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Posted in good design by hemmant jha on July 26, 2009

Jazz Record Mart, Chicago.

Superb collection of jazz and blues on vinyl and compact disc. While Chicago is not home to what is possibly the largest storehouse of music and recordings under one roof [that honor goes to Amoeba Records, with outposts in California], nestled within its downtown office / residential district is this gem of a music store.

Its focus on jazz and blues seems perfectly in keeping with its origins, having been established by the owner of Chicago’s Delmark Records label. In this era of dubious music downloads and mysteriously vanishing purchased content, why not make a pilgrimage to the JRM? After all, there’s a lot more to music than 192Kbps MP3 files and shrinking cover art – spin some vinyl, sit back and rediscover the joys of recorded music as it was meant to be heard.

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Posted in GR1s, the world around us by hemmant jha on July 25, 2009

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Posted in GR1s, the world around us by hemmant jha on July 24, 2009

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Posted in GR1s, the world around us by hemmant jha on July 23, 2009

Tokyo train stations seem quite well equipped for a people seemingly always on the move : this is but a very small selection of what is available, often underground. Clean and well appointed, the stations make public transportation seem like the only way to go – digging into katsu curry while driving seems ill advised, at best.

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Posted in not good design by hemmant jha on July 22, 2009

Separated at birth : Honda Insight 2010, Toyota Prius 2004-2010

With the introduction of the 2010 Honda Insight, the aesthetic of the everyday hybrid automobile has been firmly established : if it has four doors, a hatchback, reasonable aerodynamics and low fuel consumption, it must strongly resemble a Toyota Prius

So visually similar is the new Insight to the Prius that one wonders if Honda intends to fool people into buying one of their hybrids. While this blog is generally intolerant of bad design, we try and shy away from open criticism – however, the shameless copying of a successful form is not something one can or should condone. Imitation is imitation [and thievery – of ideas and revenue], not the sincerest form of flattery.

The overall profile, the taper of the windows, the rear lights, the small piece of rear windshield below the tail, down to the small bulge on which the logo of the manufacturer is placed – all are strikingly similar. Unless Honda and Toyota have merged of late or have started to share tooling and body panels, or maybe a common design philosophy, one simply cannot understand the reason for this strange similarity.

It is unfortunate that a major manufacturer, quite different from its primary competitor in many ways, has chosen this rather subversive route to gain marketshare for it’s product. Honda is generally recognized as being a manufacturer of repute – not least for being first off the block [in the US] with the slightly odd but quite innovative Insight hybrid back in 1999. We see no reason why such a company could not produce an automobile that did not have to rest on the laurels of its closest competitor.

Why, Honda? Whydyadoit?

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