Philippe: Ex Starck, now “Spark”!


Renowned French designer Philippe Starck says he is fed up with his job and plans to retire in two years, in an interview published in a German weekly, furthermore Strack claims that Design is Dead!

“I was a producer of materiality and I am ashamed of this fact,” Starck told Die Zeit weekly newspaper.

“Everything I designed was unnecessary. I will definitely give up in two years’ time. I want to do something else, but I don’t know what yet. I want to find a new way of expressing myself …design is a dreadful form of expression.”


Starck, who is known for his interior design of hotels and Eurostar trains and mass consumption objects ranging from chairs to tooth brushes and lemon juice squeezers, went on to say that he believed that design on the whole was dead.

“In future there will be no more designers. The designers of the future will be the personal coach, the gym trainer, the diet consultant.”

Starck’s comment have drawn wide media attention and criticism from the design world, MoCo Loco Design blog, published an article under the title: Philippe Starck, Designer (… and Eco-Warrior). In the article MoCo Loco speaks about Starck’s new found religion: Environmental awareness!

Helen Walters at BusinessWeek recently sat down with Starck at the Mercer Kitchen for a chat (listen to the podcast here), and she asked him “Really, are you really ashamed of everything you’ve designed?”. Starck’s answer was something to the effect of that he has always been an eco-warrior?! Whaaaat?!

Is he for real?!


Captain Spark to the rescue: off to save the day!

I mean, really, How convenient is it that he realized that his design carrier was an utter waste of time, years after he became a design Icon and got filthy rich off designing useless items! If it was all useless, why didn’t you (Mr. Starck) go ahead and do something that is actually useful, instead of wasting your time and ours, not to mention our money!

Or is this some kind of mid age crisis, where you are trying to find purpose, and make your hollow life make sense? If so please go ahead and do so at your expense, don’t go about claiming that design is dead, just because you lost interest in design! Just because you are ashamed of your materialism, doesn’t mean that all designers are equally materialistic!

I say Mr. Starck, if you really think Design is useless, why wait two years to retire? why not go ahead and set off to save the planet now while you are at it, and rid us of your egotistical mumblings.


12 Reasons to refuse to Render!

Originally posted by By Sebastian J at Arch Daily blog.

Marc Joseph, from Young Architect, has written a post about one of those tasks you should try to avoid at all cost in order to make your life easier: 3D Rendering.

He wrote down 12 reasons why you should avoid rendering in your office:

1. You Will Lose Track of Time
You can really get lost in your modelling. A whole work day can go by without you even realizing it. Worst of all, you can spend hours on a task that you expected to take a half an hour. In the end, you will find yourself staying later into the night while your coworkers punch out at 6.

2. More Demands on Your Time
There seems to be a very unfair expectation that employers have on the amount of time that it takes to complete a digital model. I have seen employers consistently assign a brand new 3D model to be completed and rendered for print in a two day period. While that may not seem like a short amount of time, we can easily forget that a considerable amount of time is going to be spent tweaking the vantage points and materials. Also, the employer will inevitably be requesting changes to the design or look once they see your progress prints.

3. The Employer Doesn’t Have Knowledge of the Software
There in lies maybe the biggest problem. Most of your supervisors will be older and have not been personally exposed to modelling software. They often feel as though computers have made things more instant or automated, when the truth of the matter is that computers have really just complicated things.

So as mentioned above, the employer will give you these assignments and constantly make changes to the model before you are done. Often times, the changes that they request will require near full remodels, so they can really be detrimental to getting renderings complete. This brings me to my next point

4. You Will Find Yourself Re-doing Things Over and Over
As you present various schemes and changes to your clients, you will find that you will have to model the same things over and over again. It is not unusual to have to go through 3-5 different drawing files in one day.

5. You Have to Sweat the Details
Aside from actually constructing the forms that make up the building massing, you also need to concentrate on those tedious details. Reflections, shading, material colors, mullions… you name it, are all items that must be coordinated into your rendering in order for it to come off as a believable form. Clients have little capacity for imagination and you really need to paint as clear of a picture as possible. The details are going to take up most of your time.

6. You Are On Your Own: No One Else Can Help You
Unfortunately, digital models practically have individual signatures embedded into them. What I mean is that it is easy to tell that one person modelled one drawing and another person was the author of another. When you are presenting multiple schemes, the same person really needs to be developing each one. It is the only way to deliver a professional presentation to a client. This means that none of your colleagues can help you out with the work load.

7. You May Have Knowledge in One Software But Not Another
There are so many different 3D software out there. I could name nearly ten of them but there are constantly new programs coming out that trump the others. I personally was used to using Formz when I came out of school. My first firm used 3D Studio Max and expected me to hit the ground running. I ended up having to learn the new interface while trying to keep up with my assignments. This led to longer nights at work that I would have rather spent back home of at happy hour.

