London based design agency One Darnley Road have made bar soap sexy, which in my mind is quite a challenge. Thinking of bar soaps I’m reminded of craft fairs, or worse, the sickly green lumps of Irish Spring soap, which to me look more like industrial cleaning products. With their project for the London Fields Soap Company they’ve wrapped the bars in beautiful geometric patterns that melts away any ideas of “bad craft”, bringing a truly contemporary vibe to the natural looking bars. The inspiration for these patterns comes from the location of their factory in Hackney, London, where there’s a history of fabric making and weaving.
The East End of London has a long tradition of textile design and manufacturing, including Warner & Sons, who were working in the fabric trade in Spitalfields since the early eighteenth-century, and who had a reputation for excellent weaving work of both traditional and modern patterns – through to the twentieth century. We drew on the visual grammar of craft as a way to define this new brand.
You can see more by visiting One Darnley Roads website.
An artist like Damien Hirst will always be polarizing simply because of the work or “work” he produces. For me it’s been a while since he’s made something really great though his newest project, the Black Scalpel Cityscapes, are certainly eye-catching with quite a bit of poignancy.
The Black Scalpel Cityscapes make reference to the military procedure of ‘surgical bombing’ or ‘surgical strikes’, commonly used in modern warfare, which aims to limit collateral damage by targeting precise areas for destruction. The suggestion of a remote, digital conflict inevitably reduces the tragic and devastating realities of war. In a similarly misleading manner, the perspective of an aerial map minimises the life beneath it to a series of detached systems and patterns of collective existence.
It’s a beautifully crafted way of speaking about numerous topics that all have quite a lot of baggage. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any of his work that’s actually had this sort of depth. The question I’ve been asking myself is this: If another artist had done this, would the world care as much?
You can read and see more at the White Cube gallery site.
Art at a large perspective never fails to impress me. Much of my own work is done tweaking the pixels on a subtle UI or for a mobile app, which is such a tiny world when compared to art pieces. Last week I came across this time-lapse video of illustrator Machiko Ono painting a large scale portrait of a young woman. It’s fascinating watching the piece come together with such precision especially when the piece is larger than she is. I could watch this all day.
Every now and then I have some amazing opportunities offered to me and my upcoming week is no exception. Thanks to the fine folks of Jameson whiskey I’m wandering about Ireland for the next few days spending time meeting local artisans, trying my hands at leather crafting and glass blowing, and of course drinking fine whiskey. I’ll be sharing a few posts about the experience on here though my Instagram will probably be updated the most.
I’ll also be spending a few days in London this weekend so I’m thinking it could be great to do a TFIB Bar Meet-Up somewhere in the city. More information to come!
Mount Gay, the world’s oldest existing rum house from the island of Barbados, has created four video portraits of Original Spirits who share Mount Gay’s values of heritage, craftsmanship and hands-on artistry — demonstrating that they still have a place in our lives. They include Pete Raho, owner of Gowanus Furniture Co; Brock Willsey, owner of fashion boutique Vividbraille; photographer Ernesto Roman; and James Tucker, Co-founder of the celebrated letterpress studio – The Aesthetic Union.
As co-founder of the celebrated letterpress studio, The Aesthetic Union, James Tucker utilizes a number of mechanical presses, including a 1910 Chandler & Price, and a 1984 Heidelberg Windmill. Tucker’s interest in machinery began while working on his grandfather’s Christmas tree farm. “He showed me how if you take care of these things they will work, they will work better than the new things” says Tucker. “We cut down all our Christmas trees by hand; we wrapped them up for people. It’s that hand that’s in things. It’s even more important now than it was when I was a kid. The more we get away from it, the more we want it as people. I think that’s so important with old things; that everything is done by hand.”
The key values of Tucker’s practice include the preservation of time-honored techniques, an understanding of materials, and the production of hand crafted products. “With Mount Gay, I really like how their every barrel is mixed by hand, how the wood is selected, how they’re in the same location since 1703. They seem to be preservers of some kind of old way like I am, I really respect that.”
To watch all four videos featuring these “Original Spirts”, visit theoriginalspirits.com.
Almost 20% of the total area of the Netherlands is water, with many parts of the county reclaimed from the sea through an extensive system of dykes that date back as far as medieval times. For this reason, the Dutch have always had a fairly special relationship with water. You can see this in so many aspects of what they do, from amazing bridges to beautiful public ponds, their unique appreciation for lakes, rivers and the sea has always lead to interesting work.
I recently came across this wonderful recreational island home by 2by4 Architects and quickly feel for its simplistic charms. Completed in 2011, the home offers an ideal rural getaway that boasts large glass walls and a slide-away wall that opens up directly onto the water. It looks like the perfect place for an outdoor retreat.
Found on a man-made island on the Dutch lake of Loosdrechtse Plas, the home is designed to be completely customized depending on the owners needs. On warm days the northern facade opens towards the water, turning the wooden floor of the living room into a jetty. On winter days the home looks just as good, offering a freestanding fire to snuggle up to as you look out over the countryside.
While only 100 meters in size, the home still looks quite spacious and comfortable with a shower, toilet, kitchen, closets, storage and other functions are all integrated into a double wall. It all looks perfect!
Hat tip to Dwell for the discovery. You can see more images of the home on 2by4 Architects’ website.
It’s pretty astonishing that, as of a few hours ago, the European Space Agency was able to land a robot on the surface of a comet. A mission 10 years in the making, the team’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully placed the Philae lander on to the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is moving at 34,400 miles per hour (that’s 45x the speed of sound). The New York Times has an incredible gallery of images (like the one above) which shows the approach of the satellite to 67P which have been blowing my mind.
I also think it’s pretty funny that the comet is shaped like a duck, sorta.
London is getting a new museum and to call it eccentric may just be an understatement. Opening this month The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is no doubt unlike anything you’ve seen before. “I’m so bored of contemporary museums and their desperate attempt to classify and make sense of everything,” Wynd told The Guardian recently. “The world is one big, glorious mess and we should celebrate that.”
Wynd has been building his collection for the last decade and his new Museum is not his only big release this year. He recently teamed up with the publishers at Prestel to release Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders; a book that celebrates his collection and the collections of many more dilettantes, bohemians and artists.
Photographed by Oskar Proctor, these images capture the curiosities and horrors found in the collections of many other eccentrics. From shrunken heads and narwhal tusks to old erotica to occult paintings, the series of images are fascinating and unique.
The book also includes advice on how to start a collection of your own, covering everything from attending auction houses, to finding the right private dealers, flea markets and fairs. If pickled genitals, old skeletons or taxidermy animals are your thing then this book is certainty for you.
You can see a few more images taken by Oskar Proctor on his website. The book, Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders, can be ordered here and Wynd’s museum will open hopefully open in Hackney later this month.