Creating simple but memorable branding is difficult. Putting enough style and character into something without it being too precious is a fine line to tread but I think the folks over at Menosunocerouno have done it well with their work for Basanti, a tea brand from Mexico. There’s not much too it, some elegantly written words in chalk on black background, but the gloss of the bags and the matte of the coffee cups make it look quite nice. The effect is also quite nice on the clear cool drink cup with the drink itself acting as the background for the text. Very understated but beautiful at the same time.
This weekend I spent a lot of time listening to the Drifting EP by Mutual Benefit, a spooky and beautiful 4 songs. The closest I can come to a comparison would be The Antlers, but Mutual Benefit is a little more electronic feeling and perhaps a bit less melancholy. I’m currently writing this post on the bus while listening to it and it makes for some great traveling music.
If you only have time for one song be sure to listen to Here, the first song off the EP. If you like everything you hear be sure to download the whole thing for free.
In the same vein as so many of my friends and acquaintances I have a love/hate relationship with Swedish homewares giant IKEA; however, I love everything about their new book of baking recipes, Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best). Styled by Evelina Bratell and photographed by Carl Kleiner, the cookbook’s photography eschews only presenting the finished dish in favour of also capturing the ingredients in artfully arranged still life imagery. It’s a little like deconstructed food photography where intricately displayed piles of sugar, egg yolks and vanilla pods are works of art. As far as I can tell the book is only available in instore in Sweden, but hopefully it will also be released internationally. At least my stomach hopes so.
This week,we’ll be looking at three projects by Toyo Ito. Not in an attempt to span or summarize his impressive and prolific body of work, rather just three great and recent projects. The first project, suggested by Bobby, is the Tama Art University Library.
Completed in 2007, the library is the only place on campus (other than the cafeteria) where the students and faculty across all of the university’s disciplines interact. The most prominent design feature of the project is the irregular series of concrete arches that accomplish a spatial variety without leaving those spaces feeling disconnected or insular. In a superb series of photographs by Iwan Baan, you’ll see the library uses mostly low, curvilinear book shelves that allow visual continuity across the library. But there are moments where the bookshelves bloom into sculpted irregular grids that fill entire archways.
I’m used to libraries feeling like regimented canyons: tall, narrow spaces defined by stacked shelves, but the Tama Art University Library seems more mysterious, like a forest. There are moments in traditional libraries where you can see people on the aisles parallel to yours through the gaps between books. Ito has constructed a space that removes the veil of books that can separate us from each other, and we can simply talk under graceful arcs of concrete.
Maybe we’ll ask where the fire sprinklers and air conditioning are hiding.
This weekend I came across a couple of videos that seemed to have a common bond, that of masters and their crafts. It’s been said that it takes 10 years to master something, be it a language, Photoshop or something random like juggling. The guys above in these videos, Chad Robertson and Peter Welfare, excel in their fields because they’re passionate about what they do.
Mr. Robertson co-owns Tartine, a bakery in San Francisco where he hand makes the bread every day, in fact, the restaurant is now famous because of it. Mr. Welfare on the other hand is the president and head inkmaker at The Printing Ink Company. These are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum yet their both still masters of what they do. They take extreme care in their methods and their craft is more akin to art than labor.
If you have the time watch both of these videos and soak in some inspiration.
Willy Verginer is an Italian artist and a wood working genius. Born in 1957, Mr. Verginer has exhibited his pieces all over the world and in my opinion they’re amazing. It’s incredible to me that he can sculpt such life like figures out of wood but how playful all of them are, with bright splashes of color and the odd placement of his pieces. I’ve never seen anyone create work like this before and I’d love to see these in person.
I’m such a liar; we aren’t even looking at a space suit this week. But what this should really be called sounds dumb: the space suit precursor of patented naval redundancy engineering… of the week. Let’s just call it the Patented Engineering by the Navy Intended for Space (P.E.N.I.S.) of the week.
I’m still a liar. The above suit was never intended for elevations beyond the airspace traversed by high-altitude jets (called uncontrolled airspace at elevations above 60,000 feet), and at such altitudes air is so thin that calling it airspace is really just another lie. The suit above is designed to protect pilots flying around in such an air(less)space. And yet, the suit is redundant by design. The primary means of protection from the dangerously low ambient pressure at 70,000 feet is the pressurized cabin. But things can go wrong, so the protection from decompression is duplicated by means of a pressure suit like the one above.
The idea to engineer “back up plans” into a system is called redundancy. Interestingly enough, in some vital systems aboard the space shuttle, components are not merely duplicated but triplicated. This means that three independent components would have to fail sequentially for the overall system to fail.
What began as a redundant protection for pilots became the basis for the suits worn by astronauts during the Mercury mission and for Gemini mission. It is absolutely insane how quickly the technology that enabled us to fly higher and higher evolved. Just 66 years before Neil Armstrong took a small step, the Wright brothers took a wobbly, but controlled flight across some field in North Carolina. In the six and a half decades between the two events, we learned how to not only travel the nearly 240,000 miles to the moon, but how to leave our biosphere and return safely to it.
And P.E.N.I.S. helped.
P.S. Big thanks to Matt for suggesting this week’s suit! And big thanks to John, a friend who attended the Air Force Academy and helped explain airspace terminology to me. He also reminded me that any airspace above 10,000 feet is dangerous.
If the popular tumblr Dream Cats is anything to go by, feline friends are very à la mode at present. Perusing the work of London-based triple threat photographer, illustrator and graphic design student Boya Latumahina (who works under the pseudonym Zippora Lux), I too started to fall under the kitty spell – even though I am usually a dog person. Joining two of her favourite things – Hubble telescope photographs and cats – Latumahina has brilliantly presented kittens as celestial beings. To my mind, it’s a perfect match: the hypnotising mysticism of the constellations matches the strange beauty of the moggies.
In her final year at Central Saint Martins, Latumahina has plenty of other goodies to check out on her portfolio.