A Captive Audience

Designers in a new “collaborative” brand called Common
February 11, 2011, 6:08 am
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By Ann Thorpe : Design Activism



M.I.A at the Scream Awards
October 19, 2010, 7:28 am
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Portrait Building – Carlton Brewery
September 15, 2010, 12:32 pm
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From The Age, 15 September 2010

IT’S likely to become Melbourne’s most significant or most controversial building.

A 32-storey apartment block at the Carlton end of Swanston Street will feature – in an architectural world first – the image of indigenous leader William Barak across its 100-metre-high, sculpted facade.

When complete in 2014, Barak’s image on the Portrait building, on the former Carlton & United Brewery site, will be in direct line of site of the Shrine of Remembrance, nearly three kilometres away.

An impression of what the building will look like with William Barak's face on the facade.An impression of what the building will look like with William Barak’s face on the facade.

”There have been some concepts in the past for an image to be put on a building but no one has been brave enough to do it,” said Daniel Grollo, chief executive of the project’s builder, Grocon.

”The Shrine is about honouring a great set of Australians who made a sacrifice to Australia, and this is also honouring a great set of Australians who made a sacrifice for Australia.”

The image of the tribal chief’s face, sculpted in light and shade using the building’s white concrete balconies, will be best seen from a vantage point on Swanston Street, near Lonsdale Street.

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Fitted for Work
September 3, 2010, 7:29 am
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Article below about Melbourne organisation Fitted for Work by Cathy Gowdie in Marie Claire 3 September 2008

Looking for a new job is never easy, but imagine what it feels like when you’ve been out of the workplace for months, or even years. Thanks to Fitted for Work, thousands of women are getting back to work in style.

Sitting at her kitchen table as sunlight streamed through the window, Tania Carey circled yet another job ad in the newspaper. It had been several weeks and eight job applications since she’d started looking for work, and the 38-year-old single mother hadn’t had a single interview.

Looking back, Tania knows that after almost 12 years spent juggling casual, part-time and non-office-based jobs with caring for her children, Ebony, 12, and Liam, eight, prospective employers were probably deterred by her lack of recent office experience. “I felt so frustrated,” she reveals. “No-one looks at what you can do and what experience you have. They see those dates and ignore you. I’m not a confident person at the best of times and I just felt awful.”

And then, last May, her luck changed when her Job Network advisor referred her to Fitted for Work, a small volunteer organisation that helps women find employment by providing free clothing, business coaching and interview training. Before she knew it, Tania was employed. Continue reading

The Plastiki
August 29, 2010, 8:42 am
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The Plastiki is a boat made from 12,500 plastic bottles that was sailed from San Francisco to Sydney this year.  The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of plastic when used and disposed of inappropriately. This is done by using an adventure style mission to captivate and educate.

The Plastiki is communicating a variety of messages.  The first thing that is happening is that an issue has been identified, and addressed by means of a public awareness campaign. There is a general environmental message surrounding the sheer volume of plastic waste that currently exists in the the oceans and the manner in which this is entering the foodchain as it breaks down into small particles.  There is the idea that this plastic that is used for so little time by humans before being disposed of remains in the world for so long.   Then the second thing that is happening is that design solutions are being proposed by the design artifact.  Various ideas around how plastic might be designed more effectively along the along principles of cradle to cradle design are explored in the plastic bottle boat.  The boat is not a solution for the entire plastic problem, it offers only the ideas which its design and form allows.  So the solutions are limited by what can actually be designed given it must take the form of a boat, and given the available technology, materials and skills available at that particular time.

The third aspect of note is that these ideas are really well managed to present a coherent, engaging and consistent message.  Below is a selection of articles found in the Sydney Morning Herald around the time of the Plastiki’s arrival in Sydney in July 2010.  All tell a clear picture of what the project sets out to achieve while still allowing for its complexity.

The plastic bottle lined hull of Plastiki.The plastic bottle lined hull of the Plastiki.

Potent message in bottles. By Sarah Whyte,  July 11 2010 “IT’S a message carried in 12,500 bottles across the seas, and it says one thing: eliminate waste.”

Plastic is fantastic for banking dynasty heir. Glenda Kwek,  July 26 2010 “De Rothschild’s message is simple: plastic is fantastic, and we should learn how to reuse and recycle it, instead of discarding it as waste that then goes on to pollute our land and oceans.

“The story that has been told to us about plastic is that it’s cheap, it’s valueless, it’s non-toxic, it’s easy to use and don’t worry about throwing it out because we can just make some more.

“The reality is it’s not cheap, it’s not non-toxic, it’s not valueless, it’s valuable, it uses a lot of resources.”

Addiction to plastic is fueling marine disaster. Tim Elliot July 25 2010

“In Australia alone we have used almost 14 million tonnes of plastic since 2000, according to the latest industry figures.

But tonnes and tones of discarded plastic wind up polluting the ocean and waterways and endangering wildlife.”

Bill Cunningham New York
August 19, 2010, 7:24 am
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At the Melbourne International Film Festival recently I saw a film called Bill Cunningham New York.  The film follows photographer/columnist Bill Cunningham who chronicles for the New York Times the fashion he sees on the streets of New York.  Part of his job is on the street, photographing the fashion he sees and collating this into stories and themes that document fashion trends.  The other part of his job is attending charity functions and galas of an evening and photographing guests for a separate column.  While this is far less interesting from a fashion point of view, it intrigued me for the purposes of this project.

A scene in the documentary shows Cunningham going through the plethora of invitations he receives.  It is at his discretion which events he chooses to attend.  The invitations contain the guest lists of who will be in attendance.  While one might assume the expectation on him would be to photograph the biggest names, he describes how he doesn’t care at all for who is on the guest list, what makes him decide what to attend is who the charity it is for.  If the charity interests him, then he goes, as the publicity generated for the cause if it appears in his column is obviously very valuable.  Cunningham is an interesting personality because of his simple lifestyle, down to earth nature and good humour in contrast to the colourful and often superficial world in which he works.  He appears to live only for the pleasure he finds in his work, and conversely, a simple lifestyle has allowed him to do do work that is pleasurable.  In order to lend his support to the charities he finds worthwhile or interesting, is Cunnigham subverting the society charity event or is he subverting the society newspaper column.  Is he subverting New York society in general?

Otto Von Busch – Hacking Design
August 7, 2010, 9:04 am
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