Scandinavian Design Pitch Launch Issue 2009 Antonio vergara alvarez firstname.lastname@example.org
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Nissan Quazana Y-3 Falke Lacoste
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Infiniti Essence Alexander McQueen Puma Falke Y-3
leg room shoe conceptS Photography Charles Negre Styling Hun Louis Bellieni
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Dacia Duster Adidas SLVR Falke Viktor & Rolf
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Italdesign Giugiaro Quaranta Lacoste Falke Rudolf Dassler by Puma
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Kia N.3 Alexander McQueen Puma Falke Y-3
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Aston Martin Lagonda Lacoste Falke Viktor & Rolf
Car: Shoes: Socks: Trousers:
Ford Iosis Max Bally Falke Lacoste
STRAP LINES Belt up in the back PHOTOGRAPHY PAUL ZAK STYLING SHUN LOUS BELLIENI
Top Row left to right: Panerai Ferrari Scuderia GMT Bell & Ross BR 01 Pro Titanium Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Secret
Bottom Row left to right: Omega Speedmaster Day-Date Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Day-Date Rado Sintra Chronograph
Seatbelts: OMP Sabelt Styling assistance: Jo Lawes
X house Photography Babette Pauthier Styling Lilia Toncheva-o Rourke.
Left: Dress Yves Saint Laurent Right: Coat Salvatore FerragamoÂ
This page: Suit Yves Saint Laurent, Shirt Petar Petrov
Here: Left: Shirt DKNY, Jacket Paul Smith, Skirt Vivienne Westwood Red LabelÂ
Right: Suit Jil Sander, Shirt J Lindeberg
Rising waters? Annoying neighbors? Don’t like the view? Why not just walk away from it all? The N55 walking house can do just that: it’s a house that can walk. Created by the Copenhagen-based art collective N55, and built in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 10ft high structure is an all-terrain strolling pod, solar and wind-powered, with all the amenities you’d expect to find in a (small) house. Its kitchen, bathroom, bed, wood stove and of course six hydraulic legs make it the perfect muddy coutryside retreat. But don’t expect it to run frantically in case of a forest fire. N55 were initially inspired by the nomadic culture of Roma, and wanted to challenge the idea of land ownership, and aspire to create a system that could be applied on a bigger scale. They are already thinking of walking villages, walking greenhouses and walking fisheries. For now the house is going from Great Britain to Denmark, albeit on the back of a truck.
Suit Alexander McQueen, Shirt Comme des Garçons Shirt
Shirt Ann-Sofie Back, Jacket Giorgio Armani
Left: Shirt Puma by Rudolf Dassler Suit Calvin Klein Right: Suit Jil Sander Shirt Comme des Garçons Shirt Necklace Ligia Dias
Hair and make-up: Abi Johnson using Bumble&Bumble and Mac Models: Ieva at FM Freddie at Models 1
Text and photography FranCois Hugon
‘i was surprised it went so fast’ AARON YOUNG
e first met up with Aaron Young three years ago at New York’s Whitney Biennial. He was feeling particularly happy, as his installation, ‘IPO (30 offerings)’, had just been stolen. It was a work in his Initial Public Offering series, whereby he had individually chained 30 bike parts, many custom-made with precious metals, to a lamppost and left them to find new owners. “Actually I was surprised it went so fast,” the American artist admitted. But bicycle thieves in New York aren’t exactly slow off the mark, especially with gleaming brand new metal to lure them, although as he wryly posited, “it could have been one of the other artists”. Young likes his art to attack cultural conventions and behavior, and often does so using vehicles. For one solo show, he hired a helicopter to shine its searchlights directly onto the gallery entrance, making visitors feel equally like celebrities and criminals. But his most visceral vehicle-work has been done with up to ten motorcycles. For these installations, large black wood panels are placed on the ground, and then he orchestrates motorcyclists who strip the upper layers of paint away with their tires, leaving the underlying colors exposed and the acrid smell of burning rubber in the air. It’s a basic idea that has been diluted in the current BMW Z4 film and print adverts, the car driving over a large canvas, painting with the tires. He calls his burn-out art “action painting”, using the bike as an artistic tool and often films these art shows. “My work is both abstract art and a performance at the same time,” he explains. “Each time I travel somewhere, either to Los Angeles where I have a studio or to Paris, or to other places, I am always ready for work. Because I’ve always got something to make, to think, to imagine. I’m motivated because it’s my job... and it helps to pay my bills.” Like replacing those stolen bike parts.
Right: Aaron Young IPO (30 offerings), 2006.
