Lexus has taken its fifth hybrid, the compact CT 200h, on the road in more forms than one. This eerie and artistic sculpture, titled CT Umbra, was part of the Lexus debate series tour called Darker side of Green.
Created by Los Angeles-based Nondesign, the installation aimed to highlight the two seemingly opposing features of the vehicle - luxury and eco-friendliness – by changing colours from luxurious gold to earthy green and blue. This contradiction was also the underlying question during the debates.
The sculpture is based on a map of vertical lines created from the CAD model of CT 200h. It was built of 2,500 half-inch anodized aluminum bars cut to the exact measurements of the map.
Lexus introduced the debate concept in March with a celebrity-attended press event at Skylight West in New York just before the car’s launch at the New York International Auto Show.
In July, the debate travelled to Los Angeles, Miami and back to New York, and ended on August 5 in Chicago. Cool locations (Palihouse Holloway in L.A., Bowery Hotel in N.Y., Ivy Room in Chicago), music and art, and moderators (comedian Tracey Morgan and singer Mark McGrath and actor and comedian Jamie Kennedy), spiced up the 40-minute debate between two hard-hitters, one pro and the other skeptical about sustainable energy and the green economy.
The goal was to highlight these issue is general and to seek common ground between the two sides. The discussions highlighted the question Can green and luxury go together? In Miami, almost 750 people attended and enjoyed the pre-debate cocktail reception sponsored by Patrón.
After the debate tour, Lexus will take the CT 200h to each of the tour cities to offer local customers and VIPs the chance to test drive it. - Tuija Seipell.
A year before the Lexus launch, London-based designer, Laura Micalizzi, created a similar-looking “car” installation called 10M3 DI PAUSA for the Milan Furniture Fair
Micalizzi’s car-shaped sculpture aimed to draw attention to the value of space in the city and to the growing necessity of cars.
Brands are tapping into the art space and we are, perhaps surprisingly, noticing some pretty awesome art installations as a result. It is a precarious feat for a brand to attempt because it can easily go wrong and have the exact opposite of the desired effect. A branded piece of art can be viewed as too promotional, too gaudy, too imposing and an intrusion into “public space.”
But done right, this kind of branded experience can work wonders for a brand and achieve the desired kind of street credo. Of course, brands such as Absolut, BMW, Nike and Adidas have been doing this for years quite effectively. These brands nurture new and up-and-coming artists and also garner huge online buzz for the brand, for the art piece, for the location and for the artist.
We’ve gathered some examples of both branded and non-branded cool public (and private) art in the hope that great branded art will replace the already-so-boring pop-up shops and flash mobs.
Nike’s 20-meter-high, 4.75-ton Ball Man made of 5,500 Brazilian Skill Balls was a huge hit during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It was the centerpiece of a Nike installation Carlton Mall Atrium in Johannesburg. Leicester-based Ratcliffe Fowler Design created using a 3d image of Carloz Tevez. The Man was designed so that the balls remained virtually intact and can be donated to the community after the closing of the exhibition in August.
Also at World Cup, Coca Cola took advantage of the Crate Man craze and installed 54-foot CrateFan in Cape town at the Victoria an Albert Waterfront/harbor. It was built of 2,500 Coke bottle crates and weighed 25 tons.
At the BMW Museum in Munich, the Kinetic Sculpture of 714 metal orbs seems to float in space. The orbs hang from thin steel wires attached to individually controlled motors. The orbs animate a 7-minute “mechatronic narrative,” starting from chaotic and settling at the end into the six square-meter “flying carpet.” The installation, developed by Berlin-based ART+ COM is to be “metaphorical translation of the process of form-finding in art and design.”
When it is original, fresh and fun, this kind of public art is cool because it creates real viral attention. As actual live pieces, even if seen only online, they are exciting and seem real for the viewers who feel they are sharing it with those who have actually experienced it live.
There are also many ways of enhancing and expanding the live experience with online and on-site kiosk applications. As a way to create viral buzz, brand recognition and positive impressions, they are an effective marketing tool for the brands. - Bill Tikos.
Yes, Advertising can be beautiful
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Robert Bradford creates his life-size and larger-than-life sculptures of humans and animals from discarded plastic items, mainly toys but also other colorful plastic bits and pieces, such as combs and buttons, brushes and parts of clothes pegs.
Contrary to some reports, he’s not a self-taught artist who tinkered in his shed one day and suddenly decided to create something out of his kids’ discarded toys. He is a London-born and U.K. and U.S.-trained visual artist who, like many artists, also had another career on the side. His was that of a psychotherapist.
In 2002, he started to consider the possibilities that his children’s forgotten toys could have as part of something bigger. Bradford says he likes the idea that the plastic pieces have a history, some unknown past, and that they also pass on a “cultural” history as each of the pieces represents a point in time.
Recycling is not his primary concern, but each sculpture certainly keeps quite a few pieces from becoming landfill. Some of the sculptures contain pieces from up to 3,000 toys and sell for £12,000 (US$19,000). - Tuija Seipell
We have a hunch we will be seeing much more of the work by the young, London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Nikki Farquharson.
