Anab Jain is a designer, filmmaker, founder and director of the London-and-India-based design studio Superflux, which runs in partnership with Jon Ardern. The studio consistently produces inventive and critical work exploring the limits of emerging technologies and their implications on society and culture. In her lecture at Fabrica, she explores the vision of their studio as a new kind of design practice — one that is responsive to the unique challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
The modern designer works with more materials than ever before. Not just tangible materials, such as the web, or desktop software, or the smartphone; also, intangible ‘immaterials’ such as data, time, radio, and the network.
To design well with materials, be they tangible or not, we need to be conversant in them, acutely aware of their capabilities. How do we develop that familiarity?
Mike Friton is a freelance shoemaker, weaver, paper sculptor and innovator with over 30 years of experience at Nike. His innovations are responsible for many elements of athletic footwear that people wear today. Each of his crafts informs one another and he is constantly exploring the fringes of his field. Mike’s work is a great example of how non-traditional methods of exploring one’s craft can lead to unique end results. (via Ed)
“Often I don’t really know how to do many of the technical details I want to do. I know that it’s possible, so I just start by trying. I just jump on the sewing machine and see what comes out the other side. At St. Martins, I was told to come up with drawings first, but clothes are meant for the body and its design has to start as a physical thing, not a concept. It’s because we don’t work with preset rules that we’re able to take things to a whole new level. From pattern making, to selecting materials, to the sewing, the closures, we developed everything by ourselves.”
“The problem with graphic design and graphic designers is that they aren’t willing to say “You don’t need this.” And this is more than just making design simple, it’s about questioning whether we actually need to do this project in the first place.”
Abe Burmeister explains how a punk-rock ethic helped him create a business building a new niche in a market he had no experience in. Abe just wanted a pair of pants he could both ride his bike and go to work in - and all his partner Tyler needed was a shirt that stayed fresh despite his pedal-powered commute. He describes how the duo paired intensive research in New York’s garment district with the connectivity of the web to create Outlier - a performance fashion business that only sells over the web.
“I believe we are entering an era of post disciplinary creative thinking, where the most exciting talent are hybrids and we are still forcing these people to pigeonhole themselves as something our current processes can deal with. Something that fits our modus operandi.”