of food, condiments and spices. But hardly does the unusual medium become a greater feat of architecture than when its raw material is the least architectural of substances: jelly. Just ask British food consultancy Bompas & Parr, better known as Jellymongers.

In this short documentary, Sam Bompas and Harry Parr talk about the whimsical “food experiences” they’re known for, and how they rendered everything from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Buckingham Palace in gelatinous form using their signature blend of science, cutting-edge technology and architecture — just the kind of cross-pollinating of disciplines we believe is fundamental to creativity.

The whole reason we events is to give people their own stories. They’re very active participants. If you go into a restaurant, you don’t want to be talked at by a waiter the entire time. Actually, the really important thing is the conversations you have with your diners around us and around the food.”

The film comes from the fine folks at Berlin-based visual culture mongers Gestalten, who also brought us the excellent Shepard Fairey interview on copyright, Big Brother and social change, among other fantastic micro-documentaries about creative culture mavericks and pioneers.

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