We still think this Apple ad is one of the best ads ever, maybe one of the few great meetings of art and commerce.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
"Put blame aside, let humor thrive, and dare to contemplate a larger question: What can America contribute to the world?" Theme of Burning Man
Burning Man 08 is in full swing in the Black Rock desert in Northwestern Nevada. Since its inception in 1986, people continue to meet annually in a celebration of invention, art, design, architecture, fashion, community, environment, social studies, dance, comedy, and joy in the 107 degree heat.
This week 48,000+ people come together to build a city from scratch. Thirty days later the last participants will depart from the site, leaving no trace of their celebration. It is a festival of startling scale and power---a journey of thousands attempting to envision and share utopia. Burning Man is not without controversy, but it is not without deeper meaning and aspiration. Wish we were there!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Fully measuring the effect that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have had on the larger community's sense of the environment and the sheer pleasure of art is like trying to assess the impact of Laurie Anderson on visual and performance arts. The effects have been thoroughly absorbed into the creative culture, as if there was no "Running Fence" installation or "Big Science" album, no beginning point. Fortunately, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) keeps our focus on the work that changed everything.
SAAM has just acquired the most lyical and spectacular of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude's epic projects "Running Fence," Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-1976; a white fabric and steel-pole fence, 24 1/2 miles long and 18 feet high, across the properties of 59 ranchers in Sonoma and Marin Counties north of San Francisco. The “Running Fence” existed for only two weeks; it survives today as a memory and through the artwork and documentation by the artists.
Here is the scoop from ArtDaily.org. Unveiled at the Bi-Centennial of the nation in 1976, it convinced ordinary Americans of the transformative power of art. We will have to wait until April 2010 for the formal exhibition to open. Patience is required.
Monday, August 25, 2008
cause for concern that the vast majority of it completely destroys the old urban
fabric without a trace."
This from the Wiki:
Shanghai is one of the largest urban areas in the world with over 20 million residents and is home to the world's largest port...The city is an emerging tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and Xintiandi, its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower, and its new reputation as a cosmopolitan center of culture and design.Shanghai has been referred to by the press as a "global city" and the "showpiece" of the world's fastest-growing economy. Here is Stefan's point of view in his Flickr slideshow. Check out the bamboo scaffolding!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Johnny Cupcakes has opened his first store in Los Angeles. Mr. Cupcakes had the audacity to cross-ventilate the fashion store with uber-retro diner conceit.
A must-see virtual tour awaits you dear reader. In case you are wondering just who Mr. Cupcakes is, this from the Los Angeles Times:
Started in 2001, clothing line Johnny Cupcakes has quickly grown to become a popular and fashionable clothing line with its bright color tees combined with its iconic baking figures. Providing items from key chains and stickers to T-shirts and underoos, Mr. Cupcakes proves that there is no end to his success. Accordingly, Johnny Cupcakes recently opened a store on Melrose (next to Tarina Tarantino, no less) and customers already can't get enough.Despite the LA Times cheesy cliches, e.g. "no end to his success," " can't get enough," we are contemplating the underoos!
For all the Eames fans out there, here is a stylish Eames-inspired response to a typically cumbersome and unattractive medical device. Designer Johanne M Hawley deserves kudos for re-thinking a prosthetic that tends to look like a runaway industrial elevator part, rather than an integrated, graceful piece of art.
We have read that Charles and Ray Eames actually designed some orthopaedic devices out of plywood. So we looked around. Here is a Flickr photo of one such device that "dbalsuto" took on tour at the Eames studio. Back to the future, again!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
For the world traveling designer, India again holds the Kyoorius Designyatra (yatra means "festival" or "celebration"), September 13 - 15. This year's festival is being held in the amazing city of Goa, India. Goa was settled by the Portuguese and is home to a unique blend of western and India cultures. Guess who's gonna be there...Paula Scher (Pentagram), Karim Rashid, Tyler Brule (Monocle Magazine) to name a few! The closest we can get to it right now is the Facebook page. What a hoot this would be! Nameste, Goa!
Germaine Greer, noted feminist, takes on architects and the eco-movement in a recent Guardian op-ed. We didn't realize she was an architect critic. Bully for her!
If you are thinking eco-house, the Villa Savoye is a better model than a Devon fisherman's cottage. The new eco-houses should be proud to be different. So far, the difference is in hidden extra cost; if less energy was spent on faking sameness, the costs could be kept down. If you are building a house out of hemp and sheep's wool, it is a pointless extravagance to trick it out in stone.The article presents an articulate perspective on the "ditsy" nature of an aspect of the eco-house movement, everywhere.
(Image is from an eco-house community in England. Location unknown.)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We think this video of Louis Kahn's Phillip Exeter Library is a a terrific architectural inspiration. Also, this video of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, winter home and school in the Sonora Desert is a treat, too.
The structures that Shape of America features are chosen through a "conversation" with the web community. Join the conversation.
2008 Royal College of Art, London
TOASTABAG! Say it outloud: Toastabag!
Leave it to the Austrailians. Just when you thought we may have attained the outer reaches of innovation, along comes the Toastabag. We want one! Slap your bread, cheese, ham together, slide it into the Toastabag and produce your own croque-monsieur, madame or madmoiselle.
It's a guess that a drunken chef came up with this idea. We're not sure what it has to do with our blog, but we couldn't resist fitting it in. If you link to the Toastabag page, you will see other innovations, including tattoos for your toast. Who can resist?!
Monday, August 11, 2008
We want to post the lists DesignSponge offered of fleamarkets along the east coast. Because everyone is out there traveling, we thought we would help direct you to the best recycling options. These are offered by the DesignSponge mavens, or is it divas? Absorb.
(The lists include: connecticut, new york, vermont, new hampshire, rhode island. maine and massachusetts. Yeah, Baltimore is not on the list, yet. Does anyone know a great flea market in Baltimore? I would be happy to forward them to DesignSponge for their, possible, future reference.)
We thought this photo offered some happy insights into the progress of cities. Boston's Big Dig was a massively expensive urban engineering project that put Boston's Central Artery underground, freeing up space on the earth's surface for parks and businesses. The photo above provides the astonishing images of the effect to the city scape that was achieved by putting the artery underground.
It is heartening to see that such salutary effects can be achieved when cities dare impossible feats for the preservation civil life. Although the project met ridicule and falling public support (not to mention falling ceiling tiles) the long term beneficial results seem worth the short term suffering.
The New York Times has posted a wonderful interactive map of Beijing Olympics 2008. For all of us who may be riveted by the event this summer, here is a way to get a larger sense of the space in which the events are taking place. If you click on the "New Architecture" option, you can hear Nicolai Ousoussoff, the NYT architecture critic, provide insights into various structures, along with an image slide show. Very nice.
We have to say, of all the daily newspapers, it seems to us that the NYT has been the most successful in using its online media in a very graphically sophisticated and fulsome manner. Yum.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
(click for beautiful larger image)
We hope your summer is going beautifully.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Nickel plated metal, black bakelite
220-240 Volts/500 Watts
...build a scale model of Shanghai in the year 2020?
NeatoRama provides some photos and some insight into this 1,000sf, gargantuan project. Even if we were to disregard the Beijing Olympic 2008 marvels, the Chinese seem to revolutionize the architectural world in new ways everyday.