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random Magazine

aug 2013

danseur etoile

philippe starck

living fashion

the opera ballet of paris

design phenom

the photography of katrin thomas


random

Magazine

3


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Contents

Random Aug 2013

fe atu r e s

36 Living Fashion The Photography of Katrin Thomas 46 Danseur Etoile The Opera Ballet of Paris

r eg u l ar s

10

56

Nomad Luxury Jenny Lewis

Phillippe Stark Design Phenom

14

co lu m n s

Nightlife James Blake

58 Spotlight Thomas Cain

25 Hotels Amanda Elliot

60 Seasonal Trinity Tos

28 On The Record Amanda Elliot

62 Last Look Sumner Stole

30 Itinerary Tomara Petty 32 Nightlife James Blake 34 Hotels Amanda Elliot

5


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Hotel Het Arresthuis A 1997 photograph that she shot in Los

one of the girls’ yawning, exemplifies the care

Angeles shows two young girls–each barely

that Thomas took in elucidating and, in effect,

twenty years old–exquisitely decked out in

demystifying the everyday life of privileged

fetching single-breasted, Chanel-insipred

Beverly Hills girls. Luptatio. Iquibusanti dolo-

plaid suits. Their bodies are criss-crossed with

ria eceptam harum dolorem vendio in net as

lemon-yellow and ochre chalk-bands beside

mo blatur sequia net autetur, volupta tiatemo

a gleaming blue swimming pool, accentu-

luptae cus dolo totatur re ratae net rem. Nam

ated by the girls’ pale nude legs partially

faccull oriam, esed eumquiam hil mod quiatur,

immersed in the pool. The alluring saturation

optat volecto dolorit iuntibu saectem poraes

characteristic of the California sun is evident, with its attendant aura of leisure, but the ironic subtext of chic boredom underscored in this picture, and not least punctuated by

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled


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r a n d o m   //   p h oto g r a p h y


living

fashion The Photography of Katrin Thomas By Evan Walker

Getting Katrin Thomas to explain her own photographs is a daunting task, nonetheless, everything that she needs to say about her work is deftly woven and crisply realized. Asked how she would describe her photography to the average person, she answers, “I would have to say that it is related to movies I’m creating at that particular moment. I've always been inspired by the films of Godard, Antonioni and Truffaut. They are very real, yet they are not. Like the way all these directors use simple but profound language in an abstract, humorous, romantic way. In my photography, I try to explore in a similar way.” Thomas’ photography re-enacts slices of everyday life and trends, to create a poetics of glamour, misery, ambivalence, attitude, ennui, etc.

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled

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r a n d o m   //   p h oto g r a p h y

Fashion and desire have a clear purpose in fashion: People want to look through and not at fashion photographs.

A 1997 photograph that she shot in Los Ange-

Fantasy and desire have a clear purpose in

(not through) Thomas’ sepia-toned portraits

les shows two young girls–each barely twenty

fashion: people want to look through and not

of impressionable young boys and girls one

years old–exquisitely decked out in fetching

at, fashion photographs. They want to be en-

by one, we find that, a touch cruel, she cata-

single-breasted, Chanel-insipred plaid suits.

tertained, amused, comforted and, hopefully,

logues all the pretenses of “cutting-edge”

Their bodies are criss-crossed with lemon-yel-

live vicariously through glossy photographs of

fin-de-siecle: from punk grimace, homeboy-

low and ochre chalk-bands beside a gleaming

beautifully posed, manicured models. But in

wannabe, Rastafarian anti-coif, to Soho pseu-

blue swimming pool, accentuated by the girls’

celebrating these iconic, spoiled girls, Thomas

do-downtown art scene. Gone are the days

pale nude legs partially immersed in the pool.

also betrays the limitations of luxury that

when bohemia, underground, cutting-edge

The alluring saturation characteristic of the

under-privileged girls — unaware — long for.

