Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Design should make a difference, it should improve our lives in some way. Whether it’s through graphics, architecture, interiors, products, experiences… we should be looking at the cultural issues and challenges of today and finding inspiring new solutions.
This week we continue our theme of Cultural Connectivity by exploring collaborations between architects and designers that go beyond the confines of their individual expertise to co-create ideas that make a difference to peoples lives.
Our travels have taken us to Chicago, where we indulged in a whirlwind immersion of the Art Institute’s new modern wing, currently hosting an exhibition on Hyperlinks: Architecture and Design. We found two projects that resonated with us because they are genius ideas that are relevant to Monday Collective’s ‘out and about’ culture.
The first one is about bike lanes. Many have been installed in cities as a means of improving safety for both cyclists and motorists, but they are expensive to implement and therefore not as widely available as we’d like them to be. LightLane, by Evan Grant and Alex Tee, is a lighting device that attaches to the back of the bike, projecting a virtual bike lane onto the road as you cycle at night. “One of the biggest benefits that a bike lane provides is a common boundary that both drivers and bikers respect” these avid cyclists express. The prototype design is currently being developed for industrial production and can be clipped on to the bike creating an “on-demand bike lane”.
The Lightlane device projects a virtual bike lane on the road at night.
Also on the theme of moving through cities, is the Walking Papers project, by Stamen design, which allows you to draw on a paper map, edit and transfer data into Open Street Map. This is a more personalized version of the standard cartographic information, providing updated information that only someone on the ground in a particular location would know, such as the location of mail boxes, bike racks and favorite restaurants. It’s an insightful map editing tool that provides a level of information that goes beyond Google maps.
‘Walking Papers’ which allows people to edit and transfer data into Open Street Map.
We love these two projects for inspiring people to get out and about and for engaging people with cities. Cycling is good exercise but can be dangerous on roads, so why not find a better way? Maps can be functional and boring, so why not make them interactive and engaging? We can apply this thinking to many design challenges, no matter how small they may seem, there’s always an opportunity to make a difference and improve lives by observing what’s going on around you.
At Monday Collective we are constantly out and about observing and discovering new insights, ideas and possibilities for design. If you’d like to get in touch with Monday Collective, we’d love to hear from you through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday Collective: connected brand design ideas
Monday, November 8, 2010
We partner with some inspiring entrepreneurs who constantly challenge why things can’t be done. These are the ones paving the way for meaningful change and they will be the leaders of tomorrow. But there aren’t enough entrepreneurial thinkers in the world with the challenger spirit of “I’m going to walk where nobody has walked before”. We like these rare, super talented people.
We, at Monday Collective, seek inspiration and ideas for designing meaningful change from all sorts of places – using our own eyes and ears, as well as those of our entrepreneurial partners and global Collective. We’re consistently mesmerized by the fascinating and forever changing art world, specifically with observing how people express themselves through art. This is something that always triggers our fruitful debates. Not only because we want to be as cool as they are, and have the freedom to express creativity in a big way, but we also learn a lot from them. We follow them.
The Underbelly Project has just been unveiled in New York City. It’s completely illegal and we absolutely love it. Which may not surprise those of you that know us. It’s literally the underground gallery for participating street artists from around the world, breaking free from the traditional gallery space and exploring their creativity in an unexpected and new environment.
Works of art displayed on the cavernous walls of the underground ‘gallery’.
It opened and closed at the same time. Nobody knows, or will know, the location, except one journalist who has sworn to secrecy. We think they’d crack after a few tequila shots with us. Until then, we’ll just let our imaginations run wild… It’s four stories under the streets of the city in a massive unused and undiscovered subway station. Over the course of the past year, 103 street artists, from emerging to established, have been secretly escorted into the station to express their creativity.
Artists express their creativity in the dusty blackness of the abandoned subway station.
The “you’re not invited” is driving us crazy, and we’re probably not the only ones. The Underbelly Project has created a mysterious urban myth that will survive for years to come. It defies the commercialism of the traditional gallery and allows the imagination of the best, collective, creative talent to experience the freedom to express themselves. They have broken free from the expected. You can probably see where we are heading with this now. Its relevance to us and our world of design?…
It’s provocatively brilliant. They are sticking two fingers up to conformity and taking the criticized-for-being-commercial world of street art underground allowing the artists to show they don’t care and will just do what they love doing, being artists. Designers can learn from this too by taking themselves out of a comfortable space and into the unknown, to really experience new places for self expression and creativity.
Selection of work from the Underbelly Project featuring street artists from all over the world.
We see great possibilities for design to create meaningful change if more business leaders adopted the mindset of Cultural Connectivity. Get real, get on the street. It’s no longer about piling on surface stuff in meeting rooms and research rooms – its about getting out there and finding the reality, the relevance and the substance behind why your business or brand exists. or should exist. Or why it should even survive.
More brands need to connect and adapt to the cultural changes going on around them if they want to connect with people today and in the future. Myths can be created around populist worlds, away from commerce and capitalism, that are grounded in the lives of real people. Brands that understand culture have the potential to lead culture and encourage people to think differently, to change behaviors – for the better. The latter is important to us, as it should be to everyone. Be ‘more than’ responsible.
Cultural Connectivity is the future, and it begins on the street. Another reason why we are always out and about and why we have chosen to design our business based on a Collective of thought leaders, which includes cultural observers, entrepreneurial thinkers, inspiring innovators… www.mondaycollective.com/collective. We are hunting for more experts to join our Collective, to help us in our campaign for The Brilliance of Change™. Thanks to those who’ve signed up already, we’re looking forward to creating many success stories with you.
We’re off to buy some spray cans and work helmets… watch out for us at your local subway station.