Christian Long

Ross Lovegrove: Organic Designs

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Reflection by KATIE R.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Ross Lovegrove:  Organic Designs

Ross Lovegrove is known as “captain organic”. He explains the important point of how form can touch peoples’ soul and emotions. He starts going over the fact that million of years ago, the first human beings lived in caves, and although the world has changed drastically over time we still respond to form. He considers himself a translator of technology for people who can design purely for commercialism.

His concept of design is to study nature and to let the instinctive thoughts and ideas make products for the twenty first century. He calls it DNA, which stands for Design, Nature, and Art.

He explains how curiosity and observation work together to create new inventions/art in our world today. He believes that impressionism is the most valuable thing on the planet since it allows the artist to reveal his vision without being constrained by accepted rules. Ross believes that normal everyday products should be based on natural evolution much like the evolutionary process that has taken place for ages. In his opinion, nature reduces all things to the most efficient form….no excess leaving only what it absolutely needs. His products that he showed in the video are representative of the minimalistic forms he talks about. The staircase in his office was very similar to the backbone of the dinosaur skeleton he filmed.

While Ross exhibited an interesting array of products, it seems that although he considers himself an innovator he is merely copying nature. The ideas are not new just recycled.

He is critical of the industrial designers that only produce for profit and dismisses the companies that don’t agree with his viewpoint. His obsession with the idea that his designs are the only way to go is a bit self-serving. I would think that he would realize that his vision is not sustainable in a society that mass produces to reduce costs. His products are extremely expensive and don’t seem to be the type, with the exception of the water bottle, your average middle-class population could afford. His staircase alone cost over 250,000 dollars….yes, every home should have one, right? He seemed to be in the mode of solely promoting himself and his ideas which as I have stated before are not that original since his designs are restated forms from nature. And, he made the comment that he walked into his studio and saw the aluminum sculpture being designed on the computer. So, are all the designs really from his own ideas or from the designers he employs. At his office tour at three in the morning his employee was working and Ross was certainly quick to point out that he paid no overtime. Yes, if they are his employees than he would hold the rights but it just made me wonder how many of Ross’ innovative designs were really his creations.

Overall, Ross came across as being sort of self-righteous and arrogant.

He did not take into account that while the advancements in technology that have allowed him to visualize his ideas have not caught up with the all aspect of production. Maybe in the future his concept of the “perfect” car will be possible but he is unwilling to admit that today’s car industry does not have the capabilities to produce his vision. He admits that he is “freaky” and he should remember that. Not very one has to agree with you 100 % all the time but that does not mean that you have to dismiss others ideas as rubbish. His attitude towards Sony clearly illustrates his intolerance for those who don’t share his vision.

I really think that, although he said not, he compares himself with the greatest innovators of all time….the DaVinci reference. Perhaps DaVinci also came across as eccentric and arrogant in his day.

I guess time will tell if Ross Lovegrove will be remembered in the same light.


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