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Get set to rev your engines. At Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, you finally have the chance to get behind the wheel and see where your imagination takes you. When you visit the world’s first Ferrari branded theme park, you’ll finally have the chance to live the Ferrari dream in ways you never imagined possible. Experience the legend like never before, with over 20 rides and attractions in the world’s largest indoor theme park.
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More than just a holiday destination with pristine white beaches and 300 days of sunshine, Cyprus can also cater to your business needs ranging from registering and setting up your company’s operations to managing your EU, North African and Middle Eastern clients at a considerably lower cost. As well as being an EU country and a member of the European Monetary Union since 2008, Cyprus enjoys the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU of 10%. Cyprus belongs to those jurisdictions on the OECD White List which have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard. In addition to this, Cyprus provides efficient business services, has a transparent legal and regulatory system and is committed to sustainable growth. Cyprus welcomes both visitors and investors to work here, so, if you are searching for a new business base, consider Cyprus. It’s more than just beaches and sun.
Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency Tel + 357 22 441133 Fax + 357 22 441134 www.cipa.org.cy email@example.com
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“Columbia’s growth and expansion over the years is attributed to the uniqueness of Cyprus; being the island’s strategic position at the crossroads of three continents, its comprehensive legal framework, double tax treaties regime, communication system, banking system, infrastructure in general and last but not least its highly educated labor force.” Captain Dirk Fry, Managing Director Columbia Ship Management Ltd
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structure, the well educated and skilled human resources, the favorable tax rates and the proximity to the Middle East and Africa markets, were some of the key factors that enabled NCR to decide to move its regional offices to Cyprus in the 80’s. Gradually, NCR managed to expand the office in Cyprus to cover also all the African Countries.”
Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism Trade Service Tel: + 357 22 867100 Fax:+ 357 22 375120 www.mcit.gov.cy/ts email@example.com
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A scenic 35-minute ride on a seaplane past unbelievable atoll formations takes you to a pocket of paradise nestled within the azure blue waters of Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A pearl of beauty of 118 villas in 6 different categories all tastefully decorated in luxurious comfort in a truly traditional Maldivian setting. All villas offers you utmost privacy and sweeping vistas of clear blue skies and glistening white sandy beaches, just a step away from the inviting pleasures of the aquamarine waters and a vibrant and preserved coral reef, promising you the ultimate in luxurious solitude and tranquility. The resort also boasts of a vast array of recreational facilities, an incredible over water SPA, a fitness centre, Water sports, swimming pool, tennis, beach volley, squash, excursions and an intriguing Diving centre that will give you the chance to experience Hanifaru Bay, one of the most famous marine reserve in the world.
Kihaad Maldives…simply gorgeous!
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Cyprus already offers plenty of benefits for investors looking for destinations offering an ease of doing business. The island, has established a reputation as a major springboard for international investors. Cyprus may be used not only as an effective jurisdiction for routing investments within the EU, but also as a portal for investment outside the EU markets as well as the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, North Africa, India and China. As a member of the European Union and the Euro Zone, Cyprus offers the lowest corporate tax rate, a highly developed professional services sector, a very well developed infrastructure and communications network, a modern and transparent legal and tax framework as well as a wealth of talent of highly educated and multilingual human capital. All these paired with the islandâ€™s enviable quality of life are the key ingredients that have made Cyprus stand out in the Global Investment Map.
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esign. What is it? Who cares? Well, anyone who saw the hype generated by the launch of the new iPhone will know that design matters. Apple, under the tutelage of master aesthete Steve Jobs, made form superior to function, and created a generation of design-conscious consumers. And whatever you think of Apple, its phones are beautiful; their simple elegance something most designers aspire to. It is something we aspire to here at Open Skies – we want this magazine to look different to other in-flight magazines, we want to showcase the amazing designers, illustrators and photographers around the world. If print is to remain a viable medium – and we believe it is – then design will play an increasingly important part. In order to remain relevant, magazines will have to offer something different from the commoditised world of digital information.This issue we have features on the rise and fall (and rise) of Lego, and the obsession with a font called Helvetica. We also look at the starchitect phenomenon, and wonder if it has had its day. Enjoy the issue.
Emirates takes care to ensure that all facts published herein are correct. In the event of any inaccuracy please contact The Editor. Any opinion expressed is the honest belief of the author based on all available facts. comments and facts should not be relied upon by the reader in taking commercial, legal, financial or other decisions. Articles are by their nature general and specialist advice should always be consulted before any actions are taken. PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE Telephone: (+971 4) 282 4060 Fax:(+971 4) 282 4436 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contents one of the skycats undergoes a remarkable transformation (p67)
we take a peek inside design legend steven hellerâ€™s new york apartment (p72)
two of the mid-westâ€™s most iconic buildings get the place treatment (p70)
Contents we look at the starchitect phenomenon and wonder if its era is over (p96)
the little magazine that has changed the world of design publishing (p108)
a german photographer creates art from berlinâ€™s urban landscape (p114)
why is the worldâ€™s most iconic font the unassuming typeface helvetica? (p86)
FENDI CHAMELEON COLLECTION SERIES 3004 IS A REGISTERED MODEL
JESSICA DANCE: Jessica is a London-based set designer and image-maker specialising in creating hand-crafted sets, props and accessories. She has worked for the likes of Google, Mulberry, Topshop, Gap, Mulberry and Selfridges.
SAm SAChDEvA: Sam is a journalist with The Press newspaper in Christchurch, New Zealand. He lived through the devastating earthquakes and their aftermath, and writes about the renewed creativity in the city as it starts to rebuild.
AuStIN KlEoN: Austin is a writer and artist based in Texas, and is the author of two best-selling books, Steal Like an Artist and Newspaper Blackout. He has spoken about creativity for the likes of Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx and The Economist.
JAy mErrICK: The Independentâ€™s architecture critic since 2000, he has also written for Blueprint, Architects Journal, ArtReview and the New Statesman. He is also the editorial consultant for a number of architectural practices. mAtthIAS hEIDErICh
: A self-taught photographer currently living in Berlin, his work has been exhibited in galleries all around the world. When he is not taking photographs, he is producing music and DJing, as well as running his own label, WeirdandWired.net. 46
INTRO P. 50 • CHRISTCHURCH REVIVAL P. 55 • FLYING LOTUS’ SKYPOD
P. 58 • ZURICH MAPPED
P. 72 • STEVEN HELLER’S DESIGN PAD
illustration: Mitch blunt
n 2010 and 2011, Christchurch was battered by a series of earthquakes, which damaged great swathes of the centre and outlying residential areas. The worst earthquake, on February 22, 2011, killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city’s Gothic architectural heritage. Residents now speak of ‘the new normal’ to describe the daily chaos that greets those who call the city home. Diggers gouge holes in damaged buildings, undulating roads are littered with traffic cones, and soldiers stand guard at sections of the central city that are still too badly damaged to enter. The recovery process will be long, but has the potential to transform the city: a 10-year plan prepared by the government,
based around a low-rise central business district with a serpentine river park, has won widespread praise . However, the real beauty has come in the way in which the city has quickly risen to the challenge of restoring what was lost. Shipping containers have been transformed into pop-up bars, cafés and restaurants, providing new social spaces for residents to gather and relax.
our man In
Following a series oF devastating earthquakes, the city has turned to creativity to heal its wounds
Sam Sachdeva is a reporter for The Press newspaper in Christchurch. 50
The city’s main art gallery, forced to close while repairs take place, has moved some of its exhibitions outside to brighten the grim landscape, with bronze bulls and photography displays providing some cheer to pedestrians and motorists who pass by. The use of temporary structures has extended into the spiritual realm too: Christchurch’s Anglican community
has started work on a temporary cardboard cathedral, providing worshippers with a place to gather while church leaders develop a long-term replacement for the city’s original icon. One of the most successful examples of this transitional approach to living is the Re:Start container mall, which will celebrate its first anniversary this month. A mix of high-end fashion stores and casual eateries, it has become an oasis of calm in the devastated city centre. Christchurch real estate director Evan Harris, who helped to develop the project, says the container concept was chosen for its affordability and transportability. Harris believes shoppers have been drawn to the mall, and to the container shops in general, due to their ingenious design and can-do attitude.
pop-up stores, bars and cafes made from shipping containers have transformed the feel of the city centre “They’re a bit innovative and a bit different. People say, ‘Finally, someone is actually doing something.’” That same sentiment is often applied to the Gap Filler group, a collection of like-minded individuals that is making use of the empty land where quake-hit buildings once stood. The group’s projects have included a makeshift book exchange constructed from an old fridge, a ‘bike-in’ cinema powered by cyclists and a bowling alley made with astroturf, soda bottles and coconuts. Gap Filler co-founder Coralie Winn says the group’s plans started to take
shape before the city’s earthquakes, inspired by a plethora of vacant shops in run-down parts of the central city. “We used to look at them and think that there must be a way to make use of them.” The earthquake accelerated the process and raised the stakes for Winn and her friends, who did not want to see the city hastily rebuilt before proper planning could take place. The pop-up concept has bought time for property owners, keeping their sites in use while they have designs drawn up and continue negotiations with their insurance companies. Winn says the fleeting nature of the projects means that the group can experiment with concepts that may seem dubious at first glance. “If it’s something temporary that doesn’t have to last more than a couple of months, you can try things you might not otherwise do.” This creativity is unlikely to stop anytime soon: Winn says Gap Filler is “drowning in ideas,” with residents sharing their concepts with the group. The pop-up sites have brought life back into the city centre and given residents a chance to feel part of the city’s recovery. “Instead of passively waiting for other people to rebuild the city, we’re taking the bull by the horns,” she says. Some fear that these temporary projects will come under threat as developers start to construct permanent structures, but Winn disagrees. While the bricks-and-mortar buildings need to be rebuilt, she says it is the temporary sites that could be the real point of difference in the new Christchurch. “Every city around the world has a stadium and a convention centre. What’s going on here is unique – that’s what will help make our city quite different from everywhere else.”
pItch Design hotels are all the rage. here are five you shoulD keep your eyes on nhow Berlin Europe’s only music hotel is relentlessly creative, with physicsdefying architecture and guitars on the room-service menu. @nhow_berlin hypnos Design hotel istanbul’s hypnos hotel has 11 individually designed concept rooms and fantastic views of the blue Mosque and the bosphorus. @hypnoshotel
hotel Greulich tucked away in Zurich’s trendy district 4, this design hotel has 10 garden rooms, eight junior suites and a restaurant with regional cuisine. @hotel_greulich the standard 18 floors of awesomeness packed with restaurants, bars and arguably the best view in new York. @standardny ce hotel de Diseno a boutique hotel located in recoleta, buenos aires, with Jacuzzis in every room, Wi-Fi and 24hr breakfast – a new culture in hospitality. @cEhoteldeDiseno
AmsterdAm Internet SpeeD: 4mB, free pILLowS: Four IpoD Dock: Yes cLub SanDwIch DeLIvery tIme:
20 minutes compLImentary SnackS:
mineral water and a fruit bowl toILetry branD: Blaise mautin DaILy newSpaper: Choice of a variety
of international titles extraS: Nespresso coffee machine,
Set in the centre of Amsterdam, De l’Europe is one of the continent’s grand old hotels, a mix of the historic and the modern, helped by a large dollop of Dutch quirkiness. Its location, on the banks of the Amstel River and across from the Munttorren, a historic city landmark, is pretty much perfect. There is a richness about the interiors; the thick carpets, the replicas of Dutch masters, the hotel oozes the good life. The room itself is huge and kitted out with an iPad, a large living area (and adjacent study) and, best of all, three balconies, each overlooking the Amstel. Balconies are something of a rarity in Amsterdam, and these are perfect for people watching. After a long day of sight seeing, we can’t think of a better place to relax than the De l’Europe, a very Dutch hotel, and all the better for it.
iPad tv channeLS: 4 8 vIew: 4 / 5 rate: From $800 WWW.LeuroPe.NL
New York Comic Con
Frieze Art Fair
Vienna’s 650 museums throw open their doors for a night of spectacular performances and exhibitions. see them all for only $16.
