Since February 2015 AUXILIARY Design School has been in high gear, delivering programs and planning the future. Our recent offering, AUXILIARY PLUS, drilled in the basics of sketching, prototyping and CAD over a short but intense 6-week course.
We are proud to announce that AUXILIARY's website is now live! We will have an official launch on December 11th, 2014. Check the site for more details about us and our upcoming program!
In the process of shooting a forthcoming documentary on post-industrial design, my brother and myself have been following Rob Arcidiacono's journey as he launches madeforward, a design company founded on the ideas of upcycling, paying-it-forward, and net-positive design. Below is a short mission statement video we've produced in the short term, with more to come.
for more info: www.madeforward.com
I'm currently working on a new project with some talented others that will seek to challenge the existing status quo of traditional design institutions. We hope to announce something in the next month or two so stay tuned!
Matt Marrocco over at IDRAW Creative Goods has been nice enough to feature me and some of my work in a new series which will highlight various creative people in various disciplines. Matt was a stand-out student at CCS and has gone on to pursue both a product design career as well as starting his own thing with IDRAW, which is well worth checking out at idraw.co
My feature can be seen here: http://idraw.co/blogs/blog/14953069-introducing-idraw-features-first-up-leon-fitzpatrick
I've had the privilege to be able to work closely with Chicago's Magic+Might over the past several years, on some challenging, out-there and interdisciplinary projects for some pretty big clients. Check out their beautifully done new website magicandmight.com
After shooting some on-the-fly footage last year of my good friend Chris and one of his many projects, I realized that though I often search far and wide for stories to tell and people's messages to convey through film and design, the best ones are in fact right under my nose (the distance between Detroit and Brisbane notwithstanding).
Not only has Chris been the most excellent of friends, he is a wickedly talented designer, incredible artist and all-round hands-on car guy...I've never known him to have anything less than 4 or 5 cars in varying states (figuratively and literally). Behind the scenes, it turns out all his project cars are from the Chrysler family, which goes back to the old days of working on cars with his dad, who was always a Chrysler guy. Now a designer at Jeep, Chris' story represents a unique, full circle love of design and machinery that's most certainly in the blood.
Stay tuned as the saga unfolds.
It took about 2 years but I've managed to arrive on a relatively simple identity for myself. Inherently industrial design is flawed, out of date, and wildly out of control, but it also requires discipline and exists within an established context. Instead of departing entirely from it's grasp, I tend to look at what happens beyond the perils of mass production and consumerism, leveraging skills instead of discarding them entirely and hoping to contribute to a new chapter in how we perceive our manufactured reality.
In both industry and academia there comes a time when complex and/or abstract ideas and information need to be organized and presented clearly. In practice the outcome is usually a visual or practical solution, at least for designers and creatives. In theoretical environments, the need to communicate with diagrams is endemic. While infographics are the flavour of the month, or year, I still have issues with attempting to oversimplify while conversely complicating actual information and ideas.
My father, Bryon, has been a practicing industrial designer and educator for the past 60 plus years. Dubbed 'the Drawing Machine' for his ability to rapidly sketch and render in exquisite quality and high detail, he has recently retired (albeit for the 3rd time). We are now working together on commission-based projects, the most recent being a Canson rendering of the 1947 Sunbeam S7 for local motorcycle customizers Ellaspede. Below is a short video showing some of the process, and stay tuned for a documentary series in the near future.
An internal combustion engine is a vastly complex system with a basic outcome - to turn wheels. Though electric cars have been around just as long as their fossil-fuel powered counterparts, it's only in recently that they've resurfaced as the logical progression of personal transportation. Thanks to companies like Tesla, well designed EVs are now a reality, but cost and exclusivity are still limitations.
Always interested in cars, but never possessing more than a superficial knowledge of their inner workings, I've recently started penciling in ideas on how I would learn more through a hands-on approach, while respecting where they've come from. My first car was a 1985 BMW 325e, of the iconic E30 model designation. (My second car was a Saab but I don't want to talk about it, the pain is still too near). With the right balance of simple design, tight packaging, solid build quality and clever engineering, the little E30's are easily found and cheaply priced, but with the predictably high mileage one might expect from an almost 30 year old car.
The goal is to find the right test car, (preferably a late-80's 318i), proceed to remove engine, radiator, fuel tank, exhaust pipe etc, and replace that all with an electric motor and bank of lithium-ion batteries. Let's face it, combustion engines are becoming as arcane as the fuel that powers them. EV conversions are becoming increasingly feasible, and rightly so, because the 'affordable' new options are cars like the dorkishly designed Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MiEV (one of those i's stands for 'innovative', enough said). Simply put, I'm interested in breathing new life and new value into something old and well made, not unlike the cafe-racer/custom bike culture. Producing a repeatable conversion method makes sense, hence choosing one make and model to experiment with. Fun stuff would include telltale exterior design details such as badging, exposed charge-points, Gattaca-style green headlights, and interior details like nice displays and UI for the electric system diagnostics.
There is a growing desire for craft, quality and serviceability and I hope in some way this contributes to that movement. While batteries in and of themselves are not clean, nor is the production of most electricity, I fully believe there are ways to overcome this. Charging an EV from a solar-powered home for example is a step in the right direction, and this already ties into another project of mine.
So here's to drawing peaceful relations between the past and the future...at least until the BMW purists come crashing down the door with torches and pitchforks crying heresy, at which point I'm hoping I've got a full charge.
(original photo via flickr)
Giving a name to an idea on the tip of your mind can sometimes give it the grounding it needs. The bricks-and-mortar model of creativity and business is changing. Timezone and distance barriers can be overcome, and teams that can converge and disperse are an interesting alternative to the current corporate or consulting model. Going where the work and resources are reflects original nomadic tendencies that were once the natural human condition.
Beyond this, the notions of geographical, cultural and creative borders feel outdated. As passengers on what Buckminster Fuller described as spaceship Earth, we would do better to not be restricted by these borders.
Let's call this, among other things, a work in progress.
ZERO is an approach to sustainability that resets everything back to a fundamental base line. Products, transportation, food...our model of manufacturing and consumption is pushing us into the red, environmentally and socially. A true holistic solution starts at home. But recycling, driving a hybrid, and buying 'eco friendly; products is a moot point if the house itself is energy inefficient, and full of landfill-destined items.
If you start from nothing, everything that follows is carefully considered.
Industrial Designer: Leon Fitzpatrick
Architect: Saul Fitzpatrick