On September 14 1128, David I, King of Scots, was hunting beneath a rocky outcrop when the stag he was pursuing turned and fought. The king was thrown from his horse, landing at the stag’s hooves. To protect himself, the king lunged for the beast’s antlers but instead grasped a crucifix that had miraculously appeared on its head. The stag retreated, leaving the king clutching the cross. That night, a voice in a dream told the king to build an abbey on the site.
The shingle beach at Dungeness is a ghost town of battered shacks and boats. For a dozen miles the beach has given Kent a straight edge, but here it curls round the headland and slips past the mountainous nuclear power station that broods over the marshes. Before this dogleg is a bungalow sheathed in black rubber.
When icon was invited on a whistlestop tour of the Dutch design scene, we of course said yes. But the trip took on new meaning when, in last month’s issue, Marcel Wanders said design in the Netherlands was in crisis, stifled by state subsidies and a lack of business sense. So what do leading figures in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam think?
In the latest of icon’s occasional series of essays, Dan Hill explores the psychology of how we adapt and interact with technology. Is “adaptive design” – products that allow the user to modify, upgrade and customise them – better than products that can’t be altered? And is the iPod just too perfect?