It’s sixes, fours and a whole lot of noise as the twenty20 cricket world cup in Colombo reaches its climax.
Geeks, trekkies and noobs of the world unite in New York at the ultimate assembly of popular culture.
London’s biggest contemporary art event of the year features more than 170 major international galleries as well as a series of films and talks.
Long Night of museums
World t20 Final
october 11 to 14 october 11 to 14
DESIGN AS ART BRUNO MUNARI Bruno Munari is a design legend, up there with the greats of the 20th century. His status as an icon makes his book, Design as Art , all the more remarkable. Munari writes like a student, not a teacher, and his tone is one of delight, as he takes the reader through the discoveries he has made as a designer, and as a consumer of everyday products. His eye takes in everything from the craftsmanship of Japanese bamboo houses to the simplicity of the chair (complete with seven pages of pencil drawings of chairs of his own). His sketches are scattered throughout the book, some no more than half-formed thoughts, others intricate works of art. Witness his defacing of the Campari logo or his evolution of the road sign. Munari’s skill lies in his ability to explain the complex in a simple way, often with his drawings, often with his simple prose. As he states in his foreword: “the artist has to regain the modesty he had when art was just a trade.” Munari never lost his modesty, but he was an artist, a visionary, and one of the best designers of his generation. For anyone interested in design, this is a must. Pelican Books, 1971
october 18 to 25
oct 28 to nov 11
If anyone enjoys a good party, it’s the spanish. madrid’s Plaza de Colon will host a spectacular parade with low-flying planes. esmadrid.com
dubai’s biggest and most raucous beach festival returns this month with a line-up of world-class artists and dJs.
With a specific focus on screenwriting, the Austin Film Festival champions work that use the language of film to tell a story. austinfilmfestival.com
Australia’s longest-running festival marks 107 years of celebrations in Western Australia’s port city. expect performances, floats and music. www.fremantle.wa.gov.au
spanish National day
Austin Film Festival
SkYPod La-baSeD proDucer FLyInG LotuS reveaLS hIS eIGht FavourIte trackS
ALICE COLTRANE – ISIS AND OSIRIS Alice Coltrane was my aunt, and I learnt so much from her. It sounds like flying, in a way – it has a texture to it that I really love.
MILES DAVIS – LONELY FIRE this track is from miles davis’ album Live evil. It sounds kind of mystical – some spiritual, inner journey music, for sure.
JEREMIAH JAE – SEASONS Jeremiah Jae is a rapper from Chicago, and I released this track on my Brainfeeder label. A very big song for me – I really appreciate what he’s talking about, and I thought the video for it captured the essence of his sound very well.
SLUM VILLAGE – PLAYERS this is a production by J dilla. It’s one of the greatest beats ever – the way he laces those voices in the beat, the bass line so funky, the way the snare drum cracks so hard. 55
SNOOP DOGGY DOGG – GIN AND JUICE I was about 10 years old when doggy style came out. I’d listened to rap casually, but I heard this and it was like, wow. A real gamechanger for me.
MONO/POLY – NEEDS DEODORANT I put this out on Brainfeeder last year. It reminds me of old West Coast rap beats, real funky, Funkadelic-inspired.
RADIOHEAD – PYRAMID SONG People think it’s in a really weird time signature, but it’s just a trick, it’s the way the piano is layered. It feels like leaving on a boat, sailing off on a little one-man raft into the beyond.
TYLER, THE CREATOR – BURGER the first time I heard him, it reminded me of the first time I heard eminem. It’s dark, but it comes from a genuine place that a lot of kids can relate to. It feels very reflective of now. 56
maTTHEW PrIEST oPen Skies writer comes to terms with his growing t-shirt obesession ’ve never been terribly good at reading people’s moods. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul – and if that’s the case, then consider me the kind of person that is eternally frustrated by net curtains. Unlike others who seemingly can look directly into people’s souls to get a reading on them, I need to find a different indicator – something I know a little bit more about. Thursday is T-shirt day. I don’t mean it’s a ‘dress down and come into work wearing something that will make you look hip and personable to impress your colleagues’ day, but every Thursday a brand new T-shirt will be delivered to me in the post. It can be quite a costly hobby, and the end of the month normally sees me weighing up which essential item will be axed to allow me to continue bankrolling this luxury. It looks like it’ll be tinned beans again this month. I am partially addicted to buying T-shirts. The word ‘partially’ is used deliberately. I am not saying that if I don’t buy a new T-shirt I turn into a gibbering wreck who presses up against shop windows, glaring at the racks of new stock – but I’ll admit that I am partial to blowing lots of money online buying limitededition T-shirts with creative designs. I was caught hook, line and sinker a couple of years ago by the stratospheric rise of online T-shirt design communities such as Threadless, T-Post and Design by Humans. Due to their crowdsourced set-up, artists,
graphic designers and creative junkies submit new and innovative designs to these companies daily in the hope that their designs will be chosen, printed on T-shirts and sent out to the thousands of subscribers who eagerly wait to get their hands on their latest addition. Each piece is a limited edition and is essentially the equivalent of receiving wearable artwork. But what is the fascination with T-shirts? The T-shirt is the last bastion of expression in male clothing. While women can wear shirts, trousers, shorts, blouses and dresses, men are really only left with the simple choice of shirt or T-shirt, coupled with a pair of jeans or some mundane pastel-coloured trousers. Growing up, I would always shy away from wearing branded T-shirts like Nike or GAP or (heaven forbid) No Fear. They were tacky, mass-produced and normally sporting a dreadful slogan. Instead I opted for plain Tshirts. The sartorial equivalent of Switzerland. As you get older you begin to notice patterns appearing. With fashion trends, suddenly, everyone is wearing stripes. The next week it’ll be polo shirts. The people who rigidly follow these trends are evidently conscious of their appearance, confident on the outside but don’t take criticism lightly. Then there are the folks who have the same T-shirts in multiple colours. The trick here is to figure out what colour reflects their mood (yellow is positive, while black is sombre). Then there are the band shirts. Wearing your musical preference on your chest like a banner is a ballsy approach. A rule of thumb: the more obscure the band, the better. So, as I sit here on a Thursday waiting for my parcel to arrive, a downtrodden colleague of mine walks past my desk. While I may not be able to decipher the intricate emotional secrets hidden behind his eyes, I can tell you that he hasn’t done the washing this week.
Kreis 5 Oberstrass
Gewerbeschule Kreis 4 Werd
Rathaus Lindenhof Seefeld
Enge Muhlebach Belvoir
Despite its reputation, in some quarters, as a boring banking centre, Zurich is one of the best small cities in Europe. In fact, its reputation may be a blessing in disguise, as it’s never overrun with tourists and has developed into one of central Europe’s culinary hot spots. It also has some outstanding architecture and design, hip-but-approachable clubs and great scenery. Add in historic Swiss charm and Zurich just might have it all.
hOTELS 1. Helvetia 2. Hotel du Théâtre 3. Savoy Baur En Ville 4. The Townhouse
rESTAurANTS 5. The Restaurant 6. Les Halles 7. Sein 8.Josef
BArS / cLuBS 9. Jade 10. Rimini Bar 11. Rote Fabrik 12. Acqua
GALLEriES 13. Kunsthaus Zürich 14. Museum of Design 15. Cabaret Voltaire 16. National Museum
hotels 1 helvetia
Helvetia was a bar popular with students in the 1980s, before a 2008 revamp as a hotelrestaurant-bar. Fourteen rooms combine art nouveau and modern designs. The rooftop bar is great too.
2 hotel du théâtre
A former theatre with stylishly minimalist rooms boasting low beds with glass headboards. Photos of 1950s theatre grace the walls and the carpet has quotes from Woody Allen, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol.
savoy Baur en ville This is the hotel of choice for visiting bigwigs. Founded in 1838, this acme of hotel luxe features Art Deco furnishings, handpainted wallpaper and artworks, as well as two smart restaurants and a bar.
sein Michelin-starred Sein is a coolly contemporary, hushed place where sophisticated diners pay court to chef Martin Surbeck’s superlative cooking, from perfectly grilled scallops to braised veal cheeks.
The Townhouse’s 21 rooms feature a funkedup English aesthetic with the feel of a friend’s stylish home. Colourful wallpaper, antiques and upholstered furniture add charm and quirkiness to the hi-tech extras.
restaurants 5 the restaurant
Gastronomic fireworks come as standard at the Dolder Grand’s restaurant, where Chef Heiko Nieder earns his two Michelin stars with a light, modern menu. The terrace, with views of Zurich and the lake, is stunning.
6 les halles
This old vegetable market has been turned into a restaurant, bar and organic food shop. Its industrial style, discreet location and charmingly chaotic French memorabilia attract a laid-back, local crowd.
Josef All dark wood and low lights, Josef is a restaurant with a modern Swiss menu that changes daily. The idea is to try a number of small courses that complement a wellchosen wine list.
Bars/cluBs 9 Jade
The epitome of swanky, don’t even bother if you’re not dressed to impress – the door policy here is ruthless. However, don’t be fooled by the high-fashion crowd; with wallets at the ready, they’re out to have a good night.
10 rimini Bar
This tranquil and cosy bar provides the perfect place to chill after a hard day’s work in the office or at the spa. The inside resembles a quiet English country house, and offers plenty of options with which to wash down the fine food.
11 rote faBrik
This world-famous outdoor club is a favourite of locals and tourists. It comes at a price, but the sea and mountain views, fireworks, celebrity guests and pumping music make it worth it.
If chic waterside lounging appeals, order some fantastic food and champagne, sink into one of Acqua’s white-cushioned sofas and soak up the extraordinary views of the mountains and lake.
galleries 13 kunsthaus Zürich
Zürich’s most important art museum is home to paintings by Picasso, Klee, Matisse, Monet, van Gogh, Chagall and Edvard Munch. Both a museum and exhibition space, this is one of Europe’s best and most interesting galleries. 60
14 museum of design
Housed in a Bauhaus-style building, it covers design, including architecture, photography, products and visual communication. The museum hosts a handful of exhibitions each year, ranging from interactive installations to advertisement showcases.
15 caBaret voltaire
Founded in 1916 as a meeting place for radical artists, the Dadaist movement was born in this Niederdorf venue. In 2001, some artists were evicted for staging performances, and it was turned into a museum and exhibition space.
