Aletta evolved from an exploration of function and limitation in our everyday objects in the domestic environment. Expanding on the dining room as both an intimate and social space, Aletta reframed the classic pendant lamp. Inverting the cone extended the scope of this ubiquitous domestic object and added a poetic element to its function. Aletta was awarded the Forum Design Award and was exhibited as one of the 10 best products at the 1989 Salone del Mobile, Milan.
WhyTypical pendant dining room lighting illuminates the table surface—a narrow focus on the ritual of dining. A responsive light fixture expands that functionality.
HowAletta allows you to affect the quality of lighting in the dining room by adjusting the light source, to allow a more flexible use of the public/private space. Dividing the lighting cone into segments, hinging each, and connecting them all to a common counter-weight allowed a typical pendant lighting cone to be inverted, with the lightest of touch, empowering a drastic shift in the ambiance of the room with a small gesture. A downlight focused the ritual of dining, and the uplight opens up the room. By combining the two functions into one form, the act of redirecting light becomes an empowered Promethean gesture.
ResultWinner of the Forum Design Award. Aletta was chosen as one of the 10 best products of the 1989 Salone Del Mobile in Milan.
INTERACTIVE | PRINT DESIGN
Walt Disney Concert Hall. An interactive multimedia project and publication that takes people behind the scenes, and inside the design and realization of The Walt Disney Concert Hall, to reveal hidden relationships and interconnections.
WhyThe Walt Disney Concert Hall is a highly complex, world-class acoustic space. The building’s form conceals an intricate interrelationship of building design processes and systems. These overlapping competencies deeply influenced the evolution and success of the Concert Hall and yet were not immediately apparent for visitors to readily appreciate.
HowWe created an interactive media project with an informative concept-map user interface. Through this, viewers could explore the concert hall and the building components, while also revealing the underlying connections and influences between the building design process, fabrication concerns, acoustic requirements, architectural considerations and construction technologies. Viewers discovered how 3D-based technologies were both developed and perfected over the 15-year creation of this iconic building, and how they came together to create a world class acoustic hall and striking landmark for the city of Los Angeles.
ResultThe project is now used on an ongoing basis by concert hall tour guides to help visitors gain insights into these connections, before taking them on the physical tour.
Role(s)Project Lead, Creative Director.
Ideation, Project Proposal, Creative Direction, Team Development, UX/UI Design. Project research
FRANK GEHRY – Digital Project
Digital Project. Gehry's architecture was realized in a landscape of a confining architectural-engineering-construction practice. How was this possible in a context that disempowered architectural innovation? This video-based and physical exhibition took an in-depth look at the radical application of pioneering 3D modelling and manufacturing processes in Architecture. The intense work and thought required to realize Gehry's architectural vision had a major paradigm shifting and pivotal impact on the entire AEC industry. This successful interactive exhibition toured many international venues, including The Danish Architecture Centre, MOCA-LA, The Vitra Museum, The Milan Triennale, The National Building Museum, The Corcoran, and Millennium Court Arts Centre, among others.
WhyThe work done by Gehry Technologies (GT) was initially developed in-house for realizing Gehry’s architectural vision - an architecture that was challenging to build with the methodologies and practices in the existing AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) landscape. The solutions developed in these efforts allowed Gehry to build radically innovative architecture within project budget constraints, and subsequently led to a massive paradigm shift throughout the AEC industry. This was a hidden story of radical innovation and design thinking that needed to be shared.
Commissioned by Gehry Partners to showcase GT, as part of a major Gehry retrospective at MOCA-LA, we created an environment of asynchronous video loops illustrating core elements of the GT design development process. An ambient soundscape for the installation was punctuated by key audio events that synchronized with the videos. This helped focus and direct the viewer's attention and created key, meaningful connections. The success of this installation led to a commission by the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) to design a large exhibition on the work of GT, entitled Digital Project.Building on the success of the MOCA exhibit, and working with Kirsten Kiser and DAC, we created a large scale video-based exhibition in which the audience could wander freely through an open space populated with freestanding video monitors. These featured ongoing looped narratives focused on core topics exploring the evolution and implementation of the parametric design process in Gehry's architecture. Audio was delivered within focused zones around the monitors and viewers were drawn into a complex and layered story-scape, expressed through the words and ideas shared through interviews and conversations with Gehry, and his team of industry leading professionals.
