Cecile Poignant » Page 2

Gun for peace

We do speak a lot of guns and gun control, sadly there are always tragic disasters that remind us how fragile a human life is and how violent guns can be. Some signals make me think that we are trying to do something against that human drama.

Gun control a never-ending fight

In a show of support for gun control, Yoko Ono recently tweeted a photo of the bloodied glasses John Lennon wore the day he was murdered with this message : “Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980″ . Ono is an activist for many causes, she turned her attention to gun violence with a series of tweets that all included this image, which was also used on the cover of  “Season of Glass”  in 1981. She is really speaking loudly to her 4 millions followers on Twitter and giving power to the fight for gun control.


USA is ranked for the highest gun ownership rate in the world. To reduce the number of weapons on the street in cities, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco have a gun buyback program . Last december, a one-day gun buyback event in Los Angeles gathered 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons and a rocket launcher! The total was nearly 400 more weapons than were collected in a similar buyback earlier this year. People bring their firearms and each participant received $200 cash for each gun turned in.

Instead of following the ‘gun buyback’ model that has been implemented in the United States and Australia as a way of getting weapons off the street, Uruguay’s “Armas para la Vida / Weapons for Life” program is taking a different approach. Instead of getting cash, residents turning in their unregistered weapons will each receive either a new bicycle or a low-end computer.

Those initiatives are great, is it possible to do more? Some people thought the answer is yes.

Up-cycling as a solution

Jessica Mindich is a former lawyer, about a year ago, she was at a conference and ran into the Mayor of Newark. They spoke about Newark’s no-questions-asked gun buyback program, which was founded in 2009. The program needed money, and the Mayor didn’t know what to do with the weapons the city had amassed. “I know what to do with your guns,” Mindich said. Turn them into jewelry. She has transformed recycled pistols, rifles and shotguns into a line of sleek bangle bracelets, some dotted with tiny diamonds: “The Caliber Collection” .The word Newark is inscribed on the inside. Each bracelet has a serial number that corresponds with one of the actual guns taken off the city’s streets. Since the end of November, she has received over 1,000 orders from places as far as Brazil, Malta and New Zealand. Twenty percent of the proceeds will go directly to the gun buyback program in Newark, she said.
Will you wear a “Caliber Collection” bracelet? The message is very direct and make a permanent reminder of the gun crime your jewel was associated with…. Is it disturbing or just a really strong message?

"The Caliber Collection"

“The Caliber Collection”

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Is bed the new desk?

The art of working on pillows

Is typing on a laptop while be lying in bed more comfortable and productive than hunching over a desk? May be not but, the time when we only were working sitting at a desk is really behind us. Thanks to phones, laptops, and tablets, our places of rest are increasingly becoming our places of … work!

Researchers who study work habits say a new generation reared on mobile devices is increasingly accustomed to using them while propped against pillows, lying down or in a fetal curl. A lot of us already read or respond to work emails from bed. Some people who work from bed are intent on staying ahead of email, or responding quickly to customers or co-workers in different time zones. It is true that when you work with people all around the world, it is really difficult to avoid working from bed.
The trend has spawned demand for gadgets that make plugging away from our pillow even more comfortable, from stands and cushions to beds. In US bed manufacturers are working on building into the base of the bed plugs for lights and electronics.

Working in bed is not just about convenience or comfort: it is also a statement and a hijack. Previously, only creative people had this fantasy which is now open to any one of us. Famous writers like Orwell, Proust, Colette, Mark Twain and Churchill all liked doing it. Could it have been because writing in bed can help access the unconscious?

Beds or offices ?

This long term trend is also entering in offices to make them more casual and cooler. “Hosu” recently designed by Patricia Urquiola is a convertible work lounge or can we call it a “work-bed” that creates a comforting personal space with storage pockets for devices and cords.

Hosu by Patricia Urquolia

As the boundaries between work and leisure are getting more and more blurred every day, bed offices could really be a part of our future. Read more…

Simple as abc

“Plugg” is a prototype DAB radio, investigating physical and metaphorical interaction with electronic devices. A cork fits nicely into the hole where the radio’s speaker sits beneath. By pushing the cork into this hole, the radio turns off…..and by removing it, the radio turns itself on again.
Theo Tveterås and Lars Marcus Vedeler, established Skrekkøgle to experiment their quirky design ideas.

