RUSSIAN SKATEBOARD FASHION Gosha Rubchinsky’s Post-Soviet Muses
BOOK DESIGNER JOHN GALL Sweat, Inspiration, and the iPad
PENTAGRAM’S ABBOTT MILLER The Design of Conversation
INSIDE THE SELBY BEN RYUKI MIYAGI KEMISTRY GALLERY
Luminaire presents: BangBoom! Zettelâ€™z Chandelier by Ingo Maurer 002 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Luminaire presents: Family Chair by Piero Lissoni
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INFORMER 12 14 15 16 18 20 21 22 24 25 26 28 32 34 35 36 37 38 40
Animal Décor Luke Wong’s Docapet Body A(r)mor Billykirk Tokuhiko’s TRUCK Postcarden Shwood Rainwear Reinvented Kiel Mead Jewlery The Hef Loveseat The Tutta Mucca Dress Lovely Lille How Designers are Changing Sound Toys by Design: Sergey Safonov Nooka Watches Kyoto T.Shelf The Family Five: Sonnenzimmer Bureau Expert: Mel Buchanan, Curator DESIGN THINKING
42 47 50 54 57
Pugh+Scarpa Wilkinson Blender Architects Lundberg Design Scrafano Architects Booth Hansen FEATURES
60 64 70 82 88 96 102 106 112 118 122 128 140
Ben Miyagi’s Elephant Seating Cole&Son Wallcoverings Gosha Rubchinsky Velo: Bicycle Culture and Design Inside The Selby Julien Berthier Aske Being John Gall The Design of Conversation: a Discussion with Pentagram’s Abbott Miller Kemistry Gallery Marché aux Puces St.-Ouen Richard Davies: Wooden Churches of the Russian North The Giant Sea Squid PLUS
8 10 144 146
Contributors Editor’s Letter Agenda For Hire: Michael Savona
006 DESIGN BUREAU //Contents
Gosha Rubchinsky An unwitting Russian fashion designer finds inspiration in solitude and skateboarding. Page 70
John Gall Designer John Gall knows his job may be going the way of dinosaursâ€” or more accurately, the way of typewriter repairmen. But heâ€™s not worried. Design Bureau sits down with Gall to discuss his career past, present and future, and what might happen if there are no more actual book covers to design. Page 106
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Abbott Miller Abbott Miller is known for inciting creative dialogue, with his portfolio of work resembling a veritable design smorgasbord. Miller talks to Isaac Gertman about what inspires him to be creative and how he continues to keep the conversation interesting. Page 112
Kemistry Gallery As Kemistry Gallery struggles to prove graphic design as a commercially successful art form, its bigger issue may be keeping the lights on. Page 118
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The Post Family is an art and design collaborative in Chicago. They run a gallery called The Family Room, an art-centric blog, an independent publishing company called Post Press and a letterpress and screen-printing studio. Alex Fuller, writer of this month’s The Family Five, lists his favorite designer as Abbott Miller. www.thepostfamily.com
Jeremy Brautman parlayed his passions for writing and toys into a career that combines the two. He has contributed to several toy and trends blogs and currently serves as Toy Maven to San Francisco’s Neon Monster. www.jeremyriad.com
Colleen McQuillen is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She lists her favorite design object as a ring she purchased in Krakow, Poland.
Writer Amalie Drury found herself tempted to jump into Lake Michigan to see if tentacles would sprout after researching her story on the giant sea squid. Drury writes for Chicago-based publications CS, CS Interiors, TimeOut Chicago, and she covers nightlife for Chicago magazine in her column “The Chaser.” www.chicagomag.com/ Radar/The-Chaser/
Isaac Gertman is a graphic designer, educator, displaced midwesterner, cyclist, and occasional writer residing in Brooklyn, NY. His writing has appeared previously in STEP magazine and on the design blog “SpeakUp.” His favorite piece of design is Lobster Telephone by Savador Dalí, for what he feels are “very obvious reasons.”
When she’s not dodging cars on her bike, Annika Welander is suffering electro-induced hearing loss at Someoddpilot, a Chicago design agency. At night you’ll find her writing, producing the Public Works design show and speaker series, or secretly scoping acts for a fledgling record label. She enjoys saying inappropriate things at www. twitter.com/Someoddpilot.
Noah Kalina lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. For this issue of Design Bureau, Noah photographed Abbott Miller and John Gall. www.noahkalina.com
Stewart Kuhlo is a Chicagobased attorney, writer and hiphop obsessive. He has a weakness for sneakers and true crime novels, and thinks The Wire is the finest drama to ever hit the small-screen. His favorite designer is David Carson, “The Father of Grunge.” You can find him on Twitter all too frequently at www.twitter.com/stewkuhlo
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DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
CARRÃ‰ Design Marc Sadler
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR This year, Glamour magazine was named Magazine of The Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors. I died a bit inside. Yes, the 71-year-old fashion magazine famous for dating tips, summer-dress bargains, and stomach-flattening diets is still considered the best magazine of the year in print and online. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; the magazine distributes nearly 2.5 million paid copies of its magazine in the US alone (for comparison, the New York Times Sunday edition is about a million copies less than that). But it feels like a surprise, like 2.5 million people couldn’t still really be paying for stories on prom makeovers. But they are. Glamour magazine, like most other major media outlets, is good at making a magazine for a composite of you, of making something just appealing enough to keep 2.5 million readers interested in buying it. It’s not consistently thrilling, engaging, or inspiring, but it’s relevant enough. But doesn’t the modern reader deserve better than just enough? Better than one-size-fits-most junk media? Can’t I, with all these gadgets and LCDs, demand New York Times-caliber journalism and The Onion-quality humor all carefully crafted specifically for my needs, both known and unexpected? Can’t magazines and newspapers get an update, the way pretty much all other media has? No. The content is out there, but as it is, we will never, ever find it all—not consistently, at least, and not with the tools that we have now. In this era of media on gadgets, this is the million-dollar question: how do individual readers curate content from thousands of different publishers—each of which has its own style, topics, and zany paywall and delivery schemes? The answer will likely be found not by publishers or editors, but by designers. Designers want to save magazines, save great content. We have the iPad, a million sold, and likely millions more to go. It’s a contraption that as Patrick Whitney, dean of the Institute of Design, pointed out, “is more for consuming stuff than creating stuff.” It’s one of many new tools that readers can use to sift through copious quantities of content, but with one major difference—it quietly shifts the reader into reader mode, not author mode. By design, the iPad has no easy way to type or to take photos. It must be held to work as designed, preferably with two hands. In a subtle way, it demands the reader’s full attention. The ad campaigns all show users calmly reading in undistracted locations.
(When was the last time you’ve seen a major ad campaign promoting quietly reading alone?) Apple has announced a major new platform that promotes reading, and publishers are saying that it’s going to kill books and magazines? Nonsense. The iPad is likely the very thing that will save them. This is hardware created for reading, sorting, and sifting content. And we have designers to thank for that. This important design shift towards encouraging reading (rather than nagging users to blog, tweet, and constantly share and blather utterly useless content) is proof of the realization that the alphabet, the English language, and the editing and writing communities are not in need of a redesign. It’s the delivery of content, its consumption, scale, pass-along, social dialogue, and commerce that need the redesign. This is an exciting time for writers, readers, and designers, and we hope to have captured some of that in this issue of Design Bureau. Designers are being asked to deal with increasingly broad problems while balancing traditional and historical design with contemporary needs and technology. Book designer John Gall speaks on how his experience designing over 3,000 book covers has prepared him for the era of E-books (page 106). Jon Bøhmer’s solar-powered water box is an update on a cardboard-cooker design from 1767. The box provides safe drinking water to poverty-stricken areas of Kenya (page 36). Also updating an older idea, architect Larry Scarpa (page 42) created a “solar skin” that wraps into the existing structure of a house to provide solar power. Referred to as a “solar umbrella”, the project found its roots in a design from 1950s. Lingerie-boutique owner Sara Wizemann draws inspiration from antiques in her Portland shop Lille (page 28). The designers at Cole & Son, a British wallcoverings company established in 1873, still manufacture its original designs, but have also introduced modern creations by collaborating with designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Piero Fornasetti (page 64). Managing Editor Kristin Lamprecht speaks with Russian fashion designer Gosha Rubchinsky (page 70). His work finds an unlikely balance between Russian patriotism and counter-culture values. This issue of Design Bureau was created specifically with you in mind. And though there are no prom makeovers or dieting tips, we hope that you enjoy it. Chris Force Editor-in-Chief
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
INSPIRING DIALOGUE ON DESIGN
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012 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Animal Décor Taxidermy inspired items are often more about form than function—but a stylish form, at that.
BEARSKIN by EELKO MOORER Eelko Moorer triggers curiosity with his rubber creation Bearskin. Moorer says he was inspired to create Bearskin after observing children’s Playmobil plastic figures. “What happens when we bring this perfected, idealized and stereotype toy-like projection of reality back into a familiar real life situation?” he says. Bearskin is available in brown, black and white urethane-rubber, and each rug is specifically casted and made to order. Photo by: Barend van Herpe - Amsterdam.
Eelko Moorer’s Bearskin in white, price upon request, www.eelkomoorer.com
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
ASHTRAYS by AREAWARE Areawear’s cheeky Gorilla, Skullrilla and Robotrilla ashtrays provide hours of entertainment: when used, smoke billows out from the gorilla’s eyes and nose. Designed by David Weeks, the piece’s intended purpose was just to be used as an ashtray, however people have also used it as a container for candy, nuts, keys or to house a cell phone or iPod.
THE HORSE LAMP by FRONT The Horse Lamp by Front measures in at more than seven feet high, making it a dramatic statement piece for any room. Foundry director Marvin George notes that although the lamp is quite cumbersome, he does have clients who are in search of a piece that crosses over into sculptural art, and that it has been used in a number of hotels, large companies and boutiques. Kaira Townsend is an apparel assistant for Anthropologie and a freelance write currently residing in Chicago.
Ashtrays, $25, www.areaware.com • Horse lamp, £3,346, www.foundryonline.co.uk
014 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Luke Wong’s Docapet Furniture designer Luke Wong created Docapet after his own high-end taste challenged him to find stylish products befitting of his home and his Weimaraner, Madyson. “I created a bowl for my apartment and it just sort of evolved from there.” Wong now sells three different styles of the cleverly named feeders: the dogleg diner, the square meal and the Y. Bowl. He’s also got a dog toy on the way this summer entitled The Dogface, a rubber chew toy inspired by children’s plastic green army man figurines. “It’s going to be durable because my dog can chew through anything.” And for Fido’s owners who really love Wong’s designs, check out his sleek line of human furniture, Studio Wai.
1. 2. 3.
Dogleg Diner $98-188 Square Meal $86-126 Y. Bowl $30-60
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
BODY a(r)mor Sandee Shin’s line of metal jewelry brings a whole new level of chic to capes and body chains. Her line, A(r)mor, has soft, subtle draping of chain metal, each piece showing off her architecturally-inspired style. Shin says she designs her collections using different shades and weights of metal, giving each piece its own individual look. “I try to take advantage of the weight and size variations to create different draping patterns. I hand pick every material myself, not only to ensure that it is good quality, but because I need to physically feel what will be a good balance–not too heavy, but not too flimsy.” Her favorite piece from the TEN collection is UME—an antique pewter and gunmetal body chain that connects around the neck and underneath the shoulder with a lobster claw clasp. One thing required of women who dare to don her jewelry: confidence. “I am confident in what I like and dislike. This is how I would perceive a woman who likes to wear A(r)mor, as well. She would be a confident woman who knows who she is and what she wants.” Kari Skaflen is a freelance writer, photographer, and founder of online style magazine Above the Fray, www.abovethefraymag.com.
LOO (above left), $225, and AEON (above), $460, www.armorjewelery.com
016 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
BILLYKIRK Rolling pastures and whitewashed barns of Amish country welcome visitors to Billykirk’s website, quietly boasting the location where nearly all of the company’s leather goods are produced. Though it seems a strange place to source production, “We never question the pricing or work ethic of the Amish,” founders (and brothers) Chris and Kirk Bray say, “and their handiwork is unmatched.” It may also have something to do with the brothers’ design sensibility—simple, handcrafted pieces that blend into their surroundings rather than upsetting them. But whatever the classic American accessories lack in shock value, they more than make up for in deliberate subtlety and impeccable construction. Since their adolescence in Tennessee, the laid-back design duo knew they would collaborate on a creative endeavor. In 1996, inspiration came in the form of a wide vintage leather watchstrap they stumbled upon at a pawnshop in Los Angeles. They went to task buying leather and learning the trade, pioneering what they call the “Third Wave” of the wide watchstraps (WWII and bohemian hippie wristwear being the first two). Soon the line expanded into belts, satchels and wallets, each piece a representation of the fine hide they work with. Why leather rather than housewares or clothing? “Your personality blends with leather and gets better with age. It literally becomes part of you, growing on your arm or waist.” Given the quality of their work, Chris and Kirk were weary of the rampant designer collaborations and diffusion lines, but have selectively done collections for J. Crew and Opening Ceremony. Their latest venture, which admittedly took a lot of “soul-searching” on their part, is Brothers Bray & Co., a line created for Urban Outfitters. Although the line was designed with a younger audience in mind and has a lower price point than their original brand, fans of the Billykirk products can still expect to find the exceptionally functional, military-inspired pieces for which the Brays have become known. Isaiah Freeman-Schub is a freelance writer, frequent contributor to Modern Luxury Magazines and stylist currently residing in Chicago.
KIRK’S INSPIRATION LIST 1. Music – currently The Soft Pack, Broken Bells and always Bonnie Prince Billy. 2. Subtle texture in leather and fabric is big for me. Think tonal herringbones and dark rich leathers with a bit of unexpected color 3. Army surplus stores 4. Camping equipment from the 1970s and 1980s. 5. Bike rides along the Hudson with my Freeman Transport ‘Gravel Racer’ 6. Getting out of the city to explore small towns 7. Flea markets 8. Old bicycle gear 9. Vintage hunting equipment 10. Vintage photography like the Kodachrome Americana pics featured on our friend Michael Williams’ blog, A Continuous Lean.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
CHRIS’ INSPIRATION LIST 1. WWII military gear 2. Thrift stores 3. Boot sales in PA, NY and England 4. Old outdoor magazines like Field and Stream, Backpacker, and Outdoor Life 5. Vintage U.S. made camping and hiking gear 6. Designers: Yohji Yamamoto, Margiela, Billy Reid, Jean Touitou, and Ralph Lauren 7. Blogs: Secret Forts, ACL, The Selvedge Yard, A Time to Get, Drinkin’ and Dronin,’ 10 Engines, Hollister Hovey, All Plaid Out, Reference Library, Archival Clothing and The Impossible Cool. 8. Music by the Avett Brothers 9. Good coffee brewed with my vintage Atomic stove-top espresso maker 1. 2. 3.
Leather-bound journal with hand-stitching, $150 Canvas rope belt with leather detailing, $130 Felt pork pie hat, with leather and metal Billykirk logo, $110 3
018 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer 2
Tokuhiko’s TRUCK Tokuhiko Kise founded TRUCK as a means of creating his own furniture and selling it directly to the public. Located in a leafy corner of Osaka, Japan, the 1000-square-meter TRUCK compound consists of four buildings: the furniture showroom, workshop, Tokuhiko’s apartment, and his small coffee shop called BIRD. Each piece is made by a team of 13 employees, and then thoroughly vetted in Tokuhiko’s own home. The resulting designs, which use oak, steel, and upholstery in various combinations, are elegantly simple and, according to Tokuhiko, are created “only for use.”
TRUCK’s CS sofa has “no bad side” as Tokuhiko quips—meaning it can be placed in the center of a room or against the wall. Made of solid oak and spring frames imported from Denmark, the CS sofa is designed to be functional, lightweight, and simple: three attributes that can be found throughought TRUCK’s range of furniture.
Henry Julier is an industrial designer who works, writes, and occasionally sleeps in New York City.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
The SUTTO desk is made from solid oak with steel legs. The SUTTO chair features a cracked oak back with a steel frame and green plaid upholstery. The AG shelf, made from oak and steel, was designed for office storage. Prices upon request.
2. Truckâ€™s CS sofa features a solid oak frame and is customizable
with cushions in canvas, leather and corduroy. The GT side table is oak with a glass top and comes in three different wood finishes. Prices upon request.
