Christian Louboutin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 1 August, 2016

I was introduced to the luxury footwear designer Christian Louboutin (1964 – ) thanks to my late French friend Laurent as he happened to know Christian as a family friend. Here are a few videos I am watching today. And I’m thrilled to include Louboutin to my Great Minds of Our Time series.

An Audience with Christian Louboutin: Full-length video | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 25, 2011)

Christian Louboutin Addresses FIT Graduates (published May 23, 2014)

Christian Louboutin Interview | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 13, 2009)

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I wrote and shared this entry in memory of Laurent Jean Philippe Ravalec, my late and awesomely unique French friend, where one of our last video chats (which I documented here) happened in November 2015 just a day after the horrible Paris attack.

Talking to my French friend Laurent about Food (published April 7, 2012) is another video of us chatting about our common love: food!

Laurent, I miss you my friend!


Chris Lefteri – Materials for Inspirational Design

Wednesday, 9 December, 2015
20151209 Materials for Inspirational Design - Chris Lefteri

Materials for Inspirational Design – Chris Lefteri

The Materials for Inspirational Design series of books by Chris Lefteri (company) are all fascinating.

(2013, 75 minutes) CCA Craft Forward Symposium: Session 6: Material Craft

(2009) A-Z Lezingen: Chris Lefteri – Interview

(2013) Chris Lefteri – Biggest Trends in Textile


Can you name this font and say something about it?

Wednesday, 7 September, 2011

Can you name this font and say something about it?

Can you name this font (high res photo) and say something about it?


Helpful Neighbour & Future Business Partner?

Thursday, 25 August, 2011

Helpful Neighbour & Future Business Partner? - pix 01

Thomas has been our really helpful neighbour for the last few years. How helpful? For example, we really appreciate him coming over yesterday to help us installing the above beautiful Moen faucet (why Moen?) and a new pull mechanism for our window blind. (see below, left photo is the heavy duty metal window blind, right is the C$48 pull mechanism that pulls and holds the blind in place)

Helpful Neighbour & Future Business Partner? - pix 03Helpful Neighbour & Future Business Partner? - pix 02

Thomas even taught me what is a blind rivet & showed me how to use a rivet gun to install the new pull mechanism!

Helpful Neighbour & Future Business Partner? - pix 04

(update) re-grout

(update) Thomas also helped us re-grout the bathroom tiles. See following before and after pictures.

re-grout bathroom tiles - pix 01re-grout bathroom tiles - pix 02

re-grout bathroom tiles - pix 03re-grout bathroom tiles - pix 04

The Talented Thomas

Thomas recently finished his studies in international business at Mount Royal University and is looking for a job. Let me know if you know a good company that is hiring someone with international business education.

Now, I’ve seen some of Thomas’ school work and I think he does a wonderful job in them. Case in point, Thomas and his teammates were asked to create a marketing plan for Calgary Tower. One night, Thomas asked me to take a look of his work-in-progress. I didn’t know what to expect and thought I would see a nice students’ assignment (a marketing plan on paper with nice graphics). No no no, what I saw wasn’t the “usual” stuff at all!

Thomas and his teammates did some nice academic work and the creative display which was designed and built by Thomas (putting in a lot of additional time and his own money) was simply stunning!

I don’t use “stunning” easily and I am picky with design. (see *note below) Thomas showed me a paper prototype marketing display which looks beautiful and showcased the Calgary Tower. And from the beautiful looking paper protype, over the next few days, he transformed and refined his original paper prototype into a 3-D steel display. Thomas used a beautiful sheet of metal and machine-cut the side-profile of Calgary Tower onto the sheet metal! The resulted metal display was just beautiful and stunning! Amazingly executed. Totally beyond my expectation!

Future Business Partner?

As I get older, I try to work with talented people that I like. So I seriously hope that one day Thomas and I can find a great product idea that we can turn into a business. I think it can be very nice for us to become business partners and to create something cool together.

