“Starbucks — the subject of a new book — exemplifies a whole new corporate approach to talent management, one that centers on behavioral and cultural fit over skills and competencies, and gives power to its people.”
The chosen works vary broadly in terms of scale and function as well as in style and spirit, but all represent a unique vision. Some are exercises in formmaking pyrotechnics. Case in point: Zaha Hadid’s splendidly curvaceous cultural center in Baku, Azerbaijan (pictured). Others, like the minimalist open-air pavilion by Foster + Partners in Marseille, France, are sublime studies in simplicity. Inventiveness prevails, perhaps nowhere more strikingly than in Aedas’s twin Abu Dhabi skyscrapers, whose smart façades adjust to changing light conditions. And underlying all these edifices is a deep connection to place, with each design sensitively responding to its locale’s history and aesthetic traditions. To be sure, there are other spectacular new buildings—far more than could possibly fit in our pages. Consider this sample a reflection of the times, a celebration of ingenuity, and a reminder of architecture’s power to inspire.
The city formally takes up that issue this year during its turn as World Design Capital. Cape Town is celebrating design in all its forms, putting on fashion shows by students and established designers alike, hosting architecture open houses, welcoming the public into artists’ studios and folding the annual visual arts spectacular Design Indaba conference in February into the design capital program. Also part of the lineup are locals seeking to rejuvenate impoverished black-majority townships: The Maboneng Lalela Project turns township homes into galleries and performance spaces; Foodpods constructs sustainable farms, giving residents access to healthy produce; and the Langa Quarter project seeks to make the precinct a cultural tourism destination.
I loved this series FastCompany ran of how CEO/Product or Creative guru collaborate at many successful companies including Starbucks, Tesla, Jawbone (Hosain Rahman and Yves Behar below), Pepsi, Facebook and others here and here
Vanity Fair on Yves Behar, the designer of iconic devices like the One Laptop per Child computer, the Jawbone headset , the Up fitness band and the Local Bike in photo.
“Technology is essentially hard to understand, unattractive, insensitive to human needs in its raw state—right?” (Yves) Béhar says. “And it’s all about how you take technology and turn it into something magical, attractive, with a sense of humanity attached to it.”
Béhar’s worldview is in line with a concept that Silicon Valley has modishly dubbed the Internet of Things. His latest effort, called August, is a perfect example: a next-generation home-entry system in the form of a perfectly round device that replaces the dead-bolt part of a lock. With no special installation required, it opens on command from a cell-phone app and arguably has the potential to change the way people have treated home security since the invention of the lock and key in ancient Mesopotamia.
This is precisely what Béhar prioritizes above all else in his work. “Good design accelerates the adoption of new ideas,” he says. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of M.I.T.’s Media Lab and Béhar’s partner in One Laptop per Child, puts it another way: “Great ideas lurk in our peripheral vision, not reached through incremental thinking, but audacious jumps. Yves takes those.”
OK, most men may not relate to this but my wife went on and on about a vending machine she saw at the Venetian in Vegas that I had to humor her and go check it out.
The Rollasale machine dispenses packets of stretchable flat shoes for ladies. It’s instant relief from high heels in a mall, disco, wherever. Ingenious, the product concept and even more ingenious the delivery format.
“Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute™ has been designating a Color of the Year to express in color what is taking place in the global zeitgeist. A color that will resonate around the world, the PANTONE Color of the Year is a reflection of what people are looking for, what they feel they need that color can help to answer. Not necessarily the hot fashion color of the moment, but a color crossing all areas of design which is an expression of a mood, an attitude, on the part of the consumers.”
“The color for 2014? The captivating, magical and enchanting Radiant Orchid. An invitation to innovation, modern and versatile Radiant Orchid encourages creativity and originality. Imbued with a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and its rosy undertones emanate great joy, love and health. “
It’s a department you normally associate with compliance not creativity, but PeopleSoft HR did pioneer point-and-click GUI for the enterprise in the client/server world, and its progency in the form of Workday and Oracle Fusion products are continuing the tradition in a world of mobile devices.
At an analyst meeting at its HCM World Conference this week, Oracle allowed us to play with a new iPad interface. The two screen shots from my session are not only pleasant, but reflect (or rather protect the user from) a significant amount of background benchmark data. Expect finance, customer facing and other departments to clamor for similar eye-candy, and even more importantly benchmark data.