I love bookstores. Nothing compares to wandering the aisles, scanning the shelves, or flipping through art tomes on a meandering afternoon. Yes, many of us lead busy lives and favor the lure of the online book purchase arguing that there’s just as much discovery the further you fall down the “Other Recommended Titles” rabbit hole. But I beg to differ. Holding a book in your hand, feeling a page slide under your fingertips, or even engaging with your local bookseller for recommendations trumps the online experience every time because it’s human. I have hope for the local bookstore industry, though, and even more hope for the future after discovering the wonders of Japan’s Izu Book Cafe.
What do useful everyday objects look like from infancy? How many components link together a camera or chainsaw? These are questions artist and photographer Todd McClellan completely obliterates in his new book Things Come Apart. Taking the closest possible look at the inner workings of enduring design objects, McClellan dissects everything from iPads and telephones to alarm clocks and chainsaws. He then meticulously lays out each item, piece by piece, to give you a different perspective of its usually finished form. Interestingly, the arranged pieces are often more interesting than what they comprise.
London’s Present & Correct bills itself as a retailer of “office sundries for the modern workplace,” but one could argue they also peddle design pieces with functionality. Founded in 2008 by two graphic designers, the duo created their online store to sell original designs, vintage desk accessories, and the work of other designers they felt fit into their fold. Inspired by stationery, their wares are the type of office and work space accessories you might have always looked for but never known existed.
Last week, hundreds of new and established design makers showcased their latest wares during NY Design Week. And while there were many standouts, Seattle-based Iacoli & McAllister continue to stand apart from the crowd with their deceptively simple furniture, lighting, and accessory pieces. Founded in 2007, by Jamie Iacoli and Brian McAllister, the duo cite exploration, craft, style, and quality as creative fuel for their work which has grown from spare yet colorful stools and pendant lights to tables, objects, and jewelry.
It’s always fun to get sucked down the internet rabbit hole and led somewhere unexpected. While tooling around Etsy, I came across a store called Tiny Crystals which was selling hand-painted necklaces and journals with fantastic illustrations by Toronto-based artist Shen Plum. I was then led to her prolific online journal only to discover a world inhabited by vampire girls, ghost gangs, and skateboarding rabbits.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA) is getting into the ICFF spirit by unveiling a new collection of products. “Destination NYC” is designed by new and established designers working within all five NYC boroughs, and all products are made and manufactured in the USA. They run the gamut, too, with everything from pop stools and Confettisystem party decorations to some seriously beautiful new accessory pieces.
It’s summer blockbuster movie season, but for those of us interested in eschewing loud spectacles in favor of the smaller cinematic wonders, I’d like to recommend A Band Called Death for the top of your must-see list. In theaters on June 28, but available via iTunes VOD on May 24, the documentary tells the story of three teenage brothers—Bobby, David, and Dannis Hackney—from Detroit, Michigan, making punk rock before there was definable punk in the USA. Not only was this trio of misfits making killer original music at a time when disco and Motown were each having their respective moments, they were blasting the typical labels placed on artists at that time. And even though they disbanded before finishing their first album, going so far as to lock up their master tapes in an attic, they have since gone on to acquire the most unique semi-posthumous fame.
Fashionable pink cats, mini helicopters shooting out of a giant golden retriever’s eyeballs, and a trio of famous chefs straddling motorcycles that run on pork broth—this is the wonderfully wacky world of illustrator/comic book artist/podcast extraordinaire Lisa Hanawalt. Though we’re already big fans of her work (remember that hilarious Visions of Thanksgiving drawing?), her new book, My Dirty Dumb Eyes, is particularly exciting, and not just because it’s endorsed by a bevy of comedian types like Patton Oswalt; she’s doing an expansive U.S. book tour, too.