I often remind myself that our house has two garages (one of them heated), three parking spots, and we have precisely one car! So, in some sense, the spare parking spot in the heated garage has been waiting patiently for me to build a business/product! Will see what happen. :)

Once Thomas and I come up with a great product idea, I truly think we now have the fundraising & pre-sell tool like Kickstarter and other “tools” to help us make our dreams possible.

*******

*note: I am picky with design stuff. When I first saw Thomas’ stunningly beautiful metal display for Calgary Tower, it immediately reminded me of the beautiful cover of my design book SPOON which uses steel (more precisely, Promica® Pristine steel, a lightweight polymer-coated steel) as a book cover!

I love and try to look out for good design. While I can’t design anything, I hope my years of loving good design will help me in recognizing “great” and separating them from the “OK” and “ordinary”.


Inspired by and Rescued Bruce Mau plus Books I Love

Thursday, 4 August, 2011

I want to thank Bruce Mau for inspiring me since 20010103 when I fell in love and bought a copy of his autographed Life Style (blue cover) at David Mirvish Books. So I took an opportunity to make this video.

As you can see in the video, I thanked Bruce by picking up 4 copies of Life Style and casually laid a copy at each of my coffee tables and desks so I can read them at random and without worry about getting them dirty.

You can click to see the original full size readable version of the following photos. And from these two Flickr sets, “Bruce Mau Life Style & Massive Change” and “Books I Love“.

05 Bruce Mau

Books I Love

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth - Bruce Mau (readable at original 1796 x 1880)

P.S. Checkout these articles, “Bruce Mau Design tries to solve Toronto’s problems” and “Design Principal“.


Talk by Tom Hulme, Design Director @ IDEO, founder of OpenIDEO

Thursday, 7 April, 2011

Talk by Tom Hulme, Design Director @ IDEO, founder of OpenIDEO. Highly recommended.


Douglas Coupland on QTV

Monday, 28 March, 2011

Douglas Coupland on QTV. Enjoy.


Chicago’s Aqua Tower by Jeanne Gang lead Studio Gang Architects

Sunday, 27 March, 2011

I love great buildings. Aqua is really a spectacular and beautiful building! See more info and photos with an interview with Jeanne Gang here. [HT BMD]

See also the book “Reveal: Studio Gang Architects” by Jeanne Gang (expected publication date: June 20, 2011).


$600,000+ for iPod watch kit project – Kickstarter

Wednesday, 8 December, 2010

$600,000 for iPod watch kit project - Kickstarter

This is really cool for the watch kit and for the way funding was raised. For the record.

“When Scott Wilson posted his idea for an iPod Nano transformed into a wristwatch on crowd-funding website Kickstarter, he hoped to raise $15,000 to bring his invention to life. Two weeks later, he had $600,000 and new record: Wilson’s project shattered 20-month-old Kickstarter’s previous fundraising tally.” [via CNN Money] [note: at press time, the project now actually has $669,398 pledged!]

I think for some projects and product ideas, Kickstarter can be a great way to raise money and start a business. Check out Scott Wilson’s Kickstarter’s project page for “TikTok+LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch Kits” (with video).

Note: In this case, Scott has a strong credential for working with some big companies. The really cool prototype in the demo video helps a great deal in telling the story. Plus the products are just cool!


Award winning 5468796 Architecture Inc (The Cube, Sunspot, and other projects) – Interview with Sasa Radulovic & Johanna Hurme

Sunday, 24 October, 2010

Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme (co-owners of 5468796 Architecture Inc)

Since I bought a copy of “I. M. Pei: A Profile in American Architecture“ by chance twenty years ago, I have been fascinated by beautiful buildings and the architects themselves. Last week I had the great pleasure to interview Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme, award winning principal architects and co-owners of Winnipeg-based 5468796 Architecture Inc, to talk about their firm, The Cube, and other exciting projects.

