Maria Svarbova’s Photographs Reflect on God and the Human Form

Maria Svarbova

Illusion. Reflection. Vulnerability. These are the things I see when I look at God’s Mirror, a photo series by Maria Svarbova. The images are dreamy and surreal with nude figures floating amongst a dark and cloudy sky. Yet there’s something off with each of the figures. Look closely and you’ll see that each person has an extra limb or a reflect face which distorts the body. Maria claims the effect isn’t done in Photoshop so whatever technique she’s deployed here is quite impressive.

Of all the images my favorite has to be the one at top with the man and mirror. Love how surreal it looks. Almost looks like it could be a painting, not a photo.

Maria Svarbova

Maria Svarbova

Maria Svarbova

Maria Svarbova

Maria Svarbova

All of Maria’s photos are quite impressive, I suggest you take the time to go through all of her series on her Behance page.

August 26, 2014 / By

Erik Spiekermann: “Being Obsessive About Detail Is Being Normal”

Erik Spiekermann

I have some very strong opinions about the very strong opinions of Erik Spiekermann. To me he comes off as a cranky old man most of the time but he certainly deserves credit for his long-standing work as a typographer and designer. Recently, he wrote on his blog about the importance of details and how he refuses to be “classified as weird and unusual” because of his obsession.

Every craft requires atten­tion to detail. Whether you’re build­ing a bicy­cle, an engine, a table, a song, a type­face or a page: the details are not the details, they make the design. Con­cepts don’t have to be pixel-perfect, and even the fussi­est project starts with a rough sketch. But build­ing some­thing that will be used by other peo­ple, be they dri­vers, rid­ers, read­ers, lis­ten­ers – users every­where, it needs to be built as well as can be. Unless you are obsessed by what you’re doing, you will not be doing it well enough.

I think Mr. Spiekermann really nails it with this statement. My design-focused brain can’t help but obsess over the details. The nuances of the object you’re designing is what gives it character. The importance of details holds true for things like objects, old or new. When you pick up an iPhone you see the subtle detailing that makes it feel special. Or with older objects you can experience the wabi-sabi of it, the wear and patina that gives it an exceptional quality.

Be sure to read Erik’s full post by clicking here.

August 26, 2014 / By

Titillating Luxury: A Champagne Glass Shaped After Kate Moss’ Breast

Kate Moss - Breast Champagne Glass

Historically champagne has been known as a symbol of wealth and opulence. In the 17th century the champagne coupe was invented, elevating the act of drinking champagne, which became in fashion in the 1930s. Cut to 2014 and the coupe is getting a titillating new form in the shape of Kate Moss’ left breast. Yes, you read that correctly. 34, a restaurant located in the Mayfair area of London, has teamed up with artist Jane McAdam Freud to create the coupe, which is decorated with an art-deco pattern, and of course, Kate Moss’ signature.

There’s something entirely ridiculous about this concept that I love. From a press angle view point I’ve seen the story told that the coupe was originally shaped from Marie Antoinette’s breast, though that’s entirely untrue. Still, the extravagance of drinking champagne from a super model’s breast is too funny not to share. Is this the start of a new trend in sex organ shaped drinking vessels?

August 26, 2014 / By

‘In The Sea and Near A Girl’, An Abstract Tale of Love by Masanobu Hiraoka

It’s hard to accurately describe love. It’s messy. It’s confusing. It’s a frenzy of emotions that can wash over you in an instant. Japanese director Masanobu Hiraoka, along with Barcelona based composer Aimar Molero, have together created a short film which captures all of those feelings in an orgy of colors and sexual innuendo. The combination of the frenetic images paired with the serene music is an interesting juxtaposition that feels wet and aqueous. You can’t help but be sucked into this.

'In The Sea and Near A Girl', An Abstract Tale of Love by Masanobu Hiraoka

'In The Sea and Near A Girl', An Abstract Tale of Love by Masanobu Hiraoka

August 26, 2014 / By

MUJI Lulls You to Sleep With Its Minimalistic New App

Muji-Sleep-0

MUJI, Japan’s super successful minimalistic “brandless-brand” has recently released a new app, MUJI to Sleep. It boasts a series of natural sounds to help induce a sound slumber, anytime, anywhere. The app is aesthetically awesome, free, boasts a tight design, and last but certainly not least, aids in perpetuating MUJI’s brand values. Other brands take note: this is how you do digital.

Muji-Sleep-4

The beginnings of MUJI date back to the early 1980’s, when it served as a generic supermarket brand. Since then the company has grown into a well-respected global name, encompassing a huge variety of goods, everything from housewares to fashion. “Muji” is short for “Mujirushi Ryohin” or “brandless quality goods.”

Muji-Sleep-10

If you’re familiar with MUJI then you can see the irony in this; MUJI’s “brandless” has become quite the well-known brand. In recent years they’ve expanded out of Asia and into European and North American markets, having seduced design-centric crowds, their wares even sold in MoMA. MUJI to Sleep seeks to continue the brand’s successful trend of function meets natural simplicity.