16 migros museum
The Migros spans two floors of contemporary art alongside the Kunsthalle and the historic Löwenbräu brewery building. It has a core collection of more than 450 modern works from an international range of painters and sculptors.
austin kleon lets you know that it is ok to steal like an artist. ll advice is autobiographical. It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. These are some of the things I have learned over almost a decade of trying to figure out how to make art. These ideas apply to anyone who’s trying to inject some creativity into their life and work. Every artist gets asked the question, “where do you get your ideas?” The honest artist answers, “I steal them.” How does an artist look at the world? First you figure out what’s worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing. The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something ‘original,’ nine times out of ten, they just don’t know the references
or the original sources involved. Always be reading. Go to the library. There’s magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibliographies. It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to. You’re ready. Start making stuff. You might be scared to start. That’s natural. There’s this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people. It’s called ‘imposter syndrome.’ It means that you feel like a phoney, like you are just winging it, that you really don’t have any idea about what you’re doing. Guess what: none of us do. Ask anybody doing truly creative work and they’ll tell you the truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show 63
up to do their thing. Every day. In the beginning we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying. We’re talking about practice here, not plagiarism – plagiarism is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works. Remember: even The Beatles started as a cover band. Paul McCartney has said, “I emulated Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis. We all did.” As Salvador Dalí said, “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” At some point, you’ll have to move on from imitating your
heroes to emulating them. Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing. A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives. That is how we evolve. In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add. One thing I have learned in my career: it’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects, I mean the stuff that you
A brief history of bAd Architecture The ArcelorMittal Orbit
The Longaberger Basket Company
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London were a great success, with the host nation finishing an impressive third in the medal table. Unfortunately, Anish Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture at the Stratford Olympic Park looks like a helter skelter wrestling a slinky, or, to the less imaginative, a twisted mound of scrap metal.
Just for fun, imagine a world in which every company builds its
Ken’s Dream House
headquarters in the shape of the product it produces. That tickled you, didn’t it? Well, The Longaberger Basket Company in Newark, Ohio, did just that, building its HQ in the shape of, yes, you guessed it, a giant wicker basket. Some people, eh?
Barbie might have been impressed, but no man, not even a six-inch man sporting turquoise shorts and a neck scarf, should live in
The pixel building
a three-storey house constructed of yellow and purple plastic. You would never catch Buzz Lightyear in a pad like that.
There’s no denying that one of Melbourne’s best-known buildings deserves a pat on the back for its carbonneutral status, but it would also be hard to deny that it looks like a toy found in the corner of a particularly ‘creative’ fouryear-old’s bedroom.
thought was just messing around. That’s the good stuff. Get lost. You never know where it’s going to lead you. If there was a secret formula for becoming known, I would give it to you. But there is only one not-so-secret formula that I know: do good work and share it with people. It’s a two-step process. Step one, ‘do good work,’ is incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Fail. Get better. Step two, ‘share it with people,’ was really hard up until about ten years ago or so. Now it’s simple: ‘Put your stuff on the internet.’ To say that geography is no longer our master isn’t to say that place isn’t important. Where we choose to live still has
Many music critics regard the music of Michael ‘Wacko Jacko’ Jackson as some of the most influential ever produced. Perhaps it was. He was also a fully-grown man who lived in a giant amusement park – and that was just the start of it. He also owned a monkey. And an oxygen tank. And, well, that’s enough.
So it’s one of the most wellknown buildings in the world, it
Leaning Tower of Pisa
a huge impact on the work we do. At some point, you have to leave home. You can always come back, but you have to leave at least once. Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to spend time in another land, among people that do things differently. Travel makes the world look new, and when it looks new, our brain works harder. You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. In the digital space, that means following the best people online – the people who are way smarter and better than you. If you ever find that you are the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.
took 344 years to build and has existed in one form or another since 1173. It’s also quite beautiful. But there’s no denying that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is, well, ever so slightly askew.
The ‘Elephant Building’ in Bangkok can’t really be described as ugly, but building an office block in the shape of a pachyderm sets a terrifying precedent. Allow one animal-shaped building to pass
Haines Shoe House
unquestioned and in a matter of years our cities will start to look very silly indeed. Although, we could embrace a monkey-shaped tower.
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, but she starved and beat her children, so following her example is not to be recommended. Nevertheless, shoe salesman Mahlon Haines built this monstrosity in Pennsylvania in 1948. See it and weep. 65
My Travelled life big ben, tower, 153
celebrations, boris Johnson’s hair; nothing
there are lots of young punks coming
fazes me. the only reason i am around at all is
i have recently had a name change – i am
through the ranks; the latest pretender is
the previous Palace of westminster was burned
now known as elizabeth tower, not Clock
the Shard, which, i have to say, is just trying
down in 1834. while i would never condone
tower. i initially thought i was being named
much too hard. the gherkin caused a bit of
arson, if it wasn’t for that act of vandalism, i
after elizabeth taylor or elizabeth Hurley, but
a stir a few years ago, but honestly, i am not
would not be stood here talking to you now.
luckily, it was after Queen elizabeth, in honour
bothered. what i have is class; and a head
of her Diamond Jubilee.
start of more than a century. will either of those buildings be around in 100 years?
Doubtful. Very doubtful.
i don’t let tourists in; you can only reach the
top of the tower if you live in the UK and go
one fact a lot of people don’t know is that my
through your member of parliament. this could
designer, Augustus Pugin, went mad shortly
take months, which suits me. would you want a
after finishing me. technically i was built in
i don’t like to boast, but in truth, i do have the
horde of the unwashed trampling through your
a gothic revival style, but alas, glorious old
largest four-faced chiming clock in the world.
front room? i didn’t think so. Luckily, most MPs
Augustus was never sound enough of mind
People come from around the world to hear
have better things to do.
to enjoy his work.
me chime. Can anyone say that about the Pickle, or whatever it’s called? .
ON my Name My name refers only to the bell and not to the tower, yet a lot of tourists think i encompass the whole building. to be honest, i do nothing to dispel that myth, wallowing in the respectful glow of locals and tourists. in truth, i am only one part of the Palace of westminster, the centre of british power.
ON ageiNg i am 153, so i have seen it all: riots, 67
THE GRAPHIC DESIGNERâ€™s DESK information elegance
inspiration: batman fuel: coffee
research: design books organisation: FLAT PLAN
illustration: matt naylor
Play thing: ipad
place MARINA CITY •
C H I CA G O
YEAR BUILT: 1964
PHOTO: CONOR PURCELL
A RC H I T E C T U R E M APPED
BEYOND EXPECTATION Visionary works of art. Mythic designs. Imagine what lies outside your bedroom.
Museum-worthy collections at an opening where you are the only invitee, one of the many reasons why.
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store U R BA N C ARTO G RA P H Y
• STEVEN HELLER’S APARTMENT
e all have objects – books and knick-knacks, drawings and paintings – floating around our lives. They are by-products of time spent as living, breathing members of society. As we bounce around the mortal coil that we all call home, we acquire items that inspire, awe, or astound. We stuff these trinkets into our closets, display them on our shelves or prop them on the mantle. Steven Heller, however, has a different idea of what to do with the treasures he’s collected. The design legend, who served as an art director at The New York Times for 33 years and now works as a cochair of the MFA Designer’s Author programme at New York City’s School of Visual Arts, rents an entire apartment in Manhattan devoted to his assemblage of stuff. It’s the ultimate storage library for the ultimate chronicler of design. “I have a lot of objects from books that I’ve produced. A mini-manikin collection of figures no taller than 24 inches. I have lots of heads. There are files galore of designers and design phenomenon. Boxes of slides. Hundreds of rare books related to design, or at least art that coincides with design movements, trends and fashion,” the author of more than 140 books says. “It’s become a repository, like one huge closet that has a couch, a kitchen and a bathroom – neither of which work – skylights, and a fireplace.” The apartment lies a floor below the one in the brownstone Heller shares with his wife, graphic designer Louise Fili. They had a library, but needed more room when their son was born. As luck would have it, the downstairs neighbours moved out, and Heller snatched up the flat. “I figured I would turn it into a very usable library,” Heller says.
TexT: NOAH DAVIS // ImAge: ANNIe ScHlecHTer’S prOjecT: New YOrkerS AND THeIr bOOkS/gmAImAgeS
Good intentions, yes, but ones that he never got around to acting upon. Twentythree years later, the space is packed with paraphernalia and piles of books. A cleaner comes by “every so often,” but that’s the extent of the preservation efforts. “What it requires, and what it’s never going to have, is organisation,” Heller admits. And really, there’s no need to worry. It’s simply stuff. Or, in Heller’s words, “It’s just a place. It’s really not all that interesting when you come down to it.” Except that, you know, it is. Vitally so. Heller’s library highlights the vastness of the design world, a chaotic maw curated by one of the discipline’s best minds. Chinese spaceship figurines and Mao figureheads give way to Used Car pennants from America’s past. Bodiless models, decorated with make-up styles from the 1950s, feature three shelves above lightbulb boxes for Edison Mazda Lamps. A picture of two men in Shriner’s hats smoking cigarette sits to the right. And the books. There are books everywhere. Heller denies the importance of the space, but it has real value. A few years ago, the School of Visual Arts displayed some of the author’s collection, including a replication of the library. 150 images of the apartment were shot, and workers created the room in a gallery. The packed space became a work in itself. Over the years, the designer has got rid of some items, and some he sends to libraries around the world. Most of it, however, he keeps. “They are all favourites,” he says of the tens of thousands of items. Well, maybe not quite that many. “I do know there’s a waterbug living there because I saw it yesterday.” The insect is getting quite an education.” www.hellerbooks.com
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main P. 76 • THE LEGO EMPIRE P. 86• THE CULT OF HELVETICA
P. 96 • IS THE STARCHITECT ERA OVER?
P. 114 • BERlIn BlISS
oled up in his Michigan University dorm room in 1995, a young Larry Page puts the finishing touches to his latest project – building a working inkjet printer out of Lego. An impressive feat, no doubt, but it would not be the most impressive thing that he would create – Larry Page, of course, went on to co-found internet giant Google. During a now famous interview with Time magazine in 2006, Page revealed his love for Lego and attributed a lot of his understanding and ability with mechanical devices to growing up playing with the tiny multicoloured bricks. What isn’t as well known is how, just 18 months before that interview, the much-loved toy company was on the brink of bankruptcy. “We are on a burning platform,” declared a company report written by young Danish businessman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp in 2003 after Lego had posted a loss of $350 million – the biggest loss in its history. Of the hundreds of different Lego products available in stores, only three were actually making the company money: sci-fi Lego spin-off Bionicle and movie franchise tie-ins Lego Harry Potter and Lego Star Wars. The company was haemorrhaging cash and its credit rating was through the floor. But how could this be possible? The family-owned company was, and still is, an instantly recognisable global brand that rivals the likes of Mattel and Hasbro in the popularity stakes. In fact, just three years previously in 2000, Forbes magazine named Lego its “Toy of the century.” It beat Barbie and the Teddy bear to the prize. The small multi-coloured bricks are so ingrained in 20th century culture that most people will gleefully tell 78 lego
you about their favourite childhood set, while even people who have never played with Lego recognise its trademark bricks and miniature, smileyfaced, yellow men (known as minifigures). Celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Will.I.Am have confessed their love for the brand. David Beckham once revealed that when injured during his stint at Italian club AC Milan he used to pass the time by working on a Lego replica of the Taj Mahal – at the time the largest Lego set in the world. There are few toys that provoke such a strong emotional response. Following Knudstorp’s report there was lots of finger pointing, and several suggestions as to how Lego had let itself get into such a desperate position. The resurgence of the videogame industry, the rise of the internet and the growing number of cheap knock-offs on the market due to the expiration of the Lego brick patent were all blamed, but while all of these factors contributed to the changing landscape of children’s recreational habits, ultimately, Lego’s biggest enemy turned out to be itself. The Lego story began in 1932 when a carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen decided to start making high-quality wooden toys after his more traditional carpentry business had all but gone bust during the Great Depression. The name comes from combining the Danish words ‘leg’ (play) and ‘godt’ (well). However, completely unbeknownst to Ole, the word ‘Lego’ in Latin fortuitously translates as ‘I put together’. Based in the nondescript village of Billund in west Denmark, the young company would twice suffer inventory-destroying fires – once in 1942 and a second time in 1960. After the second blaze, the company made the decision to move away from wooden toys and focus solely on the several small plastic products they had started creating.