Branding of 5468796 Architecture Inc

5468796 Architecture barcode5468796 Architecture contact list

What does the “5468796” stand for in the name 5468796 Architecture Inc? Why not use the traditional branding convention and brand the firm by the names of the principals and founders? Have a watch of the cool explanations in my interview with Sasa and Johanna. It shows their careful thinking from day one “to challenge convention at all scales, [starting] from branding“.

The Cube (Winnipeg Old Market Square Stage) (Project 0134 | Stage)

5468796 Architecture Inc. - The Cube - pix 1

Here is an excerpt from the project description (emphasis added), “Whether functioning as a neighbourhood park or as a hub for the entire city during summer festivals, Old Market Square has undeniable significance for the health and vitality of the Exchange District. Following the establishment of a Master Plan for OMS by landscape architects Scatliff+Miller+Murray Inc., a new stage was the logical next step in the park’s redevelopment. Through an open competition, the city asked for a design that met the functional requirements for a stage. Our winning submission proposed to do more; we recognized that the stage only functions as such for a very limited time, and questioned what it could be the rest of the year.

The Cube was opened in June 2010 for the festivals season when it was only about 85% completed and before 5468796 Architecture had chances to fine tune the building. So I think many early critiques of the design are not fair. The final winning idea for The Cube was actually one of three ideas submitted by 5468796 Architecture and was deemed the best.

You see, the Cube is not just a stage, it can also function as an exhibition space for video artists where video images can be projected on the skin of The Cube. And different themed colour lighting can be projected on different days (for example, orange on Halloween, green on St. Patrick’s day, etc).

See more info about The Cube in this and next interview video clip. More photos of The Cube here, here, and here.

Interview with Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme – part 1/3

A lesser known fact about The Cube is its smaller second stage on the “second level” inside The Cube. This second stage can be used for smaller and more intimate performance (seating ~25?). In the following video, you can see Sasa shows you the second stage in a model.

For the remaining time in my interview with Sasa and Johanna, I picked the following projects and got them to say a few words and share their key inspirations.

Sunspot (Project 0155, Client: The Forks)

5468796 Architecture Sunspot pix 1

Here is an excerpt from the project description (emphasis added), “The Sunspot hangs from the Forks’ Historic Rail Bridge, hovering just three feet above the frozen river. Composed of a structural frame coated in a skin of ice and coloured water, the interior is rendered with a vibrant and warm glow that evokes Tarsia’s painting plates. A large diameter opening at the bottom of the sphere allows skaters to enter and experience the transformed sky. The bottom ring provides a rope-wrapped bench to rest on, while the structure offers shelter from the wind.

More photo here.

Welcome Place (Project 0027, User Group: MIIC, Client hold zone)

5468796 Architecture Welcome Place pix 1

Here is an excerpt from the project description (emphasis added), “The design focuses on the significance of prospect and refuge for residents and patrons of Welcome Place – who are just beginning to make a place for themselves in Canada – through the integration and overlap of public and private space. The private spaces are defined by a random patterning of windows that form a uniquely textured facade with multiple views to the exterior. Walls have thickness so these views feel less expansive and more protective. The public realm begins with a sunken courtyard outside the main doors, forming an exterior ‘room’ for community functions. Within the building, public spaces are located at the building’s edges, permeating through the facade to engage the streetscape below.

For this project, I asked Sasa about his special connection to MIIC‘s Welcome Place, which aims to help immigrants and refugees newly arrived in Canada. You can also read more in the article “Designing for desperate needs“.

More photo here.

Interview with Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme – part 2/3

BGBX (Project 0022, client: CSB Corp.)

5468796 Architecture BGBX pix 1

Here is an excerpt from the project description (emphasis added), “The project begins as a white corrugated metal box, a blank slate which is then strategically sliced at six points to reveal unexpected glimpses of lush, green foliage at the block’s centre. The landscaped courtyard cuts away at the box from the inside out to create a dynamic, multi-facetted courtyard facade.

