I'm having one of those idealistic moments. I just learned about the decorative manhole covers used in Japan...
...and it's reminding me that even the most humble, functional parts of our daily life can be beautiful, funny, appealing, inspirational.
It's easy to put up barriers and blocks to this kind of design.
"We don't have the budget."
"Nobody can agree on what it should be."
"We ran out of budget."
These manhole covers are an example of what can happen when you don't allow the barriers to deter you.
I'm asking myself, "What can I do, today, to elevate something that's considered purely functional to a higher level?"
Japanese Manhole Covers - list of resources - links to photo galleries, interactive maps, etc.
IDSA - the Industrial Design Society of America - if you're an information worker, it's nice to take a break and consider some physical objects.
Design Observer from the Design Observer Group - browse this thought leadership, or if you only have time for one article, read Where We Work - "...if you think about the space where creative work actually gets done, and what writers and designers and quite a few artists are really looking at all day, the relevant framework is probably not a room, or a window. It’s probably a screen."