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Unstoppable, innovative, exciting.
No, I'm not talking about Andrew Graham Dixon.
I'm talking about design.
It literally shapes our daily experience.
Whether we notice it or not, it is everywhere from supersonic jets to the humble toaster.
So tonight in a Culture Show design special,
we've got everything from cool classics to visions of the future,
where machines have taken over the world.
Coming up, one step beyond with futurology.
Design as a force for good.
And the next generation of hackers.
And if that wasn't enough, the latest round in the epic struggle of man versus machine
is under way behind me,
where a human designer is going head to head with the latest 3D printer
in a race to build a scale model of Big Ben in less than an hour.
A short while ago I got them started.
Over here, exuding a menacing confidence,
we have the machine, the MakerBot Replicator 2.
Over here representing mankind and manpower, we have Dominic Wilcox.
-Dominic, how confident are you feeling?
-Not confident, at all.
Oh, dear! Let's get this build-off started.
Are you ready? On your marks, get set, go!
Well, they look like they're about at the half-way mark now.
So while they get on with that, we're back to the main business.
The great Bill Shankley famously said, football isn't a matter of life or death,
it's much more important than that.
Whether a fan of the beautiful game or not,
there is no doubt it's deeply embedded in our towns and cities.
A world in which local lads can become global superstars.
And with fame comes fashion.
It's so embedded in the game now that it's even inspired an exhibition
at Manchester's National Football Museum.
We sent fashion industry insider Paula Reed to find out more.
I've never claimed to know much about football, but I do know my fashion.
The new exhibition bringing the two together is in Manchester,
which couldn't be more appropriate.
Men's fashion retail is booming in the North-West and I think I know why.
Manchester is the home of the super-rich, super-famous footballer,
and when it comes to spending, they're spending it all on fashion.
So how did we get from this... to this?
Hi, Paolo. Nice to meet you.
Welcome to my dressing room.
So what are football's big fashion moments then?
There are three main moments we should consider.
The first moment occurs in 1961.
# Fashion! Ooh, beep beep! #
A Fulham player by the name of Jimmy Hill campaigned
to have the maximum wage abolished.
Basically, a footballer could only earn up to £20 a week,
which is about £350 in today's money.
-Not a big fashion budget.
-It's not, is it? A pair of socks and a vest.
This meant that suddenly footballers had disposable income.
Part of that income now started naturally being spent on clothes.
This is the era of the Mods. There's Mod formal and there's Mod casual.
The footballer who most sums up Mod formal was Bobby Moore.
If we look at these photographs here.
-Look at that. Handkerchief, skinny tie, buttondown.
This is a man whose mother used to iron his football laces.
-The person who exemplifies the Mod casual look...
-Look at you! Look at you!
Winkle-pickers, casual trousers, a nice jacket, and the haircut.
It is not a million miles away from what's on the catwalks today.
It still comes back.
He's famously known as the first pop star footballer.
And part of that was his clothes.
His clothes transmitted that to the rest of the world.
-I think of him as a fashion icon.
I like to think of myself as a bit different than everyone else.
Because I'm more like a pop star really.
Of course, football fashion isn't just about the players.
It's about the fans too.
This brings us to our second moment,
which is where we move away from what's going on on the pitch,
and onto the terraces.
The Casuals grew up on the football terraces.
There was this revolution happening on the football terraces
that nobody was picking up on.
Describe the look to me.
This is a good depiction of the Casuals.
You can see that they are wearing here designer tops -
Fila, Taccini, Ellesse.
-This is the era of materialism.
-Labels and bling and status.
At one end of the fashion label you had that designer-led revolution
with Katherine Hamnett, John Galliano.
The same thing is happening here on the terraces,
but it's sports labels.
You are throwing codes out to your friends,
you're showing them you're part of the gang,
but it's a very subtle way of doing it.
So, Paolo, what brings us up to date then?
The third era that we need to talk about begins in 1996.
Gianluca Vialli arrives at Chelsea football ground,
walks into the dressing room wearing a V-neck Armani cashmere sweater,
designer trousers and brown brogues,
and Chelsea captain Dennis Wise said, we took one look at him and said,
"Where did you get your clothes?"
And within a week we were all wearing them.
And on the back of all this comes a boy from Leytonstone
-by the name of David Beckham, which you might have heard of.
You must have had dealings with Beckham in your time.
I have come across him backstage in a fashion show and he's impeccable.
His clothes to me always appeal to all levels of society.
He clearly loves clothes though. He absolutely adores them.
He's had some bad looks though. The Tom Ford.
-The matching leather jackets!
-The case for the prosecution rests.
Absolutely. And I do believe Tom Ford was at Gucci at the time
and apparently he said, "What are those people doing wearing my clothes?"
And someone said, "Well, they bought them."