The design seeks innovation at all levels, including its building systems. Hollowcore concrete slabs are used as air plenums, eliminating the need for ductwork. Abundant vegetation in the courtyard acts as lungs for the entire block, providing fresh air for residents. Gray water cisterns collect run-off from the roofs while permeable surfacing and bioswales in the courtyard filter runoff water into the soil.

More photos here.

Bohemier Residence (Project 0007, private residence)

5468796 Architecture Bohemier Residence pix 1

Here is an excerpt from the project description, “The essence of the old house, not its actual presence, becomes the centre of the new residence, as the original foundation is preserved as a sunken courtyard. It turns the former spatial arrangement inside out: house to courtyard, yard to house, solid to void, void to solid. This shift allows the ghost of the old house to remain. The courtyard expands the visual space beyond the distinct rooms and creates a nexus around which circulation spirals in three dimensions.”

More photos here, here, here.

big brother | little sister (Project 0000, client: Sasa | Johanna)

5468796 Architecture big brother little sister pix 2

Here is an excerpt from the project description, “The 1800 sq ft & 1100 sq ft dwellings were designed and constructed as a pair from their inception to completion. They share a conceptual approach and attitude to detailing, while exhibiting unique qualities and personalities responding to the residents’ priorities.

[…] Each condominium flows freely around the enclosed functions organized at their centres, leaving the exterior walls free of joining partitions. Zones within are separated for visual privacy by procession sequences from one scale to another.

The Winnipeg Free Press 2006 article “Cutting-edge” has more details about “big brother | little sister” where Sasa and Johanna are the architects and clients. (note: They still live in “big brother | little sister”.)

More photos here, here.

Emerging Architecture Award

Finally, I asked Sasa and Johanna a few questions about winning the Emerging Architecture Award. The readers of this article may wonder how big a deal is this? Well, let me quote Winnipeg Free Press’ article “Maligned Cube wins international award” (emphasis added),

So how big a deal is it to win an Emerging Architecture Award? Very big, according to Manitoba Association of Architects president Art Martin.

Martin said the EAs, which were founded in 1999, are considered one of the world’s most popular and prestigious awards for young architects. He said this year’s competition attracted about 300 entries worldwide.

“For a Manitoba firm to get this award is really something. All (Manitoba) architects can share in that pride.”

I love great architectural works, so it was a great pleasure for me to talk to Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme, two internationally recognized emerging architects. It will not surprise me if I see them creating more beautiful, fascinating and functionally cutting-edge buildings in the years to come. In time, I am sure I will see some of their works in Calgary, across Canada, and around the world.

By the way, at the end of part 3 of the interview clip, I have included pictures of the projects I highlighted above and I hope you will enjoy them. Visit 5468796 Architecture Inc for other projects that I didn’t get around to feature.

Interview with Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme – part 3/3

P.S. More news links, photos, video in my previous article “Congrats 5468796 Architecture: Emerging Architecture Award (The Cube in Winnipeg’s Old Market Square)

P.P.S. Feel free to check out my other articles about architecture and architects in Bird’s Nest: Herzog & de Meuron in China – Filmmaker chat“, “Frank Gehry (Live from the NYPL)” and mentioning my other favourite architects like Douglas CardinalFrank GehrySantiago Calatrava (his stunning Turning Torso) in “American Institute of Architects & Google Earth“.


Congrats 5468796 Architecture: Emerging Architecture Award (The Cube in Winnipeg’s Old Market Square)

Sunday, 17 October, 2010

5468796 Architecture - pix 1

I want to congratulate the team at 5468796 Architecture Inc. for winning a prestigious international award, for The Cube, a venue for performing arts in Winnipeg’s Old Market Square. Members of the firm will travel to London in November to pick up the award. [Oct 24th update: Great, here is a link to my video interview with co-owners and principal architects Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme from 5468796 Architecture.]

