Date Archives October 2010

Richard Chai + Snarkitecture Pop-Up Shop

Pop-up shops are one of those rare spaces that can be whatever it wants wherever it wants. It’s a temporary place whose goal is to excite and dazzle people for a short amount of time and can then bi whisked away at a moments notice. For example the space above created by Snarkitechture for Richard Chai. The shop, which is nestled underneath the High Line, was made “to create an experience rather than create a store”, a feat I’m quite certain they accomplished. The entire space was carved from a truckload of styrofoam offsite and then brought into the space and fitted and customized as needed. The space personally reminds me of the ice cave from Fight Club, minus the penguin asking you to “Slide!”

Update: Dwell has some more nice looking photos of the outside as well.

Found through Fast Co. Design


Wall Painting by Supakitch and Koralie

The extremely talented Elroy released the amazing video above about a month ago featuring artists Supakitch and Koralie creating one the most beautiful mural I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure how long this took but it’s amazing how much time, effort, sweat and blood these two put into this mural. As I watched I kept wondering when they were going to finish, but they kept adding on more and more, making the mural larger and more complex as they went. Anyone know where this mural is located? It looks like it’s inside somewhere, it would be a shame if it was every painted over, though I’m glad it’s been fully documented at the very least. Yet again a big thanks to Rikke Luna for the suggestion!



Australian artist and tee designer Luke Chiswell, who works under the pseudonym Luuk, is a rather enigmatic character. With very little information available concerning his background and artistic approach, he allows his work to speak for itself. Clean lines, simple black and white and minimalist forms dominate his imagery. With Halloween just around the corner I thought it most appropriate to share his ghost tee (my personal fave) and his mummy tee. Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Australia so I may just have to get myself a tee as a treat. I’ll leave the costume dress-ups to the real kids.


Digital Tea House by GSAAP + UDTA

Just over a month ago, the architecture blogosphere saw an awful lot of Sukkahs thanks to an article in the New York Times. This week, we’ll look at other examples of wooden, ephemeral structures starting with the work of an architecture studio sponsored by Columbia’s GSAPP and UDTA in Tokyo. This past August, the studio designed and built three unusual and distinct tea houses using Grasshopper, an algorithm editor for Rhinoceros. But why? The GSAAP explains the studio as follows:

“The notion of learning via the body parallels the regimented practice of the Japanese Tea Ceremony called Sado. The ceremony or “the path of the tea,” is reflected in the tectonics of the spaces where it is performed, yet the practice of architecture has become digitized, often leaving behind this personal connection one might have to materiality. We seek to use act of constructing to allow the body to be the medium of learning, applying learned physical actions to intelligent digital techniques.”

Not to be nit-picky because I think the pavilions are great, but about the premise: how does using an algorithm editor (scripting) “allow the body to be the medium of learning[?]” Yes, the projects relate to the body, but completely abstracting the physical ritual associated with Sado to a series of mathematical, computer-driven operations doesn’t somehow impart kinesthetic knowledge. But I think it’s just a fancy way of saying ‘we building these for real, y’all!’ And I’m glad they did.


PS: the photos are from one of the studio’s participants, Michael Walch, who documented the progress of the studio on his blog. (personal highlight: model photos)

Kyle Poff

I came across the work of Kyle Poff, a Chicago based designer who’s doing some really great work with branding and identity. My favorite piece of hi works is the COOKIEBAR logo at top with it’s criss crossed lines cutting through the name. The lines really have nothing to do with the brand or their products but in my mind they’re perfectly placed. He uses a lot of geometric shapes in his logos which I feel is a really smart move because they feel timeless and don’t really follow any trends.


Space Suit of the Week

It’s not exactly a space suit, per se… but this Metal Diving Suit from 1938 addresses the issues that space suits do; things like pressure, movement, and how to do stuff outside the suit.  I still haven’t come across any space suits with a claw and a pulley (?!) for hands, but I’ll keep searching. From the source, a description:

“FITTED with ball bearing knuckle joints, which provide mobility for the wearer, a new all-metal diving suit is said to enable a diver to descend to a depth of 1,200 feet. The suit eliminates the need for air lines, having a specially designed built-in air tank. Hand-operated grappling irons are a feature of the suit.”

