More design inspiration from Fjord London

Fjord Family

Here is the next round of our design inspiration meeting. Again, everyone had 30 seconds to present something that inspired them. After working through the results, I think it is really interesting to see how this week’s inspirations differ from the last ones and how they have become more based on personal experiences and interests.

What inspired you lately? Tell us what you think.

Events and Venues

Noemi went to the Lift Conference last week which is all about exploring the future of new technologies and how changes will impact us. The idea is not only to prepare and inspire the participants but also to create networking opportunities. During the event people from various backgrounds give talks and workshops and organize artistic activities. Two talks that especially inspired her:

The New Face of Gaming: This talk dealt with challenges when it comes to applying game mechanisms beyond entertainment. Concerning the psychological mechanism he clarified that you can kill intrinsic motivation by adding extrinsic motivations

Luxury and the Digital World: Another talk gave an overview of the evolution of luxury and digital media and examples of some practices. For example: How could you get someone to spend £90,000 in a ring they haven’t seen in person?

Damaris took part in the Service Design Jam London where teams have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme. By working in a group consisting of 8 people you quickly become exposed to the difficulties when it comes to finding a solution in a flat hierarchy. Additionally to that, you have to be able to work with people you have never met before – And trust them and their ideas. Last but not least, she realised it is all about honesty. Being honest to yourself, accepting when your idea is not as good as you thought but also to others.

Dan likes Brixton village. “Why? A run down indoor market transformed by a willing council and a clutch of community groups and entrepreneurs into an inspirational and bustling space for shopping and eating. It was recently described as ‘the best food scene in London right now’. A kind of British take on the evening markets of Madrid. A great model for town centre regeneration through locally run independent, high quality & high value outlets. Delicious.”

Malin went to Le Relais de Venise l’Entrecote, the English branch of a Parisian institution. Its premise is simple, but its standard high. The restaurant serves only one dish: Steak frites with a secret sauce and a green salad. The concept became so popular, you regularly see queues out of the door at peak times. It is interesting to see how a simple idea results in a cult. We are getting confronted with so many choices in our everyday life, sometimes it feels better to have no choice at all.


Isn’t “useless design” an oxymoron? Design should answer a need and solve a problem. many of us like cycling and they like wine – but why would you need a wine rack on your bike? If you were having a picnic, why wouldn’t you put in your bag? Uselessness is in the eye of the beholder and these objects are there to fulfill a more immaterial need rather than making sense. They can be very creative like this wine rack found by Dom but it is nevertheless hard to find a use for it.

Uselessness is in the eye of the beholder

James is currently collecting the first component parts to build a real Delta Robot all by himself. These are a type of parallel robots that consist of three arms connected to universal joints at the base. The most popular usage is in picking and packaging in factories but there all different kinds existing, from portrait-drawing delta-robots to Lego robots – some performing at an outrageous speed.

Without really thinking, we sometimes adapt to things in our environment that are not always perfectly tailored to our needs. Thoughtless acts observes these kind of reactions which are not rarely very amusing and you often recognise yourself in the pictures. These show not only how we alter the purpose of things to meet our objectives (see above) but also intuitive interactions with spaces that we encounter – like walking on a line that is marked on the ground.

Locking a door with a screwdriver from ‘thoughtless acts’

Books and Movies

Abbie read Loneliness – Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection” by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick. They point out how loneliness impacts not only on our emotions but our physical health and well-being and gives a good diagnosis. The book provides solutions and proposes the main keys to happiness: social connections, household income and Age. Although dealing with a serious topic the book is quite entertaining and definitely worth reading.

Rob had a good evening out in an independent cinema, seeing A Dangerous Method. The historical film is based on the complex relationships between Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology and Sigmund Freud, founder of the discipline of psychoanalasis. Jung falls in love with his hysteric patient Sabina played by Keira Knightley. Besides telling about the conflicts resulting from Jung and Freud’s views moving into opposite directions, it shows the audience how we interact with each other and show our feelings. On the same importance it reveals how even the biggest minds fail to accept other people views. And somehow makes us think that we should never call design beautiful.

Food of the Gods, a book presented by Kostja, puts forth the theory that magic mushrooms are the original “Tree of Knowledge”. An enthusiasm for hallucinogenic mushrooms were eventually what separated the men from the apes, the author claims that this kind of diet led to enhanced eyesight and higher language ability. Moreover, he criticizes the way we replaced them by coffee, sugar and chocolate…

People and Animals

Free Friday Lunch at Fjord London. Speaks for itself. (Picture secretly taken by Louise)

Fjord London free Friday lunch!

Last spring Rosie had the chance to observe the wonderful spectacle of birds building a nest and feeding their babies. Unfortunately, their preferred breeding area, 
Rosie’s boiler, now got removed. That’s why she put up a proper birdhouse this year. Has someone already invented heated birdhouses? Why not give birds the same luxury humans take for granted?

Gavin talked about Gary Hume: “He is one of the Young British Artists (YBA’s) that gained notoriety in the early 90’s. Out of all the YBA’s he is one of the most conventional being a painter and my interest is the way he has re-interpreted high modernist painting by drawing on abstract traditions but still keeping it fresh.“

Gary Hume

Old and new Technology

In his free time, John enjoys listening to UVB-76, an unmanned, forgotten radio transmitter on the Russian/Estonian border still transmitting whatever it used to in the Soviet era. Nobody really knows exactly where it is or what it is for – But it gains an attention some stations can only dream of. It is now available on the internet, and already hundred thousands of people have been listening to the beeps and buzzes. A lot of shortwave junkies spend their time researching about its origin and making up absurd theories. Espionage? Aliens? Rocketry? Musicians and Artists say the Buzzer has inspired them. The fascinating and inspiring bit about it: There are still things out in our planned and predictable world that we don’t quite understand, it represents “the good kind of unpredictability and mystery”.

Little Printer is a new product coming out soon that prints out News, personal to do lists, birthday reminders etc on grocery like receipts. Users configure the printer from their mobile phone and receive daily updates. Although we would be able to see this and even more on our computer screen within seconds it sounds like a good alternative to actually have something physical in your hands again – personally curated and with only the most important instead of an information overload. (Charlotte)

Blog post written by Charlotte Anlauff who is an intern for Fjord at the moment. See her last post here

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