Right: Aaron Young Greeting Card, 2007 Homage to Jackson Pollock’s painting “Greeting Card”, 1944
Text anna sansom Portrait photography dave burnell
‘sometimes you need to burn a thing down and start again’ ARNE QUINZE
iven how Arne Quinze’s artistic vocabulary is characterized by a sense of speed and movement, it comes as no surprise that he loves racing cars. “Every month I go on the circuit,” he declares. “It’s my passion. That’s the only time when I’m completely relaxed: I’m concentrated, I’m focused, I’m one with the engine.” Quinze is the creative director of two design companies: Studio Arne Quinze and Quinze & Milan. His white Audi R8 is parked outside on the black gravel drive that leads to his large complex in the small Belgian town of Kortrijk. (He discovered the car at 24 Hours of Le Mans and was smitten by its noiselessness and shape. “It’s so nice to drive; it’s like a little monster gluing on the street,” he enthuses. “Boys and toys.”) The building is a former carpet factory and comprises production facilities, design and architecture offices, and a showroom. Some 80 people work here whilst a terraced, brick house for 10 interns is next door. Quinze also has an art studio in Miami where his “future wife”, who happens to be Lenny Kravitz’s sister, lives. (Quinze and Kravitz are collaborating on a huge installation for the ChampsElysées, stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, for which Kravitz will provide the sound. Quinze describes it as being like the Taj Mahal formed in a hurricane of thousands of wooden beams.) It’s midDecember and we are meeting in the showroom, which is complete with a bar, a display of hip magazines and books, and maquettes of current projects. Quinze’s drawings and
paintings adorn the walls. Often made in red, orange and black, they are dynamic and urgent in style. “You can see that my background was graffiti, street, cities,” he says. “And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so fascinated by architecture. I travel 180 to 200 days a year worldwide, constantly. I’m like a little plane, and I’m always flying out and then coming back.” Quinze sees his enterprise as a hard-rock band or a symphony orchestra, with him as the frontman or conductor. Having never trained as an architect, he makes drawings of how he envisions a building could look. He gives them to the studio, which in turn creates the models. Business is going well, with global commissions ranging from a 36-floor skyscraper in Bucharest to an installation across an 800-meter steel, pedestrian bridge connecting Louisville with Jeffersonville, Indiana. Quinze has come a long way against the odds. Twenty-two years ago, he was a homeless 15-year-old, sleeping rough on the streets of Brussels. Six months later, he was “reared” by a motorcycle gang and started writing graffiti in cities across Europe. Wild, anarchistic, energetic, creative, Quinze left his mark wherever he went. Today, that seems like another era as Quinze is in the superstar league of artist/designers, and his disruptive visual touch has long been legalized. Yet that passionate desire to make an artistic, territorial imprint, matched by a spirit of wanderlust, is still strongly evident in his urban art i n s t a l l a t i o n s , t y p i c a l l y constructed from thousands of pieces of multi-layered, criss-crossing, timber beams.
G Right: Front view of Magna (She) Magnetic Jet Engine (2007) - his study for a 2030 Lamborghini; Skytracer (2007); Rear view of Magna. Left: Jaga Experience Truck (2005) built for the radiator company Jaga as a mobile marketing tool. Bottom: Uchronia, (2006). An art installation at Burning Man.
iven how Arne Quinze’s artistic vocabulary is characterized by a sense of speed and movement, it comes as no surprise that he loves racing cars. “Every month I go on the circuit,” he declares. “It’s my passion. That’s the only time when I’m completely relaxed: I’m concentrated, I’m focused, I’m one with the engine.” Quinze is the creative director of two design companies: Studio Arne Quinze and Quinze & Milan. His white Audi R8 is parked outside on the black gravel drive that leads to his large complex in the small Belgian town of Kortrijk. (He discovered the car at 24 Hours of Le Mans and was smitten by its noiselessness and shape. “It’s so nice to drive; it’s like a little monster gluing on the street,” he enthuses. “Boys and toys.”) The building is a former carpet factory and comprises production facilities, design and architecture offices, and a showroom. Some 80 people work here whilst a terraced, brick house for 10 interns is next door. Quinze also has an art studio in Miami where his “future wife”, who happens to be Lenny Kravitz’s sister, lives. (Quinze and Kravitz are collaborating on a huge installation for the Champs-Elysées, stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, for which Kravitz will provide the sound. Quinze describes it as being like the Taj Mahal formed in a hurricane of thousands of wooden beams.) It’s mid-December and we are meeting in the showroom, which is complete with a bar, a display of hip magazines and books, and maquettes of current projects. Quinze’s drawings and paintings adorn the walls. Often made in red, orange and black, they are dynamic and urgent in style. “You can see that my background was graffiti, street, cities,” he says. “And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so fascinated