In the ever-evolving landscape that is modern furniture design, Denmark’s HAY stands apart. Founded in 2002, the company aims to recreate the heyday of 1950’s and ’60s design only with an innovative twist. Aside from their products actually being affordable, they employ both hungry young designers and more established ones alike to create products that are functional and aesthetically interesting. In their words, they want to blur the lines between architecture and fashion and do so in a joyful manner.
All of HAY’s furniture seems to pair beautifully together. Designer Hee Welling’s “About a Stools” are made to work in both residential and commercial spaces, their colorful bases working in conjunction with one another. Because of each product’s streamlined simplicity, it’s easy to see these pieces working in many different types of spaces, especially the Bjørn sofa and unassuming Bella desk, which comes in either white or black.
HAY recently expanded into product design, too. They offer a wide range of office supplies like rulers and binders in various pastel and prints. I’m partial to their modular Kaleido trays, which won Sweden’s Design S prize late last year. Bold, bright, and beautiful, they’d cheer up any dinner party.
If you’re looking for good, honest advice then you should really look no further then the great Woody Guthrie. When it comes to self-improvement then Woody’s your man. Back on the eve of 1942 Guthrie decided to compile a list of the things he hoped to improve on over the next year and by writing it down he created a wonderfully simple guide to living a better life.
We’re big fan’s of Guthrie’s ‘New Years Rulin’s’ here on TFIB and so too is the London based illustrator and printmaker Mat Pringle. Since January 1st Mat’s been taking Guthrie’s rules and creating charming sketches based on them. It really makes the list come to life and I’ve been enjoying getting a new rule everyday throughout the month. You can check out more of these illustrated rules by visiting Mat’s blog. Who knows, you might even learn some good advice!
I was really inspired by Andi’s post a couple days ago about these beautiful pens by AJOTO that I wanted to start sharing some other examples of beautiful product design. The other day I came across these incredible Banquinho Nº2 stools by Adaism and was totally entranced by their design. The base is actually old stock from “the Portugese metalware factory ICA designed in 1955 by António and Luis Pereira but then combined with a new, hand-sewn leather seat. The combination is powerful, giving both an industrial yet contemporary feeling to the stools. I’m sad their isn’t an example of what these look like when folded, I’m sure they’re gorgeous.
Adaism also has an amazing collection of leather objects that you’ll probably want to drool over. If you’re on budget, beware.
If 2012 was the year Los Angeles reinstated itself as a center for R&B and hip hop, the L.A. native Miguel might be the overlooked megastar (an oxymoron, but accurate one) waiting in the wings. While Adorn has hit the LA radio waves in full force, the deliberate sexuality and sweeping musical references throughout his second release, Kaleidoscope Dream, show an artist with a larger repertoire than expected. Don’t Look Back, one of the finer cuts on the record, is peppered with such references. The melody recalls the Beatles And I Love Her, the outro calls from Time of the Season. His falsetto dips in and out as he croons about, on the surface, a predatory love. Twilight lovers could have a field day with the lyrics. Yet it is about a love of the night life, requesting freedom to prowl and enjoy the dark without regrets. In an album filled with fresh takes of R&B, these classic references only reveal this stars ascendancy.
Jagged edges, frayed cardboard boxes, angular bits of tape, and illuminated wood—this is artist Sandra Erbacher’s playing field. A current MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin, and recent winner of Madison’s Blink grant for public art, her work both captures and confounds. I was first attracted to her prismatic piece, #89, a digital print mounted on aluminum that looks like a cross between an oversized crystal talisman and something Lady Gaga might dream of wearing as a headpiece. It’s an arresting, 3D image that would feel home in a museum or minimalist abode—much like Erbacher’s beautiful light and wood sculptures.
Focusing on the in-between space and the fragmenting of construction, Erbacher creates large-scale collages, too. She crafts disjointed wallpaper into sci-fi relics or pieces parcel tape together in a sort of futuristic explosion. Always, her work seems to move, defy gravity, and speak in a quiet, otherworldly way. Her latest piece, I kept this part away from you, was commissioned by the Madison Arts Council and looms above a tire store. From far away, it tricks drivers into thinking it’s a picturesque horizon on a nondescript billboard, but up close, it’s a digital image depicting the opening of an old cardboard box.
If you happen to find yourself on the Beltway Highway between exits 262 and 263 in Madison, Wisconsin, don’t forget to slow down and take a closer look at Erbacher’s work yourself. It’s on view to all passers-by until Feburary 3.
Earlier this morning Twitter launched a new app called Vine, which in my opinion is Twitter’s response to Instagram. Instead of photos though, they allow you to capture snippets of video, making these short looping videos that you can share with the world (or just your friends). Here’s a succinct description from the Twitter blog.
Today, we’re introducing Vine: a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos. Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound, we look forward to seeing what you create.
I can say that I’ve made one Vine so far (you can see it here), and that it was super easy. The UI is intuitive, you simply hold to record, and then keep going until the max time is reached. Pretty easy. The finish screen feels exactly like Instagram, which is slightly funny to me but also kind of a rip-off. It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on, there’s really no way to know. I’m going to try and continue using it for the next week. It’s certainly a concept that’s been around for a while, but I don’t know if it’s been this easy to use before. Time will tell!
NODE might just be one of my favorite design projects of the last few years. Set up by the Irish illustrator Chris Haughton and the Nepal-based entrepreneur Akshay Sthapit, the project aims to connect international designers and illustrators with crafts-people in the developing world. Based on a belief that ‘trade not aid’ is the best solution to the poverty trap, NODE has started to make a series of fair-trade rugs with crafts-people at the Kumbeshwar Technical School in Kathmandu, Nepal.
At the moment they’re working on a collection for London’s Design Museum that features 18 hand-made rugs by 18 artists. They’ve got a fantastic array of talent involved including Sanna Annukka (above), Chris Haughton (also above), Geoff McFetridge, Jon Klassen, and many more. Launching on the 5th of March, the rugs will be for sale at theDesign Museum’s shop as well as online as part of Fair Trade Fortnight.
It’s a wonderful project and one that becomes even more special when you find out a bit more about the Kumbeshwar Technical School. Here, employees receive a fair wage and their work also supports an adult literacy and skills training program with 6,000 graduates, a school with 260 children and an orphanage with 25 children. In the video above you can get a great insight into how the rugs are crafted but you should also read a bit more about Kumbeshwar on their website here.
It’s wonderful to see a project like this and particularly one which raises awareness with designers of the possibilities in fair trade. If you’re in London during Fair Trade Fortnight make sure to try and head along to the Design Museum and maybe even pick up a rug! More details and even times can be found online here.
In Pieces is the name of a fantastic multi-media collaboration between the photographer Dean West and the LEGO-sculptor Nathan Sawaya. The series explores the idea that identity exists today predominantly as a cultural creation and something which has been heavily commercialized and manipulated.
West and Sawaya’s images play with the artifice of modern photography, creating hyper-real images that include amazing LEGO sculptures hidden within each picture. Attempting to discover Sawaya’s sculptures is where the fun begins, and once they reveal themselves they highlight exactly how manipulated and artificial photographs can be.
Sawaya’s sculptures are beautifully rendered and their pixelated-forms emphasize the fabricated nature of modern photography. It’s a wonderful series and a great idea. You can view the full series of photographs online at Dean West’s webiste here.