Date Archives October 2010

Justin Lee Williams

This morning, while waiting for the bus, I was absentmindedly flicking through the latest Frankie magazine when I came across the striking image of a mysterious and dashing man sitting in a wild garden. The accompanying print stated that the gentleman in question is Justin Lee Williams and that he is an artist. This, of course, peeked my interest: surely a man this dapper would also produce amazing artworks?

Well, yes…otherwise I wouldn’t be so keen to share them with you. Aiming to capture “moments between time,” the Melbourne-based artist paints scenes that are infused with a haunting sense of ambiguity. There is something about the way he applies paint to canvas that I find really beautiful, especially the drips of bleeding paint and the evocatively smudged details. There is a real tension between light and dark motifs that lends his work a very eerie, and yet engaging, tone. I, for one, could not stop looking at them.


Plug-in City by Peter Cook

After seeing how interiors can change and how buildings can change, we’re going to take the next logical, although meglomanical, step and look a city designed to change: the Plug-In city designed in 1964 by Archigram. The creators of Plug-In City (Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton) define it as follows:

“The Plug-in City is set up by applying a large scale network-structure, containing access ways and essential services, to any terrain. Into this network are placed units which cater for all needs. These units are planned for obsolescence. The units are served and manoeuvred by means of cranes operating from a railway at the apex of the structure.”

Who wouldn’t want to imagine a city that so visibly updates and reshapes itself… but cities are already constantly evolving, just not at the revolutionary rate Archigram would have preferred in 1964. That doesn’t mean the drawings (part of the exhaustive and impressive Archigram Archive Project) and the ideas that informed them are any less fantastic. The idea of prying the grid of a city off of the terrain and shaping this infrastructure into a complex, branching megamatrix is thrilling.

I’m not sure why many futuristic visions have us living away from the ground. Heights are fun, but the ground is where we grow food and where we find the resources that fuel cities. Away from these constraints is the Plug-In City.


Prediction: Youngsters in the Plug-In City will personalize their room units with posters of the ground, a place they have never seen.

Stacks Holiday Preview

The awesome guys at Stacks sent me an email yesterday with a sneak preview of their holiday collection which has six new boards, three by Steven Harrington and three by Jonathan Zawada. I’m sure many of you are familiar with Steven, he’s been featured on the blog a million times and is one of my favorite designer/artists out there, plus he’s a good homie. Jonthan Zawada is lesser known but I’m absolutely loving his designs, which you can see at top. My favorite of the whole collection is the top right board which looks like a liquid metal rainbow melting on a gradient explosion. I was playing around with doing something like this for a redesign of the website so it’s awesome to see that someone else incept-ed that idea. The boards should be coming out in the next couple weeks so grab yourself one.


Church & State

Photo snagged from Gastronomnom

Last night I had dinner at Church & State, a bistro at the southeast end of downtown which is located beneath the Biscuit Company Lofts. I’ve been in the neighborhood before, eating at Royal Claytons or scoping out Secret Service, so I had seen how cool it looked and put it on my list of restaurants to try. When eating out I tend to break my eating experience into two distinct categories, food and service.

Since I began reading Monocle I’ve becoming mildly obsessed with service, though I think I’m rather easy to please. Watch my table but don’t bug me unless you can see I need something, keep my water/drink filled, be polite and act like you give a damn. These are simple things to do in my mind, be there when I need you but otherwise leave me to chat with my boyfriend. I feel like I needed to get that out of the way to say that the food at Church & State was pretty amazing, but the service left a lot to be desired.

Kyle and I ordered the marinated octopus with fingerling potatoes as a starter, and for dinner I had the pork chop with sausage and red cabbage and he had the bouillabaisse. I think the octopus was my favorite, it was rich in flavor and came with two pieces of bread to eat it with. The sauce was made with capers and some other yummies and paired with the potatoes, it was a great way to start the meal. The pork chop ended up coming with a half piece of sausage cut in half and smaller pieces of bacon that made a great compliment with the red cabbage. I’ve never had a pork chop that was cooked so perfectly. Kyle really enjoyed his bouillabaisse, it had two big shrimp, mussels and clams in it. It was too fishy for my taste but he ate the whole thing. They also had fresh baked bread that was perfect and the drinks we had were tasty as well. The food was pretty much amazing.

But unfortunately as I said earlier, the service was severely lacking. When we sat down our server was a French man, who’s nationality I only bring up to try and explain why he was so lacking in any kind of pleasantries. It essentially felt like he walked up to us and asked, “So what do you want?”… I was pretty put off right away. Then there were the little things. He filled up the water glasses of the large table next to us but didn’t bother to turn around and fill ours. They weren’t refilled for about 10 minutes after that, despite the many other bus boys and waiters passing by. We ate all of our bread and a bus boy came around and asked if we’d like more. We said yes, we could have eaten an entire baguette, but he never came back to give us more. We were drinking our yummy cocktails but I finished mine rather quickly, it was the size of a martini. Our waiter never came by to ask if we wanted more, though a random host came by and asked us if we needed another. What’s worse is we eventually had to tell our waiter that the host got us more drinks but he had no idea of that fact. Eventually they came at the end of our meal.

