Brave new word: Reflections on 2019, predictions for 2020

Needless to say, it has been a turbulent introductory decade to the new millennium with so much profound change and so many challenges ahead. Yet, even as dark as it is politically around the world, and hopeless as it feels with our planet’s health and our people’s happiness, we may have climbed the steepest part. Joan Didion wrote, ‘I write entirely to find out what... Read More

Insight: Paolo Pininfarina on the past and future of the famed Italian design studio

Pininfarina is responsible for some of the most enduring and exotic motor cars in design history. Founded by Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina in 1930, the carrozzeria has sketched products that have become icons for Ferrari, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo – to name a few. The studio works within the wider creative world too, designing jets, yachts, trains, buses, and other industrial... Read More

V&A takes on the car as a design object in new exhibition

Robert Bosh electronic control unit and wiper blade, 1926 (c) Bosch The motor car has shaped our modern world and is about to define its future. In its 130 years, this object of desire and destruction has been critical in enforming our lives – from the design of our cities and our relation to the countryside, to how we work, live and communicate with one another. In... Read More

‘Women In Design’ – the alternative design history

Women have made an immense contribution to design history. And it isn’t a huge surprise that historically it hasn’t always been an easy ride for female creatives battling in a male-dominated world. This is, of course, true of most professional fields, be it the arts or science. Many icons of design, typically attributed to leading male figures at the time, were, in... Read More

Clean, green and urban: Zbee is a progressive electric auto-rickshaw

With the climate in crisis, a wave of progressive designers and makers are rethinking the traditional transport model with some brilliant and exciting ideas. Meet the latest, the three-wheel Zbee urban shared run-around by Clean Motion. Take a closer look at this global initiative from Sweden.  Read More

‘Living Colours’ at Japan House explores the ancient art of colour mixing

‘The Tale of Genji’ was written a thousand years ago and is considered one of the first modern novels. Penned by a lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibuthe, it describes the colourful lives of the courtiers and courtesan of the Heian period (794 to 1185), the peak of Japan’s imperial court and a time noted for its appreciation of the arts, in particular poetry and literature.... Read More

New books celebrate the Bauhaus centenary and its legacy

I attended an art and design foundation course much like the famous Vorkurs run by Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy, a year-long requirement for all new Bauhaus students before they could progress to study in a specific workshop. In a similar way to how the Bauhauslers ran the famous art school a century ago, mine was a place that taught experimentation and encouraged abstraction,... Read More

Guido, the self-driving, self-mixing urban bar-on-demand

Guido is a self-driving robotics bar by the Italian design and research studio Carlo Ratti and robotics bartender experts Makr Shakr. It uses an autonomous vehicles platform and features two mechanical arms that can precisely prepare and serve any cocktail combination in a matter of seconds. Much like an Uber of the bar world, Guido offers an app-based on-demand system with... Read More

Tokyo to Paris: a car as an expression of David Bowie

This is a brilliantly curious project. ‘A portrait of db’ is a sort of art car, created as an expression of David Bowie and his life and music. It is also a tribute to the singer-songwriter following his death in 2016. Yet the story happens to begin some 21 years ago in Tokyo with a young Takumi Yamamoto, the former Citroën designer responsible for GranTurismo‘s... Read More

Japan House London presents ‘Prototyping in Tokyo’ to illustrate design-led innovation

‘I’m told there is something Japanese in my prototyping,’ says professor Yamanaka Shunji, ‘that it has this “Japanese style”’, he smiles as he guides us around ‘Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating Design-led Innovation’ (until 17 March, 2019). The design engineer and University of Tokyo professor continues: ‘I don’t go about trying to be so, but perhaps there... Read More