Design

October 14 2009

It seems that quite a few things will benefit from a Scandinavian touch. Munchausen, a duo formed by Parisian designers Simon Pillard and Philippe Rosetti, took a bold approach with their own kitchen by venturing to IKEA for the basic kitchen island and then spending the next week covering it with more than 20,000 pieces by another Scandinavian brand, Lego



The result is a one-of-a-kind creation that serves as an artistic centerpiece for the space, in addition to functioning as a kitchen counter. Pillard, who works with fashion house JC de Castelbajac, and Rosetti who works with Hugo Boss France Identity, formed Munchhausen in 2004.



The two have recently contributed a collection of T-shirts, cushions, wallpaper and accessories for the new French label Commune de Paris, 1871. Munchhausen was one of three initial contributors for Commune de Paris, 187. The other two were Julien Langendorff and David Herman Dune. - Tuija Seipell.

See also the Lego office table

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Stores

October 10 2009

In 2004, fashion designer Idit Barak opened her tiny 34 square-metre store Delicatessen in her native Tel Aviv, Israel. Barak’s store fit right in with the designers, artists, boutiques and coffee shops that were slowly turning the Gan Hahasmal (=Electric Garden, named for Israel’s first power station opened in 1923) neighborhood funky after its unofficial role as Tel Aviv’s red-light district for some time.



Delicatessen drew design and fashion media attention not just for Barak’s cutting-edge fashions but also for the cool but bare-bones interior. With a measly $3,000 budget, New York-based architect, Z-Astudio created the interior and displays in the two-storey-high space using two main elements — cardboard tubes (from inside fabric bolts) and linoleum, draped like fabric around displays.



Now, five years later, Gan Hahasmal is one of the coolest destinations for Tel Aviv’s fashionable and funky, and Zucker has recreated Delicatessen’s interior magic, this time with a $10,000 budget. Starting from the same philosophy of “more design, less material” Zucker’s team continued the idea of “draping” but this time it took the form of robing the entire space in white, custom-perforated, back-lit pegboard. The white board provides a lacy background for the fashions, and the board’s functionality gives unlimited display flexibility. Yellow paint indicates glimpses of the space’s “undergarments,” and recycled and found furnishings and accessories complete the eclectic look.

The 34-year-old Barak spent nearly a decade in New York, studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and later learning with illustrator Ruben Toledo and fashion designer Isabel Toledo, and with at Norma Kamali. Idit Barak’s Delicatessen line is sold in boutiques across Israel and in New York.- Tuija Seipell

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Architecture

October 10 2009

A fluidity of surfaces is witnessed in the Yarra House designed by Leeton Pointon architects and Susi Leeton architects. Floors become walls; walls become ceilings; and ceiling opens up to sky. 

On approach, the entrance looks like a cave formed by rendered concrete walls. Only the slight and irregular black window frame insertions appear to allow light into the house. But within, light falls through the double-story void from above in all directions.

Light cascades down oak and white plastered surfaces. It washes over limestone and marble, illuminating art, furniture and every handcrafted and natural surface throughout the house. 

The focal point and central pivot of the house is a sculptural circular stair.  This transitional element divides the entire double-storey spaces as it stretches out under a steep exterior site.

Curved surfaces play against rigid lines in a style that the architects describe as ‘archaic’ – an effortless blend of both the primitive and artistic.  Materiality was the primary factor in the selection of timbers, stone and every other interior feature.



The house is sited south of the Yarra River in one of Melbourne’s many beautiful neighbourhoods.  The team of architects won an Architecture Award for Interior Architecture at the 2009 Victorian Chapter Awards. - Andrew J Wiener

Painting on wall on image 3 is from artist Song Ling.

Photography - Peter Bennetts



Design

October 8 2009

Paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus purports that man started wearing shoes between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago. The average American woman today is said to own 27 pairs of shoes. This is all interesting stuff if shoes are your passion — as they are for Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers.

To share his passion Vanderschueren created a “shoe experience” SONS – Shoes Or No Shoes in Kruishoutem (Cruyshautem), in East Flanders, Belgium, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels, and close to Cortina’s hometown of Oudenaarde.



SONS consists of three collections. The Ethnographic Collection, amassed by former shoe distributor William (Boy) Habraken, includes 2,700 pairs from 155 countries and is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest collection of tribal and ethnological shoes.
 
Antwerp-based shoemaker couple Veerle Swenters and Pierre Bogaerts contributed the Modern Collection -- some 1,200 pairs acquired from artists, many of whom customized the shoes, evoking the question: Are they art or shoes? Shoes or no shoes?
 
The Designer Collection, also accumulated by Habraken, showcases unique footwear form 20th-century and contemporary designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.
 
SONS is housed in a building designed and built by gallery owner Emile Veranneman and architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse in 1973. Architects Lode Uytterschaut and Johan Ketele revamped the structure for the constantly growing shoe collections. Outside, they covered the building with lead and inside, they created an unpretentious warehouse look using industrial shelving systems and almost no colour. - Tuija Seipell

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Fashion

September 30 2009


Street style blogs are one of the great online phenomena of the past decade. They have become a core reference tool for fashion houses and designers who monitor them for global inspiration and to learn how trends are being adapted on the street - and all without leaving their desks. Yvan Rodic, the photographer and creative behind the facehunter, gives the reader a window into the edgier side of street style. Rodic cut his street-styling teeth at The Cool Hunter, where he delivered many unique moments of inspiration direct from the pavement; the kinds of startling images that eluded many of the other most popular style blogs.



