1. As a in house test case, we created a unique physical 3D video mapping experience by turing a white living room into a spacious 360° projection area. This technique allowed us to take control of all colors, patterns and textures of the furniture, wallpapers and carpet. All done with 2 projectors.

    Concept: Mr.Beam
    Projections: Mr.Beam
    Music: Free the Robots - Jazzhole


    # vimeo.com/18460233 Uploaded 667K Plays 56 Comments
  2. Endless.

    One plastic string, made out of old refrigerators, crafted by a robot, into a chair.
    When the first plastic chairs were made, they began with fairly simple tools and moulds to form the plastic. The simple tools were easy to adjust and this gave the designer the chance to evaluate the final product and adjust the tools almost endlessly.
    As labour grew more and more expensive, it was filtered out of the process with automated and complicated tools.
    These automated processes have been very inflexible until now. High investments in complicated moulds made it almost impossible for a designer to evaluate and refine his final object. The designer is no longer involved in the production process and the design stage is completely shifted to a pre production phase.
    As Dirk van der Kooij considered this a lost chance he made a pact with the devil, because he found a solution, not in labour but in computerization.
    By combining different techniques, he was able to design an automated but very flexible process. He taught a robot his new craft, drawing furniture out of one endlessly long plastic string.
    This opened the possibility for Dirk van der Kooij to design in the good old-fashioned way, making a chair, evaluating, refining, making a chair, evaluating, refining and making a chair. Or developing an infinitely large collection of variations. Endless.

    # vimeo.com/17358934 Uploaded 179K Plays 11 Comments
  3. Every company makes the same design with dark brown wooden housings. They called that in Germany [unclear]. It’s always a compliment when some products you have designed become a nickname, like the ‘Snow White Coffin’. Nobody knows exactly where it’s coming from, it comes from the competition or it comes from the inside. The first thing was not only the cover, it was only the base, the main base in metal. I was influenced by my grandfather who was a carpenter and he was a specialist with surfaces. I learnt that from him, but I had in mind to study architecture. After that I finished my studies. That was a time where in Germany there was nothing, so things come back from the United States, for example, with architecture – there’s things from … Gropius, from Marcel Breuer – all these things come. And it was for us just to look in a New Brave World.

    Somebody said that there is an announcement in the newspaper that there’s a company called Braun. And then I get an answer from Braun – I met him first and he told me about his ideas. His vision was to change the product line. It was at this time unbelievable – totally new approach as a company. But that was the thinking behind it - it was not only concentrated on design – design was one part. In the company there were possibilities that people could have things because even secretaries doing always the same things the whole day, they need something to stay healthy.

    The first exhibition of the new design of the radios was very successful. The media and everyone was surprised about that, so Braun became more known. Nobody had this idea that by the help of design, you also could be very successful.

    I did it because I became a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, so it was necessary to do something which you could tell the students and could tell to the press and also to keep together our own behaviour in the design department at Braun. The last one was as little design as possible, which is a similar lesson.

    I hate everything that is driven by fashion. From the beginning I was hating in the 60s the American way of styling, especially cars. They changed their styling things every 2 years and designed new ones which is nothing to do with good design.

    So at the end of the 60s the whole programme was looking like that. In the beginning were the first writing machines. It was also monochrome – why should it not be in a colour? It’s a difference between a kitchen machine that stays permanently in the kitchen and has to be in the background like … it was thought our products should look like an English butler – be there when you need them, but in the background when you don’t need them. So it depends on the product to make it colour or not.

    I was involved always and still in the field of furniture. And then I met Otto Sap and Nils ??? I had in my mind always thinking not one blinds alone but always thinking how can I add something? Specially developing furniture - people could change them, they could add something after using them a while.

    Somebody has written that I am the designers’ designer – I take that as a compliment. I also take it as a compliment that ??? is taking some of the ideas I had in the 60s and that is for me, again, the best compliment you can get as a designer.

