Friday, October 23, 2009

The Food Cart of Museums

The SF Mobile Museum is on the prowl, people. Like the entrepreneurial foodies who insert themselves into the fabric of the city with their pop up food cart food courts, the SF Mobile Museum is taking its message directly to its audience, with no walls to keep them out or the work in. I especially like that the current exhibit Genius Loci, works about places with resonance, is doing its part to make the locations it visits a bit more resonant.

All of this public art goodness is the work of Maria Mortati, who, in addition to curating the work for the show, has installed it at the Studio for Urban Projects in SF and The Denver Community Museum, and now wherever the hell she feels like it.

I walked over to Dolores Park to check it out during Mission Open Studios, and it was a really cool scene. It was attracting a lot of attention, but it felt totally at home. Maybe this inside-out museum thing has legs. It definitely goes with red wine in a paper Coke cup.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Model Maker Gets His Due

Italian designers are renowned--especially the great masters from the magical third quarter of the 20th century. Folks like Achille Castiglioni, Enzo Mari, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso were revolutionary thinkers. But to bring those thoughts to life, they needed model makers. Giovanni Sacchi helped all those guys, and more, bring those thoughts to life with his hands. Designers today have unprecedented control of surfaces and forms. With CAD, I can, all by myself, take a concept from a thought to a ready to mold database. But that way of working is missing something. Its missing guys like Mr. Sacchi. He interpreted 2D drawings into 3D objects. And his very human touch--the way he broke an edge with sandpaper or worked a form with his chisel, necessarily left the hand of the model-maker in the design. Today, the person who ends up doing the CAD for the lead designer does the model maker's job. They interpret. They figure out the detailing. They ultimately build the surfaces that will make of break the overall effect. But for all the power and precision of CAD, there's something about an object that has been touched by a hand, and considered not just virtually, but actually. That feels good. At least it feels good to me.

I love the designed-by-a-patternmaker look too. That's the look that old shop equipment has; presses and mills and lathes. Its focused without being too self conscious. But here is some of that feeling AND Castiglioni!

So here's to you Giovanni. Celebrate his contribution to the world of design through the Giovanni Sacchi Archive. And thanks to Designboom for their story on this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making the most of the dimensions you have.

My friend Andre sent me this AMAZING link to the work of Rinus Roelofs. I've done some work with things that fold and join in unusual ways, but this stuff is absolutely amazing. He's like a three dimensional M.C. Escher--carefully constructing a tessellation of identical pieces that nest together to make a surprising whole. Part japanese carpenter, part Bucky Fuller, Rinus sees pattern in a way few people do. Quickly, get over there and check it out. In the mean time, here are a few more objects to ponder.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recession + Foodies + Twitter = Food Cart Scene

Something amazing is happening in San Francisco. And I hear its happening all over the country. People who want to make a little cash in this depressed economy are turning their passion for food into a small business. But how do you find customers? The answer is they find you. By connecting with customers through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, food carts (mostly they're folding tables) connect with their clientele in real time. And it works. This little gathering in our neighborhood park was PACKED. And our good friend Ana Carolina (second photo from the bottom) and her Brazilian Bites cart was sold out before the crowds dispersed. Cheap, delicious, unusual, capricious food on the fly is fun! Look for Brazilian Bites (of course), but don't forget to follow Soul Cocina, the Lumpia Guys and Smitten Ice Cream (made on the spot with liquid nitrogen!).