Date Archives August 2010

The Apple Pan, Old School Burgers Done Right

If you happen to follow my Twitter you know I like to eat a lot. I’d never use the word foodie but I definitely have a taste for the finer side of cuisine. That shouldn’t necessarily be interpreted as fancy or expensive, I just like unique dining experiences. So a couple of months back I paid a visit to The Apple Pan, one of Los Angeles most famous burger joints, and took some photos and ate some delicious food.

To start, the place is extremely simple. It’s a long, U-shaped counter surrounding two grills, basically. The menu itself is just as simple, featuring around a dozen food items and an arrangement of beverages (you can see a peak of the menu at the unofficial Apple Pan website). As you can see from the menu they haven’t changed much since they opened in 1947. When I went I had the Steakburger with melted Tilamook cheese, wanting to stick with the classic. I also had an order of french fries and a heaping of ketchup. As expected everything was delicious, and Im pretty sure I scarfed it down in record time.

To finish things off I had a slice of apple pie and a cup of coffee. I can’t imagine a more perfect to be honest, and it was delicious. The apples were juicy and the crust was crisp but not overdone. You’re probably drooling over your keyboard at this point. If you’re in Los Angeles or plan on visiting it’d be worth your time to visit and grab a bite.


Svalbard Science Centre 78°north

First they created a giant seed vault to catalog and protect samples of basically every major plant seed in the world, and now they’ve got a science center that matches and surpasses the aforementioned seed vault. This is the Svalbard Science Centre which contains a university, a research center and museum… and happens to be on a remote island in the middle of the Arctic. I think it’s amazing that they can create such beautiful, far off locations. But I’m sure the people who do work there are quite excited to not have a tiny, depressing office in the middle of nowhere to work in.

Via Architonic


James Ward

British illustrator James Ward utilises his interest in natural history and narrative as a starting point for creating his artworks that often involve anthromorphising animal subjects. Transposing his illustrations onto a variety of different surfaces – including ceramics and paper – Ward has certainly tapped into a hidden animal subjectivity. My favourite works are his hand drawn side plates in which he employs his detailed and life-life illustration style to draw attention to the plight of wolves who just want a wee peck at a biscuit, cake-loving reindeer and sandwich-obsessed bears and mice. So next time you’re having a picnic in the woods spare a thought for the woodlands creatures hankering for a hit of sugar. When they come running up to you, foaming at the mouth with a crazed look in their eyes, just remember: they’re not after you – just what’s in your picnic basket.

A selection of Ward’s prints and crockery are available for purchase through his online shop.


2345 MLK by Höweler + Yoon

Last spring, I went to an Eric Owen Moss lecture that began with a proclamation: Architecture needs an adversary. It was as if the economy stopped existing along with other things familiar to architects– things like gravity and rain. Maybe EOM could find an adversary in the Washington D.C. neighborhood Anacostia.

Less than five months separate the above two images.  But the process of completing a shiny, new building near the intersection of MLK and Talbert Street has taken much longer. Höwler + Yoon designed the project way back in 2005, but the project was delayed by developers, public review and approval processes not to mention… what’s that?  the economy? When Eric Höweler started posting photos of the construction this past winter, there was excitement in the neighborhood to see the building take shape. Of course, the shape had changed since the initial designs back in 2005: a floor and a half were trimmed off the top and the program was scaled down. As as the project neared completion, the neighborhood turned on the project, comparing it unfavorably to a FEMA trailer and poop.

I think the project is fantastic. You can see intersecting volumes similar to the initial design as well as expression of different programs: commercial wrapped in cement board and residential wrapped in corrugated aluminum. It may not match its neighbor, but its neighbor is a Fish House described on yelp as “one of the few places to get non-Chinese carry out in Anacostia.” Even if you’re not crazy about the look of the building, doesn’t a neighborhood benefit from a diversity of not only ideas and people, but also a diversity in the built environment?


Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, & Pomplamoose VideoSong

Take one part rock music legend, one part writer extraordinaire and two parts talented internet sweethearts and what do you get? One amazing song featuring Ben Folds, author Nick Hornby and those adorable Pomplamoose kids collaborating in a song called The Things You Think. Not only is the song catchy, but Nick Hornsby’s spoken word parts are rather deep.

The video was created for Ben Folds upcoming album Lonely Avenue which features lyrics written by Nick Hornby and music written by Ben Folds. I’m so excited to hear the rest of this album, it’s such a great track. I’ve been a Ben Folds/Five fan since the late 90’s, I think he’s such an amazing guy. Adding to it is the genius of Nick Hornsby, who is in my opinion one of the funniest and most creative authors around today. So excited.


Arcade Fire’s ‘We Used To Wait’ Interactive HTML 5 Video

Arcade Fire have yet again kept up with having the most innovative videos out there (suck it OK Go) and there latest creation for their song We Used To Wait is no exception. The video was created by Chris Milk along with the folks over at Google’s Chrome Experiments department and fully utilizes the browser as a portal for the video.

