Last night I attended the EFF Pioneer Awards. My friend Limor of Adafruit Industries recieved an award for being awesome. She is an obsessive electronic engineer who has a successful open source hardware business and she pushes the limits with projects like an open source cellphone jammer.
This is an important one. Limor is an awesome engineer. My favorite kind that won't sleep till something works and obsessive about things like order fulfillment tool chains. The open source hardware world is small and growing and Limor is a true pioneer in this frontier. Getting recognized by the EFF, is big to me. It says, "Hey, don't mess with Open Source Hardware because the EFF knows about it and recognizes it as awesome."
Besides getting to see my friend have an award ceremony moment, I got to see other people get awards including the gentleman who broke the diebold voting system.
I feel very strongly that information should be freely shared and I've been a big fan and supporter of the EFF for years. They are the rockstars of the laws that I care about and so after the awards when I got to meet a few of them, it was kinda like being backstage at a rock show. The lawyers are all badasses, but they are also nice people and they all have a strong sense of humor. If you ever get a chance to go to an EFF event, you should. If you aren't a supporting member, here's the link where you can go support these lawyers that are kicking butt to defend digital freedom.
I just watched a DVD titeled, The Films of Charles & Ray Eames - The Powers of 10 (Vol. 1) about the couple and design cult of Charles and Ray Eames and it made me think. Here are some of my observations.
- They got started with the equivalent of a Darpa grant creating designs for airplane noses out of plywood.
- They originally just had part of a factory, the back part was a plywood lamination factory that produced their furniture for a while.
- They pushed the envelope and had a reputation for that so that they got sent the first five SX-70s.
- They used materials at hand to make what they wanted.
- They made movies and showed them in house.
- They put notes on things obsessively.
- They took lots of pictures.
- They did lots of exhibition design.
- They had lots of knickknacks.
- They laid things out in their space.
- They didn't let things go. They just seemed to be added to the space somehow.
- They kept easter eggs in the fridge for 15 years.
- They had friends that they worked with.
- They didn't start making fetish objects, although they clearly fetishized their own work. There seems to be a feeling of making things that people can use that are easily made with cutting edge technology. Of course now their objects are fetishized and are super expensive.
I like the way that they had a populist mission to bring design and contemporary technology furniture to the masses.
For me their space reminds me of two spaces I've spent time in, NYCResistor and the MakerBot Industries Botcave. But the Eames studio was filled with an immense amount of stuff and that brings back memories of the puppet maker workshops of Clay Martin and The Carter Family Marionettes. There is a sense of immense space filled with cluttered potential inspirational energy.
Instead of making populist furniture, MakerBot Industries may eventually pioneer machines that you can use in your house to enable you to have the furniture you want and download designs you like and make them exist for yourself. I think they would like this.
Another thing that really stood out for me is how much stuff they accumulated and that it took weeks to disperse it all. With Billions of people collecting lives of material, shelter, and posessions and dieing every generation, where does it all go when people die? I know most of the stuff from after WW2 is garbage and not built to last, but still, it seems like there really shouldn't be a need to buy so much stuff. It boggles my mind to see two people's workspace dispersed.
But back to the Eameses. If they are beloved to you or have inspired you, can you say why? What do you think their successes were? Do you have any criticisms? I look forward to learning more in the comments of this post!