While I was a Freshman in architecture school, a helpful professor told me “you’ll never be able to draw as well as I can.” Um… thanks? What he was saying, in the most domineering way, was that I would never be able to rely on my hands the same way he could rely on his to communicate architectural ideas via manual drawings. And he was right. Manual drawings are not necessarily superior to digital drawings, but they require skills that are pushed to the brink of extinction by digital tools. These manual drawings by Jørn Utzon investigate the design of the Sydney Opera House, but don’t offer hints about the events surrounding the project’s construction.
The story of Utzon winning the design competition reads like a dream, but the politics that mired the realization of the project sound like hell on earth. The government insisted that construction begin before Utzon had finished designing the project. The government also wanted to add two theaters to the program, after construction began and Utzon was still figuring out how exactly to construct the project’s iconic shells. Finally a new premier was elected who simply quit paying Utzon. He resigned the project in 1966, and the project opened seven years later without mentioning Utzon’s name once during the ceremonies. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that Utzon reconciled with the Sydney Opera House Trust.
But before the fallout, there were these drawings propelling the design and construction forward. While the Sydney Opera House was one of the first buildings to utilize a computer for structural analysis purposes, the computer wasn’t trying to snatch the drawings out of Utzon’s hands. Instead, the greedy hands belonged to a newly-elected premier.
With the easy accessibility of DSLR cameras, everyone – and their grandmother – is a photographer these days. That being said, I doubt that most people would be able to achieve the incredible effects of Caleb Charland’s work. Taking the banal confines of domestic space as his starting point, he infuses his compositions with a sense of magic and enchantment. Specifically Charland aims to “utilize everyday objects and fundamental forces to elaborate upon experiences of wonder…a state of mind somewhere between knowledge and certainty.”
His photographs certainly capture an atmosphere of the uncanny, playing with light and shadow and creating unexpected apparitions. The fact that he does not employ any digital techniques to manipulate his imagery seems to suggest that Charland is not only an amazing photography, but also a bit of a magician.
A few months ago I was wondering around the amazing Monsieur Marcels, a gourmet market here in Los Angeles with a ton of delectable goodies. While browsing I came across the amazing chocolate you see above called TCHO, a San Francisco based company that’s making an art out of chocolate. The company is made up of around two dozen people who have a love for chocolate, though clearly they have an equal love for design.
A lot of people suggest that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I absolutely judged this chocolate by it’s packaging. The amazing combination of brown with the gold swirls, which remind me of the guilloché you find on money, would grab your attention from across the room as far as I’m concerned. As for the chocolate itself it was absolutely delicious, though I doubt I could tell you the difference between brands.
It’s also of note that TCHO seems to have a chocolate tasting storefront somewhere along the pier in San Francisco. While I was visiting San Francisco a few weeks ago Kyle and I walked by it but decided not to stop by. Has anyone else been there for a tasting?
I love when I come across new artists really randomly. In this case Mr. Matt Taylor retweeted something I had written on Twitter. His user icon was pretty rad looking, so of course I did some investigating and sure enough he’s a pretty rad illustrator. Matt lives in Brighton, England is inspired by “comic books, faded Americana, found photos, wildlife, wild music, National Geographic magazine, Jack Kirby and artists too numerous to mention.”
What I love about Matt’s style is how it’s simple, bold and extremely graphic. In many pieces, like those seen above, he uses a minimal amount of colors but he’s still able to pull off an incredibly dynamic feeling by using them in just the right places like in the rim of the bikes or the feathers in the girl’s headdress. But don’t be fooled, a lot of his pieces are much more colorful and detailed than these, such as this piece he did for Computer Arts Projects, which is so frigging detailed and the colors are brilliant.
Be sure to check out the rest of his work and if you’re so inclined, his shop where he stocks a number of posters. He also has a Flickr with more detailed looks at his work and a Twitter if you’re of the tweeting variety.
Young Montana? is a musician/producer out of the UK who’s making some pretty rad sounds that remind me a lot of J Dilla. In the mix above which he did for BTS Radio he combines all kinds of old soul, jazz and who knows what to create something that’s both a little edgy and experimental but backed by a continually great beat. It’s awesome that he’s only 19 and able to create the sounds he does, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to do what he does. Sit back and listen to the good tunes, it’s been getting me through the day. If you’d like to download the mix be sure to click here.
For whatever reason I’ve had Monsters of Folk stuck in my head lately. I haven’t really listened to their album for a few months now but it’s definitely one of my favorites of the year. The one song in particular that I’ve been humming is The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me which on the album is sung primarily by M. Ward with backing vocals by Jim James. In the video above is an alternate, sorta’ live version where M. Ward and Mr. James split vocal duties. It’s an equally beautiful version that’s worth your time, in my opinion.
The first time I heard of Ball-Nogues Studio, it was as they completed Liquid Sky an installation in the courtyard of P.S.1 in New York. What I didn’t know at the time, was that the budget didn’t afford the LA-based partnership the luxury of staying somewhere other than the courtyard. So over the four months it took to install the work, they camped out in tents. Nogues laughs as he recalls: “I even burned wood to keep warm. I felt like a bum.” Ball has a different take: “It was a shanty.” That was three years ago.
Week before last, the pair’s latest work opened to the public: Gravity’s Loom. Continuing their series of Suspensions in an unlikely place: Indiana. Gravity’s Loom fills the entrance to The Indianapolis Museum of Art and creates a geometry that appears more complex than previous suspensions. To realize such complexity, the firm takes advantage of custom designed software and machinery that translates computer models into precisely cut, colored and labeled spools of string. More accurately described as a collection of catenaries (the shape a string makes when suspended at two ends and pulled by gravity), Ball-Nogues has developed a different relationship with gravity than most architects. As the title of their latest installation suggests, they are approaching precise manufacture of spatial experiences reliant on phenomenal abeyance.
Hopefully they didn’t stay in tents over the course of its installation.