The first thing they ask is for you to “enter the address of the home you grew up in” and then begins to build a custom experience for you. The video starts in one pop-up, then adds another and another, layering the videos in time to the music. Then you start seeing your home in Google Street View, and then you see a satellite shot of your neighborhood… it’s pretty crazy but fun at the same time. I also drew the heart you see above, in case you go looking for it while watching the video and don’t see it.

To try it out for yourself click here. To see some behind the scenes stuff from the Chrom Experiments team click here.


St. Catherine’s Home for Lazy Infants

<a href="">Tangled Hair by St. Catherine’s Home for Lazy Infants</a>

Over the weekend my buddy Phillip tweeted about this ambient band called St. Catherine’s Home for Lazy Infants, which is in fact an Irishman that goes by the name Alex Synge. It’s perfect working music, as most ambient music is, with lots of acoustic guitar and droning sounds that are like a simplified Explosions in the Sky, but y’know, without the loud parts.

The preview above is for his album Old Ghosts which has 9 songs on it and is only €5, which is roughly $6.43 for us Americans. To sweeten the deal even more you can get it for 20% off by using the coupon code “LAZY”. Take a listen to the tracks above and if you enjoy what you hear be sure to buy it and support this guy.


Rendezvous in Wrongtown

The word “home” is generally associated with ideas of shelter, protection, nurture and comfort, but what happens when you allow a mix of artists, collectives and curators unlimited access to a one million dollar domestic space? What I imagine to be a once homely and cosy area has been deconstructed, dismantled and transformed into a site of the uncanny. For the one day exhibition, Rendezvous in Wrongtown, a Melbourne home was given a massive overhaul to become a multifaceted art installation.With a girl lurking underneath the ripped floorboards courtesy of Urban Village Melbourne (yes, she’s real – not a mannequin!), a walk in wardrobe overflowing with sticky foodstuffs created by the Hotham Street Ladies and a kitchen that has been reconstructed as a sinkhole by Andy Hutson, the exhibition appears to have offered a strangely beautiful experience with dark undercurrents of creepiness – and that is only a small snapshot of the home’s surreal makeover.

This video, courtesy of the ABC’s Art Nation program, provides a view into the exhibition’s homage to the unhomely by uncovering the artistically renovated nooks and crannies of the house. Personally, I think this is one of the most exciting and evocatively creative art projects I have seen in a long time.


Two Seasons Hotel by JDS Architects

Earlier this month, the Two Seasons Hotel in Stavanger, Norway opened to the public.  Designed by Julien DeSmedt Architects, the “6 floor hotel was built on top of a 5 floor existing parking garage giving an extra challenge to the structure. Here, 194 hotel rooms float in a ribbon configuration around an inner courtyard. The hotel rooms have been lifted from the street to secure privacy and a quiet environment for the guests, and to activate the ground floor with a bar, lounge, restaurant and lobby. On top there is a green roof including a roof terrace with a beautiful view over Stavanger city and the harbour.”

Full disclosure: I worked for JDS in 2007, and I am excited whenever I see that the firm has either won a competition or completed a project. Over the past three years, JDS has managed to expand from Copenhagen to Oslo and Brussels in spite of an unfavorable building economy. Although smaller, and less formally flamboyant than the pending Holmenkollen Ski Jump, projects like the Two Seasons seem reassuring in an economy that makes projects scarce. But the Ski Jump does have  something the Two Seasons doesn’t: a flash game where you can virtually jump.


Space Suit of the Week

‘Sup nerds? Check your adult diapers, because this week we’re having a Space Suit underpants party. No, we won’t be moonwalkin’ in our skivvies, but we’ll take a look at how fancy long underwear keeps Spacefolk from suffering thermal extremes that would otherwise freeze and scorch them. Earlier, I commented that “the technical requirements of space suits are tremendous. In the vacuum of space, these suits recreate the protection that our entire biosphere offers, only these suits compress that protection” to about the thickness of a halloween costume. Maintaining a safe body temperature is one of the technical requirements any viable space suit must satisfy.

The average temperature in space is about three degrees above absolute zero, but when you get close to cosmic hairdryers, like our sun, it can get balmy.  How balmy? Well, take what the weather is like on earth’s moon: -240 degrees in the shade and 230 degrees in the sun. Half of your flesh is toasty while the other half is frigid. (This ignores what would happen to your body as a result of the lack of pressure. hint: water on your tongue and eyeballs boils).

A sight for sore eyes is the Liquid Cooling Garment, or LCG, which circulates water around small polyvinyl chloride tubes embedded in long, spandex underwear to conduct heat away from the astronaut’s body.  See them?  (Those aren’t pee tubes! In fact, astronauts wear superabsorbant diapers on space walks, although that hasn’t always been the case.) The water is re-cooled via a heat pump and re-circulated to keep the astronaut’s body temperature from rising as body heat accumulates inside the space suit.

That’s why you can’t really dress like an astronaut for halloween without a diaper.

I guess the hood is optional.