The MOCA installation was highly successful and became an energetic locus in the exhibition, with people gathering around it for long periods of time.
The DAC exhibition was equally well received. The exhibit's core premise allowed viewers to wander through the exhibition, and drift in and out of narrative spaces under sound domes in proximity of the videos, or engage directly and listen more closely with headsets. This encouraged the participatory engagement with the video content and enabled a deeper more holistic understanding among viewers that would not have been possible in a linear, didactic presentation.
A significant touring schedule followed, including the Triennale di Milano, the Vitra Museum, the National Building Museum in USA, and many other venues in Europe, the USA and China.
Role(s)Project Lead, Creative Director, Exhibit Design.
Project ideation and Concept development, Creative Direction, Director of Video, Project research and video interviews, team building.
Glenn Gould: The New Listener. An interactive project that enriched users appreciation of Glenn Gould's life and the connections between his views, opinions, life experiences and his prolific musical expression. The Gould project won a number of awards including a NEMN Silver Apple, and an EMMA.
WhyGlenn Gould was a Canadian pianist - one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. A colourful and prolific figure, Gould was also a writer, composer, conductor, and broadcaster. He had strong views on music theory and musical philosophy, and a vast repertoire. His personal life was somewhat reclusive, and the story of his life and its influence on his music was a story waiting to be told.
HowThrough exploration and interactive engagement, Gould personal life story was woven into his profound musical engagement. The project team expanded on Gould's own personal views and tastes, to create immersive environments in which Gould's work could be experienced. For example, his fascination with the Canadian north, and his relationship with telephones, led to The Idea of North module - a frozen landscape in which people could take a walk with Gould to engage with many of his own expressed ideas. We created immersive environments in which players could recreate his original experiments with contrapuntal music passages, and create their own remixes using the original master recordings.
ResultGlenn Gould: The New Listener was well received and won a number of awards including a NEMN Silver Apple and an EMMA. More importantly the project allowed people to experience a different side of the cultural icon, and gain a deeper appreciation of the very real person behind his musical genius.
Role(s)Creative Director, Design Lead.
Creative Direction, Design Lead, Concept art, UI/UX Lead, Team Development
The Sagrada Familia Church was Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. A video commissioned by Danish Architecture Centre, Denmark, helped viewers appreciate the complexity involved in the monumental task of its completion. During the Spanish Civil War, most of Gaudi's physical models were destroyed by vandals. This video interview with Marc Burry, Executive Architect, explores the literal and figurative picking up of the broken pieces, and illustrates the pivotal nature of 3D parametric design in interpreting Gaudi’s vision from the surviving fragments and pieces.
WhyGaudi’s design for the Sagrada Familia Church was deeply mathematical in nature. Gaudi had expressed his architectural intentions through three-dimensional models rather than drawings, however, during the Spanish Civil War, most of Gaudi’s drawings and models for the project were destroyed, making further reconstruction work and project completion nearly impossible. Parametric modelling applied to the surviving fragments, unlocked the geometric DNA of Gaudi's vision and made its completion a possibility. 3D building technologies are now commonly employed to realize architectural projects - in this case, they were used to decipher and construct this previously unrealizable masterwork. The completion project is a compelling example of technology and process applied to other paradigms.
HowMarc Burry, executive architect for the Sagrada project had been using parametric modelling and 3D building technologies in innovative ways to reconstruct and realize Gaudi's original intent. We developed a video that interwove an interview with Marc, with examples of how these technologies were being applied in the restoration project—in particular, for analyzing the few surviving fragments of the destroyed models to reveal the essential geometries intrinsic in Gaudi’s masterwork.
ResultViewers were able to follow the story of the Church's evolution, and learned some fundamentals of 3D parametric design, and how they were being applied - gaining clear insights into the crucial role of technological innovation and its radical application in the realization of Gaudi’s original vision.
Ideation, Creative Direction, Project research.
Along with a redesign of Radian’s communications, came a request to explore ways in which Radian could take advantage of their vast archive of field photography. These were images taken by staff during their extensive remote installations and work projects. Unlike professional image resources, however, these included imagery with a very wide range of qualities. The design challenge was to find a way to work with this added client request.
WhyRadian Communication Services provided communications infrastructure services, including network design, installation and management, tower engineering, and construction to the telecommunications and broadcast industries. The company required a revised brand, marketing collateral, and look and feel for their communications.
