My yellow Schwinn Stingray was stolen out of my back yard. My dad took me to get a new bike with the insurance money and I saw this Schwinn Lemon Peeler on the used bike rack. I debated between a new Stingray and the used Lemon Peeler. I bought the Lemon Peeler. I delivered papers with my Lemon Peeler from about 1976 - 1978. My Lemon Peeler didn't have the gear shifter or handbrakes like some lemon peelers. My Lemon Peeler looked just like this one except I remember my banana seat being yellow?
Thinking back, I'm not sure if it was the color, the shock absorbers, the funky handlebars or perhaps the excess of it all that appealed to me. Schwinn’s Stingray was minimal in comparison. My Lemon Peeler was a hot rod and chopper rolled into one incredibly heavy excessively functional design object.
A friend entering my home and seeing my collection of books and all things modern once remarked, "Paul for a minimalist you sure have a lot of stuff.” That observation pretty much sums up my design attitude.
I often return to Vitruvius and the 3 core principals he distilled from all that he had collected in the way of design knowledge for his Ten Books on Architecture
. Function & structure are easy to wrap your head around, but beauty (these are the three words I use as my personal interpretations of Vitrivius' original words/text). The subjectivity of beauty makes it the most intriguing of the three words to play with as part of a design process.
My take on beauty is that it needs to tell a story. What is the Lemon Peeler’s story? It’s certainly a story of structure and function. It was a functioning bicycle after all. The Lemon Peeler’s beauty back in 1976 was its excess. The Lemon Peeler was unapologetic for being too bright, too heavy, and too much. Its weight and its smaller than normal tires made it a slow bike which also made riding my Lemon Peeler more about cruising than getting anywhere as fast as possible or with the least amount of effort.
In design, efficiency is typically thought of as a good thing and inefficiency bad. At the end of the day, I prefer a little inefficiency in my design objects. I prefer the low and slow of design. I prefer bright and shiny. I prefer exposed fasteners and the celebration of technology as opposed to the black box of pure minimalism.
08.25.17 - category: thoughts
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. in practice there is. (attributed to) Yogi Berra,
August 25th 2016 wasn't my official start date in my new position at MIT Architecture, but it was my first day returning to campus, spending time with students, faculty and with my future workmates.
August 25th 2017, one year later, I have re-booted my website. I'd been thinking about, designing & building a new website for more than a year. My new position at MIT prompted me to reimagine my website in such a way as to make it simultaneously about my design, teaching, past, present and future.
The image is the jacket cover for Joi Ito & Jeff Howe's book, Whiplash
. the choice of book and book title is not accidental. the word whiplash pretty much sums up my first year returning to MIT.
2 injury caused by a severe jerk to the head
verb [with object]
jerk or jolt (someone or something) suddenly
Not so much an injury, definitely a jerk or jolt, whiplash typically carries with it a negative connotation. Whiplash as presented in the book Whiplash
and whiplash as metaphor for my past year back at mid has actually been a good thing.
08.24.17 - category: about me
Paul Pettigrew is founder of Paul Pettigrew Architect & Products in Space, design and fabrication practices based in Chicago & Cambridge. As Paul Pettigrew Architect & Products in Space, Paul has been designing and fabricating the relationships between buildings and functional objects for the past 28 years.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
After graduating from MIT, Paul returned to Chicago and worked on large scale architectural projects (Perkins & Will) and mid-scale architectural projects (Pappageorge Haymes) while simultaneously designing and fabricating functional objects in garage and basement workshops.
Unable to shake the dual interests of Architecture and functional object design, Paul joined Northbrook Illinois based Crate & Barrel/cb2. Crate & Carrel/cb2 provided experiences selling functional objects, designing the physical and virtual retail experiences within which functional objects are sold and designing and fabricating functional objects for display and sale within the retail experiences designed by Paul and his Crate & Carrel teammates.
From fall of 2000 - summer of 2016, Paul shared his Architectural and functional object design and fabrication experiences with students at the Illinois Institute of Technology. As Studio Associate Professor of Architecture Paul taught first year Architectural design studios, Introduction to the Architectural profession courses and functional object design and fabrication courses emphasizing the relationship between functional objects and the buildings and cities within which design objects function.
Paul has won awards for both his teaching and functional object design. Paul’s work and the work of his students has been exhibited throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area, the midwest and can be found in permanent collections in various government offices throughout the united states.
Paul has been researching, writing and lecturing on the relationship between the hand and brain in the education of Architecture and Design students since the spring of 2006.
Paul Pettigrew Architect projects can be found in numerous midwest locations. Products in Space functional objects can be found in homes and business throughout the United States and numerous locations worldwide.