or rudeboys meant something. Nowadays

California sun is evident, with its attendant

faking it succeeds more than being it. A pose,

aura of leisure, but the ironic subtext of chic

The edginess of Thomas’s photography is de-

a look, an attitude or a style can be bought or

boredom underscored in this picture, and not

rived not from its casualness, but from its cin-

sold in a second. In a five-minute makeover, a

least punctuated by one of the girls’ yawn-

ematic urgency, which stirs the viewer while

suburbanite can be transformed from a pale

ing, exemplifies the care that Thomas took in

retaining a photographic stillness that invites

young thing into the it girl of the moment.

elucidating and, in effect, demystifying the

contemplation. The urgency of the cinematic

“Escape from reality” is no longer necessary;

everyday life of privileged Beverly Hills girls.

style captures fleeting moments. Looking at

reality has become an escape

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled


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photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled


photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled

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and perception the only reality. Our life has become as real as cloning, test-tube babies, breast implants, nose jobs, face-lifts, sexchanges, race-changes, spin doctors, clever lawyers or sexgate. What are we left with but our true picture, a silhouette whose true color is greenback? Hardcore capitalism commodifies everything and anything. In Puff Daddy’s words, “It’s all about the Benjamins”. As the popularity of fashion as a worthy cultural phenomenon grows in learned circles, so the role of fashion photography will progress from a mere decorative medium to a demanding one with critical framework that can enable us to see beyond our glamorized decorum. Fashion is not only contagious, it is also worth catching, regardless of cultural, religious or gender homogeneity. Perhaps playing, for instance, with the homogeneous trope and stereotype of what it means to be Asian, female, and probably Buddhist, Thomas photographed a young Asian girl in two frames. In one frame, dressed in a Maoesque revolutionary white suit against a background horizontally banded in green, white and black, this young girl sits leaning on a white table, her back slightly bent with anxiety,

“Escape from reality” is no longer necessary; Reality has become an escape and perception the only reality.

peering in enigmatic contemplation at her white plate of food. Clearly Kate Moss, not the Buddha, is the icon of faith and salvation in the picture: faith and self-starvation, salvation in thinness. The charged symbolic analogies of sanitation and purity, anorexia and thinness, bulimia and ambivalence, fashion and body, culture and nature bear witness to the collective psychological damage we are suffering from. As if to drive her point home, Thomas’ second frame freezes her subject’s evident expression of mea culpa.


photogr aph by k atrin thomas

photogr aph by k atrin thomas

entitled untitled

entitled untitled

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A 1997 photograph that she shot in Los Angeles shows two young girls — each barely twenty years old — exquisitely decked out in fetching single-breasted, Chanel-insipred plaid suits. Their bodies are criss-crossed with lemon-yellow and ochre chalk-bands beside a gleaming blue swimming pool, accentuated by the girls’ pale nude legs partially immersed in the pool. The alluring saturation characteristic of the California sun is evident, with its attendant aura of leisure, but the ironic subtext of chic boredom underscored in this picture, and not least punctuated by one of the girls’ yawning, exemplifies the care that Thomas took in elucidating and, in effect, demystifying the everyday life of privileged Beverly Hills girls. Fantasy and desire have a clear purpose in fashion: people want to look through and not at, fashion photographs. They want to be entertained, amused, comforted and, hopefully, live vicariously through glossy photographs of beautifully posed, manicured models. But in celebrating these iconic, spoiled girls, Thomas also betrays the limitations of luxury that under-privileged girls — unaware — long for. The edginess of Thomas’s photography is derived not from its casualness, but from its cinematic urgency, which stirs the viewer while retaining a photographic stillness that invites contemplation. The urgency of the cinematic style captures fleeting moments. Looking at (not through) Thomas’ sepia-toned portraits of impressionable young boys and girls one by one, we find that, a touch cruel, she catalogues all the pretenses of “cuttingedge” fin-de-siecle: from punk grimace, homeboy-wannabe, Rastafarian anti-coif, to Soho pseudo-downtown art scene. Gone are the days when bohemia, underground, cutting-edge or rudeboys meant something. Nowadays faking it succeeds more than being it. A pose, a look, an attitude or a style can be bought or sold in a second. In a five-minute makeover, a suburbanite can be transformed from a pale young thing into the it girl of the moment.

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled

17


r a n d o m   //   p h oto g r a p h y

“I’m more interested in taking an interesting picture from a seemingly uninteresting situation.