by architecture. I travel 180 to 200 days a year worldwide, constantly. I’m like a little plane, and I’m always flying out and then coming back.” Quinze sees his enterprise as a hard-rock band or a symphony orchestra, with him as the frontman or conductor. Having never trained as an architect, he makes drawings of how he envisions a building could look. He gives them to the studio, which in turn creates the models. Business is going well, with global commissions ranging from a 36-floor skyscraper in Bucharest to an installation across an 800-meter steel, pedestrian bridge connecting Louisville with Jeffersonville, Indiana. Quinze has come a long way against the odds. Twenty-two years ago, he was a homeless 15-year-old, sleeping rough on the streets of Brussels. Six months later, he was “reared” by a motorcycle gang and started writing graffiti in cities across Europe. Wild, anarchistic, energetic, creative, Quinze left his mark wherever he went. Today, that seems like another era as Quinze is in the superstar league of artist/designers, and his disruptive visual touch has long been legalized. Yet that passionate desire to make an artistic, territorial imprint, matched by a spirit of wanderlust, is still strongly evident in his urban art installations, typically constructed from thousands of pieces of multi-layered,
Text anna sansom Portrait photography Hailong JIANG
‘There is a feeling of losing a grip on things’ LI WEI
Top to Bottom: “Li Wei Falls to the Car” 2003 (150x150cm) “Live at the high place 5” 2008 (176x468cm) “On the Earth Surface” 2004 (176x182cm)
BMW flies over Beijing’s buildings as a young man grips on to the car’s unseen steering wheel, the rest of his body rising into the air. Behind him, two people hang onto his legs, with other people hanging onto their legs, until an outwardly moving human pyramid forms in the sky. This is the type of daredevil stunt that the Chinese performance artist Li Wei likes to portray in his doctored photography. His persona seems caught in spontaneous escapism, literally unable to keep his feet on the ground. It’s a visual metaphor for how, in today’s fast-moving society, many urbanites – in China and beyond – are losing touch with reality, chasing their dreams with their heads in the clouds. “BMW means power and speed,” Li says. “For a rapid speed of development, we don’t have time to stop, to even think. We approach situations without directions. We only know what to do and what we’re going to do for four years – the duration of a president’s secretaryship, but we don’t have time to think about the future.” Born in 1970, Li is the son of a farmer. His interest in improvising performances stretches back to his school days. “Sometimes I would stand on my classmates’ shoulders, just like an acrobat,” he recalls. After studying at a private arts school, he made oil paintings until 1996 when he realised that “only performance art offered the chance to experience an action’s message through one’s own body”. Li first got himself noticed by the art world at the 2000 Shanghai Biennale, when he performed an installation, without permission, during the opening ceremony. Not the kind of stunt many people in China would dare try to get away with, even post-Olympics. Over the last decade, he has been combining his photographed performances in Europe, the US and South Korea, often involving elaborate props, with photomontage. The resulting images show Li in a variety of precarious predicaments, such as his body crashing into the windscreen of a Jeep, being kicked off skyscrapers, falling into Lake Como, or being thrust like a missile into the sky by a businessman in a BMW. His aim is to present “illusory reality”. Sometimes the photographs appear ambiguous: is Li seeking more freedom or wishing that he could be harnessed in? Is he fleeing the everyday or suffering from a gravitational pull towards the unexpected? As he says, “There is a feeling of losing a grip on things, an uncertainty about the morrow.” Li is well placed to talk about uncertainty, having witnessed at first hand the growth of China’s tiger economy and the impact of that change on his generation. Artists who grew up in relative poverty have seen their artworks fetch six figure sums at auctions. Yet as the financial downturn kicks in some of Beijing’s artists are no longer able to afford their big, expensive studios. In these tumultuous times, Li’s work seems to heed a kind of warning. “I think my work is a kind of social critique,” he confirms. “I can feel the crisis about the living conditions of human life. The concept of democracy is fake. It’s only beneficial for a small part of people. Politics is only a game for some people. War is only the result of the selfish desire of those people who can control the world. It makes us live in unstable conditions.” Li’s artistic statement is also a comment on globalisation, the prevalence of BMWs in his car images relating to the recent Chinese obsession with branded goods and the desire for consumer ownership. Li, who drives a VW Bora, says, “I like traveling around Beijing. Many people ride bicycles but more and more people own cars now.” Li has just been completing works in France and the US but is unsure of his future plans. Yet you can bet that he’ll be falling or rising into more logic-defying scenarios, setting himself up for endurance tests, and stretching his imagination for the sake of illusory reality.