3. The interior of BIRD, the coffee shop housed inside the TRUCK
020 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Mix one part greeting with one part garden and water daily for pleasant post-sized greenery Created by London-based A Studio for Design, Postcarden is a mail friendly, miniature watercress garden. Offered in three separate illustrations and architectural designs—allotment, botanical and city—these leafy greetings create the perfect hybrid of old and new with a vintage feel and modern structure. The self-contained card arrives to your door with a pop-up illustration, a foldout planter and watercress seeds for your very own garden. “I wanted to produce a product that was well designed, affordable and collaborated with other artists,” says Aimée Furnival, of A Studio for Design. “Something that people of all ages and backgrounds could relate to and buy, and not just those in the world of design.” Furnival contacted three artists to create the front cover of the cards: illustrator Sophie Burdess, filmmaker Millie Harvey, and graphic designer Krista Nyberg. “My main inspiration was, of course, old postcards,” says Swedish-born designer Nyberg. “The kind you don’t see very often, with photos of high-rise buildings and such. There is a texture in the print that brings on a certain feeling of nostalgia.” Designed to lengthen the delight of a standard greeting card, Postcarden encourages the re-
Postcarden, £7.50 plus shipping, www.postcarden.com
ceiver to “bond, live, and grow the greeting on a day-by-day basis,” with the intention that over time the card will react to the environment and the receiver, evolving in its beauty and charm. The card itself resembles a Victorian greenhouse, inspired by Furnival’s summer trip to Royal Kew Gardens, just outside of London. The cascading archways and oblong window cut-outs set the stage for the cress to grow, which according to the directions, usually happens within three to five days. Liza Rush is a recent graduate of DePaul University, a regular contributor for Design Bureau’s sister publication, ALARM, and a Chicago-based freelance writer and designer. Her work can be found at lizarush.com
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
shwood Shwood does its take on the classic Wayfarer style sunglasses by adding a wood grain frame. The Portland-based company has covered their shades with authentic zebrawood, European maple and East Indian rosewood from Africa and features 100% UVA/UVB protection Carl Zeiss lenses imported from Italy. Manipulation of the wood is kept to a minimum in order to showcase its natural beauty, and each step of the processâ€”from the precision lens cutting to the veneeringâ€”is conducted right in the Shwood shop, ensuring the specs are entirely handcrafted.
Shwood, $95-$135, www.shwoodshop.com
022 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
rainwear reinvented If you can’t bear the thought of holding a boring black umbrella as you trudge through a storm, check out one of the unique umbrellas we’ve found from around the world.
Hiyoshiya Japan-based Hiyoshiya specializes in traditional, hand-crafted umbrellas, or wagasa, in Japanese. The company is the only one in the country that produces both traditional, large-size ceremonial nodate gasa umbrellas, used by tea ceremony masters in outdoor tea ceremonies, as well as smaller, more delicate janome gasa umbrellas, which are used by the maiko and geiko on rainy days. Each umbrella features intricate hand-painted patterns with bright bursts of pigment accenting the centuries-old design.
Hiyoshiya umbrellas, ¥7000-252000, www.wagasa.com
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Swaine Adeney Brigg Quite possibly one of the most high-end umbrella makers around, Swaine Adeney Brigg has been crafting exquisite rain gear for Londonites (and his royal highness the Prince of Wales) since 1750. Brigg umbrellas can be quite expensive, with an ostrich-handle silk shoot combination totaling up to £800. And they make other notable goods, too, including the original brimmed safari hat made famous by Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, as well as the original attaché case for James Bond in From Russia with Love.
Bella Umbrella After using antique parasols in her wedding, Jodell Egbert became obsessed with vintage parasols and pagoda-shaped umbrellas, most popular with women of the 1800s who were looking to escape the sun. Now, Egbert has two websites and a retail storefront dedicated to parasols, as well as her own line, Bella Umbrella.
Fox Umbrellas For more than a century, Fox Umbrellas has been making stylish, sophisticated rain gear by hand. The shop, which opened in 1868, originally crafted its umbrellas using a whalebone frame and a silk shoot, but have since moved to the more practical combination of a wooden shaft with nylon around steel ribbing. Harrods and Ralph Lauren are among some of the stockists that carry these fine umbrellas, and notable clients include England’s own royal family. Meredith Fletcher is a Texas native currently living in New York and working as a freelance writer.
Swaine Adney Brigg, £99-1175, www.swaineadeney.co.uk • Bella Umbrella, $40-204, www.bellaumbrella.com • Fox Umbrellas, £32-805, www.foxumbrellas.com
024 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
KIEL MEaD JEWELERY Retainers, pink bubblegum blobs, car keys: items not usually found strung on a silver chain, much less in high end jewelry. But for jewelry designer Kiel Mead, these oddball relics are not only sources of inspiration, but also some of the most popular pieces in his eponymous line of jewelry. So, just how did retainers and fishing hooks find their way around the necks of fashion’s elite? “My first pieces sought after by celebrities were the Forget-Me-Not rings, which were ‘cute’,” says Mead of trendsetting clients like Rose McGowan and Michelle Williams. “Although this piece was successful, I wanted to do something to challenge [my] customers to see what they would wear.” Mead began experimenting with the limits of design, which led to some of his most daring—and now signature—pieces, like the retainr necklace. “This piece is not just a necklace, but a trophy of conquering those awkward times,” he says. Some of his more recent pieces are inspired by antique tea and espresso cups, a personal favorite from his new collection. In an effort to explore what he feels is the “most beautiful part of tea cup,” he pulled off the handles, leaving a jagged edge exposed. “This piece is very deserving to be the next thing in my line because of the roughness it conveys, yet it is very beautiful at the same time.”
AMERICAN DESIGN CLUB Though Mead is securing himself as a rising star in the jewelry world, his goal is much larger than just personal success. Mead and friend Henry Julier (a furniture designer, graphic designer and Design Bureau contributor) are setting out on a mission to help other young designers through the American Design Club. Established in October 2008,
the American Design Club was formed to create a community that fosters designers, giving them a platform on which to stand. “I want to help grow a community of designers to be successful in this field,” says Mead. “It’s really difficult to have success, and with the tiny bit of success I have had, I want to help as many people as possible to have it, as well.”
Casualtea necklace, $700, www.kielmied.com. To learn more about the American Design Club, visit www.americandesignclub.com.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
The Hef Bryan Batt, a design enthusiast best known for his role as art director Salvatore Romano on AMC’s Mad Men, was commissioned by Hugh Hefner to design a sofa in honor of Playboy’s 50th anniversary. Design Bureau chatted with Batt about his inspiration behind “The Hef.” How did the project of designing “The Hef” come to you? I was approached to create something unique to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Playboy Club.
it appeals to all collectors of fine furnishings. It easily blends with many styles of decor for both the home and office. But there will only be 50 of these love seats made, each one signed by Mr. Hefner.
What about The Hef, the love seat, do you think Have you designed other furniture pieces? best captures the essence of The Hef, the man? And what other projects do you have in the The piece captures the essence of the Play- works now? boy era, and an inherent masculinity. The Just a few personal pieces, but I would love intention was to evoke the mood and feel of to design more...it’s actually being discussed. the elegant mid-century nightspots, which We (Batt and longtime business and life were all the rage amongst the cocktail set. partner Tom Cianfichi) just bought a home in New Orleans and are in the process of How did you decide what materials to use in decorating now. I am also working on another book for Potter entitled Mad For Design, The Hef? I think mohair velvet is one of the sexiest in which we photograph rooms and talk fabrics in existence. The feel of the pile with the different designers who created makes it irresistible to the touch. Coupled them, and apply my design thoughts, ideas with the sturdy strength of the rosewood, and concepts. which adds weight and a sense of history, as well as the nail head, which are definitive Your character Sal on Mad Men is an art di“club” details, the materials make for a very rector at an advertising agency. As a designer, sophisticated love seat. were you more drawn to part due to the character’s artistic nature? Can you lead us through your design process— I think it was a wonderful twist of fate. Sal from conceptualization to the finished product? is so brilliantly written, it has been a joy to I did some research online and drew from play him. design books and old design magazines, but really my inspiration comes from every- Does the Hef (the man) own The Hef (the where. I started sketching, then handed it love seat)? over to the artisans at Brownstone Furni- He should! ture, who skillfully created what I drew and designed, and after a few minor tweaks, The Hef was born. Where do you do your designing? I wish I had more space to design in my New Orleans shop, Hazelnut. Since I am constantly traveling for all my different work— acting (Mad Men, Ugly Betty), my book (She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother), and designing—I find myself designing wherever I can... but I prefer my bed the most. Describe the person who is likely to purchase this sofa? Initially, the piece was designed specifically for the Playboy collector; however, I believe
026 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
the Tuta Mucca dress Libero Arbitrio: Italian for “free will”, and the basis behind Lemuria’s multi-functional, multi-style clothing. The Italian-based fashion company was founded in 2006 as a project to create innovative, functional and transformable clothes. Now, designer Susanna Giola has fashioned eight different Lemuria garments, each one wearable in more than five ways. “Lemuria thrives on the possibility to make individual changes and to model a look that perfectly matches and respects each one’s personality and body.” Along with each Lemuria frock comes an instructional DVD, explaining how to change the piece into new styles. By Kaira Townsend
Lemuria dresses, prices upon request, www.lemuriastyle.com
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
How to Tie the tutta mucca dress LOOK 1 The bodice of the jumper is placed
around the hips, with the sleeves/straps of the jumper wrapped neatly around the waist. This creates a voluminous harem pant option. LOOK 2 Bodice is pulled up over the chest. The sleeves/straps are tied once in the front, then wrapped around back where theyâ€™re tied again, creating a strapless jumper look with the empire waist drawing a flattering emphasis to the natural waist. LOOK 3 The sleeves/straps are untied and
crossed in the front, then tied behind the neck to form a criss-crossed halter across the chest. The half belt clip is attached from the front of the garment to the left side, creating great depth and volume within the piece.
LOOK 4 Sleeves/straps are untied in the back.
The left sleeve/strap is pulled over the left shoulder from the back where it meets the right sleeve/strap, and the two are tied together in the front. A detachable half belt clip is attached from the left side to the front of the jumper cinching the waist and giving the jumper a chic one-shoulder look. LOOK 5 The half belt clip is removed and the sleeves/straps are untied and unwrapped, and pulled over each shoulder from behind. These are then taken over each arm and tied in the back to create the illusion of straps. Since most of the fabric is pulled towards the back, this look is the most traditionally formflattering,. LOOK 6 The sleeves/straps are untied and
removed from under and over the shoulders. Each arm is placed in each sleeve, and a belt is added to cinch the waist, flattering the wearerâ€™s natural waistline and making the final look a long sleeved jumper.
028 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
LOvely LIlle Boutique owner Sarah Wizemann brings her exacting taste and beautiful lingerie to the women of Portland Shopping for bras, corsets and thing-high stockings may sound like a seductive mission fit for a Bond girl or a Playboy bunny, but in reality, bad lighting, long lines and blaring music tend to make the actual experience anything but sexy. Enter Sarah Wizemann—a “lingerie curator” and owner of Portland boutique Lille. Upon arriving at Wizemann’s East Burnside boutique, visitors can expect to be offered a cup of vanilla black tea while they peruse the collection of delicate underthings, each panty and stocking neatly presented on antique tables (which are for sale, along with all of the fixtures, furniture and clothing inside the store). The store’s comfortable, well-lit dressing rooms are filled with homey antique vanities and mirrors for multi-angle viewing. “I never thought I’d end up in retail or fashion since it was something I sort of took for granted,” says Wizemann. The daughter of a seamstress, she credits her mother’s small business ownership for her own appreciation of well-made garments and fabrics. “But I guess it’s in the blood.” While studying dance and living in New York with her web developer husband Alan, the two eventually sought a smaller city atmosphere, and she an entrepreneurial dream. Not wanting to lose access to a thriving music and cultural scene, the couple chose Portland as their relocation destination, and Wizemann chose the city’s 198-year-old Dunham Building (which once served as a dance studio) as the future home of her store. She called on New York-based architect and furniture designer Matthew Hoey to design her new space, and upon seeing it, he urged her to preserve the exposed lathe and plaster walls to create a rustic French country feeling. Wizemann chose to name her store Lille, due to its French connection and namesake lace pattern, and because of how the moniker looked in print. The Lille lace design now graces both the boutique’s website and its business cards. Continued on page 30
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
The namesake Lille lace adorns the storeâ€™s business cards.
2. Along with the delicate undergarments, all of the antique furnishings inside the boutique are for sale. 3. Bruleeâ€™s Silk Teddy in plum, $145.
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ALTHOUGH WIZEMANN says she’s wary of fashion ‘rules’, she shares her top five nuggets of lingerie wisdom: 1. Always hand-wash your lingerie to increase the life span. Machines cause too much wear and tear on delicate undergarments. 2. When buying a bra, make sure you get the right fit on the loosest hook, so that you can tighten to the second and third hooks as the bra stretches out. If you start on the tightest hook, you have no where to go, and the bra won’t last you as long. Boutique owner Sarah Wizemann only selects merchandise she herself would dare to don.
Three years after opening, the store has found its footing with Portland’s selective clientele, which includes local artisans, musicians and clothing designers. Of her collections, Wizemann says she gravitates towards vintage-inspired goods like tap pants and teddies. “Form and function are both important in selecting which lines to carry,” she says. Currently, one of her favorite lines is a collection of camis, bras and other all-silk offerings from Unforeseen Circumstances. “The pieces are inspired by antique furniture—think pleated French crème cotton that resembles crown molding on a Craftsman home.” Wizemann keeps the collections she carries varied and on the cutting edge of fashion. She mixes traditional lines with collections like macabre-inspired tights from Les Queues de Sardines—a line that uses graphic prints such as marching ants and bright blue Cyclopes eyes. “There are certain, timeless styles that will always sell: a basic silk slip, a cotton bikini. That being said, I think my store is more fashion-forward than many of my competitors’ shops because I gravitate towards things that are a bit edgier and riskier—colors like coral and army green, rather than the typical lipstick red and black. Rompers and onesies; unusual prints and patterns; lingerie as outerwear.” Right now, Wizemann is happy helping the women of Portland shop from her incredibly select, hand-picked collections of bras, panties and lingerie specialty items like floor-length chemises and silk garter belts. Because one doesn’t become a “lingerie curator” without a carefully curated collection. Emily Goligoski is a San Francisco-based digital strategist and writer whose arts and culture commentary can be found on TheSanFranista.com. • Chris Hornbecker is a Portland-based photographer. www.hornbeckerphoto.com.
3. Don’t get hung up on your size. Bra sizes vary so much from brand to brand, and especially from country to country, that you could be a 34B in one and a 32D in another, depending on how they run. Be sure to try before you buy! 4. If your bra is riding up in the back, the band is too big for you. A lot of women buy a band size too big, which is a big mistake because that is where your support comes from - it should be snug, but you should be able to fit two fingers between your skin and the garment comfortably. 5. Assess your wardrobe needs before you go lingerie shopping, and seek out a shop that will provide excellent customer service (including bra fittings to figure out your correct size) and a wide range of products and not just one type of bra - there is no “one perfect bra” for everyone, regardless of what clever marketing the company has employed to make you think that the multifunctional t-shirt bra at the mall will fit you perfectly. 1. Stella McCartney’s Clara Whispering Silk Contour Bra, $140, and Bikini, $65, in Lavender. 2. Stella McCartney’s Eva Scampering Silk Chemise, $150.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Lilleâ€™s home, the historic Dunham building in Portland, once served as a dance studio, a kismet coincidence for Wizemann who studied dance while living in New York.
032 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
The S5 keeps the audio 100 percent digital during the transmission process, preserving the sound quality from the original source.
HOW DESIGNERS ARE CHANGING SOUND
When sound designer Chris Kallai and his team at Sonos, a California-based digital speaker company, set out to create the S5 Zone Player, they had two things in mind. The first, to simplify the home stereo. The second, to make the sound system controllable by the iPhone.
By Stewart Kuhlo
Before the S5 was introduced, the company’s innovative high end units needed to be connected to an existing home stereo system, meaning additional wires, connections, time and frustration. The design team strategized about how to solve these problems, and decided to create a standalone unit that required nothing more than an Internet connection. In a design strategy akin to putting together a ship in a bottle, they created the Sonos S5. The small unit contained a Wi-Fi platform, on-board CPU with 333 MHz processor, 5-channel amplifier and five sound drivers (two tweeters, two mid-range, and subwoofer)—all inside one sleek unit measuring just 8.5 x 14.4 x 4.8 inches. Described by Kallai as the industry’s “first software driven speaker,” the S5 employs industry-
leading technology that preserves the digital sound signal from the source of the audio (an iPod) through to the listener’s ear. To make good on the second part of their challenge, Sonos created an app for the iPhone that allowed the listener to change the sound of the S5 unit from the palm of the user’s hand. Technically speaking, the S5 allows the listener to select a channel in which to stream their content using Sonos’ iPhone app. After the user downloads it, a digital signal is then sent via a wireless connection to the S5 and is immediately split into five digital streams using on-board software (two high, two mid, and one low). These five streams then send the sound from the S5’s internal CPU to a 5-channel digital amplifier before being transmitted through the internal sound drivers, and voila—the resulting sound is digital music to the listener’s ear. Unlike other digital music players, the S5 preserves the content’s digital signal all the way through the audio food chain. Basically, an iPod initially transmits the audio signal as
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Chris Kallai: The amount of control you have with software is amazing;
it is control and engineering you just can’t do with hardware because there is not enough flexibility to make all this happen.” analog, converts it to digital and finally back to analog before the listener hears a sound. This back-and-forth process ultimately
causes the sound to lose some of its integrity. But by keeping the content 100 percent digital throughout the transmission process, the S5
completely preserves the sound quality from the original source. And those sources are numerous—a user can stream content from his or her iPod, iTunes library, an external hard drive via audio input, or from any number of Sonos’s music partners: Rhapsody, Deezer, Last.fm, Napster, Pandora, and SIRIUS. The S5 also supports a spectrum of file types, from lossy mp3s and Windows Media files to lossless FLAC and WAV files. For his part, Kallai believes that Sonos is at the forefront of utilizing software technology to shape the future of sound for the digital age. “The amount of control you have with software is amazing; it is control and engineering you just can’t do with hardware because there is not enough flexibility to make all this happen,” he says of the S5’s analog speaker predecessors. “But by using software, anything you can dream up you can make a reality.” Left: The Sonos S5 combines five digital signals inside the compact unit to create a rich, digital sound.