HowAlong with the request for the redesign of Radian’s communications, came a request to explore ways in which Radian could continue to use their vast archive of field photography. Radian field staff had been documenting remote installations and work projects for some time, however, unlike professional image resources, these included of a very wide range of qualities. Working with Hale Marketing, we came up with a proposal to treat the images and use them in combination with stock photography, to create a flexible, adaptive design program. We achieved great results by working with the idea of collage as narrative, combining and treating the imagery in Photoshop and applying a unifying colour system to create a design program with a high-impact visual treatment.
ResultThe result was a very happy client.
Ideation, Creative Direction, Concept Art.
Visual Identity & Iconography Program
Gehry Technologies grew out of the in-house technology support for the firm's architectural practice. As it evolved into a larger public offering as a software suite, the user experience benefitted from additional evolution through a new iconography program for the interface, and a new visual identity for GT.
WhyGehry Technologies grew from a series of in-house technology solutions - originally developed to support Gehry's architectural practice - into a public software suite called Digital Project. As the software and methodology evolved into a more comprehensive software product, the project called for an evolution of the user experience, further development of the user interface, and a new corporate identity for Gehry Technologies.
HowWorking with the management team to articulate the design strategy, we defined a design direction, and created a new visual identity, collateral material and brand guidelines for Gehry Technologies. Assembling a small team to design and implement a clear language for the Digital Project iconography program, we delivered a comprehensive icon set for the Digital Project software suite, and a project roadmap for additional in-house development.
ResultA fresh and communicative visual identity, and comprehensive iconography for the Digital Project software. The brand guidelines and the framework for ongoing icon development ensured a smooth project evolution.
Role(s)Creative Director, Design Lead.
Creative Direction, Design Lead - Visual Identity and Iconography, UI/UX consultant
NIKON SCAN UI
Nikon UI. The design brief called for a GUI that would accommodate a wider user base and provide a better user experience. Working together with Nikon Digital's management and engineering teams I helped introduce a design-thinking development methodology for the project. A collaborative and iterative design process delivered a GUI that is still in use today, and created a valuable human-centric shift in Nikon Digital’s engineering-focused software development process.
WhyThe original engineering-centric GUI suffered from an idiosyncratic layout, cryptic design, poor process flow and poor uptake of an otherwise excellent line of scanners. The design brief was to design a GUI that would accommodate a wider user base, and offer an improved user experience. We wanted to provide professional image editors access to the scanner’s high-end capabilities, while also addressing the needs of non-professionals, in a friendly, intuitive user experience.
HowThe first step was the introduction of a different culture for the design process. Working with Nikon management, we began a organizational shift towards a more effective human-centered design process. Adopting an iterative process for design development, using design mock-ups, interactive prototypes, and iterative testing of new UI/UX concepts with a diverse user base, provided the ground for the definition of a new human-centric UI specification document. This key shift from a specification-driven, engineering-centered design of the UI/UX, to a prototype-driven, human-centered design process provided the foundation for the new GUI, and for a new organizational culture.
ResultWhile the objective of the design brief was a new UI/UX, the human-centric shift in Nikon’s software development process was clearly the biggest outcome. Originally commissioned for the LS2000 line of scanners, the GUI is still in use today with Nikon’s scanners.
Role(s)Creative Director, Project Lead.
Creative Direction, UI/UX Design Lead, Team Development
For many years after people realized that smoking would kill them, intelligent, informed people still continued to smoke. In the face of this, and in response to a Health Canada request for proposals, the project team took a new approach. We elected to move away from typical representations of the physical damage of smoking on the body as a deterrent, to a more subtle psychological approach to the communication challenge.
WhyA response to a Health Canada proposal request for a new approach to the anti-smoking campaign.
HowBy addressing the communication problem and taking a hard look at ways to shift entrenched behaviour through communication. For many years after people realized that smoking would kill them, intelligent, informed people still smoked. In the face of this, the project team elected to move away from the typical representations of physical damage to the body from smoking, as a deterrent. We played at the edge of a strong and hard-hitting communication program of striking imagery and messaging, that addressed the emotional and psychological impact and the consequences of smoking – both on the smoker and on the loved ones around them.
ResultThe result was a fresh approach to imagery and messaging as a deterrent to continued use of tobacco products.
