Archive for the 'design' Category


Have You Ever Slept Under A Cardboard Box?

Perhaps we may not experience personally what it’s like to be homeless and sleep on cardboard but we can help their plight. This is a great creative solution called The Le Clochard Project by SZN a foundation which hopes to help young homeless people in the Netherlands. You can look like you’re homeless or incredibly fashionable with this duvet quilt cover and pillow case set. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale of this set funds housing projects which prioritize supporting young people in finding work or continuing their education.

The quilt cover comes in several sizes in a price range from about $73 to $117.
A set of two pillow cases costs about $22.

Sleep under a cardboard box so a homeless young person doesn’t have to.

[via doobybrain]

Kindle Beta

I’m really diggin kindle. I think they’ve done a good job with the interface. It’s got lots of potential.
Heck we can all be more committed to prayer.


Me No Speak

Me No Speak ChineseMe No Speak Chinese

On your way to Beijing? Thailand? or Japan?
Here’s a great travel companion if you don’t speak the language.
Me No Speak provides a way for travelers to simply point and speak rather than trying to use phrases that we can totally muck up. They currently have three pocket size editions in Chinese, Japanese and Thai.
I love the idea of being heard without saying a word. Their nicely done website gives you travel tips too!


Zune v2.0

Microsoft unveiled version 2 of their iPod killer today and it’s interesting to note their marketing strategy.
zune 2.0
apple ipod nano
Imitation is the best form of flattery. no?
I guess if you’re going to compete. . .

Here’s a quick critique and comparison not on the product although the Zune does have some things going for it but on the marketing strategy.
1) Large product images.
Check. But Apple does display them like a falling stack of dominoes showing you different views of the product. Very smart. There’s also video now on the iPod Nano. Win goes to Apple.
2) Variation of product colors.
Check. Pink and red Zunes. Well it’s not that much of a stretch in variety. Black, white, and brown…I guess it’s appealing but it’s normal and safe but it’s not a bad marketing strategy. At first I didn’t like the Nano colors but Apple wins on being boldly different and giving us some variety.
3) Clarity of Ad.
OK. We’re starting to see a clear winner.
The background of the Zune ad is annoyingly muddy. The products get lost. The glare on the product is even more annoying and I’m supposed to read text off that thing?
Apple is always clean and clear. Principle: Keep It Simple Stoopid.
4) User-experience.
The Zune just stands there waiting to be experienced. Well it tells you on it’s screen all the fun you can have. The Nano already is an experience in itself. There’s movie clips playing on the screen. Recognizable or not the viewer is drawn in to figure it out and perhaps ask, what can I play on this if I had one? There’s just more playfulness on Apple’s part. You’re also invited to take one more step with the “watch the ad” link on the bottom. With the Zune, you’re invited to simply learn more.
It’s time to go back to school with Microsoft.

Fast Company makes a comparison. Link.


Wanted: Chinese Creatives [ii]

What can creatives offer the Church?
Most companies and churches that use creatives primarily solicit them for help with something graphically oriented to deliver a product rather than for lack of better words a solution. Management and leadership use, misuse and abuse them. They just don’t know how to include them from the very start but only recognize them mainly for their physical craft and skill. What creatives also offer is their ability to be able to take a step back to look at the larger picture, brand or entity. They can be and mostly are problem solvers, idea generators, and storytellers. They look at the heart of what they are doing and create to evoke something in themselves and the user. They create and cultivate culture. The good ones that is. Not all creatives are created equal.

Moreover, this act of creating and cultivating is not limited to artists and designers. There are many different forms of creatives who are at heart, communicators to a community of individuals offering to help make their lives better. When those in the chruch realize a divine posture of creating and cultivating in all that they do, the church will be like a city on a hill.

Andy Crouch of the Christian Vision Project says this,
The church is called to maintain a posture of cultivating (Gen. 2:15) and creating (Gen. 2:19).
These are two separate roles, an artist creates new things not in the world to make the world better, while a gardener takes the beautiful things of the world and cares for them that they might be their best.
Instead, we have made our posture one of condemning, critiquing, copying and consuming.
Each of these are appropriate and often necessary but should remain GESTURES
– not become our overall posture.
There are two basic ways we present ourselves to the world as believers: gestures and postures.
Gestures are the things we do, and postures are the way we carry ourselves.

