Pages: 25 - 28
Baby buses for the West End?
A new move to prise the motorist from London's streets comes in the form of a recently published report by a joint Department of the Environment, GLC and Westminster City Council working party on aids to pedestrian movement. Seizing the opportunities presented by forthcoming development in Covent Garden and the West End, moving pavements and travelators in favour of further research and development on a system of small automatically controlled buses operating on a track integrated into the building structures. Running about 10ft above ground level the silent, fume free system may use two sizes of carriage for on and off-peak services, one carrying ten seated and ten standing passengers and the other six seated and eight standing, in one, two or three unit trains. For preserved buildings the track, support structures and carriage units would be light enough to be fixed to existing frontages.
In a route study, the working party presents a network connecting Charing Cross and Waterloo with six points in the Covent Garden area, a branch line to Holborn and the possibility of an extension loop through Soho, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Oxford Street. Stations, simple arrangements of up and down escalators with a ticket office platform, would be sited in major new buildings and at existing junctions with all but one of London's Underground lines. Illustrations in the report show possible three-level configurations with road traffic relegated to a floor below pedestrian precincts and the new track suspended above. According to Alan Cryer, Westminster deputy engineer and chairman of the working party, a pilot system could be working within ten years.
The Westminster proposals are in direct competition with the Cabtrack system currently being investigated by the Government's Transport and Research and Assessment Group at RAE Farnborough. The working party rejected Cabtrack on the grounds that it would be difficult to integrate into areas where there is a large proportion of existing buildings. This is the essence of the RIBA's opposition to the Westminster scheme - a spokesman has argued that it would be impossible to disguise cabs in areas of historic interest. The Treasury, too, is known to favour additional through roads to a system that has to be justified on broader planning grounds.
Design proposals for street furniture and for the distribution of bread will be discussed at a working seminar for professional designers to be held this month at Minsk in the USSR. The seminar has been organised by the ICSID Education Group and by VNIITE (All Union Research Institute of Industrial Design). About 15 foreign and 15 Russian designers will probably take part.
It is not clear how the two apparently random subjects of bread distribution and street furniture came to be chosen as projects for the seminar. The Bread problem concerns the process of loading, handling, distributing, displaying and finally seeing all kinds of bread in selfservice shops. This process, by comparison with the manufacture of the bread itself, is cumbersome and labour intensive. The aim of the study is to try and find ways of improving efficiency and hygiene, and thereby improving the lot of the distribution workers.
The street furniture projects will be tied to an experiment in one of the main streets of Minsk.
Duke's prize to rotate
The Duke of Edinburgh has decided to change the name and scope of his annual prize for design. From now on it will be known as The Duke of Edinburgh's Design Prize and will be governed by a new set of conditions. The main change is that the panel of judges will make their selection from one industrial category at a time, in order to rotate the award more fairly and also to encourage the various groups of industry. Four broad areas have been chosen and will be dealt with in the following order: 1972 - tableware, gifts and jewelry
1973 interior furnishings; 1974 - technical equipment and domestic appliances; 1975 - outdoor equipment and leisure goods.
Although the judges will be asked to look first at products which come into the category of the year, they may make another award to an exceptional design outside the annual category. The winner will continue to design or commission his own prize (bollard chrome and leather reclining chair designed for 1970 winner Patrick Rylands by Frederick Scott). The Duke of Edinburgh's Design Prize 1971 was won by Noel Haring, designer of the Teltron
From next month DESIGN magazine will expand, taking in an entirely new section and increasing its coverage of graphics.
DESIGN's recent attempts to show more graphics have been welcomed, particularly as we are the only magazine to show graphics in the context of other design subjects. From June onwards there will be a graphics feature (one, two or three articles) in every issue. This section win include posters, advertisements, magazine design, etc; typography, packaging, technical information, illustrations; and media graphics.
A monthly section listing details of new products and materials will also start in June. This will be in addition to Things Seen and will be a regular information service to buyers, industrialists, designers, architects and engineers. At the same time the book review pages will also be increased.
The new cover price to take in increased costs as well as these enlargements, will be 35p. The last increase of the cover price of DESIGN magazine was in 1968.
