Cold weather and rainy rain is finally upon us here in LA and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm. Nothing sounds nicer that spending some time relaxing in a sauna, but to be quite specific, this incredibly designed Grotto Sauna by Partisans. It’s the combination of incredible materials, the 3d sculpted and fabricated interiors, and of course the stunning view.
The site is a prehistoric large-scale rock formation, and understanding it intimately was the first step toward architecture. The selected concept prescribed a solid, simple presence on the exterior, while the interior followed dynamic air movements in curvature forms; requiring design solutions. Challenging the standards of current practices in the construction industry, we worked directly with a millwork and steel fabrication partner on every detail. Together, we developed a new process of fabrication; utilizing state of the art 3-D technology to scan, model and build the Grotto.
Please take me there now.
It certainly feels like the glamorous days of flying are over. Free checked bags are history, seats are getting smaller inch by inch, and the food is certainly never going to get better. Thankfully W & P Design and Punch have teamed up to create the Carry On Cocktail, perhaps the cure to inflight mediocrity.
The kit contains a recipe card, bitters, sugar, a combination spoon & muddler, and to class things up even further, a linen napkin. And because you’re plane bound everything was designed to meet FAA regulations, so there’s no fear of a cranky agent dropping your stash in the trash.
Friends With You, the art collectivex of super minimal, yet maximally cute beings, have teamed up with Spanish porcelain makers Lladro to create a series of X-mas ornaments that make the occasion more contemporary. I’m partial to the tree toppers personally, especially the beautiful white and golden versions, though the whole collection is downright adorable.
You can view the collection here.
New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman takes the design and concept of the new World Trade Center building to task, disappointed by the lack of vision for such an important New York building/monument.
Instead, the building, built as if on a dare to be the tallest, required unprecedented fortifications at astronomical costs, on an immensely difficult site. Mr. Childs faced a nearly impossible task: devising a tower at once somber and soaring, open and unassailable, dignified but not dull. He envisioned an elaborate antenna and a tapered base. Both ideas were vetoed, among much else. The building didn’t end up exactly as the architect pictured it. Few buildings do. I’m not sure that the differences are what tipped the scale.
Uninspired and more like a bank vault than a space for culture to thrive. As Kimmelman rightly points out, this “idea was brushed aside by the political ambitions of former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a Republican, and the commercial interests of Larry Silverstein, the developer with a controlling stake at the site, among other forces pressing for a mid-20th-century complex of glass towers surrounding a plaza.” Missed opportunity.
Designing for a government, such a massive, headless beast, seems like the ultimate challenge. I’d imagine the bureaucracy to make true change would be incredibly difficult, though there’s one country that’s pushing the boundaries of design where few other countries have ventured forth. I’m speaking of Norway, the northeast of northern nations who is bucking the trend of boring design.
In the last month Norway has updated the designs of both their passports and their currency, getting the sort of loving redesign that we all wish we could give to our place of origin. For their new banknotes they’ve chosen to create a unique blend of styles, with the design firm The Metric System offering a more traditional front (below), and a pixelated back created by Snøhetta (above), who are most well known for their architecture and interior design projects.
The first of the new notes will be issued in 2017 at the earliest. I’m looking forward to seeing how the general public responds to the designs, and if it’s positive, that we see a ripple effect happen across many other currencies.
If that wasn’t enough they’ve also decided to give their passports a facelift. There are three unique colors for each of the passport types: a pink-ish tomato for citizens, a beautiful jewel tone teal for diplomats, and a crisp, clean white for immigrants. While the covers may be minimal the inside pages feature an illustration of the Norwegian landscape. What’s more, when you hold the pages under a black light the scenery lights up with a representation of the Northern Lights.
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.