Text Dan ross Additional reporting imogen wall Photography dirk lindner
‘there are many small cars in europe, but they’re the wrong type of small’ shigerU BAN AND KENYA HARA
higeru Ban and Kenya Hara are in London to preside over ‘Japan Car’, their exhibition exploring the merits of automotive smallness. The jaunty Science Museum project is promoting “kei sector” micro-cars as “designs for the crowded globe”. Theory aside, much of the interest is focused on the odd-looking little manufactured creatures from the far east, and the subject and mission, the duo readily admit, is really cultural exchange, not changing tires. Passengers on the city’s crowded underground trains are being tantalized by the unmistakably Japanese poster image: a white car-derived blob with two kawai-cute headlamp eyes blinks quizically ahead, trailing a tree-chart root of sleepy little vehicles behind, as if part alien cartoon fish-family, part sperm looking to impregnate minds. The two 50-something men in black make a natural double act, minus the laughs. Finishing one another’s sentences, or else pausing respectfully when appropriate as if to let the other man pass, between them they quietly proselytize the sensibility that has made their nation synonymous with thoughtful design, and themselves two of its leading protagonists. Hara, author of the book Designing Design, on tapping the power of emptiness, is the creative director of ‘no brand’ concept store Muji, fittingly now one of the most recognized design brands on earth. (Intersection’s New York office is conveniently sited next door their new store on Broadway, resulting in recurring impulse-purchase of oversized brown-card-covered recycled paper sketch pads, and twin-tipped gray marker pens). Ban is the architect famous for revealing the strength and agility of paper in modern construction, using cardboard for towering structural pillars and makeshift disaster housing. He also designed a ‘nomadic museum’, which used locally-sourced, universal shipping containers to reassemble the same space in different cities without the physical structure itself needing to make the journey. Travel light, use ideas.“This exhibition is not about good design,” Ban clarifies. “We chose the car as the means to show Japanese culture and lifestyle, and even tradition. These have a big influence on design. The size of the car is not important. Even in the UK they make small cars too - but the way of thinking small is very different in Japan. That’s why we chose the bonsai,” - a miniature forest exhales oxygen at the entrance - “to show the idea of what is small”. On display are some of our favorite cars of recent years, including the new model Nissan Cube (seen on our last cover), designed to maximize interior space and joyfully accept the truth - that these days you’re unlikely to get beyond second gear within city limits anywhere on Earth. The new iQ (presented as a Scion concept in the States, but already on sale in Europe as a Toyota) is the size of a Smart car, but somehow fits in two extra seats and manages to looks almost sporting. Something the curators let pass, but don’t approve of. The iReal is Toyota’s latest one-person pod, a seat that swings and shuttles its occupant around, all lacquer and eager electronic illumination. Static it assumes a sculptural quality, in motion it’s astonishingly elegant and alive. “The car used to be a status symbol,” Ban says. “The situation is changing,” Hara comments. “These days for Japanese people the car is not to show the status level, not to show the individual aesthetic. You don’t see the coupe style in Japan. Young people don’t want to have a car - today’s Japanese car is out of fashion. Japanese cars are very small, but not because the Japanese people are small in body or because Japan is crowded. Japanese manufactures find it is rational to make a car small.” As if it was necessary to add, he offers the comparison: “American cars are too big”. But the show’s chosen locations - London and Paris - don’t escape the critique. “There are many small cars in Europe, but they’re the wrong type of small. Cars in Europe move very slowly,” Hara chides, as if the continent is being churlish. “You have to change the aesthetic. Even small cars are made using aerodynamics. In the Smart everything is very inclined so the driver is almost horizontal, but in Japanese
cars you are much more vertical.” A government regulation in Japan created the optimal car size - 3.3m long, 1.395m wide, under 2m tall - in the 1980s and Kei cars were born. Benefitting from tax breaks, with thrifty engines, the cars made perfect sense for Japan’s dense urban areas, and thrived. In time, new models were created to fit and fill out the dimensions until the tall, boxy wedge emerged as a default design for small cars. “Japanese manufacturers maximise this configuration,” Hara explains. “Japanese cars used to be a copy of western, but now this is changing - Japanese cars are smaller, more ecological, these ways of making cars can make some contribution to this situation.” On show is the Mitsubishi i MiEV, capable of traveling 100 miles on an overnight recharge (see our review in Garage). Walking around the space, Ban accidentally kicks over one of his cardboard tube barriers, a foot height road block, and tries out sitting in different cars. He doesn’t look very excited. “I drive a Lexus 300RX - my father works for Toyota so I have to buy Toyota cars. I grew up around cars, around showrooms. He taught me Toyotas were the only car. I’m not so interested in buying cars these days.” Most architects don’t fixate on owning cars, in a notoriously underpaid profession even star designers complain they can’t afford the Maserati or Lamborghini they secretly crave. But Ban acts as if it was never going to be an option, so why go there. Still, he learned to drive, and owns a car, in contrast to Hara. “He doesn’t have a licence,” Ban smiles. “I am a car user, not a car driver,” Hara confesses, before asserting his rationale. “The importance of the driver is less and