Can computational design, using VR, AI, and gaming, advance design?

How can the design community work with computational design – utilising virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and video gaming – to help advance the design process, create complex geometries, and the kind of advanced sculptural forms that would otherwise not be possible through conventional design methods? I asked Arturo Tedeschi, architect and computational designer of Milan studio A>T, what he sees as the possibilities and limitations of the design process. Read the full interview here

An interview with industrial designer Ross Lovegrove

Recently I met with Ross Lovegrove to see his latest work, a unique collection of haute parfumerie vessels. At his studio in Notting Hill, the industrial designer discussed how F1 conceptually informed his design. We spoke of how the complex geometries and advanced sculptural forms continue his search into the possibilities of generative design – unifying technology, materials science, and organic forms as a way of creating a new aesthetic to be biological rather than mechanical and to be an expression of this century. Take a closer look here

Cars at Salone del Mobile Milan

The world of the automobile is rapidly evolving – no longer is it sufficient to build reliable, well-engineered machines. Now cars need to be thoughtfully designed to express current trends and they have to at least be seen to be relevant. And it helps to be spotted mingling with the creative world. Car designers are forever emphasising their involvement with other design disciplines, of how they keep on top of trends and are involved in a discourse within the wider creative community. Rarely an interview takes place without a designer mentioning the Salone del Mobile, the coveted annual design show held in April in Milan.

It is here where they gain inspiration for their work, and unsurprisingly they have long wished to get involved. Shows like Milan don’t bring immediate financial gains, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a bit of creative kudos behind you, even in the hard sell world of the automobile, and the car world has wised up to this.

This year the list of carmakers present at Milan included the likes of BMW, MINI, Lexus, Renault and Hyundai. What they exhibited – in other words how conceptual they’ve been willing to go – and the choice of designer partnership reveals a great deal about where they wish to position themselves. Some showed a more daring side, others stayed close to the world they know best.

Renault partnered with British designer Ross Lovegrove (who’s studio happens to be a stone-throw-away from Design Talks) for Twin’Z. This is a pretty straightforward interpretation of a car – the blue four-seater sculpture inspired in colour by the painter Yves Klein mirroring the virtues of the planet, says Lovegrove.  Inside is a single unit; there is no dashboard with all information displayed on a smartphone.

Lexus stayed close to its Japanese heritage by collaborating with space designer Akihisa Hirata and renowned architect Toyo Ito for Creating Amazing. This is a much more conceptual affair – the space offers multi-sensory experiences to highlight the connection between roads, humans, wind, and water thus challenging the viewer to imagine the cities of the future.

A mix of performance art, music and dance, created by German choreographer Nikeata Thompson, accompanied Korean carmaker Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture in Motion. Another inspiring conceptual offering, here lights form virtual sculptures inspired by how nature continuously adapts to the changing environment.

An interesting partnership came from BMW who worked with celebrated French design siblings Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for its Milan exhibit. Quite Motion is a take on individual e-mobility. The slowly and silently rotating installation (reminiscent of a carousel) interprets BMW’s electric i sub-brand’s design – the lightweight construction, transparency and environmentally friendly materials. The installation’s pared-down form highlights the visionary aspect of electric mobility.

Over at sister company MINI, head of design Anders Warming revealed another intriguing installation. Based on the latest Paceman car, KAPOOOW takes observers on a bit of a journey revealing what’s hidden behind the sheet metal. We observe the car trapped between two worlds – one in chrome, the other woven out of paper parts – showing how two opposite parts create one complete unit.

Read more on our report in Milan’s new ‘motor show’ at the Salone del Mobile in Wallpaper*Also take a look at our previous reports on Milan here.

For more on the exhibits visit Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | |Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

Clerkenwell Design Week 2012

Clerkenwell Design Week, in its third year, is establishing itself on London’s design calendar.  The event turns this creative-focused area of London into an exhibition space with numerous product launches, installations, screenings, talks and of course parties. It is a mini Milan Furniture Fair of sorts attracting both local and international designers, and design lovers.

Over at the event’s hub in the Farmiloe Building – a former lead/glass merchants warehouse – event sponsor Jaguar put on an interesting show creating a clay model of the C-X16 in order to give insight into how creative process of car making.

Highlights of the event included a six-meter tree by Ross Lovegrove – whose design studio incidentally is a stone-throw-away from us at DT – featuring clusters of LED lights at the tips of ten stalks.

Spring Forest was an enchanting installation by Draisci Studios and Fulton Umbrellas. Comprising hundreds of interlocking pink and red umbrellas, they form a surreal forest suspended in St James’ Church Garden.

Italian fashion house Missoni and Swedish flooring company Bolon joined forces to create an installation in the middle of St John’s Square, the entire erected house covered in the collection of exclusive woven floors by Missoni.

Others exhibits by international creatives included the miniscule chair by Danish designer Cecilie Manz for Fritz Hansen, work by Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli, Warren Platner and Mark Krusin at Knoll; Benjamin Hubert’s chairs for Cappellini and Poltrona Frau, and the Bouroullec brothers revealed their innovative Pico porcelain tile range at Domus.

One highlight was a wonderful display of Portuguese design by the Colour Design Concept in the House of Detention. This new and dynamic agent and distributer specialises in Portuguese design with items ranging from internationally known designers such as Pritzker Prize winning architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura to less known craft persons and designers.

This year also saw designers from Eastern Europe represented, many of whom now live locally. These included Latvian designer Arthur Analts, who showed the Wow shelf and Led Zeppelin ladder.

Luckily not everything on exhibit was transient. A pretty cool lighting concept called Solar Tree by Italian lighting company Artemide installed in Clerkenwell’s St John’s Square will remain there until September.

After a day spent exploring, visitors cooled down with a topple of Sipsmith gin from the London distillery at Gen Lane pop-up gin bar in the Farmiloe building created by emerging London-based designers Alexander Hills and Mathew Freeman.

Clerkenwell Design Week ran from 22-24 May 2012. Read highlights of previous events here.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©