One of those was a durable and colourful plastic brick. The idea behind the brick was that it was versatile enough to allow children to build anything that their imagination could think up – a sort of everytoy. In fact, so versatile are the bricks, Lego has since calculated that by using just six eightstud bricks there are a mind-boggling 915,103,765 different ways that they can be assembled. Initially, the bricks were very basic and did not hold together well. This inspired Ole’s own son, Godtfred, to attempt several redesigns in order to unleash the full potential of the brick. He would go on to develop the ‘clutch power’ interlocking system that would hold the bricks together yet
tHe bricks can be taken apart by a cHild still allow them to be taken apart easily by a child. This simple underlying principle would go on to form the bedrock of consistency that would allow the company to grow, and this same system is still in use today; in fact the bricks produced today still interlock with the first sets that were produced back in 1958.
The secret to Lego’s early success was the simplicity and versatility of its products. All it had to do was provide the tools, and children everywhere could build, dismantle and rebuild the toy with countless outcomes. Jonathan Gay, the inventor of the computer programme Flash, attributes his career to Lego. “As a child, I grew up playing with Lego. Those coloured bits of plastic taught me the basics of engineering design, how to choose a design problem and the process of iterative refinement. Even better, they helped me express my early passion for building things.” The Lego brick struck a chord with a primal element in the development of children. “Lego really gets children’s minds going. They become creative in a way that is very hands-on and real,” explains Sean Kenney, a professional artist who has made Lego sculptures for the likes of Google, Mazda and Nintendo. “Other crafty activities like drawing and finger-painting do the same thing, but with Lego, when a child is done creating, they can then actually play with their creation.” Lego would continue to grow slowly over the next few decades, expanding beyond Denmark, with sets being sold across Europe and even as far afield as Canada. This prompted the company to build its own private airstrip in Billund in 1962 to facilitate the rapidly growing business. Today, Billund airport is one of the busiest in Denmark. Such was Lego’s popularity that businessmen would travel from all over to the tiny Danish town just to see where the bricks were made, leading to the unorthodox, but ultimately moneyspinning, decision to create a Legobased theme park in Billund. In 1968, Legoland was born and in its first year it attracted 625,000 visitors. lego 79
In 1978 Lego hit the jackpot. As well as introducing baseplates and road plates that entire towns could be built on, it also introduced the now unmistakable symbol of Lego – the minifigure. The tiny figure with moveable arms and legs and that wonderfully simple smile were an instant success. The mini-figures remained smiling away for another decade until the introduction of more advanced features with the Pirate range in 1989. The next 15 years would see Lego grow at an average annual rate of 14 per cent, doubling in size every four years. But this is where things started to change. In the mid-1990s, Lego’s profits stagnated. The company seemed to have reached its limit and was unable to sustain its remarkable previous growth. The company had never in its history reported a period of torpor, and Lego’s management decided that the best course of action would be to grow the brand into new areas: ones where it had little experience. 80 lego
Soon it began manufacturing action figures, clothing ranges, hotel chains, electronic toys for toddlers and even Lego-building computer software in an attempt to grab a slice of the market dominated by other toy manufacturers. Perhaps the best example of this departure was the creation of the illfated Galidor line. Built around the exploits of its hero, Nick Bluetooth, the company started creating large action figures. The toys seemingly paid little regard to the principles of what had made Lego so endearing throughout its history – keeping things simple and providing the basis for children to express their creativity – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they flopped. During this time even Lego’s core business – the Lego sets – were being tampered with. Management ordered the designers to push the envelope and and come up with more elaborate ideas, giving them wider scope to create evermore fantastic and complicated products. As a result the Lego sets being produced were becoming more intricate and specialised. There was only one problem; the products were not selling. It was evident that by being overly creative the company had lost sight of the clever-yet-simple designs that had formed the foundation on which the company had been built. The toys were becoming too stylised for children to relate to, and on top of that, production costs of all the new pieces (the number of individual Lego pieces rose from approximately 7,000 to 12,400 between 1998 and 2004) were costing the company a small fortune to manufacture. By 2003 sales had dried up. In 1942 and 1960 those fires at the Lego workshop had threatened the company’s sur vival. In 2003, the ‘burning platform’ report put them in danger once again.
The author of that report, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, was appointed CEO the following year – making him the first head of the company who was not a member of the Christiansen family. With his appointment came a new modern mind-set focused on stopping the rot, and saving the company. “When I joined the company the challenge was that for many children all over the world Lego had become something of the past – a bit old fashioned,” Knudstrop explained to the BBC earlier this year. “My challenge was to reconnect with the vitality and the energy of something that was, and is, endlessly creative. I had to reposition the brand and repackage it as something very cool in the opinion of children around the world.” Knudstrop soon realised that the main issue facing the company was that it had lost its way. The values that it had been built upon were no longer clear, and a serious overhaul was needed. “We were developing a lot of products that weren’t delivering on the joy of building and the pride of creating things,” he explained.
from 1989 lego grew 14 per cent every year
GIUSEPPE VERDI'S OPERA LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE
AIDA 18 th and 21 st of October 2012 at 7:30 pm Katara Amphitheater
Verdiâ€™s acclaimed opera AIDA is finally coming to Katara. First performed in 1871 in Egypt, this production in set and costumes of the world famous sculptor Igor Mitoraj, with more than 80 choristes, 12 ballet dancers, 35 actors and 8 of the most renowned Verdi singers of today, together with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Verdi specialist Pier Giorgio Morandi. Donâ€™t miss AIDA, a visual and musical feast at Katara for 2 nights only on the 18 th and 21 st of October at 7:30 pm. www.katara.net
star wars was key in tHe rise of lego to tHe top The new focus was on people who were already in love with the brand, rather than trying to entice a new audience who had no interest. “We cannot pretend to be something we are not,” declared Knudstrop in an interview with Monocle in 2007. “It is more important to stay true to your core principles than to grow. If by doing that there is growth, then good, but if we decline then we will have to adjust to that.” And grow Lego most certainly did. Having steadied the boat, Lego’s sales revenues increased by a staggering 25 per cent each year between 2007 and 2010. To start the recovery Lego outsourced many of its non-traditional products to specialist firms. From the Legoland theme parks to its video game franchises, it stripped the company right back. Initially it was a cost-saving move, but whether by chance or by some savvy planning, it allowed other companies to breathe new life into the once powerful Lego brand. Its Jedi knight in shining armour came from an unexpected source – the Star Wars franchise. 82 lego
During the bad days, the Lego Star Wars line had seemingly bucked the trend. LucasArts, the licensee, now had more freedom and decided to team up with games developer TT Games to create a Lego Star Wars video game. The Lego brand was set to explode. The Star Wars sets alone dominated a good portion of Lego sales for the next decade, with the Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones video games, which offered cool, non-violent and childfriendly gaming, surpassing all expectations. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga videogame has sold more than 12 million copies globally.
William Reed, an avid Lego collector and contributor to thebrickblogger. com, believes that Lego’s decision to associate itself with other well-established brands has helped restore the cool factor with younger generations. “Within the past decade, Lego has discovered the potential draw of using licenses such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and Batman to attract new customers,” he says. “It is very possible that many people would not be interested in Lego if it wasn’t for these specialised lines.” The key was to find a way to adapt Lego so it fitted into the playtime of the
modern era. “Children today navigate without prejudice between physical and digital play – they do not see these two things as opposites – it’s all about playing and being creative,” says Lego Press Officer Roar Rude Trangbæk. “Our belief is that physical play will forever be relevant for children. We don’t see the digital area as a substitution for physical play, but an addition and therefore an opportunity to add to the physical experience.” The latest successful Lego line is Ninjago. This line of ninja Lego figures offers its audience both physical and digital playing platforms, while still centring on the core Lego principles of construction and the Lego brick. Perhaps the best example of how Lego has adapted to the internet age doesn’t come from the Lego brand at all. Fabian Moritz, a 21-year old German became an internet sensation early this year when he teamed up with the Guardian.co.uk to reproduce memorable moments of the London Olympics. From Usain Bolt winning the 100m to Michael 84 lego
lego turns 80 tHis year and is wortH $1bn
Phelps shattering the all-time individual medal tally – Moritz’s stop-motion videos were created entirely out of Lego and have been watched more than 450,000 times by viewers around the world. “I think people are fascinated by my videos because everyone knows and loves Lego,” says Moritz. “Older people like my videos because it reminds
them of their childish side, while children can relate to this because they play with Lego too. You should have seen the glee in some of my Guardian colleagues’ eyes when we worked on the Olympics.” And that’s just it. The little plastic brick that managed to capture the imaginations of three generations of children was always there – the company just lost track of its vital importance, and it wasn’t until Lego refocused and adapted to the habits of today’s children that it instantly found its way back to the top of the pile. This year Lego turns 80. Its operating profits from the first half of the year have already passed $500 million and in turn it has re-established itself as the number one toy manufacturer in both Europe and Asia. Type Lego in to Larry Page’s Google, and you will be rewarded with 440,000,000 results. Not bad for a plastic brick. Matt Priest is Open Skies’ staff writer who has been playing with Lego since the age of five.