There wasn't very much that could be done about it,
but now he is practically a Tom Ford ambassador.
He looks rather good in a Tom Ford suit, and I think they're all very close buddies.
-He is a great clothes horse, isn't he?
-Anything he puts on, he looks great in.
-I think this is what Mr Armani says.
He's got such a love affair with sportsmen because they are superbly fit.
They're peak performance, look amazing - they're great clothes horses.
I know the feeling.
And Strike a Pose: 50 Years of Football and Fashion
opens in Manchester on Friday.
Now from fashion to futurology, with legendary designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.
Enchanting and magical,
they are renowned for pushing at the very limits of the word design.
Charlie Luxton went to meet the couple for a glimpse into
their worlds of dystopian nightmares and visionary schemes.
We can all agree on what makes great design.
It is those objects we recognise as classics
because of their stunning good looks.
The innovative product that makes everyday life that much easier.
Or that perfectly formed graphic that communicates
a clear and simple message.
We consider this brilliant design not only for the way it looks
but the way it works.
And if it wasn't for that perfect meeting of form and function,
we'd think of it as useless junk.
A chair you couldn't sit on.
A sign that sent you wrong way.
And a vacuum cleaner that didn't suck would, well...suck.
So this is the role of the designer.
We give them problems and they give us solutions, right?
Well, not necessarily.
Over the past 20 years,
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have become world leaders
in an alternative movement in modern design
located somewhere between product design, sociology and science fiction.
These self-confessed technology idealists
have created countless prototypes and objects
that at first glance don't seem to have much use at all.
In fact, the designs often ask more questions than they answer.
But give them a chance,
because these ideas could be of more use to mankind
than even the bagless vacuum cleaner.
The husband and wife team's unconventional approach
was given a name in Dunne's 1999 book, Hertzian Tales.
He called it critical design.
-How are you?
-Nice to see you.
What do you mean by critical design?
Critical design I guess is about using design
to ask questions rather than provide answers.
Usually when we design stuff we are trying to meet a practical need,
like illumination for working at our desks, phones for communicating.
With critical designs we are trying to get people to think about stuff.
It's aimed more at the mind and the imagination, than practicality.
So how do these idea manifest themselves? What do you design?
Well, for example we are very interested in how robots
can occupy our imaginations.
Most people are familiar with the idea of robots in the factory -
these abstract, highly functional machines.
But what happens when they come into the home?
We wanted to look at the I guess the form, the scale, the kind of interactions with them,
so we proposed three non-working models of robots
that would act as discussion pieces.
We really want to play with the expectation of technology
and we want to use design as a way of changing that expectation.
We have a certain idea of what a robot should look like.
One of the key things we're trying to do was make them not look like robots.
So when you point at them and say, "These are robots" everyone would go, "That's not a robot!"
In 2005, Dunne and Raby left their robots at home
and turned their attention to how headline-grabbing new human genome research
might affect the dating habits of the future.
They came up with the evidence doll,
an object designed for women to record the genetic information of their lovers,
including a DNA sample.
This data could prove vital
in their search for the perfect biological partner.
With every lover, a woman would buy a doll.
So we said, take a sneaky picture of their face
and we'll get it printed on the doll.
You could write anything about the man's body -
you liked their shoulders, or didn't like their legs...
And we've got this secret drawer, which is the penis drawer.
A very aptly located drawer.
We had small, medium and large.
Here you would put the piece of genetic material to store in there,
so you could get it analysed and you could compare your different lovers.
The latest project, United Microkingdoms,
takes Dunne and Raby out of the bedroom and on to the street,
with their vision of the transport of the future.
They divided a fictional England into four socio-political sectors,
each with its own innovative set of vehicles.
Although they look strange, these cars and trains
are all extensions of how we get from A to B today.
We started looking at visions for robotic cars or self-drive cars.
In all of them the passenger stands up and they can surf or do e-mail on the way to work.
Access to the road is determined by price, pace and priority.
A little bit like phone tariff systems.
You buy access to the road.
We think that this transport system could be quite grim.
We want to visualise that now to have a discussion about is this the future we really want to have?
And if not, how can we prevent it happening?
This one just looks quite mental. What is this?
This is basically a scale model
of a three kilometre-long train
that has a landscape on it.
This is one section.
It's probably 20 metres by 40 metres long.
-So you live on this thing and you never get off?
-You never get off.
People live on it and in it.
-And you just go round and round on your mobile landscape?
That's kind of...
It is a stand-in for an idea.
The idea is - can one small design
spin off a discussion on a bigger level?
So, with no marketable product as an outcome,
it's this process and the conversation that it causes
that is in a way the real value of Dunne and Raby's work.
That's the process - that exploring the boundaries of what's possible in design,
that's massively influencing the next generation of designers that they teach.