By realizing this “bathroom” picture without

The eldest of three children, Katrin Thomas

in Pasadena California, on a Fulbright-scholar-

any suggestion that her subjects are posing,

was born in Bonn, Germany on January

ship. For as long as she can remember, she has

Thomas succeeds in capturing an emblematic

5th 1963, at the start of a decade that was

been a child of the arts: she was an actress for

moment of decadence, guilt, shame, and the

marked by anti-bourgeois values, sexual

a while, and from the age of fifteen to twenty-

all-too-familiar insatiable consumption that

promiscuity, “free love” and unashamed

five, she sang and studied opera. Throughout

characterizes the so-calle d Generation X.

drug-abuse; hence, in many ways, it created

these formative years, she also studied modern

This is not a rehashed, trendy photograph of,

a template for the continuing moral decay of

dance, which explains her evident agility.

say, heroin-chic, designed to affect a cutting-

today’s Generation X. At the age of seven,

Faced with her competing talents, she increas-

edge gesture in order to shock the bourgeoi-

she left Bonn for Frankenthal, where she

ingly turned to still and motion pictures.

sie. Like Edouard Manet, who insisted that

spent the rest of her childhood. Later she

“We must accept our own times and paint

studied Visual Communications and Graphic

what we see,” Thomas fully embraces her own

Design at Darmstadt. In 1991 – 1992, she

time and photographs what she sees.

attended the Art Center College of Design

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled


Occasionally, fate or providence dictates that an impresario will discover a great and lasting talent. Carmen dell’ Orefice, the ageless American beauty who is still working as a fashion model at the age of sixty-seven, was discovered one day in a Manhattan cross-town bus. Iman, the enduring Somalian beauty, was discovered as a fashion model while attending college in the United States. Likewise, Katrin Thomas was “discovered” — a thorny term — as a photographer by Thomas N. Stemmle, President and Publisher of Edition Stemmle, in Photo News, a German photography magazine, when one of her photographs adorned the cover. His curiosity aroused, Stemmle determined to meet Thomas and see more of her work; impressed by what she showed him, he offered to publish her photographs — a decision based on the strength of her work rather than on her apparent lack of celebrity. But of course, Thomas had been working for at least the past ten years; and like all “discovered” heroines and heroes, her discovery owed as much to the eye of the discoverer as to her untapped talent.

photogr aph by k atrin thomas entitled untitled

19


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danseur etoile The Opera Ballet of Paris by Clive Barnes Photographs by Gérard Uferas

When nearly forty years I switched (overnight and a subsequent lifetime) from being

American Ballet Theatre or its

a native Londoner to becoming an immi-

women as strong as

grant New Yorker, I

the Kirov’s. But the

knew that one of the

Paris Opera Ballet is a

things I would miss

fantastic company. It

most about London

was not always so.

would be Paris, and

company on my

what is nowadays

first trip to Paris, in

their tunnel-blessed

1949. I was already

proximity. What I

not young--well,

didn’t know was that

And this is not simply because I am a Francophile,

one of the things I

although I am; it’s

would miss most

more a reflection of

about Paris was the

the important place

Paris Opera Ballet.

the Paris Opera Ballet occupies in world

for their matinee performance

sophisticated dance aficionado (actually, over-sophisticated) and emerging dance critic (although,

classical dance.

armed with industrialstrength binoculars, I was still paying for

even as individual as

my own tickets in the

The Royal Ballet’s--for

farthest, cheapest

one thing, the Paris Opera Ballet has for centuries not had a major choreographer to call its own. Its traditions are not as securely preserved as the Royal Danes’, nor are its male dancers as strong as those of

21

And I was already a

fascinating as New York City Ballet’s, or left : dancers rehearse

not that young.

reaches of theaters).


r a n d o m   //   da n c e


left : dancers perform swan l ake at the paris oper a house right : dancer stretches before a performance

I switched (overnight and a subsequent lifetime) from being a native Londoner to becoming an immigrant New Yorker, I knew that one of the things I would miss most about London would be Paris, and what is nowadays their tunnel-blessed proximity. What I didn’t know was that one of the things I would miss most about Paris was the Paris Opera Ballet. I am a Francophile, although I am; it’s more a reflection of the important place the Paris Opera Ballet occupies in world classical dance. fascinating as New York City Ballet’s, or even as individual as The Royal Ballet’s — for one thing, the Paris Opera Ballet has for centuries not had a major choreographer to call its own. Its traditions are not as securely preserved as the Royal Danes’, nor are its male dancers as strong as those of women as strong as the Kirov’s. But the Paris Opera Ballet is a fantastic company. It was not always so.