AA School not to close this year
Student solidarity has saved the Architectural Association's School of Architecture at the eleventh hour, and the school will not now be closing at the end of the academic year. So the long application list for next year's student intake has been reopened, with candidates being sifted again last month. The immediate problem is to hoist the school out of the red. During the current year the school is expected to have over spent itself by around, £60 000. Next year, the school reckons on trimming its running costs by , £70 000 to achieve a surplus of £10 000. This will be achieved by subletting some accommodation relying on student volunteer labour for cleaning and redecoration, and by employing a larger proportion of part-time staff.
It is not yet clear what the school's final relationship with the AA Council is likely to be. The school win be run by a board consisting of a staff and student representative from each year unit or department, but it will remain under the overall control of the AA Council until a new constitution for the AA has been drawn up.
British engineering needs action
A recommendation that the proposed Design Council to stimulate better engineering design in industry "should be taken off the shelf" was made in a recent discussion paper published by the National Economic Development Office. The paper, by D T N Williamson, director of research at Molins and a member of the Little Neddy for Mechanical Engineering, predicts a gloom future for the British mechanical engineering industry unless remedial measures are swiftly taken
Among the measures recommended in the paper are: a levy on the lines of the Industrial Training Act to stimulate investment in new product development and new manufacturing techniques and methods; a wide extension of the Department of Trade and Industry's
pre-production order scheme; and close study of anatomy of the booming Japanese.
Not surprisingly, Mr Williamson urges that finance, both guaranteed by the Government and by the merchant banks will be required to bolster new company growth.
Well met in Paris
The exhibition of British design at the MusÈe des Arts DÈcoratifs, Paris, has been attracting French visitors at a rate of some 500 a day. With a few exceptions, the response from the press (English and French) and from the public has been eager. Despite the recent announcement of the Conseil SupÈrieur de CrÈation Industrielle, design is still regarded as a fringe activity in France, and the joint CoI/CoID exhibition underlines the enormous difference in attitudes on both sides of the channel.
In particular it points up contrasts in attitudes to design promotion in the two countries.
On the one hand a confident display of CoID merchandise, laid out by Barry Mazur; on the other the rather meagre record of goods approved by the Centre de CrÈation Industrielle. Design promotion in France - in which President Pompidou has now directly involved himself - clearly needs strong leadership and generous cash backing. But some spokesmen are doubtful whether the over-bureaucratic Conseil SupÈrieur and the under-financed CCI are the right bodies to provide this. The exhibition, designed by Theo Crosby, continues until the end of the month.
The four Leverhulme travelling scholarships for 1971 (worth £700 each) have been awarded to below Richard Hamblin (industrial design - engineering), Robin Harris (graphics), Joanna Bowring and Maggie Rowell (textiles). A further award of £850 was made to Peter Goulds (post-graduate graphics). A record entry of 39 applications from 25 schools produced some good - if hardly outstanding- work in 3D and graphics; the Industrial Design (Engineering) side was again weak. The judging panel consisted of: Jack Howe; David Mellor; Brian Tattersfield; Marianne Straub; Robert Wetmore; and Martin Grierson.
Younger, Thring and Macleod for SIAD
Sir George Younger, economic adviser to the Post Office Corporation, robot specialist
Professor Meredith Thring and Norman McLeod, deputy chairman ICI Plastics, will be three of the speakers at this year's SIAD conference, to be held at Chipping Camden from 4-6 June 1971. The conference will follow the agreeable pattern of previous years, with the Scuttlebrooke Wake in Chipping Camden Square and drinks with Sir Gordon and Lady Russell in the garden at Kingcombe. Summing up will be by John Christopher Jones, professor of design, Open University
France's fortnight of protection
Nature Protection Fortnight, which takes place in France between 2 and 16 May, has been organised by the French Ministry of Environment. It serves as a timely reminder to Frenchmen that the ministry, set up as a sop to European Conservation Year, actually exists. Like other industrial nations, France has her share of pollution problems; but unlike them has managed to get on without a serious antipollution lobby. Whether the Minister of the Environment, Robert Poujade, will change all this remains to be seen.