We have creatives and individuals that have great ideas but not all are able to bridge their ideas with the creative end or are able to articulate their ideas either verbally or concretely. It’s like vision and implementation. Most falter in implementation. Then we have some creations that are so radical that the majority is not yet ready to embrace it. Judgment and harsh criticism is often cast. We have these dynamics in nearly every walk of life.

We have those who create exactly what they were asked to do or replicate something already out there that works. They often end up as copy cats. They’ve got the mere skill but often lack depth. We end up with results that may look pleasing to the eye but are usually temporary, unoriginal, generic, and lifeless. Those who copy well are able to improve upon the original. I think that’s a mode of inspiration. But most of the stuff that we have out there are merely imitations whether it’s a product (i.e. the ipod vs the zune) or companies (pepsi vs coke). How about churches, and even people? They promise something different. Something better. There are subtle differences and we do need many different choices of which to choose from even though in the end it’s all pretty much the same. That’s a very utilitarian view. The difference in what matters then is the experience and the value. OK that’s enough of that. Let’s get back to the need of creatives in the church.

Working With Creatives in the Church
Leaders should include creatives right from the start or at least begin to find out who they are in their congregations. I understand that generally it can be difficult to work with creatives who tend to be non-linear out of the box thinkers, idealistic and emotive especially when most church leaders are very linear thinkers, results driven and often lack the ability to communicate what they want in the creative sense. You’ll hear it’s too dangerous, ridiculous or impractical. There’s bound to be conflict. That’s ok. Messy but ok. Nobody likes messy whereas artists tend to dwell or get stuck there. For many leaders this type of conflict can be viewed as roadblocks to getting results. It could just be God’s way of refinement for our lives and shaping our character. However, quite often leaders are more interested in a working and results driven manufacturing process rather than deal with the risk of creation. It’s like a paint by numbers set versus a blank canvas. In some of the ways we do church we churn out people like a paint by numbers set. Life and community is much more organic.


Wanted: Chinese Creatives

Phillip LimPeter Somanna sui
Photos of fashion designers Phillip Lim, Peter Som, Anna Sui from Patrick McMullan from

By and large Chinese ministries, organizations and culture rarely recognize the role that creatives or creative professionals have in shaping the world around us even when the Asian design aesthetic has been so influential in recent years. Creatives are professionals/workers in art, design, advertising, marketing, and communications. They are the designers, writers, directors, architects, fashion designers and more. They are thoughtful and sensitive to how people think and live. They’re great strategic thinkers. They walk to the sound of a different drum. They design and communicate. What they do serves people.

Great design always connects with people. Designers inspire, provoke, validate, entertain and provide utility for people. To truly connect, designers need to have compassion and empathy for their audiences. Designers need to understand the relationship between what they produce and the meaning their product has for others. And they need to observe the people they are designing for in their own environments. – AIGA

Attach the word “design” or “award winning design” to a product and it instantly becomes a coveted object of desire. Target has really capitalized on this ethos with their mantra, “design for all”. We now believe that we can achieve better living through design.

US companies are quickly realizing that they must adapt cross-cultural strategies with creatives being key to reach key markets in China.

“Being a graphic designer in a global economy requires you to think about cultures and communication in a whole new way. Designers are now required to not only be thoughtful, but also sensitive and strategic in their thinking around cross-cultural design. As China opens up, and the economy there expands, we expect to see more work like this. In other words, we are keeping the Chinese type on our computers.” – Design Student

RED Network is an Asian design collective of creatives with bilingual and bi-cultural backgrounds focused on developing culturally appropriate products and business strategies. The network consists of Kaizor Innovation in HK, Y Studios, and culturalANTENNA in North America. Companies like these are quickly becoming hot resources for Western companies to reach Asian markets both in the hotbed of China and stateside. I’m sure we’ll see many more.

I wish we’d see these type of partnerships and innovative strategic thinking in the Asian Church. I wish more that Chinese churches would embrace and value creatives. In most Chinese families the creative professions or arts are not encouraged as a career choice for their idols, I meant to say children. Typically, it becomes a choice through years of outright or suppressed rebellion, when they’ve had it with their major or day job or when they’ve finally made enough money.

Creatives don’t quite fit in with your traditional immigrant church set up. It’s too stuffy. Second generation creatives most likely leave the immigrant church because they’ve may have been chastised for their non-traditional thinking or worse for their choice of clothing and hair color. Their career choice appear to have little value for the world. Parents offer critical or strange glances in passing. They’re “creative” and traditional church leadership doesn’t know how to work with that. Creatives, your artists, are generally not folks who like to conform but they have very keen insight into life. We need creatives in the church.

