It’s been nearly four years since Mount Kimbie released their last record Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, now they’re back with a new track/video featuring vocals from none other than James Blake. The song has a definite James Blake-yness to it, backed by a really great organ melody that shifts into a more minimal, gospel vibe. It feels like it’s meant to be a preview of something much bigger as the Mount Kimbie boys are known for their beats and this doesn’t quite hit that mark. Time will tell!
I’m here in Milan for the Lexus Design Award and Event and Milan Design Week and though it’s only been a day and a half I’ve done some serious exploring so far. The city of Milan is a vibrant, bustling city full of sites and sounds and it’s a perfect location for one of the biggest design events in the world. Here are some of the things I’ve come across so far but I promise there will be lots more coverage over the next week.
Milan Design Week Preview
I’ll be doing a lot of posts over the following week around MDW but I was able to get a sneak peek at Henry Wilson’s useful objects at Aesop Brera and they’re gorgeous. Henry is experimenting with a 6000 year old casting process, making a series of bronze lamps and vessels that were absolutely stunning.
Lexus Design Award and Event
As a part of Design Week the first thing I’ll be visiting is the Lexus Design Award and Event space at the La Triennale di Milano. There’s incredible 3D printed glass pieces by Neri Oxman, a Static YET Dynamic installation which looks ethereal and magical, and the Lexus Design Award prototype winners who’s inventive work is being exhibited.
Seriously though, everywhere you look the typography game is strong here in Milan. There’s a lot of classic 60’s and 70’s overtones that frame the doorways of so many businesses that you simply can’t miss it. It’s type porn for days out here.
The Hidden Dan Flavin in a Church
This one is kinda crazy and I love it. In 1996, Dan flavin was asked by Italian priest Giulio Greco to create an installation in the Chiesa Rossa in Milan. The installation is still in place and running (I took the photo above) and I can tell you right now that the church, which is beautiful on it’s own, is totally augmented by the lights that Mr. Flavin installed. If you’re in Milan you MUST go see this.
I mean, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise at all, but the buildings in Milan are as eclectic as you can get. I’ve seen brutalism, modernism, neo-classicism… you name it, it’s here. One of the coolest things I’ve seen multiple times now is buildings with INTENSE plant coverage, like the one above. I call it out because I’ve seen so many examples in a day and half, and hopefully I run across more of this as I continue to explore.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for daily updates and be sure to check out my Instagram Stories for the behind the scenes action.
As I write this I’m riding on a train in the middle of Italy, headed to Milan for a week of design and inspiration. If you had asked me “where do you think you’ll be in 10 years?,” I wouldn’t have guessed this.
Today is the 10th anniversary of The Fox Is Black, formerly Kitsune Noir (r.i.p.) and no, this isn’t a practical joke. It’s overwhelming to think of the last 10 years and everything that’s transpired. Starting this blog has allowed me to visit amazing places, meet lifelong friends, and set me down a path of being a creative director for The Walt Disney Company.
Now I’ve been thinking about what’s next for the site. My big goal is to bring back The Desktop Wallpaper Project and connect with talented creators internationally. Plus I get more and more people writing me asking if I’ll bring it back, so I think it’s time. I’m also writing more stories on the site, I went back and did some UI clean up, though I still find Instagram and Instagram Stories to be the most interesting way of sharing.
Finally, just want to say thanks to everyone who’s helped or supported me over the years. A decade is a long time and I feel truly lucky to have been able to enjoy this crazy ride.
As I mentioned in my previous post, gradients are quite the thing these days. It was then funny to see this Kickstarter project pop into my inbox, which furthered confirmed my point. Anicorn, a Hong Kong based watchmaker, has a teamed up with Seoul based industrial designer Jiwoong Jung to create Hidden Time, a watch face that slowly reveals the hours of the day. The designer describes his concept as such:
“My research on how to naturally pass time began with how hiding occurs in nature, which led me to one of the best known examples––the chameleon’s protective color. Their defense mechanism is a kind of optical illusion, but a simple and effective way to have two things together naturally when superimposed.”
I like this watch for a few reasons. First, I think it’s smart that you can easily tell the hour because the white numerals really pop off of the dark gradient color. It’s really nice that it comes in three different finishes, that rose gold is precious, but honestly I’d still be a stereotypical designer and go all black. Finally, the price point is just right, coming in around $150.
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.
Raphael Vangelis, a London based director, created this super inventive video titled Analogue Loaders which brings the digital concept of waiting into a fantastic physical world. His reason for creating it? He feels like it’s how he spends his life.
This short film is my animated autobiography. I spend most of my life swearing at the computer because it’s crashed or isn’t working. Here, well known digital symbols are turned into something analogue and playful. The result is an homage to all the lost time we collectively spend in digital limbo in the hopes of sudden development on our screen.
There’s also a behind-the-scenes look at how he and his team made the video, which was a much more arduous process than I would have imagined. A majority of the elements were 3D printed, assembled, captured via stop-motion and then all sorts of digital video apps to create that handmade vibe of the video. I’m so curious to know just how long this video took to make. I feel like it had to take months, right? I think it was worth the effort but I personally wouldn’t have the patience to make something like this.
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.