Deus Ex Machina Press and profile
SIMPLE PLEASURES Deus Ex Machina translates from Latin to ‘God is in the Machine’ and at Deus we aim celebrate the beauty in the objects we are passionate about. Motorcycles, Single speed Bicycles and Surfboards. Home to passionate group of enthusiasts this triumvirate of activities motorcycling, cycling and surfing, dictates who we are, what we do and what we make. While focussing on the design and construction of custom motorcycles and apparel, Deus promotes and celebrates a custom motorcycle culture, that first appeared in Europe and America in the 1940s, which has recently been revived by groups of enthusiasts in Japan, America and Australia. The company is based in a 1600sq meter renovated factory building in Camperdown Sydney, the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm. Home to the showroom, workshop facilities and design studio. Connected to the showroom is the Deus Bakery Cafe, where locals of the inner west rub elbows at communal tables with riders gassing up on caffeine before their Saturday excursions. While the sale of motorcycles and parts is at the core of the business - from Yamaha SR400s and TW220s to Kawasaki W650s as well as a selection of significant classic bikes, visitors to one of the Deus stores will find a unique selection of Deus brand product. Deus carries hand built fixed gear track bicycles as well as a range of items which feature timeless design and reflect the Deus culture. Classic bike accessories and books are on sale, while objects such as hi-fi systems, cars (the Deus company work horse is a replica D-type Jaguar), and prints and paintings by artists such as Robert Williams, Robert Moore and Japanese artist, Rockin’ Jelly Bean, are on display. Deus is the result of a group of passionate and dedicated Australian motorcycle enthusiasts, cyclists and surfers united in their belief that their passions have been hijacked by marketing forces and it is their desire to introduce a new generation of riders to that same pure enthusiasm that kick-started their own love of motorcycling push bike riding and going surfing.
THE ORIGINS OF THE DEUS PROJECT
During my years at Mambo I spent a lot of time travelling to Tokyo on business. One of the things I enjoyed most about these visits was watching the emergence of a vibrant motorcycle custom culture. What I found especially interesting was the fact that young riders in particular were taking essentially classic elements but expressing them in a completely contemporary manner.
Dare was the founder of MAMBO, a surf and street wear label that has that has prospered globally since its launch in Australia, in 1984. After selling Mambo in 2000, at a time when the company was turning over $50 million a year, Dare decided to take a well-earned rest. Now, after having got “relaxation” out of his system, Dare is applying his accumulated business knowledge, along with his life long passion for motor cycles, to developing the DEUS brand. Remembering the 70’s when surfing and motorcycles were joined at the hip, Dare now feels it’s time to reunite the two cultures. ROD HUNWICK Rod has been riding around the coal face of modern motorcycling for the past 20 years. He has built up a network of 5 motorcycle dealerships in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne. His company, Action Motorcycles sells Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki motorcycles. Rod was a member of the consortium that built the Eastern Creek Racetrack, in Sydney and counts the legendary Jack Brabham amongst his closest friends. More recently Rod has been the driving force behind the development of the Hunwick/Harrop, a totally original V-twin, 1500cc, water cooled, fuel injected cruiser. The H/H was completed while Harley Davidson and Porsche were still trying to figure out how to build their own version of this same model. There are few riders who have suffered more than Rod as he has been forced to witness the soul being squeezed out of modern motorcycling. It is his belief that DEUS will provide a much needed counterpoint to the grim “this year’s model” mentality of the international motorcycle industry. CARBY TUCKWELL Carby is the art director of Deus, a graphic artist and motor-obsessive. He believes the philosophy of the late Colin Chapman; “more power makes you quicker in a straight line. Less weight makes you quicker everywhere”, can be applied with as much relevance to design; beauty lies in simplicity, necessity being the mother of invention. A firm believer in grass roots engineering he is a self professed addict of modification if it involves internal combustion. Carby embarked on his octane fuelled experiments in a way that reflected his bucolic youth by giving the family ride-on mower a straight through exhaust and a quick steering rack.