    They called it later the first Walkman because it was the first one you could have with earphones and walking with it. It was also designed as a system – separate radio. They made an exhibition with the and they make this poster.

    I think that design has a great, great responsibility for the future. I am always optimistic – as a designer you have to be an optimist, otherwise you should not stay as a designer any more.

    # vimeo.com/1874188 Uploaded 57.6K Plays 15 Comments
  4. On the far side of Red Hook Park’s soccer and baseball fields, locked-up behind a fence made of enormous concrete blocks, lays the last vestige of Red Hook's industrial grandeur: The New York Port Authority Grain Terminal.

    This massive 429-foot long and 12-story high beige-colored fortress was built in 1922 for the purpose of washing, drying and storing grain from the Great Lakes, before the grain was loaded onto freight ships and delivered to breweries, distilleries and flour mills. Ultimately, the terminal was built to invigorate New York State’s Canal System and compete with railroad-owned stationary elevators.

    Nevertheless, NYC’s uncompetitive labor costs and storage disputes forced the Port Authority to cease operations in 1965, after 40 years of under-use. Since then, the Grain Elevator has sat vacant and majestic on Gowanus Bay's waterfront, alongside the Erie Basin, dominating Red Hook's urban landscape.

    City officials and engineers refer to the Grain Terminal as the Magnificent Mistake. However, Red Hook’s inhabitants affectionately term it one of two distinct names: “The Lady Finger,” due to its unique structure which consists of a series of 54 joined concrete semi-circular silos; or simply, the "Elevator.”

    NYCitizen, my urban exploration accomplice, and I decided to pay the Lady a visit. That Sunday, the park was packed with baseball and futbol players, picnickers and street vendors. I asked a carnitas taco vendor if he knew how to get closer to the Grain Terminal. His first reaction was to tell me that the building was under government surveillance and that the coast guard was watching it as it was located right in front of an oil refinery on the other side of the Erie Canal. However, while heating up a stack of tortillas, he also told me that the easiest way to climb the concrete barricade was to scale a tree near the baseball field’s bleachers, and jump over the fence. Right...

    A more realistic and less hazardous way seemed to be through the bus depot alongside the Grain Terminal. As we approached the main entrance, the security guy stopped us and asked for the reason of our visit. I said that we would like to take some pictures of the Elevator. He retorted that it was a private property but that we were welcome to do so…from the sidewalk.

    As we walked along the concrete blocks desperately looking for an access point, we realized that the enormous barrier had suddenly transformed into a 3-foot high hurdle. The last and only obstacle left was a duo of State Park officers sitting on a bench, watching a baseball game in the shade. After waiting for them to leave for a couple of minutes, I realized that these two were here to stay. I decided to approach them and ask candidly if we could jump over the hurdle to snap a couple of images. Despite an obvious negative first response, my insistence won them over and the female officer told us grudgingly that they don’t want any problems. We could do so at own risks, but that they never had this conversation with us. As we dashed to the closed-off section of the Grain Terminal, the two officers decided to begin patrolling around the park.

    At this point, we were only halfway there, as we still needed to get inside the actual Terminal. After running between cargo containers, we decided to stop in the transformer house and study our options. From there, the terminal looked completely hermetic. Concrete chunks blocked the doors, and windows were obstructed by metal bars and barbed wire. Graffiti on an oxidized beam gave us the gist of the challenge ahead: “How do we get in?”

    Approaching one of the windows, I noticed more graffiti on the ground floor and thought, “If there’s graffiti, there must be a way to get in there.” After wandering around the building for a while and a round of seemingly impossible physical contortions, we were finally inside the Grain Terminal.

    The ground floor, which seems to be the warehouse floor, looked like an old Greek temple, with immense concrete columns, long passages and adornments created by street writers. Loading railways were still fixed on the ground. Three dilapidated metal staircases were located on the Erie Canal side of the building. We climbed the middle one to access the following floor which happened to be the top-floor. A grain terminal is simply a large, empty box, where huge concrete silos separate the ground floor from the top-floor.