Her ongoing project, Mixed Media Girls, gives the viewer a lot to look at. The collages appear innocent and sweet but at the same time exude sharp, pent-up energy that does not feel altogether safe. The title of the work is also wonderfully suggestive – or not, depending on how the reader wishes to understand it.
Farquharson’s work extends from the one-dimensional world to book projects and 3D pieces in which she often ponders and twists the meaning of words and proverbs, spies on conversations, and questions established truths.
In 2007, she started the website Random Got Beautiful that is open for anyone to submit images focused on a specific colour. - Tuija Seipell
Minjae Lee is a young South Korean artist whose work expresses a semi-disturbing inner tension that is tough to ignore, even if you feel that you'd like to. It draws you in with its powerful colours, halting imagery and clever juxtaposition of beauty, innocence and fragility with brash, loud and aggressive.
The 19-year old artist is mainly self-taught and uses old-fashioned tools — such as markers, pens, crayons, acrylics — to create his illustrations. He has yet to break into commercial success, but as his style is developing and improving each time new images appear, we will likely see a lot of him in the future.
What characterizes his work overall is drama. The ethereal females that populate most of his work exude a dark, organic tension, and it seems that even the brightest marker colors do not quite manage to save them from some sort of looming peril. Or are we, the viewers, in fact, the ones who are in danger? Whatever the case, we are drawn in, interacting on an emotional level, surprised, looking for something.
Minjae Lee’s penchant for dramatic expression is clear also in the work of those he admires. His favourite photographer is the 55-year-old Japanese Hiroshi Nonami, whose women are equally capable of telling a dramatic, dark story. Not surprisingly, Lee’s favorite fashion designer is the king of runway drama, the Gibraltar-born, 49-year-old John Galliano. - Tuija Seipell
She was born in Sweden, worked in Brazil and is now settled in the Portland area. The prolific illustrator and mixed-media artist Linn Olofsdotter is a global citizen of the most interesting kind. Her own life in different locales gives her many sources of inspiration and most likely helps her flex her illustration muscle to meet the needs of a vast variety of clients.
Her work has appeared in Computer Arts and Bon Magazine; she’s created T-shirt graphics for Levi’s, wall murals for a hotel in Los Angeles, CD covers for artists and illustrations for Oilily and La Perla. Nearly all of her work has a collage-like feel, with many layers, nuances and media. The somewhat surreal and psychedelic look of some of her pieces attests to her ability and willingness to trot not just the globe but regions beyond. - Tuija Seipell
Françoise Nielly’s massive, colourful portraits are delicious to look at. Even more wonderful – and particularly infuriating to those of us who have timidly dabbled in painting – is to watch her create them. In a beautiful video posted on her site, she, in her confident, strong hand, wields her painting knife shaped like a miniature garden trowel, and makes painting look easy like cake frosting. She paints her vivid, passionate canvases — some as large as 78 x 25 inches (195 x 62 centimeters) -- from black-and-white photos, further proof of her unfailing ability to interpret light, shadow, hue and tone by applying brilliant colours and daring strokes.
Born in Marseille, brought up near Cannes and Saint-Tropez, and now living in Paris, Nielly is at home among bold contrast and dazzling light. To add to her likeability, here is the list of her loves: Life, wide open spaces, sushi, blue lagoons, the Internet, humour, books, Paris, New York and Vancouver. - Tuija Seipell
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
We are excited to soon be launching TCH customized designer car wraps, so that car can really feel they a cut above everyone else on the road. We are imagining the fun that owners will have in selecting their favorite design for their very own car.
We would love to hear from designers/illustrators/art directors who would be interested in submitting a design for consideration as one of the final 25 options. If you are interested, please email us and we will give you the details on how to submit your design. Have you seen our Mini in Neon colours?
1948 is Nike’s creative playground-retail store in the old brick railway arches of Shoreditch, London. In addition to displaying and selling shoes, 1948 offers an entire art floor for events, installations and assorted fun.
The installation created by Finland-born illustrator/artist/designer Kustaa Saksi is all about the historical fun journey of the Nike running shoe. Typical for the currently Amsterdam-based Saksi, the sprawling scene has a pop-art, retro feel that fits Nike’s history as a brand. Saksi’s Volkswagen van and psychedelic colors illustrate the pre-swoosh era in an earnest and deliberately clunky way.
Saksi’s last name translates as “scissor,” or it could also be “Saxon,” depending on your preference. He is proficient in many media, including print, sculpture and now also more frequently 3D. Saksi has also designed massive building wraps, and even clothing and wallpaper. His book, Offpiste (2008), is a visual feast of his recent work. In addition to Nike, Saksi’s client list includes Comme des Garçons, Citroen, Diesel, Issey Miyake, Lacoste, Levi's, New York Times, Mercedes Benz, MTV, Playboy and Wallpaper. - Tuija Seipell