The Paris Opera Ballet is a fantastic company. It was not always so.

I first encountered the company on my first trip to Paris, in 1949. I was already not young — well, not that young. And I was already a sophisticated dance aficionado (actually, over-sophisticated) and emerging dance critic (altho-ugh, armed with industrial strength binoculars, I was still paying for my own tickets in the farthest, cheapest reaches of theaters).

23


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25


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The company did not impress me overly — it seemed I switched (overnight and a subsequent lifetime) from being a native Londoner to becoming an immigrant New Yorker, I knew that one of the things I would miss most about London would be Paris, and what is nowadays their tunnel-blessed proximity. What I didn’t know was that one of the things I would miss most about Paris was the Paris Opera Ballet. I am a Francophile, although I am; it’s more a reflection of the important place the Paris Opera Ballet occupies in world classical dance. fascinating as New York City Ballet’s, or even as individual as The Royal Ballet’s — for one thing, the Paris Opera Ballet has for centuries not had a major choreographer to call its own. Its traditions are not as securely preserved as the Royal Danes’, nor are its male dancers as strong as those of women as strong as the Kirov’s. But the Paris Opera Ballet is a fantastic company. It was not always so.

left : young dancers pr actice their pefroamance for the school recital


27


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I first encountered the company

would go to the company as a

on my first trip to Paris, in 1949. I

mild evening relaxation. Journalis-

was already not young — well, not

tically I at least made copy out of,

that young. And I was already a

say, John Cranko’s 1955 La Belle

sophisticated dance aficionado

Helene (underrated, by the way)

(actually, over-sophisticated) and

or Gene Kelly’s 1960 Gershwin

emerging dance critic (although,

piece Pas de Dieux (Claude Bessy

armed with industrial-strength

was divine, but Jerry Lewis could

binoculars, I was still paying for

have done better choreography)

my own tickets in the farthest,

or Pierre Lacotte’s 1972 adequate

cheapest reaches of theaters)..

reconstruction of La Sylphide (not

infinitely less interesting than the

as good, I thought, as Victor Gs-

various independent troupes of

ovsky’s earlier attempt for Petit),

Roland Petit and Boris Kochno. In

but my rating of the company

fact, apart from my first sight of

among the majors was pretty

Symphony in C (with the original

much the lowest of the low.

Paris east minus Tamara Toumanova) under its French nom de

There were fine dancers, but no

guerre of Le Palais de cristal, and

company. I caught the occasional

with those fancy Leonor Fini de-

“event” —  Helgi Tomasson’s guest

signs, I was totally underwhelmed.

debut as Albrecht in Giselle, for

I stubbornly remained so on many

example, or the revival of Yuri

later occasions.

Grigorovich’s Ivan the Terrible, with the marvelous Jean Guizerix

Even a two-week immersion

(a great Robbins interpreter, by

season by the company at Covent

the way), Dominique Khalfouni

Garden in 1954 (my diaries note

and, also a favorite at ABT, Mi-

that I saw eighteen ballets, mostly

chael Denard. Yet I still didn’t take

by Serge Lifar, spread over four-

Paris’s dancers as seriously as its

teen performances) did nothing to

cooking until I had an awakening

make me a fan, despite the pres-

in October 1977.

ence of both the wondrous Yvette Chauvire and the lustrous Nina Vyroubova, two of my most beloved ballerinas of the twentieth century. Subsequently, when in Paris I

left : dancers engage in dress rehearsal the day before their first performance

29


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philippe starck

design phenom by stephen o’shea


stark recalls spending his childhood underneath his father’s drawing boards; hours spent sawing, cutting, gluing, sanding, dismantling bikes, motor cycles and other objects. endless hours, a whole lifetime spent taking apart and putting back together whatever comes to hand, remaking the world around him. Several years and several prototypes later, the Italians have

