Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Doing it Right

Designing responsibly is a necessity. We need to do it and we should want to do it - and if we're really good designers, we do it by instinct. (Remember Gestalt from Design Theory 221?) Unfortunately too much eco design spends a lot of time trying to look eco: be it awkwardly styled alternative fuel cars, cliched use of chip-board textures and Pantone 361, or whiffs of new aginess that seems to be more about self-congratulation than actual solutions. These cliches turn a lot of people off and will cause a backlash simply by their aesthetics.

There are a whole lot of people out there doing responsible design right though, and we like to point them out here whenever we stumble across them. Here are three old favorites:

Tesla Motors builds a purely electric car that gets from 0-60mph in less than four seconds, and looks fantastic doing it.

Good Magazine tackles big issues and presents them in a way that isn't all angsty, hippified or doom-and-gloom. The design is sharp and inviting. The writing is smart and friendly. It makes you think, and makes you feel good about it.

Morphosis (as mentioned last week) has designed some of the largest and most innovative sustainable buildings in the country, while not compromising their brash industrial aesthetic one bit. Thom Mayne seems to take joy in this perceived contradiction. Me too.

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