Having adopted the fundamental principles of reductionism, designer Rem D Koolhaas and industrial designer Joey Ruiter apply a minimalist approach to the look of conventional objects in independently conceived, yet complementary ways. Both Koolhaas and Ruiter share a self-imposed mandate to strip all expectation of conformity from products ranging in scope from footwear and furniture to automobiles and motorcycles. Yet while their goals are shared, they pursue them through their own respective companies, United Nude and J. Ruiter.
Seizing an opportunity to create (and then cater to) a growing demand among enlightened, progressive consumers for the sophistication of simplicity, Koolhaas and Ruiter have eschewed a traditional design approach and in doing so left themselves free to mold familiar objects in unexpected ways. A happy byproduct of such a practice, their simple designs also obviate many of the production problems that one would expect to encounter had the objects been more traditionally complex.
Together, Koolhaas and Ruiter jointly expose the barriers posed by currently accepted manufacturing methods, which have resulted from binary conceptualizations of production (form versus function), costs (time versus money), and resources (labor versus materials). By eliminating gratuitous complexity, they have imbued their creations with a technical sophistication that could not have been achieved otherwise. Deliberately titled Disruptors, the Petersen Automotive Museum exhibition presents the works of two designers whose markedly different approaches upend the norm by superimposing technology and art on one another.
Full exposure with brian kelly-
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Reboot Buggy: Motoring back to basics.
Grand Rapids, Michigan – August 29, 2013 – Deep down, what does a car want to be? In an age of increasingly pampered human-centered design, it’s easy to lose track of pure performance—performance dictated by the vehicle instead of the driver. For JRuiter designer, Joey Ruiter, this question was the beginning of a crazed investigation into what is essential, and what is not.
“It sounds strange, but I wanted the vehicle to determine its design,” explains Ruiter, “Even if it means ignoring the driver’s needs.” To free himself from current automotive conventions, Ruiter went back the beginning. In this case, all the way back to the horse. The result is Reboot Buggy. With its roofless passenger compartment and hulking all-terrain wheels, it’s what happens when a race-bred horse evolves into a modern-day carriage.
Motoring may be the best way to explain the Reboot Buggy driving experience. Equipped with a 470-horsepower small block V8 and a fully independent suspension, Ruiter’s modern carriage is tuned to veer off road at a moment’s notice. “Before there were roads and infrastructure, buggies had to be equipped for all terrains. Capability was essential.”
Essential is hard to come by in a time when vehicles routinely advertise self-parking and gadgetry that turn driving into a passive experience. “It seems almost novel to want to focus on one thing at a time. In this case, driving—not your smart phone or your air conditioned seat.”
Though rooted in the past, Reboot Buggy is intentionally timeless. According to Ruiter, “There’s no defining technology to date the car to a particular point in time.” This doesn’t prevent a driver from plugging a phone into the dash and using it to display the vehicle’s instruments and gauges. “The car isn’t burdened with the demands of technology.” Ruiter explains, “If a driver wants to bring their technology along for the ride, it’s up to them.”
Remaining true to its essentials-only ethos, development of the vehicle required little more than basic tools, welding expertise, and a powertrain mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. The result is almost alien, despite parts that are available in most salvage yards.
Once assembled, Reboot Buggy can tour the countryside by any means necessary. And, if anything goes wrong along the way, the average mechanic can put it back together again. “Folks in just about any town should be able to fix it.”
Reboot Buggy’s aesthetics are equally unfussy. Measuring 14 feet in length and no taller than a Prius, its deconstructed aesthetic is as much about what’s on the vehicle as what’s not. Pointing out the nose of the Buggy, for example, Ruiter questions the need for anything more. “A grille seemed extraneous. Why have one?”
Up next for Ruiter is an exploration of a different kind. “I’ve been rethinking the economy car.” Rather than practicality, Ruiter is in search of attitude, performance, and even a little street cred. “Rolling around in it will make you feel different. You’ll want to take it out.” In other words, it won’t be the eco-box we’re used to. “The economy car has lost touch with inspiration, wonder, and possibility. I want it back.”
Car Type: Carriage Coupe
Layout: Mid-Engine, Rear-Wheel-Drive, 4 wheel independent suspension
Transmission: 3-speed Automatic
Engine: Small Block V8
Wheelbase: 126 inches
Contact: Joey Ruiter
Grand Rapids, MI
Publication Date: September 12, 2012
A collection of the best and most popular bikes to be found anywhere right now, this book gives the overview of what is out there for every kind of cyclist. Whether you are a BMXtreme or mountain bike enthusiast, a keen tourer or racer, a city commuter or courier, or simply fascinated with the constantly advancing mechanics and engineering of folding and other innovative bike designs, this book has something for you. 100 Best Bikes is the essential resource for anyone wanting to know what is the best they can find now in design and engineering for every kind of bike.
check out www.innercitybikes.com for information and availability
“No Object Is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection”
On View at Cranbrook Art Museum through March 25, 2012
For more information, visit www.cranbrook.edu.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum.
Photography: James Haefner for The SmithGroup, Detroit.
