Date Archives March 2011

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene: ‘Feel Good Lost’ by Peter Ryan

Peter Ryan

Our first wallpaper in this new Sights & Sounds series with Broken Social Scene comes from Peter Ryan for the album Feel Good Lost. Peter’s an awesome illustrator who’s work has a great feeling of being both classic and contemporary at the same time. He also uses a ton of color which is something I personally enjoy.

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I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC by Broken Social Scene From Feel Good Lost

Amazingly, Feel Good Lost come out just a little over 10 YEARS AGO, which sounds insane and impossible, back in March of 2001. It was mainly recorded by the founding members of Broken Social Scene, Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew with the help of Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Bill Priddle, Leslie Feist, Jessica Moss and Stars’ Evan Cranley. It’s basically an instrumental album, which they found was a bit boring when they played live. So they got even more friends from the Toronto music scene to help them out on later albums to expand their sound.

Here’s how Peter explains his wallpaper for the album:

“Well, I rarely leave the world of editorial illustration, so self directed work can be quite intimidating. (particularly when interpretation is required!!) “Feel Good Lost” has very little in the way of lyrics – really, its an instrumental album for the most part. So, with my initial avenue of inspiration unavailable (lyrics) i listened to the album, again and again. At first the music made me feel down. lonely even. My fault for listening to it late at night in the month of December – but for a while i was left feeling as cold and dark as the weather, every time i put it on. This offered the image of a lone tree in snow. It wasnt till i began to further understand the album after many more listens that I started leaving it feeling hopeful and refreshed. There is so much activity in the songs. so much life. I thought for a while about exotic birds sitting in a barren tree – and that was close, but i didnt want to go overboard with hope – the dark elements still needed to dominate. after some sketching around i decided that birds resting on the limbs of the shadow of the tree was perfect. Bleak, but with an unexpected magic.”

A big thanks to Peter for a beautiful wallpaper and the Doublenaut bros for getting him to join. Check back next week for my personal favorite Broken Social Scene album, You Forgot It In People.


Pretty Little Thieves

pretty little thieves 1

pretty little thieves 2

pretty little thieves 3

Los Angeles-based illustrator Nancy Mungcal, or Pretty Little Thieves as she is commonly known in artistic circles, creates drawings and paintings that are reminiscent of dreamy high school doodles. Perhaps I am making this association due to her proclivity for using graph paper – which is commonly employed in maths books – as a canvas? Graph paper aside, it is the intricately compulsive patterns and the unimpressed, seemingly disillusioned feminine characters that evoke something of the mood of high school. Or at least high school as I remember it. I just wish that it had been tinged with Mungcal’s multi-coloured palette.

You can purchase prints and other miscellany designed by Mungcal via her etsy store and check up on her daily inspirations and observation through her blog.


Amanda Levete wins V&A Extension

Amanda Levete's V&A Extension

Amanda Levete's V&A Extension

It was overshadowed by the Pritzker announcement, but the Victoria & Albert Museum announced Monday that Amanda Levete has won the competition to create a new courtyard and gallery space for the museum along Exhibition Road in London. Levete formerly was a partner with Jan Kaplický in Future Systems, and her firm, AL_A, was one of seven shortlisted for the award after 110 firms expressed interest in the commission. “Ever since I became an architect I’ve dreamed of working on a project like this that has huge and cultural and public significance” Levete said, “and the V&A has a particular meaning for me in any case because it’s the home of art and architecture so it doesn’t really get much better than that.”

14 years ago, Daniel Libeskind was probably thinking happy thoughts about V&A after his extension for the museum (on the same site) was announced. Over the course of seven years, politics strangled Daniel Libeskind’s then-winning design. Levete said in an interview it was a “great building in the wrong place.” Not too surprisingly, her firm’s now-winning proposal shares almost nothing in common with the “downward spiral.” For starters, the AL_A scheme is mostly underground. But more importantly, Levete’s proposal will be built.


Watch the video.

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene

Sights & Sound Presents Broken Social Scene

Photo thanks to Edite Filipe

Well, well, well… it’s time yet again for another Sights & Sounds wallpaper series. This here series happens to be a short one, only because the focus of this series, Broken Social Scene, only has four albums. I’ve been a BSS fan for I don’t know how long, though I remember my friend Andrew giving me all of their albums over iChat probably, oh I don’t know, 5 years ago now. What’s amazing to me is that they started out as this nearly minimal techno band but grew into this multi-member group filled with so many talented people. You’ve got Feist, Stars, Metric, Kevin Drew, Jason Collett, The Weakerthans and more, all coming out of one collective. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.

The force behind this new Sights & Sounds wallpapers are the guys from Doublenaut, Andrew and Matt McCracken. I had come across them through Twitter and after looking though their portfolio I knew they’d be a great team to work with. As you may or may not know, Broken Social Scene started out in Toronto, and that’s where Doublenaut are located as well. they’ve gathered together their creative friends to create some awesome wallpapers, and that’s what you’re gonna get.