less. Western style cars are made for the aesthetic of the driver - in Japan, the styling is from inside not outside.” A principle that is applied to one vehicle in the host city - the black cab. “I like London taxis. Roomy! Design from the inside out. I like the concept very easy to get suitcases in and out. Very good for travelers - you can get cases in and out.” Ban complains that “the seat in a New York taxi is very small - big drivers taking up all the space!” Hara considers the yellow cab. “Taxis don’t need to be aerodynamic!” Have the two designers ever tried to create a car themselves? You could imagine a self-assembly Shigeru Ban car made from cardboard, with locally-sourced parts obviating the need to send cargo ships across the Pacific. Perhaps sold in Muji? “I never thought about this!” says Ban, before Hara throws cold water on the idea, as if car design whilst being the subject of the exhibition, is really a pointless endeavor. “I’m not interested in the styling of cars,” he says. Then he demurs. “In the latest exhibition I asked Honda to make a concept using carbon fiber, but if i have a chance to change a basic condition, I wonder if I can come up with some ideas? But a Muji car is very difficult, Muji is not a maker, it is only a distributor. Also to do with no brand...” he trails off. ‘Muji’ is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, meaning ‘no brand, good product’. At the start of the decade, before Hara’s tenure, Nissan and Muji created the Muji Car 1000. True to the brand’s name, the car was unbranded, and eschewed glossiness in favor of a pared-down, low-cost ethos. A limited edition product intended to blend into a range of 5,000 other deliberately nondescript items, the concept nonetheless focused minds on using recycled materials and cutting emissions at a time before green cars were in vogue. Hara ponders the possibilities. “Muji car is very interesting, but you would get bored seeing a Muji car. If you choose every item from life from Muji everything is very boring. Muji is very good but when you have Italian furniture, then Muji is a good counter. But a car is a very important thing and it is very diificult to take the Muji concept to cars. We haven’t found an answer yet. We tried, but it was not so interesting. The shell was Muji, the rest was from Nissan. So the body color changed and the equipment was simplified. If we had produced a genuine Muji car we would have to make many parts..” Hara ponders the many parts, then sighs, looking over at his colleague and friend. “I think the Muji life is not to have a car,” Ban concludes.
Text alex monkarsh Photography Shaniqwa jarvis
“I was screaming ‘take back the streets!’” Thunderheist
t’s 5pm in East Hollywood during Los Angeles’ world infamous rush hour, and the sun is fading fast awaiting the arrival of Toronto’s elctrocrunk sensation Thunderheist. Cars and buses limp along at a cripple’s pace, while in stark contrast cyclists whiz by at breakneck speed. Fittingly, we’re at Orange 21, a local bike shop located in a neighborhood comprised strictly of bike shops and a handful of tattoo parlors. Outside, a man with a face tatooed on his face smiles across at us with both faces. Isis and Grahm Zilla finally show up fatigued from a long day of traveling, mere hours before a show that evening at the staple of the young, sweaty and beautiful: the Echoplex. Immediately upon entering Orange 21, Grahm begins to look around, his eyes settling on a black and white checkered fix gear in the corner. Turns out, the duo are budding bike enthusiasts. Grahm, the producer of the duo, tells me he rides a 1986 pink Bianchi track bike that he inherited from one of his mom’s ex’s. He goes on to explain that it sat in his garage unused for years before he found his passion for cycling about three years ago. “I found out we had one in the garage, so I asked my mom, ‘Mom, what kind of bike is it?’, met by ‘It says something like Be-On-Chee on the side,’” he laughs. Then, not to be outdone, vocalist Isis tells me about her “baby”: “It’s a vintage black Japanese cruiser…. Her name is Black Thunder.” “Really?” counters Grahm. “Mine’s called Pink Lightning.” Although Grahm has a driver’s license and car, he rarely needs one to get around, preferring the company of Toronto’s close-knit cycling community and great public transportation. Isis, on the other hand, is a Nigerian immigrant, moving to Toronto when very young. As a permanent resident, she’s not allowed to drive. They both agree this may be a good thing. “She has a tendency to go off on people,” Grahm warns. “If I lived down here in LA, and someone was in my way, I’d get out of my car and tap on the lady’s window and say ‘What up bitch? Move your car now!’” spouts Isis passionately. The frustration of one day’s worth of Los Angeles traffic is apparent. After exploding on the scene with last summer’s Jerk It EP, notching mixes and remixes in every music blog from Wichita to Kiev, the duo began a shotgun course in touring which has already taken them across continents. Now, with their new self-titled LP, their schedule is only getting busier. Luckily for them, the at-times fraternally bickering duo have become completely comfortable touring, settling into it as second nature. “We listen to a lot of classic rock, Italo disco, and Lil’Weezy to relax,” points out Grahm. “Also, we kind of prefer the pros of touring on a bus as opposed to flying and dealing with lost luggage, delayed flights, shitty airport food and security checkpoints.” Of all their shows, none so far has been as memorable as that unforgettable night they rocked the streets of London…in an English tank. Retrofitted with a massive sound system, LCD screens, DJ equipment and mic, they jumped onboard after a show and laid down an impromptu block party. “We killed it of course!” states Isis proudly. “It stopped traffic both ways and people got really rowdy. I was screaming ‘TAKE BACK THE STREETS!’” “I thought we were going to get arrested for inciting a riot,” recounts Grahm meekly, with an admiring smirk.