8. You Lose Your Personal Space
Because your boss will be wanting to make those changes, he is basically going to be sitting on your lap and punching holes in your LCD screen. They just get sucked into your computer screen while you are still sitting at your desk! They will be putting their faces 3 inches away from your screen so they can inspect your work and you will most likely get familiar with the smell of their breath. To make matters worst, they will just stand there while you are frantically making their changes, even though it may take you 10 minutes to do so. You really just have to sit there and take it because its hard to tell your boss to buzz off.

9. You Won’t Be Working on Important Tasks
So while you are making pretty pictures, your friends in the office will be doing real work. Creating presentation images is indeed important and you will still be a valuable member of the team, but, in the end this won’t amount to anything more than an image that makes your client “oooh and ahh.”

10. You Will Learn Less
This is similar to the last point. While you are modelling, you won’t be doing any detailing, space planning, or structural coordination. Really, you are going to be missing out on all of those “important tasks” that will make you a more complete architect. There is no 3d Modelling section on the exams.

11. You Will Be Under-appreciated
Because you won’t be involved in those other tasks that really result in a final set of working documents, your contribution won’t be recognized as much. 3D modelling is expected to be a simple automated process and the crazy amount of time you pour into your assignments will be diminished by your employers high expectations.

12. Professionals Do It Better
Seriously, they do. You could spend a solid month on a model and it won’t look as good as when a professional renderer works a day or two on the project. You don’t have the skill-set or the digital library to trump the professionals. From personal experience, I have seen a professional rendering firm model the entire Dubai Waterfront Development overnight…from scratch. These are the images that you have probably seen for a few years now, including the early images of the new world’s tallest building. That’s right, they were done in a span of one night! Could you possibly compete with that?

An Architectural Tragedy: Fire engulfs TVCC, a landmark of the skyline of Beijing

Last Monday, A massive fire engulfed Beijing’s Television Cultural Centre (TVCC), the building adjacent to the headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV), a building designed by Rem Koolhaas of The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

CCTV complex as intended after completion

CCTV complex as intended after completion

The new nearly finished 44-story building was scheduled to open by mid may 2009 and was supposed to house a luxury hotel and cultural center, the building was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas as part of China Central Television’s new headquarters, an angular wonder of modernist architecture that was built to coincide with the Beijing Olympics last year.

The Building dominates an unfinished cultural center adjacent to China Central Television’s new landmark headquarters, a modern Z-shaped building that helped reshape the city’s skyline. Part of the building was used during the Olympics; the 241-room hotel was set to open this year.

The structure was set on fire by stray fireworks fired by revelers celebrating Chinese New Year during the last day of celebrations for the lunar new year.

The fire burned from the ground floor to the top floor, the flames reflecting in the glass facade of the main CCTV tower next to the hotel and cultural center. Flames were spotted around 9:30 p.m., and within 20 minutes the fire had spread throughout the building.

The TVCC on fire

The TVCC on fire

Flames shot up the TVCC, shattering windows and setting off explosions that ironically showered sparks higher than fireworks lighting up the rest of the city.

The TVCC on fire

The TVCC in full blaze

The blaze rendered the 34-story structure unusable, as the zinc and titanium alloy of the outer skin was burnt.
The cause has been caused by a massive Chinese New Year fireworks display in the compound, authorized by CCTV itself.

TVCC Lighting up Beijing’s sky

TVCC Lighting up Beijing’s sky

“Huge fireworks exploded over the building after 8 p.m., and sparks showered down,” said Ji Yuan, 14, a student who lives nearby. “The building lit up, and at first we thought there were more fireworks going off nearby, but then we saw the fire spread from the top, floor by floor.”
People are usually restricted from setting off fireworks downtown, but the government waives the rule for two weeks each year to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

TVCC burning to the ground

TVCC burning to the ground

One firefighter was killed and seven people were injured, six of them firefighters

The fire was the latest in a series of calamities to befall China since the tightly choreographed Beijing Games last August, including, the shutdown of Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest), a severe economic slowdown, a tainted milk scandal and sporadic riots and protests.

The cultural complex was designed by Dutch architects Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren. “I think it’s really sad that this building is destroyed before it can be opened to the public,” said Erik Amir, a senior architect with the OMA, who rushed to the scene.

Contributing: Associated Press, Arch Daily, DeZeen magazine blog.
Photos by: Andrew Lih from DeZeen magazine blog, AFP and Wikipedia.

More on MINI fiasco – Fascism and oppression

A follow up on The MINI fiasco, Yesterday I received this message from the “MINI Space Team“:

“Dear Soberhigh,

Thank you for your continued interest in MINI Space.

We are glad to provide a forum for designers to showcase their artwork and interact with each other in a positive manner.

We need to make sure that the content that is on the website is not offensive to anyone.

