Based in Malmö, Sweden, Mästerverk presents fine art prints, in super limited editions, from emerging Scandinavian artists. Their initial line-up so far includes Oscar Grønner, Maria Pohl, Clara Selina Bach, Stine Maria Aalykke, Jon Kono, Freja Erixån, Olle Halvars, Karl-Joel Lrsn. My personal favorite is the piece by Oscar Grønner of the man taking a tinkle in the public toilet.
On Easter day in 1988, Keith Haring painted an 8′ X 16′ mural on the White House lawn, and then donated it to the Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. It’s a beautiful piece, I love the colors and shapes, and of course, that cool dog in the middle. He wasn’t even 30 years old when he did this.
I had a wonderful trip to Milan thanks to the awesome folks at Lexus. If you follow me on Instagram it seems like a bunch of pretty pictures made easy. That’s kinda true but it’s also a lot of walking, a lot of editing & organizing, and a lot of trying to keep all your devices charged. That said, here are the top 10 coolest things I saw in Milan, my personal favorites that really got me excited and inspired.
Jia Wu’s Player’s Pflute
Jia Wu, one the Lexus Design Award and Event prototype winners, presented one of my favorite concepts of the entire week. It’s called Player’s Pflute, which is a series of plastic components (like mouthpieces, hole punchers and connectors) that allow you to turn vegetables into musical instruments. Weird, right? I’m drawn to this because it’s so ridiculous and fun, and honestly, I didn’t see a ton of this kind of playfulness while I was in Milan.
This isn’t a brand new space, but it’s certainly a space that many are buzzing about right now. This is the Valextra Milano flagship store, designed by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Asharm of Snarkitecture, who are recipients of TheDesignPrize. The space was recognized for the “Shop Design and Retail” category.
I was able to stop by the space the other night and it’s truly a lovely experience. The ceiling is drape din flowing sheets of white mesh that unite the space in an ethereal manner. That paired with Valextra’s curation of bags in the store, nothing but whites, greys, and creams, it’s a stunning combination.
Via Manzoni, 3, 20121 Milano
COS X Studio Swine
“Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere and not a drop to drink!” That’s the phrase that kept running through my head when I first saw this collaboration between COS (probably my favorite clothing brand at this point) and Studio Swine, made up of Japanese Architect Azusa Murakami and British Artist Alexander Groves.
Their collaboration has yielded what I’d call a high-tech tree that regularly sprouts giant, soapy bubbles that are each filled with smoke. It’s hypnotic to watch as these bubbles form an fall of the tree, like ethereal fruit, and absolutely delightful to encounter in person. You honestly feel like a child standing there, mouth agape, because the bubbles are strong enough for you to hold in your hands. The bubbles also smell amazing, which gives rise to the question, is a new COS scent on the way?
Via Pietro Mascagni, 8
Green Brewing branding by Lucy Alter Design
This is a delight from Lucy Alter Design that I quite enjoyed. Lucy Alter is the studio of two Japanese guys, Satoshi Aoyagi and Mikito Tanimoto, who together are doing some really great work.
I found their work while browsing at the Triennale, coming across their branding effort for Green Brewing, a Japanese tea company. I love the simplicity they sought in both color and typography which reflects the purity of the tea itself. The type is extremely well laid out and the overall packaging is very well-executed.
Triennale, 20123 Milan
Fare Luce @ Foscarini Spazio Brera
There were a few experiences at Milan Design Week that you could walk around in and this was certainly one of my favorites. Giovanni Maria Filindeu worked together with lighting brand Foscarini to create Fare Luce, an immersive experience in the heart of Berra that let you walk through and experience lighting in unique installations.
There was the mirrored room, the ancient citadel, the rainbow road, the veiled room, and more. It made for many Instagrammable moments, which might sound gross, but there was nothing but smiles on everyone’s faces.
If I had to guess I wouldn’t have imagined that a bed would have been on my “coolest things” list, but when the bed is made of pink palm leaves, how can you resist?
This masterpiece was designed by Marc Ange and was exhibited at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibit, which overall was one of my favorite exhibits. It’s described as “a contemplative, palm-shaded daybed installation in a lush fantasy setting, by the Green Gallery, in the Mediateca garden.” I think it’s the bed of my dreams!
Mediateca di Santa Teresa
Via della Moscova 28, Milano
Continuing my love for the work inhabiting the Wallpaper* Hand Made space was the TOILETPAPER BAR! This is literally a physical manifestation of the magazine, an aesthetic overload sprung from the mind of Maurizio Cattelan.
Kyle and I grabbed a couple of proseccos from the friendly bartenders and worked here for a while, it was actually quite nice if you’re comfortable being surrounded by walls and floors covered in spaghetti wallpaper.
Mediateca di Santa Teresa
Via della Moscova 28, Milano
The Visit by Studiopepe
Refinement, sophistication, drool worthy. Those are probably the words I’d use to describe the impeccably designed apartment simply called The Visit. Located in the heart of Breta, Studiopepe has curated a perfect vision of what an apartment could be, you know, if you could afford dozens of designer pieces and a space with huge rooms and high ceilings.
