Designed in China: Wang I Chao

Wang I Chao reunites people with their imaginations. The New York based Taiwanese industrial designer and illustrator’s whimsical toys and art transports us back to the innocent world of childhood. I Chao’s character abstraction technique pulls us in with something that looks different but at the same time feels so very familiar. ‘Character abstraction is the way I refine and extract the essences of things and transfer them into design elements,’ says the designer.... Read More

Can electric cars make music?

Can cars make music? This is the premise behind a research project that is looking into inventing new sounds for the age of the silent electric and hybrid vehicle, a sound that responds and returns something back to the environment. Electric cars emit very little noise. Legislations in Europe and the US, however, will soon dictate that they must alert other road users. What we’re seeing though is a focus on sounds that are about warning or are heavily imprisoned in the old... Read More

Vertical cities and urban villages

Can the car be more than a vehicle that takes you from A to B? This has been a subject much discussed in recent years. I remember talking endlessly with Chris Bangle, the former design boss at BMW, on this very subject – something that has been at the core of his design thinking (remember GINA?) – at a time when few car companies dared or even cared to venture into anything that signified a real change from the conventional automobile. There is more urgency now to... Read More

Book review: Speculative Everything

Should design purely concern itself with problem solving, or the aesthetics, making objects more beautiful, more usable… or should it also act as critique, agitate even? This is the premise behind an interesting book recently published by MIT Press, Speculative Everything. Authors Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, both professors at London’s Royal College of Art, have been proponents of ‘critical design’ – a term they coined in the mid 1990s from their frustration at... Read More