Text Jason Newman Photography anna Schori
“I like to brag that I’m the second most talented Jewish carpenter of all time.” Tom Sachs
Above: Moto Trip, 2004 ink on paper, wood frame 72 x 72 in.
Above: 64 Royal Bike, 2005 ink, foamcore, and thermal adhesive 67 x 70 in.
This page: Top: Toragon, 2002 Wood frame, drawing. 67 x 33 x 7in. Middle: Untitled (1/25scale DC-10 Airplane), 2002 Foamcore, thermal adhesive. 96.5 x 223.5 x221in. Bottom: Untitled (Concorde), 2002 Foamcore, thermal adhesive and fiberglass. 98 x 41 x13in.
Above: Crawler, 2003 foamcore, thermal adhesive, wood and metal frame. 118 x 103 x 107.5 in.
Left: Waffle Bike, 2006 mixed media 105 x 125 x 29.5 in. Images courtesy of the artist
he unassuming bike propped up against the wall of the Chinatown art studio in downtown New York looks ordinary enough; the type, not unlike thousands of others in the city, used to quickly navigate the tight corners and narrow side streets of the area. But when the studio belongs to Tom Sachs, world famous sculptor, artist and cultural provocateur, nothing is ordinary. The man who achieved fame and notoriety throughout the art world with his caustic critiques on brand identity and consumerism has, for the time being, switched his attention to bicycles and, more specifically, the aforementioned Perfect Bike. Originally a late-60s’ era Raleigh 3-speed, Sachs has currently been modifying the bike to achieve his ideal – replacing the bike’s tires with specialized, higher-pressure models, swapping out the pedals in favor of heavy-duty Shinburger BMX versions and adding an extra sprocket to the rear cog to facilitate shifting through all three gears. For Sachs, sometimes older is indeed better. In the early-’70s, Raleigh implemented a number of modifications to its models in a large-scale effort to cut down on costs (eschewing metal parts in favor of plastic, for example). The result was a cheaper bicycle, in every sense of the word. Sachs was less than pleased: “This represented to me the moment where this great bit of technology, the bicycle, which had been evolving for 100 years, had actually begun to devolve.” A longtime critic of corporate malfeasance, the Perfect Bike stands as Sachs’ functional counterpoint to corner cutting and planned obsolescence – the concept of designing products to fail so consumers will be forced to buy more of them. “If you can make something from the 1960s good, then something from 2007 should be fine,” he explains. This is hardly the first time Sachs has used vehicles as commentary and artform in his work. In 2004, he embarked on a two-week motorcycle trip through the Alps with friend and filmmaker Van Neistat, extensively documenting their travels in a 28-page, limited edition ‘zine complete with a ranking of every meal and list of every vehicle used on the journey. (Sachs himself opted for the appropriately titled Honda TransAlp.) But nothing could prepare Sachs’ admirers for the ‘Waffle Bike’, a custom-made bicycle featuring a functional waffle maker with built-in ingredients (including two live chickens to lay eggs for the batter), a loudspeaker blaring the Islamic call to prayer, a Norwegian flag and various machetes and shotguns (this is still New York City, y’know). The levels of inspiration are vast, but for Sachs, who actually rode the bike from Manhattan to Brooklyn to sell waffles to the public, the humble two wheeler represents more than just a way to get around. “For me, it’s just important to have the bike as a symbol of independent commerce,” he states. “Having my own waffle concession in New York seemed like a really good thing to do at the height of the economic boom. Also, having spent time in less developed places, the bicycle is more important to peoples’ daily lives because they’re cheaper and you can run a business with one.” The ‘Waffle Bike’ was just the latest in a long line of work exemplifying Sachs’ sense of populism and do-it-yourself methods. A video Sachs created and posted online last year details the exact dimensions and method of building the bike, encouraging imitators and fostering a sense of participatory art that separates Sachs from his peers. (A 2002 Sachs installation featured weekly electric mini car races between curators, artists and the public.) Instead of hiding his mistakes, Sachs will often leave flaws and errors in the work, and his projects are usually accompanied by how-to drawings as part of each exhibit. The result is a series of works that may seem haphazard and hastily put together, until you realize the countless hours of experimenting, designing and fine-tuning that goes into each project. Sachs, however, is quick to diminish certain aspects of his work. “I try to minimize the creativity because I think creativity is like a spice,” he admits. “You only need a little bit, but you need a whole lot of work stirring the pot to support it. Too much creativity can be destructive.” Walking around the artist’s sprawling threefloor space, the place looks as much hardware store as studio. With welding masks, hard hats and drills among the countless tools meticulously arranged and labeled on one wall, Sachs is as adept with power saws as he is with oil and easel. “My parents forbade me from using tools as a child because they weren’t handy,” recalls Sachs. “We didn’t have power tools in the basement, so I would always cut wood with this metal hacksaw blade. I like to brag that I’m the second most talented Jewish carpenter of all time.”