type positive: the rise of helvetica
he subject in question is everywhere, simultaneously orderly and ostentatious in its ubiquity. It is in real life and fake worlds, in fiction and nonfiction, movies and television. It appears in books and on websites. It’s on the streets and in our houses, unassuming while also overpowering. A casual observer might not notice it, but point it out and its omnipresence becomes instantly obvious. It is the focus of love and affection, along with derision and, occasionally, hate. (This last emotion is, perhaps, too much, given the subject, but that’s the strength of response it provokes.) It, however, is not a person, place, or thing. It is not even a tangible object. It is a typeface. Specifically, our topic is the sans serif wonder Helvetica. (Serifs are the tails on the end of letters.) The famous font came out of Europe just before the 1960s and found its way into the hearts and heads of the world’s best designers. It became the symbol of modernity, of corporations, of progress, of capitalism, and all the elements – both good and bad – that came along with those aspects of life in the late 20th century. Helvetica gained legions of followers, which prompted a backlash, which, in turn, was met with renewed fervour in support of the serious, almost clinical typeface. Today, the debate surrounding Helvetica rages on design blogs, in books, and on forums around the world. The only consensus about it is that there is none. A popular 2007 documentary timed for the 50th anniversary – yes, a documentary about a font (and a good one at that) – brought these arguments to the wider world, as has the public’s increased interest in design culture. The growing importance of websites, which look cleaner and clearer with sans serif fonts, altered the way we see and relate to Helvetica. Something that previously showed up almost solely in 88 helvetica
small quantities is suddenly appearing in large blocks of text. Despite the passionate, intelligent, well-argued thoughts of the anti-Helvetica army, the font becomes ever more popular. It is, simultaneously, a deadly serious sign of branding and a cheeky corporate joke (think: the American Apparel logo). The letters bring with them certain connotations of certain subsets of people; Helvetica moved beyond simply a font and into the realm of metaphor and symbolism. The trick is to parse out what the audience believes and why it does so. If used correctly, Helvetica is a perfect typeface for the post-modern world. But that’s only the beginning of the problems. We can’t grasp the present or the future without first understanding the past. For a typeface that defined modern America, Helvetica is rather old. It dates to 1957 when Eduard Hoffman, head of Münchenstein, Switzerland’s Haas Type Foundry, tasked Max Miedinger with creating a new, clean font that would convey letters and words without the pomp and circumstance of many popular typefaces at the time. Hoffman wanted something with less clutter, something that would stand out on signage. Miedinger delivered, using a 1896 font, Akzidenz-Grotesk, as a basis for what would become his most famous work. Neue Haas Grotesk, his resulting sans serif masterpiece, was elegant and effective. Soon after, the Haas parent company, Linotype, changed the name as it prepared to debut its creation in the US. Helvetia, Latin for ‘Switzerland,’ was the initial choice, but that became Helvetica, which means Swiss. The stage for the invasion of America was set. In the early 1960s, the US was prepared for Helvetica to arrive. “The beauty of Helvetica is that it’s a really neutral font,” Thomas Dolle, a designer
helvetica offered a perfect mechanism for conveying whatever information the ad men wanted and lecturer at New York City’s Pratt Institute, says. “That works really well in a lot of situations.” The country, gaining economic power and cultural clout, had a rapidly developing conception of companies, corporations and commercial practices. Branding grew increasingly important. (See: Draper, Don.) Helvetica offered a perfect mechanism for conveying whatever information the ad men wanted. Among others, designer Massimo Vignelli championed the font at the famed Unimark studio, using it for the American Airlines logo, the New York Subway system, and many other brands. Jeep, JC Penny, and General Motors, to name just a few more, tied their corporate identities to a font. Helvetica became the face of the American capitalism as it took over the country and the wider world. As Helvetica spread, one font became many. The parent company expanded its offerings to capitalise on the popularity. (Capitalism at work!) Helvetica begat Helvetica Compressed, Helvetica Textbook, Helvetica Inserat, Helvetica Narrow, Helvetica Condensed, Helvetica World, and beyond. Linotype updated the original version in 1983. The font, you see, was not static in the 60s and
70s. It changed slightly due to inconsistencies in printing and other factors. The result, Neue Helvetica, attempted to return the typeface to its initial design while simultaneously preparing it for the digital age. The success of the update and the new fonts depends upon whom you ask, but nothing could stop the momentum of Helvetica. The Linotype website currently offers three dozen versions of the font for $29 each. “[Helvetica] covers a large range of fonts. Some of them aren’t very good and some of them aren’t quite what you think when you hear the name Helvetica,” Dolle says. “Not all Helveticas are created equal.” Equal or not, the Helvetica family continues to be immensely popular. Which brings us to the present. There is a reason Helvetica rose to such a rarefied space in the typeface world: the font does some things exceptionally well. It conveys information in a no-frills manner, which is essential for some types of communication.
“When it’s used correctly, like in a lot of European rail systems, it still retains that timeless quality,” Stephanie Murg, an art and design writer, says. By limiting distractions – the serifs, the frills, the fun – all that remains is the meaning of the words. In a situation where meaning trumps aesthetic concerns (getting around the New York subway system, for example), there is no better typeface than Helvetica. Because of its simplicity, Helvetica also allows other features of the design to work upon it. The typeface changes with its surroundings. In the right hands, that’s an excellent quality and one that increases options infinitely. “If you look at Target and American Apparel’s logos, both are black, they look the same. But you think of those two brands separately. What Helvetica is doing for them is acting like an empty canvas,” Julia Vakser Zeltser, cofounder of Hyperakt, says. “It’s getting dressed up and sponges up all the character of the brand. In that respect, it’s
very clean and elegant and very sterile. It could assume anything it wants to.” Miedinger designed the typeface to be flexible. Ironically, however, because of Helvetica’s success, it brings connotations and baggage in today’s world. The font is no longer meaningless. Far from it, in fact. Perhaps the best way for a non-designer to understand Helvetica’s place in contemporary society is through metaphor. Spend any time reading design blogs and you’ll find plenty. It’s the Swiss army knife of fonts or the all-purpose woodshop tool. Helvetica is a pair of well-loved, well-worn pants, the ones you wear out from overuse. “It’s the khakis. It’s the Levi’s jeans. It’s the font that always works, but it’s not always the best choice. A pair of jeans can be simple and great, but there are certain situations where you wouldn’t wear a pair of jeans. Or you’d wear a pair of jeans and you’d dress it up with other things. Same with Helvetica. Maybe you want to use Helvetica, but there are certain things you want to do to it to make it more special,” Dolle says. More than anything, though, Helvetica is the little black dress (LBD): “It’s kind of like a cute LBD in your closest that’s always hanging. It’s ready to look classy and good,” Vakser Zeltser says. Helvetica: ever trustworthy, ever simple. Slip it on and go out. The action requires little thought and less effort. And that’s exactly the problem. Too often, it’s the default font, the typeface used without thinking. “You have to be sure that there’s a good reason to use it, because it’s loaded. You have to be conscious of it,” Agnieszka Gasparska, founder of Kiss Me I’m Polish, says. Bruno Maag, founder of the font foundry Dalton Maag and one of Helvetica’s most vocal critics, goes a step further: “It’s a little bit of the Comic 90 helvetica
it’s the khakis. It’s the Levis jeans. It’s the font that always works, but it’s not always the best choice San syndrome. It is a lazy choice for a designer. People indiscriminately use it without looking at it, without knowing the history behind it, and without understanding the alternatives.” The Little Black Dress of typefaces is vital to have in a designer’s arsenal, but there’s so much more. “The truth is I never wear my black dress. It’s there. It’s available. It will look okay, but it’s not exciting any more,” Vakser Zeltser. “There are some many other similar black dress typefaces in that family that are a little different. They are a black dress with one red button.” In recent years, Gotham gained traction as the LBD with just the right amount of flair. The font, originally designed by the famed typography team of Hoefler and Frere-Jones for GQ, is Helvetica for the computer age. It uses the vertical geography of New York for inspiration, mixing in a little forwardthinking Americana. Gotham is, according to its creators, “hard-working typeface for the ages.” Gasparska describes it as “an amazingly beautiful typeface that’s slightly sunnier and warmer, and removes some of the holes that Helvetica leaves.” It’s also every where. Coca-Cola, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential helvetica
every time you type something in Microsoft Word you make a decision about the font campaign, Nike+ and Tom Ford are just a few of the major brands attempting to bend Gotham to their own purposes. The backlash to the ‘new Helvetica’ is bubbling up, with 92 helvetica
designer after designer claiming it’s progressively becoming overused and over-employed. Maag, the type of person who spends five minutes articulately deconstructing the look of the letter ‘a’ over the phone, says he prefers Paladin. And yet, Gotham continues to gain steam. That’s the way it is with fonts, a self-perpetuating cycle. The general public grows comfortable with a typeface, so risk-adverse brands – which, let’s face it, includes nearly every company – choose to stick with the tried and true. Designers, after all, are beholden to their clients. They can try to steer account executives away from Gotham, Helvetica, or another font, but the ultimate decision comes from the firm supplying the cash for the project. And, of course, there’s the danger of going too far in the other direction, of
using a font in place of Helvetica for the sake of avoiding using Helvetica. That’s no good, either. “Arial is a [red haired] stepchild of Helvetica. There are a lot of fonts that sort of look like Helvetica, but they are the cheap imitation versions. If you’re going to use a font, you might as well use Helvetica,” Dolle says. The most famous 50-year-old font isn’t going any where, but two factors are changing the way the world uses and reacts to Helvetica. The first one is the growing awareness
of design, specifically typefaces, in the general culture. Every time you type a document in Microsoft Word or an email to a friend, you make a decision about the font. Even the absence of a choice, the decision to use t he default pre-program med font, says something. We are more aware of typefaces than ever before. “Fonts have become a new universal vocabulary,” Murg says. She’s right. Just think, you’re reading a feature about a typeface in a general interest magazine. Would you have thought
that possible 10 years ago? Or what ab out t he success of Ga r y Hu stwit’s documentary Helvetica ? The result is a public typeface aware. The second factor in the changing uses of Helvetica is the rise of the digital age. Previously, the font’s place in society involved mostly signage and logos, but sans serif typefaces are superior on screens, especially small ones like the ones on a smartphone. (Fun fact: Apple switched from Helvetica to Helvetica Neue with the iPhone 4.) Serifs can look cluttered when you are scrolling. As a result, website designers increasingly use Helvetica for large blocks of text. “The typeface works very well in motion. When you are scrolling on your iPad, it looks much better than something more ornate. When you get more involved, things don’t work as well. The motion element works in favour of sans serif fonts, including Helvetica,” Murg says. Some of Gotham’s recent prominence is no doubt linked to the rise of sans serif fonts on the Internet. There will always be a place for Helvetica. It’s too good, too clean and too perfect for too many situations. It’s not the be all, end all typeface, but that was never the intention when a man from Switzerland sat down to
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helvetica is not always the wrong choice. Sometimes it is the best pick. But only after we understand why
design something that would compete with Akzidenz-Grotesk. Miedinger succeeded beyond his wildest imagination, creating a typeface that would come to help define the good, the bad and the ugly of the modern era. For better or worse, Helvetica is – and will remain – everywhere. “There’s a particular minimalist aesthetic that the typeface evokes. As long as that is around, we’re going to need Helvetica,” Gasparska says. But Helvetica is not for every situation. There needs to be a thought process. Halfway through writing this story, I decided to switch away from
the world’s most famous font. I tried Gotham, but it didn’t feel right so I took Maag’s advice and went with Paladin. While it was better for a while, it eventually felt too airy. I wanted something denser, a font that encouraged me to focus and type quickly. The decision was obvious. I returned to Helvetica. We have choices. It’s important to think about going beyond the default option. But that’s not to say Helvetica is always wrong. Sometimes it’s the best pick. But only after we understand why. Noah Davis is a freelance writer based in New York who writes about culture and technology. helvetica 95
is the era of the starchitect over? by jay merrick illustration by dale edwin murray
ou may, at this moment, be flying to Doha, or perhaps London, New York or Beiji ng. A nd when your Emirates’ aircraft makes its final descent, you will no doubt glance out of the nearest cabin window to catch a reassuring glimpse of your destination. And your gaze will instinctively seek out iconic landmarks: the angular facets of the Museum of Islamic Art, perhaps; the Empire State Building, the Shard, or the stark contortions of the CCTV building. The world’s great cities have always possessed landmark architecture. Quite apart from the encyclopaedias of classical, gothic and baroque buildings in cities such as Rome and Florence, the same applies to less grand cities such as Liverpool, which in the 19th century occasionally surpassed London’s annual earning power, and whose still iconic Liver building was briefly the world’s tallest reinforced concrete structure in 1911.
