• October 24, 2006

    Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century will be an indispensable overview of tools, models and ideas for building a better future. In next month’s New York Review of Books, Bill McGibben writes that the book “is nothing less than The Whole Earth Catalog, that [continue …]

  • October 23, 2006

    Paul Hawken reckons that over 1 million organizations, populated by over 100 million people, are engaged in positive activity designed to address climate and other environmental issues. “Collectively this constitutes the single biggest movement on earth, but but it flies under the radar” he writes. Paul’s new project, a book [continue …]

  • October 19, 2006

    Having just read Heat (see below) I arrived in a sober mood in Beijing for what people said was the first social innovation conference.
    Gerard Lemos, in his welcome, reminded us of our moral duty to be optimistic. Thereafter, forty five lectures made for a gruelling programme, but [continue …]

  • October 18, 2006

    George Monbiot also writes about food in his book Heat (see below). Food retailers, especially, waste insane amounts of energy. They use seven times more power (275 k Wh per cubic metre) to run a food hall than is used in an office. For the larger stores, up to a [continue …]

  • October 17, 2006

    I chose a bad place to read George Monbiot’s new book Heat – the transit lounge of Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport.

    I already knew that flying is an indefensible way to travel because of its contribution to global warming. But I’ve comforted myself over the years with the [continue …]

  • October 15, 2006

    Over the next 15 years, 3,500 UK schools will be rebuilt or refurbished in a seventy billion pound (110 billion euro) programme called Building Schools for the Future (BSF). The problem, as Joe Heapy explained to a meeting last week of the Dott 07 Explorers Club, is that [continue …]

  • October 10, 2006

    The amount of matter and energy wasted during the manufacture of a single laptop computer (like the one your’re using now, perhaps) is close to a thousand times its weight on your lap. But this vast ecological rucksack remains invisible – out of sight and out of mind. Designs of [continue …]

  • October 9, 2006

    The Dutch computerised voting system is completely open to fraud, and bad guys could find out, remotely, how you voted. So argue Rop Gonggrijp and colleagues of the “We do not trust voting computers” foundation in The Netherlands. Gonggrijp and co are some of smartest hackers around, so we are [continue …]

  • October 8, 2006

    In his review of Richard Lanham’s new book The Economics of Attention, Adrian Ellis says that “its core argument (is) that everyone is straining for distinction in a late capitalist global economy jammed with commodities and information, and that culture and creativity are what affords the producer the [continue …]

  • October 5, 2006

    Our friends at La Voute Nubienne are among the 13 finalists of the Ashoka-Changemakers Competition on “How to Provide Affordable Housing.” This ancient architectural technique, traditionally used in Sudan and central Asia, but until now unknown in West Africa, can accelerate appropriate house-building in the Sahel. The Nubian [continue …]

  • October 5, 2006

    Yesterday’s Doors of Perception Report pointed you to an out-of-date url. The Call for the D&AD stuff-o-metre competition is here

  • October 5, 2006

    When we first did a Doors conference in 1993, the concept of interaction design was still in its infancy. Today, designers of digital technology products shape not just what the world looks like, but what it’s like to use. In his eagerly awaited book Designing [continue …]

  • October 4, 2006

    Doors 9, with its focus on energy and food, is about an important security issue. We seek funding to the tune of .000001% of America’s Homeland Security budget to pay for scholarships so that project leaders may come to New Delhi from different parts of India and elsewhere in South [continue …]

  • October 4, 2006

    Random.org run by Mads Haahr, offers true random numbers to anyone on the internet. Their most important use is the generation of cryptographic keys. For example, one Danish TV station runs an online backgammon server which generates more than 300,000 dice rolls per day. A dice roll is [continue …]

  • October 3, 2006

    Two steps forward, one step back. In 2003 I gave a lecture called The Post-Spectacular City at a conference in Amsterdam. I argued that today’s “creative class”, having optimised the society of the spectacle, will be remembered for leaving behind narcissistic but meaningless cities. The talk was later [continue …]

  • September 23, 2006

    Two days ago I was in London to talk with design school tutors about the design competition concerning food information systems that the Royal Society of Arts is running together with Dott07. Today I learned from CalorieLab via SmartMobs that McDonald’s is now placing codes [continue …]

  • September 22, 2006

    As I mentioned a while back, two geographers, Simon Marvin and Will Medd, have published a quease-inducing paper about fat in cities. In Metabolisms of Obecity: Fat across bodies, cities and sewers they write that the number of sewer blockages and overflows across cities in the United States [continue …]

  • September 21, 2006

    A couple of days ago I found myself in the town centre of Carlisle, in the north west of England, at 7am. The roads were empty except for a a large white truck whose driver was unloading packaged food into a shop. An incredible, raw-edged roar of noise came from [continue …]

  • September 19, 2006

    If you look at the menu on the left, we’ve added a button labelled “Doors 9 on Juice”.

