WORK. It's what we do, what we obsess over, celebrate, complain about, get paid for. We may call it Art, but it's still work. Particularly for creative types, where we do our work must have something to do with how it turns out, for better or worse - yet we rarely get to see behind the curtain.

We would like you to share something about your special place where creativity blooms. So where do you work?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free Mending Library

 Michael Swaine mends clothes for people for free. Let me repeat that. Michael Swaine - an artist and ceramics instructor at CCA - takes a day each month  for mending, sewing and repairing clothes for people in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. He calls this the Free Mending Library and he's been at it for more than a decade.

 What first caught our eye is the simple economy of his operation. His rolling cart with a foot-treadle sewing machine, mending storage and built-in umbrella is spare and to the point. Michael started this - project? endeavor? -  as "Reap What You Sew" pushing his cart around town, basically looking for people who might want his services. Before long he figured out two things: 1) the Tenderloin was the most interesting neighborhood for human interaction, and 2) it's easier for people to find you if they know where you will be.
Michael eventually settled in outside the Luggage Store, an art collective at 509 Ellis Street, where he mends for free on the 15th of each month. He has hope that the Free Mending Library will expand naturally, as others with talent or time show up to simply help fix things - be that clothing, appliances, resumes or whatever. All are welcome - to give help, accept it, chat, debate or just share some time.

This may be a trend - the Amsterdam the Repair Cafe was founded 3 years ago, with all the community and government support one might expect from the Dutch.

In San Francisco, Michael Swaine remains a solo act, but there is real work happening here. Not commerce, not emerging technologies, not automation. For Michael the reward is that human interaction.

You can read more about the Free Mending Library HERE.  thanks to Darby Minnow Smith and GRIST.
You can see a short feature HERE

Friday, October 5, 2012

Portable Power

 As we head into the winter season, the longer, darker days seem to set creative minds to thinking about alternatives to alternative (solar) power.
 The folks at frog design created a prototype personal wind turbine that earned them a Braun Prize for sustainability in 2012. This elegant device is light, portable and will allow you to power your workstation at any windy locale, no sunlight required.
Computer power, no sunlight required
Easy as 1, 2, 3.
While we're not sure that blogging from a blustery bench would be beneficial to our output, we are fascinated by the liberating possibilities of portable, personal wind power and we applaud this truly elegant and sensuous design.It beats the hell out of a Honda gas generator.

You can read all about it HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Facebook: Faceless workplace?

The wiley Mark Zuckerberg has hired the wry Frank Gehry to design a new, massive workplace for Facebook employees, and some folks think this is just playing it safe. It is true that Mr. Gehry is several decades past being l'enfant terrible, but all that experience may well be a good balance for the impulsive tendencies of newly-minted silicon valley billionaires. Allison Arieff is doubtful that Gehry can deliver something meaningful for Facebook - but I am more hopeful.
Frank O and Mark Z play with blocks
 Gehry has a public reputation for remarkable but expensive buildings that leak. That opinion is not well supported by fact, however. Among clients, he has a reputation for developing great building programs - the functional space layouts that make his buildings pleasant and efficient places to work. Developing a single, cohesive workplace for 2800 employees will not be easy. The idea of 2800 people of any profession all under the same roof is frightening; the more so when they are all young, flailing engineers trying to figure out what in the Hell they are producing . But if anyone is up to the task, it's Frank O. Gehry Partners.
The Architecture that architects love to hate.
You can read more about this - including an unsubstantiated jab at open offices  - at Allison Arieff's design blog.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

They say there's always magic in the air...

New York is expensive - one thin dime won't even shine your shoes. Poor creative types are always striving to live there - if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere. Here's just such an architect, managing nicely in less space than it takes to park a Mini Cooper.
Admittedly, we'd rather have a bit more room than this, but applaud Luke for making it so.

Architects used to require layout space for plans that would eclipse this apartment size. The advance of laptop computers allows Luke to work where he lives, on the smallest of table tops.

You can see more (though there's not much more to see) by going here-
Luke Tyler's 78 Square Foot NYC Apartment

Friday, March 30, 2012

Working from a Boat

Measuring the Heartbeat of a City
David Byrne always seems to be at least a step or two ahead of the curve. He's not an urban planner, but he sure could teach a thing or two to those who are, simply from his powers of observation. His book "Bicycle Diaries" holds great insights gathered while pedaling his bike in cities around the world.

Recently he reported from London that the tempo of that city seems to be about 122 beats per minute. How did he get that? Some lightweight field recording gear, a walk around the city with a simple video camera, sound and video editing, a little studio music overlay and viola - a lovely little piece of urban art.
There is more to this story and you can find it HERE.
David Byrne is a well-known creative genius, founder of the Talking Heads, writer and keen observer.