Students of their design interaction course at the Royal College of Art
have gone on to work on the front line of the biotech revolution in California.
Taking critical product design to the Japanese pop video...
And even blasted off to NASA,
where the Dunne and Raby approach led to new ways of working
and a musical space opera.
So whether you've noticed it or not,
the influence of Dunne and Raby's work and their critical design
is being felt far and wide as they seek to redefine what design means
and what it can achieve in our future.
The only restrictions to that, it seems to me, is the limit of human imagination.
Dunne and Raby's United Microkingdoms opens in London's Design Museum in May.
While we wait for that, let's see how our design race is hotting up.
Over here, Dominic - you look quietly confident, I would say.
While over here, the machine...
That's recognisably Big Ben.
As they go on to the home straight
we're off to an increasingly fashionable area of design.
Critic Alice Rawsthorn's new book, Hello World,
explores the dynamic field of social design.
We sent her off to meet some of its pioneers.
To make a difference to your local community,
you could volunteer at a food bank or champion recycling.
But the changing world of design is creating new opportunities
for the socially and environmentally conscious.
So we've got 40 tilapia in each of these tanks
and they basically provide the nutrient to the vegetables
that are growing over there through their poo.
The eco-social design group Something & Son
has transformed a derelict building in east London into an urban farm,
with the aim of growing as much food as possible in a small space.
Why did you decide to open a food- growing laboratory like Farm Shop?
We had lots of questions about the future of food.
What's going to happen with population rising,
food prices going up?
They were quite innocent questions.
Then we had the opportunity to take over an empty building
and we put the two ideas together.
So we got an urban setting, a shop on the high street,
we've got an issue around food.
What could we learn by bringing those two ideas together?
It's a lot more interesting and complex designing something
within a social outcome rather than a commercial outcome.
The complexities within that are so much more
than designing something where you are just selling - a car, for instance.
Design is not drawing something pretty and having it made.
Design is fundamentally trying to unlock a problem in its truest sense
- in all of its facets and complications, the bad times and the good times -
and come up with something at the end that works and can last.
And Farm Shop is a sustainable project because it looks after itself financially,
it's teaching people about environmental issues,
and it's a social space.
While some designers are using their skills to work with local communities,
one is working on a city-wide scale to redefine the identity of a place,
inspiring a new wave of innovation.
The essence of social design is empowering a society.
Or elements of a society.
Co-founder of Factory Records, Peter Saville
is famous for the artwork he designed for Joy Division and New Order,
but now plays a strategic role in local politics
as creative director of Manchester.
I like to imagine what things could be.
When we founded Factory Records in the late '70s,
I was of a mind of what could a record label be.
Not what ARE they, but what could they be.
That was very much my feeling with Manchester.
Saville concluded that Manchester needed to rethink its identity
as the world's first industrial city, by modernising it.
He came up with the concept "original modern",
an idea that spans everything from transport networks and building projects to the arts.
It had been understood from the very beginning
that a slogan was not being sought for the city.
So there was no intention for "original modern" to be a slogan for the city.
It was a way to think about yourself.
After proposing it in 2004,
the city council asked me to stay on
as almost the provocateur of this idea.
There have been new developments, which have epitomised it.
Principally the Manchester International Festival,
which was a programme of entirely new or debut works.
In a way, it's our culture.
You know, artists and designers are part of that.
The medium, the specific medium of your work might differ.
Mine has enormously, from doing a record cover 35 years ago
to helping promote the ethos of a place.
But the spirit of it is the same.
It's to make a contribution to the way we live.
And the way we live is our culture.
As more and more designers are grappling with social problems,
one British design group has become a global leader in the field
by inventing new solutions that local councils are investing in.
I suppose that everybody that we work with
understands that the existing ways of problem-solving aren't working.
Perhaps what's true to say, although people wouldn't articulate it,
is that they're at the end of their tether with traditional ways of doing things.
At Participle, designers lead multi-disciplinary teams
that use the design process to redesign critical aspects
of the welfare state.
It's a big ambition for a small enterprise in South London.
One of the major social issues you've worked on is the
ever-expanding elderly population and how to improve the standard of care for them.
Can you explain what sort of solution you've proposed?
Yes, Circle is our solution.
It's basically a membership-based organisation.
So, if you're a member, you might call up and want somebody
to help you with your garden,
you might want to do something social.
You might want somebody to help you when you come out of hospital
after an operation as you're rehabilitating.
It's important that designers understand the relationships
that would make that really work,
so that it really feels like something that's being done
in a way that fits with your life.
So every single aspect of that service is being designed
to understand how it will work, how it will not be condescending,
how it will take care of practical things in the way you would like them done.
