Date Archives July 2012

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit of the Week

What does it take to be an Olympian? You must train every day. You must meticulously watch your consumption. You have troops of individuals coaching you for years. As an Olympian, the acceptable margin of error is so minute – milliseconds and millimeters are the measures of success or failure. Your accomplishments are glorified and you are a national hero. Such is the same with an astronaut.

When our boys were sent to the moon, they were sporting an intergalactic Varsity uniform. The footage above, put together by Kasia Cieplak von-Baldegg of Atlantic Magazine from the Special Collections & Archives of George Mason University Library, showcases various Space Suit tests for the Apollo Mission. The suit chosen for the expedition is shown on a high school football field throwing the pigskin, you can overhear the panelists say, “The Redskins could use him.”

Stylish Olympians: The ‘Medal Stand’ Air Force 1 Low – XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX AnniversaryThe first ever basketball shoe to feature Nike Air-Sole units for cushioning, the AF1 was originally released in 1982. Thirty years after its birth, the footwear icon is modernized with a reflective upper to celebrate the medal stand look. Inscribed on the left and right foot insole reads “land of the free,” and “home of the brave” respectively.

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

I got to wear these in yesterday and they’re pretty awesome. The first thing I noticed was the reflective material on the top… or maybe you don’t. There’s this subtlety to the material, which only in specific lighting the shoes appear to glow, it’s really fantastic. When I think about the future, it’s subtleties like that which come to mind. It’s not like you’re wearing dorky, glowing shoes, these are well thought out pieces of design which sit on your feet.

The other thing that really stood out to me is the transparent sole which makes them even cooler, in my mind. It gives the shoe a lightness, almost like you’re walking on air or light. Thankfully though there are no LEDs in the bottom of the shoe, making it look like you’re a grown-up toddler.

The shoes are being released today in the UK and I think around Europe, and then released here in the U.S. next week.

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Stylish Olympians: The 'Medal Stand' Air Force 1 Low - XXX Anniversary

Ugo Gattoni’s fantastic London bicycle race

Bicycle by Ugo Gattoni

Bicycle by Ugo Gattoni

Bicycle by Ugo Gattoni

Wow – this is beautiful! French illustrator Ugo Gattoni has created an incredibly intricate pen drawing inspired by the 2012 London Olympic Games. Called Bicycle, the illustration shows an amazing looking race through the streets of London.

Published by Nobrow Press the print is a fabulous concertina publication which folds out to reveal a madcap vision of a bike race. Featuring elite athletes to cycle couriers, commuters, bankers, delivery boys, mums with kids, youths on stolen mountain bikes to fashionistas and hipsters on fixed gear bikes, it’s a fantastic print. You can order a copy of it now through the Nobrow website.

Never mind the Orbit Tower: The collaboration between Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond

Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond - Orbit London Olympics 2012

Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond - Orbit London Olympics 2012

Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond - Orbit London Olympics 2012

Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond - Orbit London Olympics 2012

I have avoided talking about the convoluted mass of red steel and coiled stairs that stands next to the Olympic stadium because I’m not sure how I feel about it, let alone how to talk about it. This project has a name: Orbit Tower, and was designed as a collaboration between Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. Since it looks like the tower will be in virtually every aerial shot of the stadium, maybe you’d like to know what exactly it is. It’s a tower with viewing platforms. And, of course, it’s so much more.

“I wanted the sensation of instability, something that was continually in movement. Traditionally a tower is pyramidal in structure, but we have done quite the opposite, we have a flowing, coiling form that changes as you walk around it. … It is an object that cannot be perceived as having a singular image, from any one perspective. You need to journey round the object, and through it. Like a Tower of Babel, it requires real participation from the public” Anish Kapoor

Undoubtedly many folks will participate in the project during the Olympics, and even more afterwards. Orbit tower is the tallest work of art in London. For a mere 15 pounds you can take an elevator to the top of the perplexing steel arcs look out across the city. If you can also see inside the stadium, the cost of the ticket may save you a hefty amount compared to the cost of a ticket to sit inside the stadium.

Illuminated Athletics: Beautiful photography by Kelvin Murray

Illuminated Athletics: Beautiful photography by Kelvin Murray

Illuminated Athletics: Beautiful photography by Kelvin Murray

Illuminated Athletics: Beautiful photography by Kelvin Murray

Kelvin Murray is an ace photographer from London who’s created a wonderful series of photos highlighting sporting objects. It’s the lighting of each object that makes these photos so stunning. The way the shadows bend on the ground, and the vibrancy of the floor frames each object beautifully. It’s also pretty amazing that he’s able to make each object seem like it’s floating, just perfectly off the ground. Photography and surreality at it’s finest.

Jordon Cheung celebrates the 2012 Olympics with his ’17 Days of Summer’ poster

Jordon Cheung celebrates the 2012 Olympics with his '17 Days of Summer' poster

Jordon Cheung created this wonderful poster called 17 Days of Summer in honor of the Olympics. Somehow he’s managed to cram in just about every piece of Olympic paraphernalia you can imagine, from swim goggles to a karate gi. I poured over this poster for about 10 minutes trying to figure out what everything was!

