Our Featured Interview with Gai Gherardi of l.a.Eyeworks
l.a.Eyeworks is an iconic Los Angeles sunglasses maker and we had the absolute pleasure of speaking with one of it’s founders/designers, Gai Gherardi. She and BFF Barbara McReynolds started the brand in the late seventies and have been doing their own thing with eyewear since. A good example of that? They just released some totally rad videos with artist/filmmaker Molly Schiot.
The A & C Shop At HVW8
We’re really late on this but Art & Council curated a little shop at HVW8, an art and design space. One of the biggest features of the show are five extremely limited edition Modernica chairs that artist KRINK took to. They are drippy and trippy and really, really rad. They even made a process video that’s super great, too.
Move over Comic-Con, there’s a new kid in town: Comikaze. Last weekend was the second annual pop culture/comic book/horror/etc. festival that brought out tons of great artists and tons of great characters and tons of great oddities. There was a zombie apocalypse zone, Elvira had a whole museum, there were live Quidditch games, and–best of all–Stan Lee was there. What’s so cool about that? He’s actually in charge of the convention. Doesn’t get any more legit that that!
LA In NYFW
Last week was New York Fashion Week. What does that mean for us in LA? Our best and brightest designers were out there sharing their wears. We shared nine or so LA designers who were in New York and analyzed what they all did and how they connected to each other and Los Angeles. Bottom line? Jewel toned interpretations of sky and sea, which are very LA.
Zack Herrera’s Downtown Oz
Photographer Zack Herrera did something super clever: he noticed that Downtown Los Angeles at night looks like Oz, the fictional land from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard Of Oz. He captures zones that look like Oz creatures would crawl out of and entry points that look like the entrance to that green land (but it’s actually the underside of a bridge). It’s really fascinating and incredibly clever. If you have ever been to Downtown LA, you’ll think it is amazing.
While many architects have worked outside the confines of traditional building, few have worked with the productivity and visibility of Greg Lynn. In fact, Lynn has finished just a few buildings, and instead has used his skill as an architect to realize of a plethora of everyday objects. Chairs? check. Teapots? check. Flatware? check. He’s even taken the large plastic toys we used as kids (the same kind he and his wife bought for their kids) and turned them into a kind of building material for delightful tables and two fountains. Now, Lynn has partnered with Swarovski to bring us a line of somewhat wonky, but surprisingly elegant jewelry for Atelier Swarovski. In an interview with the New York Times, Lynn remarked that this line of jewelry is related to his love of the water, saying, “you aren’t sure if the piece is a contemporary design object or something very old, eroded and polished like driftwood, river stones or sea glass.” Lynn is an avid SoCal sailor on his boat, the Kraken, and his collaboration with Swarovski started with an installation for Design Miami in 2009 where he suspended giant crystal-encrusted sails from the ceiling.
Sometimes, I suspect that Lynn’s is able to make all of these small scaled objects because his buildings are novel in a way that can make people nervous about larger scales. They can be constructed, sure, and they can be structurally sound but it’s less clear how they can be inhabited or used. Still, who wouldn’t want to live in the world he has created in the meantime? Where the toys we loved to play with become elaborate and dynamic fountains and where jewels can cling to our bodies like barnacles.
The work of Paris based illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti struck me this week, with her unique mixture of striking greyscale and subtle textures. Her work is almost Parisian, you could say, with a certain mood and geometry pervading each of her pieces. The angularity of her work, especially in the piece at top, is pretty stunning as well. It’s abstract in so many ways, referencing the idea of the world, and yet stil clear with it’s intent. I love the way the trees reflect in the puddle on the ground and in the windows of the building.
If you enjoy Eleni’s work as much I do you should check out this post she did about her process, which she breaks down in 9 easy to understand steps. Her secrets can be yours!
Despite the heaps of construction material and clutter of debris in this video, it’s nice to see the lastest project from Massimiliano Fuksas coming together: the Shenzhen International Airport. The firm’s design for the airport beat out submissions from Foster + Partners, Foreign Office Architects, Reiser + Umemoto, and others. I think the sectional models Fuksas made for the competition are incredible, because they illustrate both the assembly strategy of the complex exterior envelope and give a hint about the spatial quality for folks who will eventually use the building. That said, I didn’t expect the interior to be as airy and expansive as it appears in the video.
Thousands of miles from Shenzhen– in Tbilisi, Georgia- another excellent project by the firm opens this month: the Tbilisi Public Service Hall; here’s a picture of Hillary Clinton admiring renderings of the project.
