I was going through my bookmarked blogs last night and noticed that two in particular, while inspiring, are completely on the opposite ends of the spectrum. The first is a Tumblr called STIKNORD, here’s how they describe themselves:
The idea behind this blog was to produce a digital mood board to be used as a part of an on going project at Kolding School of Design. By building a collection of texts and imagery dedicated to the aesthetics of the North, we want to ease the often repetitive, time and money consuming process of constructing tactile inspirational material for each and every project.
As you can imagine the imagery is extremely serene. Lots of beautiful old shacks, minimally designed furniture and beautiful photos of nature. What I love about STIKNORD is how natural and timeless everything they post feels. That you could flee to the countryside and live off lingon berries and take up boat carving.
On the flip-side of that you have Otaku Gangsta, which in effect says fuck all that, there’s a crazy, contemporary sci-fi world out there to explore, let’s start dreaming. Or at least that’s how I interpret it. The imagery on Otaku Gangsta, which is run by Dietrich Groundsel, isn’t all futuristic, but there are certain pieces of imagery from the past that have influenced and reflect a potential future.
Despite how different each of these sites are, I find both worlds equally inspiring. They both manage to appease my sense of taste, almost like left brain and right brain desires being met. I yearn for a simpler existence but I can’t deny the fact that there’s so much more to discover.
It’s a well known fact that the Swedes make the best pop music. Take Gothenburg’s Joel Alme for example. His song – A Tender Trap – is a perfect slice of baroque pop served-up with brooding vocals and melancholic lyrics. It’s the type of thing that the Swedes do better then anyone else, they can take all the pain of heartbreak and turn it into a life-affirming anthem, filling it with rich instrumentation and soaring melodies.
A Tender Trap is a great example of this, and the video allows us to peer into Alme’s world as he makes his way through the Wintery harbours of Gothenburg reminiscing on lost love and thinking about happier times. The song is the lead single and title track of Alme’s third album, which is released May 9th on Razzia Records.
I love this playful take on the sake glass by TALE, a Seoul, South Korea who are doing some really fantastic work. Simply called a Moon Glass, the unique shape of the cup mimics the phases of the moon as you drink the sake. You start with the a full moon, and as you drink the moon begins to wane, just like the sake. It’s a clever idea that’s also unexpected, especially if you were to be handed a glass unknowingly. The sad part is that I don’t think the glass is for sale, or at least I can’t find anywhere with that info.
You should also check out there Matterhorn Glass, which has to be one of the best glasses ever to drink whiskey out of, especially if it were to be heavily chilled first.
I think what’s particularly delightful about this small, boxy Police Station designed by Klein Dytham is that it turns the ubiquitous parapet into a kind of urban-scaled optic toy. The tall, white wall around the roof of the project is punctuated with cutouts that let folks walking or driving by the station see the shifting spectrum of colors painted behind the perforated wall. The project is appropriately extroverted (who really wants to spend too much time inside a police station?) and is as clever as any of Klein Dytham’s best projects. The wall cantilevers over one side of the project to make a shaded parking space for the patrol car and when the sunlight shines through the wall, it casts a punctuated shadow on the ground. Who knew a parapet could do all that?
A few weeks ago, Bobby and I were looking to buy some sort of bench or shelf to place underneath a window in our apartment. We wanted a little plant shelf, to introduce color and greens into our space (because it was completely devoid of both). While at CB2, we happened upon an old looking bench that was nearly $300. It was a nice bench, yes, but $300?? Are you serious?? I could get something for a fifth of the price if I hunted around thrift stores for a day or if I just built it myself. So, I built a shelf myself. And, you should too.
With a lengthy, impromptu stay at Home Depot and an hour or two of planning, sanding, painting, and planting, I refined the wood, painted it, and hung it while Bobby planted and readied plants. Within the span of about three, maybe four, hours and one hundred dollars from our pockets, we had this floating slate grey shelf that was just as good–if not better–than that expensive CB2 creation. It was quite simple to make too because all it is is a piece of wood I painted and sanded screwed into a wall by way of support from three brackets you don’t even notice. It was absurdly easy and so cheap: the wood, brackets, sandpaper, and paint only cost about twenty dollars! The plants and pots were the expensive part. (Yes, we spent $70 on plants and pots. It was an investment!)
If you have a free afternoon this weekend and want to change up your space for Spring, this is a simple and elegant solution. For more details on the specs of the shelf and more photos of it, check out Los Angeles, I’m Yours. Hopefully we’ll all start building our own shelves and objects and make it so silly homeware stores recognize that their prices are a *little* absurd–and that we can do what they do ourselves.
I thought I would pass along this little gemstone that I stumbled across on Tumblr. I am really digging on Kyle Jones’ Space Cadet – and the rest of his work for that matter! His work reminds me of something straight outta Hanna-Barbera Productions circa the 1960s. I am particularly fond of the marshmallow clouds against the red horizon. I still can’t place the green rabbit friend of the cadet, but if this what the future looks like, I’m really excited.
These photos of car crashes by Nicolai Howalt are really fascinating to me because of the abstract nature they’re taken on. If you hadn’t read the title or the previous sentence would you know it was a car crash? It’s crazy because the metal starts to resemble a cracked Easter egg. There’s also a sculptural quality to the these “happy accidents”, and it’s interesting that he’s able to capture the beauty in such random acts of chaos. You can see more images from his series by clicking here.
If you’ve ever wondered why public spaces look the way they do, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces created by urbanist William Whyte will give you many clues. It’s obviously not new, it’s from 1979, so I wonder if the guidelines for creating a bustling public park are the same. The biggest change is probably how people use small gadgets to create their own, personal private spaces even while sitting in public. Christina Rosen wrote about the public use of cell phones and other small gizmos back in 2004. Her article is smart, but it was written well before smart phones started proliferating into our hands and pockets like bacteria.
One bit of irony from the film is what Whyte describes as “Probably the best Public square in the country” Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. I’m not sure why it was decided, or who made the decision, but by 2005 the plaza was closed and redeveloped. I only visited the old square a few times before it was renovated, and been there a few times since, so it’s probably unfair of me to compare the old and new, but I will say that the new one seems more enthusiastically commercial. It has all the exciting ingredients that would be alien to someone in 1979: an Urban-scaled TV, a parking garage covered in translucent glass with color-changing LEDs, and a restaurant in the middle of the square– but it seems more like a space for individuals now than a place for folks to meet or congregate.
The last time I visited Fountain Square before it was renovated, I was with my mom and some kind of step show was happening when we arrived there. Now, I just imagine people playing Angry Birds on their phones or watching the giant TV before their table is ready at the restaurant. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the change, but finding yourself in the middle of a step show is kind of amazing. That kind of spontaneity should happen more often, and I’m not sure it does when everyone is off in their own little world instead of the public sphere they happen to be walking through.