His latest venture is a new site, proudly under his own name - Yvan Rodic. Essentially a travel diary, Rodic documents the interesting people he meets in all sorts of places. We know we're biased but we believe Rodic's talent extends beyond the camera lens.

His eye for inspiration and cool is so finely honed that he could apply it to anything - be it design or art direction. The new Hedi Slimane perhaps? Maybe. WATCH this space. - Bill Tikos

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Architecture

September 28 2009

Elegant, calm, minimalist, clean and beautiful are among the adjectives that can be used to describe almost all of Marcio Kogan’s much-publicized and much-awarded residential masterpieces.

The magnificent, streamlined residences must serve as an antidote of some sort to the Brazilian architect who has been quoted as saying that he loves his home town of São Paulo and New York because they are similar in their chaotic ugliness, and because he likes “energy, chaos and a multi-cultural population in a city.”



Out of this chaos-, humor- and cinema-loving creative mind, an astonishingly lovely, peaceful balance is projected onto residential projects.

Reviewers of Kogan’s work often mention Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright or their contemporaries, but Kogan has said that he is more inspired by Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol.

However, the 57-year-old Brazilian-born and educated Kogan does have a modernist approach, and he has described the work of fellow Brazilians of modernist ilk -- Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi and Vilanova Artigas – as incredible.



The Paraty House, pictured here, is located on one of the hundreds of islands near the colonial town of Paraty, close to Rio de Janeiro. Before it was completed, Kogan predicted that it was to be his favourite house. Its simple premise is two large drawers pushed into the hill and connected by an internal staircase.



Its elegance comes from the seamless link between indoors and out, from the use of native wood, stone and vegetation, and from the minimalist, sweeping vistas that make so many of Kogan’s houses appear as if they were either taking off or recently landed. And although the stacked-boxes style is starting to wear thin as style-du-jour, this is surely one of its best examples. - Tuija Seipell


Lifestyle

September 26 2009

Self-described as a former frustrated David Carson wannabe, Melbourne-based Amy Moss has realized that her happiness – and her potential for design rockstardom – are dependent on her NOT being a graphic designer but her obsession about beautiful colours and beautiful things in general. She figured out she’s a stylist rather than a graphic designer, and her blog EatDrinkChic may well be her ticket to filmstardom, too, in the same way that Julie Powell’s obsession with Julia Child’s recipes, and her blog about them, took her in six years from relative obscurity to being a topic for the film Julie & Julia.



EatDrinkChic has a crafty, girly vibe but there are no crocheted polyester-yarn throw cushions or quilted tea cozies here. The blog is about interiors, parties, weddings and food and Amy Moss offers readers DIY ideas which she styles, designs and photographs and offers it all for free to her audience. It won't be long before book publishers come knocking. - Tuija Seipell

Art

September 24 2009

We believe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge your favourite drink by its label. Vitaminwater is crowdsourcing its next flavour through the launch of their Flavorcreator app on Facebook, marking the first time that fans of Vitaminwater can collaborate to create the next flavour.

Vitaminwater enthusiasts will have the opportunity to name the flavour, write the bottle copy and design the label via a contest with the winner or winning team receiving a $5,000 prize from Vitaminwater.

Bottles designed by Access Agency

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Architecture

September 23 2009

The bucolic setting of this lovely private refuge is located in the tiny hamlet of Bachte-Maria-Leerne in the Flemish district of Belgium, about 10 kilometers from the country’s third-largest city of Gent. Gent-based architecture studio Wim Goes Architectuur designed the beautiful extension to this residence. The wooden addition sits above a new wine cellar and extends partly over the pond.


 
The natural, graying wood, the green vegetation and the blue sky and pond create a harmonious balance, accented by the slim vertical lines of the largest surfaces. Goes’s signature style combines intentional, unpretentious simplicity with functional clarity, and results in stark beauty with Japanese-Finnish undertones.


 
In this residential structure, Goes created an elegant facade that encompasses both visual and structural grace. The facade is created from slim strips of wood (only 6 x 8 centimeters in cross-section) selected for the straightness of the growth rings in each piece of wood. And although the wood will still warp slightly in the rain and sun, this does not pose a structural problem because the facade does not need to bear wind load -- the wind will blow right through the strips. The only structural load the wood strips must carry is the vertical load of the roof.


 
Wim Goes is an award-winning architect, born in 1969 in Ghent. He established Wim Goes Architectuur in 1997. The firm’s work includes private, public and retail projects, ranging from the stunning Yohji Yamamoto flagship store in a neoclassic building in Antwerp, to museum, office and design environments. This year, he was chosen as one of the 40 under 40 European Architects by the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago  Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. - Tuija Seipell.

Music

September 20 2009

Electro has always been the bread and butter of the Western crowd. France kicked off the distortion explosion with Justice, DatA and the Ed Banger sound, while the US set have been high balling with crunchy jams courtesy of the Los Angeles party set, including Steve Aoki's Dim Mak crew as well as Classixx and the late great Guns N Bombs. But over in Japan, Shinichi Osawa has been making plenty of noise with his relentless output of forward thinking, super-sized bangers, beating his Western contemporaries at their own game.

Having already unleashed a celebrated artist album back in 2007 (The One), Osawa's latest masterpiece comes in Teppan Yaki, and despite its dubious title, the oversized package collects all of Osawa's biggest remixes to date, including main-room reworks for the likes of Boys Noize, Cazals, Van She and Bag Raiders, as well as an extra disc of the producer's remixes for Japanese artists like De De Mouse, becoming a primer of sorts for far-out Japanese club culture. – Dave Ruby Howe

Shinichi Osawa's Teppan Yaki is out now.

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