Here is a interesting/telling description of the firm (from the winners’ list in Dec 2009 Canadian Architect, emphasis added),

5468796 Architecture Inc. is a Winnipeg architecture studio with a diverse range of interests and design expertise. The firm was established in 2007 to challenge convention at all scales, from branding, architecture and design, to detailing and engineering systems.

Here are more photos from 5468796 Architecture Inc. about the project.

5468796 Architecture - pix 2

5468796 Architecture - pix 3

5468796 Architecture - pix 4

Here are some cool photos of The Cube I found on flickr: here, here, here, here (closed up, or the back?), here, here, and here.

By the way, I don’t know if this is a fair comparison yet but I want to say, for the beginning years, people have  ridiculed I. M. Pei‘s spectacular Louvre Pyramid which turns out to be not only beautiful but very functional.

Here is a clip of The Cube in action at night. Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition – Noah Pred

More news about the project or the firm:

– “Setting the stage for art in the Exchange“, Winnipeg Free Press, June 2010 [HT Karenia@Flickr]

– New ‘cube’ stage impresses, Winnipeg Sun, June 2010

– The Cube steals the show at arts forum – Candidates sound off about project’s lack of consultation, Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 2010

– Winners of the 2010 Prairie Design Awards announced, Aug 2010, Canadian Architect

– “Maligned Cube wins international award“, Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 16 2010. Here is an excerpt with emphasis added,

So how big a deal is it to win an Emerging Architecture Award? Very big, according to Manitoba Association of Architects president Art Martin.

Martin said the EAs, which were founded in 1999, are considered one of the world’s most popular and prestigious awards for young architects. He said this year’s competition attracted about 300 entries worldwide.

“For a Manitoba firm to get this award is really something. All (Manitoba) architects can share in that pride.”

– Architectural firm earns accolades, Winnipeg Free Press, Feb 2010

Cube stage rocks in the rain, Winnipeg Sun, June 2010 (this article is cool as it puts The Cube in context in use in a real life situation.)

youCube, Dec 2009, Canadian Architect

2005 & 2007 articles:

– An older Winnipeg Free Press 2005 article “Behind the design” when both Sasa and Johanna were architectural intern at Cohlmeyer Architects.

– Here is an insightful 2007 Winnipeg Free Press article “By design” where the then newly founded firm was hired “to develop a communications strategy for the association [Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA)]“.


Da Vinci’s dream fulfilled: Record-breaking human powered ornithopter flight (flying by flapping its wings)

Friday, 24 September, 2010

Human-Powered Ornithopter - pilot Todd Reichert and University of Toronto team

I am really excited that an U of Toronto engineering team has finally fulfilled Da Vinci’s dream of human powered ornithopter flight (flying by flapping its wings, see really cool video at the end of this article). Some information about the team members and photos (really cool).

Here is an excerpt from a Toronto Star article (emphasis added),

“The human-powered aircraft with birdlike wings and its pilot, Todd Reichert, are garnering international attention since news broke of its record-breaking continuous flight. Now they’re popping up on newsites, blogs and tweets from Canada to India to Switzerland.

Reichert, an engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, piloted the first continuous flight of an ornithopter back in August. Using just his legs, Reichert powered the bird for about 20 seconds, covering 145 metres.

The craft weighs just 43 kilograms and has a wingspan of 32 metres. It works by pumping a set of pedals attached to pulleys and lines that bring down the wings in a flapping motion.

The vice-president of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the governing body for aeronautical world records, witnessed the flight. The organization is expected to confirm the world record in October.

“I understand the significance of this but in terms of dealing with the hype, I’m reasonably relaxed,” Reichert said Thursday.”

This last bit is very telling,

“Robertson said it was nostalgic being back at the barn where they spent so much time. He’s now working on an unmanned aircraft at an engineering firm in Brampton. Reichert still has to complete his Ph.D. but he doesn’t anticipate having trouble finding a good job afterward.

