Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Blue Flip Phone

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Blue Flip Phone,
After many years together, our relationship has come to an end.  I've found someone new.
She's sleek, smart, and sexy.  My generous co-workers introduced us just today.  Love at first text!

I'll miss your sonar ring and all the stylish "flips."  Oh the good times we had.

I'll remember you always,
Dave Heimbuch

(Welcome to the 21st century, Dave.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 is more than 4

I can't say the partners had done the math yet, but as Dave Heimbuch toasted at our holiday party, there are finally more employees at ai3 than there are partners!  And that doesn't include (2) interns and (2) more employees on the way. 
What a feeling of accomplishment for all of us at ai3.  We believe in what we're doing and have become friends with some great new clients in 2010. Here's a toast to all of YOU, and happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paint finally rubbed off....

Spray-paint art of our lovely interns Jamie Perin, industrial design , and Heather Rice, interior design, both here with us this Fall.  As part of the design concept for our first Mellow Mushroom restaurant with Reid Fogleman in Fayetteville, North Carolina, these were stencil concepts on Pizza Pans and Restroom signage. The paint came off their cuticles eventually-

The Art in the Story Board

The challenge of pulling together a cohesive vision for a project can drive one mad! We’ve all been there, blank sheet (okay blank InDesign file) staring back at us....come on give it to me! Storyboarding can break the ice quickly - simple concepts or complex scenes all start with one line of clarity.

Story boards allow us to reinterpret, react to another designers vision or expand a great idea.

Check out artist Brian Gossett and Tavo Ponce's take on a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off

What makes chili, chili?  Our first chili competition was dominated by beef chilis: the chili from Texas, the chli that's too spicy, the chili that was too late to enter, and the one filled with cinnamon and beer.  All were delicious and a tradition was born at ai3. 

This year we celebrated Amy's move to a new home, our 2nd contest, and the fact that Joe didn't win the trophy 2 years in a row.  Ms. Price won with her chicken and white bean chili.  Different and Delicious!  Can't wait until next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Qatar 2022

Qatar scores the world cup in 2022. The stadium designs are based on simple conceptual stories. Another example of pure and simple design inspirations becoming powerful story telling.

Over the years, a number of iconic structures have been conceived by examining the simple objects in the world round us. Qatar's bid showcases the effectiveness of this type of story telling.
Whether the designs will be able to keep 90,000 people cool during the summer in the Middle East remains to be seen. But for now we'll all enjoy the eye candy and look forward to Brazil in 2014.

hup holland hup

Monday, November 22, 2010

How to Make Your Employees Smile

Don't mean to be sentimental for Turkey Day, but I am certainly thankful for everyone in our studio and the culture they help create. I came across this article in Inc. magazine today. 
Paul Spiegelman suggests 10 tips to make your employees smile.  I like them all:
1. Give People a Voice
2. Pay Workers Fairly
3. Recognize and Reward 
4. Create a Career Path 
5. Create Playful Titles 
6. Make Room for Fun 
7. Walk the Talk 
8. Send Hand-written notes 
9. Creat Traditions 
10. Manage from the Heart
Read more: http://tiny.cc/ti8ty

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zappos- Commit to Core Values

I had the jingle from his introduction in my head for a week... Zappos deliving happiness to the world.
By coincedence,Tony Hsieh was one of the keynote speakers at the IHG conference we attended in Las Vegas.  Having read his book Delivering Happiness and passed it around the office, I was energized all over again when the entire room of 5,000+ people gave him a standing ovation. 

I have the Zappos 2009 edition of their Culture Book.  I sent Tony an email that I'd like a copy, and their incredible customer service prevailed as it arrived in days.  The book explains their 10 core values, and in the words of their employees/clients, what Zappos means to them. 

We hung out in the kitchen last Friday to discuss, "What do we want ai3 to be about?"
Brands evolve over time, even great ones.  We believe in our culture and know ai3's core values will always remain a priority. As we are in growth mode, it will remain important to stay motivated to our larger vision and where our story will end.
Reading:  Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh; Good to Great, Jim Collins; Tribal Leadership

Friday, October 22, 2010

Influencing our approach

We watched the documentary, "Objectified" as part of an ai3 RECESS lunch, to kick-start a discussion about product design.  Here are a few ideas I'd like to influence our approach to designing products:

1.  Consider the Extreme Users- Because the middle will take care of itself (i.e. strong/weak, young/old); Observe these Users
2.  Rapid Prototyping- Constantly try to verify what your drawing in CAD
3.  Edit. Edit. Edit. - It shouldn't feel like it is designed at all.
4.  Get Out!  Which has spawned an entire movement in our office to have unassigned desks, only laptops and iPads.
5. Environmental Impacts- Not just what it's made of but how it's shipped to and from and disposed.
6.  Revisiting the Archetype- The ultimate benchmark.  We are adding a human scale, crafted detail, or a cultural reference to something that's probably been around forever.

But in the end, a product needs to mean something to YOU.  You are the only audience that matters. If your house were on fire and you had to grab a handful of items- what would they be?  We're sure it doesn't matter who designed it or why....

This is what you said...this is what we heard.

The new ai3 logo mark.

Sometimes simple things need very little explanation.

"Chocolate".    -See what I mean.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Start with WHY? - The tipping Point

When leaders begin with the right motivation, people are inspired to follow.

"People don't buy what you do, they buy "why" you do it.
"In talking about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it's those who start with "why"... that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them." -Simon Sinek

ai3 believes we can change the world with thoughtful design that articulates life's stories.

be inspired...

Temporary Architecture or the Start of a New Process?

While driving this weekend, I happened upon a Lo-Fi building installation that got me thinking about what we do as architects and designers and how we go about doing it.

A regular, run of the mill warehouse has been converted into a temporary paper art installation by way of a letter-sized, tiled image on paper (presumably printed from a normal, every day printer) and applied to the front facade. It has a very unique, dynamic quality as the leaflets blew in the gentle wind.

I believe that the artist was freed from any expectation of permanence and building performance, allowing them to creatively experiment at a low cost, producing a pure expression of art.

Could this be a new starting point for architectural design and our processes for architectural expression?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A EV car focused on the driver experience....WHAT!

Tesla Motors is bringing the Model S to market in 2012. The approach taken will change the EV game. Wired magazine chronicles the birth of a new type of car company out of the ashes of the industrial age.