Michael Shanks
Michael Shanks
Michael Shanks
Michael Shanks
Michael Shanks

design matters

Gilles Vidal and Peugeot on car design

I spent some time this afternoon with Gilles Vidal, Vice President Design with Peugeot, and his team visiting Stanford.

It was so refreshing to have a wide ranging conversation about automotive design with this very smart group.

A key point – it’s not so much of a challenge now to design a well-engineered car. The design challenge is all about people and connections – how an artifact like a car relates to people’s needs and desires, experiences and identities, and where the automobile is part of an ecology of global relationships that reaches into just about every aspect of everyday life.

The design challenge, as I keep exploring in my posts here, is how to understand these relationships, how to research them and incorporate them into the design process.

There’s a great gallery of pictures at carbodydesign.com of Gilles, the team who worked on the Peugeot 208, the design process – [Link]. It’s something of a contrast to this point about interconnectivity, focused as you would expect in a magazine like this, on the artifact. Coincidentally, I’m in the process of posting a series of images about ceramic design – [Link] [Link] – part of one of my longest running projects – to understand ceramics.

A great and related challenge – how do we represent the design process, a distributed array of people, artifacts, locations, meanings, values, knowledges?

This is an archaeological challenge.





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the skeuomorph

More reflections upon the ceramic works of Helen (Shanks).

([Link] to hylography)

The skeuomorph – a form that involves the transformation and redeployment of a design feature or quality from one material or medium into another.

This is a common, ubiquitous feature of design, though little discussed until quite recently. Apple received significant attention in and beyond the design community when the latest operating system abandoned skeuomorphic 3D icons for flat graphics – the books app on my iPad no longer pretends to look like a wooden bookshelf.

The skeuomorph is about much more than imitation. Involved is magical metamorphosis, alchemy even.

Here is something of an insight into the design process of a studio potter.





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archaeological imagination

why antiquaries matter

There’s a great article by Peter Miller in the current Chronicle of Higher Education on How Ob…

More in archaeological imagination

ruins and remains

Elevate Ensemble – presence and absence

Wonderful performance from Elevate Ensemble last night at San Francisco Conservatory. Superbly intro…

More in ruins and remains


hylography – drought

Out running with the dogs up Arastradero Preserve.…

More in photography


nature morte – fossil fish

salt fish – at The Food Curators – Rotterdam – [Link] [Link]…

More in chorography


Ad Fines

More experiments in pigment, water, paper. Ad Fines, Scottish Borders. The most extensive Roman eart…

More in borderlands