Provocation 1: Public Lighting Design

I found this piece about “Flow – public lighting” at Industrial Design Served. Go check out the whole thing because it’s clever and interesting and beautiful. I’m especially interested that my user experience designer friends see it.

When I first saw it, I was first struck by its elegance and beauty. The whole green angle is clever as well. But right after that, I immediately wondered, “do these things put out enough light?” And that got me to wondering about the whole project. Did the green aims of the designer distract them from other more pragmatic concerns? Is there some visceral value to be derived from the aesthetic that makes up for its lack of usable light? Was significant illumination necessarily a part of the project requirements? Should it have been? Continue reading

They Just Don’t Get It

It’s just one of those things that people will say. You’ve probably heard it. I know I’ve heard it in various contexts. It usually goes something like this:

“He doesn’t get it. You can tell; he just doesn’t get it.”

It seems to me that there are basically two worldviews from which this kind of thing emanates. One is what Robert Pirsig would call the “classical” worldview. This view looks at how things work—what you might call underlying form—and the people that tend to hold it seem to have an intuitive understanding of systems, their workings, and their inputs and outputs. The other worldview is what Pirsig would call the “romantic” worldview. This view looks at experience—the esoteric—and the people that tend to hold it seem to have an intuitive understanding of people, relationships, and other organic structures. Continue reading