The space included pieces from designers like Agape, Agapecasa, Aytm, Bang & Olufsen, Bulthaup, Camo, cc-tapis, FENIXNTM, Florim, Green Wise, Lambert Et Fils, Leftover, L’Opificio, Molteni&C, Shuj, Vitra and so many more. They did a fantastic job, but I’ll still to my own eclectic style—lots of random tchotchkes that have personal meaning.
Via Palermo, 1, Milano
Elle Decor concept store
Spotted this concept while walking around Milan and what drew me in was the bright pink signage and typography, I couldn’t say no. Basically, Elle Decor created a Concept Store that looked at the future of shopping and what that might look like.
It was a bit tough figuring out what their point was exactly, but there was lots of VR, selfie spots, a coffee conveyer belt, and lots more. Aesthetically the space was decked out with perfect furniture and lots of beautiful accessories that gave me a ton of ideas for my own apartment.
Palazzo Bovara, corso Venezia 51, Milano
Thanks to our friends Josh and Evan, Kyle and I had a chance to speak with Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma, one of the hottest design duos out there. Not only are they super rad guys, their multiple lighting designs featured at Milan Design Week were some of the stand outs.
First there was their collection with Flos, the Blush Lamp (which you can see above) and the WireRing, both of which were physically minimal while having a very robust, and in the one case colorful, output. The second was their exhibit at Foundation at Spazio Krizia where they featured their lamp concepts that helped to form their ideas for the Flos collection.
It’s hump day, I’m in Milan, and honestly I have so few worries (except for how much my feet hurt from all this walking, first world problems). With that in mind I thought I’d post something that matches my current state of mind: chill.
Brian Lotti, for a great portion of his life, was known for being an exceptional technical street skater, meaning he could do tricks no one else had even thought of. But then a series of injuries came along and he decided to focus on the arts, like film-making, and for the purpose of this post, fine art.
What I love about his paintings is that they showcase the vibe of Southern California but in a beautifully abstract way. Washy swathes of greens and oranges become trees and murky greys and blues become the asphalt, the sky, the mountains.
Gemma Gené, an architect and visual artist from Barcelona, has created a stunning series of paintings and drawings with a simple conceit: objects wrapped in or made of metal. The effect is dazzling because of her next-level ability to render the highlights and shadows of the metal, as you can see from the incredible details in the pineapple above.
The two aspects of her work that I really enjoy are the wood panels she uses, which certainly bring a wonderful contrast to the overall composition, a balance of the natural and manufactured. I also appreciate the fact that she paints in the shadows and subtle reflections of the objects onto the wood panels, grounding the objects and giving them even more depth.
Beautifully executed, hopefully she continues to make more of these.
Gradients are quite “in” these days as they’re able to bring a feeling of movement and a depth of color that’s always attractive. How a gradient is applied is where things can get interesting, as is the case with the work of Zoe Gilbertson. Her medium is needlepoint which allows her to create abstract artwork that bridges the hand stitched with the digital.
When I think of the most talented people in lettering my list includes Louise Fili, Jessica Hische, Erik Marinovich, Gemma O’Brien, and of course the incredible Dana Tanamachi. It’s been a joy to watch her work grow and evolve on Instagram as she handles immense murals, covers for books and magazines, and so much more. Very recently she completed a stunning triptych for the Instagram HQ which speaks to the growth of the platform over the years.
“This triptych was created by hand-cutting adhesive stencils, meticulously placing them on the birch boards, then painting a gradient on top of everything, and finally peeling off the stencils to reveal the beautiful woodgrain below.”
This first design illustrates IG’s infancy—strengthening/connecting roots, giving voices, and cultivating simplicity. The flowers shown here are a mix of the earliest spring flowers and oak leaves/acorns. The latter of which are tiny things that have the potential to create entire forests.
This middle design illustrates IG’s adolescence—connecting voices, creating empathy (the stems intersect like two clasped hands), and bringing communities and cultures together. The flowers shown all bloom in midsummer.
This final design radiates from the center (expanding, growing, exploring) using a variety of wildflowers, symbolizing the the beauty and wild-ness a future full of possibilities holds.
One of my fondest memories of early design inspiration was receiving type catalogs from House Industries. In the mail. Like a physical object that I could admire, obsess over, and still to this day, maintain a collection of. I hope some of you readers remember these catalogs and/or still have some stored in your library, they were masterful examples of printing and typography.
Their work at this point is legendary so I’m thrilled to see they’re releasing a new book titled The Process is the Inspiration on May 30.
The Process is the Inspiration is a collection of helpful lessons, stories and case studies that demonstrate how you can transform obsessive curiosity into personally satisfying and successful work. If that’s not enough, there’s also plenty of over-intellectualized post-rationalization supported by hundreds of new images, our signature top-secret printing tricks, and thousands of Oxford commas. Most importantly, this book shows that there’s no sense in waiting for inspiration because inspiration is already waiting for you.
Couldn’t be more excited. This book almost feels overdue as they’ve been at this for over 25 years now and are still at the very top of their game with no signs of slowing down. Netflix needs to take note for their upcoming series Abstract, House Industries should obviously be a part of series 2!
You can pre-order The Process is the Inspiration by clicking here.