Typically I like things that are simple, minimalist and restrained but every now and again I’ll see something like these amazing dishes by Martinich and Carran and realize I might just need to get a little more fun back into my life. Hand painted and finished with a gloss apoxy resin, these are a real celebration of color and they’re bound to liven up any dining room or kitchen.
Hand-painted by Rowena Martinich, each dish is made from high fired stoneware and each one is a unique one-off piece. Often blurring the boundaries between art and design, Martinich and Carran are a Melbourne-based duo who work both independently and collaboratively. If you haven’t guessed from the work here, both of them have a strong interest in color!
These dishes are available to buy from the Martinich and Carran shop.
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.
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!
The pour over coffee has a kind of mythic quality to it. While it’s not the most labor intensive process it’s still time consuming, meaning a lot of people don’t have the patience to make it themselves or wait for a barista to do their magic. Enter the Poursteady, a machine that seemingly does all the work for you.
Poursteady is an automated pour-over coffee machine that brings unprecedented speed, precision, and reliability to high-end commercial coffee retailers–and better coffee to discerning customers. Combining precision motion-control, elegant design, and beautiful fabrication–our system makes up to five cups of pour-over coffee simultaneously with a single barista at the helm.
I imagine purists will balk at such a blasphemous invention but I think the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the coffee. You can see in the video below how the machine mimics the swirling motion of the pour over, seemingly giving the same care as a human. Certainly interesting seeing robotics entering the coffee industry in such a unique manner.
In the world of cool, young chocolatiers in the United States, only a handful of names will come to mind because those are the only chocolates you see in stores. You have your Brooklyn old schoolers Mast Brothers, cool, mini-makers Woodblock Chocolate, glorified toffee treaters Alma, and the real San Francisco treat TCHO. One of the most important (and somewhat under the radar) makers is Los Angeles’ Compartes, an undoubtedly luxe and incredibly hip brand that eschews artisanal annoyances for no-hype-all-flavor sweets.
The brand has big news, too: they very recently expanded from a Brentwood storefront, adding a Melrose Place cubby hole hidden from street view (and technically within coffee shop Alfred). It’s an interesting triangular space designed by AAmp Studio that is most befitting of a chocolate store. The goods are a limited selection that include a wall of Love Nuts, a display of chocolate bars, and a glass case of truffles. Yet, that is irrelevant: the shop is an exercise in brevity and beauty, a quick stop into considered foodie charm.
The design details make the space. The main attraction is a conflicting tiled floor consisting of a black rectangle and triangular brick arrow that leads from the truffle bar to a corner of chocolate bars. A tension (and an eyeline) is created that brings the small room together. A wall of Love Nuts is arranged in a seemingly infinite gradient, placing you in a delectable loop almost demanding your trying each flavor of nut. The counter wisely features a giant logo that doesn’t overpower the room, instead adding a sophistication equivalent of a boutique hotel. If you want to hang for a while, indulging, a small cactus lined seating area is available under a gorgeous white neon sign in brand founder Jonathan Grahm‘s handwriting which reads “Chocolate Is Art.” And, in Compartés case, it really is.
It was a wise move for Compartés to add another location, expanding from their sleepy Brentwood headquarters to a trendy, busy Melrose location. The area may have difficulty in maintaining an identity but the design of the space is so crisp and pristine that it will outlive most of its surroundings. Who doesn’t like chocolate, either? The new Compartés is definitely cause for celebration.
It’s important to keep a sense of perspective in your work and your life, and Gradiate’s 3 Rules For A Happy Designer are a few strong points we should all keep mind. For me, it’s his first point that really nails it.
1. It’s all bollocks and none of it really matters. Yes really. That stress about the thing that went really wrong, your burning desire to make this your best design ever that in turn makes you miserable, the argument about the late print, graphic design, none of this is what really really matters in life. Release yourself from that stress. No one is dying. It’s pixels, type and colour. Work hard, but enjoy it and relax.
You can read the other two points by clicking here.
I’ve been a long time fan of Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi and his organic-feeling, nature inspired work. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution he’s taken over the years, though his most recent work may just be some of my very favorite – a collaboration with the legendary Marimekko.
Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi makes his Marimekko debut in the collection with the fascinating Merivuokko (sea anemone) and Meriheinä (sea grass) prints that are seen as fabric, home textiles and tableware. The prints were inspired by the rhythm, colours and atmosphere of the sea floor that he has experienced during his scuba diving trips. The Merivuokko pattern depicts the depth and abstract, clear forms of the sea and details of its flora and fauna. The free, swaying vegetation of the sea floor and its organized chaos, on the other hand, gave rise to the light, ethereal and moving Meriheinä print.
I love the range that his work has hit, going from homewares to fashion. It shows the versatility of his creativity and how these unique patterns can be used for some many fascinating applications. I don’t think the collection is out quite yet, so the trick is figuring out how to get one of those pillows below…