Abroad, he continues to shake up both the traditions and

made him responsible for their furniture, President Mitterand

cultures of the major cities around the world, with the deco-

asked him to change life at the Elysées Palace, the Café

ration of the Peninsula Hotel restaurant in Hong Kong, the

Costes has become Le Café, he has turned the Royalton and

Teatron in Mexico, the Hotel Delano in Miami, the Mondrian in

Paramount in New York into the new classics of the hotel

Los Angeles, the Asia de Cuba restaurant in New York, and

world and scattered Japan with architectural tours de force

a whole clutch of projects under way in London and

that have made him the leading exponent of expressionist

elsewhere. His gift is to turn the object of his commission

architecture. His respect for the environment and for hu-

instantly into a place of charm, pleasure and encounters.

mankind has also been recognized in France, where he was

commissioned to design the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the control tower at Bordeaux airport, and a waste recycling plant in Paris metropolitan area.

31

below : bl ack metal chairs by philippe starck


r a n d o m   //   d e s i g n

below : hotel room in hotel marmont designed by philippe starck

right : hotel bathroom in hotel marmont designed by philippe starck


33


r a n d o m   //   d e s i g n

An honest and enthusiastic citizen of today’s world, he considers it his duty to share with us

crazy, warm, yet terribly lucid, he draws

his subversive vision of a better world which

without respite, out of necessity, driven by a

is his alone and yet which fits up like a glove. He is tireless in changing the realities of our

sense of urgency, for himself and for others.

daily life, sublimating our roots and the deep-

est wellsprings of our being into his changes.

The world’s museums are unerring. Paris, New

He captures the essential spirit of the sea for

York, Munich, London, Chicago, Kyoto, Barce-

Béneteau, turns the toothbrush into a noble

lona - all exhibit his work as that of a master.

object, squeezes lemons but the “wrong” way,

Prizes and awards are showered on him:

and even makes our TV sets more fun to be

designer of the year, Grand Prix for Industrial

with when he brings his “emotional style” into

Design, the Oscar for Design, Officier des Arts

Thomson’s electronic world.

et des Lettres, and many more.

He also takes time out to change our pasta,

Always and everywhere, he seems to under-

our ash-trays, lamps, toothbrushes, door

stand better than any other our dreams, our

handles, cutlery, candlesticks, kettles, knives,

desires, our needs, and our responsibility to the

vases, clocks, scooters, motorcycles, desks,

future, as well the overriding need to respect

beds, taps, baths, toilets … in short, our whole

his fellow citizens by making his work a politi-

life. A life that he finds increasingly fascinat-

cal and a civic act. Crazy, warm yet terribly

ing, which has brought him now closer to the

lucid, he draws without respite, out of neces-

human body with clothes, underwear, shoes,

sity, driven by a sense of urgency, for himself

glasses, watches, food, toiletries et al., still de-

and for others. He touches us through his work,

termined that his designs shall, as ever, respect

which is fine and intelligent indeed, but most

the nature and the future of mankind.

of all touches us because he puts his heart into that work, creating objects that are good even before they are beautiful.


left : portr ait of philippe starck by avedon

35


r a n d o m   //   d e s i g n

Where do you get news from? I live like a monk, so there is no news. I read only the scientific magazines. Do you have any preferences on how women dress? Yes. I like the dress that is like a double skin. Where do you work on your projects? What kind of clothes do you avoid What is the best moment of the day?

wearing?

When you make love to the person that

Cannot say. Do you have any pets?

Nobody. There are already thousands of really,

No.

really good chairs. There are thousands of good lamps. There are thousands of everything.

at the moment? Everything is good. Do you listen to the radio? Bollywood radio.

Who would you like to design something for?

you love. What kind of music do you listen to

Anywhere in front of the sea.

When you were a child, what did you want to be?

Do you discuss your work with other

Nothing.

designers?

above : bl ack leather chair by philippe starck

Never. I am not interested in designers.

What books do you have on your

Describe your “style”, like a good

bedside table?

friend of yours would describe it.