 

In an ever-increasing digital world, it’s hard to keep electronics out of the bed, even when we know we’re not supposed to. But MUJI’s sleep app defies this logic, using the sounds of nature on your smartphone or tablet to make drifting off easier. It’s a very niche app, thus the interface and design is refreshingly simple and straightforward. You swipe through six calming sounds of nature: seaside waves, tweeting birds, kindling fire, a stream, forest, and waterfall.

Muji-Sleep-11Muji-Sleep-12

Every sound was recorded on-location, in Japan, using head-shaped binaural microphones to closely duplicate the experience of actually being within the setting. This technique creates an audio frequency gap between the left and right ear that syncs with the user’s brainwave cycle to encourage sleep. Each sound can be set to a timer of 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

Muji-Sleep-2

This app couldn’t fit any better within the MUJI family. The brand has risen to popularity precisely because of its refined products and tidy stores, which ultimately offer a bastion of calm. MUJI to Sleep reinforces this association with its minimalistic design and simple, yet functional use. The app is clearly a brand-builder, but doubles as a product-seller too.

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Accompanying MUJI to Sleep is a fantastic microsite that demonstrates the app’s use when paired with one of the company’s most popular products, the Well-Fitted Neck Cushion. The app appears to have been created to supplement the cushion’s effectiveness (and that of other other MUJI products too). The two compliment each other so well that you feel like you can’t own one without the other, effectively creating need and consequently moving product off the shelves.

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This isn’t MUJI’s first foray into the digital; the company has successfully released other apps that work congruent to their physical offerings. It’s an effective means of digital advertising and marketing—I don’t feel like I’m being worked over by the brand as they’re offering me functional experiences to enhance my living.

“MUJI to Sleep” is available now for both iOS and Android devices. Sweet dreams and happy snoozing.

August 25, 2014 / By

Feeling Disorganized? Try Mise-en-place, It Works For Chefs

Organize Like A Chef with mise-en-placeOrganize Like A Chef with mise-en-place

Mise-en-place is a French phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up. For many chefs this phrase is not only a helpful saying, it’s a motto to live ones life by. Dan Charnas recently did a great piece on mise-en-place where he spoke to chefs about the practice and how it affects their time in the kitchen as well as their personal lives.

“It starts with your list,” says Wylie Dufresne, the James Beard award-winning chef and owner of New York restaurants wd~50 and Alder.

“What I used to do is, let’s say I had 23 items of mise-en-place I had to do every day. So I’d take a pad and I’d write them all down on the way home. And then I would crumple the list up and throw it out,” he says. “On my way to work I’d write the list again. And you become one with your list. You and the list are the same, because the list is scorched into your head.”

After I heard this story I couldn’t help but equate the practice to design. I’ve started to write more lists, I’ve created an editorial calendar to keep track of posts, I try to keep my desktop and worktop clean and organized. There’s something enjoyable to me about the regiment of mise-en-place, the commitment to your craft.

August 25, 2014 / By

Snøhetta Creates The Upscale Condo of Beehives

Snøhetta - Vulkan Beehive

Snøhetta - Vulkan Beehive

Bees are an important of our ecosystem, so why wouldn’t we create special places for them to live in our cities? That’s the course architecture and design firm Snøhetta has taken, creating a honeycomb inspired dwelling that sits atop the Vulkan Bigård project at Mathallen.

Having two intersecting hexagonal volumes to create the form, which were then adjusted in height and width to fit with the needs of the beekeeper. Using a light colored wood with a finish that is honey in tone was also a relationship that we wanted to create and present.

Unfortunately there are no photos of the inside quite yet, I’m guessing because the bees need some time to do their work. Still, it’s nice to see the idea of the beehive transformed into something more eye-catching, and hopefully, getting people to think more about bees and their relationship with us and nature.

Snøhetta - Vulkan Beehive

Snøhetta - Vulkan Beehive

August 25, 2014 / By

Artist Olafur Eliasson Turns a Gallery Into A Riverbed

Olafur Eliasson

Just a little north from Copenhagen you will find the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Currently it’s home to a solo exhibition by the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Best known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, Eliasson often works with elemental materials such as water, light, air and soil. For this, his first solo show at Louisiana, the artist has decided to turn the entire south-wing of the museum into a riverbed; transforming the galleries into a giant unfolding landscape of rocks, stones and water.

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson

Described as a “stress-test of Louisiana’s physical capacity”, the installation is a surreal and beautiful sight. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the rocky surfaces and spaces are entered through semi-submerged gallery doorways. I think it looks terrific and I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to hear the trickle of water running through the small galleries of the Museum.

Olafur Eliasson

The exhibition is due to open to the public on 20 August, more details can be found on the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art website.

August 25, 2014 / By

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