But who designed it? Walter Aubrey Thomas. Heard of him? How many people know that William Lamb was the architect of the Empire State, and that his firm produced the detailed draw ings for it in t wo weeks? Do you automatically associate Messrs Strauss, Ellis and Morrow with the Golden Gate Bridge? And as for New York’s dazzling Art Deco Chrysler building, does the name William Van Alen ring a bell? Today, t he stampede for icon ic buildings has produced the ‘starchitect’ phenomenon. Starchitects design civic architectural brandmarks rather than mere landmarks, and the dozen or so designers who make up this exclusive architectural inner circle are themselves brandmarks. So they, and their buildings, become joint brands which heighten the commercial value of the starchitecture they produce. This super-league of designers is not fixed, incidentally. The only starchitects who seem to be permanently giant brands are Norman Foster, Zaha
it was the facades of frank gehry’s 1997 bilbao guggenheim that unleashed the architect as saviour Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano. This list is debatable, of course, as is the suggestion that while past headline-grabbers such as Richard Rogers, Santiago Calatrava and Daniel Libeskind remain starchitects, they don’t always trigger quite such powerful Pavlovian responses from the media. It was the swerving titanium facades of Frank Gehry’s 1997 Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao that unleashed the idea of the starchitect as a kind of artistic saviour whose tectonic shapemaking could change the image and earning power of cities. Historically, we might make a comparison with the Catholic Church’s sponsorship of richly decorative baroque churches in the 16th century – overwhelmingly impressive architectural statements designed to counter the increasing popularity of Protestantism. Today, it’s about a new kind of apostrophised architectural possession: Renzo Piano’s Shard, Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV headquarters, Norman Foster’s Gherkin, Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum. Architecture, at this level and at such vast construction values, is perceived to benefit from personal architectural autographs; hence the expression “signature building”. It’s instructive to consider the Burj Khalifa in this light. It’s by far the tall-
est skyscraper in the world, but doesn’t have the double-branding associated with a specific starchitect. Yet its designers were Skidmore Owings and Merrill – universally known as SOM – architecture’s first mega-practice in the 1950s, and still a giant player. SOM have created dozens of buildings all over the world that are considered by architects, and many critics, to be benchmarks of innovation. But in a world of architectural brandmarks, a three-letter acronym may not always offer the X Factor mystique associated with the brandmark of a starchitect’s name. Nothing, as the Greek philosopher Parmenides wrote in about 550BC, can come from nothing. The origin of starchitects and starchitecture goes back to the 1930s, and, arguably, to two architects in particular: the American genius, Frank Lloyd
Wright, and the brilliantly polemical Frenchman, Le Corbusier, who was at the heart of the so-called Modern Movement in architecture. In very different ways, Wright and Corb, as he was known, were the first widely-known superstars of the architectural profession. And for two reasons. Firstly, they designed buildings that remain profoundly influential almost a century later: Corb’s Villa Savoye and the Chapel at Ronchamps, for example; and Wright’s Fallingwater house, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Secondly, they understood the growing power of the media, and knew exactly how to turn themselves into iconic figures. Wright was small, artily chapeau’d, and utterly imperious. Corb wore heavy circular glasses that resembled black Bakelite goggles. And though their architectural ideas were
challenging, they were savvy enough to give great quotes. They both knew, as Wright put it, that “architecture is 50 per cent marketing.” He described television as “chewing gum for the eyes,” and said that if you tipped the world on its side “everything loose would end up in Los Angeles.” Corb set the tone for technocratic modernist architecture by announcing that houses were “machines for living in,” and that New York was a “beautiful catastrophe.” They created the idea of the modern architect as a kind of god whom one questioned at one’s peril. When a wealthy client of Wright’s complained that water was coming through a ceiling and dripping on to a valuable table, he replied: “move the table.” And when Sir Basil Spence visited the 1960s campus he designed for Sussex University, he suddenly began to smash fittings starchitects 99
does so-called starchitecture explore new ideas or simply dumb down or overdramatise contemporary urban design? with his walking stick. “That’s not what I specified,” he barked. “Replace them!” Peter Rees, the current planning supremo for the City of London, smiles ruefully when he recalls asking Sir James Stirling to show him the roof garden design for Number 1 Poultry. “I’ve dealt with it,” Stirling grunted. “You don’t need to see it.” Architects are no longer so godlike. Indeed, civic decision-makers like Peter Rees are immensely powerful, and are courted by billionaire developers and starchitects alike. In the 21st century, even the greatest architects have been thrown off projects – but never before has their starchitect status branded a
project with such iconic fairy-dust. The ideal starchitect scenario involves a legendary moment of inspiration, which can then be marketed as a stroke of genius that will, of course, maximise floorplate values. Exhibit A: when the developer Irvine Sellar took Renzo Piano to lunch in Berlin to discuss the possibility of creating a 1,000ft skyscraper over London Bridge station, Piano sketched the outline of the Shard on a napkin. One almost hears a rimshot on a cymbal, and a cheery: “and for my next trick!” But what, exactly, are starchitects doing for our cities – and our lives? Starchitecture is inevitably described as iconic, inspiring, uniquely innovative, environmentally sophisticated, and sustainable. But these have been tick-box words in the profession for at least two decades. Does starchitecture invariably explore new ideas, or do these designs become progressively dumbed down, or overdramatised, by delusions of corporate grandeur? It depends on the starchitect in question. It would obviously be hazardous to suggest who the more servile (and therefore litigious) grandees of the profession are. Instead, let’s consider
some of the personas and thoughts of a handful of starchitects. What makes them tick? How do they explain their architecture? In the charm stakes, Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano are out on their own. To dine with Nouvel is to be in the presence of an engaging, well-mannered and cultured bon viveur. Piano, in his tailor-made cashmere jackets, comes across like a softly spoken uncle who only talks of pleasant things. Among the profession’s technocrats, none surpasses Sir Norman Foster, surely the most dominant single figure in world architecture. He has an occasional tendency to appear in pink corduroy suits, no doubt encouraged by his artistic wife, Elena Ochoa Foster. But in default mode, his manner is as precisely constrained as his clothing, and he radiates concentrated ambition and an obsessive search for perfect architectural efficiency. From humble beginnings, literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Manchester, he has become one of the world’s most impressive self-made men – a young dreamer and sketcher who read Dan Dare sci-fi comics in his cramped bedroom, and simply decided to become a great architect. In social or interview situations, Foster is pleasant and thoughtful. But this steely loner, tough enough to have overcome three life-threatening illnesses, would rather be working or, failing that, clocking up miles in Switzerland on his racing bike.
Sir David Chipperfield – aka Chippo – once worked for Foster. Yet, despite designing the elegantly innovative River and Rowing Museum in Henley-onThames in 1997, he was largely forced to make his reputation in Europe, a strategy that culminated with his masterfully transformation of the wardamaged Neues Museum in Berlin, and the award of architecture’s Oscar, the Pritzker Prize. Chipperfield has joined the coterie of starchitects who are regularly shortlisted for major commercial and cultural projects all over the world. But he remains very grounded – as happy to discuss rugby, or the novels of John Banville, as he is to talk about facades or voids. And he’s very straightforward. When I asked him how difficult it had been to design the beautiful but complex galleries at The Hepworth in Wakefield, he replied: “To be honest, it was a nightmare.” 102 starchitects
no living architect has more star quality or enjoys it more than the iraqiborn superstar zaha hadid The A merican starchitect, Stephen Holl, also avoids the hyperbole and razzamatazz of starchitecture. Architecture, he says, is about physical practicalities that are fused to metaphysical possibilities: buildings “gather the meaning of a situation.” And that rather subtle starting-point has produced a stream of remarkable buildings: the mesh-covered extension
of the Sarphatistraat office building in Amsterdam, for example, and the Vanke Center, a “horizontal skyscraper” in Shenzhen, China. The Iraq-born Zaha Hadid couldn’t be more different. No living architect has more star-quality – or enjoys it more. I first encountered her at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000, when she was still in the process of designing her first building. She arrived late during Sir Richard Rogers’ welcome speech at the British Pavilion, and the squashedmouse squeaks of her Jimmy Choo heels forced Rogers to pause to allow her to make her head-turning entrance, attended by a halo of nervy assistants. In those days, Hadid was rather forbidding. Today, she dispenses her very particular design genius with considerable vivacity. And she even seems to satirise her reputation as a diva. While being interviewed over lunch by a pro-
jean nouvel is a kind of shaman of the world of architecture, one of the profession’s true dreamers file-writer from New Yorker magazine, Hadid turned to her key collaborator, Patrik Schumacher, and told him he should eat more potatoes. The rest of us struggled to remain deadpan. At the intellectual end of the starchitect spectrum, the undisputed leader of the pack is Rem Koolhaas, founder of the Dutch practice, OMA. Koolhaas is architecture’s uber visionary, and a perpetual font of challenging ideas. He is also very shrewd. His practice’s research arm, AMO, allows him to support his architectural design pro-
posals with megabytes of detailed cultural, political or economic analysis. AMO’s streams of data not only illuminate the wider contextual issues of architecture, but have also been used by clients such as the EU. In other words, Koolhaas has morphed research into a powerful marketing tool for his practice, attracting clients as glitzy as Prada, and as hermetically mysterious as the investment bankers, Rothschild. Koolhaas is by no means alone in starchitecture’s high-intellect stakes. Jean Nouvel’s charm tends to conceal the fact that his designs are the product of a very finely nuanced mind. And this isn’t surprising: in the 1960s and 1970s, his ideas were heavily influenced by his friendships with radical French philosophers and cultural academics, such as Jean Beaudrillard. This shows in the sensual and elliptical way he describes his architectural ideas. Do feel free to assume the ‘brace’ position before reading the following extract from his design vision for the Dubai Opera: “Its image changes with angles of view, with the lights, but it also belongs to the atmosphere, to the thickness of the air. It reveals the light
. . . the signs superimpose, become confused, link together to create other music, other rhythms impossible to imagine outside of these criss-crossed layers. It is a little like the clouds: each person can see what attracts them, what makes them question. The architect plays only the role of provocateur, claiming innocence.” Nouvel is a kind of architectural shaman, one of the profession’s true dreamers – and perhaps the only starchitect whose next work always seems to be surprising, the first of its kind: the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, his breakthrough building in 1981; One New Change, the so-called ‘stealth bomber building’ in the City of London; the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid, with its vast, blood-red reflective canopy. The uninitiated would, quite reasonably, assume that these buildings were designed by four very different architects. But where do all these ideas and designs lead? Can buildings and places designed by starchitects transform lives? Are starchitects even recognised as important cultural critics and innovators? Let’s backtrack to Le Corbusier in the 1930s for a moment, to sample the power and influence of the original starchitects. His proposals for cities accentuated the dominance of cars,
and imagined giant superblocks separated by more or less empty tundras of concrete. His scheme for the urbanisation of Algiers, the Plan Obus, visualised a continuous viaduct containing apartments that would form a 14 storey cliff-face several kilometres long, with a major highway running along its serpentine crest. Madness? Not quite. More than any other architect of his time, it was Corb’s vision of the future that encouraged post-war urban regeneration which, in varying degrees, featured all these ingredients. In New York, the city’s legendary mid-century urban development power-broker, Robert Moses, used something very like Corb’s highway and superblock model for three decades. Today, the social and urban challenges facing architects are overwhelming. And here’s an astonishing example: the Organisation for Economic C0operation and Development forecasts that, by 2020, there will be a continuous 600km long city connecting Benin with Accra in Ghana. The urban historian Mike Davis says that its 60m inhabitants will form the world’s biggest single footprint of poverty. “At most, we write portraits of particular cities in the hope, not of developing a theory of what to do with them, but of understanding how cities exist currently,” admits Rem Kool-
haas. In other words, starchitects can only play catch-up. Brilliant architectural ideas and manifestos are becoming historical curios. So, too, is that wonderful phrase – ‘the shock of the new’ – conjured up by the historian, Robert Hughes to describe modernism. In the 21st century, architecture’s ability to define and prompt interesting moments of change has been compromised by the extraordinary velocity of urbanisation, most notably in China; and by the way history and the subtle, historically grounded meanings of lives and places are being replaced by ephemeral realities driven by hyper-consumption and social-cum-marketing media such as Facebook. We are left with the cult of the starchitect as a facet of corporatism, national identity, and infotainment. For the most part, the media treats starchitects as little more than tweetable, blogtastic cultural trivia. Does Norman Foster really have a $500m fortune? Wow, the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s really bendy! Meanwhile, as Koolhaas says, “the simple commercial pressure behind almost every building these days forces eccentricities and extravagance on even the most earnest designer.” Or as one commentator put it: “Form follows finance.”
