Inspiration comes from all angles. Precision is more related to craftsmanship than creativity.
One morning I saw this man working on wooden frames for ‘Dim Sum’ [Cantonese], ‘Dian Xin’ [Mandarin]. It is by now very rare to see such devotion and passion from a single person in the big cities. This reminded me of the border line we are constantly operating in – precision vs random outcome.
So when I went to the shanghai glass museum, this thought came back to me and by simply admiring the accidental beauty within details of sculptures and vases, it connected the human aspect of design with the intention of perfection. This act of nature could be used intentionally, like taking a bite of an apple logo, bringing a design closer to the observer/consumer.
intended precision – warped perfection – beauty in detail
naturally there is a fascination (at times an erotic connotation) to a. curved lines, but mostly b. to mass production (repeated perfection)
Intended perfection – harmony + beauty
some of these I converted to inspiration for logo designs
Not only the object as a whole, but the detailed observation inspires results
fluid or solid?
male or female?
linear perfection intended
The mixture of beauty and perfection can be found throughout history – flowing curves – those have been used as idea basis for thousands of designs all over Asia. (Shanghai Museum, People Square)
The continuation of proportion, placement and space within layouts.
Total western dictatorship in design. (bank note from 1907)
Dedicated craftsmanship. The border between two sides is sometimes difficult to distinguish.
Authority rules over aesthetics?
After years of copying western ideas and trying to make them look more local, here are finally original ideas that have been developed from the inside out, considering true local culture and needs, and thoroughly studying the background of the subject. I’m so happy that the innovation age has finally started.
The New Shanghai Cinema
Built on People Square, this new cinema incorporates true insight in local behavior. Raffles Findings, a Singaporean research institute studied cinema customers behavior, and after several months of evaluation, one major conclusion led to this revolutionary design: Local people do not want to sit behind others, but find the first row too close to the screen.
The architect, a Mr Zhang, implemented the findings and the new cinema has only one row of seats, located around what used to be the 7th row (the latter is also based on this research).
Additionally to the layout, movies are edited down to 15 minutes length, removing all unnecessary story plot parts and character introductions, as they are mostly foreign and of no relevance to local understanding. Due to the ‘compression’ of the movies to a 6th of the usual length, the ticket price increased proportionally 5-6 fold (since customers get more for their money in shorter time). Combination tickets for 3 or 5 movies can be purchased.
A long standing argument about pajamas being (or not) casual or formal wear has now been solved. An international local luxury fashion house has adopted the unique patterns and started an entire collection of office wear based on this local insight, marketing the formal outfit as “two part suit”. (more models of the collection can be found here).
Early bird offers
An observation including pensioners queuing at 7am outside supermarkets has led to a city wide price challenge. Supermarkets sell products to low price in the early morning hours, normal prices around lunch time and higher prices towards closing time. So cost for example 1kg of potatoes 9RMB at 7am, 12 during lunch time and 15RMB after 5pm. This offer system rewards the early bird, who is usual male and purchase mostly vegetables and fish. Those two sections show the highest fluctuation in price.
Masses of people, especially during national holidays, but also the occasional Auntie in KFC don’t have to be a nuisance anymore. Specially developed fabric, with 2 way polarization gives you the respected distance to your fellow man in the queue.
The new technology allows to statically charge your jacket whiles moving your arms or simply by walking, and creating a protective sphere charged with static electricity around your body. A protective inner layer helps to avoid electrocuting yourself whilst wearing this garment. The electric charges are harmless, but can deliver a nasty sting to those too close to you. (Polarization of jackets can be switched between + and -).
The three seater motorbike – 3SM
A local motor bike factory developed this family vehicle seating two adults and one child. From the front starting with father, then child and mother. The child seat is slightly lower for protective purposes. The bike can also be obtained with an electric motor and extensions for shopping and transport (to a maximum of 3 cubic meters) can be added.
