I discovered by chance the work of Madrid-based photographer Thais Varela, who’s high-contrast, super saturated work immediately caught my eye. When I look through her photos they give me that feeling of the early to mid-90s editorial feeling, thinking Raygun magazine covers. And those colors, the richness and depth there, as well as the deep dark tones, everything feels so dreamy. Seeing Varela’s work makes me want to pick up a film camera, though realistically, my photos wouldn’t be half as great as hers.
One of my go-to waking up in the morning, soothing ambient chillness records has been the new record from Purelink called Signs. I tend to put albums on repeat, listening to them over and over to get a better sense of the overall narrative, and this one works great for that.
“Distilled from extended compositions prepared and performed across 2022 in Chicago, Kansas City, New York, and Los Angeles, Signs captures their chemistry at its most liquid and immaterial, mapped in mutating systems of glitch, glass, rhythm, and space. It’s music alternately subdued and subterranean, elevated and remote, attuned to the flickering sentience of outer spheres.”
The other thing I’ll point out is the cover art by Ezra Miller (not that one) who has created what I would describe as a serene bathhouse vibe. This really comes to life in the video below for the track “4k Murmurs” where these inky washes of movement come to life, reminiscent of delftware plates, sumi ink, and weather patterns or fishes swimming in schools.
Baranowitz & Goldberg Architects have worked their magic on Yama, a decidedly unique fishmonger in Tel Aviv, creating a space inspired by dazzling jewelry stores. The transformation is remarkable, with a sculpted ceiling that mirrors the graceful shape of a ship’s bottom, reminding visitors of the enchanting connection to the sea.
The display counters resemble the sleek form of a fish fin, while the charming clay-red refrigerator drawers are used to keep the fish fresh. The color palette throughout the store pays homage to the vibrant graffiti-covered walls of the neighborhood. It’s worth mentioning that despite the store’s luxurious appearance, the architects have skillfully used simple materials like concrete flooring, plaster, and paint-finished metal to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Even small touches like the entrance door handle features a charming coral motif, adding an extra touch before you set foot in the space. If this was in my neighborhood you know I’d be visiting at least once a week.
I’ve been following the career of Kustaa Saksi for more than a decade now, and it’s astonishing to see how far his work has evolved and transformed over the years. Saksi is a Finnish artist who describes his work as “specialising in graphic storytelling through patterns, textile art and installation.” It’s a fair statement as his work transcends a lot of typical descriptions, containing an alchemical mix of graphic design and weaving.
Most recently, he opened a new exhibit at the Helsinki Design Museum titled In the Borderlands, which includes a wide selection of his textile art works, created with jacquard weaving technique between 2013 and 2023. His work now feels like the intersection between organic fractal pattern making and traditional weaving and tapestries, things you don’t naturally put together, and that’s what makes them exciting. I’m absolutely certain these have to be incredible to see up close in person.
In the Borderlands runs until 15 October 2023.
I first heard of Eartheater thanks to Kyle as he would play her singles throughout the day, her music and harmonies throbbing through the apartment. Now, her new album Powders is out and it’s such a fascinating evolution of her sound. For me, it’s somewhere between 90s pop and trip hop, with distinctive bass lines, floating strings, hints of acoustic guitar, and electronic drum beats that feel familiar in a comfortable way. Hints of Morcheeba meets Massive Attack, perhaps. Her distinctive vocal styling though makes this all her own, creating a beautiful sound that’s underpinned by a dark eeriness.
I would highly recommend the single “Pure Smile Snake Venom” as well as and “Face in the Moon” to listen to first if you’re curious. And yes, there is a cover of System of the Down’s “Chop Suey” on the record, but I’ve gotta say, it’s not for me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The New Yorker released an immense article by Rachel Syme profiling American fashion designer Thom Browne and his slow burn career and the world he’s built. It’s a really great read, he has such a unique mind and POV, and honestly, he’s probably the most inventive American fashion designer. What adds even more emphasis to the story are the accompanying photos shot by the never-boring duo of Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari.
Cattelan and Ferrari have such a unique, oddball point-of-view of the world, which really does feel like it has a kinship to what Browne is doing. Which manifests in these hyper-real (their distinct style) editorial that gives a Looney Tunes feeling to suits and garments that cost thousands of dollars. It’s absurdism at it’s best, rather than falling into a realm of being corny or trendy. I hope they collaborate on more projects.
