(photo: Rob Vanstone)
It is said that the global music industry is facing its most testing times since sound was first recorded for sale to consumers. And that sales are falling due to piracy. I believe that the music industry is failing due to the inability to provide relevant and well-designed services for music consumption.
People still love music and I think most of us are more than willing to pay for it as long as it's provided on our terms. Spotify was the service that made me want to start paying for music again. It's a service that offers you legal and free access to a huge library of music. That I can stream on my computer or mobile, and also share with my friends.
I'm sad to hear that the artists still don't get a fair cut of the revenue, but as a service for the consumer it's brilliantly designed and executed.
2009 was the year people started to appreciate imperfection again. It could mean roughly handcrafted item such as Jens Fager's Raw Chairs, or more sophisticated intentional imperfections such as Richard Hutten's brilliant carpet Playing with Tradition. This carpet reminds me of a defective JPG-image failing to load, which I also think acts as a great metaphor for our post-financial crisis times.
03. SWIMMING PONDS
Most of the so-called sustainable design is still purely "eco-topping," but despite that I like the fact that nature is making a comeback in our lives and into our sterile, minimalistic homes. A personal favorite I picked up during 2009 was the concept of Swimming Ponds.
"A swimming pond is a creation that uses nature and if designed well, enhances and settles into the garden landscape. This is not a bright blue rectangular concrete hole in the ground, with that familiar smell of chemicals. The swimming pond is a natural environment, an oasis for microorganisms, plants and insects that all form part of the ecosystem, resulting in a crystal clear pool that when the sun does shine, is there to be enjoyed by man as well." - mountainpools.co.uk
This is one of those simple yet brilliant ideas that when you see it, you wonder why it hasn't always been there. Bloomframe is an innovative window that morphs into a balcony at the touch of a button.
Dreamball is an aid packaging concept designed by Korean design studio Unplug. Aimed for children in developing countries, the cylindrical containers can be rolled instead of having to carry them, and the cardboard around the containers can be made into footballs in different sizes by the children themselves. A recycled cardboard football might seem like a simple object, but it's an object encouraging play, exercise, teamwork and friendship.
I love this concept because it adds value to an already existing production and distribution line, using the resources already at hand. And according to people who have had a chance to try them out, the recycled balls function really well and have a great bounce to them.