Book: Design: The Invention of Desire

May 24, 2016

YaleNews features works recently or soon to be published by members of the University community. Descriptions are based on material provided by the publishers. Authors of new books may forward publishers' book descriptions to us by email.

Design: The Invention of Desire

Jessica Helfand, senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art

(Yale University Press)

Interest in design was once limited to a small community of design professionals. Today, books on "design thinking" are best sellers, and computer and Web-based tools have expanded the definition of who practices design. Looking at objects, letterforms, experiences, and theatrical performances, Jessica Helfand asserts that understanding design's purpose is more crucial than ever. Design is meaningful, she contends, not because it is pretty but because it is an intrinsically humanist discipline, tethered to the very core of why we exist. For example, as designers collaborate with developing nations on everything from more affordable lawn mowers to cleaner drinking water, they must take into consideration the full range of a given community's complex social needs. Helfand offers a look at how designed things make people feel as well as how — and why — they motivate behavior.

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Bodies by Design: Enjoying the perks of physical fitness

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Nizio Design commemorates the Holocaust with angular weathering-steel museum

This wedge-shaped, pre-rusted steel museum by Nizio Design is dedicated to the role that Polish citizens played in protecting the lives of Jews during the second world war (+ slideshow).

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

The Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jewish People is located in Markowa, a village in southeast Poland, and is intended to commemorate the lives of both Poles and Jews who lost their lives during the war.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

In particular, it memorialises the events of 24 March 1944, when Nazi troops murdered local couple Wiktoria and Józef Ulma, their six children and the Jewish families they had been hiding.

The concrete-framed building is made up of a gabled portion above ground, containing exhibits, and a subterranean rectilinear block, which hosts auxiliary spaces including offices.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

This visible portion of the building is clad in panels of weathering steel – commonly known by the brand name Corten. It features a sloping roof ridge, which produces a point at one end and a gable at the other.

"The ascetic shape of the building is reminiscent of a house," said Warsaw-based Nizio Design, which is also currently building a mausoleum to commemorate the victims of Polish village massacres.

"The symbolic vision of home, which is associated with love and security, was confronted with compositional forms that express anxiety and threat."

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

"The building of reinforced concrete has facades clad in weathering steel sheets, which develop a rust-like appearance indicative of the passage of time," added the team.

A glazed entrance in the centre of the gable leads into the main exhibition area, where a glass cuboid at the centre of the space symbolises the home of photographer Józef Ulma and his wife Wiktoria Ulma.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

Inside the block, artefacts belonging to the family are displayed, including furniture, a beehive, books and Józef Ulma's cameras.

Thematic displays set around the outside of the cuboid tell the wider story of the village in the context of the second world war.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

Concrete walls are largely left exposed throughout the interior, which also features interactive displays set into large metal volumes.

A crevice at the back of the exhibition space, where the concrete comes together to form the pointed roof, allows a shaft of daylight to enter the room.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

"The interior of the museum is kept in simple and monumental poetics of concrete walls," said the studio.

"Its culmination – at the back of the exhibition room – is the illuminated vertical and sharp gap which symbolises the narrow gate that leads through the incomprehensible area of death."

An outdoor area behind the building's point is named Memory Orchard and planted wth apple, pear and plum trees. This is both a reference to Józef Ulma's orchard and to the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio Design

At the front of the museum, names of Polish citizens responsible for saving a member of the Jewish community are displayed on plaques of sandblasted granite on a wall to one side of the entrance plaza.

Embedded in the flooring of the plaza itself are a further series of plaques, which are illuminated to display the names of those who lost their lives in the process.


"The density of the illuminated plaques increases towards the entrance to the museum," explained Nizio Design.

"On the plane of the yard, like boats on a river, they form a peculiar procession of travelling lights that approach the threshold of the gate that is symbolised by the house elevation."

Photography is by L Kwartowicz/Nizio Design International

The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio DesignSite plan – click for larger image The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio DesignFloor plan – click for larger image The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio DesignSection one – click for larger image The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio DesignSection two – click for larger image The Ulma Family Museum by Nizio DesignSection three – click for larger image

Related story: SET Architects installs towering steel Holocaust memorial in a Bologna square

SET Architects installs towering steel Holocaust memorial in a Bologna square

The space at the heart of this rusting steel memorial narrows to a width of just 80 centimetres, designed to make visitors empathise with the "feeling of oppression" experienced by Holocaust victims (+ slideshow). More »

Related movie: Virtual flythrough of the new V&A Museum Dundee by Kengo Kuma

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Design Your Own Chocolate With The Willy Wonka Of 3-D Printers

Most of us will gladly scarf down chocolate regardless of the form it comes in. But for the aesthetes among you, imagine if you could easily custom-make the chocolate you consume. You could render architectural models in the stuff, or make you're own sculptural box of chocolates.

That's the promise of XOCO Chocolate Printer, the invention of Michiel Cornelissen, a product designer who runs his own studio specializing in 3-D printing located in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Cornelissen wanted to design a 3-D printer that was both beautiful and technically proficient, and decided that designing one for intricate chocolates—to be used professionally by pastry chefs and chocolate shops—would be a compelling way in. The printer is connected to an app, which will have a library of chocolate designs to chose from, but will also allow users to customize the designs. Like any other home 3-D printer, XOCO prints the design in layers, using chocolate as the material.