At the core of this “movement” was the Yamaha SR ‘Big Single’. I knew all about this bike, having owned a XT500 in the late 70’s. It was great to see this totally outdated technology (kick-start with 2 valves) being revered for its essential purity, especially in a country like Japan where everyone is obsessed by cutting edge technology. Particularly pleasing was the fact that this movement had nothing to do with nostalgia. This was not about middle-aged men desperately trying to recapture their youth. While the 50’s detail was being observed and respected but what was emerging was looking fresh and absolutely appropriate for today’s market. I have been buying motorbikes from Rod Hunwick for almost 20 years. During a visit to one of his shops I happened to mention what I’d been seeing in Tokyo and asked him if he thought this might have any relevance to the local motorcycle scene. I had expected him to say it was “all to hard” but Rod as I have discovered is as interested in developing a new ideas as he is in turning a profit. The idea of creating a new motorcycle culture flowed from this point. Rod was especially interested in the idea of creating a company that sold a product that was “timeless” rather than one that was disposable. The challenge as we saw it, would be to offer a bike that could be stripped and put back together on the kitchen table and even be passed on to another generation instead of a bike that could only be tuned by computer and not last long enough to hand on to anyone. After watching the 70’s bike classic, “On Any Sunday” (again) we decided that the spirit of our company would reflect the spirit of the movie. That is, no “bad boy” posturing and mindless cliches, just pure passion welded to the joyous act of participation. In short, a place where personal passion would be tangible and the ethos of “corporatedesign-by-committee” and “we-have-no-idea-so-let’s-domarket-research”, are missing. The name Deus Ex Machina is Latin for “God is in the machine”. It is the perfect name for a project such as ours. It encapsulates the admiration that we have for the applied marriage of industrial and motorcycle design. Dare Jennings
Cafe Racer France
Cafe Racer France
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Sydney Morning Herald
Financial Review Magazine
Financial Review Magazine
Follow Me Men
Life & Lesiure Luxury
The (sydney) magazine
The Sun Herald Sunday Magazine
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NEW YORK TIMES.
By MIKE ALBO Published: January 21, 2009
For Shapeshifters, Bringing Boxy Back MY closet is stuffed with shirts waiting to come back in style. Many are secondhand button-downs in plaids and buffalo prints from my early-’90s grunge years and, farther back in time, from the six months in 1985 when I tried really hard to look “cowpunk.” Like many thrift store finds, these shirts all have full, squarish cuts. I just don’t feel right in them now because (1) in our current trend climate, clothes that are fitted closer to the body are more appealing, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in billowy fabric; and (2) I am a total fashion victim. Not to drag you down with me, but Smith & Butler, a new store in Brooklyn full of flannels, plaids and other rugged work-wear, may make you a little fashion victimy, too. Like me, you may walk in here, see all the plaid shirts and thick denim you wore years ago and think how radically your sense of shape and silhouette varies from your past. I went to Smith & Butler last week with my friend Carl and his husband, Andrew, who live nearby. The store opened in November on Smith Street in Cobble Hill, the brunch and shopping corridor for aging hipster pioneers who settled into this neighborhood way back in Brooklyn’s great wave of gentrification in the ’90s. Upon entering the store, the three of us felt immediately refreshed, since it seems every boutique in Brooklyn these days stocks only useless cute dresses and shoes for the Ladies Who Eat, Pray, Love. This store has elements you might expect (winsome salespeople, catchy alt music mix, expensive A.P.C. candles burning), but the rough-edged corner space displays durable, utilitarian clothing, stylishly displayed on scuffed-up furniture, much of which is for sale. The owner, Marylynn Piotrowski, a former model, also runs, with Staci Dover, a store in the Hamptons called Tauk. It may be daunting to open a shop now, but this couldn’t be a better time for grittier, wearable clothing. It sure seems more relevant than a $10,000 skirt made of pink tissue paper. The front room is mostly devoted to women’s selections. Soft V-neck T-shirts by LNA lay like feathers