How is scientific innovation changing design?

James Zemaitis: I would absolutely say that it’s . . . it’s all about what Paola Antonelli called the mutant materials aspect of contemporary design. It’s enabling contemporary designers to work in synthesizing materials that they could never have done in the earlier technologies. And it’s also about, of course, the working with CAD. They’re working with computers to create these kind of computer-generated models. That’s certainly what and you know, work in frequently. That said, I myself kind of love the DIY approach to design. I still love designers who are recycling work and doing it in a kind of almost like guerilla style; not taking advantage of today’s technology. A designer that I didn’t mention before that I really should name drop here, because I think he’s also one of the most brilliant guys today, is Tom Dixon who’s based in London. And Tom Dixon in the late ‘80s, when him and Ron … were among the group of young guys working in London – almost kind of like the bands that were coming out of London. There was almost like a similar style, you know, between the underground of bands that was coming out of Manchester in the late ‘90s, and the guys working in London in the late ‘80s. But Tom Dixon back in the late ‘80s was recycling old rubber steering wheels and using them as the anchor for his chair, which he then wove basketry on top of to create this fusion of natural materials and recycled auto parts. Dixon, again like Jasper Morrison, is probably one of the most important designers of our times who is not a huge force on the secondary market. You know his work does not get anywhere near the same prices as Marc …does. But I think that’s also because he’s dedicated more of his career to creating design programs for companies, and for still working in a bit of that DIY aesthetic really instead of licensing and harnessing these, you know, commercial editions.

Recorded on: 1/30/08




It's all about the mutant materials, Zemaitis says.

The pagan origins of three Catholic practices

A few traditions in the Roman Catholic Church can be traced back to pagan cults, rites, and deities.

Photo by Josh Applegate / Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The Catholic rite of Holy Communion parallels pre-Christian Greco-Roman and Egyptian rituals that involved eating the body and blood of a god.
  • A number of Catholic holidays and myths, such as Christmas, Easter, and Mardi Gras, graph onto the timeline of pre-Christian fertility festivals.
  • The Catholic practice of praying to saints has been called "de-facto idolatry" and even a relic of goddess worship.
Keep reading
Surprising Science

The idea that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetic disease has been gaining currency in medical circles for almost ten years. The accumulated evidence is now so strong that many specialists are now comfortable referring to Alzheimer's as type 3 diabetes.

Keep reading

The digital economy benefits the 1%. Here’s how to change that.

A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.

  • Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
  • While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
  • Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.