Form Follows Frustration

747 Wing House, designed by David Hertz, photograph by Laura Doss
747 Wing House, designed by David Hertz, photograph by Laura Doss

Do fans annoy you? Probably not too much. Most people were pretty happy with fans as long as they did their job of cooling the air. Most people were also okay with vacuum cleaners; some were better than others but generally they sucked up the dirt. Not James Dyson however. He’s the English industrial designer who found these two household goods very frustrating, and decided to do something about it, first by inventing his famous bagless vacuum and most recently the bladeless fan, named the Air Multiplier. On today’s show I talk to Dyson about how the fan works and why he felt the need to redesign it. That fits into the show’s general topic of transformative design, as in: design that creates substantive change (through, in Dyson’s case, application of airplane technology to a household appliance). That’s also the theme of a show now on at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, subtitled Action-Reaction, showcasing architecture, products, fashion, graphics and transportation that are “transformative” responses to the current environmental and economic challenges we face. I was curator of the architecture section and below you can see the buildings on show, which is also reviewed for the NYT by Brooke Hodge here. Later I’ll add a longer description of why I chose these buildings (and I can tell you, the process was agonizing as there is so much interesting architecture in this state, especially in LA). Coincidentally, one of the structures in the show has something in common with Dyson’s fan; it draws inspiration from airplane technology — literally. David Hertz’s 747 Wing House for client Francie Rehwald, is made out of parts of a mothballed 747. David is a guest on today’s show and talks about what was involved in transforming an airplane into a house (and it even involved Homeland Security!) Enjoy.

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