Role(s)Project Lead, Creative Director.
Ideation, Project Proposal, Creative Direction, Team Development
Ombu is a cloud-based application for the rapid authoring and sharing of rich-media web experiences. Evolved from field work in building content-driven interactive presentations with clients, Ombu provided a platform and collaborative framework for the creation of compelling interactive stories directly in real-time.
WhyDuring the creation of the Walt Disney Concert Hall project, the project team developed a highly adaptive workflow and a series of software workarounds to help validate and develop the WDCH story directly with the client. This allowed us to iterate in real time as we worked with the content and client's expertise. The combination helped us maximize the value of limited face time, and the process proved to be highly successful with the project stakeholders. It revealed to us an opportunity for developing our workarounds into a more robust, formal application framework.
HowLeveraging the experience, we conceived and bootstrapped an application for authoring and distributing rich-media presentations from the cloud within a web browser, creating a collaborative framework for teams to author rich media presentations. A significant feature of the application was embedding a highly customizable and intuitive navigation layer directly within the presentation content itself, allowing end users to experience both the content and navigation together. This seamless detail-in-context approach allowed users to stay oriented, and freed them to engage with and explore the content more deeply.
ResultOMBU has been well received critically, with clients demonstrating its additional value for creating and distributing courseware and online training.
Role(s)Project Concept, Creative Director.
Project Ideation, Creative Direction, Team Development and management, Architecture, UX/UI Design.
STRATEGY | BRAND | IDENTITY | WEBSITE
SelfDesign Learning Foundation is the second largest K-12 distributed learning institution in BC. It is steeped in methodologies for passion-based learning and life-long learning engagement. The organization plays an invaluable role in the evolution of K-12 education through its vital service. A revised communication strategy, branding, identity, and website improved the organization’s outreach and growth opportunities.
WhyFunded by the BC Ministry of Education, SelfDesign is the second largest distributed-learning school in BC. Its unique learner-centric approach has been a pioneering new model for K-12 education. The organization’s branding and communications had grown organically over time, and required re-thinking to better meet a growing demand for alternative public education. There was a disconnect between the program offerings and the demonstrated demand. We needed to help the organization better present their philosophy and innovative programs, and to help parents and families better understand their options, supporting them in making informed choices for their child’s education.
HowI put together a team and we developed a communication/design strategy, articulated a project development plan and workflow, and began sharing best practices with SelfDesign. We conducted a thorough analysis of the existing communications and identity, and made core recommendations for shaping a new values-based, user-centric communication culture. We leveraged this paradigm shift to create a clean, outward-looking brand identity and website as well as a clear customer-focused communication strategy, that the organization would be able to build upon.
ResultThis was the first project the organization had undertaken that was completed on time and on budget. The resulting work was highly regarded by the board, was welcomed by the administration and was readily adopted by this community-based organization. The project helped galvanize the organization around their external communications. The new brand and website received standing ovations when presented at the annual convention, and they continue to help align and strengthen unity.
Creative Direction, Branding, Communication strategy, Narrative and story development, Site architecture and design.
ThoughtShare Communications. Founding member and Director of Design of a software development company that went public with 10M in financing. ThoughtShare produced a series of software products for the knowledge management industry, based on the collaborative use and sharing of user-enriched web content.
WhyThe web was expanding exponentially, yet collaborative use of the growing shared knowledge base was limited. We set out to create a new framework for web-based collaboration, and identified a set of forward-thinking applications targeting the early-stage knowledge management sector.
HowWith the participation of researchers at Simon Fraser University, we analyzed cognitive behavior and content aggregation and management in early web use. With our findings, we were able to develop a sophisticated suite of products that addressed collaborative knowledge sharing of web-based content. Adhering to human-centered design principles, the design team was responsible for the UX/UI, collaborated closely with the CTO and IT team to extend the IP into the conception of supporting server-side software, and played a pivotal role in the culture of the organization, including the design of company’s brand and physical workspace.
ResultAs a founding member of a tech start-up, we grew the company from a small five-person team to a publicly funded company with 90+ staff. The design team was responsible for generating key software innovation, human-centric application front-end, corporate brand, corporate website and driving innovation through a creative collaborative culture.
Role(s)Director of Design.
Software Ideation, Creative Direction, Design Management, Team Development, Information Architecture, UX/UI, Branding, Web Design.