on a long table with drawers that is available for $3,500. Nearby was a canvas pouch with a bandana-style print ($32) and a beautiful $320 blue Pendleton blanket with sunset-colored stripes along the bottom. The clothes here look feminine but strong and lasting. Throw the long Filson canvas overcoat ($300) over a white frilly dress and any pretty young woman could look like Katharine Ross in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Down a few metal steps is the men’s section — a room of hard, unwashed denim and wool in masculine prints. Carl, Andrew and I made a beeline to the 30-percent-off rack, because all three of us suffer from I.D.D. — Income Deficit Disorder. Here were a stack of Pointer Brand coveralls in thick denim ($83), a Filson buffalo print shirt ($88) and a blue plaid reverse down vest ($198), all clothes I could see in my wardrobe during a hideous winter that is nearing the climate conditions of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Past the sale rack is a strange room of vintage motorcycles and bikes that don’t quite fit with the humble work-wear aesthetic. A Condor motorbike with a Ducati engine for $4,000 looked like something an annoyingly privileged oddball would drive in a Wes Anderson film. Next to it was a beautiful black Batavus pedal bike for $1,000 — beautiful but completely wasteful for New York. Buying it would make an interesting experiment. Which takes less time: the bike getting stolen, or burning $1,000 into a fine ash? Things seem more meaningful in the rest of the men’s section, where a card catalog unit (on sale for $420) displayed a series of strong canvas bags, including a dark green and brown canvas and leather Filson bag ($216) that Carl and Andrew examined with intensity. On a center table were selections of boots, including a pair of brown suede Red Wing work boots that looked solid and big but unobtrusive ($270). Over all, most everything here appears to be the kind of clothes you need to survive apocalyptic conditions and still look cool. But then we started trying things on. I slipped on the reverse down vest and felt like a plaid tube. Carl picked up a pair of flannel pants in a red buffalo print. They were clownishly huge and then tapered to elastic ankles ($80). “I feel like I could only wear these if I were a full-time ironist,” he said, putting them back. Andrew tried on a Swedish vintage military jacket ($200). Cropped high at the waist, it swallowed his torso in a top-heavy triangle of olive green fabric and buckles and made him look like a backup dancer in a late ’80s Jody Watley video. Hilarious, but worth only about $20 in funny money. I KEPT trying on shirts: a wool Pendleton shirt in a handsome greenish plaid ($60), a red and yellow flannel shirt accented here and there with silver thread ($190). With every garment, I was confronted with the boxy proportions of yesteryear. I wanted to like these clothes, but I couldn’t keep them on. Smith & Butler’s selection was either disappointingly untailored, or the beginning of a new trend arc, when the men’s silhouette will fill out again. With that in mind, I stood in front of the mirror in a bulgingly big shirt and tried really hard to recalibrate my sense of proportion. I couldn’t do it. The loose fit grossed me out. Why am I unable to enjoy the clothes I used to love? Why can’t I simply change my sense of shape? My master is despotic. Perhaps this is the end for me. Soon I will become one of those carefree seniors I see fuddy-duddying down the street in their wildly out-of-style outfits. I will still be wearing my fitted garments while everyone else walks around in up-to-the-moment costumes of cubic proportion, bulging fabric and boxy shoulder pads. I almost want it to happen. I will be a fashion victim no longer. I will finally be free. SMITH & BUTLER 225 Smith Street (at Butler Street), Brooklyn; (718) 855-4295 WORKING CLASS A new entry on the Smith Street boutique scene that presents scuffed-up furniture, vintage bikes, durable work-wear (plus high-end candles) to Brooklyn’s fashion-conscious young grown-ups. CRITICAL MASS While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the scads of other shops, including the small but eclectic selection at the nearby Epaulet. LACK OF SASS The changing rooms are large with lots of hooks, there are plenty of mirrors and the salespeople are mellow and helpful, so no one will give you ’tude if you just want to try things on. UNDERPASS Put on your hip utilitarian duds, cross the B.Q.E. and take a stroll through Red Hook — you’ll either be mistaken for the ghost of a shipyard worker or a cast member of “The Real World: Brooklyn.”