WHAT HAPPENS TO TRADITIONAL ANALOG SPEAKERS DURING THIS DIGITAL REVOLUTION? KLIPSCH: THE ANALOG COUNTERPOINT Analog speaker designer Klipsch is fully aware of the impact new technology developements like Wi-Fi and digital signal processing will have on the home audio market. But they’re taking their time in figuring out how to approach the situation. “We want to do premium sound and create a product we can be proud of, from industrial design to acoustics to marketing,” says Glen Fuller, director of the company’s Indianapolis-based industrial design team. “We try to be current and put together a package that is the right size, shape and form and will give our acoustic guys what they need to be able to design great product.” However, senior acoustic engineer Kerry Geist acknowledges the difficulties involved with designing analog products for a rapidly evolving marketplace. “Wireless is the perfect example of [market uncertainty]: there are so many competing designs out there and none of them are compatible, and at the same time, you don’t really know what the overall influence is going to be on the industry; some of them have better market penetration, some are more affordable than others, and none of them are compatible. The challenge to us is finding the credible technologies that actually have a future to them, and not something that is a good idea today, but has no future. That’s the battle we fight.” The team at Klipsch isn’t being naive; they do realize that digital technology does ultimately represents the future of sound. It’s just a matter of what their next move will be and how they will make their products stand out. “The computer is becoming the hub to stream media throughout the house, and I think that will be the place everything will go,” says Fuller. “People still want good audio, so we need to keep abreast of new technologies.”
Klipsch systems use traditional analog sound waves in its speakers.
Sonos S5 Zone Player, $399. www.sonos.com
034 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
toys BY DESIGN Sergey Safonov A personal connection is at the heart of selfmade toys for Russian toy designer Sergey Safonov. Based in Moscow, Safonov sees toys as a great tool of communication, creating and bridging international communities for artisans and toy enthusiasts alike. Safonov, who began his art career drawing ASCIIs for an underground cyberspace art collective in Russia, eventually traded keyboard characters for his own characters. “I consider myself a character designer, and I tell stories with them,” says Safonov. “Producing toys should encourage (I hope) others to tell their own stories.” Resin is just one element out of an arsenal of mediums (including fabric and wood) and interdisciplinary skills (graphic design, storytelling, craftsmanship) Safonov uses to create what he refers to as an “art form from the people to the people, not the corporations to the people.” In 2005, he started using resin as a means of turning his ideas into objects. Among Safonov’s works of toy art are The Moon Wanderers, a fleet of dreamlike creatures gently floating against an obsidian pool. These whimsical characters are a 3D exploration of his childhood rumination: What happens in the world when people are sleeping? Currently, Savanov is working on an illustrated book that tells the story of another of his creations, Gooma–“a seed who evolves into a living being”–and The Moon Wanderers he meets on his way to The North Pole. As for toys, he has just announced his newest character, Godot, and is working with a toy company on his first production toy. Safonov is also organizing a massive character expo in Moscow and he continues to run the world’s premier art toy database, Rotocasted. com. “I want to make as much as I can and make a difference,” he says. “Life is short.” By Jeremy Brautman
The Moon Wanderers, price available upon request, www.sergeysafonov.com
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
NOOKA WATCHES Nooka designer Matthew Waldman continues on his mission to redefine time telling with his 2010 collection of candy colored Zub timepieces. The original concept behind these linear-inspired styles came after he reevaluated the way time had traditionally been read while waiting for a client in a London Hotel. “I questioned why there were only two ways to represent time,” he says of traditional analog and conventional digital style watches. Waldman, who says he learned to tell time in the first grade, recalled that the concept was hard for many children since it operates on a base of 12 (or 24), whereas everything else in math is calculated by 10. “I sketched some ideas on a napkin, went back to New York and showed them to my lawyer, who thought I could get design patent protection. There were some other steps, and then—a watch!” Vicki Crain is a former dancer and Chicago-based arts and culture writer whose work can be found at www.vickicrain.com. Waldman’s portrait by Derek Frampton Davis, www.dfdavis.com.
Waldman describes his patented way of reading time as mix of science, math and “a utopian view of the future.” So, just what does this utopian future look like to him? “It is chrome and crystal, wood and polished stone. It is green and full of nature. It is full of biotechnology, more than the mechanics of today’s world. Less things and more experiences.” Zub watches, $130. www.nooka.com
036 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
kyoto ENERGY Socially-minded entrepreneur Jon Bøhmer was inspired to make a change after witnessing how a lack of usable water affected poverty-stricken communities in his adoptive home of Kenya. So, he created the Kyoto Box: a compact solar cooker made from polypropylene and acrylic glass that boils water by harnessing solar energy—and made it affordable for the audience who needs it most. The Kyoto Box went on to win the Financial Times Climate Challenge award for most innovative solution to the effects of climate change, and began the basis for a company that promises to implement new planet-saving products every three months. As Bøhmer prepared to take Kyoto products worldwide, he talked with Design Bureau about his eco-friendly inventions and why good product design can change poverty. My wife is from Kenya, so coming here in 1993 opened my eyes to the huge unsolved needs in product development to solve poverty. My thinking was, without tools, how can people escape the poverty trap? Energy and water are the first places to start, as they are the enabler of any economic activity. I am very inspired by the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed in 1997. It has two pillars: reducing greenhouse gas emissions (“abatement”) and to help those who have been hurt by climate change (“adaptation”). Since I saw old women carrying huge loads of firewood over long distances here in Kenya, I started thinking about alternate ways to cook food. Cooking is 90% of the energy use in developing countries and is responsible for half the deforestation, so it needed to be solved first. For a long time I was struggling to find a design that could be made for under $100 until I decided to go for the simplest I could find, which is the card box cooker (actually based on a design from 1767!) I take a lot of inspiration from the great inventors in history. Winning the FT Climate Challenge award led to massive PR worldwide; it seems the quest for simple solutions in an overcomplicated world resonated with a lot of people. As a re-
sult, I have received thousands of emails from supporters and distributors all over the world. We have also been nominated to the Design of the Year from both Wallpaper Magazine and the Design Museum in London (it is displayed there as we speak), as well as being included in a number of educational books on design which is a great honor. We believe in “photon harvesting”. The sunrays have so much energy and there are so many ways of harvesting it: through plants and algae, photovoltaics, optics and heat production. We also believe in using existing large-scale materials and manufacturing capacity; plastics and aluminum are our favorites, recycled and recyclable materials that will never run out. We stay away from rare materials as they create political instability and do not scale well. None of our products require building any new plants, so the scaling can be super fast with
John Bøhmer: “Without tools, how can people escape the poverty trap?”
The Kyoto Box is a solar cooker made from polypropylene with acrylic glass cover. It provides free energy for cooking, baking, cleaning water and drying foods.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
very little investment. This is what we need (and can) do to solve today’s massive pollution and poverty problems. The Kyoto Bag is another of our products that is unassuming but incredibly useful. We started with an existing flat jerrycan product and added the solar heating function and a showerhead. It is basically a bathroom in a bag. The Turbo is also very popular as it can use agricultural waste to cook instead of wood and has very little smoke. Most of our products are just coming out from beta testing and we now have to build a completely new distribution channel as this does not exist in the locations we want it to go, which is a huge effort that will take years. The Kyoto Box is about 20 Euros right now, but when we get the carbon credits for the use of these we expect to be able to sell them for less than 5 Euros. That puts it within range of intended audience, which is among the poorest in the world. I have a manic disorder about inefficient practices—I have to improve whatever I see and just being here in Africa exposes me to horrific struggles every day that we cannot imagine in the developed world. As an entrepreneur, it is also a huge market opportunity that is being completely ignored.
The back of the bag is black to heat water.
The Kyoto Bag is a high-tech, multifunction plastic bag for carrying and storing water. It also heats and cleans water with the sun, and can be used as a shower.
We have many grassroots organizations that use and resell our products. We have not got much attention from international NGOs most of them are not active in energy and many do not do practical work only policy, and none support design of new products for the poor to my great surprise. We have about 30 products in the pipeline— water pumps, algae growing systems, plastic housing, low cost greenhouses, desalination
systems, crop drying systems and several software products for mobile phones, educational systems using micro projectors and so on. We have to fund this ourselves, as there is hardly any funding available anywhere for research and development for the poor. Nevertheless, we pride ourselves on being probably the first design house dedicated to poverty reduction and our promise is to launch a new product at least every three months.
t. shelf Designer Jae Won Cho has put a new spin on shelving systems with T. Shelf, his modular triangle shelving unit designed for modern nomadic culture. The unit is meant to fit around a person’s existing furniture, adding storage space where it’s needed. T. Shelf uses zip ties to assemble the triangular-shaped pieces rather than screws to cut down on parts and labor requirements. “My first approach was to get rid of screws, which also gets rid of the tools in assembling the furniture,” says the practically-minded Cho. The zip ties are used to connect the individual pieces into one piece of solid furniture. The shape-shifting unit can be formed five ways and packs flat for space saving transformation that doesn’t compromise the quality of the design.
T. Shelf, $400, www.j1studio.com
038 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
THE FAMILY FIVE: Sonnenzimmer Each issue, The Post Family interviews a new designer/studio with the goal that they reveal all their most secret wisdom so everyonre may learn to be as radical as they are. And if that doesn’t happen, well, we hope you are mildly entertained by their desert-dry sense of humor. This issue, The Family sits down with Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi, from Chicago design firm Sonnenzimmer. 1. Describe what do you in 3 words or less. Nick: Art factory. 2. Do you and Nadine share a common vision for how design should function? Nick: Sometimes. I always value strong imagery over conceptual mush. Great concepts don’t do anything if the image is boring or generic. I find that, when coming up with an image, there is an inherent concept within; one that works on a visual level in a more direct way than any heavy-handed didactic “concept”. I am a firm believer in intuition and following your nose. In general, Nadine works with more forethought. This makes for a really great push and pull when it comes to our collaborations. On a good day, the conceptual elements feel intuitive and our images have weight. 3. What’s the difference between art and design? Nick: Art tells a story. Design sells a story. 4. Who do you most admire in your field?
et also has its limitations, but can be refreshing. It’d be cool if people intuitively opened up to a library of imagery that’s outside of what they are used to and thus makes them reflect on it. Ultimately, I wouldn’t want our visuals to come across as an insider joke, but instead instill a certain transparent honesty. 3. Favorite typeface?
Nadine: Currently, I like Gravur Condensed. Nick: Phillip Guston for his path and technique, Kim Hirothøy for his ability to surprise, Rob- 4. What are you doing differently? ert Ryman for his single mindedness, Ornette Coleman for his exploration. Nadine: We are slowly making decisive decisions in working outside of the computer plat5. What’s your favorite industry-related form for collaborating. We are realizing design website? is becoming more and more mere content driven and form is becoming craft again. Nick: AnAmbitiousProjectCollapsing.Blogspot. com 5. Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows. Pretty please? 1. What inspired you today? Nadine: I gave Magic Johnson a high-five on Nadine: The Center for Book and Paper Art Japan Air a long time ago. at Columbia College. Seeing all their amazing presses and the general openness of the faculty Bonus Round: and staff was really inspiring. What are your thoughts on design/art educa2. What do you hope people take away from tion? Do they prepare you well for life after school? your work? Nadine: That being loud doesn’t immediately mean you make the best point. That being qui-
Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi in their studio. Photo by Nolan Wells.
Nadine: I was lucky. I feel I got a very wellrounded education that went hand-in-hand
Fischerspooner, 2009, 4-color screen print, Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi
2. The Books, 8-color screen print, 2009,
Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi
3. Throbbing Gristle, 5-colors screen print,
2009, Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi
DESIGN BUREAU // Informer
with practice. But that was due to me going to school in Switzerland where graphic design education could be pursued through the guild practice or academia. But the job of letting students know, it’s not just about name-dropping a person, a resume or a certain college name. It’s about paying your dues, in terms of work. You will work 70 hours a week and you will start at the bottom. They don’t teach the mindset of the profession that you will have to adapt to extreme changes in the field as you get older. Nick: My design education did not prepare me for life after school. I went to Middle Tennessee State University. When I was there, the design program was at a turning point. The old guard was on their way out and the new guard hadn’t arrived yet. I hear things are much better now. I didn’t really go to art school, but I have pretty negative association with those places. Art schools need to take a good, long look into their souls. Ethically, I’m not sure how they can churn out thousands of artists with no real world skills and tons of debt. In your senior year, there should be mandatory classes for establishing an art practice outside of school. We’re talking the basics here, bookkeeping, etc!
040 DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
BUREAU EXPERT: Mel Buchanan, Curator, MAM Prepping for a show that’s been curated by another museum seems like it would be pretty easy, right? Not according to Mel Buchanan, assistant curator of 20th century design at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She sheds some light on what her job as curator entails and her prep process for the upcoming exhibition, European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century. Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming show? The exhibition includes an extraordinary range of furniture, ceramics, metalwork, glass and products from 118 designers, and is the first encompassing, critical assessment of this fruitful design period. Objects have been divided into two major categories: designs that adhere to Postmodernist ideas, which flourished in the early 1980s, and designs that returned to the Modernist principles of form follows function. These two categories outline an ongoing dispute among designers on what is the most important aspect in design: the function or the artistic concept. What is your favorite piece in Shaping the New Century? I’m excited to have a few superstar objects visiting our museum—like Maarten Baas’ Hey Chair
be a Bookshelf! and a grouping of Marc Newson chairs. Tord Boontje produces rare treasures, but also affordable objects that we’ll have for sale in the museum shop. I am going to be sure to grab my own version of his Garland light fixture. That’s the advantage of working with design—that even as a non-profit employee of meager means, I can still live with the art I love at the museum! Since Shaping the New Century has already been ‘curated’ by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, what is your role in getting the exhibition together? The content and thesis was the work of R. Craig Miller of the IMA, so my primary role for this exhibit is to work with all facets of our museum—designers, marketing, art installers, retailers, and educators—to ensure that our presentation of the exhibition clearly delivers the original curator’s message.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
Rag chair for Droog by Tejo Remy Photographer: Robaard/Theuwkens (Styling by Marjo Kranenborg, CMK)
2. Chest of drawers for Droog by Tejo Remy
Photographer: Robaard/Theuwkens (Styling by Marjo Kranenborg, CMK) 3. St. Petersburg chair for Droog by Jurgen Bey
Problem Soving with PUGH+SCARPA
Q: How does architectural firm Pugh + Scarpa turn a dilapidated old house into an award-winning sustainable structure without tearing it down? A: By rebuilding it from the inside with LEED certified materials and creating a sun-harnessing “Solar Umbrella”.
Architect Larry Scarpa is used to seeing homes torn down to make way for something new, but when he saw one project in particular, he decided it was worth hanging on to. “It was considered to be a tear down, but we saw potential in it in the form of a remodel,” says Scarpa, co-founder of California-based Pugh + Scarpa. “We knew immediately that it was a place that we could eventually make a real home.” So, rather than tearing down the structure completely, Scarpa and partner Gwynne Pugh gutted the interior and left the shell of the home intact. They then expanded the living area with an addition that changed the orientation of the house by 180 degrees, which allowed for cross ventilation, open shading, radiant heating and bountiful daylight in every room. To facilitate the construction involved in the rebuild, the architects used only LEED certified materials, including recycled steel panels, decompressed granite and gravel hardscape, homosode walls made with recycled newsprint and cabinets made from recycled wood chips. “The thing with using these materials is that they have homogeneous cores, meaning it’s the actual material all the way through. If you scratch it, you can simply sand out the scratch,” explains Scarpa. These homogenous materials also allow for a long lifespan and extremely high durability.
In keeping with the sustainable theme, Pugh and Scarpa made solar technology the basis for all of the home’s power. They designed the interior of the house to be fully encased in what Scarpa refers to as a “solar skin”—a large, operable wall of glass solar panels that wrap around the south side of the home and onto the porch. This flexible, canopy-like structure of panels was designed to harness the sun’s rays to create power for the entire house, including energy-eating appliances like dishwashers and televisions. Pugh and Scarpa named their design project the ‘Solar Umbrella’, taking inspiration from American architect Paul Rudolph’s 1953 Umbrella House, which also utilized solar technology. The Solar Umbrella project earned Pugh + Scarpa many accolades and awards for its forward-thinking technology, including AIA/ COTE’s Top Ten Green Project, the AIA National Honor Award, and the AIA National Housing Award. It also became the personal residence for Scarpa and his wife (and principle architect at his namesake firm), Angela Brooks, putting an interesting spin on the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Although Pugh + Scarpa’s Solar Umbrella started out as somebody’s idea of trash, with some good design work and sustainable technology, is now one couple’s very treasured home.
