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Home / malcom gladwell

Art Hype: Design Is Everywhere


Excuse the hiatus, but in that time, there’s been one design world idea that just keeps popping up – design you don’t see.

Let’s face it, as an LA CANVAS reader, you care a lot about aesthetics. And I, as a maker of contemporary furniture with www.patrickcaindesigns.com, appreciate you for that. But sometimes it’s good to step back and just note the little things which are greatly planned out, but are lesser appreciated.

The first time this idea started to really bounce around for me was when I was traveling through India in March. Obviously other countries have other ways of doing things, but there’s something beautifully efficient when that country is roughly equal square mileage of the United States, but four times the population.

My favorite subtle design difference I saw as in Indian bathrooms, specifically the shower. That is to say, there is no shower basin or tub. The floor has a drain, and your shower head just protrudes out the wall. Sure your toilet may get wet or your sink, but who cares. Then all the water just drains for them basin of the floor. I cannot understand why I have a tub. Who takes bathes? Okay, if you do, then get a bathtub, but the logic and plumbing behind having a drain on the floor is beautiful. Kudos, India.

Shortly after I got back from India I was able to take part in the 2015 Aids LifeCycle. This 545-mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles raised over $16 million for HIV/AIDS education, outreach and prevention. With thousands of riders, the planning takes a whole year. But planning isn’t just what roads to turn on – which is huge logistical feat in itself – but also things like food, showers, medical needs for thousands of people who are constantly on the move. And oh yea, there’s always the unknown. Take for example on the 5th of 7 days, we faster riders got to a point on the course that didn’t go as planned. Unbeknownst to the ride organizers, that local municipality we were riding through decided to tear up a road to repave it.

Was it ridable? Yes. Was it bumpy as hell? Fuck yes. Incredibly, within maybe half an hour of the fast crew getting threw, ride director Greg Sroda has rerouted the approximately 2,000 people behind me who all had course maps that said turn left when he was telling them to turn right. The logistical contortionism the ALC showed in that moment proved better than any other that this event has a design that can’t be beat.

We are also living in an age where everything around us has teams of designers – often dubbed other titles like industrial engineers – making our lives more comfortable. Because as Americans we didn’t have it good enough already. But a few weeks ago I was sent an incredible soap from Soaptopia which makes allergen-, chemical- and petroleum-free, contains moisturizing-rich soaps. We live in a world where the product you clean your butt with can be as boutique as the a gourmet restaurant. And who do we have to thank for this shift that made designing everything around us possible? Yep, you didn’t guess it,. It’s Howard Moskowitz. Who’s Howard, well, I’ll let a guy you’re a bit more familiar with explain his story and why he’s done more to change the world we live in than many of the tech giants we hear about everyday.

Take it away, Mr. Gladwell:



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