Thursday, September 27, 2007

History of presentation in design: See this film made in 1996!

I asked myself how design projects were visualised without Powerpoint, Flash or other programs. I did'nt find any useful material in the web. But here is an interesting presentation from 1996, when presenting with the computer was not very common. The presented concept is about a pre-GPS navigation system

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The chair, a popular object in design museums

Chairs sitting pretty as a design icon, but for how long? is an article from Alice Rawsthorm who lives in London:

...Why have chairs assumed so much importance? We all need comfortable objects to sit on, and to suspend us at the correct height to type or eat, while, we hope, saving us from back pain. But isn't it odd that something that was designed to do just that should occupy more cultural space than arguably more useful and complex objects? How has the chair been loaded with so much symbolism and meaning, and attained such stratospheric prices? And will it be as important to the design history of this century, as it was to the last? ...

The complete text: an article in the Herald Tribune

Photo: C. Vittoratos in the exhibition 300% Spanish Design in Athens

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #3 the habitare fair

The Design Week Helsinki is running the same time as the HABITARE, the biggest Finnish furniture and interior design fair. Michail Galanakis visited the fair on 23th September:

I waited the last day to visit Habitare 07. Already the reputation of ahead! had spread: this was the part most interesting regarding new concepts, experimental design and fresh outlooks. Most of the pictures that accompany this text are from ahead! and concerned design production companies, design associations and manufacturers (showroom Finland: verso design, secto design, selki-asema, Formverk, Rintala interiors, adora textiles, the Artisans, Designers and Artists Cooperative of Fiskars, onoma art, and more), design schools and their stands (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Lahti Institute of Design, University of Lapland and University of Art and Design Helsinki), and the “container village”. The last was a conglomeration of cargo containers, each housing an exhibit-installation of Finnish or international designers, such as Jurgen Bay, Ola Kolehmainen, Bruno Borrione, Ludi Architects, Ilkka Suppanen, Jasper Morrison & Naoto Fukasawa, and the Diesel Creative team of Renzo Rosso.

My overall impression of ahead! is that once again one of the most favored themes of aspiring design exhibitions was the CHAIR. I find the theme unchallenging although it sells enormously. The Lahti Institute of Design had a conceptual aspiration to present an ambiance as a design
product. Lahti’s room though because of its product vacuum was attracting very little visitors; in other words it wasn’t selling well. In ahead! one could find interesting design pieces with a certain dignity in the use of material, the execution of the design and the purity of the design itself. One could find austere Finnish design furniture and objects, as well as more playful ones by the younger
generation of designers; however, a fair is a fair and all is a consumption trick. Paradoxically, it is when this trick is invested withdifferent layers of meaning that it sells best. I felt this with the
“container village.” All an all ahead! was not that innovative, but it transmitted the tranquil reassurance that things are not stale but rather promising (regarding aesthetics, creativity and economic viability).

Final note: Design for People vs. People for Design
Finland is not famous for its customer services (funny to say that to Greeks who are neither particularly polite). There are instances that justify this ill reputation as well as graceful exceptions. While admiring the exhibits of the furniture manufacturer Piiroinen, I tried the resized classic chair PK1. A metal part in the back rest was protruding and I hit slightly my upper back. The representative of the company came to talk to me. I explained my reserve about the chair. The tired young woman looked at me with her smiling face and told me with the most natural way: your body is wrong for the chair; we haven’t heard this complain by anyone else. She found hard to accept that maybe there was a small design issue to improve especially since the chair was enlarged 6% from the original design.
I am one of those believing that Design for All is a fad, although it does create awareness, especially amongst designers, about our discriminatory misconceptions. However, it is one think to hear that an object is not suitable for oneself and quite another to hear that oneself is not suitable for an inanimate object.

Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

See also our great picture album from the fair:

HABITARE, Helsinki 2007


Technik Museum Sinsheim

This private museum near Stuttgart (and 2 hours from Frankfurt) is one of the most popular museums in Germany. The mayor difference to other similar museums is the absence of an complete and or an accurate description of technical history. It is worth to visit it, becaouse of the extremly rare objects. But you have to collect some informations before to enjoy them.