the cult of the starchitect has become a facet of corporatism, infotainment and national identity The sugar-rush demand for iconic architecture by starchitects can only increase, even as its ability to signify anything meaningful about particular places decreases in the shadows of architectural bigness and strangeness. And we must turn again to Koolhaas for the most chilling diagnosis of all: “We have turned the city into a surface where no square inch is left unspoken for, within the context of some kind of vision. In settings such as this, we are not supposed to misbehave, to die, to beg, to fight, to be drunk. That eerie abstraction of the generic haunts us.” That 21st century eeriness of the ordinary was predicted by novelists such as JG Ballard. We encounter it, too, in recent books such as Michel Houllebec’s disturbing vision of the future, The Possibility of an Island ,
which projects what would happen if people could clone themselves into eternally repeated lives. More than a decade ago, Jean Nouvel spoke of the threat of “automatic architecture created by interchangeable architects . . . imagine the cloning of genetically programmed buildings.” But cities and large towns are already becoming increasingly similar, physically, wherever they are – cloned from the same repetitive architectural sample-book of iconic towers, malls, public realm, and mixed-use developments; and in their slipstream comes increasing surveillance and demographic zoning. The best, and most thoughtful, starchitects know all this. They know what the deal is, and they attempt to counter it. Zaha Hadid is trying to create new kinds of form and space that are political, in the sense that her designs deliberately break up any obvious sense of order and hierarchy.
David Chipperfield’s calm, classically ordered buildings emphasise the existing history of places. Norman Foster’s interest in environmentally sophisticated architecture dates back to 1974 with the black glass amoeba known as the Willis Faber building. Jean Nouvel’s architecture fights default reactions to buildings by creating challenging spatial and optical ambiguities. And Rem Koolhaas? The first time I interviewed him, we began by discussing his childhood in post-colonial Indonesia in the 1950s. I asked him what his main memory of it was. “We played in the disorder,” he replied. He, and the world’s starchitects face an equivalent disorder caused by new urban and architectural colonisations – the creation of hundreds of new cities and city extensions that will affect billions of new lives all over the world. Starchitects, sitting in Business Class cabins at 36,000ft on their way to yet
another distant city, have become postmodern colonial explorers offering cultural products – and in a way not so very different to the export of vast amounts of Lancashire cotton into India during the 19th century; or the Glasgow-built railway engines and French-designed prefabricated iron structures that were shipped all over the world. As they come in to land at Beijing International, or Sao Paulo Congonhas, starchitects know that not all of their buildings can be profoundly inspiring, or urbanistically effective. And they face the possibility that some of them may, instead, only be the symptoms and symbols of an iconic trivialisation of the idea of human progress. Rem Koolhaas could be sitting in the seat behind you at this moment, pondering just that. Jay Merrick has been The Independent’s architecture critic since 2000.
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the little magazine with the big inf luence
by Tim Jonze 109
t sells out in days, is read in 45 countries and has been called the world’s hippest interiors magazine. Media news might be dominated by the decline of print, but Apartamento is quietly bucking the trend. Back in April, its founders, Nacho Alegre and Omar Sosa, celebrated as they sold all 25,000 copies of its ninth issue. The biannual, 110 apartamento
English-language publication was started in Barcelona from a tiny room in Alegre’s house, yet now hits newsstands in China, Lebanon and Kenya, as well as recording big sales in Berlin, London and New York. One London shop reported selling 140 copies, compared to the 15 or so copies the rest of the magazines it stocks usually sell.
Unlike many traditional interiors magazines, which feature cold, minimalist rooms full of unaffordable designer gadgets, the living spaces in Apartamento are often small, cluttered and have a lived-in feel. The people covered are largely creative types – photographers, artists, musicians – who are invited to talk about their living spaces.
It’s about how people live in their homes and their stories. It’s more like a diary These spaces are often rented, with family members, dirty laundry and used crockery all starring in photoshoots. Past features have included everything from tips for rooftop gardens and salad recipes to stories of nightmare roommates and a love letter from Chloë Sevigny to her New York apartment. “It’s not about design and products. We’re not design fetishists,” said Alegre. “The idea is about how people live in their homes and being able to tell their amazing stories. It’s more like a diary.” Alegre and Sosa came up with the idea based partly on Alegre’s experiences sleeping on friends’ couches as he travelled across Europe as a photographer. It was originally planned to be a book before the pair hit upon the idea of an interiors magazine with a twist. The first issue, in April 2008, was funded entirely by the pair and quickly sold out its print run of 5,000. The money meant they could upscale in time for the third issue and recruit more people, such as Milan journalist Marco Velardi. There are currently seven full-time staff, aged between 24 and 32, and it has started to expand into a creative agency with footholds in New York and Milan as well as its HQ in Barcelona.
band Mystery Jets, sourced through their network of work contacts and friends. Since then names as diverse as Swedish artist Carl Johan De Geer and former REM frontman Michael Stipe have featured, although even these are rarely contacted through traditional press avenues. “We’re friends with Michael Stipe’s boyfriend, who is a really good photographer,” says Alegre. “You get a nice result that way, but it’s not possible with everyone. We’d like to feature David Hockney, but it’s hard when you don’t know anyone.”
This naive approach gives the magazine much of its charm. Yet there are other reasons that account for its impressive sales figures. Apartamento does not run trade news and refuses to run articles that sell products for fear it will corrupt the spirit of the magazine. It charges a high cover price of $15, bucking the trend to go free and rely on advertising, which is minimal. Apartamento is also distributed directly to shops – concept stores and bookshops as well as newsstands – giving more control and a bigger slice of profits. Its chief operations officer,
Apartamento’s first issue featured cult filmmaker Mike Mills and indie apartamento 111
We don’t care about making lots of money from doing things the wrong way Victor Abellan, believes that the distribution network is in keeping with the magazine’s ethos: “Speaking directly to stores gives us an emotional link between the reader, the retailer and the magazine.” Rather, the whole thing has a strong human aspect, linking homes to the people who live in them rather than the items contained within. As designer Andy Beach says in issue seven: “A real living space is made from living, not decorating. A bored materialist can’t understand that a house has to become a home.” Jeremy Leslie, magazine designer and founder of the blog magculture. com, says Apartamento has several unique aspects. “Most of their articles lead with the name of the person rather than the solutions-based ‘10 ways to improve your storage’ routine of other magazines,” he says. He says its design has also helped it stand out, with high pagination and single columns of text lending it a bookish air. Its founders may not be ‘design fetishists,’ but Apartamento is held in high esteem in the design world – in 2010 it won the Yellow Pencil award for the best magazine. Leslie’s view that the decline of print does not mean that great magazine ideas can’t take off is backed up by 112 apartamento
statistics such as an April study by Deloitte that found 88 per cent of UK magazine readers still chose print as their preferred method of reading articles, with 35 per cent subscribing to at least one printed magazine in 2011. There are parallels with Apartamento’s rise and how Vice magazine turned the style magazine on its head by targeting a different kind of reader to more traditional magazines. Although Alegre says Apartamento is not meant as a reaction to interior design magazines such as wallpaper*, it has clearly tapped into an area of home life and creativity previously under-served by such publications. Already there are plans to upscale Apartamento’s circulation until it hits a ‘steady state’ of 80,000 copies. However, Alegre is adamant that what is most important is retaining the magazine’s current spirit. “It could get massive, with us doing advertorials and running pieces about how nice companies are and how ecological their wood is,” he said. “But we don’t care about making lots of money from doing things the wrong way – we’d sooner not have to compromise.” Tim Jonze is the music editor of guardian.co.uk and writes about culture and music. apartamento 113
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briefing p. 124 • Best adelaide plans P. 125 • FlYinG paRtneRs
p. 126 • enViROnMent p. 134 • OUR Fleet
FlYinGRs paRtneantas nd q emirateseaon new e r g a al 10-year de
BEST ADELAIDE PLANS From November 1, Emirates will be launching its new passenger service to the Australian city of Adelaide. Here are five places not to miss when visiting South Australia’s capital
1 Adelaide Central Market This undercover market is a firm favourite with food lovers. Home to more than 80 stalls offering the freshest fruit and vegetables, along with locally produced cheese, breads and nuts.
2 Glenelg The quiet, leafy seaside suburb of Glenelg is easily accessible by tram, and home to some great restaurants, bars and white sandy beaches. Its
3 McLaren Vale South Australia is famous for its wine, and although the McLaren Vale is not as well-known as the nearby Barossa Valley, it is less swamped with tourists, closer to Adelaide, and beautifully scenic.
4 Rundle Mall The city orbits around the busy pedestrianised shopping area of Rundle Mall. Here you’ll find shops selling everything from local handicrafts to high-end designer items.
5 Adelaide Hills Home to Mount Lofty, the hills offer spectacular views over the Adelaide Plains, the CBD and the seaside. A visit to the Adelaide Hills is certainly a highlight of any trip to South Australia.