XOCO is not the first chocolate 3-D printer (in fact, we wrote about the first 3-D printer here). But it's definitely the best-looking one we've seen. Cornelissen says he was trying to push the limits of what 3-D printers could look like: the printer includes a circular, light-up build platform and a tiny robotic arm that rotates like a record player needle. The arm can reach anywhere on the platform, so it has a wider range of flexibility for more complex designs. The whole thing is encased in glass—which is held up by the pillar in the center—so that you can watch the process unfold.

"When people 3-D print, you go back and forth with your printer to see what's going on," says Cornelissen. "But most aren't designed to show off the product and the process. I was inspired by high-end espresso machines and also glass cases you use to show a beautiful cake. I wanted to show a technical product, a mechanical system that is putting chocolate along coordinates to make 3-D object but make beautiful and show the process as it happens."

Right now, the XOCO is in the prototyping phase, though Cornelissen says he is hopeful that he will find someone to produce it. He estimates that the market price would be between $500 to $1,000, the typical range for home 3-D printers like Makerbots. Until then, start dreaming up your confections. Cornelissen says it's designed to be easy enough for anyone to use—you don't have to have pastry chef skills to develop an eccentric (and expensive) chocolate-making hobby.

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Here’s a Fresh Batch of Street Style From Australia Fashion Week Resort 2016

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2016 has just come to a close, with some of the finest designers from Australia and abroad taking the wraps off their Resort 2017 collections. While the runway Down Under may not possess the international clout of fashion weeks in New York or Paris, the Australian festivities still present an occasion for locals and visitors to get their 'fits off.

As always, we were on hand to cover the best street style looks from Sydney, which you can browse through in the gallery above.

In case you missed it, check out what people wore to COMME des GARÇONS' epic sample sale in New York.

Marks & Spencer fashion: From Twiggy to Alexa Chung

Is Marks & Spencer the High Street's equivalent of Marmite? Its clothing certainly divides opinion.

Some people think of it as somewhere only their mum or gran shops, while others can't wait to check out the latest Alexa Chung collection. Remember all the fuss around THAT skirt?

As new M&S boss Steve Rowe prepares to unveil his plans to tackle falling clothing sales on Wednesday, we asked Sandra Halliday, fashion expert and founder of the blog, to look back over the years and see when M&S has been a trendsetter and when it has fallen behind the fashion curve.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

These are very much typical looks of their time, neither behind the curve nor ahead of it but actually exactly on target. 1930 saw a radical silhouette change after the loose cuts of the 20s and by 1932 the fitted-but-fluid shapes and longer skirts were completely mainstream.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

These skirts were the skinny jeans equivalent of that decade and lasted a surprisingly long time into the early 60s. M&S was taking no risks whatsoever here and could probably be confident that they'd sell thousands upon thousands of this look for summer daytime dressing. It's very much a reflection of M&S targeting the "average" woman with a safe item that was easy to produce rather than experimenting with the sack dress, the trapeze line or puffball skirts that were popular at the higher end.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

Another example of M&S tapping into the dominant mainstream look (at least among the under-35s). Like the full skirt of the previous decade, this shape lasted for years and was constantly tweaked. While many people remember 1967 for the "Summer of Love" and the way it embraced hippie looks, this is, again, targeting "everywoman", the people who worked in offices, shops and so on for whom patched jeans or a kaftan were dangerously subversive! But there is innovation going on here. Twiggy (left) was the model of the moment with a haircut and body shape that was very untraditional. It set a template for M&S's marketing of its products that was very directional, even if the fashion itself was mainstream.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

Given that this was the year of David Bowie, Glam Rock, Led Zeppelin and the like, this is very conservative up to a point and represents a certain kind of customer. Think of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, which was being filmed during 1972. A character like Terry was still dressing for the 1960s but the Bob character was the prototype yuppie and wanted a suit to reflect that with slightly wider lapels, gently flared trousers and a shirt that wasn't regulation white.

Again, the innovation here might have been less about shape and more about the "back story". M&S has always been at the forefront of using new materials, and styles like this suit, shirt and tie would most likely have had easy-care features using advanced synthetic materials in conjunction with natural fibres.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

M&S was riding high in 1983 and while it was never a fashion beacon, it was still attracting a good cross-section of the population. This look is very mainstream - the Princess Diana-influenced flat shoes, the "mini" skirt that's not too short, the Dexy's Midnight Runners-style dungarees that by now had been around for a few years so no longer seemed unusual. This would have appealed to the woman in the street who wanted to tap into fashion trends very gently with clothes that she knew were good quality.

But it wouldn't really have appealed to fashion forward customers - they were too busy wearing Bodymap and Jean Paul Gaultier. Not that M&S couldn't have done high fashion. The chain had some superb designers at this time but its customer didn't want to be challenged, they wanted clothes that looked and felt good and that they knew would work for thei r lives.