(Soccer) Balls you’ll really love to get your hands on

Fabric Soccer Balls by Klas Herbert

Fabric Soccer Balls by Klas Herbert

Fabric Soccer Balls by Klas Herbert

I’m so sorry for that horrible pun of a title, I couldn’t help myself. Back in 2008 designer Klas Herbert made this series of fabric covered soccer balls which elevates them to this odd level of refinement. Instead of pieces of leather you get scraps of tweed and touches of houndstooth. Clearly not for actual use, I’m sure these would be great to set upon a mantle or next to your bed. Such a clever idea.

Good Game! – A Preview of Olympics and Sports Films

Chariots of Fire

Without Limits

Sports films generally follow one cardinal rule. This rule has little to do with the technical aspects of film-making, story device, or even high octane performances. The one unforgivable component of a sports film is that it must – without a doubt- be inspiring.  When I learned of the theme week topic I was keen to begin researching Olympics or Sports related films, as this is not a genre that I would naturally gravitate towards. As my research progressed, I gradually began to form self-imposed restrictions to uncover what would stand up as a high calibre sports film. I didn’t want it to star Adam Sandler (although admittedly I am a semi-fan), I didn’t want it to be about Football (to easy), and in the spirit of London 2012, I wanted it to focus on summer Olympics (leaving out the common denominator favorite Cool Running’s). My restrictions may be questionable, but in the spirit of going for the gold, I think rules might apply here.

There are hundreds sports films that are watchable, but there are mainly two that are dimensional enough to be accessible to a wider audience of sports fans and non-fans alike. It’s a cliché choice but, Chariots of Fire is the first. Released in 1981, nominated for seven Academy Awards and three prizes at Cannes that year, the film remains a quintessential example of sportsmanship, and the intrinsic drive that leads Olympic athletes to compete in the world’s fiercest competition.  Set in 1924, the film follows two Cambridge scholars Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) who are both accepted to compete in the Paris 1924 Olympics, but who are driven by two very different motivations. The film tends to be slow and it deals with heavy religious subject matter (Jewish Abrahams experiences Anti-Semitism at Cambridge and Catholic Liddell is asked to compete on the Sabbath). As our 2012 world grows more and more secular the characters motivations in Chariots of Fire may seem trivial, yet the positive spirit of witnessing someone achieve a goal remains vividly inspirational. Besides, every frame of Chariots of Fire looks like it belongs in the dead center of the epic September issue of Vogue. If you could care less about the religious undertones, watch it solely for the luxury in set design and costuming that it displays on screen of an era that has escaped through time.

Without Limits is an easy second choice. Directed by Robert Towne, the 1998 film is the bio-pic of American record holder and long distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) or “Pre” as he was colloquially called. Without Limits and subsequently Prefontaine’s story, is a staunch example of remaining true to the cardinal rule of inspiration as it profiles Pre’s goal to compete at the Munich Olympics. Not only was Pre an outspoken rebel and tour-de-force athlete intent on over throwing athletic establishments, his stoic and wise coach was Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) the founder of Nike. As much as it is all consuming to sit at the edge of your seat and watch Crudup out run a squad of other exceptional athletes, it is equally as entertaining to witness Bowerman’s empire collate from waffle-iron shoe soles to what we now know as his million dollar industry.

Also worth checking out is the basketball tear-jerker documentary Hoop Dreams available on Criterion, and ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30. All these films are available on Netflix and itunes.

 

The country is your playing field: A fantastic title sequence for the 2012 London Olympics

Still from "Stadium UK" by Passion Pictures

Still from "Stadium UK" by Passion Pictures

Still from "Stadium UK" by Passion Pictures

This short animation is merely a preview for a longer animation that the BBC will use in a title sequence for the London 2012 games. It’s a pretty simple idea: showing athletes training around the UK… in a stadium that apparently wraps around the entire country– but what’s particularly nice about the animation is the attention to detail. Everything is gorgeous: the rocks are gorgeous, the diving boards and the caricatural anatomy of the athletes. Direction is by Pete Candeland from Passion Pictures.

Bless This Mess: Enjoi skateboard decks designed by Craig & Karl

Bless This Mess: Enjoi skateboard decks designed by Craig & Karl

Bless This Mess: Enjoi skateboard decks designed by Craig & Karl

Bless This Mess: Enjoi skateboard decks designed by Craig & Karl

Bless This Mess: Enjoi skateboard decks designed by Craig & Karl

Craig Redman and Karl Maier work together as Craig & Karl, creating some of the best and brightest work out there today. Just recently they released a collection of skate decks for Enjoi called Bless This Mess.

Custom artwork for each of Enjoi’s riders (Jose Rojo, Jerry Hsu, Louie Barletta, Nestor Judkins, Wieger Van Wageningen, Cairo Foster and Caswell Berry) that celebrates their individual loves, loathings, artifacts and most importantly: bad habits.

I love how they were ale to pile in so many random objects on each board. Fried chicken, film, condoms, champagne – you name it, it’s in there. It’s kind of fun to pour over each design to see what you can find. And though it may be sacrilege, I think it’d be awesome to see a collection of these on a wall, displayed as pieces of art.