To me, these are all important details, especially because the bill ended up being $125 all said and done. If I were at Red Lobster and had this kind of service, then sure, you get what you pay for. But personally I feel like a restaurant as nice as Church & State should be held to a higher standard. I told Kyle that I wish my tip could have gone to the kitchen staff for making such an amazing meal. If you want a great meal I highly suggest Church & State, but be warned, the service may not be the best.



Conceived and curated by Victoria Hannan, 1010 is a photographic project “devised as an antidote to everything in modern life always having to be bigger, better, louder and brighter than what’s been before.” Showcasing the work of 10 photographers, the project collates 10 photographs from each participant that were taken on 10/10/10. How’s that for perfect symmetry?

Each photographer has offered an intimate glimpse into their day, capturing the beauty of wandering journeys through cities as diverse as New York, London and Tokyo. Although the photographers have explored different places and private experiences, they all display the charming aesthetics of photographic observation and the importance of appreciating simple moments. Follow the link and be inspired.

The featured photographs are by Victoria Hannan, Kris Atomic, Anabela Carneiro and Hilda Grahnat.


Elemental by Alejandro Aravena

Yesterday we saw how the interiors of a Mies van der Rohe project have evolved to reflect the values of the inhabitants. Not exactly groundbreaking since we all modify the space around us to make ourselves more comfortable; even prisoners put up posters. But what if a building were designed to adapt on a larger scale? You’d get something like the Quinta Monroy housing project by Alejandro Aravena.

Folks who live in Elemental Housing start with space enclosed by cinder block and add to that space within exterior voids: half the house is formally arranged (“the difficult parts”) and the second half is left up to the owners. In the photos above, you can see what happens when these voids are filled: the project looses precious distance from humans and takes on the texture and density of vibrant, low-rise housing block. The project is currently on view at MOMA as part of the exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement.


‘Kill Your Co-Workers’ Video by Flying Lotus

I’ve really been enjoying what Flying Lotus has been up to especially his most recent album, Cosmogramma. But recently he also released a new EP titled Pattern+Grid World and now a new video to accompany it for the song Kill Your Co-Workers. The video was put together by Beeple, aka Matt Winkleman, who made a totally weirdo video with a parade and robots that kill people. Totally ridiculous.

On a sidenote, I’m waiting for more mainstream hip hop dudes to start using Flying Lotus’ music as a background to rap over. Just like people started using Dilla’s beats I’m surprised they haven’t realized that these are just as good, just a different style.


‘Spider Heaven’ by Mutual Benefit

The amazing Jordan Lee, who goes by the name of Mutual Benefit, released a new album not too long ago calle Spider Heaven and I’ve had it stuck in my head for the last week or so. You might remember Jordan from the Drifting EP I wrote about several weeks ago which I thought was great, and he’s certainly expanded upon the sounds from that immensely. I’d suggest listening to the second song, Desert Island Feeling, which I’ve been humming all morning after hearing it on an upcoming mixtape I’ll be releasing. Help support a young, talented guy and buy his album digitally or on a limited edition Spider Heaven/Drifting EP cassette.


‘Write About Love’ by Belle & Sebastian

If somehow you’ve beent trapped under a rock you may not have realized that Belle & Sebastian released a new album last week called Write About Love. It’s been 4 years since their last one and honestly, my favorite since 2000’s Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. With their last couple albums it felt like they tried to add a pop sensibility but it mixed oddly with the sad and melancholy sound of previous albums. In my opinion, it just didn’t work. But with this new album it sounds like they’ve actually made a pop album, one which was inspired the sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s. There are guest vocalists like Norah Jones and acctress Carey Mulligan who you might remember from An Education.

The video above is a funny video in which they play a couple of songs, answer some fans questions, talk with other bands about what they think of the music industry and more. If you don’t have time to actually watch it I suggest putting on your headphones and leaving it on in the background.


Less is More

After sitting through years of design reviews, I’ve heard some phrases or words so often that I don’t know what they mean anymore. Among the exhausted words and phrases are things like “interesting,” “flow,” and “less is more.” Mies’ architectural aphorism doesn’t become more clear after it has been subverted by folks like Robert Venturi (Less is a Bore) or Bjarke Ingels (Yes is More). But Lebbeus Woods has rephrased the quote here and added few paragraphs that describe larger, politically-charged goals of modern architects that you may not have considered.

Woods uses photos taken by Corine Vermeulen to illustrate that “less is more” is really an appeal to create spaces that are platforms for personalized interiors instead of cold boxes devoid of personality. The photos were featured in a New York Times story, and it’s amazing to see how less really has allowed for more of a variety in the interiors than the exterior suggests.


Anyone know where I can get those socks?