Image copyright The Marks & Spencer Company Archive

This was just a few years before M&S faced a perfect storm as fast fashion began to undermine its dominance. I think by the 90s it was quite complacent as it knew it had a devoted mainstream following who weren't about to defect to anything else on the High Street. This look sums that up. It's nice enough but given that a whole year earlier fashion had been shaken up by Tom Ford's 70s-influenced styling at Gucci and that Prada was starting to get into high gear, it's really very dull!

It's worth pointing out, though, that at the same time M&S was powering ahead in its food business and was innovating all over the place in terns of customer service, recipes and ingredients. That spirit of innovation didn't filter through to fashion, apart from in materials where it was an early user of innovative stretch fabrics. But that's because its typical customer at the time didn't want innovation. She might have wanted to experiment in the kitchen, but not wit h her wardrobe!


Image copyright Getty Images

This was the height of M&S's obsession with celebrity models and the looks here reflect its fashion approach at the time. It mixed very commercial looks with some stronger trend pieces and while it didn't always get the balance right, it was actually turning out some very strong designs at this point.


Image copyright Getty Images

The company still faces enormous challenges in that it has to be all things to all people and it can't afford to appeal to niches. It has to reach mainstream consumers. The recent Alexa Chung collection was an interesting one. Personally I wasn't overly-impressed, but the social media chatter around it was very positive and certain items seemed to sell out online very fast. While it was billed as being an "archive" collection, it was really a mix of straight replications and re-interpretations (like this dress that was based on a 1960s original).

I'm interested to see what they do with Alexa next. M&S really needs to turn its clothing offer around as it's so important to it. It may be doing well in foods but clothing is a higher-margin business so is crucial. It has a big challenge because its business model of a giant single-brand operation targeting so many different customers is one that struggles in the modern world where online stores, ultra-fast f ashion and luxury are the headline-grabbers.

Sandra Halliday is a fashion expert and founder of the blog

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India Kids Fashion Week to be held in Mumbai, Delhi in June

The market for kids' branded apparel would be almost 20% of it, at Rs. 20,000 crore.

Ahmedabad, May 24:  

Beware parents and grand-parents! Your children, too, are increasingly turning fashion-conscious. Not just that: they are also walking the ramp. The kids' apparel market in India, for children as young as one year to as 'old' as 14 years, is witnessing a CAGR of 9-10% and set to grow from Rs. 90,000 crore now to Rs. 100,000 crore by 2020.

The market for kids' branded apparel would be almost 20% of it, at Rs. 20,000 crore.

Welcome to the next generation's fashion world. The fourth edition of India Kids Fashion Week (IKFW) will be held in Mumbai from June 3 to 5 and in Delhi from June 17 to 19. A number of major brands and companies in this segment are participating in the two events. In earlier editions, Bollywood celebrities and fashion icons including Sushmita Sen and Karishma Kapoor have walked the ramp along with children.

"IKFW aims to position India on the map of the fashion industry for kids. This initiative seeks to give India's upcoming and highly potential fashion fraternity for kids a platform to showcase their talent and make a mark in the international fashion industry," Manoj Mahala, Director, IKFW, told BusinessLine.

IKFW provides brands and designers a platform and opportunity to tap this nascent market, and clears the path for direct contact between the creator and the consumer.

Growth in the kids' wear segment has been due to increased purchasing power, fashion-consciousness created by audio-visual media, penetration of latest fashion in semi-urban and rural areas, increased spending on children, brand awareness and organized players focusing on the kids' wear market. "The premium segments are, however, governed by brand consciousness on part of both parents and kids", he said.

The key trends observed in the kids' wear market include ethnic wear, domestic and global adult brands expanding to include kids' wear lines as well, growing number of Indian kids' wear brands as focus turns towards domestic consumption rather than just exporting, and expansion of online retailing to kids' wear.

Most of organised players initially focused on western wear categories like denims, shirts and T-shirts. But many brands and organized players have recently forayed into children's ethnic wear categories and offering ethnically-styled, high-quality products for kids.

However, despite its recent growth, the kids' wear market is still largely, almost 80%, unbranded with most sales taking place through unorganized retail channels. With a huge untapped potential, more and more fashion brands are recognizing this business category.

In the kids' apparel market, nearly 30% component is that of school uniforms for both boys and girls. The girls' apparel market is growing at a CAGR of 11% compared to that of boys at 10%. "The demand for both boys and girls' apparel is almost 50% each."

According to a Technopak report, the school uniforms market is demonstrating healthy growth with a rise in the number of schools and a decline in drop-out rates. In high-end schools, increasing competition and the desire to look smart has amplified brand consciousness among students. Further, many schools see uniforms as an extension of their overall image and ensure that the uniform reflects the image associated with the school. The market now sees different school uniforms depending on the season, occasion, class, etc.

The report pointed out that the Indian apparel market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9%, from USD 41 billion in 2013 to USD 102 billion in 2023. In 2013, kidswear, at USD 8.3 billion, alone contributed 20% of India's apparel market, but given its higher growth rate, this share is expected to increase to 22% by 2023.

(This article was published on May 24, 2016)

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