Design Indaba – Airside

Today I got to go to one of the design indaba lectures – this one by Airside.

This is what I remember, aided by screenshots from their website at www.airside.co.uk

They call themselves a multidisciplinary design agency.

They’ve lasted for 10 years so far – their main aim is enjoyment and fun. They want their work to be experienced as one does a toy.


They have fascinating interactive stuff – go look at the site.

A lot of what they said is what we keep telling our students – that they are designers across different mediums – that they dont define themselves according to a specific medium but do print, web, interactive stuff, dolls, everything. That they challenge briefs. All of that.

They range from doing work for big clients like Coke and Mastercard

to packaging their own music produced on their own label “lemon jelly”

(the one on the left made out of a jeans pocket)

to running projects aimed at improving the design industries awareness of its impact on the environment. (The Three Trees project)
Other projects mentioned was “Stitches” –

You get to adopt one of these hand knitted dolls – first you have to pass their adoption criteria to ensure that you will provide a good home for your “stitch”, pay an adoption fee, get a certificate, a whole process built around adopting your stitch.

apparently there is quite a online community around these dolls. This is a link to a stitch blogs.

What I found interesting is that they mentioned that the dolls are made by women in – I think – Chile? Cant remember the country – and that it is an upliftment project providing these women with an income. But this is not mentioned anywhere on their website, as far as I can see. In fact, the stitches are supposed to come from “behind Anne’s shed”.

Another interesting experimental interactive project is “The Alien God Meeghoteph”

Who is essentially an animated character – a sort of digital ventriloquist puppet. He lives on a screen inside a booth. Behind the screen an operator sits. The operator speaks through a voice modulator, and the animation “lip synchs” to the operators voice so it looks as though it is the Alien God who is responding to your questions. What is interesting here is how people respond to this clearly fantastical creature – they tell of a little boy who came and told Meeghoteph of the bullies at his school and asked for advice. And came back the next day to thank him.

There was lots of other yummy stuf – some thoughts which stayed with me was –

They do what they do for fun. Money is there, but fun is the main motivation

Its important for an agency to create a work environment in which people can enjoy themselves and feel supported. No long hours, just good work.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. charles
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 06:32:15

    jeez. rock out. this is great

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