“Something like this,” he said of his dream job. “Where you can design and build and innovate and put into practice really quickly. At big aerospace firms, you sit at a computer and you design a very small component for 10 years.

“I need to be out building. I don’t really like doing what other people are doing.”

Here is a pretty cool video of some info and the flight set to music.

Here are some raw clips of the test flights.

Check out more Ornithopter Project videos here.

More information from U of Toronto:

Human-powered Ornithopter Becomes First Ever to Achieve Sustained Flight

U of T’s human-powered ornithopter becomes first ever to achieve sustained flight – Fulfils aeronautical dream first envisioned by da Vinci


Hand cut t-shirt fashion

Wednesday, 22 September, 2010

Here are two old-ish video clips of Adam Saaks doing his t-shirt cutting magic. Enjoy. [HT Eva]

P.S. Adam’s t-shirts are probably “one-time-t-shirt” that he has to create on the fly and can probably be worn once.


TEDxHongKong (Aug 31, 2010)

Sunday, 29 August, 2010

Update: I watched a good part of the TEDxHongKong live feed, check this article TEDxHongKong was a success.

***

Check out TEDxHongKong list of speakers.

There is supposed to be a live Feed Tue Aug 31, 2010, 12noon-5pm HK time, so I look forward to check out some of the proceedings (even it will be quite late in Calgary/Canada time, HK is 14 hours ahead of Calgary/MST).


Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Monday, 9 August, 2010

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

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The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a beautifully designed cinematic iPad storytelling app published by Moving Tales. Make sure you check out the enclosed promotional clip of the Pedlar Lady app so you can see some samples of the beautifully rendered images/animations.

Apple iPad app:  “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros:

* Beautifully and cinematically 3D rendered moving images that go along well with an engaging story. Matthew Talbot-Kelly, producer and director of the iPad app, is also a very experienced animator and you can totally tell from the stunning animations. Even the “cover” of the story app contains a 3D fly through to the Pedlar Lady’s house. (see clip)

* Beautifully recorded sound effects and narration.

* Users can also select the Spanish text and Spanish narration option. And the Spanish narration also sounds great. Potentially a great tool to teach children Spanish.

* The narration can be turned off so the story can be read by a parent or grandparent out loud with the sound effects playing in the background.

Cons:

I subtracted 0.5 star for the following:

* At the moment, the app doesn’t have interactive elements. Some of the pages (e.g. one page has many bottles hanging on the tree) are perfect candidates for adding interactive elements for user to touch/move and make sound or interact. (According to Moving Tales, this combination is technically not possible yet.)

* As part of this review, I discovered and reported a bug that stops the animations. Restarting the app may fix the problem, and rebooting the iPad should fix it. I’ve reported the conditions that can trigger this bug to Matthew, he has promised a bug fix and possibly some additional enhancements in the next update. (see my Skype video interview with Matthew).

[latest update from Matthew: a bug fixed version (v 1.01) was submitted to the app store last week, they are now waiting for Apple to approve it.]

[Aug 16, 2010 Update: version v 1.01 has been approved by Apple. The above identified bug has been fixed. Added new sound effects. Improved application stability.]

Recommendation:

Highly recommended. Great experience for much less than the price of almost all children books. Moving Tales, a Gibson BC based Canadian company, has done a wonderful job in creating a Cinematic iPad storytelling app for all to enjoy. Of local interest, the iPad app programming for the Pedlar Lady is done by a Calgary based programmer.

The official site of Moving Tales says it well, “How does Moving Tales bring stories to life?

  • sophisticated 3D animation on every page
  • original music, voice over and sound effects
  • animate the text using the iPad’s accelerometer
  • Cover Flow-like navigation
  • page swipe or tap for page turning
  • auto page turning option
  • sound effects only sound option
  • compelling narrative
  • randomly selected alternate views and extras to ensure no two viewings alike
  • sophisticated and dynamic typographic layout
  • evocative poetic language
  • Spanish option—choose to hear and display the story in Spanish as well as English”

Apple iPhone 4 “Love” Letter?