  • September 17, 2006

    I was told last week that 250 new five and seven star hotels, 1,000 major new restaurants, and a second indoors ski slope three times bigger than the one just opened, will be completed in Dubai over the next next five to seven years. So that’s where all the designers [continue …]

  • September 7, 2006

    Doors of Perception 9 takes place in New Delhi 28 February to 4 March 2007. The theme is “Juice: Food, Fuel, Design”.
    We’ve extended the first deadline for submissions to 30 September.
    Why “juice”?
    (Most of the statistics that follow are taken from the miraculously useful and interesting website of [continue …]

  • September 3, 2006

    Is service design the next big thing after e-everything? If the recent surge in books and conferences is a guide, service design is at least a meme – if not yet a mania.
    The trouble is, it can’t possibly be new. Seventy percent of the UK economy is [continue …]

  • August 30, 2006

    I was perplexed to find myself billed as a “designberater” at Monday’s Rosenthal Design Convention in Frankfurt. Now in my dictionary, berate means “to rebuke or scold angrily and at length”. That can’t possibly mean me, I thought, self-righteously. It turns out that the German [continue …]

  • August 26, 2006

    After this I promise to stop obsessing about mad people running the world. But really. Today’s Guardian reports that Richard Granger, architect of the world’s biggest imploding IT project, compared the NHS project to a sled being pulled by huskies. “When one of the dogs goes lame, [continue …]

  • August 25, 2006

    Every time I open my computer these days another monstrosity makes me choke on my cocopops. On Monday it was reading the loony-tunes head of Saatchi and Saatchi talk about “war as a brand” (see below). Today I started to read Wally Olins – another eminence of design and communications [continue …]

  • August 22, 2006

    I found it weird (in the story below) that brand marketing should be proposed as an appropriate response to climate change. Now I read in Mute that Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, last year advised the US Department of Defence on rebranding war. In a [continue …]

  • August 21, 2006

    ‘Climate porn’is turning the public away from action on the environment. So argues the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). In a report called ‘Warm Words: How are we telling the climate story and can we tell it better?’, the think tank has accused the media, the [continue …]

  • August 16, 2006

    Ashoka Changemakers has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to stage a competition, “How to Provide Affordable Housing”. Judges from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and the International Housing Coalition, will review entries and select finalists. A public [continue …]

  • August 15, 2006

    PICNIC’06 is a new Amsterdam event to do with “creativity in cross media content and technology”. PICNIC includes a conference, lectures, an exhibition, art installations, and parties. The conference (I’m speaking at it on the Friday) will explore the distribution of content over different channels and will examine new [continue …]

  • August 12, 2006

    When Paul Barter posted a link to a video of a chaotic looking Indian intersection, back in April, it provoked debate on the merits of traffic discipline versus chaos. A discussion ensued on issues about shared space or “naked streets” approaches to streets and the public realm. The video [continue …]

  • August 11, 2006

    Apropos the security situation in London: “Loss of life might have surpassed the 2,700 killed in the attack on the twin towers in New York five years ago. “This was our 9/11,” a British security source said.
    It’s a good thing that a lot of people were not blown up [continue …]

  • August 10, 2006

    How was the traffic on your vacation drive home this year? Any near misses? Twenty thousand citizens are killed in traffic accidents in Europe each year, so you probably saw more than one car crash or its aftermath.

    For the European Commission, these deaths are a price we must pay for [continue …]

  • August 5, 2006

    Ivorybill’s Iraq Journal, a great piece of writing from Kurdistan in Daily Kos, includes this sublime conversation with Ahmed, one of the cab drivers who drove him from Turkey to Kurdish Iraq. “Ahmed’s contact with people outside of Iraq has mostly been with the foreign telecom engineers who erected [continue …]

  • August 1, 2006

    Prentice Hall India have issued an Eastern Economic Edition of “In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World”. (I made a completely random selction of words from recent published reviews: “enriching” (Paola Antonelli), “excellent” (Nancy Levinson), “brilliant” (Paul Hawken), “a revelation” (J C Herz), “important” (Don Norman), “captivating” (Bruce [continue …]

