Objectified: A New Film by Gary Hustwit

Ever since director Gary Hustwit invited us to appear in his film Helvetica, life has changed for me and Tobias in two ways. First, we get recognized on the street from time to time (always with the implied aren’t you those type dorks) — but second, and more rewardingly, we periodically find ourselves sitting on a panel with the director. It was at just such an event last autumn that Gary mentioned his new project, a documentary about industrial design. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise: earlier in the evening, our conversation had touched upon a mutual appreciation of the IWC Portuguese wristwatch and the Porsche 356 Speedster. But I was thrilled and delighted nonetheless, and have been looking forward to the project ever since. The film is Objectified, its website is up, and I am counting down the days until its 2009 premiere.

I’ve always loved industrial design, but I don’t think I’d measured the depth of my affection until I took a spin through the movie’s production stills. I knew I could look forward to hearing more from Marc Newson and Apple’s Jonathan Ive, but I hadn’t anticipated so many other wonderful participants: Hella Jongerius is featured, whose work I’ve always found brilliant, witty and uplifting, and I’m especially looking forward to the segment featuring Dieter Rams, chief of design at Braun from 1961 to 1995. Beyond being one of the most influential designers in the history of his craft, Rams is simply a cool cat: that’s him above, with what looks to be his 606 Universal Shelving System, and a modular hi-fi that I physically crave. Look at it: it’s smart, stylish, functional, and badass; it’s the Steve McQueen of audio equipment. And it’s just the beginning. —JH

Change We Can Believe In

Above, the new face of British currency, announced by the Royal Mint. The striking new designs, selected from an open competition that attracted four thousand entries, are the work of a 26-year old graphic designer named Matthew Dent. They are Mr. Dent’s first foray into currency design.

Below, the new five dollar bill, introduced last month by the United States Department of the Treasury. The new design, which features a big purple Helvetica five, is the work of a 147-year-old government agency called the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It employs 2,500 people, and has an annual budget of $525,000,000. —JH

Groovy Tech

Spy shots from Macworld! If only. This is one of Mark Richards’ spectacular photographs from Core Memory Project, his terrific survey of vintage computers. Mark’s sexy shot of the DEC PDP8/F explains all those day-glo set dressings in The Prisoner and The Time Tunnel, both worlds in which the higher the technology, the brighter the orange. Like the steampunks who reimagine today’s aluminum boxes as a festival of valves and gears and brass, when will we see the Modpunks, who will wickedly return us to a world of ochre cabinets, spooling tapes, and knobs that reassuringly click? (Or are they here already?) —JH

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