Sydney-based creative studio Christopher Doyle & Co. has been such a roll lately. Every time I see something new from them I’m so impressed. I’m going to do my best to focus on one of their latest projects, working with Troye Sivan on Tsu Lange Yor, his new brand of scents for your body and your home.
“Comprised of a constantly shifting set of elements, the visual language was born from free-form image-making and experimentation. Incorporating graphic and hand-drawn illustrated elements, as well as video and portrait photography, the brand presents a subtle yet crafted visual landscape that celebrates intimacy, texture, and feel.”
For me what works so well about the branding is how authentic everything feels. There’s so many small details, like hand-drawn elements, tooth and texture on the typography, paper and print elements that give a sense of tactility. It’s all very quirky and charming with a bit of refinement, and that duality definitely works to catch my eye.
As part of this year’s London Design Festival, Japanese designer and architect Daisuke Motogi partnered with Vitra on an exhibition titled Hackability of the Stool, which showcases 100 ideas for altering Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60. Motogi is known for exploring the relationship between objects and users, and creating functional and playful designs that incorporate surprise and whimsy. So you know this project was collaboration was right up his alley.
“Developing numerous ideas on how to modify the humble design icon, Motogi first presented the results in 2020 as an online exhibition on his Instagram account, where it caught Artek’s attention. Originally over 400 ideas were boiled down to 100 modifications, which Motogi and his team developed by manually altering, or hacking, the Stool 60. In the beginning, they focused on functionality and form, adding the functions of household items onto the stool, or transforming existing tools into stools. Later ideas were centered around the user, transforming Stool 60 into sports equipment or pet homes.”
He’s obviously created dozens of very smart ideas though I want to focus in one concept: this brilliant record player sound system. When I saw this I was in awe—how has no one thought of something like this? It’s portable, it’s out of the way, it’s charming as hell. I feel like design nerds would totally buy this for real, it’s so ingenious.
Rainer Schneider, a contemporary restaurant reinventing German cuisine, recently received a fresh looking brand identity from the folks at Hyperfocus. They decided on an analogue aesthetic for the photos, sprinkled in some fun copywriting, and embraced a lo-fi design approach, emphasizing the values of sharing and new culinary adventures. The visual identity they created is raw, sincere, and straightforward, evoking a sense of familiarity and timelessness. I’m such a fan of type-driven branding and this hits the mark for me. A bold type pairing, pared back color palette, it never goes wrong.
A couple of weeks ago I was on a long walk with the family, and as we wandered near the Arc de Triomf (yes, Barcelona has it’s own version lol) we came across a beautiful shop called SATTA. The multi-hyphenate brand offers a thoughtful proposition for individuals seeking a deeper connection with nature, self, and others, through a holistic design philosophy that embraces the tension between urban living and the innate human desire for biophilic experiences. Their study encompasses garments, spaces, botanicals, and ceramics, inviting individuals to slow down and find harmony within a sustainable and balanced lifestyle. As you can see in the photos below it’s evident why this place grabbed my attention. It’s serenity and calmness draws you in.
Living in Barcelona, it’s incredibly easy to not need to own a car. Walking is my usual way of getting around. Everything is really no more than 20 minutes away by foot, and if you want to go further or get places faster, the bike share program makes it so simple. Still, what if there was an even easier way to get around? This seems to be what Honda is thinking with the upcoming release of the Motocompacto, due to be released in November.
The Motocompacto is a new electric scooter is inspired by the Motocompo scooters Honda released in the 1980s. It is designed to be used “for the last leg of commutes” (which is carmaker jargon, you do not need a car to own this) and has a range of 12 miles on a full charge and a top speed of 15 miles per hour. For someone like me, 12 miles would be plenty, as it’s about 6 miles to get to the sea from my apartment in the center of the city, Eixample. It weighs less than 50 pounds, imagine carrying a heavy pice of luggage around, and has zero emissions.
I would love to see one of these in-person to understand the scale, as well as try riding it around to see how smooth or bumpy the ride feels. As for the design, I love the suitcase look and feel, it’s giving 80s anime vibes. I’ve seen a lot of “you’ll like a dork riding this around” commentary, but like, who cares what other people think if it works for your life? Hopefully we see more out-of-the-box mobility solutions on the horizon.