So many. I read 12 books at a time. “Europ-

Freedom.

eana” by Patrik Ourednik (a brief history of the twentieth century). It is very important to read. above : citrus juicer by philippe starck

above : w . w . stool by philippe starck


Do you design for the masses? I have been trying for 20 years now. How I make life better for my tribe. And you have designed hotels, clubs Which of your works has given you the

You once said that it is your dream to

and restaurants... Again, a different

most satisfaction?

make the world a better place...Is it

approach?

The next.

beauty you are looking for?

It is the same thing. just the scale is different.

No, not for beauty. We have to replace beauty, Among the most recent work is “collec-

which is a cultural concept, with goodness,

is there any architect or designer from

tion guns� lamps for flos.

which is a humanist concept.

the past you appreciate a lot? I am not interested in architects or designers.

The guns collection is nothing but a sign of the times. We get the symbols we deserve.

The beauty of intelligence?

I no longer wish to talk about design.

Yes. Of intelligence. The elegance of intelliCan you describe an evolution in your

gence and the beauty of happiness.

Any advice for the young? Advice? Make a job useful.

work from your first projects to the present day?

You design shoes, eyeglasses... is your

More honest.

approach to fashion design different to

What are you afraid of regarding the

that of industrial design?

future?

I have no reason with fashion but am interested

The loss of civilisation.

above : metal l amp by philippe starck

to make clothes for my friends. above : gun l amp by philippe starck above : clear chair by philippe starck

37


r a n d o m   //   d e s i g n

left : corkscrew by philippe starck right : small sculptures by philippe starck

light, functional, affordable and elegant, with over 100 million copies officially produced to date, the kalachnikov is one of the industrial design success – stories of our age. mr kalachnikov has never received any royalties for this design. he often complains about it. thus, i intend to pay him a commission for the sales of the model that replicates his invention. poor guy. the remainder will be donated to

“medicins sans frontieres”, though sometimes i wonder why. aux larmes citoyens.


To Life, To Death First there were attempts at life, then the draftof life, then Life itself. It didn’t have much value — life and death altogether. It was something of an accident, without importance. But Mankind kept working. A lot. A civilisation was crafted so that Life could live. Sublime by obligation, Life became sacred, untouchable. The great, beautiful Life, guaranteed to everyone, surged und survived until today, the 21st century, the third millennium, the advent of civilised civilisation. Bravo! Rest in peace. Crash! It’s never what you think. After just a short period of enlightenment, the shadows return, fast, dense and menacing. Rewind, death is at the door. Nowadays we kill — religiously, militarily, civilly, indeed very civilly sometimes. We kill out of ambition, out of greed, for the fun of it or of the show. Republics turn bananas. Tyrant are our masters, Designed, manufactured, sold, dreamed, purchased and used, weapons are our new icons. Our lives are only worth a bullet. The Guns Collection is nothing but a sign of the times. We get the symbols we deserve. Happiness is a hot gun. Glory to our dictators To Life, To Death

39


r a n d o m   //   co l u m n

Last Look Zaha Hadid Always and everywhere, he seems to understand better than any other our dreams, our desires, our needs, and our responsibility to the future, as well the overriding need to respect his fellow citizens by making his work a political and a civic act. Crazy, warm yet terribly lucid, he draws without respite, out of necessity, driven by a sense of urgency, for himself and for others. He touches us through his work, which is fine and intelligent indeed, but most of all touches us because he puts his heart into that work, creating objects that are good even before they are beautiful. Ga. Itatur? Iberum et et fugiasi temque vellam quiaeresci doloremporem ist, quatis aciat utectur atquam aut offic totatatemodi cus, optat maximus nonsequatem asi doluptis nonse dolorempos doluptiis dolupta ssitem rera doluptis nullabo rrovid quam quatemq uament.Gendae nihicient as mod quisti aut od qui officipic tem que verro erspel int adicae net alibus. Qui dolut venitae evenim apedit remporrovit di culpa sam, sus.

right : protot ype dr awing for hadid building


41


Colophon The display type is Gotham. The text is Gotham Narrow. Text for the body copy is 9 / 13.5. Text for the captions are 6 / 7. by Michelle Olaya-Márquez risd

summer 2013


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