‘i love when you aren’t accountable to anybody or anything, and you can just bewherever you are’ Zachary Quinto
Text Nicolas Stecher Photography clarke tolton Styling jenny ricker
achary Quinto has sort of a queer look of interest etched across his face at the moment. No, it’s not because he’s sandwiched between a quizzical foldable plane and a gleaming blood red Nissan 370Z (both, coincidentally, penned by designer Randy Rodriguez). And it’s also not because he’s teetering on the yawning precipice of global fame, mere weeks before his role as Spock in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek — about as big a summer blockbuster as can technically exist in Hollywood — broadcasts his pointy-eared and arched-eyebrow visage across every screen from Sydney to Toledo to Ulaanbaatar. This latest installment of the definitive Sci-Fi space serial promises to change his life in ways very few people will ever understand. But no, at this moment it’s none of these things that has Quinto perplexed. It’s because he’s contemplating a black Tom Ford suit that he’s simply not sure about. “Does this look right?” he asks his stylist, the bright noon sun forcing him to squint in the heated Santa Monica Airport tarmac. Soon he’s assured, and Zach goes about examining the odd vehicle before him: the Icon A5, a plane designed from the ground up to become the ultimate weekend hobbyist’s aircraft. Not only can it fold up to fit on a road-legal trailer, but it will also fit in a 2-car garage. Moreover, you don’t even need an airstrip to fly this 1000 lb craft — just tow it to your closest lake, gently lower her down the ramp like a boat, and zoom off into the gloaming hues. “The interior is crazy,” says Quinto, examining the Prius-simple dashboard and controls. “It looks like a car!” About a week later I’m at a usually packed Silverlake coffeehouse waiting for Zach to arrive. Two minutes before we’re to meet, his assistant calls, telling me he’ll be 5 minutes late. Seven minutes later Quinto pulls up in a black Toyota Prius. “You want to roll up to my studio?” he asks. “I think it’ll be quieter than it is here.” On the way into the car, I pass a free paper with Star Trek imagery on the cover. It seems the madness is imminent, and mounting. Has he seen the film, I ask? “Yeah, I saw it the day of our shoot actually. I think it’s incredible. I was really impressed, and it so far exceeded my expectations in terms of scale and scope and execution. I don’t often feel proud, but I was proud because it was such a culmination of so many people’s contributions. And I think it’s gonna be really well received…I hope.” There is a tinge of expectation in his voice, but no real apprehension. Which is odd, as it seems the pressures of taking over perhaps the most beloved Sci-fi canon in the realm of geekdom would have Quinto a bit on nerves. After all, this is not just another installment — it’s prequel status positions Paramount to completely reboot its cash cow, a lightspeed
property whose films alone have grossed $1.1 billion in box office (which doesn’t include TV series, licenses, etc). If there are any nerves, however, there’s no trace visible. “It’s a world that has an intensely loyal following of people, that have been fans for 40 years, so there’s a gravity to a degree. But ultimately we were really encouraged to come to this process with a fresh perspective. I don’t really feel aside from the origin of these characters that there are that many similarities, just enough. But it was much more of a springboard or a foundation than an attempt at recapturing something that was created by those people,” explains Quinto. There is a rampant rumor in the blogosphere that Quinto got the part because he admitted in an early interview that he looked like Spock, and this spurred the movie’s creators (including wunderkind J.J. Abrams) to seek Quinto out. He strongly argues this story, vowing that yes he said quite early that he’d like to play Spock, but not because of any bizarre facial resemblance, but more so because he found the character’s paradoxes and jarring internal conflicts intriguing. Also, he sees some similarities between Spock and the role that put him on Hollywood map — that of Siler, from the equally nerdfare hit TV series Heroes. “I definitely feel that my exposure and experience on Heroes made it a much more natural progression for me to be in the movie. I think that segueway made some sense, and the sort of crossover fanbase,” notes Quinto. “Those characters are so different, but they are similar in the way that both of them are dealing with a deeply rooted internal conflict. And dealing with it in totally different ways.”And that raises an interesting point. Sure, on the surface the two roles could not be any