  • July 24, 2006

    newbritishdesign.jpg
    It’s twenty years since Stuart Jane and I made this book for Thames and Hudson. One of the bright young things whose work we put in a book for the first time was James Dyson. By 1986, his patented G-Force vacuum cleaner was being produced [continue …]

  • July 20, 2006

    Did you know this? “In the old days, women exposed their adulterous husbands by marking their left and right socks”. I never heard this before. But this makes me a minority among Englishmen, I now realise, because they (we) have been ridiculed for decades for making love with our socks [continue …]

  • July 19, 2006

    The new Coroflot, launched by Allan Chochinov and his colleagues this week, boasts a staggering 33,000 design portfolios and more than 135,000 registered users. Gross visitor numbers to Coroflot (and its sister site, Core77 ) are many times higher than that. A major attraction is Coroflot’s steady flow [continue …]

  • July 18, 2006

    I’m at a Cursos De Verano (summer school) near Madrid. Just down the corridor, a bunch of senior generals are discussing the “army of the 21st century”. Next to them, a some egg-head priests are discussing “the church of the 21st century”. Our lot is doing innovation of the 21st [continue …]

  • July 15, 2006

    The avant garde of music and sound art is a good early indicator of social change; sound is a fluid and rapidly changing medium. That’s why this year’s Futuresonic looks well worth a visit. In three days of talks, demos and chat, an international crowd will explore how [continue …]

  • July 14, 2006

    In this new book Karrie Jacobs travels America in a “quest for a house to call home in the modern world”. It’s not a conventional architecture book; rather, it’s an account of a road trip Jacobs took in 2003 — over 14,000 miles — to meet with architects and builders [continue …]

  • July 8, 2006

    DOORS OF PERCEPTION 9: JUICE: FOOD, FUEL, MEANING
    Food continuously circulates through the landscape into our homes and Bodies. It thereby organizes our calorific, symbolic and social energies. Juice, the essence of food, can also mean credit, electricity, access, flavor and love. The topic of food, as product as well as [continue …]

  • July 6, 2006

    If you are a design or architecture student, or recently so, we have teamed up with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Designs of the time (Dott07) to offer travel-included scholarships to Doors 9 for the winners of this year’s RSA Design Directions competition. The two themes [continue …]

  • July 6, 2006

    Allan Chochinov, editor of Core77, drew my attention to a remarkably cheap – in fact, free – way to increase patient satisfaction in hospitals. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, patients perceive that health providers (their term) who sit during an evaluation “are their bedside for longer [continue …]

  • July 5, 2006

    What would it mean, in practical design terms, to make one household carbon neutral? We’ll discuss this at the next Dott 07 (Designs of the Time) Explorers Club meeting on 11 July. The event takes place at the Robert Stephenson Centre in Newcastle, UK. Many of the greenhouse gas [continue …]

  • July 3, 2006

    Apropos doing it, vs making media about it: Yesterday’s Sunday Times in London contained an extraordinary account of fighting and near-death encounters in Afghanistan. The narrative concludes with the following surreal event: “Tribal elders are shown into a room where a projector has been set up. Someone in London has [continue …]

  • July 3, 2006

    At last week’s Aspen Design Summit 150 concerned designer-citizens explored ways that they might contribute to sustainable community development, education innovation, and social entrepreneurship. (Other reports are at Core77 and at unBeige.There are many images at Flickr
    (Humbug check: I was an enthusiastic participant – and paid [continue …]

  • June 29, 2006

    The winners of this year’s Industrial Design Excellence Awards have been published by Business Week. As a jury member, I am 100% complicit in this flagrant whipping up of product frenzy – which I must say, having seen the results today, is extremely well-done. My favourite entry, the medical [continue …]

  • June 18, 2006

    Too much media coverage of architecture focuses on the banal excesses of Shanghai and Dubai. The more interesting story these days concerns marginal, residual and abandoned spaces left behind when industry disappears. A new publication, Talking Cities is all about “Guerilla Architecture”, “An-Aesthetics”, and “Architecture on the Edge’. Later [continue …]

  • June 16, 2006

    “Steel City awakens a longing for for authenticity in of a world where networks and technologies are no longer palpable. Steel City is a place of physical presence, the presence of body, of the haptic, of patina and aging. Steel City can be touched and felt”. Thus, poetically, Professor [continue …]

  • June 15, 2006

    Doors of Perception 9 takes place in New Delhi, 1-4 March 2007. The theme is “Juice” and the subject is food, fuel and design. The encounter (we have stopped calling ourselves a conference) has several parts: A two-day Project Leaders Round Table for c30 people who will be invited after [continue …]