Friday, April 07, 2000

The Cyber Scene in London ~ by Maggie Rosen

Dynamic Diagrams has Designs on London Dateline- London, March 24, 2000
 Bringing a little Soho (New York) to Soho (London), Dynamic Diagrams
( welcomed a select few to its loft-style office
for an after-hours bash March 24.   Though its HQ’s are in Providence, RI
and Baltimore, MD, d/D’s airy minimalist-yet-friendly London space –
complete with ergonomic office furniture and soothing light projections on
the ceiling – is more Apple-y than Limey.

* Location, Location, Location
Finding themselves at 58-60 Berners Street, WI (long the hotbed of 
London’s advertising and film industries) where a glance at the building
directory revealed that not-too-shabby tenants include international
hotelier-du-moment Ian Schrager (owner of hotel-du-moment St Martins Lane,
London), d/D guests upped the enthusiastic din in hopes of summoning this
potentially Nosy Neighbor. Alas he was out for the evening.

A quick assessment of the crowd on launch night revealed that most of those
taking advantage of the amazing pan-global nibbles -- mushroom gruyère
tartlets, guacamole, lovely salmon fish cakes, and Peking duck, plus
decadent raspberry shortcakes  (from Julia Clancy, of “Food by Julia” fame)
-- were largely friends of fresh-faced d/D London office Senior Analyst
James Wynn.

These included James’s childhood friend Daniel Simon, partner at law firm
Paisner and Co.  and furniture designer Patricia
Adler, who’s about to show her line of modular plastic pieces at the Milan
Furniture Fair  in April ( Also in attendance was
Jerry Lee, director of London-based design and marketing consultancy Art &
Industry ( and Gillian Crampton Smith, director of
the Computer Related Design department at the Royal College of Art.

* Wherefore Art d/D?
James showed off some of the handiwork, which is based on information
design for web sites, user interface, interactive publications, and print
publications for such diverse clients as IBM,
Silicon Graphics, the Musée des arts et métiers and Merrill Lynch.

In short, d/D proves that with the winning combination of
academically-rooted discipline (Rhode Island School of Design, Brown
University) and fine arts talent of founders Paul Kahn and Krzysztof Lenk
(and their international, poly-skilled team), complex data can be beautiful
as well as functional. And they are about to show a slew of UK-based
clients that there is much more to life than the kind of eye-glazing pie
charts, scatter diagrams, Venn diagrams, etc. to which consumers are
routinely subjected.

{As an aside – as evidenced by the company’s screen-savers – d/D employees
are fellow enthusiasts of the Berkeley, CA-based SETI project
( that seeks to harness the collective
information-processing power of the countless PC’s around the world to
accelerate the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. James pointed out
to my horror that due to a glitch of some kind at Ground Control, we all
have been re-calculating the same data. Note to self: find out from Friends
Over There if my trusty laptop SAL is frying her chips in vain, looking for
our Friends Out There}

* En (Her) Garde
As eclectic as d/D’s client base is, its employees are at least as
interesting. Take Emma Hynes, uber-capable office manager -- she is
currently the Australian sabre champion and is competing on the European
circuit. She introduced me to Sara Penal, PhD., who does research for the
New British Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum (

Good thing that revelers stayed even as the lovely elderflower cordials and
wine began to dwindle, or I wouldn’t have run into the red-patent leather
shod sisters Shepherd – Estelle, headhunter for EMEA region of recruitment
agency Drax Dearman Associates ( and Laura, on her way
to Holland to work for publishing powerhouse VNU, as Product Manager for
Yellow Pages.  It will be a treat for the Dutch if Laura and her partner
Rick Collinge can do for Amsterdam what they do for London with the
fantastically informative and quirky ‘what’s-going-on-in-London’ website,
Londondudes (  Don’t leave home without (looking at) 

London corrections
Some London corrections: Creative ownership of the Clerkenwell Social
should be credited not to Nick Denton, as I stated, but to Vic Keegan,
editor of the Guardian's IT section:  the event was Vic's idea and then
executed and now maintained by Guardian Unlimited and
=> The Guardian Unlimited and Moreover do not actually sponsor the event,
but run it - each month the opportunity to sponsor the event is offered to
a different local company (i.e. pay for it in return for credit as a
=> The title of the award Guardian Unlimited won it is "Best Use of New
Media by a Media Owner," not "Best Use of Internet by a Media Group."