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Posts Tagged ‘FastCoDesign’

July 1, 2014

“We Have Designed Cities To Make People Ill”


Although the 2014 AIA Convention concluded this past weekend in Chicago, the thought-provoking conversations and discussions are seeping out online into the larger architecture community. One of the more provocative discussions came from the “Architecture + Public Health = a Healthy Profession” panel with University of Minnesota College of Design Dean Thomas Fisher and Allina Health Director Heather R. Britt and Senior Design Strategist Jess Roberts. Fast Company writer Shaunacy Ferro summarized the highlights of the discussion in “We Have Designed Cities To Make People Ill,” where Dean Fisher challenges all scales of design–from urban to graphic–to incorporate the health impacts into design considerations and decisions.

“What we have to offer isn’t just knowledge about facilities. It is a way of thinking and working that is very useful to the public health world,” he said, asserting that “our profession has wanted to mystify what we do–that has got to come to an end.”

Click here to read “We Have Designed Cities To Make People Ill,” online at

January 16, 2014

‘Reality Check’ Film Profiled in FastCoDesign

Virginia Tech’s design/buildLAB professors Keith and Marie Zawistowski were recently interviewed by journalist Shaunacy Ferro in FastCoDesign’s“What Architecture Schools Get Wrong.” “Bringing a long-simmering debate over architecture education to the screen,” as the lead reads, the conversation revolves around the 42-minute documentary film ‘Reality Check’, which follows the studio course that designs and builds the Masonic Amphitheater in Clifton Forge, Virginia. The Zawistowski’s uncover the outcomes and impact the program has had on the students, along with what they hope will influence other architecture programs. Keith describes their vision:

For us design/build is for the students to undertake a real project, with real clients, real people, real social economic context, in a way to remove the abstraction from architectural education. This experience exposes them to the entirety of the process of making architecture–not just coming up with wild ideas but figuring out how to make these ideas real.

Click here to read “What Architecture Schools Get Wrong” on, and click here to watch ‘Reality Check,’ available now for online streaming, on

November 14, 2013

DOME Designs To Minimize Medical Errors


Fast Company recently profiled the work of the multidisciplinary team DOME who, as described by their full name “Designing Out Medical Error”, is uncovering and tackling common medical mistakes that lead to tens of thousands of deaths each year. One prototype solution, the CareCentre, contains all the essential items–hand gel, gloves, aprons, drug locker, waste and needle bins, chart surface, and storage slot–that they found many practitioners were constantly collecting for each new patient rather than focusing on treatment.

During patient observations, the DOME team noticed practitioners often had to hunt for hand sanitizer, gloves, and aprons. Many had to carry around bins to dispose of needles. Medication cabinets were often blocked or located far from the bedside. And there wasn’t always an easy place to scribble notes into a patient chart. Each of these problems is fraught with the potential for a preventable medical error.

Click here to read the full article on DOME’s research and design, online at

December 28, 2012

Co.Design: “2012′s Best Designs for Social Good”


Fast Company‘s Co.Design–edited by Cliff Kuang, profiled among our “Public Interest Design 100“–today published an inspiring roundup of “10 Of The Year’s Best Designs For Social Good.” The article, authored by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghen, showcases 10 new designs, only a small number of which have been field-tested and brought to market. We’re hopeful that a few months or a year from now, all of these will see the light of day. The 10 designs previously profiled by Co.Design, with their direct links, include:

1. A Surgical Light For The Developing World

2. A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable

3. Why Shrink-Wrapping A Cucumber Is Actually Good For The Environment

4. Solar-Powered Pavilion That Soaks Up Maximum Rays

5. Stanford Students Invent A Respirator Mask To Save Babies

6. How A Foot-Powered Washing Machine Could Change Millions Of Lives (above)

7. A Survival Kit For 30 People That Turns Into A Stove

8. LED Light For The Developing World

9. 3-D Printed “Magic Arms” Let A Toddler Hug And Play

10. A Stove That Turns Wood Into Electricity

Click here to read “10 Of The Year’s Best Designs For Social Good,” online at Caption: Foot-powered washer developed with residents of a slum outside Lima in partnership with design students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You.

December 27, 2012

Co.Design: Permanent Home for Less Than $4,000


Shortly before many of us signed off to celebrate the Christmas holiday, Cliff Kuang of Fast Company‘s Co.Design once again made good on his “Public Interest Design 100” recognition. On December 20, Kuang and Co.Design introduced to the world a young Vietnamese architect’s prototype for low-cost, beautifully-designed housing along the Mekong Delta. The article–titled “For Less Than $4,000, A Permanent Home For Low-Income Families“–was written by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan and profiles the work of 36-year-old architect Vo Trong Nghia and partner Masaaki Iwamoto. According to Campbell-Dollaghan:

The 70-square-foot home is a series of amazingly efficient design moves. It’s arranged to be built in pairs or trios, with families sharing a detached bathroom, which minimizes the amount of necessary services in the homes themselves. A simple steel frame that requires little special welding holds in place an envelope of transparent fiber-reinforced plastic, which lets in natural light through a series of bamboo louvres. “Both materials are available everywhere in Vietnam and are cheap, light, and replaceable,” explain the architects. The angled roof…is designed to facilitate rainwater collection.

Click here to read “For Less Than $4,000, A Permanent Home For Low-Income Families,” online at

August 3, 2011

“Design & Thinking” Kickstarter Campaign

An up-and-coming film, currently seeking backers through Kickstarter, seeks to put a face on design-thinking, a term generally attributed to IDEO co-founder David Kelly, also of Stanford d.School fame. Self-described as “one of the very few documentaries on design, and certainly the first about the impact design thinking has on the world,” the film is expected to launch in 2011. As of this writing, the film’s Kickstarter campaign is already 2/3 funded with 31 days to go.

“Design & Thinking” is a project of the nonprofit Taipei Design Center U.S. and Muris Media, both based in San Francisco. Interviewees to date have included the likes of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum‘s Bill Moggridge, AIGA‘s Ric Grefe, the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management‘s Roger Martin, and Metropolis Magazine editor Susan Szenasy.

Thanks to Co.Design for bringing this to our attention.

July 4, 2011

Should I Work for Free?

Earlier this year, Co.Design published a provocative, sometimes comical, and overall insightful infographic, titled, “Designers, Should You Work for Free?” The dizzyingly intricate flowchart immediately went viral among designers as it perfectly encapsulated the ambivalence and frustration so many feel about being repeatedly asked to do friends a solid without any compensation, at best, and without any consideration as to how much time and energy good design actually takes, at worst.

One common catchphrase was used loosely, if sparingly in the handiwork of Brooklyn-based designer Jessica Hische: pro bono. But contrary to popular opinion, pro bono doesn’t mean for free. Its literal Latin translation is “for good,” shorthand for pro bono publico, “for the good of the public.” (The accurate Latin phrase for “free” is actually gratis.) All that said, pro bono work usually involves professionals reducing or entirely waiving their fees, hence the confusion, but the focus remains on work for the public good.

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