The Solar Umbrella project by Pugh + Scarpa is a contemporary reinvention of the solar canopyâ€”a strategy that provides thermal protection in climates with intense exposures. Rather than deflecting sunlight, this state-of-the-art solar skin absorbs and tranforms the sunâ€™s rays into usable energy, providing the residence with nearly 100 percent of its electricity. Utility costs for the home average less than $500 per year.
The residence elegantly blends the sustainable strategies and materials of the home, while providing a rich sensory and aesthetic experience.
An inside look at the interior of the Solar Umbrella home. Recycled, renewable, and high performance materials and products were used throughout.
Passive and active solar design strategies render the residence 100 percent energy neutral. Hardscape and landscape treatments are considered for their aesthetic and actual impact on the land.
Engineering Great Design Structural engineering is a part of the process from the start of every Pugh + Scarpa project. “Pugh + Scarpa can solve a lot of questions in houses during the design phase, as they are designing while being structurally sound, and yet they tend to push the limits of what structural engineering can do, which is exciting and challenging,” says Sandy Becker of
Becker General Contractors. She worked with Pugh + Scarpa on the Solar Umbrella project. As Gwynne Pugh explains, “A lot of projects are design build right now. The interaction between so many different professions and areas of expertise is becoming very important. We want our projects to encompass all of these capabilities.” Partner Larry Scarpa notes that Gwynne Pugh’s background in structural engineering proved to be invaluable in reimagining his home.
A A third third generation generation Los Los Angeles Angeles based based contractor, contractor, Becker Becker General General Contractors, Contractors, Inc. Inc. possesses possesses the the strength strength and and experience experience of of over over ﬁﬁfty fty years years of of combined combined construction construction and and development development involvement. involvement. Completed Completed projects projects include include residential, residential, commercial commercial and and industrial industrial ranging ranging in in size size from from forty forty thousand thousand dollars dollars to to over over ﬁﬁve ve million million dollars. dollars. These These projects projects cover cover the the full full spectrum spectrum of of single single family family custom custom homes, homes, multi-family multi-family
Congratulations Pugh + Scarpa on your many achievements. We are proud to have partnered with you on many successful projects and look forward to the future.
apartments apartments and and condominiums, condominiums, commercial, commercial, retail, retail, ofﬁ ofﬁce ce buildings buildings and and industrial. industrial.
Above Board Construction p.o. p.o. box box 643140 643140 || los los angeles, angeles, ca ca 90064 90064 310.477.5723 310.477.5723 tel tel || 310.477.4242 310.477.4242 fax fax license license ## 706409 706409
11285 Sardis Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90064-3954
“I am fortunate to have collaborated on a number of projects with Pugh + Scarpa as an interior designer and will be forever inspired by those experiences. They are the real deal, a truly great ﬁrm, who deserve the accolades.” —Sarah Walker
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4/30/10 10:07:03 AM
Problem Solving with WILKINSON BLENDER ARCHITECTURE
Q: How does architectural firm Wilkinson Blender design outdoor escapes for city dwellers? A: By using the project space in any and every way they can—even if it means the alley.
In an urban jungle like Chicago where folks are constantly on the go, having a relaxing urban oasis to escape the madness has become somewhat of a rarity. So in response, design duo Michael Wilkinson and Richard Blender of Wilkinson Blender Architecture have mastered the art of designing green city getaways, and do it by capturing every square inch of usable space in a project. Incorporating the outdoors into their designs is a natural step for Wilkinson, a self-professed “hobbyist gardener” who, when surveying a piece of property, loves thinking about possible plant materials, as well as the architectural space. “On city lots, we don’t just think about the parameters of the building,” says Wilkinson. “We think about it from street to alley.” They tend to find that their approach to landscapes is heavily defined by their urban location. To wit: In one Chicago backyard project, the team rebuilt a two-car garage to hold just one vehicle, and then turned the other side of the space into a covered area that stretched out to the alley, instantly extending the backyard—and the childrens’ play space—for this family’s city home. “Michael designs spaces [that are] really open,” says Luca Lanzetta of Ernestomeda Kitchens. “It’s all about the convivial lifestyle.”
Another green getaway Wilkinson Blender recently completed is Chicago’s Felger Park. Keeping the wide age range of the park-goers in mind, Wilkinson attacked the pro bono project architecturally via stratified layers of activity: isolating paths, play areas and tree buffers, which were then layered on top of each other to create a park with integrated, yet separate activities. “We do design work, but we’re also out in the community. We’re interested in the public realm and the urban spaces of the city,” says Wilkinson. Outside of outdoor spaces, this duo is also known for the bold use of eco-friendly elements in their craft. They received the first residential LEED certification in Illinois; only the eighth in the country to date. “The building industry is responsible for the problems we’re facing now,” says Wilkinson. “So we feel a need to be responsible with our buildings, our energy, our resources.” In response to the booming green initiative in building, Wilkinson Blender has created rooftop gardens, installed vertical axis wind turbines, used soy-based insulation and put down a terrazzo floor made from recycled beer bottles in a variety of green residential projects. And in one Bucktown building, they took the old wood from the roof and re-
by Molly Each
The Apiary Condominiums project features numerous green features including solar water panels, radiant in-floor heating, soy-based spray insulation, and three separate roof gardens.
MICHAEL WILKINSON’s first clients? Mom and Dad When he was fresh out of grad school, Michael Wilkinson bargained hard to get his first big architecture project—with his parents. They agreed to let him design their weekend home in Ohio any way he wanted, as long as he did the actual construction himself. In order to get the work, he accepted their challenge and for ten months, Wilkinson lived in a camper on the property and commenced building a 900-square foot, three-story tower. On weekends, his grad school friends from Penn would drive up to help out with the daunting task, including friend Richard Blender. Years later, the Wilkinson weekend home lives on as a gathering place for family holidays and relaxing vacations, and still marks the first of many Wilkinson Blender collaborations.
Michael Wilkinson: “What defines the [outdoor] space is typically architectural, So it makes sense to continue thinking about the [outdoor] space in the same way.”
used it as the landing for the stairs, essentially turning the steps into carbon storage.
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And whether the team is designing an urban retreat in the form of an alleyway backyard or a lush community park space, Wilkinson and Blender make sure they never lose sight of one thing: collaboration. “They’re really open to talking about your ideas,” says Mark Kane of Softer Lite window company, who has worked with Wilkinson Blender on three separate projects. Wilkinson says it’s a constant process of collaboration with both their clients and their sub-contractors, with whom he approaches using a team mentality. “When we do residences, we get close to the clients, and the more we get to know about their life, we use it as clues to influence the design.” A tactic that seems to be working in the creation of their lush, functional city landscapes.
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4/20/10 5:07:40 PM
Problem Solving with LUNDBERG DESIGN
Q: How do architects create innovative buildings that push past basic four wall construction? A: By designing spaces that don’t involve a ‘building’ at all.
According to Olle Lundberg, his firm tends to create the “pretty private homes that nobody sees.” Although the CEO and founder of Lundberg Design says he has enjoyed creating unique living spaces for his clients, he also wanted to take Lundberg’s designs to a more challenging place, and devised plans for two clients that didn’t require a ‘building’ at all. The Lundberg team put its ‘non-building’ based architecture plan to the test when they were approached to design Hourglass Winery in Calistoga, CA. “This was an interesting project because we talked the client out of doing a building,” says Lundberg. After investigating the site, creating a traditional building didn’t seem to fit the space and the client didn’t want to risk losing valuable land for vines. So, rather than build up, Lundberg’s team decided to dig into the hillside, creating a carved out space they then encased with stainless steel—a much more cost effective solution than regular building projects. By forgoing an above ground building and making use of the land and its resources, Lundberg was able to save valuable land and the client’s money. “By changing the program we were able to do something beautiful,” he says. “Because we were imaginative, the solution we came up with was driven by
low budget, making it much more interesting,” he says. Lundberg Design’s other recent ‘non-building’ construct provided them with the opportunity to have the city of San Francisco as its client. Nearing the end of its 20-year contract with the city, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was looking to add interest and efficiency to its public bus shelters with an updated design. They felt the existing shelters were too cramped and unappealing, so they asked several Bay Area architects to compete in a shelter design competition, with each participant creating nine options for judges to pick from. “I never like providing lots of options, because at the end of the day, we know which one we like and which one is the strongest design,” says Lundberg. So, despite competition requirements, Lundberg only submitted one design for consideration—a gamble that paid off with Lundberg’s design winning the bid. “The public had the most positive and the most negative feedback. But at least we made them have an opinion.” Lundberg’s new bus shelter design features a larger, more modern aesthetic with sustainable features, including an undulating solar Continued on page 53
In order to preserve plantable land, the Lundberg Design team built only the most necessary structures. Eliminating the winery building complex was most logical, since fermentation and blending take place in stainless steel tanks that regulate their own temperature. Photos by Ryan Hughes and Olle Lundberg (left).
Olle Lundberg: “Because we were imaginative, the solution we came up with was driven by low budget, making [The Hourglass Winery project] much more interesting.”
During visits, patrons transition from the outside and enter into a textured underground wine bunker— an ideal environment for aging barrels and escaping the Napa summer heat for a dégustation. Photo by Ryan Hughes.
Lundberg’s new bus shelter design features a larger, more modern aesthetic with sustainable features, including an undulating solar film roof (developed especially for this project) and a solar powered LED Display and a Push-to-Talk button to assist the visually impaired in bus display information.
film roof (developed especially for this project) and a solar powered LED display and a pushto-talk button to assist the visually impaired in bus display information. The “seismic wave”, as Lundberg refers to the solar film roof, was created as an homage to the city. Although it has no specific meaning, the people of San Francisco have interpreted it in different ways, which the Lundberg team encourages. “We wanted the shelter to only work in the context of San Francisco.” Other elements in his design are meant to represent iconic San Francisco landmark, The Golden Gate Bridge. Paul Martin, Director of Engineering for Zahner, explains “Lundberg Designs has a great aesthetic, great use of materials, creativity, but their defining characteristic for me is that they are really open minded and flexible. That is not how most projects are handled, and there is a lot of benefits to being so open.” Knowing how to work with the client, the site, and the budget in creative and fresh ways is how Lundberg continues to keep its body of work diverse and interesting. “It is important the uniqueness not just be arbitrary, but has to do with the specific project. At the end of the day, we want it to be functional and clear,” he says. And being passionate about design helps, too. “Architecture and design is a profession that’s driven by passion, and if you love doing it, you’ll find a way to get around the economic hurdles.” With the innovative designs that Lundberg has created, their work should be around for generations to come.
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Architect Elissa Scrafano takes into consideration buildingâ€™s natural surroundings when creating a serene environment. Photo by Ike Bahadourian.
Problem Solving with SCRAFANO ARCITECTS
Design Problem: How does an architect create a relaxing home environment for a world famous rock star? Answer: By blending dramatic flair with a zen-like vibe to form a serene, peaceful living space.
Elissa Scrafano is in the business of making a house a safe haven. A 20-year veteran in the field, her firm Scrafano Architects strives to blend “built elements” (floors, walls and ceilings) into the natural elements of the ground, horizon and sky. She does this with the hope of evoking a tranquil feeling from the instant a resident turns the key into the lock. “We’re known for taking banal residential spaces and opening them up,” said Scrafano. “When you come home, you should get a feeling that this is a place in which you’re able to relax.” The physical location of her two offices is what provides the fodder for her design inspiration, from the palm trees that dot Los Angeles’ desert skyscape to the urban dwelling spaces and Midwestern charm that are hallmarks of Chicago. Scrafano sees the homes she designs as backdrops to that scenery. Her designs serve to heighten and incorporate the houses’ environment, whether it’s a vacation property in Hawaii or a 1920s style bungalow loft in Chicago. This philosophy is evident in a project Scrafano recently helmed: the renovation of Nate Mendel’s (bassist for the Foo Fighters / Sunny Day Real Estate) 1950s ranch style home. “We closely collaborate with our clients to really understand what they want or need out of our designs,” says Scrafano. “Nate is often on tour or traveling. When he comes
home, he wants a place where he can have peace and serenity.” So, she and her team, which included Gus Duffy AIA and contractor Sean King, completely updated the interior of Mendel’s 5,000-square foot ranch style home, in addition to building a brand new two-story, 1,000-square foot studio and guesthouse to the property. Scrafano created a tranquil environment by using natural, custom-wood cabinetry, which offset the polished concrete floors. This also complemented the subtle gray palate she chose to accentuate the natural rock found in the mountains beyond. Custom modern mica chandeliers were used to light the center of the home, and sliding panels of glass were used to open the Mendel residence to the expansive Los Angeles Valley below, with the mountains just in the distance. Together, these elements all helped Scrafano to capture the pacific Northwestern-meets-California coast look Mendel was after. “This is what Elissa is known for,” said King. “She practically builds the house into the environment. The boundary between the inside and the outside becomes blurred so that it gives the place a really open kind of feeling.” A feeling, Scrafano and Mendel might echo, that translates to serenity.
by Jill McDonnell
Whether you’re a rock star seeking tranquility, or just in desperate need of a serene space, Scrafano has five tips for using design to give your home that always-desired, yet often elusive feeling of peace:
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1). Incorporate the views from the interior to the exterior landscape. The nature of a “house” as a building and shelter creates an inevitable tension between the constructed envelope and nature, or the exterior ‘unbuilt’ environment. Floor to ceiling windows are a good way to invite the surrounding landscape to become part of your living experience. 2). Create a way to use natural light indoors. Naturally light your interior space by “opening” the ceiling with clerestory windows and sloping the roof up to the exterior to create expanding window walls. 3). Use proportions wisely. There needs to be a spatial relationship between the room and the size of the person. Throughout Mendel’s residence, the volumes of the interior spaces and the adjacent exterior gardens/views were designed to maintain an intimate human scale.
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5). Think Local. By using natural and local materials, it will help pull in and connect the environment and landscape to the architecture.
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4). Use Natural Colors. Take cues from materials and color palates found on the site and incorporate them throughout the design. In Mendel’s home, the gray colors were inspired by the natural limestone, and blues and greens were inspired by the muted leaf silhouettes created by the sun’s rays filtering through the varied foliage around his home.
5/13/10 12:41:46 PM
Problem Solving with: BOOTH HANSEN
Q: How does Booth Hansen create buildings that look good and are environmentally friendly? A: With all-encompassing “Total Performance Buildings”.
With a 21st-century focus on green initiatives and LEED certification in design, architects today find themselves faced with the double challenge of creating buildings that are both environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing; not always an easy task within the stringent limits of LEED. So how does Chicago-based Booth Hansen ensure that both of these criteria are met? With what’s known as a Total Performance Building. Sometimes referred to as a whole-building approach, Total Performance Buildings are a relatively new concept in the architectural world. It’s a systematic approach and process that goes a step beyond LEED certification and was created to unlock a building’s values. Larry Booth, architect and founder of Booth Hansen, considers Total Performance Buildings “a public interest” concept as it gives points to buildings for installing things like bike racks and recycling programs. “A Total Performance Building doesn’t have to look like a contraption,” says Booth. “It needs to fit where it is.” Founded in 1980, Booth says that his firm always strives to achieve Total Performance Buildings, whether constructing a museum, high-rise building, personal residence or place of worship. One such Total Performance Building that Booth Hansen constructed is the residential high rise at 30 West Oak Street in Chicago.
In addition to offering great views of Lake Michigan, the building offers residents the opportunity to live in a LEED certified environment without having to sacrifice stunning architectural style. The double-glazed, highperformance glass windows on the building were strategically placed facing the south so that when the high sun beats down during the summer months, the rays bounce off the glass, keeping the building naturally and efficiently cool. Then, during the cold winter months, the same floor-to-ceiling windows absorb the low sun and, in turn, heat the building. The north side of the high-rise is made up of a concrete façade and small windows that add a dynamic sculptural form and stability to the structure. Following the Total Performance standards and checklist, Booth Hansen’s 30 West Oak project managed to come in on time and stayed within the original budget of $50 million. And to keep the environment in focus, the planning team chooses energy-efficient sites and sustainable building materials. “We need to build buildings that support our lifestyle,” says Booth. Total Performance Buildings approach zero energy through architectural design and energy efficiency. Since the architect can’t do anything about the plug load inside a building (the amount of energy used by all electrical equipment from appliances like televisions and computers) they decided to focus on the windows and insulation. Sweat-
by Sara Newton
30 West Oak in Chicagoâ€™s Gold Coast neighborhood is considered a Total Performance Building.
According to Larry Booth, “buildings have different characters and different spirits.” Check out some other Chicago buildings that he considers “required learning” to understand the progressive nature of architecture in Chicago. Rookery Building (209 S. LaSalle Street): Constructed in 1888 by designers John Root and Daniel Burnham. With a sensuous and rich design, the Rookery boasts “real architecture,” according to Booth. Frank Lloyd Wright remodeled the classical, ornamented, stone lobby inside the building. Chicago Board of Trade Building (141 W. Jackson): Built in 1930, the Board of Trade building is one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in Chicago. A three-story sculpture of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, caps the building. Bank of America Building (135 S. LaSalle Street): Built in 1937 in the Arte Moderne style and constructed of stone.