Almost all important cars of the 20th century are displayed in the museum, from luxury linousines like Duisenberg (USA), Mercedes and Maybach to mass motorisation of the 1950ies with great American dream cars and popular Europan supersmall size cars.

The highlights are the Bugattis, even an extremly rare Royale (only 7 were built) and of course the airplanes. Sinsheim is the only place where you can see and compare the Concorde and its Russian counterpart, the TU-144 and make your own oppinion if the design was stolen or not.

My personal favourites were the three JU-52 planes (one of them was temporarely restored in the museums court, after two decades on the roof of the museum) and an unrestored crashed and rusty Porsche 356 Speedster.

From a design aspect it is interesting to see the interiors of the planes, (even if they are incomplete, the interior of the Concorde was designed by André Putman).

See also our picture album from the museum:
Technik Museum Sinsheim

Founded: 1981
Objects: 3,000 objects on 50.000m²
(over 300 cars, 40 racing cars, 200 motorcycles, 27 locomotives, 60 airplanes)

Visitors: 1.000.000 p.a.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #2

The Helsinki Design week is an annual event and is organized since 2005.

Kari Korkman is the soul behind of it all and calls himself I think a design producer is a very nice and approachable person. My only question about these events is that they are one off every year and take place all together in the end of summer beginning of autumn. In the dark winter months very little is happening (apart from the Forces of Light that have been shrinking every year). On the other hand, as Helsinki is a small capital and Finland in general has a strong tradition and appreciation of design, you can imagine that everything that is happening is showcasing in Helsinki.

By this I mean that there are a lot design shops, galleries, and design is more or less part of every day life for the middle class. It is interesting though that for instance Marimekko which is a legendary brand has a huge range of products to fulfill needs and desires of lower income earners too. As I say: there is no household without at least one Marimekko product. From my perspective Finnish designers are somehow trying to overcome the conventions of Finnish design and without losing their distinct identity to become more international. Multiculturalism in this small country is a big issue, as NOKIA expands and internationalization worries especially peoples of recent nations.
Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

see also the post below

My Home - Seven experiments for new living

is an exhibition in the Vitra Design Museum about design of interior design today. I think it could be one of the most important events after many years, showing how developments could be. Watch this informative film!

Link to a article of WDR TV (in German) with a Link to a report on their WEBTV

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #1: Design Partners

Tuesday 18th of September, there was the public opening of the exhibition of Design Partners 07, in the famous Cable Factory (multifunctional space old cable factory) in Helsinki. Link to the exhibition

The organizers promised, as in previous years, a point of communication and relaxed interaction. Big names of Finnish design and industry, and new talents co-exist and the effect is a design wonderland, with smaller and bigger surprises. All design fields are represented here; industrial, ceramic, interior, fashion and textile, furniture, and architecture. Panel talks, side exhibitions, like the one with the biggest names of French design, are all enriching an institution such as the design partners, part of Helsinki Design Week.
My favorites were the mobile lamp by Mikko Pakkanen, the silk cocoon and latex lamps, the concrete bench incorporating old fabrics and high technology. Interesting was the IKEA fashion collection where IKEA sponsored fashion and interior design creating an atmospheric living room.

Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

See also our picture album from the exhibition:
Design Partners, Helsinki 2007
Helsinki Design Week is an event for designers and consumers
arraged for the third time (2005, 2006,2007).
It is combined with the "Habitare" furniture fair and the
"Architecture and Design Day"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Design for the Other 90%

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
(Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises)

The exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum analyzes 30 humanitarian design projects. It is on view through September 23, 2007.

Link to the exhibition

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Modern Design Museum TV

The film maker Tsuyoshi Takashiro made a small movie called Modern Design Museum TV showing famous items of 2oth century design.

Link to Takashiro