Mei Nü smiling tapes
Career stress and family pressure can even get to the most beautiful girl. This has recently grown to an epidemic and the result were absent looking, arrogant or bored expressions of local beauties (mostly displayed in public places such as subway). A well known cosmetic brand has now found a solution that solves the problem once and for all – an adhesive film applied to corners of the mouth (on cheeks) that slightly stretches the mouth to a smile. Once applied the tape is entirely invisible and dissolves over a period of 12 hours.
Transport statistic bureau has reported a decline in complaints and rude behavior between passengers. A young subway attendant, holding a green flag, commented – “People are much friendlier now and even smile at each other!”
It is so refreshing to see that the creative environment is finally changing and taking the right course. All it takes is just to really engage with the subject matter, then great innovations are possible!
Home sweet home. But first need to find our way through the snow …
All the good stuff has to be carried by hand to the top …
Only water is plentiful up here.
The food looks like a mouthful, but actually in these harsh conditions, you need the energy!
The air is so fresh up here, I got sunburned instantly. Additionally the air is so clean, I needed to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day just to keep the Shanghai standard. The year before I didn’t and fell ill instantly – oxygen overdose!
All this reflection off the white surfaces, you could go blind easily.
Thursday, 4pm, sunny day.
Over 1. Ocotber holiday the boys made a short trip to Taiwan. Since direct travel is restricted, the journey via Hong Kong took a while, but once arrive we dived into the nightmarket scenario and stuffed ourselves with too much delicious food (as usual).
Managed to travel down south into the sunshine to Kenting and enjoy a couple of days by the beach. Of course got burned and returned as a swollen lobster, but still was great fun!
Soooooo much food in the night market!
On the beach till the sun was gone.
Taiwan island’s most southern point. Tricky rocks …
“That seagull looks suspiciously at my spaghetti!
Sooooo much fruit in the night market!
Constructivism is one of my favorite movements. It is so inspirational and such a sophisticated way of expressing thought, and actually stimulating others to evolve those thoughts. It is an ever growing process.
I can find inspiration through this way of thinking in plenty of daily life’s constructions – tangible or intangible ones.
Here are some beautiful examples of inspiration taken on the beach of Putuo Shan, near Shanghai. – Keep constructing.
During walks, meetings, presentations, events, dinner, shopping, etc. we are constantly surrounded by pattern. As we are always confronted with these pattern, we absorb and interact with them. Subconsciously we absorb the ones we prefer and apply them in one way or another in daily life …
Whilst recently researching ‘luxury brands’ for a client, I stumbled accidentally across this website kim jong il looking at things.
(Thanks Eric for the reference and mock-up)
I believe we are onto something here. Perhaps the missing link between western and eastern Haute Couture? Definitely worth an investigation when it comes to desperately developing a luxury brand for this country.
Both ‘dames’ seem to have a very developed style, that consists of several standardized items which are variably put together, mostly depending on a simple color scheme.
Is it mostly black for Karl Lagerfeld, I found Mr. Kim’s private collection consists of various ensembles that range from single color beige, brown, green, blue to black (but are always kept in one color only), and have either short sleeves for summer or long sleeves/ down jacket for winter outfits. The style as such is simple, which reminds of Japanese or Scandinavian designers.
Interestingly, both like to wear dark shades. I presume to hide their age and ad a stylish edge to their appearance.
Is this the fundamental similarity of high fashion that could bring cultures together?
The best Xia Long Bao place in Shanghai, on Maoming Lu 70. Yi Long costs 6RMB and includes 8 Bao Zi. Why go to Din Tai Fung and pay 48RMB for Yi Long?
The interior is very simple and sits 10 people. I love the layout and the color scheme.
Yummi! Each one has delicious soup inside.
Classic tools: small dish for vinegar, spoons and chopsticks.
Spicy oil and toothpicks.
Just amazing colors, almost retro.
Custom made, coca cola look alike fridge decoration. ‘Leng Yin’ – cold drinks.