Booth considers all of their constructs to be Total Performance Buildings, including high-rises, places of worship or museums, such as the one above.
ing these often-overlooked details of a project allows a building to be simple and durable, and conserve energy. Booth also considered the look of the street corner and the landscape around the building so he enlisted Ernie Wong of Site Design to beautify the area in front of 30 West Oak. Many options were discussed on how to set the building apart, yet make it feel accessible from a pedestrian point of view. “The landscape is the first thing that people really engage with,” says Wong. “I think it was important to create a very welcoming street presence, but at the same time establish a
border.” Booth and Wong eventually settled on a serene reflecting pool and a lush corner landscape, which softens the edge of the property line, creating a boundary from the street and further accentuates the building’s overall design. During the entire process, Booth says its important to keep the client in the loop and understand their needs, purpose, and mission. He says to set goals for the people, not for the space. “Buildings should run like Swiss watches,” says Booth. “It’s hard to get a good building built, but with more thought and investigation, the results deliver a greater value.”
Federal Plaza (230 S. Dearborn, pictured above): Constructed by Mies Van der Rohe in 1975, the Post WWII architecture has an industrial aesthetic that’s more restrained, simpler, and made of steel and glass. And of course, 30 W. Oak Building: Constructed by Booth Hansen in 2006, it embodies modern design and energy efficiency.
060 DESIGN BUREAU
BEN BEN BEN MIYAGI’S MIYAGI’S MIYAGI’S ELEPHANT ELEPHANT ELEPHANT SEATING SEATING SEATING BY SARAH FERGUSON
Miyagi says he always carries notebooks with him so he can sketch an idea whenever and wherever inspiration strikes him. Photo by Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels.
Step 1: The sofa is made by gluing and bending layers of industrial felt sheets, without using metal fasteners, or other commercial devices. Each T-letter-shaped sheet is 3mm thick,
Elephant Seating won the coveted Red Dot: Design Concept award in 2009.
hen architect Ben Ryuki Miyagi was encouraged by friends to start marketing a sofa he had designed eight years prior, he never imagined the acclaim it would receive. “I spent all my formal training and career in architecture. I have no furniture design training,” he says. “ ‘Ben the architect’ is quite jealous of all the attention ‘Ben the furniture designer’ is getting.” Miyagi, who earned his degree in architecture from Princeton, didn’t consider furniture design a particular strength of his. In fact, his award-winning sofa almost never saw the light of day. At the time Miyagi, who now splits his time between New York and Tokyo, just needed to fill a space in his apartment.
“I attempt to bring people’s senses into play with my work. I think Elephant Seating does something to all types of people that a more traditional piece may not.” - Miyagi “The space itself was a little unconventional, so most of the furniture needed to be more traditional. But I wanted one piece to bring a level of complexity and sophistication to the room,” Miyagi explains. He sketched his vision of a sofa into one of the many notebooks he never leaves home without. Eventually, time passed and he became busy with his architecture work, so after finishing the chair, he left it in a
Step 2: The nine sheets are glued together.
Step 3: Sheets are folded down the middle, creating an L shape.
Step 4: The L shape is folded and glued as indicated to form the seating.
Step 5: Seating is wrapped around to form what is to became an armrest. This step provides lateral structural stability for the sofa.
Step 6: Felt sheets are bent to form armrest.
062 DESIGN BUREAU
“I could not have made this piece had I not had my training in architecture. It is about the concept of architecture, the concept of furniture, and the concept of design all joining to make this one complete and unique piece.” - Miyagi
storage space in New Jersey. It was there the sofa seemed doomed to collect dust until he removed it from storage and placed it in his upstate New York home. “My friends took one look at it and became adamant about me marketing the sofa,” Miyagi says. The sofa, named Elephant Seating is made from layers of industrial felt folded and glued together. Miyagi, who says he took inspiration from 20th century minimalists such as Josef Bueys, who had also used felt in many of his pieces, considered the material’s practicality during his design process: it’s easily manufactured and cleaned. His choice of felt also played into the non-traditional requirement for the piece, bringing with it both humorous and familiar elements at once. And it’s clear where the name ‘elephant’ comes
into play: the folds of the felt, coupled with the gray tone of the fabric, make it reminiscent of an elephant’s wrinkly body. Although Miyagi maintains his work is never meant to be literal. “I design conceptually. People may look at this and think ‘elephant’, but it was not specifically intended to be this way,” he says. “The design of the chair came first; the name came later.” At the behest of his friends, Miyagi decided to send the sofa to the Red Dot design committee for consideration. The arbiters of design did much more than consider Miyagi’s sofa; they awarded Elephant Seating the Red Dot: Design Concept award, a mark of excellence for both the concept and the designer. Elephant Seating is currently on display at the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore.
Despite winning, the architect-turned-furniture designer still seems surprised by the buzz that continues around his sofa. And although Miyagi’s primary focus is still architecture, he assures that Elephant Seating won’t be his last foray into furniture design. Right now, Miyagi says he has about a dozen or so sketches and ideas for furniture, all of which use non-traditional materials like Elephant Seating. “You will be seeing more from me,” he says. “I want people to know this is just the beginning of me as a furniture designer.”
Sarah Ferguson is a freelance writer and graphic designer currently residing in Minneapolis.
1. and 2.
A view from inside Miyagi’s residence in Woodstock, NY, which the architect designed himself. Elephant Seating is now on display at the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore.
Cole& Son WallCoverings Text by: Andrea Enright
Many designers might recognize the name Cole & Son as one of the most prestigious wallpaper companies in the industry. Started by John Perry in 1873, Cole & Son is known today for producing beautiful wallpapers using exquisite handcrafted techniques like wood block printing and flocking. But it’s the company’s vast array of patterns and fashion-forward designs that have helped to define Cole & Son as one of the world’s finest wallpaper companies around, with notable clients including Harrods, the White House and The Queen of England. Ebb Tide is part of the Cole & Son’s Contemporary III collection.
066 DESIGN BUREAU 1
T 1. Vivienne Westwood’s Tromp l’oeil
Drape wall paper was inspired by a wedding dress from her ’93/ ’94 runway collection.
2. The Nuvole paper by Fornasetti fea-
tures rolling black and white storm clouds.
he oldest Cole & Son pattern book “It is good when my ideas get carried over into dates back to Perry’s work in 1873. other artistic media,” says Westwood. Known Today, the Cole & Son wallpaper for her inimitable take on traditional British catalog comprises nearly 1,800 style, Westwood has made a playful crossover block print designs and 350 screen print de- from the world of fashions into wall coverings. signs, as well as a massive quantity of draw- “This collection is a perfect opportunity to be ings and wallpapers all created using original able to work with a heritage company like machinery. Designed in either the London or Cole & Son and to see my ideas from fashion Stockholm studio, each pattern is carefully translated into the world of interiors and wallselected, adapted and colored by the Design paper.” Westwood’s Trompe l’oeil Drape wallStudio and printed by craftsmen to produce paper is a take on delicate drapery techniques wallpapers that are both faithful to the char- she uses in her couture clothing. The pattern acter of the original document, yet contem- is a photograph of a famous tartan wedding porary in feel. Company spokesperson Kim dress she designed as a part of her Autumn/ Moey says their most popular design is called Winter ’93/’94 Anglomania Collection, most Woods: a curious pattern that seems to invite famously worn by model Kate Moss. Similarly, a room’s inhabitants into a deep, dark forest her Squiggle design comes from the Autumn/ using a photographer’s depth, but an artist’s Winter ’81/’82 Pirate Collection, which showfreedom. And although Cole & Son thrives off cases a dizzying pattern of a single, spiked line. of a history rich with unparalleled techniques Though these particular patterns are both and traditions, the company has gained popu- derived from her clothing line, she notes that larity for its designer collaborations. One line some styles are original creations she made that has recently garnered Cole & Son a par- exclusively for Cole & Son. The Shirting is ticularly high level of interest was created by one example; the sweepingly simple pattern was made as a spirited nod to the elegance of fashion superstar Vivienne Westwood.
DESIGN BUREAU 2
068 DESIGN BUREAU
The Venice wall covering features a cityscape with gondola-style boats and is a part of the Classix II collection.
COLE & SON BY THE NUMBERS 137 and counting: The number of years Cole & Son has been in business
55: Number of distributors for Cole & Son wallpapers, located around the world
17: Collections currently available, among them the aforementioned Vivienne Westwood and Piero Fornasetti
2: Total number of studios where the designs are printed, one located in London and one in Sweden
1: The only showroom, located in Design Center Chelsea Harbor, London
ÂŁ49 to ÂŁ172 : The range in price of a roll of Cole & Son fine papers
The hand screen-printing process is extremely precise, but very labor intensive and time consuming.
urban city gents, while Insects is a Victorian style inspired by the wardrobe of Elizabeth I. Outside of the catwalk, Moey says Cole & Son also looks to fine art for inspiration when developing new patterns, as demonstrated in the Fornasetti Collection. Milanese painter and visual extraordinaire Piero Fornasetti specialized in sketches and drawings that spanned across a broad spectrum of topics— from habitat observation to celestial symbolism. A maestro known for his imagination and craftsmanship, Fornasetti was, throughout his life, committed to fusing past and present. He said: “I do not believe in eras or times. I do not. I refuse to establish the value of things based on time.” This quotes makes the modern day usage of his works as wallcoverings very fitting. Of note: Mediterrane, a vertical villagescape of basilicas, windows and walls. Another design Riflesso blurs the distinction between reality and reflection in a more western cityscape, while Il Sole is much simpler—a timeless impression of the sun. Tema e Variazioni, features a haunting, voyeuristic façade, with sad expressions and tilted tea cups, adding an esoteric presence to any room. Cole & Son continues to be at the forefront of design, blending traditional techniques today’s top design trends. Currently, Moey says the company is working on wallpaper collections with top international designers David Easton, Tom Dixon and the Royal Oak Foundation of America (an affiliate of the National Trust). And although wallpaper’s popularity tends to ebb and flow, it seems Cole & Son’s future as a leader in wallpaper design is secure. “Wallpaper has its own trends,” insists Moey. “You never know where they’ll lead.”
PROCESS MAKES PERFECT BLOCK
Process: Wood-blocking printers used a separate block for each color. It is pressed upon the paper and tapped to ensure a quality imprint, then lifted and re-inked as the artisan moves down the paper roll. History: North London was famous for 200 block printing companies located in the area during 18th and 19th centuries. Cole & Son: Produces more than 1800 block designs Design Factor: Exclusive, handmade. Practical Points: Labor-intensive, requiring immense skill and a long apprenticeship. Large repeat sizes are available.
Process: Squeezes ink through fine gauze onto paper History: Founder John Perry set up the first ever screen printing studio in the late 1940s and provided designs for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Cole & Son: Creates 350 screen designs Design Factor:: Perfect on canvas and applied by pop artists such as Andy Warhol. Practical Points: Costeffective and versatile., often applied to textiles.
Process:Uses a roller to apply ink to the paper and is the most common method of wallpapering. History: The oldest automated printing method still in use today. Cole & Son: has more than 500 archived surface designs, with each color mixed by eye. Design Factor: Makes for an inexact design due to paint bleeding, but produces a very distinct look. Practical Points: Well suited to multi-colored floral pattern designs.
Process: Replicates the look of cut velvet on wallpaper. History: Flocking was revived by C&S owner John Perry in 1870 after its invention in Holland in 1683. Cole & Son: Makes just a few flock patterns. Design Factor: Textural and two dimensional Practical Points: Known for its speedy installation and easy removal.
Behind every great fashion designer is an inspirational muse. For Karl Lagerfeld, it’s Baptiste Giabiconi. For Tom Ford, it’s Julianne Moore. For Marc Jacobs, it’s Sofia Coppola. And for Gosha Rubchinsky, it’s Russian teenage skateboarders. Text by: Kristin Lamprecht
Photos: Egor Sofronov
lthough skateboarders may be an unlikely muse for one of fashion’s rising stars, Gosha Rubchinsky is just as unconventional as his inspiration. A 25-year-old designer living in Moscow, the post-Soviet lifestyle of adolescent boys is reflected in his skateboard culture-inspired clothing, a line that has drawn the attention of the fashion world abroad.
“The last collection was inspired by my interactions with adolescents, 14-year-old boys,” Rubchinsky says. This inspiration hails from a fascination with what he refers to as their “freer” lifestyle, in comparison to how he lived at their age. Whereas Rubchinsky experienced life under communist rule as a young boy, the 5-10 year gap between their age groups means these teenagers have lived free from Soviet rule their entire lives. He also notes that certain things disappear as a consequence of globalization, like national identity and national particularities. “This generation is unique. They grew up in a new Russia, and they are almost not at all different from their peers around the world. I try to pay attention to that, and therefore everything that I do is not only about them, but for them, as well. The main idea is that, yes, we’re the same as you, but there’s no need to be afraid or to repeat that which already exists. If we do that, we’ll always lag behind when we need to be moving forward and doing something new that recognizes our uniqueness.” His designs reflect these feelings, as well as
the things that influenced him when he was an adolescent in the ’90s. Just as Rubchinsky’s muses don’t fit the typical designer mold, neither does his method for presenting his work. At the presentation of his 2010 Autumn/Winter collection, the imagery he created to accompany the runway show gave viewers a brilliant insight into the inspiration behind his collection. “I tried to show in the collection what a young person feels when he comes home after school, is alone at home in his room—all the thoughts and feelings that trouble him when he’s alone with himself,” he says. The video he created shows a stark, solitary high-rise apartment out of the window of a moving car—a silent reminder of what life was like in Moscow during the ’80s and early ’90s. The scene changes to that of a young boy’s room as he sits alone in his sterile, nearly empty apartment. Rubchinsky actually spent time with the subject in the video over the course of several months in order to perfectly capture the mindset of a young boy in total solitude. “That’s why the clothing is very simple and looks like what you’d wear at home; things that make you feel comfortable.” The candid black and white photos shot of his friends have the same powerful effect as the video. They show young boys sparring with one another, innocently horsing around and acting as teenagers do. The photos honestly and naturally capture the boys in their everyday environment, Continued on page 74
All sorts of things influence me. Western culture is a strong influence, not only designers, but everything thatâ€™s going on in music and contemporary art. I try to feel whatâ€™s in the air of design everywhere, and try to make it special to Moscow.
making it easy to forget that the clothing they’re wearing are actually Rubchinsky’s designs. It’s this intense desire to express to others whom he’s actually designing for that sets him apart from other young designers.
problems, the fashion industry is still in its early stages.” Rubchinsky does his sketching at home and employs some friends at a small factory near his house to manufacture his designs—all ways in which he keeps the production costs down.
One of Rubchinsky’s primary reasons for designing this line is to create clothing that is affordable for these boys who have given him so much inspiration. Textiles are not a popular industry in Russia, so he is forced to look to outside countries like Italy, Turkey and France for fabrics in order to keep his price point low. “The biggest problem in Russian fashion is that we don’t have our own domestically made cloth. Because of this, it’s very expensive to make clothes. People have a choice: either buy European and American clothing, or buy Russian. It’s clear that people are going to lean towards the western brands because they are higher quality and less expensive.” He thinks it’s this lack of access to quality fabric that is keeping Russia from competing as a fashion mainstay on a global scale. “There are a lot of talented designers in Russia, but because of these
“Our first priority, of course, is to make clothes for the young people here, because what I do is inspired by those guys, and they are the ones we want to wear our clothing. But it’s been very nice to learn that there’s an interest in the West in what we’re doing.” This ‘thanks but no thanks’ attitude towards his recognition in the fashion world as an up-and-coming designer should not to be confused with a lack of appreciation. Being the next Karl, Tom or Marc was never his main goal (when asked if he admires any designer in particular, the answer is “All sorts of things influence me.”) Rather, his mission for creating these clothes is simply to give his friends—the young, “free”, Moscow skateboard set he so gingerly protects—affordable, comfortable clothing to fit their lifestyle; one that remains immeasurably inspiring to him.
Gosha eschewed a traditional runway presentation for a more impactful display of his looks, including a film and a book of photographs. These photos showcase the skateboarding clique that inspired him to create his namesake clothing line.
After the fall of the soviet union, foreign influences started appearing, and that is what we try to show. The things that influenced me and that influence the younger generation are what we try to express [through the clothes].
GOSHA’S OTHER SOURCES OF INSPIRATION Yes, there are things beside skateboarders that inspire Rubchinsky. He shares with Design Bureau some of his favorite musicians, travel destinations and artists to watch out of Moscow. Who are some other people you’re really into in Russia right now–artists, designers, musicians? Denis Simachev, designer of men’s clothing; Alyona Akhmadulina, who designs women’s clothing, and a young designer, Vika Gazinskaya who also works on women’s clothing. In music, I still love a group that I listened to as a child, Aquarium. There are a lot of emerging musicians, but they often try to imitate what they hear abroad and I don’t care for that because it lacks a true Russian spirit. As far as contemporary art goes, there are a lot of talented artists out there now. I can name two names: Arsenii Zhilyaev and Anna Titova. Arsenii works on sculpture and installation art; Anna does sculpture and photography.