So I'd like to think the future is
delivering these areas of work at scale in Britain
to many thousands of people and really making an impact in their lives,
and at the same time, we're providing real-life concrete examples of what
a redesigned welfare state might look like for this century.
And Hello World will be in bookshops in March.
Next tonight to a little-known but fast-developing
corner of the design world - hacking.
It's not quite as ominous as it sounds, as I found out earlier.
Take one everyday product...
That's a hack.
Hacking is something we normally associate
with illicit computer programmers or the ugly side of journalism.
In the world of design though, hacking doesn't involve government inquiries or legal warfare.
True, it has a subversive edge but it's more creative than destructive.
A process by which people can redesign everyday products
for their own purposes.
A make-do-and-mend for the modern era.
Hacking used to be a fringe DIY activity
but now it's got so popular,
there's even a website dedicated
to hacking products from Ikea.
Boasting thousands of redesign ideas for your flat-pack furniture.
And now hacking could be about to become an everyday activity.
As of next month, a new material,
designed to make it easy to hack any home product,
will launch in DIY stores across Britain.
Sugru, which means play in Gaelic,has been voted
a more important invention than the iPad.
It comes in a pack like this.
It feels very much like Play-Doh when you take it out of the pack.
You can mould it into any shape at all.
It has really good adhesive properties so it will stick to anything in your home.
And the magic part is that overnight,
it will transform into a really durable and flexible silicone rubber.
Wow. It's incredible.
So how is Sugru being used?
Initially, it was really well adopted by the creative community
but we're now starting to see signs now of its being used
by all kinds of people
and this is something that everybody can do.
Sugru has built up a vibrant online community,
with people sharing hack ideas and photos.
This is one of my favourite examples of a design improvement.
It came from a dad in Germany who sent us a photo on the internet.
His three-year-old was really into photography.
He built the Sugru up around the camera with these walls
which are flexible and rubbery so if it drops,
instead of breaking, it will bounce.
And it makes the design a lot less uptight.
A lot of product design is very uptight, isn't it? And perfect.
Yeah, that's exactly it.
How we behave normally with our gadgets -
we worship them and think they're perfect.
But he made it his own and made it work better for him.
Do you see it revolutionising design in the next few years?
It seems like we're in an interesting period.
One of the most exciting things
is the visibility of the improvements
and redesigns and hacks people do.
I hope that the engineers are looking at all those colourful Sugru repairs
and seeing, actually, we'd better make that stronger
or make the shape different and whatever.
It's like a total crowd-sourced product development.
Some designers like Assa Ashuach
are taking this a step further
and encouraging hacking at an early design stage -
before the product is even made.
This new digital forming software enables a non-designer like me
to personalise Assa's products,
in this case, a lamp.
I can change the colour,
and even adapt the fin design and overall shape.
As a designer, why would you want someone else meddling in your designs?
Product design is designing products and objects for people to use.
For me it was always very important to have elements of interactivity.
I'm always looking for opening a door to the user.
But do you feel you're relinquishing power?
We've been brought up with the big designer,
who designs these amazing objects,
and you're basically giving power to the consumers.
Yes, it's true but I see that as empowering the designer
to empower the user.
The technology enables the designer to add another layer
on top of the designing product. It's a design experience.
So users at home, when they play and co-design, they will say, this is a nice experience.
So the experience will become part of the design.
What happens if the co-designer creates something you don't like?
This is a difficult point. Because sometimes it's horrible.
But if I want to make sure that all the variations are almost, like,
80% approved by me,
then I'm giving less freedom to the user,
so I'm constraining the experience to such a level
that it will always come out well.
I see the user as a partner.
There's a partnership.
It's time for the moment of truth.
What will Assa think of my co-design?
-There it is.
-What do you think? Don't be too harsh.
-No, it's actually quite nice.
I found it really interesting - you start to think about things quite a lot.
Probably more than you would do in a shop.
You're questioning your judgement over and over again. I like that.
-There are some big decisions to make.
I guess you do in a way become in part a designer.
You start to make associations, think about things.
With the way you think about things, and the look of it, all the time.
It's also about giving some of the designing joy to the user.
I'm not quite sure about the base now that I've seen it like this.
Hacking is liberating design.
It's no longer about star designers handing us products that we have to accept.
It's a partnership, a collaboration.
And the implications are enormous.
Frankly nobody knows where design is going to head next.
But isn't that exciting?
Right, that's it. The race is over and it looks to me like a dead heat.
The machine's made an absolutely perfect model of Big Ben.
But there's something about Dominic's creation that shows there's life in us old humans yet.
In a few years' time though, who knows where this
machine will have taken us.
Finally tonight, images of millinery magic from Philip Treacy.
A new book out next week documents the key moments
in the incredible story of his hats
that have captivated the fashion world for more than 20 years.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd