The black cube can show us the way


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A single good one

Dieter Rams (design legend of Braun products) gives us a glimpse into his design thinking. I agree with pretty much everything he says in this 2-minute video, especially:

Do we really need 10 coffee machines? In fact, we just need a single good one.

Good quality, well designed products must trump poorly designed, cheaply made ones. Pay for quality, and use something for years or even a lifetime. Reduce landfill from dozens of crap products that last only past they’re token warranties. This is sort of the basis for my ‘Things’ posts.

The idea

The idea to send a black cube to influential designers for critique is a great exercise. Kudos to the students who cooked up the scheme.

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  • Ludari
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    Ludari Ludari

    I visited their exhibition in NYC (lucky me!) and as a matter of fact these guys did not send the cube to the named celebrities but they rather met with them and discussed the qualities of this mad thing (some of them even showed up, chatted with van Stammen and Piva!). The black cube was staged amazingly over there, but nonetheless I kind of hesitate to buy all of the designer’s statements… still not sure… crazy one!

    • Barto
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      Barto Barto

      Yes, I agree with you a little bit; it does seem sort of wanky, and I would’ve hated that just a few years back. At the same time, I find it an interesting thought-experiment: trying to pull meaning from something so refined and abstract. I think at the very least it shows how different designers think.

  • Valstorm
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    Valstorm Valstorm

    What if I want a white cube? A furry cube? Or maybe I want a cardboard cube?

    While I do agree with the fact that a capitalist/consumerist attitude will, and is, leading to a bad state of affairs for humanity, I don’t believe that reducing choice is the answer. Competition drives innovation, without it we would be viewing this video on a Xerox machine on a dial up connection, paying for the privilege by the minute.

    Competition is rooted in nature itself, in every aspect of life there is the struggle to prevail above all others. Why fight it?

  • Barto
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    Barto Barto

    It’s not so much that competition is bad, it’s that superfluous things are bad. For example, if we had a single good coffee machine, why would we need to innovate and create another one? And if someone did create a better coffee machine, we’d have a new good one, and then a newly crapper one.

    To answer: why fight it? Because we can. We have the intelligence, and hopefully foresight, to decide not to make crap stuff, and design and produce better things, ideally leading to less raw material being used.

    Ideally.