“Plugg” is one of their latest prototyped projects. A “yellow cube radio” with a big cork button which fits nicely into the hole where the radio’s speaker sits beneath. By pushing the cork into this hole, the radio turns off…..and by removing it, the radio turns itself on again, a low tech system for fan of low-fi.
This clean geometrical design in bright color is exactly what we need after years of rounded shapes in design. Clean cut and edges feel fresh and new to my eyes. This radio is so easy to use that it will immediately brings a smile to your face.

Green cities

Mur végétal by Patrick Blanc at Musée Quai Branly Paris

Our modern way of life is centered on megacities. This will continue and the percentage of the global population living in cities will soon rise 80%. We are all looking for greener cities and a healthier life. Urban farming, rooftop gardening, vertical gardens, biological concrete … all offer a vision of an urban architecture with an added layer of sustainability.

The precursor of this interest for giving more visibility to nature in the city is Patrick Blanc, a french botanist working at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, specializes in plants from tropical forest. He is the creator of the Vertical Garden ( Mur Végétal), the first one was made for Cité des Sciences in 1986. Blanc’s gardens are transformative as the flora is constantly evolving. The botanist uses his profound knowledge of plant life, particularly drawing inspiration from flora found in Thailand and Hawaii. He creates patterns of colour mostly with a large green palette. During the first two decades of Blanc’s experimentation, architectural firms showed little interest. It was only decades later, after he had executed a large number of projects for private homeowners, international hotels, museums and luxury brands such as Chanel, that the architectural world has become interested in the potentiality of vertical gardens. One of his most famous creation is for the Musée du quai Branly, Paris in 2004 during an interesting video interview he explains this realization.

Urban Farm, Urban Epicentera€™ style

Another idea called “Farmscrarper” could make our cities greener by cultivating plant or animal life within skyscrapers. The idea of a vertical farm has existed since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The modern version of vertical farming uses techniques similar to glass house. Dickson Despommier a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University in New York City, developed this idea of vertical farming in 1999 with graduate students in a medical ecology class. This might be a solution for feeding people in the future in a “locavore” way.

Bosco Verticale in Milano by Stefano Boeri

Read more…

Candy 2.0

We love and eat candy for fun, sharing, friendliness, gentleness, transgression, consolation, regression, reward, reinsurance, compensation …

Candy is an old word – late 13c.- coming from French sucre candi “sugar candy,” ultimately from Arabic qandi. During Antiquity, honey was used a lot, cane sugar is imported to Europe only during the Middle Ages and the beet sugar industry is developed in the nineteenth century. In Europe the beginnings of confectionery are slow because sugar is very expensive.Until the end of the eighteenth century, sweets are reserved for the rich. From the early nineteenth century, sweets become accessible to all.

And here we are now : the Dutch are the biggest eaters of candy, at 29 kg per person a year, in Sweden the annual consumption is over 18 kg per person, Americans eat about 9,5 kg a year … This industry is looking for new territories, we found recently two new directions for this everlasting product.


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Low-tech & High-design

Mine Kafon 2010 by Massoud Hassani

Mine Kafon 2010 by Massoud Hassani

In the new generation of designers we find people really involved in changing the world around them.

Massoud Hassani is one of them. He designed “Mine Kafon” – a low-cost wind-powered mine detonator. As Hassani explains “The design industry is perhaps too focused on tables and chairs, I think we can use our talents to find design-based solutions to more serious problems.”

Built out of inexpensive, prefabricated materials, the device consists of a heavy plastic core containing a GPS tracker, which is attached to bamboo sticks with plastic feet at each end that enable it to “walk”. Mine Kafon with its skeletal structure of spiky plungers resembles a giant spherical tumbleweed  and all it needs is a windy day to move across a minefield. If it get destroyed by the landline it’s easy to replace the broken “bamboo legs”.The video done by Callum Cooper will show you this low tech and high designed device.

Mine Kafon by Massoud Hassani

Mine Kafon by Massoud Hassani

Hassani explains the roots of his project: “I grew up in Qasaba, Kabul. My family moved there when I was 5, and at the time there were several wars going on. My brother Mahmud and I we played every day on the fields surrounded with the highest mountains in our neighborhood. Read more…

Edible wrappers

photo courtesy of wikicells

photo courtesy of wikicells

Would you eat the plastic package that held your yogurt or orange juice this morning? Of course not and also like most of us you wouldn’t recycle that container either. David Edwards a Harvard professor has come up with a form of edible packaging that houses food in the same way the inside of a coconut or a grape is protected.

