Sunday, July 02, 2017


James Cameron
Elon Musk
Ed Catmull
John Carmack
Thom Mayne
Frank Gehry

Monday, February 29, 2016

Trust Your Better Self

By noon, tasks have piled up to nay high and there are messagings pinging in from facebook, skype and whatsapp. Like a growing cacophony of sounds, its hard to tell what the real tune is.

Which is why I think its important to find a quieter time to layout your intended tune before the din of everyday life comes in.

Its become a ritual in the studio to do two things:

First: 1010s, where we update each other everyday at 1010. We share two things: whats my most important thing (*MIT*) for the day and if i need any of the team's time. After that, we're set and everyone is off to do their own thing.

Second: PPPs, where we share the progress, problems and plans at a project level. This happens every week on Monday morning, and from it we get 3 MITs for each project phase. This helps to guide everyone's daily 1010.

Third: We've tried for a third - quarterly reviews, annual review - but at that scale, things are less regular and the real impact of decisions in what projects you say yes or no to.

So when its past noon and there's tons of pinging messages, I trust my better self and switch them off (if its important, they'll call). Because my better self told me at the morning 1010 that there's an important tune to play for the day, so nevermind the ruckus.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Get wrong to get right

You need to get it wrong to get right. For example, instead of creating 3 design "options" in 4 days and labouring over the details, how can you make 100 design iterations in 20 minute and flush out all the bad ideas and deadends early on? Don't ask "how do I get the design right?" Instead, ask "How can I make 100 mistakes in 20 minutes and clear the way for good things to happen?? And the best way to do this is to be very clear on what kind of mistakes should happen when. Too many mistakes at the same time will make it hard to judge what the right move should be. The hypothesis is that you should be very intentional in what you're trying to get wrong. Using techniques from matte painting, here's a hypothesis for the PAL project: The first mistake to make is in organization. Make every space too small and too big and dead and wasteful so that they can eventually be right: the right proportions, the right flow, the right light. The dimensions to evaluate are 2 dimensional. The next mistake to make is in massing. How is the organization going to be shaped? Only think about form and value relationships. Don't waste time thinking about materials yet. Draw fast and let it be ugly, clunky and awkward. Diagrammatically work the plans/sections or types/assemblies with the drawing so you know that it can still work. Eventually, a big grid of doodles will emerge and you can start to sort and distill into a single image or two that work. The doodle is mixing plan and section. 3.5D of information: X/Y/Z and values. IF you get stuck, just be systematic about the permutations and combinations you can make. This is a mixture of a line and a tonal thumbnail. If you've made it this far, congrats. You are now ready to make more mistakes! Its time to get materials and details wrong. Focus on making the materials as ugly and clash as possible. Try pinks, blues, reflectives and coloured lights. Don't worry. Try textures and smears and overlays. At this point, you should be having so much fun that there should be two massing perspectives to mess up! This is a colour study. Finally, focus your efforts on getting lighting as bad as possible. After this only are you ready to develop it in 3D.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Tims Vemeer

"Tim's Vemeer" is a documentary movie about an inventor called Tim. One day, he was given a book called "Secret Knowledge" written by artist David Hockney. The book argues that the artists of the renaissance used mirrors and lenses to help develop their art. This revelation on the role of engineering in art set Tim down his quest to understand the work of Vemeer by reverse engineering a machine that could to replicate his paintings. The results are jawdropping and the uncanny success of his invention suggests that Vemeer too might have used a similar device. This is exciting because it changes one understanding of Vemeer as an artist and his art. It means that as an artist, Vemeer had to have an understanding of mechanical tooling to make such devices. It also means he would have had to understand physical phenomena such as light and optics to manipulate the image. And it would also mean he would need to understand geometric perspective to correct the optical distortions of the device. It also means the outcome is less a mystical creation coming from an inscrutible flash of inspiration. Like a surgeon, Vemeer uses this knowledge to operate on human perception but instead of the scapel and the knife, his tools become light and paint. It means that artist and is art is less shaman, more scientist. Less alchemy, more maths. Less inspiration, more process.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The magic of a spec

“If I build this, will it delight you?”

Sunday, September 01, 2013

this quarter is about housekeeping!