    The penthouse was a huge open space; a massive loft filled with old machinery, boasting an unbeatable panoramic view of the surroundings. A bunch of no-smoking signs were still hanging here and there. I've read recently that grain elevators are actually explosion-proof, due to the highly flammable nature of the grain. As we investigated the top level, we zigzagged between large holes in the floor with just the right diameter to swallow a human body. These holes were actually located right on the top of the silos, and hence allowed the grain to fall from the top to the bottom, just like the sand in an hour-glass.

    At both extremities of the top-floor, staircases led to the Elevator’s tower used to lift the grain. We decided to start with the south tower, which seemed bigger from the park. The tower is a complex metallic structure filled with all sorts of geared traction machinery and empty lockers. The oppressing silence was only broken by pigeons, apparently disturbed by our visit, and by the wind filtering in through the black metal walls.

    At the end the climb, a hatch on the ceiling revealed an incredible 360-degree view of New York City. After the Williamsburg Savings Bank's clock tower in downtown Brooklyn, it is probably the highest point in the borough. From the rooftop of the south elevator tower (about 68 meters high) Brooklyn looked like a miniature replica of itself.

    The Terminal gave a full frontal view of Lady Liberty, the busy NY Harbor, Jersey City and the Verrazano Bridge. The old Kentile Floor sign, hung above the elevated Prospect Expressway where cars and trucks look like Hot Wheels toys. On the foreground, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges guided our eyes to the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings in mid-town and the Citi Bank tower in Long Island City.

    Seagulls, helicopters and planes from JKF Airport soared over our heads as we sat on the roof, absorbed by the sunset and the silence that exists only in the city’s cacophony.

    We left the “Lady Finger” as the light begun to disappear. On our way back to the car, a black Ford which looked just like an under-cover vehicle stopped in front of us...though it was just a lost driver asking for his way to Ikea. Funny enough, the Swedish furniture retailer was constructed two years ago at the mercy of two other Red Hook industrial history symbols, the Revere Sugar Refinery and the Todd Shipyard, which were torn down to give rise to the global giant.

    As of today, The Port Authority is trying to sell 159 acres of land in the Gowanus Bay area, including the 43-acre site of the Grain Elevator. As the barren Terminal faded into the distance, I could not help but hope that the Grain Elevator would not end-up being recycled into a Hilton Hotel like in Akron, Ohio, or into luxurious condominium complexes like the plan the city has for the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg.

    See full photo narrative here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanemissier/sets/72157624749572498/

    Video and words by Charles le Brigand
    For information please visit http://charleslebrigand.com/ or http://ldbk.eu/carlito
    or email me here: charleslebrigand@gmail.com
    All rights reserved. Une production de Brigand © 2010

    Music: "Transit" by Zenzile

    Music: A Flower’s Shade by Eduardo Cintron http://www.eduardocintron.com

    More pictures of the Lady Finger here:
    NYCitizen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51833418@N07/sets/72157624322267151/with/4772434543/
    Gowanus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gowanus/sets/72157594485393440/
    Blue Jake: http://www.bluejake.com/archives/2007/01/14/three_views_of_the_port_of_new_york_grain_terminal.php
    Dooby Brain: http://www.hermanyung.com/red-hook-grain

    # vimeo.com/14227686 Uploaded 53.2K Plays 20 Comments
  5. Footage of the highly polluted Gowanus Canal alias the Lavender Lake.
    See/read full story here: vimeo.com/15580679

    Filmed and cut by Charles le Brigand
    See full photo narrative here: http://flickr.com/photos/stephanemissier/sets/72157624979527351/
    All rights reserved. Une production de Brigand © 2010

    Music: "Any Colour You Like" by Easy Star All-Stars

    # vimeo.com/15646420 Uploaded 629 Plays 2 Comments

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