This edible packaging, called WikiCells, is “entirely comprised of natural food particles held together by nutritive ions.” It can be used to hold either food or drinks and taste like whatever is hold. WikiCells could be the answer for both the health conscious and environmentally-conscious consumer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States alone generated almost 7 million tons of plastics as nondurable containers and packaging in 2010. Only 12% of these packaging plastics were recycled.

wikicell yogurt

wikicell yogurt – photo courtesy of wikicells

“The notion of Wikicells is that you are englobing liquid, foam, or something else in a soft membrane held together by food particles that are being connected by electrostatic charges to each other and to a small amount of natural polymer” says Edwards. Read more…

Charity is the new black

charity: water

courtesy of charity: water

Last week at leWeb – the biggest european event on internet and tech – a lot of smart people, post nerds, young geeks and successful entrepreneurs announced on stage new products, new services, new apps … One of the things that caught my ears in that future oriented event was an “old fashioned” word : charity.

Loic Le Meur leWeb ‘s founder, invited Scott Harisson the charismatic young man behind charity: water for a sensitive talk that moved the whole room. During the first part of his life, Harrison spent 10 years working in the nightclub industry in New York. He was successful but totally unhappy. In 2006 he started charity: water when travelling to Africa he saw the terrible plight of so many without the most basic of human needs – water. Charity: water is not an average nonprofit, it has very successfully found new ways of fundraising and got it story out to millions of people globally through the clever use of technology and social media. In fact, Harrison didn’t just want to provide clean water; he wanted to reinvent charity. For that he runs his “business” as a tech start up and found partnership with the biggest .

courtesy charity : water - scott harrison

courtesy of charity : water – Scott Harrison

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Disco soupe

Branding & packaging by Blend-it of Soup-Co

Branding & packaging by Blend-it of Soup-Co

Soup is a comfort and sensible food. It’s not the most glamorous and sexy option of all, but once the weather gets rough, everyone needs a little comfort food action with humble, homely soup.

Soup is today perceived as a healthy food, an easy way to eat vegetables. Americans sip over 10 billion bowls of soup every single year. Market research predict that by 2012 in USA soup sales will reach $6.3 billion, projected growth of more than 25% in just a few years! A trend that is not over….

Recently, we have seen the openings of many “Bar à Soupes” in our cities. More and more  fresh, “home made” soups are stored in our supermarket. We also started to eat cold soup in summer with the rise of gazpacho followed by cucumber, carrots…

This somehow regressive food is getting more and more trendy and stylish. Read more…

Gangnam for freedom

If you had no access to internet during the last 6 months then you might not know anything about a world phenomenon.

“Gangnam Style” is a dance pop single written and performed by Korean pop singer Park Jae Sung, aka PSY. Since the release of the song and its video in mid-July 2012, the video has gone viral on YouTube and had already been viewed more than 795 955 000 time! “Gangnam Style” is a Korean neologism referring to the upscale fashion and lavish lifestyle associated with trendsetters in Seoul’s Gangnam district. “Gangnam” means swag.

With that huge success the video was parodied hundred times  and becoming a mème – a part of our modern culture. The visual language of the video is somehow surrealistic and baroque giving us an exotic escape to our daily life. Excatly what we need right now!

Some renewed worldwilde  artists started to use “Gangnam Style” as a self -expression. In october, less than a day after dissident and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei parodies “Gangnam Style” to laugh at Chinese government,  the Chinese government censor has banned and removed the video from all Chinese sites.

Sculptor Anish Kapoor just made a special Gangnam Style video in support of the artist, Ai Weiwei. “Gangnam for Freedom” by Anish Kapoor and Friends has been released to promote freedom of speech and in support of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Kapoor’s Gangnam Style video is supported by human rights organizations including Amnesty.

What a great humorous and joyful way to fight for freedom!

Smart bicycles


Cardboard Bike by Izhar Gafni

Cycling is the simplest, most natural means of transport, after walking. It’s cool, green and money saving. From Berlin to New York… all hipsters have a bicycle. But, it ‘s not only just fashionable: it is a long term trend.

For the first time since the end of the Second World War the number of bicycles sold in Italy – a real car aficionados country – has overtaken the number of cars. In more than 170 cities around the world, public bike sharing programs are getting more and more popular. Since 2007, velib in Paris is the biggest bike-sharing in the world. Even in USA young people are driving less and not only because of the recession!