Backgrounds or posts that are slanderous or violate our terms of use will be removed.

The MINI Space Team”

I immediately fell to the ground laughing! what the hell are they on about?!
Anyhow, knowing that it is “rude” to leave their message unanswered I wrote them this:

“More jabbering from “The Team”
I honestly don’t think they understand the stuff they write (if indeed they are the ones who write it), now what does that last post mean?

“Backgrounds or posts that are slanderous or violate our terms of use will be removed.”
Slanderous to whom?

Are they implying that my last design “MINI BS” was slanderous?
To whom? The Lord MINI almighty?
Did I insult all the MINInian believers out there? (like the Danish Cartoon incident, looooooool)

My Latest entry in the competition titled "MINI B.S. smels"

My Deleted entry in the competition titled "MINI B.S. smells"

Is it slanderous to you?

Supposing that it was in fact Slanderous and blasphemous to the MINI religion (which it wasn’t); does that give them the right to delete it?

Where is the Freedom of artistic expression?
Are the management team living in China?!
Isn’t this the essence of Hypocrisy itself?

They give you a space and then they say you can only do what we permit you to do with it…

Dear TEAM, The MINI cell, is a more realistic and accurate name for this community of yours… and I suggest you only let those who follow your MINIrialism to join…
And if you don’t like my ranting… well delete me, cause I intend to keep on ranting!

P.S. why do you guys send me the same message you posted to the wall? Is this some kind of failsafe policy of yours? To ensure that I “get it”?!
If so why was the messages telling me that my votes have been “eliminated” only delivered in my inbox? was it because it’s a more private and intimate topic?
Nehow, stop it! It is really annoying! Stick to one way of communication either by wall or messages!!!

P.P.S. BTW, how come “The Team” can delete our posts and we can’t delete the post we don’t want from our own wall?
Isn’t it our wall after all? so it makes more sense that WE have the same control over it the “The Team” has, if not more!
Just a thought… ”

My new MINI design

My new MINI design

Anyhow as a form of a more civilized respond to what they are saying and doing, and the deletion of “MINI BS” twice, I designed this new entry and posted to both, MINI Space and DeviantArt.
Lets see if they consider it “Blasphemous” too!

The MINI fiasco

OK, I didn’t wanna start my blog by whining and bitching…
But i had to, so either you bear with me or turn to the next blogger!

I am an architect and designer. 7 days ago I participated in a web competition run by, titled:
MINI Space Design Competition 3

I participated using my profile on the website, under the net alias “soberhigh”.

The purpose of the competition was to design a creative background for the MINI space, under the theme “electrified”.
I participated with 4 designs, which rapidly won praise and during the last 5 days my rankings kept going up, until one of my designs ranked 6th 2 days ago with 195 votes. With 4 more days to go, I was expecting certain win in the competition.

My top ranking design (ranking at 6th on Monday 02/02/09)

My top ranking design (ranking at 6th on Monday 02/02/09)

Yesterday, at 11:59 am, I received this message from the site management:

“Our tracking process unfortunately flagged some of your votes as coming from “fake” accounts.
Therefore we had to eliminate these votes in order to give all competitors the same chance.”

With this the management of the site removed 90 votes out of my 6th ranking design moving it back to the 24th position, effectively ruining my chances to win; and this so called filtering was done with the leading design only, the rest which are ranking at 43, 54 and 85, were left alone. Furthermore, this filtering was only applied to my profile.

Aggravated by this turn of events I contacted the site management, objecting to the votes recount, and requesting a list of the false votes, or a list of the accounts that they thought was fake, in order to verify if these accounts were fake or not. (I have the full log of msgs)

Of course their respond was that this cannot be done. Instead they replied:
“as much as we would like to send you the form with all the accounts, that would not be possible because of the way our system filters the votes.”

They also said they are not sure why the votes were eliminated, but they could have been eliminated if they were made by friends because it is not “contest of popularity”, yet their Invite form clearly says: Invite your friends to vote for you!!!

The MINI Space invite form clearly stating that you can invite your friends to vote!

The MINI Space invite form clearly stating that you can invite your friends to vote!

Today MINI space team continued their bias and favoritism,

They have removed my latest entry which i added after the incident, without so much as a notice… probably cause they deemed it offensive to MINI.

My Latest entry in the competition titled "MINI B.S. smels"

The deleted design, titled "MINI B.S. smells"

They are explicitly exercising censorship on my freedom of speech!

Right now I’m left with a grave feeling of betrayal and injustice on the part of the MINI space management, and I don’t know how to go publicly with this incident that reveals unfairness and bias.

Already I’ve sent the details of the incident to many Mr. Gert Hildebrand and many News networks, including BBC, Yahoo!, Independent UK, Gardian UK, Al Ahram Weekly Egypt.

Other than that I don’t know what to do in the face of this unfairness!!!