Archive for March, 2009

Rainbow sightings and joy in the natural vs. built environment

6 March 2009

This morning’s joy discovery: a whole site dedicated to pictures of rainbow sightings! There is something so charming about the artist’s desire to establish a collective forum for appreciating these evanescent displays of pure color.

I think the rainbow is one of the truest symbols of joy. Though we know the conditions that produce it, its emergence is always unexpected, and at any age feels somewhat magical. I think this is because it is a visual disruption of the laws that govern our everyday visual experience of the world.

One thing I’ve been wrestling with lately is the way in which joy is so often triggered by natural events and phenomena, both at the macro and micro levels. How then do we create things that bring joy? But it follows that if joy results from a pleasurable disruption of natural laws, then perhaps there is a parallel in the built environment, where joy results from a departure from the laws that govern the designed world. To some extent, these laws are the same. The built environment resides within the natural environment, so both are subject to laws of physics and to the limits of our perceptual capabilities. However, there are conventions that govern the behavior of the built environment, and perhaps unlocking some of these codes will suggest ways to integrate more joyful patterns of design.

Playing with felt

4 March 2009

I’ve been playing around with felt lately. Not really focused on any particular outcome, just sort of thinking with my hands. This is the germ of something still to be worked out, thought it was pretty…

Laura Laine’s fashion illustrations

2 March 2009

Today I’m loving these dark, weird little fashion illustrations by Laura Laine.

Hidden color

1 March 2009

There’s something about a peek of hidden color that is so joyful. It seems just right for the gloomy landscape in which we find ourselves right now. Colored linings and interiors signify a secret pleasure, directed inwards at the user rather than outwards at the viewer.

This coat is from Raf Simons fall collection for Jil Sander, inspired by the ceramics of Pol Chambost, a French artist (a resemblance that is clear from side-by-side comparisons). Interesting, because product designers are often inspired by fashion but you don’t often see fashion inspired by tableware.