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Analysis and Comment (38)

Do architectural competitions lead to unrealistic design directions? Do architectural competitions lead to unrealistic design directions? AAP/ Paul Miller

Architecture competitions are risky … but we can build on that

There’s a perverse irony in the apocryphal tale of the design competition for the Sydney Opera House in 1956. The story goes that, after the selection of the group of finalist designs for the competition…
Palludarium Shigelu by Azuma Makoto and marmoreal engineered marble designed by Max Lamb for Dzek. Palludarium Shigelu by Azuma Makoto and marmoreal engineered marble designed by Max Lamb for Dzek. UCCA/ Asialink

When migration meets creation: Australian design in Beijing

What happens to design when it migrates? This is the question posed by Australian design studio Broached Commissions which opened its latest exhibition, Broached Retreat, at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary…
While design alone cannot solve global poverty, the Moneymaker pump is making a difference for many Africans. While design alone cannot solve global poverty, the Moneymaker pump is making a difference for many Africans. Esther Havens/ Kickstart.org

Sublime design: the KickStart MoneyMaker pump

Designers aim to change peoples’ lives, ideally for the better. The American co-founders of design and development company KickStart, Martin Fisher and Nick Moon, set themselves a particularly difficult…
Still Armani. Still Armani. EPA/Daniel dal Zennaro

Giorgio Armani: 80, the new 40

With 3,000 employees, 2,473 points of sale, seven different fashion and furniture labels (to say nothing of his makeup, skincare, chocolate and flower lines), 16 cafés and restaurants, two hotels, a basketball…
Irrespective of your button pressing technique, unfortunately the wait will always be the same. Irrespective of your button pressing technique, unfortunately the wait will always be the same. Dave Young

Sublime design: the PB/5 pedestrian button

We are more likely to thump this instantly recognisable design, on a daily basis, than to give it much thought. The PB/5 pedestrian button, a type of “Audio-Tactile Pedestrian Detector” (ATPD), is a successful…
The classic Queenslander, whose design can be easily modified to suit our contemporary lifestyles. The classic Queenslander, whose design can be easily modified to suit our contemporary lifestyles. Wikimedia Commons

Sublime design: the Queenslander

The Queenslander house is a classic piece of Australian architectural design. With its distinctive timber and corrugated iron appearance, it breaks the monotony of the bland, master-planned display villages…
In 1999, the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century. In 1999, the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century. Flickr

Sublime design: the Mini

Car enthusiasts say the Mini has endured because it is fun - fun to drive and fun to look at. However, as a design, the Mini endures because of how its designers worked within the constraints they were…
Le Corbusier drew influence from the machine age for Villa Savoye, inspired by his fascination with steamships. Le Corbusier drew influence from the machine age for Villa Savoye, inspired by his fascination with steamships. End User

Sublime design: Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye

Some 33 kilometres outside of Paris, in the town of Poissy, sits a true “design classic”, Villa Savoye. The work of seminal Swiss architect Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye is a constructed experiment, a manifesto…
And how do you read your typeface? And how do you read your typeface? Justmakeit

The secrets of designing a good typeface: it’s all in the tuning

When we want what we write to be clearly communicated to a reader, we generally try to use a typeface that is clear to read. But few people realise how quickly your choice of typeface affects that process…
When is a map not a map? When it’s a diagram. When is a map not a map? When it’s a diagram. Roger Wollstadt

Sublime design: the London Underground map

What makes a design “classic”? That it stands the test of time through continued use, critical recognition and popular approval? Or is it simply that its vision and innovation results in it being regarded…
The Moog, 2014 Model Sub 37 – producer of squelchy bass lines and distorted expressive solos. The Moog, 2014 Model Sub 37 – producer of squelchy bass lines and distorted expressive solos. Wikimedia Commons

Sublime design: the Moog synthesiser

The classic sound many of us imagine when the word synthesiser is mentioned is the sound of the Moog – the warm, solid propulsive groove of its bass sound and the distinctive sweep of its patented lowpass…
The Tibetan Book of Proportions, produced in Nepal during the 18th century. The Tibetan Book of Proportions, produced in Nepal during the 18th century. The Public Domain Review