more disparate. One’s a pointy-eared, rationally cemented Vulcan, and the other is a superpower enabled, serial killing sociopath. Still, beyond the two-sentence tag descriptions of either character exist striking similarities, below-the-surface traits that are not difficult to unearth as these characters have developed. “Part of Siler for me is really connected to a very human need. Like I feel as human beings we spend a lot of our lives trying to understand what we need from ourselves, and what we need from other people, and depending on the degree of dysfunction that one has growing up—and which is rooted in their family I think—there’s many gradations on a spectrum of where you look for that fulfillment. And I think Siler is an example of someone who never got that built in himself; he never was equipped for that kind of self-reliance. So that really is the point from which he’s desperately seeking that power, because he feels so weak,” muses Quinto of Siler, a character who’s known power is stealing the abilities of other heroes, and in the process killing his victims. “I think that’s part of the reason why the character is so popular, because
Here: Sunglasses Tom Ford
Above: Scarf Yves Saint-Laurent, Trench-coat Paul Smith, Trousers Dior Homme,
Here: Jacket Yves Saint-Laurent, Shirt Rag & Bone, Trousers Dior Homme, Shoes Burberry, Sunglasses Tom Ford
whether or not people are conscious of it—because very few people in the world are truly conscious of that kind of stuff—they can identify it, it resonates on some level. “And into Spock, the Vulcan culture in the canon of Star Trek is actually incredibly emotional. But they made a choice to disengage from that emotion at a certain point in their evolution so that their society could be more functional, and so they could relate to each other and deal with each other in more linear ways. So for Spock it’s a passion versus a moderation. I think Spock represents a real struggle for that real balance of those two extremes.” The fact that Spock is half human and half Vulcan only adds to the character’s turmoil, and sense of rootlessness. “For me, it was about the duality, the complexity of the characters, the energy that was at odds within a self. That was appealing to me. I do feel like I fit somewhere in the middle; I can definitely identify with aspects of both of those characters. I understand the mind-versus-heart element of the Spock journey, of his makeup. Obviously the darkness of Siler is something that is far from my sensibility, but I know what it is, and I think everybody does if they really stop and take the time to look for it.”
One way the Pittsburgh-born Quinto has learned to deal with his inner dualities is via traveling. Alone, for long stretches. From summers spent throughout New England, to extensive backpacking sojourns across Europe, to his five crosscountry drives discovering America, Zachary has constantly applied this form of primal escape to achieve an elusive detachment. “I love when you aren’t accountable to anybody or anything, and you can just be wherever you are,” says Quinto of his solo travels. “It really sort of provides clarity by throwing everything out of focus somehow. Like all of a sudden you’re in a completely different context, and you don’t have any obligations to anybody.” But it’s one thing to be recognized by a couple wizard hat-wearing, X-Men-reading comic nerds, it’s another to be recognized by every house mom, meter maid and dental technician from Los Angles to Bucharest. “My life has definitely changed, there’s no denying it,” agrees Quinto. “Part of what I’ve been examining and working with is the fact that I will never be able to go back now. And there’s a lot of interesting realizations and challenges that come with that fact. So sure, the idea of taking myself outside of LA now for any sort of length of personal time is just not possible. But that’s ok, because right now is a really fertile time for me creatively and professionally, and I know that it always waxes and wanes so you have to always seize the opportunities when they present themselves. I don’t know necessarily when the next one will, but I’ll certainly be ready for it when it does. “I’m doing my best to keep my feet on my ground, enjoy myself and my friends, and use a take it as it comes approach — because I have no frame of reference for what I’m about to go through. This only ever happens once, there’s only one first time for this kind of thing. This is it. And if I’m not enjoying it now, then what’s the point.”
Here: Three-piece suit, shirt and tie Tom Ford, Shoes Burberry
Car: Nissan 370Z Plane: Icon A5 Jet
Hair and Grooming: Patricia Morales for TRESemmĂŠ at Tracey Mattingly Special Thanks to Atlantic Aviation at Santa Monica Airport