Minimalism

Beyond Skin Deep

There is something very striking about viewing objects in an exploded or x-ray view. One has the sense that you are being invited into a secret world allowing for the way in which an object is made to be readily seen.

This "cutaway" mockup of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four door model is a nice example of this. It gives viewer a sense of improvements made to the new model. This kind of transparency is interesting to see especially for objects as complicated to manufacture as automobiles.

Timeless Timekeeping

The Rolex GMT-Master II is a superlative time piece. This remarkable piece of human engineering and mechanical artistry inspires. Rolex has a time-honored tradition of honing their products, refining each subsequent edition with both subtle and dramatic technical advancements. Take a closer look at the bezel production process and one's appreciation for these masterpieces is sure to grow. Few products manage to balance technical appeal while blending in to formal contexts as well as this time piece does. Established in 1905, the bivouac is looking forward to what the next 113 years brings from the company. 

How they did it: It is remarkable to see from viewing the video below just how much innovation goes into signature elements on the GMTII including a proprietary ceramic bezel manufacturing process.

Keeping up with the times. The "Batman" blue and black version of the timeless Rolex GMT II (Reference: 116710BLNR) strikes a dynamic balance between technical advancement and timeless elegance.

Just Ship It Series: Cadillac Cien

Although debuting way back in 2002, once the ELR starts shipping in January, kindly turn your attention back to the Cien please Cadillac. One in hybrid form would be an excellent "halo" for the brand. Stunning...just stunning. Keep up the Art and Science explorations and get more on the road.

 The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

Enlightened Signature Elements

The Cadillac ELRdesign has been getting a lot of attention at the bivouac lately. In addition to the striking design and progressive technologies both inside and out, various small details stand out in a good way as well. Cadillac logo placement within both headlamp and tail light elements is well executed. Each adds an elegant and refreshingly understated, yet dynamic signature touch. That's a tough middle ground to hit. Here's hoping such attention to detail lights the way to forward to continued impressive designs coming out of the Cadillac studio in 2013 and beyond.

Cadillac ELR Officially Charges Up the Bivouac

With the release of the production version of the Cadillac ELR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past week, General Motors proved yet again that energy behind the resurgence of the American automotive industry remains high. Any time a vehicle manufacturer comes out with such a stunning concept car, as they did in 2009 with their Converj concept, and manages to stay so faithful to the original concept vision, that company certainly deserves high praise. Audi came close to this sort of effort when they introduced the production version of the TT in terms of staying true to a concept. However, with respect to the ELR, this may be one of those rare occasions where the actual shipping car looks better than the concept embodiment.

Can you spot the concept vehicle?

GM also deserves credit for moving into the luxury Extended Range Electric Vehicle luxury niche before other large-scale luxury vehicle manufacturers. They are also introducing some new driving affordances unique to this type of vehicle, such as steering wheel-mounted paddles that allow drivers to induce regenerative braking on demand. While we will have to wait and see how the ELR actually performs, on paper things look promising. And if you are a fan of Cadillac's "Art and Science" aesthetics, on the show room floor they are looking great.

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New York Times Budget Puzzle

Sometimes I find myself noting something as interesting but it takes a while to really appreciate it to its fullest. That was the case with the New York Times Budget Puzzle which came out last November.

NYT Budget Puzzle

While in an information visualization brainstorm today, this came back to me as a great example of how to empower users to relate to a very abstract concept...our federal budget deficit. Its minimalistic approach and small details like representing 1 billion dollars with small blue squares that tally up in real time depending upon decisions users make is a nice touch. 

Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept: Small is the Next Big Thing in Luxury

Cadillac's Urban Luxury Concept which debuted this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show is just the kind of product that will continue to fuel General Motor's emergence from bankruptcy. For those that took part in a fairly strong IPO this week, this is another encouraging sign of solid design thinking taking place at GM these days. With room for four, estimated fuel economy ratings of 56 mpg city/65 mpg highway, and a number of innovative features in store beyond the scissor-style doors, the bivouac says bring this to market ASAP! This is "Art and Science" that's great for both the senses and the planet. See more photos via World Car Fans.

Great Revelations: Checking out Apple's Checkout Accordian Fold Interface

From Luke Wroblewski on A List Apart and thanks to Arjun for passing this one along. Wanted to get this on the Bivouac in the Interface Hall of Fame as an outstanding example of reducing percieved complexity and how, through great design, we can help pull users through transactions that can otherwise seem overwhelming.

By stripping away the form elements as each section of the form is completed, Apple helps reinforce a sense that users are making progress through the check out process. Along the way, should users leave a required field of information blank, a yellow prompting box appears right next to the field letting them know it is needed to continue. Stratification of information in clear zones serve as landscape "mile markers", letting users intuitively sense where they are in terms of completing their task.

The Warmth of Great Ideas

While perhaps not entirely ideal in that BioLite still draws on buring wood as a source of fuel, it is nonetheless a revolutionary stove that makes cooking on wood as clean, safe and easy as modern fuels while generating electricity to provide illumination and cell phone connectivity to those that are off-grid.

Like other carefully designed stoves using fans to blow air into the fire, BioLite dramatically improves combustion. However, other stoves require small amounts of electricity to power their fans. BioLite stoves solve this problem by converting a fraction of the fire’s thermal energy into electricity to power our combustion improvement system. Excess electricity is made available to users for charging small electronic devices such as Cell phones and LED lights. A bright idea indeed.

Erosion of Luxury

The skyscraper "Erosion" designed by Herzog & de Meuron would certainly make a striking addition to the New York skyline. The Swiss architects have designed a building that supports individualized floor layouts for occupants, offering more external space for some depending upon tastes and desires. As is pointed out in a recent post on Eikongraphia, one of the more notable features is a floor-to-ceiling height of four meters. The modernist aesthetic, panoramic cityscapes and open plans would be welcome by many urban dwellers. But in these tough economic times, could such a design really see the light of day or will this vision be worn away by the force of current economic winds?

For more discussion of this proposed design, head over to Eikongraphia.