Do you know these artists personally? Well, in Moscow there aren’t so many people working in art, so we all kind of know each other. What do you like to do for recreation outside of designing clothes? I’ve been doing photography since I was in school. I take pictures of my friends and the stuff that goes on around me. This year, we’re finishing up a small book of my photography from the past five years. Where’s your favorite place to travel? I like to travel, especially around Russia. I like historical places where they’ve preserved old churches (see page 128). I haven’t had much opportunity to travel abroad. Last year I was in Paris, this year in London. I’d like to do more traveling, but I just haven’t had the opportunity. I may try to plan a trip to the States in the near future—we’ll have to see.
RUSSIA TODAY Language professor and Russian culture scholar Colleen McQuillen answers questions for us on current Russian life and culture. Give us an overview of what Russian life is like today. Russian life today is hard to pin down because it varies a lot by location. In major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, and even in lesser-known provincial cities, the economic situation is relatively good, which enables a lively cosmopolitan cultural scene. In more remote areas (and keep in mind, Russia covers 11 time zones), life can seem untouched by the march of time: villages more closely resemble historical preserves than modern centers. I believe that most young Russians are optimistic about their country’s future, even though democratic political practices and freedom of speech have been severely compromised in the past five years. Russia has always been an ambitious country that knows how to think big, and those are qualities that make it fascinating to watch. What would you say is the most dramatic change in the cultural landscape compared to when it was under Soviet control?
Before the fall of the USSR in 1991, Soviet Russia experienced a period of liberalization under Mikhail Gorbachev. He launched the policy of ‘glasnost,’ or openness, which had wide cultural repercussions. In addition to the Soviet state acknowledging earlier political errors, the policy allowed an unprecedented level of artistic and journalistic freedom. Unfortunately, during Vladimir Putin’s presidency (2000-2008) freedom of speech was curtailed by the government takeover of major media outlets. Russia’s current president, Dmitry Medvedev, has not changed this course. Thankfully, the arts have not suffered such a rollback: visual artists, designers, musicians and writers are actively experimenting and creating an
avant-garde counterculture vibe, the likes of which Russia hasn’t seen since the 1910s. And what about political and economic changes? If we compare today’s Russia with Gorbachev-era Soviet Russia, the most striking difference would be in the consumer economy. In the late 1980s there was a deficit in consumer goods ranging from food to clothing, and imported goods were very hard to find. Today in Russia’s large cities, consumers have a wide choice about what to buy and where to buy it, and there is a class of young professionals who have disposable income and can therefore afford to buy non-essentials. Where do you see Moscow’s future as an international art and design city? In the 1910s and 1920s the artistic and literary avant-garde was based in Moscow. Many people are surprised to learn that the arts scene thrived for nearly a decade after the October Revolution of 1917. Figures like Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitsky forged a new aesthetic that reflected the revolutionary spirit of breaking with the past and developing of a new order based on modern principles of speed and dynamism. It was the first time in Russian cultural history that Russia was not looking to the West as an artistic model. I feel a similar creative energy coming out of Moscow today. Young artists are searching for uniquely Russian looks and sounds, and for innovative modes of expression. As long as the political situation stays stable and the economy keeps improving, I see Moscow continuing its reemergence as a center for avant-garde art and as a place of synthesis for international cultural trends. For this issue of Design Bureau, McQuillen not only provided contextual background and a present-day overview on life in Russia, but she also acted as a translator for the interview with Russian-speaking Gosha Rubchinsky.
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VELO: BICYCLE CULTURE AND DESIGN
By Emily Goligoski Most bicyclists ride for a specific reason—as a mode of transportation, a good workout or just for fun. But others ride because it’s their passion. And for these die-hard pedal pushers, Velo was created. Velo: Bicycle Culture and Design from Gestalten is a striking visual journey into the multifaceted world of cycling and the diverse tribes that inhabit it. The 240page tome chronicles bicycles and their riders in all shapes, sizes, speeds and styles. Editor Sven Ehmann, an avid cyclist himself, created the book as a celebration of cycling as a broad, democratic cultural phenomenon. Ehmann’s favorite bicycle moments? “I like observing the bike polo players in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side, as well as the older Italian men climbing the alps in neon colored progears. I like the fact that the guys who I used to get my coffee from drove a custom-made Hufnagel bike and that all around my neighborhood, you see those massive Dutch family bikes with a large basket for kids and groceries in the front.” Velo: Bicycle Culture and Design, $45, www.gestalten.com
Photo: Robin Chubb (www.bricoleurbanism.org), from Velo, Copyright Gestalten 2010
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Photos by Robin Chubb (www.bricoleurbanism.org), from Velo, Copyright Gestalten 2010
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1. Domenica 2. Domenica Sport
by Francesco Bertelli (www..bertellibici.com), from Velo, Copyright Gestalten 2010
Mission Bicycle Zack Rosen, founder of San Francisco-based Mission Bicycle, started his company as a result of the lack of bikes made especially for city-based cyclists. He chats with Design Bureau about how his bikes are made and his favorite place to ride. How did you come to start Mission Bicycle? In San Francisco, there is an incredible community of cyclists that build highly customized, light, sturdy and beautiful machines. Those bikes inspired us to start a shop that could get these city bikes in the hands of everyone who wanted one, but didnâ€™t have the know-how to put one together themselves. How are your bicycles created? Every bicycle is assembled individually for each customer with the parts and colors they choose. We designed our frame with a local frame builder Eman to be light, durable, and responsive. They come bare-metal from the factory, and we powder-coat them in whatever color strikes our customersâ€™ fancy. We build all of the bicycles up in our shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco. Do you have a favorite place to ride? My favorite accessible ride is over Hawk hill and back here in San Francisco. I start in the Mission, bike up through the parks, over the Golden Gate Bridge and then up the big hill to the west. At the top, there is an amazing overlook of the city. Then, you can bicycle down the backside, right into the Marin headlands, passing the ocean and cliffs on the way back to the city. It only takes a couple of hours, and it is breathtaking each time. Photos courtesy of Mission Bicycle
INSIDE THE SELBY
PART PHOTOGRAPHER, PART JOURNALIST, PART SOJOURNER, TODD SELBY IS THE ANTHROPOLOGIST FOR OUR MODERN AGE. His blog “The Selby is In Your Place” is the latest in a recent trend of voyeuristic lifestyle photography Web sites peppering the Internet. Unlike many of the street fashion and design blogs that cohabit this digital space, Selby’s focus isn’t singular. When he arrives at the house, apartment or studio of one of his far-flung, eccentric subjects, he walks in not with the objective intention of shooting the wackiest pair of shoes or the Eames chair in the corner, but rather with the aspiration to map and log the outward physical projection of his subject’s inner life. His work has allowed us a peek into the psyches of fashion wunderkind Alexander Wang, artist Robert Longo, and the ever-curious Tom Wolfe, as well as the homes of his closest friends. Selby’s blog caught fire in the past year, and in addition to collaborations with Nike, Colette and Louis Vuitton, he released a book based on his project, entitled, aptly, The Selby is In Your Place. Unfortunately for most of The Selby’s fans, placing a copy on a home bookshelf may be the only way this statement will ever ring true. BY ANNIKA WELANDER
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Artist Terence Koh and his french bulldog inside his New York City studio.
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To begin, could you tell me a little about what you do? I photograph people—creative people—in creative spaces. Basically, what I try to do is tell stories about people through what they’ve chosen to put in their homes. Document their personal style and kind of try to capture a sense of who they are through my photographs and illustrations and interviews. Tell me about your childhood home, and if it had any influence on your appreciation of other people’s spaces? Well, I grew up in the suburbs in Orange County, and I don’t think anything about my home architecturally, or from an interior design perspective, was anything really special or interesting. I think what was great about it was that I traveled a lot growing up and we would always bring back stuff from our travels, so [my home] was filled with mementos of our trips. We went to Papua New Guinea, and we went to China, and we went to Russia in the 1990’s, so the house had interesting things that told stories about our family and our traveling. I definitely think that there’s a seed of something, as far as my interests in people’s homes. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly interested in architecture, or even interior design, but I’m more interested in the stuff that people fill their houses with, what this says about them. Do you have artists you look to for inspiration? Lil Wayne. How do I get The Selby in my place? Extremes are always interesting. Do you have any life rules that have served you well? A mantra? “Every day I’m hustlin’.”
Aaron Rose, founder of Beautiful Losers, inside his Los Angeles home. Opposite: Roseâ€™s work space.
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Motorcycle (and coffee) guru Jeff Johnson in his Santa Monica bike shop, CHOKE.
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Interior designer Jacques Grange in his Paris apartment.
Above: Interior of Grangeâ€™s apartment. Left: A pill bottle from 1957 prescribed to Marilyn Monroe.
Julien Berthierâ€™s Pot of Pens.
Sculptor and artist Julien Berthier is a workaholic. “I always did a lot of drawing as a kid,” he says. “Then I discovered that I had this ability to work like hell, just non-stop.” Born in Besançon, France, and now based in Paris, Berthier has turned his childhood doodles into a full-time career. “It’s a hell of a job, you have to do everything—the PR, finances, everything.” Although his sculptural pieces like Love-love and Balcon additionnel have been gaining notice within the art world, it’s his drawing work that really captivates his passion and activates his hard working mentality. “I love it because it’s an intense state of concentration—sometimes its five minutes, sometimes its days. And then it’s done. You know it’s done and it’s out of your mind, you don’t think about it anymore, you don’t change it. I love this process.” His drawings range in complexity from that of a stop sign made up of thin black lines to a detailed skyline with hundreds of miniature windows. “I think its about a complex idea fitting into A4 paper and done in an hour,” he says. “I like that the idea is there— its never just drawing for drawing. And it’s easy to hang,” he says with a laugh. Between what he reads in the newspaper while at his studio to what he witnesses at the grocery store check out, Berthier’s surroundings are constantly influencing his work. “Where we live, how we live, who decides all these questions are important.” And whether it’s an installation, a sculpture or a drawing (by his own creation or other artists), Berthier says he always appreciates its message. “I love how art is saying things, but in a slow way.” Tracey Johnsen is a Chicago native and journalism student at the University of Missouri, currently studying at SciencesPo in Paris, France. All drawings by Berthier. For more information visit www.julienberthier.org
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What’s in a name? That’s the question the Moscow-based graffiti-artist-cum-graphic-designer asked himself in the year 2000, when he was a teenager in Moscow and drawing his first graffiti sketches on scrap paper. The artist in question is known as Aske (pronounced as-KEH), a name he chose for himself because of its unique typographical appeal. “I’d been thinking about what name to choose for quite a long time before picking up this one. I liked the combination of letters and their shapes,” he explains. “Since graffiti is all about letters and writing your name, I started experimenting with letterforms as soon as I got involved in graf.” Since the days of scrawling this moniker on scraps, Aske has emerged as an international graphic and graffiti artist. Born the son of a classically trained type designer, Aske came of age during the heyday of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, whereby Russians were granted personal and civil liberties never before seen in the USSR. Since then, he has developed and matured as an artist, just as Russia has seen increasingly exclusivist and restrictive policies enacted by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. While Aske speaks freely and eloquently about the ins-and-outs of Russian history and politics, chatting with him quickly reveals that he’s more concerned with the politics of the Russian art community than he is with the politics of governance. Even with unprecedented interest and institutional support for Russian contemporary art—due in part to the increasingly visible 21st century Russian oligarchy and to highprofile projects like Dasha Zhukova’s Moscow gallery, The Garage CCC—graphic design and illustration are largely excluded from the existing art establishment. “Visual arts and culture have been developing in the West constantly over a [long] period of time. In Russia, there was a long ‘break’ due to Soviet times, so today our visual culture is far behind Europe and the US,” says Aske. “You can’t compare a German or American car with a Russian car, because it’s worse in all respects. The same applies if you compare the average works of Russian illustrators or designers with that of their Western counterparts.” Although Aske will somewhat disdainfully tell you that today’s Russian graffiti scene is limit-
ed in both size and scope, he reminisces of the time when the scene was even smaller, with the graffiti more original and distinguishable by a uniquely Russian style. “There are only a dozen really talented graffiti writers; the majority, unfortunately, just imitate their foreign counterparts.” He and his friends were part of the Moscow graffiti community during its infancy, experimenting with English and Cyrillic letterforms and typography, playing with form through volume and space, and making names for themselves in the process. Recently, Aske has moved from graffiti into the realm of graphic design and illustration, where he again finds himself blazing a trail. His style is distinct and original, undeniably influenced by his background in graffiti arts, and his designs are clean and succinct without appearing simple. “Graphic design [in Russia] is mostly used in advertisements, product packaging, or the service sector,” he says. “During the Soviet period, all the services were state-owned; nobody needed graphic design.” Though Aske has faith that Russians will learn to appreciate graphic design and illustration as a genuine art form with time and exposure. Today, Aske’s name—and that of Sicksystems, his company and personal art platform—can be found incorporated into graphics he’s designed for Nike and Adidas, painted onto a 20-foot concrete wall in a graffiti hall of fame in Minsk, Belarus, and screened onto vinyl shoulder bags produced by Incredible Factory in Moscow. His designs have also been included in Computer Arts Magazine and he was recognized by Print magazine as one of their best New Visual Artists in 2009. With his diverse works and building portfolio, it’s hard to say what the future holds for Aske, but whatever it is, it looks bright. He might just have it all figured out, saying, “The most important thing for me right now is to go forward and enjoy what I do.” Ellen Knuti is a writer and photographer based out of Brooklyn, NY. Find more of her work at www.ellenknuti.com.
Graffiti creations around Moscow by Aske .
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Aske lists his top 5 places not to miss while in Moscow: 1. Moscow State University on Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills): This is a magnificent edifice with a fascinating view of the whole city.
2. Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge (Greater Stone Bridge): A steel arch bridge, and one of the best places to enjoy a spectacular view of the Kremlin and the Moskva River.
3. Kamergersky Lane: A short pedestrian side street just off Tverskaya Street (the main street of Moscow). This is where the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre is located along with lots of cafes, small restaurants, and bookshops.
4. Krymsky Bridge (Crimean Bridge): A suspension bridge in the central part of the city. Itâ€™s pretty unique for Moscow.
5. Polytechnical Museum: The largest technical museum in Russia. Founded in 1872, it exhibits a large number of historical inventions and technological achievements from different scientific fields.
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Being John Gall It must have been a hard day for typewriter repairmen everywhere when the word processor was invented. With one change in technology, their job became nearly obsolete overnight. It’s a fear that many people understand, including book designer John Gall. “Everything is in flux at the moment. I originally thought I had five years left doing this, now I think it’s more like five months,” he says, half-jokingly. Over the course of two decades, Gall has made the journey from a child who enjoyed the design elements of cars and records to art director at Vintage/Anchor books, home to the catalogs of literary luminaries like Haruki Murakami, William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, to name a few. During his 12-year tenure there, Gall has overseen the creation of more than 3,000 book covers. But as technology advances threaten to replace printed books with downloadable versions, publishing houses—and the designers who create the book covers—are now standing on the precipice of a potentially industryshattering shift. Rather than react with fear or hostility to this uncertainty, Gall takes a workingman’s approach to his future. “I’m taking this day by day. Big changes may be afoot in the distribution of books. Then again, maybe not.”
John Gall in his office at Vintage/Anchor books.
