Festival + Symposium Blog
ISEA2006 Symposium
ZeroOne San Jose Festival
Workshops + Tours
Press Center
Contact Us
ZeroOne San Jose / ISEA2006 exhibitions
Ideo Prototypes The Future PDF Print E-mail
Palo Alto Art Center
Written by Michela Pilo   
Jun 07, 2006 at 12:58 PM

June 22 – September 10, 2006

PUBLIC RECEPTION - June 22, 2006, 6:00-8:30 pm

PALO ALTO, Calif. – June 1, 2006 – The Palo Alto Art Center (PAAC) explores ground-breaking approaches to innovative design by IDEO, a Palo Alto-based design firm, in IDEO Prototypes the Future, June 22 through September 10, 2006. This is the very first exhibition to present a comprehensive collection of contemporary, forward-thinking concepts and prototypes created by the internationally-recognized leader in human-centered design. This compelling exhibition builds awareness about the design process at IDEO that expanded the terrain of design of physical objects to services, spaces, interactions and businesses. IDEO Prototypes the Future is presented with a second exhibition, Creative Commerce: German Lithographic Labels, 1920-1938, that profiles an unparalleled time in commercial printing through exquisitely printed produce labels by the Paul I. Landmann, Germany, 1920-1938, for industries near Mannheim, Germany. IDEO Prototypes the Future is also presented in conjunction with ISEA (International Symposia of Electronic Art) Symposium, August 7 - 13, 2006 in San Jose.


IDEO is a company heralded for design and innovation strategies for a global clientele in dozens of industries. Headquartered in Palo Alto, with offices worldwide, IDEO is arguably the leading voice in user-centered design methodology today. The world’s fascination with IDEO’s approach to innovation happened in 1999 when ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel dedicated an entire episode to the firm’s methods, following a multidisciplinary team as they redesigned the ubiquitous shopping cart in less than five days. The past seven years have produced countless articles, white papers and books, some by IDEO staff themselves, examining the question, “How does IDEO do it?” The answer lies, in part, in its approach to gathering insight about people’s needs, desires and behaviors, as well as the creativity of its multidisciplinary teams and its iterative prototyping process.

The exhibition showcases the prototype of the shopping cart. Other highlights include Identity Cards, a series of business cards that explore and express possible future social systems; Crave Aid, an engaging and light-hearted conceptual piece that comments on the dangerous habit of consuming unhealthy food; Social Mobiles, a whimsical exploration into mobile phone behavior designed to provoke discussion about the social impact of cellphones; Steelcase Q Concept, Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a mobile workspace that is driven like a car; and the Ha-Ori Shelter, an elegant, origami-like yurt by Joerg Student that is twelve and a half feet high and folds into a flat piece for transport.

An additional section of the exhibition demonstrates through different real project examples various approaches to prototyping, as well as the tools and methods required for making prototyping a regular and productive activity in any organization. The public is also invited to respond to the exhibition through their own experimentation with materials provided in the exhibition’s Invent-a-corner.

Creative Commerce: German Lithographic Labels, 1920-1938

“It is with a deep sense of respect that the Palo Alto Art Center presents these superb examples of commercial stone lithography,” explained Signe Mayfield, Curator at the Palo Alto Art Center. “Seen through the filter of our time -- with the knowledge of the horrific events that ensued in Germany during and after their production -- these small pieces in commercial print history expand in significance as vibrant emblems of the past.”

With true creative commerce, Paul I. Landmann, along with his brother, collaborated with the museum director/local art dealer Dr. Herbert Tannenbaum in order to create a national graphic art competition to locate the finest artists in the country. The winners of that competition formed the heart of the new Art Department at the Stone Printing Plant he founded.

The Art Department became the core for the success of the company. New designs generated here for products in the region’s finest agricultural growing area in Germany became leaders in design through the 1920s and 1930s. Labels and accessory packaging for the region’s cigar, wine, and produce industries were the primary focus. At that time, lithographic processes provided the highest degree of fidelity to original drawings. In fact, Alois Senefelder invented lithography nearby with Bavarian limestone. The exhibition’s exquisitely printed labels feature as many as twelve, diverse colors. Virtuoso techniques to create the works include gilding and embossing.

Under Hitler’s regime, political conditions made it necessary for the Landmann family, like most other German Jews, to leave the country. The sale of the company was their only option: taxes on that sale left a negligible amount from the proceeds. The exhibition speaks both to the resulting, significant loss of design innovation, as well as sophisticated printing methods that had required great personal skills. Rapid technical development throughout the printing trades consigned these methods to history.


  • Design Thinking Out Loud: Exploring Innovation and Creativity with IDEO - June 21, 2006 (Wednesday) / 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
    An invitation-only panel event at PAAC moderated by Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin and featuring IDEO CEO and President Tim Brown and Co-founder Bill Moggridge. Call 650.617.3143 for more information. This event will also be available to the public via podcast starting on July 6 at The podcast is made possible by Menlo Park, CA-based PodTech. PodTech is a media company dedicated to podcasting. It is a producer, aggregator, and distributor of professional podcast content for audiences worldwide.
  • Design Thinking: The Historical Perspective - August 3, 2006 (Thursday) / 7:00-9:00 p.m.
    This program will be presented at PAAC as part of the IDEO "Know How" series. Presenter: Barry Katz, Design Historian, California College of the Arts and Stanford University.
  • Sustainability: A Lens for Design - August 31, 2006 (Thursday) / 7:30-9:00 p.m.
    This program will be presented at PAAC and is about sustainable design. Presenter: Bob Adams, IDEO.
  • Docent-led Tours "Art Dialogues" - Every Saturday / 2:00 p.m. / Free
    ART DIALOGUES are free docent-led tours designed for adults presented at the Palo Alto Art Center. Docents are specially trained to illuminate the content and aesthetics of the images and objects on display. Tours last 30 to 45 minutes. "Private" and "family" tours (geared for teens and adults), may be arranged for after 2 pm. For more information, please call 650.329.2370 or 650.329.2366.
  • Art Explorers Backpack and Kids Club (Program Launch)
    The exhibit-related Art Explorers Backpack for children ages 5-12 is filled with Art Discovery Cards and dazzling art supplies, plus a year-long subscription to a kid's quarterly newsletter with exhibition-related, art activities. Fee: $40.00 / For information: 650.329.2366.
  • Design Family Day - July 16, 2006 (Sunday) / 2:00-4:00 p.m. / Free
    Children and their families are invited to explore rapid prototyping in clay, form design ideas from observing human situations, and solve a wiggling design problem. The afternoon of art activities is offered in conjunction with the IDEO exhibition. All Children must be accompanied by an adult. Activities are appropriate for children ages 5 and up.
  • Summer Studio Workshops for Kids and Teens - August 14-18
    Innovative Design - August 14-18, 10:30-1:00 p.m., ages 10-13
    Graphic Arts & Design - August 14-18, 1:30-4:00 p.m., ages 14-18
    These summer camps will view and discuss exhibitions at the Art Center featuring pieces by IDEO and Paul I. Landmann Lithographic Co. After being inspired by the innovative design concepts in the galleries, students will face design challenges on and off the computer. For more information and to register online go to:
Last Updated ( Jun 07, 2006 at 03:01 PM )