Sublime design: an ode to the layout grid

Staring at a blank page is daunting. Where to make the first mark? As designers have known for centuries, one way is to start with a grid. A grid is a structure of lines used by designers to help organise…
Nothing to wear this evening? Sorry, but 3D printing can’t help. Nothing to wear this evening? Sorry, but 3D printing can’t help. Rain Rabbit

3D printing possibilities are beautiful but not limitless

3D printing has to be a contender for the most talked about technology award at the moment. Gone are the days when I’d start talking about my research in this area only to be met with glazed eyes or polite…
Researchers using the Design and Art Australia Online database no longer need to trek across the country to examine works such as Jean Goldberg’s “Wheels”. Researchers using the Design and Art Australia Online database no longer need to trek across the country to examine works such as Jean Goldberg’s “Wheels”. Powerhouse Museum

How the internet liberated Australia’s art history

In 2014 it is hard to remember how isolated research on art in Australia used to be. Before the web, when we were all in hard copy, it used to be almost impossible to find information on Australian art…
Screen Shot at PM. Screen Shot at PM.

The Crux of the issue with a new Australian flag

Recently on The Conversation, military historian John Blaxand put forward a design proposal for a new Australian flag. This was in light of a call by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for a “post-colonial…
Designers can work small to produce large impact. Designers can work small to produce large impact. Courtesy of the artist Anupama Kundoo

Review: CUSP – Designing into the Next Decade

Designers today are impatient for their work to expand into a larger world. They are testing their expertise in complex and non-traditional fields such as finance, conflict, health and disease; growing…
Street posters advertising the The Saturday Paper in Sydney’s St Peters. Street posters advertising the The Saturday Paper in Sydney’s St Peters. Zoe Sadokierski

Why The Saturday Paper’s design breeds disappointment

Morry Schwartz, publisher of The Monthly and Quarterly Essay, launched The Saturday Paper on March 1 2014 – the same weekend Fairfax Media downsized its weekend broadsheets to “more compact” sizes. Launching…
Makoko Floating School, Designed by NL Makoko Community Building Team. Makoko Floating School, Designed by NL Makoko Community Building Team. © NLÉ

Don’t judge Designs of the Year 2014 at face value

I have a golden rule, which is never to review a building unless I have been to it. Architecture is at heart about use and experience, and this simply cannot be conveyed through pictures, words and drawings…
Designing a national flag is a difficult task and cannot be done in isolation. Designing a national flag is a difficult task and cannot be done in isolation. EPA/Mast Irham

Where would the Union Jack’s demise leave the Aussie flag?

It’s coincidental that a renewed call for a “post-colonial” New Zealand flag has been made by Prime Minister John Key in the same year an independence referendum in Scotland may lead to the end of the…
Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing takes a new-look car for a spin during pre-season testing in Spain. Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing takes a new-look car for a spin during pre-season testing in Spain. EPA/Roman Rios

Nose jobs and turbo boosts: Formula 1 car redesign in 2014

The big race of the annual Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix is coming up this Sunday at Albert Park, Melbourne – and it marks the beginning of a new era as a new set of rules and regulations are adopted…
More like a bird. More like a bird. NASA

Morphing is one way to make aircraft more efficient

It is estimated that by 2050 there will be a six-fold increase in the number of flights there are today. This is going to be an environmental problem, and it will need radical change in aircraft design…
Website design shouldn’t elicit this reaction. Website design shouldn’t elicit this reaction. Flickr/Mylla

Poor design means terrible websites still haunt the web

There is probably not one of us reading this who has not lost themselves in time and space as they surf the web. So much engaging content, so many interesting lines of enquiry – and so much rubbish too…
3D printed hat - just the thing for Melbourne Cup. 3D printed hat - just the thing for Melbourne Cup. Flickr/ Hindrik S

What price our fascination with cheaper 3D printing?

The future of 3D printing is firming up as it moves from do-it-yourself tinkerers to key players selling complete consumer solutions. This shift brings important ecological and socio-economic implications…
This season, it’s all about the jacket for Watson. This season, it’s all about the jacket for Watson. BBC

BBC’s modern Sherlock owes his success to pure Victoriana

The third season of the BBC’s Sherlock opens with a bang and gives us Derren Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock in an action hero window smash, followed by an insouciant hair tousle and a Hollywood…
Anyone who wishes to innovate can design. Anyone who wishes to innovate can design. Gn!pGnop

Explainer: what is experience design?