New concepts by Joey Ruiter at izzy+ invite people to explore social dynamics, energy of third space
Why the kitchen island is such a draw, and how posture changes interaction
NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2010: The Merchandise Mart, Spaces 1150, 11-100
CHICAGO – June 2010 – How do you structure the unstructured space? Good question. That’s why the izzy+ team asked designer Joey Ruiter to conceptualize how people connect at anchor destinations within a lobby, commons or student union.
Two unusual concept pieces during NeoCon at the 11th floor showrooms for izzy+ explore the answers, inviting Chicago visitors to test and provide feedback on third space.
The first concept draws you into a small alcove composed of a table, seating and an arbor-like ceiling resembling woven branches, where you might spend an hour, thinking or talking privately to others, recharging your energy in reflective solitude.
But when you have 15 minutes to check the scores, recharge your phone or debrief after class, head to the second concept piece. You can’t miss this 24 foot bar-like structure, capped off with a semi-enclosed seating area. The entire product creates three distinct collaboration zones: extrovert, social and private.
“We’re designing to support a culture of relevance,” says Ruiter of JRuiter Studio. “People need something to gather around, to share ideas and confidences, or to be alone while they’re standing next to someone else. These two concept pieces show how informal space builds community, where information is shared quickly. And it’s where real work and real learning take place now.”
izzy+ Founder and CEO Chuck Saylor is excited about the “concept car” conversation. “This is experimentation 101. It’s another stage of our research on how people act and use space for collaboration and personal reflection, and how we can best support them,” he says. “Why do you naturally rally around a bar, or kitchen island? In the five stages of posture, from sleeping to standing, the stand-up aspect is so intriguing. The body is completely engaged. Your inhibition is low and your energy level is high. In contrast, in the arbor setting, there’s an element of mystery and intrigue. Who’s in there? Who are they with and what are they saying?”
Mixing open and intimate spaces helps explore threshold barriers, says Ruiter. “How do you decrease these barriers? That’s the idea of a bar-height lounge,” he says. “When you sit in a restaurant booth up on risers, it’s more comfortable when people walk by. You have a visual connection to others but you’re not in their space. Can you mix complete privacy with complete openness? We do it all the time today, in the subway, in a stairwell, sending emails from the cafeteria. Converting that idea into physical products is a new idea.”
The employees of izzy+ (www.izzyplus.com) design, manufacture and market office furniture and seating that solve real problems for real people. The focus is to provide designers with the tools to create inspiring work spaces for forward-thinking customers in home offices and small businesses, in executive offices and board rooms, in hospitals and classrooms. Its award-winning products are marketed under the brand names izzy, HÅG, Harter, Fixtures Furniture, Zoom Seating and ABCO Office Furniture. Based in Spring Lake, Mich., U.S., izzy+ is a business of JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, Michigan.
Debbie Goode, 616.847.6539, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare Wade, 616.644.1090, email@example.com
Design, Products April 19, 2010
Seven Questions for Joey Ruiter, Industrial Designer
By Kate Convissor
Industrial designer Joey Ruiter
Joey Ruiter is having way too much fun for a grownup. From his boyhood penchant for dismantling things, Ruiter has continued to finesse the art of stripping design to its essentials. And he brings this aesthetic of the unfussy to his work as well as to his play. So, Herman Miller’s new Intent line of furniture, designed by Ruiter, is meant to look as cool in private offices as it does in open plan and to offer affordable mix-and-match choices.
At play, Ruiter has stripped the bicycle to bare-nakedness, and the Inner City Bike, “a café racer with the performance of a beach cruiser,” is the result. He also tinkers with boat design. “Why are boats so complicated? A boat just needs something to make it float and something to make it go. Maybe something to sit on, too.” Ruiter’s boats are minimalist and easy to maintain; they have the lean, hungry look of a shark. He even manages to make a pontoon boat look like furniture rather than a barge.
A native son of utilitarian West Michigan with a studio in Grand Rapids, Ruiter has managed to marry his engineering bent to an artist’s eye. So we get fun bikes and boats, and some nice furniture, too.
Here are 7 questions for Joey Ruiter:
1. What are you working on right now?
My current list of work is awesomely random. A bicycle, a boat, a bathroom sink, some soft lounge pieces, and outdoor furniture, to name a few.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
The really complicated projects that end up with a simple solution. Like it was there all along.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
I am inspired by all sorts of people, objects, and funny things that I surround myself with. Inspiration for me is about finding the obscure, hidden, underground, collections and groups. There are so many creative and talented people from all walks of life all doing wonderful things. You need to get off the path a bit to meet them because they’re not in any fancy magazines or blogs.
4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?
Pioneer Raymond Loewy for creating new adjectives, thoughts, and inspiring generations; designer Marc Newson for implementing space travel; and artist Wayne Adams for thinking differently.
5. What would be your dream project?
Unlimited resources to implement creative diplomacy in our world.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
After a little time in Holland, Michigan, of course, I would love to take a ride in the Dakar Rally through Chile and Argentina.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
I want to create a new word for an object or thought that I came up with. Words like computer, bicycle, automobile, and even panel system, were new at some point.