Monday, October 12, 2009

Jaime Salm: "Why I Love Design"

Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to talk to Jaime Salm and attend a lecture he was giving on Sustainable Design and Mio Culture. To start off Jaime Salm is an amazing man. His ideas are so inventive and fresh and brings up great challenges to the idea of sustainable design and solves with them great resolve!

Prior to the lecture I was working in 2006 on my pop-up lighting project for my Jewelry 1 class and I was trying to figure out how to make my design actually work as a lighting figure. It was very complex with a lot of cut-out shapes. Jaime suggested that I think of this project not just as a project for school but as a project of how to take a material that is eco-friendly and make it sustainable eliminating waste. He said in anything you design you should minimize if not eliminate waste from the design. I had not thought of this prior to talking to him but it is a great idea. Everything we make should be sustainable no matter what the project. That gave me the idea of changing the design so that the cut outs would function as different aspects of the light. Basically making the large cut out the stage for the light and the smaller cut-outs as pegs to hold the peice together or something of the sort. I had never thought of taking a project from school farther into the design process then "a project for school".

This led directly into what he was talking about in his lecture. Salm began his lecture with the introduction of his college thesis: Fibrid. Basically, he took pulp which is a rather ugly material and made it into stools. He was trying to make people rethink the idea of waste. He took three ideas into his design process:
"Extreme Users" --> use things in new/unique ways, how college students repurpose objects to fit their unique dorm room needs
"Extreme Technology" --> repurposing industrial technology to fit a new design need
"Extreme Materials" --> Turning waste into beauty
I like how he made everything into the extremes and took those extremes to create his thesis.
He then went into how his thesis turned into his career taking money he got from a consultation job making pulp signs for a company and put it all into the creation of Mio.

He said at one point that "an academic endeavor made Mio and a philosophical mindset drives it" everything about Mio is about making life sustainable. Jaime seemed focused on "designing your life" which is basically making a space around you to design and making your space sustainable. Sustainability seems to be the driving force in everything he designs or creates. Also, there seems to be a very complex work process. For every creation that comes out of Mio, hundreds if not thousands of "frankenstien models" (as he calls them) are produced. For the bendant lamp over 20 models were made to just get the design and that does not include the probably hundreds of paper models he made beforehand. He had a slogan which he had told to me while we were talking about my design and that is "test everything!". If you don't know how it is going to work you can't put it into action. So basically, the most important step in the process is to design and test everything you create before you make the final version.

He had a few principles that Mio is based off of that seem to drive his company that he brought up continually with everything he created. First off, waste = raw material. Anything that is waste can be repurposed into a new material for a new purpose. There is "no such thing as waste" to Mio. He also seemed to bring up that "users define sucess". You could have the best product in the world but in the end it is up to the user to define whether it is a success or a failure. Jaime also stressed that it is important to streamline the process. "Make it simple, Make is afforadable" was his motto. Make the best product that you can but, don't waste time doing it. Don't make the process so tedious that the end product is too expensive or too labour intensive to create. He says he is at a constant struggle of "Money vs. Idea". If users define success then you have to make it affordable for the user. In the end the user is the one that will be using/buying this product and it has to be something that will want to buy and use.

He is also leading the forefront for where design is going with "user-centric design". Basically, making products that the user defines what the end product will look like. I think this is huge. Everyone wants something different so why not let that person define what the end product looks like? I really want to incorporate this into my future products. He is also now very into "active sustainability" which is "a product that generates a positive and quantifiable environmental impact every time it is used". This takes the sustainability farther. It doesn't just have to be sustainable when it is made but sustainable for the life of the product.

I highly enjoyed this lecture and I think I will take a lot out of it in the future. I have been trying to think how to make my project 2 sustainable and my pop-up lighting have virtually no-waste. These principles I think are quite important to the future of design. I also want to start getting into user-centric design because I really think it has a lot of possibilities. I think that if users are allowed to interact with the design it will make the message all the more powerful and the object all the more enjoyable.

Creative Caffiene Project 2

Some of the images I collected as part of my Project 2 creative caffeine. I tried to research how much retouching is actually done in photographs for print campaigns because I am trying to do a print campaign about "true beauty" for my project 2. So without further delay here are some of the more impressive images:

Trading Missiles

To begin with I apologize for any major typing errors seeing as this is being typed on an ipod touch currently. Anyway moving on...I went onto in my free time this morning to see what was currently happening in the world. And, really not surprising, there was a list of the current bombings over the weekend. What really made me laugh was the way things were reported. The Khaleej Times (check them out if you haven't they have a very interesting point of view) reported of a Pakistani Bombing a Taliban settlement. The way it was written was actually quite neutral.

What made me almost laugh was on worldpress directly under it was "Taliban Bomb Pakinstani Marketplace, 41 women and children dead" from the New York Times. Okay people, we need a reality check. If you bomb a Taliban "settlement" you are killing women and children too. Over 31 men, women and children were killed in the Pakistani bombing of the Taliban villiage. I am not saying the Taliban are something good to be praised; however, there needs to be equal covereage. War goes both ways you can't pin murdering women and children just on one side. When American was in Afganistan hundreds of women and children were killed in raids, but all we hear/heard was roadside bombs killing U.S. soldiers.

When America can report both sides unbiased we might make progress. It makes no sense to create hate. Why can't we just report what happened they way it is not the way we want it to be?