Bicycle is now one of the favorite products developed by designers who are no longer only interested in lamps or chairs as during the turn of century. Some designers really want to change the world and they understood the potential of this object.

Israeli engineer and systems developer Izhar Gafni has invented a sustainable cardboard bicycle “alpha” that’s strong, waterproof and costs less than £10 to manufacture. Alpha is mostly cardboard and 100% recycled materials, yet uses a belt-driven pedal system that makes it maintenance free. Read more…

Low-tech factory

We are living in a world where high tech is a major topic. Most often, new in our world is synonymous of more powerful, speeder, faster, further… It’s an endless quest. Sometimes we just forget about the simplest way to do things. Every action doesn’t need an elaborate tool or a brand new product or a lot of energy. It  can be done differently.  And one of the answer is Low Tech,  a growing major Deep Trend. We see more and more projects developed with that idea.

“Low-Tech Factory” is one of the latest project realized by students at ECAL – a famous Swiss university for Art and Design. During an exhibition,  a selection of machines designed by Bachelor’s and Master’s students of Industrial Design and Product  were presented.

“Low-Tech Factory” tackles the subject of automatic production beloved by designers, bringing together six entertaining machines which throughout the exhibition produce mirrors, hats, sacks, toys, lamps, and even popcorn!

I particularly enjoyed “Rocking-Knit”,  a new interpretation of the rocking chair which offers its user productive moments of relaxation. And, you don’t even need to know knitting!



cookening food platform cedric giorgi

One of the major deep trends is our unlimited interest on Food. We all have seen the growing importance of sharing your best meal on Instagram, the success of TV shows dedicated to Food , the renew of grocery stores…The next level is that we want to be more involved in real life.

Cookening is a new platform that aims at connecting people and cultures through food. It is an adaptation of the French concept “Tables d’hôte” mixed with the power of internet. Complete strangers will be able to meet through the platform and to share a home made meal. It is a real privileged experience where locals and travelers can exchange on food and culture.The Airbnb for food is born!

The team who’s behind Cookening is a French team passionate about three things: discovering new food, meeting new people, and traveling around the world. Currently the platform is on alpha, focused first on Paris before spreading.





photo by arnout hulskamp

photo by arnout hulskamp

Adults miss toys … Fortunately there are many solutions to resolve that! Some real “old classic” toys have now versions devoted solely for adults. Lego has developed several architectural kits like the impressive one for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Ingrid Hulskamp, recently graduated from Central saint Martins, has created a series of contemplative toys for adults.
She says:”these objects remind us of the candid fun we had as a child, when we fully got caught up in the moment.” She wanted those toys to catch our attention, to afford us a poetic moment with different sensory experiences: tactile, visual and sonorous.

The ideas behind those signals, coming from major companies and from young talent, are that tangible items are taking on a new allure in a very digitized world and that we, as adults, really want to have our own toys which are more than just fun and games.



Well Being is a long term trend that we have been watching since years, and we still are…. We now can find a range of health and fitness related apps that keep track of our health, today, two major companies in this industry have launched real new products.

Runkeeper, one of the major actor of the “digital wellness” has attracted since 3 years a massive databank of users : 8 millions health-conscious enthusiasts are keeping track of their miles, time and calories burned on iOS, Android or Windows devices! Runkeeper has partnered with a number of companies, sites and healthy lifestyle blogs.They also announced integrations with Wi-Fi body scales from Withings, heartrate transmitters from Polar …

But they want more Read more…


CreativeMornings is a global breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each monthly event is free of charge and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee!

And it’s a super idea invented by Tina Roth Eisenberg aka @swissmiss. She started CreativeMornings in September 2009 in NYC, wanting to create an accessible, inspiring morning event for people to meet.  Some have called  it the “TED for the rest of us”.

You can now enjoy those precious moments in more than 25 cities.


Black garlic

photo by foodistable

There is an important trend and fascination with black food: wild rice, balsamic vinegar …. because it is uncommon and some how weird and strange to eat black food. There are still unusual products to discover such as black garlic. It’s a real garlic that’s been through a 3-week fermentation process and a 1-week drying process, using a variety of temperatures and humidity levels.The unique colour, taste, and texture of this product are accomplished without any additives.

It has a tender, gelatinous texture, which melts in your mouth like stewed fruit or prunes. Read more…

Thinking and feeling

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

Ai Weiwei & Gangnam Style

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