Perfect timing Don’t miss your next Emirates flight. Be at your departure gate no later than 35 minutes before your flight departs. Passengers reporting late at the departure gate may not be accepted for travel.
124 emi rates briefing
illustration: edward mcgowan
name is, amusingly, also a palindrome.
including more flights to Christchurch
and Auckland, and future Emirates A380
flights between Melbourne and Auckland.
being the only other airline operating at
There will also be further benefits
been made a whole lot easier as a new
Dubai International’s Terminal 3. The
for members of both the Emirates and
10-year partnership between Emirates
two airlines will jointly offer 98 weekly
Qantas frequent-flyer programmes, as
and Qantas has been agreed, pending
services between Australia and Dubai,
it was announced that their agreements
including four daily A380 flights.
will be aligned. This will give members
European hub to Dubai from Singapore in
As part of the deal to extend its
For Emirates customers the deal will
even more opportunity to earn and
commercial relationship with Emirates,
open up Qantas’ Australian domestic
redeem points, as well as lounge access
Australia’s largest airline will move its
network of more than 50 destinations,
and priority check-in.
roaming data on GPRS or EDGE and
Wi-Fi, with price plans for Wi-Fi on smartphones starting from just $2.75. Like
service, your service provider will need to have a roaming agreement in place
From the beginning of this month all new Emirates A380 aircraft will be
with the Emirates provider, OnAir. Additionally,
delivered equipped with a full range
future plans to go back and retrofit
of communications options. The new
mobile phone and data access on A380s
that are currently fitted with Wi-Fi
their mobile phones for calls and SMS,
only services. news
emirates briefing 125
2% the percentage of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide emissions from the aviation industry (SoUrCe: www.enviro.aero)
recYcle it From airline seats to paper, aluminium cans, cardboard, plastic bottles, used clothing and now IT assets, the Emirates Group is leading the way in Dubai on corporate recycling. The airline has continued its on going in-house campaign by
china airbus breaks the aviation deadlock
raising nearly US$41,000 from recycling reusable PCs, laptops,
China has taken a step to break the aviation deadlock
this year alone.
between itself and the EU, agreeing to buy 50 Airbus planes in a deal that could be worth up to US$4 billion. The agreement is the first major order between Beijing
printers and other obsolete IT assets. The Group’s IT department collected and donated 10,480 items, via local Dubai company EnviroServe, in the first half of The money raised will be donated by the Group’s IT department to the Emirates Airline Foundation and will be used to support charitable activities in India, Bangladesh and Africa.
and Airbus’ Franco-German parent company EADS since an
EnviroServe were selected because of their “Zero Landfill”
emissions trading dispute erupted earlier this year between
policy for disposal of e-waste, ensuring that all Emirates corporate
Beijing and the European Union.
IT and e-waste is safely and securely reused and recycled.
The dispute began after the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) extended its mandatory cap-and-trade rules to global airlines, a move that China, the United States and other countries argued was unreasonable and cost prohibitive. Members of the China Air Transport Association, including the
three major state-owned carriers Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, refused to meet the EU’s March 31 deadline for handing over carbon emissions data. The ETS authorises EU member states to fine airlines for noncompliance or to take other action such as impounding aircraft. In June China threatened to take counter-measures that could include impounding European aircraft if Chinese airlines are penalised for not complying with the EU’s cap-and-trade scheme. While China’s agreement with Airbus hints at a softening of views, the government continues to block the purchase of some larger aircraft in protest of the EU carbon emissions reduction rules.
a British adventurer hopes to help change the face of the airline industry by completing a record-breaking flight from Sydney to London in a single-engine aircraft powered entirely by
3 litres the new Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Atr-600 aircraft use less than three litres of jet fuel per 100 passenger kilometres. this matches the efficiency of most modern compact cars. (SoUrCe: www.atag.org)
126 emi rates briefing
fuel made from plastic waste. Jeremy Rowsell, a former aerobatics pilot, intends to fly the 10,000-mile route in order to showcase the viability of fuel made from plastic waste as an alternative to conventional fuels. Piloting a Cessna 182, Rowsell plans to stop in Darwin, Christmas Island, Sri Lanka, Oman, Jordan and Malta, cruising at 5,000 feet for stretches of up to 13 hours, before touching down in London six days later.
Before Your JourneY Consult your doCtor before travelling if you have any mediCal ConCerns about making a long journey, or if you
in the air
suffer from a respiratory or CardiovasCular Condition. plan for the destination – will
To help you arrive at your destination feeling relaxed and refreshed, Emirates has developed this collection of helpful travel tips. Regardless of whether you need to
rejuvenate for your holiday or be effective at achieving your goals on a business trip, these simple tips will help you to enjoy your journey and time on board with Emirates today.
speCial mediCations? get a good night’s rest before the flight. eat lightly and sensibly.
at the airport
smart traveller dRink plenty of wateR
you need any vaCCinations or
allow yourself plenty of time for CheCk-in.
avoid Carrying heavy bags through the airport and onto the flight as this Can plaCe the body under Considerable stress. onCe through to departures try and relax as muCh as possible.
RehydRate with wateR oR juices fRequently.
caRRy only the essential items that
dRink tea and coffee in modeRation.
you will need duRing youR flight.
make youRself comfoRtable
During the flight Chewing and swallowing will help equalise your ear pressure
during asCent and desCent. babies and young passengers may suffer more aCutely with popping ears, therefore Consider providing a dummy.
loosen clothing, Remove jacket and
exeRcise youR loweR legs and calf
get as Comfortable as
avoid anything pRessing against youR body.
muscles. this encouRages blood flow.
possible when resting and turn frequently.
use skin moistuRiseR
avoid sleeping for long periods in the same position.
When You arrive try some light exerCise or read if you Can’t sleep after arrival.
cabin aiR is dRieR than noRmal theRefoRe
apply a good quality moistuRiseR to
swap youR contact lenses foR glasses.
ensuRe youR skin doesn’t dRy out.
emirates briefing 127
CAbIn l bE CREw wIl lp hE hAppy To D E If yoU nE
e c n a t s i s s a pleting com the forms
to Us cUstoms & immigration forms Whether youâ€™re travelling to, or through, the United States today, this simple guide to completing the US customs and immigration forms will help to ensure that your journey is
as hassle free as possible. The Cabin Crew will offer you two forms when you are nearing your destination. we provide guidelines below, so you can correctly complete the forms.
customs declaration form
immigration form All passengers arriving into the US need to complete a Customs DeClaration Form. If you are travelling as a family this should be completed by one member only. The form must be completed in English, in capital letters, and must be signed where indicated.
The immigration Form I-94 (Arrival / Departure Record) should be completed if you are a non-US citizen in possession of a valid US visa and your final destination is the US or if you are in transit to a country outside the US. A separate form must be completed for each person, including children travelling on their parentsâ€™ passport. The form includes a Departure Record which must be kept safe and given to your airline when you leave the US. If you hold a US or Canadian passport, US Alien Resident Visa (Green Card), US Immigrant Visa or a valid ESTA (right), you are not required to complete an immigration form.
128 emi rates briefing
customs & VIsAs
eleCtroniC system For
wIll ExpIRE AlonG wITh
travel authorisation (esta)
If yoU ARE An InTERnATIonAl
Apply online At www.cbp.gov/estA
TRAVEllER wIShInG To EnTER ThE UnITED STATES UnDER ThE
VISA wAIVER pRoGRAmmE,
For the visa Waiver *:
yoU mUST Apply foR
AUSTRIA, bElGIUm, bRUnEI,
(ESTA) Up To 72 hoURS pRIoR
CzECh REpUblIC, DEnmARk,
To yoUR DEpARTURE.
ESTonIA, fInlAnD, fRAnCE, GERmAny, hUnGARy, ICElAnD,
IRElAnD, ITAly, JApAn, lATVIA,
InfAnTS REqUIRE An
lUxEmbURG, mAlTA, monACo,
ThE nEThERlAnDS, nEw
ThE onlInE ESTA SySTEm
zEAlAnD, noRwAy, poRTUGAl,
wIll InfoRm yoU whEThER
SAn mARIno, SInGApoRE,
yoUR ApplICATIon hAS bEEn
SloVAkIA, SloVEnIA, SoUTh
AUThoRISED, noT AUThoRISED
koREA, SpAIn, SwEDEn,
oR If AUThoRISATIon
SwITzERlAnD AnD ThE
A SUCCESSfUl ESTA
ApplICATIon IS VAlID
** only british citizens quAlify under the visA wAiver progrAmme.
foR Two yEARS, howEVER
80 mm wide x 224 mm high
subject to chAnge
ThIS mAy bE REVokED oR
ThE nUmbER of nEw RoUTES ThAT EmIRATES hAS lAUnChED In 2012
ThE nUmbER of pASSEnGERS who flEw EmIRATES bETwEEn ApRIl 2011 AnD ApRIl 2012
customs & VIsAs
emirates briefing 129
130 EMI RATES BRIEFING
EMIRATES BRIEFING 131
132 emi rates briefing
AD route map
emirates briefing 133
et ins e l f the nta
cO Of leet ade up f r s Ou es. M plane lan r e p s 8 g e 8 n 1 n asse gO pla 179 p r a 9c and
Boeing 777-300ER Number of Aircraft: 79 Capacity: 354-442 Range: 14,594km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-300 Number of Aircraft: 12 Capacity: 364 Range: 11,029km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777-200LR Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 266 Range: 17,446km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-200 Number of Aircraft: 9 Capacity: 274-346 Range: 9,649km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777F Number of Aircraft: 5 Range: 9,260km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m 134 emi rates briefing
For more inFormation: www.emirates.com/ourFleet
Airbus A380-800 Number of Aircraft: 27 Capacity: 489-517 Range: 15,000km Length: 72.7m Wingspan: 79.8m
Airbus A340-500 Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 258 Range: 16,050km Length: 67.9m Wingspan: 63.4m
Airbus A340-300 Number of Aircraft: 8 Capacity: 267 Range: 13,350km Length: 63.6m Wingspan: 60.3m
Airbus A330-200 Number of Aircraft: 24 Capacity: 237-278 Range: 12,200km Length: 58.8m Wingspan: 60.3m
Boeing 747-400F/747-400ERF Number of Aircraft: 2/2 Range: 8,232km/9,204km Length: 70.6m Wingspan: 64.4m ai rcraFt n umbers as oF 3 1/ 1 0 / 2 0 1 2
emirates briefing 135
NEXT MONTH ext month we are heading to India, one of the most diverse and fascinating places on the planet. We take a look at the massive wellness industry and trace its origins and its rapid growth. We republish a piece of classic travel writing, courtesy of the legendary Paul Theroux, and we examine the past, present and future of Goa, the former Portuguese colony. One of Indiaâ€™s best writers, Suketu Mehta, whose Maximum City is one of the best books written about Mumbai, gives us his views on modern India. See you next month.
Amazing camera. Authentic sound.
Shot on Nickâ€™s HTC One X while free falling at 126 miles per hour
As recommended by Nick Jojola Freefall fashion photographer
Watch Nickâ€™s personal experience at htc.com
| Capture HD video and photos at the same time | | Includes HTC Sense |
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Open skies | October 2012