Kraftwerk, just jamming, in a spellbinding film from 1973

We’re hopelessly devoted fans of Kraftwerk here at BBH Labs, almost certainly in a way that is slightly backward. Only last week we pledged to listen to nothing but Kraftwerk until the end of 2010 (much to the delight of those sitting near us).

This (below) is an incredible piece of film. It’s from 1973 and shows Ralf & Florian just noodling, in some cases with non-electronic instruments (shock, horror) such as flute. The homemade drum machine looks fairly lo-fi; quite a lot of tinfoil being used there too.


We also stumbled across a couple of other short films in the YouTube crates. First an amusing documentary clip about ‘Autobahn’ from 1975. “Next year Kraftwerk hope to eliminate the keyboards altogether and build jackets with electronic lapels that would be played by touch”.


And then this 10-minute clip from a 1973 French documentary.


Brilliantly evocative films from the birth of electronic music.

Thanks to Paul Matheson for sending the Tanzmusik piece.

We love Google Goggles


Google Goggles is a new ‘visual search’ app for Android phones. Instead of using words, take a picture of an object with your camera phone: Google then attempt to recognize the object, and return relevant search results. Goggles also provides information about businesses near you by displaying their names directly in the camera preview.

As Google make clear, this is far from perfect yet, but it’s still getting us thinking about how we might use this kind of technology for clients.

Wonder when it will work with social networks? And wonder when it’s out on iPhone?

screen-shot-2009-12-14-at-43503-pmMore detail on Goggles on Google’s site, here.

(Full disclosure: Google is a client of BBH)

Designing for a quarter billion people – Design at Facebook

The firehose that is the social web pumps out thousands of links, articles and potential insights every day and we often find ourselves missing strong, provocative thinking.

This is something we stumbled across in the last 24 hours which is worthy of yanking out of the river and saving (if I was going to stretch the analogy I’d say ‘saving in our little Labs lake’ but I’m not prepared to say that).

It’s a fantastic short piece about the design process at Facebook. Simply called: ‘Design at Facebook’. We found it compelling not only because of the insight it provides into the design process of such an important interface as Facebook, but also because it’s not about theory, about speculation, about supposition . . . it’s about doing.

The four key hypotheses outlined by the author, Luke Wroblewski, are as follows:

1) Designers need to be there start to ship: from strategy to launch. This is different from other companies.

2) Share early and share often. Sharing with the team and users helps make the design better.

3) Get your hands dirty. Important that you understand how Web code works. All designers write a bit of HTML, CSS, and maybe PHP.

4) Don’t fall in love. Software is impermanent –it is always changing and you need to accept that.

Resonating with us and challenging us right now are the following additional points Wroblewski makes:

– There is no creative director at Facebook (we find this particularly challenging, and wonder how processes work with the speed they clearly do without the focus that a decision-maker provides).

– There is a culture of continual internal sharing between and across the group, and they utilize software to help this happen more smoothly and inclusively.

– In his view, Designers tend to err on side of over simplicity. Engineers tend to err on side of more functionality.

– The culture sounds exhausting: ‘More than ever our work is never done’.

Excellent stuff, plenty for us to learn from. Have a read of the full post at: Design at Facebook.

Is LEGO the world’s coolest ever toy?


We’re major fans of LEGO here at BBH Labs. In fact, we spend far too much of every day actually playing with it.

This is great. 1500 hours of investment to deliver 3:49 worth of joy for LEGO lovers of all ages. Truly awesome.