The future of construction equipment

The term "industrial design" is something I never thought much about until the summer of 2009. That's when I attended the graduation ceremonies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and listened to a few highly influential commencement speakers including Renzo Piano -- the Italian architect who designed the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. The speaker who captured my interest the most, however, was industrial designer Charles A. Harrison II. Mr. Harrison designed lawn mowers, sewing machines and garbage cans during his career at Sears, Roebuck and Company. He also redesigned the View-Master -- the childhood toy EVERYONE has fond memories of. Having a hand in the View-Master is pretty cool. But it's easy to skim over the importance of lawn mowers and garbage cans and how Mr. Harrison's visions touch people's lives. One image from a slideshow of Mr. Harrison's designs that really stuck out for me was a photo of a Sears-brand riding lawnmower. I could instantly see my grandpa riding that mower on a cool summer evening. And maybe my sewing machine and garbage can were designed by Mr. Harrison, or derived from one of his designs. It's fascinating to think about an industrial designer's ability to make everyday, utilitarian tools look good. All these thoughts I had after hearing Mr. Harrison speak in May came rushing back to me when I saw the press release announcing Doosan Infracore's Best of the Best Award at the 2009 RedDot Design Award Show for the futuristic concept excavator "CX." Looking at the image gives you a sneak peek at the future -- an idea of what your construction site might look like in 10 or 20 years. And it feels good to know there are talented people out there designing our everyday tools with a little inspiration and style.