Friday, 2 July, 2010

July 15 Updates: “It’s Time Apple Fixed the iPhone 4 Antenna Problem” Wired News
Apple Engineer Said to Tell Jobs IPhone Antenna Might Cut Calls” Bloomberg
***

Can this be from Apple, a brand people supposed to “Love”? [HT FP “Apple solution to iPhone signal problem fails to satisfy”] “”Apple likes to promote its products as “magical,” which might be a more accurate description than the company ever intended. The iPhone 4 is doing a very good job of making Apple’s once-sterling reputation disappear.””

Following is Apple’s letter Regarding iPhone 4. Looks like Apple didn’t learn much from the Intel Pentium FDIV bug lesson and still think they can PR the problem away. Apple’s recent behaviours are slowly damaging its status as a Lovemark in my mind.

July 2, 2010

Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4

Dear iPhone 4 Users,

Read the rest of this entry »


Robert Dickie – Spark Innovations

Wednesday, 30 June, 2010

I admire US design powerhouse like IDEO. So I was excited to see Spark Innovations (founded by Robert Dickie in 1988) doing something cool and taking a different approach at King City (north of Toronto), Canada.

The following G&M article is where I first read of Robert’s Spark Innovations.

Also check out some patents by Robert from a Google search.

The business of brainstorms by Chris Nuttall-Smith (Globe and Mail)
Apr. 29, 2010

United States patent number 5,231,973, the single-hand-operated, camshaft-enabled disposable plastic speculum with built-in fluid reservoir, developed in the waning days of the 1980s, will never be remembered as one of the more vital innovations of the dawning digital age. Nor will the same inventor’s bottle for white glue with housing to attach glue stick, developed in 1993 (patent number 5,316,398). Likewise with 2001’s “rotatably disposed” drive mechanism for an oscillating head (6,536,066) or even last year’s behaviour-monitoring toothbrush (application 20090307859; patent pending) that proposes—in a belated nod, perhaps, to the advent of the iPad era—to dole out video game minutes to children who properly brush their teeth.

And yet as unsexy as the business may be, inventor Robert Dickie and his firm, Spark Innovations, are doing just fine. That speculum design sold for cash and royalties to a U.S. medical products company a few years ago. The glue-bottle-and-stick combination, designed for the owner of LePage’s Inc. to introduce high-margin glue sticks to reluctant North American consumers, became a retail hit and helped transform the school and children’s adhesives market. And while the video game toothbrush has yet to find a market, that rotatably disposed oscillating head helped make one of Spark’s spinoff ventures, called BrushPoint Innovations, the top supplier of house brand electric toothbrushes to Walgreens, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Zellers. “From a cold start in 1995, we’re the fourth-biggest power toothbrush company in North America,” Dickie says. “And nobody knows our name.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Interesting articles: Typeface, Chinese box-office, Justice LeBel, BumpTop

Monday, 3 May, 2010

A few interesting articles,

May 25 Update: Google buys BumptTop, Toronto touch-screen company, for 30m via TorStar


Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention @ TEDMED

Thursday, 29 April, 2010

Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention. [HT BMD]

“Dean Kamen talks about the profound people and stories that motivated his work to give parts of their lives back with his design for a remarkable prosthetic arm.”


Innovation: Fresh thinking for the ideas economy

Monday, 19 April, 2010

The Economist has posted the videos of the 2010 “Innovation: Fresh thinking for the ideas economy” conference at Berkeley, California. Here is the programme. Check out the videos.

Some of my fav videos (so far):

  1. The Hybrid Problem Solver: Can design thinking save the world?
  2. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, talks about the power of opensource
  3. Hannibal and me: Timeless lessons about life, success and failure by Andreas Kluth

[HT Andreas Kluth]


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