by Jeremy Brautman
Including graphic, industrial, interior and product design, " Stuffz: Design on Material," the new book from Gingko Press, focuses on design in three dimensions. With examples as diverse as the 100 designers (from six continents) who make them, the fabric-covered compendium opens to inspired concepts and in-production takes on furniture, lighting, clothing, textiles, toys, sneakers, cars, umbrellas, sunglasses, scooters and more—even the meager matchbox gets a makeover.
If a common thread ties it all together, it's the issue of sustainability. Consumer materialism remains the same, but responsibility for resources now plays a role in both the design and acquisition of the objects. Vancouver's Contexture Design uses locally-sourced materials for their hand-made iPod cases. São Paolo's Carla Tennenbaum makes art from obsolete mobile phone accessories and other refuse. London's Dominic Crinson designs stunning 100% recyclable, made-to-order tiles and wallpaper. Cairo-born Karim Rashid is currently working with a fast-food restaurant to design bio-degradable packaging using starch and potatoes.
Another underlying theme of Stuffz speaks to the desire to render our environment beautiful, interesting, functional and provocative. With design software, more artists have the ability to realize their projects. Marcel Wanders creates art objects to beautify living spaces. Walking-Chair treads toward irony with their circular ping-pong table. Jurgen Bey's Daytripper dresses up a public park bench in pink florals and allows people to sit on it in a variety of postures. Meike van Schinjndel and Brian Golsteijn bear the distinction of coming up with the most unusual (and controversial) piece of stuff, a cherry red, mouth-shaped urinal designed "with the goal of optimizing the bathroom experience."
Read and see more after the jump.
Proving that everyday objects no longer need be banal, the book also looks at a new generation of designers comfortable with imparting emotion onto objects with a goal of inspiring ideas. The prolific work of eBoy (sneakers to sofas), tokidoki (makeup to watches) and Jon Burgerman, subject of a catalog of his abundant output called, Doodlesplatter, all represent an emerging crop of creators with an abundance of both emotion and ideas.
While perusing the many captivating designs makes Stuffz an education on its own, the book's curator Sijuan includes a page of backstory on each artist. Predictably not everyone took a path from womb to art school. Some started out as lawyers, chemical engineers and even bricklayers.
A motivating read, Stuffz reminds creators of the possiblities on both practical and personal levels. Miami-based design team, Friends With You sum it up nicely: "We've worked with plush, metal sculptures, food, fiberglass, computer, video, etc. We never limit our creativity to anything. Like, if we want to build a ladder to heaven, it might be best to make it inflatable rather than from a piece of wood because we can reach higher with it now."