Following up on my earlier post… Building an Experimental Design Culture...
Part 2 of our big inspiring weekend involved not only streaming The Dark Crystal, but also streaming Eames: The Architect and the Painter.
Some of our team at IDEO New York went and saw it in the theater and I had been waiting for a quiet moment to watch it as well. Whereas Henson's studio culture was more of a surprise, the Eames' approach to design - their studio, culture, and journey - was eerily familiar.
That makes sense. The Eames were pioneers in applying design as a mindset and approach to solving new problems. They did so alongside interdisciplinary collaborators across architecture, graphic design, communications, and a host of other disciplines. They loved tackling problems that hadn't been tackled before and being given (or taking as the case may be) the liberty to try new approaches to solve those tough problems. Details, aesthetics, and the senses mattered. Surprises were important.
What inspired me most were how ideas were embodied in an exhibition, or a product, or an interactive experience. That the ideas were embodied though is the trick. They made them, beautifully so. Often the ideas came from the making. And, sometimes, they just made.
They also worked hard, though perhaps in an environment that kept people for reasons that were less overtly familial than Henson's group.
A running theme as you'd expect was learning:
"Let the design flow from the learning."
"Never delegate learning."
"[Their] journey of not knowing to knowing was [their] work.*
*A subtle and underlying subtext to the film was the undercurrent and interplay of credit, devotion, betrayal, and optimism. In this case the quote was originally "His" journey… referring to Charles though while he deserved all of the credit, so did everybody else.