The whole area surrounding the new, a-lab designed Statoil Regional and International Offices used to be Oslo’s central airport. In fact, many of the airport’s building still stand, even if they’ve been repurposed. But this is a new construction, a shining stack of office spaces on the site of what used to be a parking lot. So when the architects describe their conundrum of designing a large office building and “making it blend with Fornebu’s idyllic shoreline” I sort of wonder how idyllic the parking lot really was compared to the outstanding new spaces the architects have created.
‘Design with Heart’ is the title of this short film about the work of industrial designer Sebastian Bergne. Bergne lives and works in London where he’s been creating a number of products, lighting and furniture for over 20 years. Perhaps best known for creating objects for the preparation and consumption of food and drink, Bergne has collaborated on projects with the likes of Muji, Swarovski, Tefal and Vitra.
The words “honky tonk” will always feel hokey to me. A ragtime style originated from dive bars of the early 20th century, it evolved into “Okie” or “hillbilly music” through it’s simplicity and straight rhythms. It didn’t really have a place in country or popular music until the legendary Ernest Tubb brought it to Nashville. Much of the Nashville sound in the 50’s and 60’s steeped itself in the minimalist style, eschewing strings and large bands for simple instruments and solid stories. Since then, the style, moreso than the word itself, became ingrained in American culture. Buck Owens gave it a pair of telecasters and global appeal, Gram Parsons asked us to “close down the honky-tonks” in 1969, the Byrds lost themselves in a honky tonk, the country bad boy Waylon Jennings put out a record called Honky Tonk Heroes, and even the Eagles gave the Bakersfield style a try. The legend sealed itself into American consciousness.
Son Volt’s latest release, Honky Tonk is more than just a throw back. It is a uniquely American record, each song loaded by Jay Farrar’s expert song writing in a way few records have offered in years.
A long way from their offices in Oslo and New York, the Architects from Snohetta have put the finishing touches on the Hunt Library in Raleigh, North Carolina. The library is a sweeping and modern addition to North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, where the project’s aluminum skin and contemporary presence contrast the more staunchly traditional brick buildings that flank the silvery structure. Aside from standing out among the buildings on campus, the project stands out among libraries because it pushes the typology toward something more contemporary. Instead of a staunchly academic space, the project is relaxed and collaborative; it just seems like the future.
I was driving down Sunset yesterday afternoon when I noticed a striking new billboard, featuring the art you see above, with some work that looked familiar. On the billboard though there was only one identifiable mark, which was the Matador Records logo. So I went to Matador’s website and the art was for the new Queens of the Stone Age album Like Clockwork, with all of the art for the album created by UK illustrator, Boneface.
California-based artist Brian Scott Campbell creates some wild and abstract landscapes through his black and white works in graphite and charcoal that juxtapose highly detailed and representational imagery with abstract cartoon figures. Describing his work as “a reflection upon our strange but urgent longings, as well as the aesthetics of false utopias found in contemporary life”, Brian’s images are moody, surreal still lifes that move freely between the real and the unreal.
Nearly a month ago I was listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic when I heard this new song from Portugal. The Man called “Evil Friends”. Since then, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Produced by Danger Mouse, “Evil Friends” recalls late 90’s Blur to me, with the
super fuzzed out guitars and shout-y lyrics. And how great are the harmonies in the chorus parts? Gives me chills every time I hear it. If you prefer, you can also watch the music video for the track below.
The track comes off the album of the same name which will be released June 4.
These days everyone seems to be talking about how much brighter it is in the evenings and discussing “that extra stretch in the day”. I know you might be thinking that I must keep rather dull company, but it’s not that – discussing the hours of darkness in Northern Europe is a prerequisite for living here.
After surviving another grey and dull winter, the reemerging sun plays a significant role in the lives and lifestyles of the people who live here. This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Finland. Here the Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter, and in the summer nature replies with 24 hours of sun. In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days.
In the video above, the Official Finnish Travel Site, Visit Finland, have captured some of the magic of this time of year in a beautiful video that celebrates the midnight sun. Go check it out and make sure to check out the music of Husky Rescue too which is featured in the video. Enjoy!