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.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is a mysterious and ambiguous film that’s truly a bizarre masterpiece. The 1975 film was directed by Peter Weir, who you know from Dead Poet’s Society and The Truman Show, about a group of schoolgirls that disappear on Valentine’s Day of 1900. I mean, that set up alone should have you intrigued.
Last week saw the release of a tribute poster by the talented Kilian Eng, absolutely one of my favorite illustrators. He’s done an impressive job of capturing the intrigue of Hanging Rock, the purity and innocence of the girls, and the juxtaposition between the two. The piece is so stunning, and technically it’s a brilliant, being made from an 11 color screen print. I can’t even impinge what a pain in the ass those separations were!
You can snag a poster for yourself by clicking here.
Below is the trailer, just in case you haven’t seen the film.
Though I don’t do it as often as I’d like to, I love traveling. The pleasures of exploring the unknown, the excitement of having your first conversations in a foreign language, these are exhilarating feelings that can only be attained through traveling. I’m excited to say the I’ll be visiting Milan from April 1-6, thanks to a partnership with Lexus, for the Lexus Design Award and the Salone del Mobile, one of the most exciting design fairs in the world.
I’m hoping to get some recommendations from you readers on what to see, where to eat and drink, and especially any exciting events around the fair. I’d also love to meet up with any creatives in the area for a café or a cocktail. I know there’s go to be so much to see and do so any tips are greatly appreciated.
Easiest way to reach me is by email: email@example.com
You can also follow my Instagram to see the adventure in real time.
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.
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.
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.