By Tyler Brûlé
What makes OilyBoy a slick magazine. Pretend for a brief moment you’re a media mogul with an eye for opportunity and a reputation for being a renegade within the industry. Confronted by a body of data that suggests you could make it big by creating a new media brand targeting 45-plus men who are looking for everything from fashion direction to automotive suggestions, what would you dub your new venture? If you’re based in Canada, you might call your new title Zoomer and hope the name would pull in all those men (or women who buy magazines for them) who are hoping to find something that’s less fashion than GQ or Esquire and not as abs-focused as Men’s Health. Indeed, one Canadian media mogul has launched just such a magazine and, while I wasn’t exactly intrigued by the title or cover, I was interested by the proposition of a magazine focusing on greying North American males. From the suburbs of Montreal to condominiums in Boca Raton there’ll be no shortage of affluent, underemployed men wondering what to do next. A magazine full of ideas about family, business, personal pursuits and a bit of health should be just the thing to persuade big brands to spend a few advertising dollars in these lean times and define a new audience in the process. Can’t you just see the word “zoomer” (that would be boomers with zip) being used on Powerpoint presentations all over the North American continent? No doubt someone is already sexing up the Zimmer frame into a carbon-fibre Zoomer frame for all those zippy boomers to whizz through the top 50 Zoomtowns – or maybe not. At a newsstand in the suburbs of Toronto I gave Zoomer a good thumb-through, and there wasn’t quite the flood or profile of advertising I was expecting or the level of art direction I felt this audience might demand. There were certainly enough ads but the mix was patchy; and while I can’t recall specific brands, I returned it to the shelf with the feeling that many of the ads were either focused on retirement plans or for supplements that enhance growth of some form or another. I left the shop not really excited about the prospect of becoming a resident of Zoomtown. On the far side of the Pacific, in the new Book 1st megastore in Shinjuku, I stumbled upon what seemed like Japanese answer to Zoomer, only with the slightly more edgy title of OilyBoy. Anyone would be excused for thinking it was a particularly raunchy gay manga – yet OilyBoy couldn’t be more innocent. As its tagline boldly explains, this is a “magazine for elder boys”. Another stamp on the cover even confidently promoted that this was a venture brought to its readers “from old editors”. Inside, it was a slickly produced style magazine clearly created for a male consumer who grew up on trendy fashion mags from the late 1970s but was now looking to remix his personal style or even revisit parts of his wardrobe that he now thought fit for the charity shop. Always quick to build on a trend, Japanese newsstands are heaving with Lohas (lifestyle of health and sustainability) titles, cosy parenting magazines that encourage young mums to wear smocks and potato-shaped shoes and dads to wear similar get-ups, magazines for 60-year-old women who behave like they might be turning 40 – and now there seems to be a growing shelf for greying men with titles such as Brio and Goethe sitting alongside OilyBoy. Western titles venturing into this territory have failed either because of their cheesiness or patronising tone and imagery. OilyBoy, on the other hand, is a simple, commonsense guide to looking and acting your age. It has also won support from advertisers who see their audience the same way and aren’t necessarily trying to flog the fountain of youth behind a series of different façades. From front to back there were weathered surfers hanging out and cooking, 60-plus CEOs looking chic in Tuscan countryside-meets-New Hampshire weekend attire, illustrated shopping maps of Tokyo, loads of fashion tips, lots of recipes, the odd vintage car, the odd vintage guitar and plenty of pointers about essential winter footwear. The cast of characters populating the pages were all acting their age, showed none of the tell-tale signs of perma-surprise that might suggest Botox or surgery and there was a sunny sense of optimism from cover to cover. I ended up adding OilyBoy to my stack of purchases because I spotted at least four shops I wanted to visit and there were plenty of shoes that I’d happily add to my closet. OilyBoy actually made being over 60 a quite chic constituency to be a part of, and there wasn’t a virility advertisement or cheesy grin in sight. Given Japan’s rapidly greying population, it only makes sense that its publishers are leading the way with magazines that speak to a demographic that has considerable spending power and is also hyper-fashion conscious. The trick is that these publishers are having the same conversation they’ve always been having with their readers – only now they’re reshuffling and refining the looks and faces they put on page rather than dressing them up for a one-way trip to the nursing home. Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine
VO L U M E 01 | C H A P T E R 0 3
N AT H A N W E B S T E R R U N S A D S O F H I M S E L F Yeah, i do. Can ya believe it? Narcissistic and self indulgent. Totally embarrassing on the whole. But apparently not embarrassing enough for me to not run this advertisement. Anyways, yeah, check my shit out, jewelry, fix gear and a motor bike. From North Narra and proud. Iâ€™m so rad. Check out my grab rail carve too. And how fucking handsome i am! GOD HELP ME!!!!
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