Wednesday, August 6, 2008
a waking at the walker
A weekend away in the 'city of lakes'; green, urban, hip, fresh. I'd never been to Minneapolis before and found it fantastic with uptown haunts and downtown diversity. And oh the bikers, a dedicated bunch boasting their own traffic lane, a stealthy, sleek army (please excuse the out-of-towner mishap). A lovely and vibrant city, I enjoyed tunneling my way through the skywalks and stumbling out upon something new. My favorite discovery, hands-down, the Walker Art Center. Sporting an 'exhilarating' face-lift, the Walker houses a coveted collection of late 20th century masterpieces rooted in social discourse. And this ideology pours itself outside this season in two compelling and contrasting exhibits.
First the fun, Walker on the Green. An artist-designed putt putt course, sustainable and accessible for all ages to play and ponder. See it here.
Second, a captivating commentary, Design for the Other 90%. I could not pull myself away from this simple yet profound exhibit. The questions still linger as you might see, as to how we design, for whom we design and the impact of design. The statistic noted below by Paul Polack, founder of IDE, will knock you down for a moment and beg you to rethink.
"The majority of the world's designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services for the richest 10% of the world's customers."
Wow, something's out of balance! Images above of the Life-Straw, the Q-Drum, the Pot-in-Pot Cooler and the Permanet. Affordable design that truly saves lives. And an interesting review of the Cooper Hewitt stop here, highly recommended. Questions of beauty, efficacy and economy at the fore. Surrounded by a temple of high culture, this humble exhibit, echoing make-shift shelters, spoke louder than any masterpiece housed next door. I will love this 'city of lakes', stuck in the center, landlocked tight, for crossing the oceans and opening up my world a little more.