So far his fledgling ministry has led a hand-to-mouth existence, with an underpaid, overworked staff scattered in dingy offices an over Paris. Poujade himself, whose appointment was only announced last January, occupies rooms on loan from the French Admiralty which he has to vacate each time the admirals wish to entertain. It sounds a makeshift background for a ministry entrusted with the task of converting the big industrial polluters to cleaner and more civilised habits.
Nature Protection Fortnight, aimed mainly at schoolchildren is a start, if only a modest one, along this hard road. A second move is the announcement of a watchdog committee on environmental matters, which is to count among its nine members Hubert Beuve-MÈry, ex-director of Le Monde. Whether these two mild gestures are to be followed up by sterner ones, depends of course; on the French Govemment and the cash support it is willing to provide.
A report on the future training of interior designers, published recently, recommends that "the study period should extend over six years including a total of one or two years practical work and six months for the final thesis." The report, carried out for the International Federation of Interior Designers by the Norwegian professional institute (NIL) talks in vague terms about the content of the six year study period, but expects that "the trend will continue towards the total, integrated design of the enviromnent" backed up by results of research on such subjects as sociology, psychology, product technology and production techniques.
On the relationship of interior design with architecture, the report says, somewhat guardedly, that "the training should take place in an artistic environment, albeit with the possibility of association with the architectural and technical environments where these special subjects have a bearing on their training".
New town boss
Fred Lloyd Roche, the newly appointed managing director of Milton Keynes Development Corporation, becomes one of the youngest, most highly paid and most powerful architect administrators in the country. Aged 40 he comes into the £10 000 post after only six months with the Development Corporation - as director of design and production. He took over on 1 April from Walter Ismay, who announced in his resignation statement that he would prefer to return to normal business life. Before joining the Development Corporation, Ismay was director and chief engineer of Yorkshire Imperial Metals and deputy chairman of Yorkshire Imperial Plastics.
Lloyd Roche has considerable depth of experience in planning new towns. He worked under Arthur Ling at Coventry, and was appointed chief architect and planning officer at Runcorn, also master-planned by Ling, in 1965.
Buckminster Fuller, Tom Wolfe and Michael Murphy (of the Esalen Institute) will be three of the participants at this year's International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado. The programme of the conference, which is entitled Paradox and takes place between 20-25 June, is being left deliberately vague, but discussion is likely to centre around social problems of the day, in particular communications, consciousness, sexual politics and the third world. Tom Wolfe, says programme chairman Dick Parson, has been called in "in case we begin to take ourselves too seriously."
This year's Summer Session, organised by Alvin Boyarsky's International Institute of Design, will take place London between 12 July and 20 August. The session will be open-ended, loosely structured and flexible. There will be workshops, seminars, lectures and special interest groups. The main purpose, says Boyarsky, is to match the resources of London with the interests of the participants, and create a market place where ideas, views and news can be exchanged. The faculty is expected to consist of some 80 students and about the same number of "experts" among whom Reyner Banham, Nicolas Habraken, Hans Hollein, Yona Friedman, Cedric Price, Brian Richards and James Stirling have agreed to attend. Tuition fees for the full six weeks are £100, but some scholarships are available. For further information write or ring Alvin Boyarsky, Director IID, 28 Upper Park Road, London NW3 (telephone: 586 0671).
Joyce Mackrell has been appointed manager of ColD Training Service with responsibility for organising the Council's courses and conferences. She continues to organise retail training, and will also be responsible for the Council's lecture panel and list of recommended films. Peter York, deputy head of Information Division, CoID, takes on responsibility for the promotion of Design Index merchandise in retail stores at home and overseas.
Cedric Price has been invited to act as consultant for a teaching and information network based on North East London Polytechnic.
Giles Montagu-Pollock has been appointed managing director of Conran Associates.
Andrew Dempsey has succeeded Charles Gibbs-Smith as Keeper of the Department of Public Relations in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Sir Robin Darwin, Giacomo Manzu, Benedict Nicolson, Jean Renoir and Tapio Wirkkala are to be made honorary doctors of the Royal College of Art.
W J Bird has been elected president of the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers Association.
Sir Frank Pearson has bees appointed chairman of the Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation.
Michael Clapham has succeeded Lord King's Norton as chairman of the National Council for Academic Awards