Also, I wanted to bring your attention to a contest hosted by NASA and Etsy: if you make the best art (in one of three categories,) you could “receive a $500 Etsy shopping spree and an all-expenses-paid trip with a guest to attend the shuttle launch.” As in, the last shuttle launch. This is a crazy exciting contest, and I sincerely hope a reader will enter and win one of the prizes.  You can do it!


Love Land Invaders

I can’t help but imagine that if Richard Kern and Takashi Murakami had a love child it would look something like the characters in Ralph Lagoi and Kate Lace’s Love Land Invaders project. Set in Tokyo’s hyper-kitsch and fantastical love hotels, Lagoi and Lace have used the crazy environment as a springboard to explore an aesthetic that they refer to as “luxurious pop.”

Not only conceptualising the project, Lagoi and Lace also designed, styled, undertook the art direction, modelling and photography of Love Land Invaders. The effect is a pop-tinged play on kabuki that uses colour, sculptural elements and setting to create an otherwordly space. I could imagine Lady Gaga feeling quite at home in this avant-garde imagery, which plays with perversion, sensuality and abstractness.


‘Vertigo’ by Alfred Hitchcock

I find it fascinating to discover what films people can remember watching as children. In general, my childhood film festival was filled with predictable fare, such as Mary Poppins (1964), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Grease (1978) and Ghostbusters (1984), but there was also the rather incongruous presence of Alfred Hitchcock’s films in this mix. Even before I had reached double digits my mother had taken it upon herself to sit me down in front of many of Hitchcock’s greatest films. Although she is not particularly interested in cinema from an auteur perspective, my mother was – and still is – a die-hard Hitchcock fan. Because of this I had watched The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) even before I could really understand what it was that he knew. When I was in my late teens I revisited many of Hitchcock’s films with the capacity to truly appreciate them – something I sorely lacked upon my first viewing. The one film that I tend to return to is Vertigo (1958).

…with the help of television, murder should be brought into the home where it rightly belongs.

-Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s films are recognisable for a number of recurring motifs: his penchant for drop dead gorgeous blondes, the insertion of his own walk-on cameos, his precise framing, murder scenes and the theme of obsession. Undoubtedly what his films are most renowned for is his considered play on the slow burn of suspense. As Hitchcock commented, “I relish a story that is so full of suspense that the audience is clutching at chair arms…None of this quick, smashing excitement that lasts about ten seconds – a good six or seven reels of worry is what I aim for.”

Split into two parts, Vertigo begins from the perspective of detective John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson (James Stewart). Suffering from severe vertigo he retires, but later agrees to follow the wife (Kim Novak) of an old college friend (Gavin Elster, played by Tom Helmore) after Elster reveals that he believes that his wife is possessed by the spirit of her dead grandmother (who had previously committed suicide). What unfolds is a narrative of duplicity, betrayal, desire, anxiety and neurosis bordering on insanity, which is later told from the reverse point of view.

Visually, the film stands out in terms of its complex and symbolic palette. Harsh reds and greens are invoked at various intervals to increase the sense of atmospheric unease. There is something quite sickly and unnatural about the use of colour that constantly calls into question perception and the act of looking. Hitchcock takes the idea of doubles and deception to the extreme by utilising mirrors as blocking devices that further call into question what it is both the characters and the viewer are observing. Vertigo is also the film that established the filmic vocabulary for simulating the sensation of falling. By focusing on a fixed point the camera is pulled back while simultaneously zooming in to produce a disorientating effect. The shot that uses this technique at the beginning of the film, where Scottie looks down while hanging from a tin roof, sets the tone for the rest of the film. The anticipated feeling of free falling is woven into Vertigo as a whole, setting in motion a film that is arrestingly tense and constantly teetering on the verge of plummeting into a complex emotional abyss. Do watch this film if you haven’t already. It is truly a classic in every sense of the word.