This week I stumbled across the work of Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker James Minchin. I was particularly enthralled by his series of photographs behind the scenes of AMC’s hit show Mad Men. At first I was just excited to catch a peek behind the curtain of one of my favorite shows. But upon further review found them to be not only a beautiful set of images, but a careful study of the nature of duality. They were surprising to say the least.
The series is presented in black and white, which adds a sense of nostalgia while at the same time giving the series a very modern feel. Minchin manages to marry the past and present in a way that is culturally relevant. The stark contrast of today’s America and the idealized US of the 60s is extremely engaging. They’re very delicately executed mashups.
I especially love the shot (below) of Harry Crane and Ken Cosgrove in all of their Madison Avenue, New York City in the 60s, misogynistic glory, huddled around a MacBook Pro. As well as the shot of Burt Cooper rocking a pair of awful Nike running shoes while wearing an impeccably cut, two button suit and a bow tie. It’s almost like watching these characters time travel. The effect is simultaneously disorienting and comforting.
In these images I see an interesting look at our tendency to be discontent with the present and fool ourselves into seeing a past that’s greater than we remember it to be. But maybe it’s just a cool collection of pictures about the making of Mad Men. Who’s to say?
This week London is currently awash with design fanatics as the annual London Design Festival takes place. As part of the event the Irish Crafts Council have put together an exhibition that gives a glimpse into modern Irish design and craft. The exhibition is called A Place To Gather and to mark it the directing duo of Jamie & Keith have put together a beautiful video that looks at Irish crafts-people in action around the country.
Ireland currently has over 5,700 people working in craft today and the video gives a brief portrait of just 5 of them. They are Horizon Furniture, Studio Donegal, Kathleen McCormick, Jerpoint Glass and Derek Wilson. One of the nicest things about traditional handicrafts is the process of making them yet it’s this part that we rarely get to see. Fortunately videos like this one really give a great insight into the process and help promote traditions which are well worth continuing and celebrating. It’s a beautifully filmed piece and one which is well worth watching.
For those lucky enough to be in London, A Place To Gather will be running from the 18th until the 23rd of September at 12 Chance Street, London, E2 7JB. More details about the exhibition can be found on their website here.
Hotel Daniel is a super amazing looking hotel in Vienna. It marries clean design with artful weirdness and is very aware of current cultural trends, too. They have everything from sleepable trailers to a rooftop honey bee farm to a garden for growing their own produce. It’s a very now take on housing people when they are away from home–and it looks great, too.
One of the most noticeable items is that there’s a boat on top of the hotel. It’s not just a boat but a curved, melting sailboat that teeters off the edge of the building. This is actually a sculpture by Erwin Wurm, the guy who made the bloated cars and various hyper-realistic yet distorted human sculptures. It’s a really funny piece that makes you think of a kooky vacation, something I’m sure Wurm is hinting at. (Side note: If I were to stay at the Daniel, I am 75% sure that I would be consumed with stress over whether or not the boat would fall off of the building. Then again, that’s the point.)
The hotel seems fairly affordable and within the mix of what is going on in Vienna. We’d totally stay there if we were in the area. It also should be noted how great their brand identity and website is. It’s minimalistic and clean but so, so, so fun, which is not what you associate with bare design. Take a poke around their website here.
These are images taken by the late architectural photographer Pedro E. Guerrero. His prolific carrer spans an exciting period in architecture, but his life story is even more compelling. He grew up in Arizona, but left because of the bigotry surrounding Mexican Americans. He described himself as being “brown, small, and fat… but very cute. It didn’t help.” He enrolled in photography school on a whim, but didn’t fall in love with the medium until he developed his first roll of film. In the short film below you can hear Pedro tell these stories and many more about his life and the images he captured.
Summer is starting to dwindle out for a lot of us in the northern hemisphere. I’m still holding out for more warm weather (and probably getting it for a while, Los Angeles doesn’t cool down till January). Today’s wallpaper embodies one of the hallmarks of summer – eating ice cream to beat the heat. James Olstein made today’s wallpaper and may have created one of the best puns of all time for his ice cream stand. For that he should be commended. Cone Thugs and Harmony for life!
While Andy Beck may be better known for his portrait and figurative work, it’s his paintings of city streets which really catch my attention. Originally from Coventry, Beck moved to London almost ten years ago and it’s clear that the city has played an important role in inspiring his work.
Looking at his paintings you can almost feel the weather in them. You can sense the cold, crisp air of a winter’s morning or you can see how the sun shines right after the rain. His paintings show a great understanding for how these moments feel in a city and he paints them with such beauty. You can view a complete gallery of Beck’s landscape painting on his website here.