What if Chinese churches partnered with the creatives in their congregations? What if they partnered together to reach and shape the culture around them? What if second generation creatives helped immigrant churches with their websites?

What if. Just what if.


the gates.central :: 2.26.05

the gates.central :: 2.26.05

The Gates NYC

design 102 ::. design for life
i really appreciated all the great comments on my last post. lots of substance. it really got me going. here are some further thoughts in designing living – homes
design involves all of life to serve life
these days some communities are being built with openness and accessibility in mind. many of these architectural designs involve expansive windows that invite the world outside in. how would you like your family activities to be on display for all to see?

my good friend e. and her hubby just moved into a new dorm type apartment structure where they can easily peep into other people’s spaces from across, above, or below. now this may not make many people feel very comfortable. afterall, it goes against the design principles of modern suburbia that tend to separate, divide. people cherish their privacy. but what do we really have to hide? why do we hide especially when we are part of a “community”? during my stay here in jersey, i don’t know many people who care about their neighbors or even know who they are.

i grew up in a very italian part of brooklyn where everybody knew everybody. these older pizanos would sit outside on the sidewalk on summer afternoons just chillaxing. i saw them everyday on my way home from school. they watched me grow up. these fellas were even very protective of me, looking out for my safety and sometimes calling me out on my poor decisions or rejoicing in my achievements. that was a great supplement to my home-life. they cared for the neighborhood and those living in it.

the idea behind designing communities where everyone can see your family or individual business is about cultivating community responsibility. neighbors are to look out for their neighbors. it requires that people get involved in each other’s lives. it literally removes the walls and barriers that keep us from each other. the result should be a more secure, close and loving community. we like to hide behind our masks. we’d like for everyone to think that we have the picture-perfect family or perfect life. we know better today there’s much more behind those smiles in family portraits. we desire authenticity and acceptance.

in a recent conversation, it was asked, why don’t we live or like to live in glass houses? the answer — because people like to throw rocks, especially in the church. we like walls and darkness because we don’t want others to know everything in our lives. we need something to hide behind to show that we are better than we actually are. we’re afraid of being judged. our homes, our lives are fragile things. they must be handled with care.

taking church a step further ::.
the church needs to rethink its sense of architecture among other things. rather than asking people to go to “church”, invite them to see your home first. in other words, let them see how you live. between you and the people you hang with (e.g. fellowship, family), are you living in living together in redemptive practices of reconciliation, accountability, care and obedience? imagine what it would be like if your neighbors saw “church” happening in your open and accessible home? ++++++

Movement 001 Movement 002 Movement 003
movement 1 :: movement 2 :: movement 3

we need to rethink design/architecture/urban planning and its relationship to(1) being part of the Kingdom; and (2) being responsible stewards of creation. i’ve been long wild about sustainable design. i can’t believe i consider myself a treehugger. whowouldathunkit?

[Sustainable design is the art of producing objects using only renewable resources, and which themselves, in operation, deplete only renewable resources. Such designs are called ‘sustainable’ because they serve human needs without destroying the resource base on which human civilization is based. Thus, they can be used into the indefinite future.]

there is a restoring factor to design and not just aesthetics and functionality. design should aid the soul and not just the eye or body. when we design something it ought to have a purpose larger than itself. it ought to serve life.

some good conscious links ::
::Habitat for Humanity ::
a widely respected, nonprofit organisation that seeks to “eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world”
::Architecture for Humanity ::
AfH has a long, honored tradition of doing astoundingly cutting-edge work. they will be applying 100% of the money raised for this project to the reconstruction itself, with zero overhead costs. please consider making a donation.