Text by: Stewart Kuhlo Photos by: Noah Kalina
Gall’s been at the helm of many major projects during his time at Vintage, including a recent one he refers to as a “dream project” and a “daunting one” as well: the complete re-design of Vladimir Nabokov’s entire catalog. To tackle this, Gall picked 19 of the top designers in his field—including heavyweights such as Chip Kidd, Carol Carson, and Peter Mendulsund— to form a veritable design dream team. Under his direction, they went to work recreating 20 Nabokov covers (he kept The Eye for himself ) as an homage to Nabokov’s other life work: cataloging and collecting butterflies. The designers evoked each book’s content by incorporating tools used by entomologists: a specimen box, insect pins, and layers of paper. “It was a real conscious effort to have a consistent look that was going to vary over the course of 20 books,” he says. Gall also used the Nabokov project as an experiment against the digital revolution. “The idea was to create this object that really works as a critical piece. Sometimes these book re-designs just go sit on the shelf, spine out, and don’t do anything. But the Nabokovs were an attempt to get notice, and there was tons and tons of notice.” Described as “among the most eye-catching volumes…seen in 2009,” by the New York Times, the finished covers together comprise a thematic work of art. Paul Sahre, designer of The Luzhin Defense in the Nabokov series, described the design process to Print magazine: “[Gall] found a way to collaborate with the designers…without doing it
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From top left: The Luzhin Defense: Paul Sahre; Look at the Harlequins!: Charles Wilkin; The Gift: Rodrigo Corral; Glory: Martin Venezky; The Real Life of Sebastion Knight: Sam Potts; The Eye: John Gall; Laughter in the Dark: Dave Eggers; Despair: Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin; Pale Fire: Stephen Doyle
From top left: The Enchanter: Megan Wilson and Duncan Hannah; Stories: Barbara de Wilde; Bend Sinister: Carol Carson; Transparent Things: Marian Bantjes; Invitation to a Beheading: Helen Yentus and Jason Booher; Ada, or Ardor: Chip Kidd; Pnin: Carin Goldberg; King, Queen, Knave: Peter Mendelsund; Speak, Memory: Michael Bierut
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John Gall: “It’s all just sweat and inspiration. Well, it’s actually more like sweat, plus inspiration, plus more sweat (and you can add a little luck in there, too). There’s also the procrastination, mind reading, plate spinning, heavy drinking and obscenity-laced diatribes.”
in the conventional way. He was totally handsoff after assigning the title to me, but his larger series idea was the driving force behind what I was going to do. He created a very interesting and difficult game to play.” Gall reacts modestly to the praise. “It’s all just sweat and inspiration,” he says of his design process. “Well, it’s actually more like sweat plus inspiration plus more sweat (and you can add a little luck in there, too). There’s also the procrastination, mind-reading, plate spinning, heavy drinking and obscenity-laced diatribes, as well.”
it should be blue’—that is what separates the men from the boys,” he says. And amidst the uncertainty of technology’s impact on his industry, he notes the one thing remains true for all designers: the need to embrace a rapidly changing marketplace. “I see design as tied at the hip to technology. Throughout the history of design, new advances in printing, typesetting, and distribution have always led to new design movements. The invention of movable type, the ability to print multiple books, the invention of letterpress printing, lithography, four-color printing, and computers—designers have taken advantage of all of these developments to create exciting work. The new advances in the distribution of the printed word may signal the end of one thing, but may also be an incredible opportunity for the creation of something new,” he says. Specifically, Gall finds himself interested in how the digital distribution of books will change the way we interact with words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters, since there are no actual pages. But he’s also keeping his career options open. “I’d like to design more book interiors, and maybe come up with another idea for a book to write,” he says. Gall co-authored Sayonara Home Run!: The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card with Gary Engel in 2006.
Drinking and obscene diatribes aside, it also takes more than a modicum of talent and good old-fashioned hard work to reach the level of success he achieved with the Nabokov series, and throughout his career as a whole. “Sure, coming up with a good idea is never easy, but once you have a nice solid concept, the rest of the process can almost seem effortless; enjoyable, even. And these, of course, are usually the best ones.” Gall describes his creative process as threefold: research, concept and execute. “Read the books, come up with some ideas, flesh them out, see what is sticking,” he says. However, it’s the process of getting a book’s cover approved that poses the greatest challenge for Gall and his team. “If the publisher comes back and says, well, ‘This needs really big type with a chicken on it’, that obviously means they think this is kind of important,” he says. And, if Kindles and iPads do take over the “The re-working, dealing with all the feedback publishing world and none of this works out? (some warranted, some moronic) ‘make this “There’s also that barbecue/cask ale joint I’ve bigger’, ‘make this smaller’, ‘my psychic thinks been meaning to open…”
Lunch according to John Gall Being a highly sought-after book designer requires good food to fuel the mind. John Gall shares his top picks for where to find a bite while in NYC. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shoppe Old school NY. Some dig the pastrami, others the egg salad. I say go for the tuna melt washed down with a chocolate egg cream. 174 5th Ave. near 22nd St. Porchetta Pork. Period. Get the Porchetta plate (porchetta, greens, beans). Possibly the best lunch I’ve ever eaten. Go early—there are only six seats, and they sometimes run out of food. 110 E. 7th St. near 1st Ave. Yakitori Totto They use any and all parts of the chicken, skewered and grilled over coals. Great lunch specials. Chicken knee bone, anyone? 251 W.55th St. near Broadway. 2nd floor. Primeburger Burgers have been way over-examined in NY of late. I’ll stick with this old standby near St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Juicy burgers, fine pies and weird seating. The place hasn’t changed since the ’60s, wait staff included. 5 E.51st St. MoMA cafeteria 2nd floor Great place to regain your composure after staring at Marina Abramovic for an hour. The food is excellent and the communal seating makes it a prime spot for people watching/ listening. 11 West 53rd St. Schnitzel & Things One of the best of the new breed of gourmet food trucks. Pork or chicken schnitzel with a side of German potato salad. Then track down the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck for dessert. Check Twitter for each place’s daily location.
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Abbott Miller inside New Yorkâ€™s Pentagram office.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer 00113
THE DESIGN OF CONVERSATION a discussion with pentagramâ€™s abbott miller text by isaac gertman photos by noah kalina
At its core, Miller sees graphic design as a medium based on the exchange of ideas. “What defines design is that it’s not private—it’s always social. It’s you, your presumed audience, your immediate design team, your client, and then the general public.” While there are ample opportunities in a project to make formal decisions and address issue of style—the “designy” parts of the design—they are always “I’m constantly thinking about design, and con- second to an expression of his subject matter, stantly thinking about projects. My mind is nev- the meaning he is attempting to convey, and er at rest.” Sitting down with him in his office the overall intent of a given project. “My worst at Pentagram in New York, it’s clear that Miller experience with a book or exhibition is when designs by discussion—in this case, the design someone comes to me and says, ‘I’ve got it all in question is this article. “How can we set up figured out. I just need you to do this.’ It’s kind a structure for the conversation that takes it of like someone just ate all the food, and you’re away from the usual designer profile?” Miller there to do the dishes.” asks. “One could do it by topics within design, or perhaps by thematic content areas?” Indeed, his agility as a designer is what makes him such an ideal collaborator, but it also takes It’s this back-and-forth conversational ap- the right kind of client to make for an interestproach, he says, that is the most effective and ing work process: Miller often tells his stubeneficial way for him to develop his work. dents, “If a client comes to you and says that “I find myself trying to have these conversa- they’re not really sure what to do, that’s one of tions with everyone around me, whether it’s the best relationships you can possibly have— a client or my team, you’re trying to develop when there’s an acknowledgement of a goal but a dialogue,” he says. “If I’m sitting in a room the path to the end product is unknown, and by myself, I don’t get ideas. I actively get ideas they’re open to the collaboration.” because I’m talking.” While he and his team at Pentagram create a The design process for Miller, partner at variety of work—books, magazines, web sites, renowned design firm Pentagram and co- identities—it is museum exhibitions that founder (with wife Ellen Lupton) of multidis- are the most clear illustration of his collabciplinary studio Design/Writing/Research, orative working process and its potential. He begins with he and his team sitting around a finds they are often the most exciting to detable and discussing the project at hand (he sign because they offer a certain freedom to says the visual part comes only after they’ve the designer that does not exist in other fordeveloped a conceptual foothold from which mats. “When you deal in the realm of books, to work). And unlike many designers who there’s a kind of discourse around bookmakgenerate their designs through sketching, he ing, and expectations around publishing of actually does very little of it. “When I do, it’s what’s relevant and what’s not. In designing because words have failed me. I like to draw, exhibitions, the expectations are much less but I associate more with executing an idea codified.” There is a certain directness to the then developing an idea.” process that Miller enjoys: the selection of ar-
abbott miller is the kind of designer that never really stops designing.
Above: Harley-Davidson Museum permanent exhibition design, 2008. Designed by Abbott Miller, Jeremy Hoffman, Michelle Reeb, Robert de Saint Phalle, BrianÂ Raby/Pentagram. Photo Credit: Paul Warchol, Timothy Hursley Left: Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City exhibition design for the Museum of the City of New York, 2009. Designed by Abbott Miller, Jeremy Hoffman, Brian Raby, Susan Brzozowski/Pentagram Photo Credit: Chuck Choi
project mah-jongg: the museum of jewish heritage in new york Miller and his team created the identity and design for this exhibition, which chronicled the commercial and social history of mah-jongg and its role in suburban Jewish life in America. This was done using a display of dozens of artifacts, including: Four mah-jongg-inspired ensembles by designer Isaac Mizrahi Pieces by illustrators Bruce McCall, Maira Kalman and Christoph Niemann Narrow stalks of bamboo were used to contrast against the rounded forms of 1960’s and 70’s synagogue-modern architecture An Italian 1920s machine-age typeface called Fregio Mecano was used for the exhibition’s logo, in which letterforms were shaped like modular units reminiscent of stacked tiles Above Top: Project Mah Jongg exhibition design for the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 2010. Designed by Abbott Miller, Brian Raby/Pentagram. Photo Credit: Bilyana Dimitrova. Above and left: Mah Jongg: Crak, Bam, Dot book design for 2wice Arts Foundation, 2010. Designed by Abbott Miller, Kristen Spilman/Pentagram Photo Credit: Sarah Anne Ward
tifacts, putting them on display, framing their story. The simplicity allows for a great level exchange with the curator, especially when the topic subject has complexity and cultural specificity. Miller identifies a number of curators, including Donald Albrecht, Judy Fox, Lydia Marinelli (who is no longer living), and Lupton, who anticipate the role of design in their thinking, and understand that design has a way of sifting out content. They can discuss the ideas of the exhibition without being tied to a specific physical layout, because doing so would circumvent the opportunities design introduces. But Miller notes, “They are by no means abnegating their curatorial control, but they’re anticipating that design is its own way of thinking that will bring out, highlight, and shape certain aspects of an exhibition.”
Abbott Miller: “it’s a relief to know that
i’m endlessly interested in what i do, and that i can get so engaged by these issues, and my appetite does not wane.”
Although Miller has worked on a variety of projects in many areas of design, he has recently spent a significant amount of time crafting updated design identities for museums, arts institutions and schools all over the UNITED STATES:
This active role Miller has taken in the editorial components of his projects might sound different than one would expect from a graphic designer, and that’s what sets him apart. He has championed the notion of the ‘designer as author’, encouraging designers to concieve of their work as a form of authorship. This practice and its duality were hinted at in a poster Miller designed where he described himself in the third person as “A designer that thinks like an editor, and a writer that works like a designer.”
Logo design for the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco: The typography in Miller’s logo creation speaks directly to the form of the building itself: a horizontal, historic façade with a Daniel Libeskind form blasting out from behind.
And this is the way the conversationwith Abbott stays interesting—through taking on work that continues to be challenging, and collaborating on projects that allow for a level of personal investment and growth. Even after 25 years in design, he excitedly remarks, “I’m never bored. It’s still extremely challenging for me, both from a conceptual standpoint and a design and business standpoint. I’m grateful for the fact that I know that I’ll have the same attitude of an excited puppy about design until I’m dead,” Miller says. “My greatest pleasure is when I’m deeply engaged in a project, whether it’s print, or an exhibition, or signage, or whatever. It’s a relief to know that I’m endlessly interested in what I do, and that I can get so engaged by these issues, and my appetite does not wane.” And that’s the thing about a conversation—when it’s good, it just keeps going.
Identity work for Maryland Institute College of Art: Miller gravitated toward the familiar architectural elements found on the campus, such as the Beaux-Art façade of the school’s historic main building. It is referenced in the two vertical rules that separate the letters of the new logo, with the angled rule referring to the slanted glass prow of MICA’s newest building, the Brown Center.
Logo design for the Art Institute of Chicago: Miller’s design strikes a balance between the existing building and the new Renzo Piano-designed addition. The logo and typeface were developed into a full signage and way finding system for the whole museum.
Signage for The Cooper Union School of Arts, New York (Miller’s alma matter): The canopy of the building features extruded letterforms that appear normal when viewed straight on, but from angles, the letters distort backwards into space. The lower halves of the letters are punched out of the building’s skin of perforated stainless steel. Miller selected an angular typeface called Foundry Gridnik, which resembles the lettering on the original Cooper Union building across the street as much it responds to the futuristic vision of the new bulding by Morphosis. Contemporary Jewish Museum, and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Identities, 2007. Designed by Abbott Miller, Kristen Spilman/Pentagram
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
The independent London gallery has dedicated itself to exhibiting outstanding graphic design...if they can keep the lights on. Every morning, curator Alistair Coe rolls up the corrugated steel shutters of Kemistry Gallery’s storefront onto the view of Charlotte Road. Since opening in 2005, it’s various exteriors have included a purple façade, a neon sign and a sculpture of a deer in stilettos, things which may seem like a giant “fuck you” to the older, stodgier gallery neighbors in the area. “Originally we were called ‘Chemistry’ but the Royal Society of Chemists objected on the grounds that people would think we had a license to sell drugs. So we changed the spelling,” recalls cofounder Graham McCallum.
for talent: the backlog of shows reads like a who’s who of European and American graphic designers. Recently, they’ve shown the work of poppy “it” kids Hvass and Hannibal and Parisian illustrator Geneviève Gauckler. They take responsibility for “Parra’s breakthrough in the UK,” and have helped propel Geoff McFetridge to rockstar heights. Though Kemistry’s recipe is one for a successful gallery with the ability to draw a crowd that literally mobbed graphic artist Geoff McFetridge upon his arrival, it can’t turn a profit and remains distinctly segregated from the wider contemporary art world.
Kemistry’s staff has curated dozens of shows that wallpaper the place with never-beforeseen works that are as pleasing to the eye as anything hanging in the many galleries of Shoreditch. But, Kemistry has gone largely unnoticed by the press and struggles just to break even. A glaring difference between Kemistry and the other galleries the area? Kemistry is one of the only commercial galleries in the world that exclusively exhibits graphic design.
“Graphic design,” McCallum explains, “is as much a marker of an age as fine art, yet often undervalued.” The recent struggle of people like Coe and McCallum to elevate the status of graphic design in the contemporary art world is preceded by a history of ignorance towards the artists responsible for the foundational icons and images of our visual life. Ask any number of people who they think created the ubiquitous ‘I Love NY’ logo, and they’re a thousand times more likely to answer ‘Rudy Giuliani’ than Milton Glaser, one of the 20th century’s most famed designers. Coe posits that the medium seems to suffer, improbably, from a case of vague branding.
The staff of Kemistry is just as small as its space, with Rickey Churchill as the other co-founder, manager/curator Coe and his intern rounding out the group. The shows here (numbering seven each year) tend to focus on illustrative design. Some pieces are framed and hung classically, with the collection circling the room at head-height, but many are tacked up saloonstyle with nails and binder clips. Other exhibitions allow words and images to leak off prints and onto walls, doors and cabinets. Everything is bright, punchy, and affordable; the gallery is like a grown-up candy store. And despite Kemistry’s lacking funds, it’s certainly not hard up
“It’s a weird phrase...every graphic designer who went to the [university], people would ask them, “What do you do?” and it’s so broad. And unfortunately, most people sort of say ‘well, I design posters’ and stuff like that. So I think the idea of graphic design often scares people away.” Graphic design work is so omnipresent in commercial magazines, packaging, websites and ads that unless it’s manifested in a gig poster or something equally self-aware, its
Text By: Annika Welander Photos courtesy of: Kemistry
Opposite: The crowd outside of Kemistry during the Burrill show.
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Kemistry Gallery Retrospective One exhibit, held in 2008, featured Experimental Jetset and JayOne, among others.
instances are transparent, so ubiquitous that they’re easily ignored. The situation drips with irony. On the one hand, graphic design as art seems constrained by design’s deep integration within commercial culture. Indeed, design’s place in branding means it was by definition created to slip by unnoticed. Yet graphic design galleries also exhibit a certain inability—even a refusal—to fully participate in the sort of contemporary art commerce set in place by generations of dealers. Traditional galleries represent a roster of artists, typically taking a 50% cut of any sales by those artists. Dealers trade art futures, betting on the perceived value of a work. This type of money-mindedness goes against the grain of Kemistry’s project. Coe explains, “We don’t exist as a gallery in the traditional sense of buyers and auction houses. We really exist outside of that, and as such there isn’t this system where we represent people. The graphic designers, a lot of them have reps of their own. It’s not us. It’s not what we want to do. We’re just keen on showing good work to as many people as possible.” In continuing their commitment to accessible art, McCallum and Churchill somehow manage to stay afloat while holding most of their prices at or below £100. With Kemistry’s focus mainly on edition prints, Coe sees the gallery’s
economics as a simple equation. “Most people are buying work because they like it, and they see it on their own walls at home rather than anything else.” While this model of art at a volume has become la mode du jour with brands like Urban Outfitters who opened their own online print shop, Kemistry still makes occasional overtures to the fine art world by selling singular one-off pieces for up to £4,000. Regardless, it seems that Kemistry’s effort to sell like a contemporary gallery will always be curbed by a kind of populist ethos. “We want people to have [the art]. There’s no point in trying to create this sort of elitist graphic design mafia,” Coe says. “It just harks back to an old school fine art kind of thing. And fine art is completely unaffordable.” In the meantime, Kemistry remains an experiment in exhibiting new design work. Those who want to see Kemistry’s continued success might push for more Arts Council grants, but these institutions don’t typically concern themselves with graphic design. Or they might suggest the gallery become a non-profit like Paris’ Galerie Anatome and run off donations. Truly, though, these are not solutions so much as alternatives, both in process and intention. All that Coe and his crew can really hope for is that Kemistry’s neon sign remains lit long enough for a viable business model to emerge.
