Posted by Keela on July 22, 2011
It’s Friday. I think everyone is very happy about that. It’s been a busy and productive week. Fridays we turn the music up just a little louder. And with the sun shining through the windows and Pandora sprinkling Beatles’ songs into my mix, it’s quite a nice ambiance in the studio. Except that it’s Emma’s last day. That’s a downer. We put an ad out a few months ago for “one of those interns we talk about for the next ten years, comparing every future incoming person to them” and she really fits that bill. She’s smart, funny and a joy to have around. She loves mobiles, so it’s only fitting on her last day that Google’s homepage was an ode to Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday, he’s the great inventor of mobile sculptures.
Outside of being bummed about the loss of a super-smart and comedic intern, things are going great, except we might be running out of space. Everyone has a desk, but the addition of another large-scale project will call for more tables and more foam core. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Jonathan isn’t here. He’s off to Seoul for a week. He cleaned his desk before he left, so not only is that corner of the studio ultra-tidy, but it’s quiet as well. It’s a little strange. He furiously cranked on the project before he left, mountains of research on his desk and piles of cookies. I’m not sure what he did with all those papers…and cookies for that matter.
I’ve been working with the Alabamboo team this week. They’re planning their arrival into the Bay Area, after biking well over 2500 miles. I get sporadic e-mails and phone calls when they have service. I applaud them for being able to not only bike across country, but blog, tweet, facebook and plan an event all at the same time. I’m looking forward to meeting them and hearing about their amazing journey.
There are a lot of proposals on my desk at the moment. Not necessarily currents ones, but olds ones that I am reading through to see what projects have been done and how they were structured. It’s interesting to see the wide range of work that was done at Central before I came here and even more interesting to see where we are going to go…hopefully that will include working with Architecture for Humanity in the near future.
So, it’s late on Friday now and I’ve still got quite a lot to do before I call it the end of the week. Soon, we’ll have more news to share and stuff to show. A thank you to Charlotte for driving over to see us this afternoon. She’s doing a Visualizing Science Fellowship at Yosemite this summer, you can check out her work here: www.charlottexcsullivan.com.
Speaking of driving, I’ve posted a pic of Emma’s ride. I’ll miss it almost as much as I’ll miss her.
So long…happy trails.
Posted by Damien on June 17, 2011
Weightshift came in on Tuesday for a working session, and by Thursday they’d transformed what you’re looking at. Yet anether great experience collaborating with them, made even sweeter by the fact that they stopped everything else to do so, for two days this week. As they sat down at the large table in Studio 6, Naz explained that they’d like to launch the new site before Scott got on a plane on Friday. Scott is off back to Chicago today, and we’ve got a shiny new site.
And yes, there are some subtle changes. In how we explain what it is we do. Now with a little more focus, and some examples to explain it, we’re able to tell the story of how we create value for our clients and their customers or stakeholders. We’re less a design firm, and more a consulting firm who uses the design process to help our clients. Think IDEO/Participle + StoneYamashita + Project M. We understand how design changes things, people, groups, systems and the way people see the world. So we embed a creative approach to helping organizations transform themselves. And much of the time we work on transforming the relationships that they have with their customers or the people they’re trying to help. The ‘trying to help’ comes from the fact that much of our work is with Foundations or Non-profits, and the relationship that they have with their grantees or communities is typically very different from how a brand interacts with a consumer.
Also new this week is that we’ve moved in a new organization we’re incubating. The non-profit is working from our studios as we help them relaunch and develop plans for the future. This is an ideal situation where we get to closely collaborate with our client as we work side-by-side with them to launch the ideas we’ve developed over the last year. We get to support them by managing the infrastructure that can get in the way of focusing on creating the successes they need to have in order to grow and create impact. And we’ll help them grow their team to ensure this can happen. So stay tuned for more, especially if you’re looking for truly exciting work in the community + city redesigning space. And yes, we will mention the company once they’ve relaunched. We don’t mean to be so vague. We just have be so.
Earlier this week, Cameron Sinclair and some of his development team from Architecture for Humanity dropped by. Cameron on an electric bicycle of course. They spent a couple hours with us going through projects and talking to us about ways we could get involved. We found many possible opportunities and we’re really looking forward to making them happen over the next few months. Sometimes it is hard not to get too excited about the fact that these kinds of people come to spend time with us to find ways to work together.
And then yesterday I had a very interesting lunch with the editor of Places Journal, on Design Observer. If you’ve not read last weeks Architect Barbie piece yet, you should do so once you’ve finished here. Places is a long-format blog that used to be a print journal founded nearly 30 years ago by faculty from MIT and Berkeley which publishes articles on contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism, with particular emphasis on the public realm as physical place and social ideal.
Those of you that might know me personally, know that I have a fetish for printed matter, journals, magazines and books. So some of the conversation with Nancy Levinson did find its way to print versus online. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for Design Observer and continue to be so with what Winterhouse are doing with the growing media empire. It was great to spend a little time with an architect who is helping shape the public discussion of the future of physical space in such a rich way. I’m doing everything I can to stop myself from suggesting that we resurrect the printed version of the Journal….
The week isn’t over yet, which means we definitely have to check in with the Ride Alabamboo team riding across the States. We need to ask them if Cameron Sinclair can have one of their T Shirts. He loves them. Earlier this week they were in Paris. In Arkansas that is. Check on their progress here, and if nothing else, shoot them an email of support to help them with this epic journey of theirs. We’re going to start on plans for making their arrival an event to remember.
I just got off the phone with the documentary producer Patrick Sammon, who’s put together an excellent team to tell the Alan Turing story. As a personal project, I’m trying to continue the family history of supporting Turing by helping Patrick with bringing the film to the US by raising some funds to do so and with other things. If you don’t already know, Turing was an important figure in computer history and his direct impact on saving a tremendous amount of lives during the second world War. His story is unfortunately a tragic one and this film, for the first time, tells the story of who Alan Turing was and what he did for his country and science overall. And as you can imagine, the film making process is an incredibly difficult one and so I’ll be looking for help in the future with what I’m doing. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to see this film on TV later this year.