:: food ::
share restaurant nyc

desire is to connect people with the food that they eat and with the friends they eat with. cuisine is seasonal American, all served in tasting portions that are meant to be shared. portions are slightly larger than appetizer size to encourage sampling of various menu items.
the menu revolves around ingredients that are purchased fresh from farmer’s markets and local suppliers. since food should both taste and do good, share supports small farmers who are sensitive to the environment and practice sustainable agriculture.
share’s philosophy is to eat with the earth’s cycles; the menu changes with the seasonality of the ingredients. A strong emphasis is placed on using pure ingredients and natural resources such as organic and wild (not farm raised) products. sauces are integrated to enhance and elevate the natural flavors of the base ingredients. we feel that it is important to reconnect people with the land through the food they eat.
in the back of the house, owner-chef Kay Chun, runs the kitchen using her food education and industry knowledge to ensure that the food is of the highest quality. owner-manager Winston Shih runs the front of the house to create an intimate environment with friendly service and close attention to customer needs. “


design for all ::. 101

we were designers. friends even, yeah, some of us were. we walked on campus together as though we were something. but history was in the making. we quickly became then the most well recognized class in the school’s history leaving our mark with our names inscribed on the sterile halls of a brand new facility. i believe it’s still there. we probably were the last class of a certain mold. hours of art history and theory, aesthetics and beauty, form and function. lectures. critiques. deconstruction. integration. of course we also fulfilled our core requirement studies in humanities, science, and english. but we were painters, sculptors, filmmakers, architects, artists – designers. we were a new breed, traditionally trained in the old school and part of the forging of a new era of design. the swell of the digital age arrived in our time. we helped bring about a shift in the visual landsape as well as in the economy. now design is everywhere and everything. thanks to target there’s a new manifesto declaring design for all. you prolly have seen the commercials.

make it better, more fun, more exciting, easier. make it fly, make it soar, let it take your breath away. that’s what good design is all about. transforming the ordinary into something better….maybe even something extraordinary.

now i’m still not sure how i feel about target corp and their campaign but they sure merchandise some pretty nice things and have made some good investments like acquiring two of my choice designers from way back, mossimo and mizrahi. michael graves is another story. i really like that they carry method products. i’ll shop at target over that bully walmart anyday. and don’t even let me start about the injustices in that company.
i have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about art, design, society. my background consists of fine arts, landscape architecture, and urban planning all of which i’ve integrated under design. these things deeply influence my design process. i guess i’m part of what they call the cultural creatives. all this said gives reason to why i’m so wildly interested in the gates in central park, nyc by christo and jean-claude

the gates.central :: 2.26.05
i’m posting about all this (and probably moreso…read on) because i think it’s time to understand the realm of art, design and things that are misunderstood like the gates and its place in our lives. i was talking with a student over the weekend who shared his dislike of modern art. he, like many don’t like modern art because it doesn’t make sense to them. i understand that. but many believe that what doesn’t make sense of course is not worth considering.

when i was on the administration at a new local christian college we had a riff with some older students over the fine art prints that were being chosen to be displayed in the buildings. they wanted real “christian art” over reproductional prints of impressionists and other modern painters like, wassily kandinsky, who was deeply interested in spirituality as reflected so in his works. you see, “christian art” are prints from well known nice christian folk whose works of ‘light’ you can find in a jesus books and gift stop or at your upper-middle class malls.

here’s my take on the gates : : they’re supposed to be personally experienced. all 7,500 16-feet high gates are to be taken as a single piece like the multiple strokes in a painting. now the gates are a gift to the city, entirely self-funded by the artists themselves. it is a greatly profound work and a beautiful extravagant gift to the city and to the world. its bright colored fabrics are outspoken in this cold season as they meander throughout the park. they demonstrate the veins of the park as throngs of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, pass through them like lifeblood. you can spend time thinking about that visual if you dare. jean-claude believes that the world is his canvas. he has brought his art out from the privacy of a studio or a museum to the outside. that’s a shift that we are experiencing not just in the art of the 21st century but in all of life. we need to see that we are all a part of life in this world, in this city. this artpiece is helping to create community. as christians our lives are his handiwork. he will build his church. we are failing to be lovely and accesible. we fail to be extravagant and even flashy. we fail to give to the world. we fail to annoint the head and feet of Christ and do a beautiful thing unto him.

to me design is not just about selling something which i feel many do focus on, particularly in christian retail. sure design can be commercially viable. heck i need to pay the bills. this is my design manifesto: good design is thorough and lasting. it serves many purposes and many people. it can be flashy or even unrealized but it ought to integrate all of life to serve all of life. in a sense, we all need to be designers.

Continue reading ‘design for all ::. 101’



evolving ::.
just trying a new design of this blog. hopefully evolving, growing into something better.

in the meantime, my friends are busy launching their product lines… check them out ::
:: 3sixteen : the fall line for 316fabrications is set for august 1 ::
:: kitchnglam :: kitchnglam has officially launched, get your apron on ::

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.


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