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer 00121
Red Converse sneakers hang from the ceiling of the gallery as a part of the Daniel Eatock show.
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MARCHÉ AUX PUCES ST-OUEN Just off of the Porte de Clignancourt Metro stop in Paris is Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, arguably the antique and treasure capital of Europe. Less of a market and more of an ultra trendy version of Antiques Road Show, Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt is made up of more than 3,000 stalls filled with bric-a-brac treasures, the likes of which are usually only found in a Grandmother’s attic, and in some cases, an erotic bookstore. Lining the alleyways of the St-Ouen area in northern Paris, these small shops bring out nearly 200,000 travelers and collectors each weekend. Standard flea market items like post cards, door knobs and vintage perfume bottles are for sale here, but it’s the specialty items at St-Ouen that make it a destination. Things like a top hat wearing badger, mangled Barbie dolls, delicate (and somewhat creepy) glass eyes and hand painted Nigerian masks. “People walk in here and must think I’m crazy,” says shop owner Vilma Laroche. “Everyone says ‘oh it’s a crazy shop’.” Her store Objets Interdits has been selling African items and artifacts at St-Ouen for 12 years. So whether searching for a traditional grandfather clock or fancily festooned animals, one thing is for sure: St-Ouen will undoubtedly have it. And with such eclectic offerings available—ranging from PG to XXX—it seems Laroche might not be the only one with a “crazy shop”. Text by: Tracey Johnsen Photos by: Andrew Feiler and Tracey Johnsen
Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, Av. de la Porte de Clignancourt, 18e, Paris, France. Open Monday-Saturday all year, 9am—7pm. For more information, visit www.marchesauxpuces.fr
Left: Tombées du Camion is a funky shop filled with doll heads and glass eyes, and stands out among all the furniture and art stalls. Between the dismantled dolls and paper mâché guns, the stall has a grim, dark feeling. Above: A inspiration to any design junky, Nini peau d’chien, the sister shop to Tombées du Camion, is home to large glass bottles, aged statues and quirky wooden clogs on the walls.
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Top: Vilma Laroche describes a Nigerian Biblio mask which is currently one of her most prized items. “It’s very difficult to find all the pieces together, usually you only get the face. And it’s handmade of course. All the things here are handmade.” Bottom: Wine openers from Nigeria can be found with many other African pieces at Objet Interdits. Owners Vilma and Jean Marc Laroche try to collect the most unique pieces that are on the market.
Top: Frames are one of the most popular item for sale at St-Ouen; hung from hooks, up against walls or framing old prints there is no escaping them. Bottom: Don’t get caught in Liberty’s on the hour or you will fall victim of the bell chimes from all of the clocks. In addition to the aging timepieces, Liberty’s also sells hand painted plates and antique costume jewelry.
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If contemporary art is what you are looking for stop into stand 159 on alley 2/8 owned by Claire Didon-Prince. Itâ€™s home to high end contemporary art. Much of the work is made using nontraditional materials like vinyl records, shredded Euros, fake flowers, feathers and plexiglass.
Top: Old school meets new school at St-Ouen as these Victorian chair frames get a contemporary twist with a leopard printed upholstery. Bottom: Vintage Dior and Louis Vuitton luggage make for great decorative pieces. Photos by Emily Gosselin.
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Richard Davies: Wooden Churches of the Russian North In the summer of 1902, Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876–1942), artist, stage designer and illustrator of Russian Folk Tales, traveled to the Vologda Province in the North of Russia to collect works of folk art. The photographs drew much needed attention to the condition of the wooden churches: “The state of the churches is most lamentable. In the hands of uncivilized people, they are being vandalized to the point of destruction or are ruined with ‘restoration’ to the point of being unrecognizable.” In 2002, photographer Richard Davies saw Bilbin’s photos in a series of postcards, which inspired him to travel to the Russian North to find out which churches had survived. During his travels, the story of the hardships of the last century has been unavoidably felt; a story of Revolution, War, Communism and severe Northern winters. Many churches have been lost: some have been left to rot; some have been destroyed by lightning; countless others by ignorance, spite and neglect. A few years ago, a reversing tractor hit one church—it tumbled like a house of cards. Fortunately, dedicated specialists and enthusiasts have managed to save many of the churches pictured. The photographs tell of the lives of resilient people who have lived through extreme times in extreme places—a story of the Russian North. — Matilda Moreton, Richard Davies
Wooden Churches – Travelling in the Russian North by Matilda Moreton and Richard Davies will be published later this year. www.richarddavies.co.uk/woodenchurches/
DESIGN BUREAU //Informer 00129
Church of the prophet Elijah( (18th century), Polya, Karelia region
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Chapel of St. Nicholas (19th c.), Bukhalovo, Plesetsk district, Arkhangel region
Church of St. Vladimir (1757), Podporozhe, Onega district, Arkhangel region
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Chapel of the Martyr St. Barbara (18th C), Kokkoila, Pryazha district, Karelia
Church of St. Alexander Svirsky (1769), Kosmozero, Medvezhegorsk district, Karelia
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Church of St. George (1665), Permogorâ€™e, Krasnoborsk district, Arkhangel region
Church of St. Alexander Svirsky (1769), Kosmozero, Medvezhegorsk district, Karelia
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Church of the Ascension (1651), Bell Tower (1700), Piala, Onega district, Arkhangel region
Church of the Resurrection (1766), Rakula, Kholmogorsky district, Arkhangel region
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Church of St. Dmitrius of Thessalonica (1784), Verknyaya Uftiuga, Krasnoborsk district, Arkhangel region
Church of the Assumption (1774), Kondopoga, Kondopoga district, Karelia
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Todd Freeman and Meg Perec's site-specific Sixty Foot Ghost on display in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo by Brian Merwin.
The Giant Sea Squid The tentacled cephalopod (and its 300 sister species) never cease to inspire If it seems inevitable that we humans will one day wipe ourselves out—or render things such a mess that we’ll be forced to jump into our space machines and abscond to who knows what part of the solar system—then what will take over planet Earth in our absence? Could it be the megasquid, an eight-ton, land-roaming, air-breathing version of the squid dreamed up by the Discovery Channel’s 2003 series The Future Is Wild, which speculated that such a creature could dominate in 200 million years, once all mammals are extinct? No one can say if such an animal will ever really evolve, but in the meantime, there’s plenty of intrigue to be found in the real-life, presentday version of the squid and its cephalopod cousin, the octopus. “They’re amazingly clever creatures,” says Chicago artist Atom Basham,
whose drawings and paintings of “monsters” often incorporate the squid’s swirling arms and tentacles. His characters, as he calls them, are “mostly based on a post-apocalyptic wasteland sort of environment,” and his signature work is The Squid Girls, a drawing of two identical twins standing face-to-face with their squidarm hair intertwined. “Not enough people realize how intelligent squids really are,” Basham continues, and it’s true: the animals are known to hunt cooperatively and communicate using color changes and flashes during courtship. And according to that be-all, end-all fount of Internet knowledge, Wikipedia, octopuses are known to climb aboard fishing boats and hide in containers that hold dead or dying crabs. Particularly in the case of the giant squid, it’s always news when one washes up on a coast
Text by: Amalie Drury
somewhere; the largest example ever documented measured almost 60 feet and weighed a ton. It’s too tempting to imagine those eight slimy arms strangling you to death as you stare into the creature’s dinner-plate-sized eyeball. Indeed, the monster thing has been a hard rep for squids to shake. Who could forget The Little Mermaid’s terrifyingly tentacled villain, Ursula (though it’s up for debate whether her lower half was actually that of a squid or an octopus)? In the new musical version of The Addams Family (starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, now playing on Broadway in New York), Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the creepy crew has a family pet that didn’t appear in the original cartoons, TV series or ’90s films. She’s a giant purple squid who lives under the stairs of their ramshackle mansion and falls in love with one of their prim houseguests, who, after resisting the squid’s advances, finds himself unceremoniously snatched into her lair.
Michigan-based printmaker Todd Freeman with Sixty Foot Ghost, the squid-inspired installation he created with fellow artist Meg Perec. Photo by Brian Merwin.
The squid has received gentler treatment, though, by artists like the world-renowned Dale Chihuly, whose blown-glass works have often directly or indirectly evoked the animal’s ethereal beauty among other sealife-inspired shapes. A 2003 chandelier commissioned for
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Glass artist Dale Chihuly’s ethereal works—like these chandeliers at NoMI restaurant in the Park Hyatt Chicago—often appear squid- or seaweed-esque in shape.
Works by Chicago artist Atom Basham: The Squid Girls, Gran’ma Tentacles and Rhinoceros Boy Goes on a Journey.
NoMI restaurant at Chicago’s Park Hyatt hotel, for instance, resulted in Lumière d’Ambre, a series of light fixtures suspended in front of the restaurant’s overhang bank of floor-toceiling windows. It’s not difficult to imagine these otherworldly forms as golden, gleaming squids floating serenely in the safety of a huge aquarium also inhabited by humans. Last fall, Michigan-based printmakers Todd Freeman and Meg Perec created Sixty-Foot Ghost, a site-specific installation for ArtPrize 2009, an art competition in Grand Rapids. The two worked on their life-size drawing of a giant squid in 20-foot sections, never seeing the final result until the day it was installed (the work also included a desk displayed directly below the squid and strewn with nauticaland nature-themed items). Both artists call themselves nature buffs; Freeman says they’re always “trading links about some newly discovered pocket of biodiversity,” and Perec has begun work on a second bachelor’s degree in biomedical science. With Sixty-Foot Ghost, they hoped to create something that would give viewers the same sense of awe Freeman felt at age seven, when he saw a replica of a giant squid hanging in the Shedd Aquarium. “I was absolutely horrified by it, and unlike any number of other giant animals, this one was not extinct,” he says. “Its physiology is so striking—the bril-
liant red brick color, giant unblinking eyes and snaking arms—yet so little is known about it. A sixty-foot animal that supposedly lives in all the major oceans, but virtually no photos or footage exist of live specimens and they’ve almost never been seen in their natural habitat?” It’s the squid’s element of the unknown, in the end, that seems to most fascinate artists, designers, children, scientists, documentarymakers, and followers of squid folklore and fact. But of all the mediums, which one unites people with squids in their most intimate, upclose format? Food, of course. From octopuses that look as if they could swim off the plate to exotic entrees splashed with dark pools of squid ink, cephalopods have long been a staple of the high-drama menu. “Octopuses have been around for who knows how long,” says Todd Stein, executive chef at Cibo Matto restaurant in Chicago’s Loop theater district. “They swim in very deep water, and they don’t like to be bothered. They really are the mystery of the deep,” he says, noting that squid ink is used more for color than flavor. “Squid is mild and sweet, with a slightly oceanic flavor—certainly nothing like chicken,” Stein is careful to emphasize. At that, we can only wonder at the diner who would compare the mystery of the deep to the common chicken. Because does anything about a squid scream barnyard?
Squid kitsch has wrapped its arms around mainstream design, where it frequently appears on items like this ‘Life at Sea’ tumbler from Anthropologie, $14, and wool and cotton ‘Blue Squid Hook Pillow’ from The Well Appointed House $58 ( www.anthropologie.com, www.wellappointedhouse.com).
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AGENDA: Design Bureau’s picks for August & September Cocktails@Cooper-Hewitt
Stanley Greenberg: Architecture under Construction
Cooper-Hewitt will host a cocktail reception featuring the National Design Triennial: Why Design Now? exhibition, jazz music from the Ed Fuqua Group and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for purchase from Restaurant Associates.
This exhibition comprises 13 stunning photographs that present a window into hidden moments of the architectural process and the sublime structural beauty that lies under the skin of contemporary architecture.
Cooper-Hewitt, New York, NY., Fridays, 6-9 pm through August 13. www.cooperhewitt.org
On view until September 6 at the Modern Wing, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. www.artinstituteofchicago.org
Image Space Object 6: Tools for Transformation, sponsored by AIGA
Highlights from the Department of Architecture and Design
At Image, Space, Object, small teams of participants and studio mentors work together to create multi-dimensional environments, human interactions and brand strategies. User-centered narratives serve as a starting place for the design of graphic, interaction, product and environmental experiences. Research, modeling, team ideation and experiential prototyping are employed throughout the three day gathering to produce tangible final presentations that can be brought back to work and used with your design teams.
The Art Institute’s collection of architecture and design, at 150,000 objects, is one of the largest in the world. The current selection of highlights from the collection comprises works by Le Corbusier, Bruce Goff, Kisho Kurokawa, Stanley Tigerman and more. Their diverse output— illustrated through hand drawings, digital prints, and new media—demonstrate the breadth of ideologies and approaches at play in architecture, both historically and today.
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, Lakewood, CO., Aug 5-8. www.imagespaceobject.com
On view until September 7 in Galleries 283–285, at the Modern Wing, Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago. IL. www.artinstituteofchicago.org
DESIGN BUREAU //Agenda
No Agenda AM, sponsored by AIGA On the last Friday of every month, AIGA has been getting together for a relaxed morning of (free) coffee and conversation with local designers at its No Agenda gathering. Spread the word and feel free to bring your designer and designer-friendly friends. MadCap Coffee, Grand Rapids, MI., August 27, 8 am. www.aiga.org MoMA Nights Stop by after hours to enjoy full access to the galleries, a cash bar, a DJ, a special prix fixe dinner in Cafe 2, and seasonal tapas in the Sculpture Garden (weather permitting). MoMA, New York, NY., Every Thursday in August, 5:30pmâ€“ 8:45 p.m. â€¨www.moma.org The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today This exhibit presents a critical examination of the intersections between photography and sculpture, exploring how the one medium has become implicated in the understanding of the other. Through a selection of nearly 300 outstanding pictures by more than 100 artists, from the dawn of modernism to the present, the exhibition looks at the ways photography informs and challenges our understanding of sculpture.
live music from local DJs, the worldâ€™s only iMac G5 digital dating bar, creation stations and more. Each month features an up-and-coming Chicago artist in a preview of the latest UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work exhibition. Every first Friday of the month, 6pm-10 pm, MCA, Chicago, IL., www.mcachicago.org Young Architects Program
First Fridays at the Museum of Contempoary Art
Celebrating its 11th year, the MoMA/P.S.1 program continues its commitment to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects. SO â€“ ILâ€™s winning landscape, Pole Dance, will be on view in P.S.1â€™s outdoor courtyard starting in June, creating an interactive environment for the 2010 Warm Up summer music series.
Relax after a long work week with a cash bar featuring specialty drinks and free Wolfgang Puck appetizers. Enjoy
On view through September. 12pm-6pm. P.S.1, Queens, NY. www.ps1.org
August 1 - November 1 at MoMA, 6th floor, New York, NY., www.moma.org
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FOR HIRE: Micheal Savona For most design students, the end of year means freedom from classes and time to create independently. But for other students, the end of the year signals the time to think about the future— and what will happen post-graduation. Originally from upstate New York, Savona decided to take his inclination for drawing to the next level and enrolled at Alfred University. After receiving his BFA in printmaking and sculpture, he dabbled in different areas of design, including a stint as a Preparatory at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he discovered an inclination for objects. “Objects seemed to blend all my interests: architecture, design, fashion and art, wrapped into a tangible and arrangeable form.” Savona decided to pursue this interest further and entered the School of the Art Institute Chicago, where he recently wrapped up his Masters degree in designed objects. Now the ‘object’ in question seems to be his postgraduate career. How would you describe your aesthetic? Simple, yet slightly off. Can you describe some of your designed objects? The Okie Donkie was built in response to a class theme of “objects that entertain us.” The Okie Donkie is a zebrastriped donkey that is ‘okay’ with things. Pose his legs and swap his magnetic head and tail to be who you wish or need him to be. Who are some artists you look to for inspiration? Maurice Sheltens, SANAA, Lucas Ossendrijver. What’s the best thing/most useful piece of information you learned in design school? The least? Best and worst—say yes to opportunity. What are your post-graduation career goals? To start a graphic/object design studio, exhibit, perhaps try teaching, ride my bicycle and to cook again. Why should somebody hire you? I design objects as “company”, in the sense that the pieces are designed for a setting that you both live with and live around. Similar to the company you keep, there is an ease at which you can both engage with or silently enjoy each other—together or apart. The work (and this is where I am trying to position myself in terms of hiring) is designed with this dynamic in mind.
Michael likes... Object design league, golden age, manystuff. org, my friends, the silver Mondial I see parked on my ride home, Intelligentsia on west Jackson (for decor and staff uniforms), Kueng Caputo, MDDO 2010 classmates, magenta non-woven interfacing, the white Aston Martin I used to see parked on my ride home
More of Michael’s work can be found at www.michaelsavona.com.
Michael dislikes... Eating in the Loop for two years, headwinds and hungry seagulls in Millennium park
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DESIGN BUREAU //Informer
MAGAZINE: Inspiring Dialogue on Design
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