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Precious Reading Club #1

I like pink kitchens

Author: Johannes Schardt
Date: 1. June 2011

Here’s a new regular column on this blog: A recommendation of reading material – one long and three short texts. Most articles, essays or books I’ll choose have something to do with design or technology, although sometimes in a very broad sense.

Let’s start with an interesting take on the color-coding of toys. Kat Arney asks “Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses?”. She criticizes the separation of toys for girls and boys and argues that children of both sexes may be deprived of important opportunities because of their toys’ color (pink vs. blue).

Another recently published article I really liked enjoyed was Jonathan Franzen’s NYT essay “Liking is for cowards. Go for what hurts.” A lot has been written about Facebook’s use of the word “like”, but Franzen takes it one step further.

I’m averse to this whole fast-food drive-thru “culture”, but I must admit, I’m fascinated how those companies work. There’s a lot of innovation going on in this area; processes are always optimized through prototyping and many iterations. Journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld spent some time behind a Taco Bell drive-thru window to learn how the business works.

While Greenfeld compares fast food restaurants with factories, Otl Aicher thought of his kitchen as a workshop. The German designer researched various types of kitchens and observed their users. The result is a short, but very insightful book called “Die Küche zum Kochen” (The Kitchen Is For Cooking). I like this book a lot, not just because I’m an avid hobby cook, but because it is a great document of “Design Thinking”, written long before it became everybody’s favorite buzzword.

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