“It’s not just a _____, it’s an experience.” Substitute the blank space above with just about anything these days (car, meal, city, website, course, concert, charity, therapy), and you get the unofficial…
Products that were once new and expensive are quickly treated with disdain. Products that were once new and expensive are quickly treated with disdain. Gareth Fuller/PA

Cutting waste needs longer lasting goods, and tax breaks

Reducing waste should be uncontroversial. While the government’s newly published waste prevention programme represents an improvement on previous strategies, it could have been – should have been – far…
Paola Antontelli, a senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Paola Antontelli, a senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Robin Holland

Paola Antonelli interview: ‘Design has been misconstrued as decoration’

Paola Antonelli, a senior curator and director of research and development at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), caused a minor art world storm when she added videogames to the official collection…
A trained typographer can see font problems a computer cannot. A trained typographer can see font problems a computer cannot. Jenni Konrad

Kerning, spacing, leading: the invisible art of typography

If the type that surrounds us clamours for our attention, then the space that surrounds it is the silent component: ever-present, but only considered when it imposes upon, hinders or muddies type’s meaning…
Our perceptions influence the type of robots we create. Our perceptions influence the type of robots we create. EPA PHOTO/EFE/Columbia TriStar/Robert Zucker

Beyond Terminator: robots deserve ethical treatment too

Dear robots: you have an image problem. Typically cast as either as vicious killing machines, cutesy pets or house slaves, robots are usually depicted in Western media as either something to be feared…
It’s the end of the runway for Nicole. It’s the end of the runway for Nicole. jaimelondonboy

Nicole Farhi struggles as fashion industry consolidates

High-end fashion label Nicole Farhi has called in the administrators. Restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper are looking for a buyer, while property consultants are wondering what to do with the firm’s…
The Museum’s actions create the perception that they does not understand, respect or value the design community. The Museum’s actions create the perception that they does not understand, respect or value the design community. http://www.flickr.com/photos/threthny/

How the Sydney Design festival poster competition went horribly wrong

Each year, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum commissions one of Australia’s best design studios to create a poster and accompanying marketing material for the Sydney Design festival. This year they went for a…
From hot property to unwanted waste: it’s time to rethink the way we design, produce and reuse new products. From hot property to unwanted waste: it’s time to rethink the way we design, produce and reuse new products. Obsolete computer image from www.shutterstock.com

A cooler planet by design

Many of us get frustrated with the slow pace of international action on climate change. But powerless as we feel, we can still make a difference by rethinking the way we design our lives. Design is rarely…
Battle of the smartphones: the Apple iPhone IV and the Samsung Galaxy II . Battle of the smartphones: the Apple iPhone IV and the Samsung Galaxy II . AAP

Spot the difference: brand power and the rise of the copycats

Don’t worry — you’re not seeing double. Everything looks the same … well, certainly in mass market products such as consumer electronics. The high profile litigation between Apple and Samsung is just one…
Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. DNA Art Online

Finding a unique path for Australia’s manufacturing future

As the manufacturing landscape shifts in response to new economic and social pressures, Australia is looking for an answer to the question: What does the future look like for Australian manufacturing…
Sex shops are venturing out into the High Street. Sex shops are venturing out into the High Street. Paul Maginn

Sex in the city: the changing face of adult retailing

Cities are fizzing with opportunities to experience sex and sexuality. While sex usually takes place in private spaces, it is never really out of our minds. Unconsciously we “know” that it is taking place…
Website designers want to woo you, and will use every trick in the book. Website designers want to woo you, and will use every trick in the book. EF Photography

Trust me, web users … I’m beautiful

Beautiful women make great con people, as do handsome men. Why? Because, for better or worse, we are predisposed to trust beautiful people more than normal-looking folks. But what if we take it one step…
Intelligent walls could soon help you navigate around public transport. Intelligent walls could soon help you navigate around public transport. Infostructure/Vinh Nguyen

The smart future of public transport

Can you imagine a public transport environment free from the complications of buying a ticket and validating it? What if fare evaders were automatically singled out for their faux pas? Or how about the…

Research and News (1)