Tomorrow wer’re starting with Feel Good Lost by… someone awesome. You’ll find out later today, but for now it’s a bit of surprise. Nonetheless it’s worth mentioning that they’ve done a splendid job of interpreting the album and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Check in later today to see what greatness we’ll be up to, and a big thanks to the Doublenaut bros for doing such a great job organizing this.


Fanmade Video for ‘Wolfboy’ by Seabear

Fanmade Video for 'Wolfboy' by Seabear

Fanmade Video for 'Wolfboy' by Seabear

Randomly enough I was searching for the song Wolfboy by the band import/export and I’m 99% sure it’s a fanmade video, but there’s something so fun and random about this video that I had to post it. import/export is run by jamie hoff and d.c. joseph, so I guess they’re the masterminds behind this beautiful randomness. I personally love this song and seeing their video made me love it even more. I love all the random costumes and different characters they created as well as the editing and the cinematography of the video. Overall it’s really positive and fun, and that’s what important to me at the moment. I hope you enjoy it as well.


Free Inspiration: Interview with Michael Wolff of Wolff Olins

Interview with Michael Wolff of Wolff Olins

Interview with Michael Wolff of Wolff Olins

Curiosity and appreciation, these are the things that MIchael Wolff (one half the founders of design firm Wolff Olins) sees as his biggest strengths. This interview just released gives you all the secrets you’ll ever need to be a good designer. I felt like what he was saying was so true in my own life, that having an intense passion for learning and paying attention to what’s going on around you is the way to succeed. He makes it all sound so simple, but I think that what he says couldn’t be more correct. I love his metaphor, that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, it’s a dinner, but it’s only through the parts that the whole gets delivered.

Stop what you’re doing and watch this over and over.


And the Pritzker goes to Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura

Yesterday, Thomas J. Pritzker announced the 2011 recipient of the Pritzker Prize: Eduardo Souto de Moura, a Portuguese architect who worked for and with the only other Pritzker laureate from Portugal, Alvaro Siza. I’ve been reading the announcements of his selection and below is an excerpt from the official press release, along with a few thoughts.

“During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. […] His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy —at the same time.”

Souto de Moura deserves praise, but what surprises me about this specific praise is its lack of specificity. You could cut-and-paste many other names in place of his and the quote would still be true: it’s like the jury was writing a letter of recommendation for Souto de Moura and recycling verbiage from the letter they wrote from Peter Zumthor, Sverre Fehn, Paulo Mendes de Rocha, or Alvaro Siza. Instead of a glossy press release, I’d rather see a transcript of the meeting where the jury sparred over who to select for the prize. Who made the strongest argument for Souto de Moura and who argued that the prize should go to someone else? Someone like Steven Holl, who is now officially (by the powers invested in me since you’re reading this), officially going to have to change his name to Steven Lucci.

This is where I have to mention that Souta de Moura is not particularly well-known outside of architecture circles. I have to mention it because almost everywhere else (LA Times, NY Times, World Architecture News, etc) has mentioned it. But he is known and well-respected among architects for good reason. A few places have read into Souto de Moura’s selection as a deliberate shift away from so-called “starchitects.” This is iffy, not only because, as Christopher Hawthorne points out in the great LA Times article, the jury for the prize can be unstable, but also because it precipitates two pretty pessimistic assumptions: (1) That the jury is more interested in sending a message to the profession than it is interested in examining evidence from the profession; (2) That something is wrong with architects who gain recognition for their work. It’s as if Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry (all Pritzker winners) have spent careers making meaningful contributions to architecture but we still reserve a special mistrust because of their successes. I tend to doubt that the jury is trying to prod professionals away from the center and toward the middle.

By his selection for the prize, Souto de Moura is now receiving more recognition than he ever has. That might not make him a celebrity, but it’s likely that (and I hope) he will enjoy a future with important and relevant commissions. Whether these commissions gain importance by their scale, the institutions they house, or his involvement with them will determine how we describe Souto de Moura as he joins a universe of architecture luminaries. No, he’s not a starchitect, but thanks to the jury he’s shining a little brighter.


Editor’s Note: TFIB reader David Renó pointed out this great video walk through of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego in Cascais, Portugal. It’s nice to get a sense of the space through video.


The Photos of Annie Collinge

Annie Collinge

Annie Collinge

I got an email last week from Annie Collinge, a Londoner now living in New York, with a link to her portfolio which is filled with a range of beautiful photos. The images above were my favorite though, from a series she did called Project with Sarah May where she explores portraiture with these intensely patterned fabrics. I love that these are slightly ridiculous, they’re playful but still really well done. She has a lot more wonderful work including her Linda series and her still lifes are really beautiful as well.