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Watch: Ai Weiwei Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

“Ah yes, the summer of 2014, I remember it well,” you’ll tell your robot grandchildren. “The world lost Elaine StritchRobin Williams—tragic! And everyone was dumping buckets of ice water over their heads.” The latest celebrity to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—the DIY dunk-tank-for-charity viral sensation that involves chilly water, a video camera, and the magic of social media—is Ai Weiwei. No word as to whether the Chinese artist made a donation, but he definitely got soaked. Two buckets were required. Watch the scene unfold in the courtyard of his Beijing HQ, much to the delight of onlooking studio assistants.

Mediabistro Course Management 101

Become a better manager in our new online boot camp, Management 101! Starting October 27, MediabistroEDU instructors will teach you the best practices being a manager, including, how to transition into a management role, navigate different team personalities, plan a team event and more! Register before September 30 to get $50 OFF with early bird pricing. Register now!

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Quote of Note | Michael Bierut

thoughtsondesignPaul Rand admitted all his life that he was insecure as a writer. It was his passion for the subject that made him such an effective one. In his day job on Madison Avenue, he had learned the virtues of saying more with less. As a result, Thoughts on Design is almost as simple as a child’s storybook: short, clear sentences; vivid, playful illustrations. Ostensibly it is nothing more than a how-to book, illustrated with examples from the designer’s own portfolio. But in reality Thoughts on Design is a manifesto, a call to arms, and a ringing definition of what makes good design good. This, perhaps, has never been said better than in the book’s most quoted passage, the graceful free verse that begin’s Rand’s essay ‘The Beautiful and the Useful.’ Graphic design, he says, no matter what else it achieves, ‘is not good design if it is irrelevant.’”

-Designer extraordinaire Michael Bierut in the foreword to the new edition of Paul Rand‘s Thoughts on Design, back in print for the first time since the 1970s and published by Chronicle Books

Favorite Thing: Jack Headphone Stand

Nancy Lazarus journeyed to the Javits Center for the summer 2014 edition of NY NOW, the Market for Home + Lifestyle (formerly NYIGF) as the UnBeige judge for the Bloggers’ Choice Awards, which highlights “urgent, odd, and delightful design” from among the more than 150 exhibitors in the Accent on Design category. Here’s her pick.

jackWhile scouring the Accent on Design aisles of the NY NOW trade show, which wraps up today, we came across a product that literally stood out: the Jack Headphone Stand, our choice for the Bloggers’ Choice awards. Designed by Brooklyn-based ModProducts (a.k.a. ModKo), the Jack Headphone Stand is the optimal storage and recharging station for headphones and small mobile devices when it’s high time for a digital break. It’s made from polypropylene and rubber in orange, yellow, white, or gray, to fit the color scheme of any desk or night table. All wires remain hidden behind a cable pass-through, leaving you with a clutter-free space. The Jack will make its first stand at retail in time for the holiday shopping season.

Have a suggestion for our next Favorite Thing? E-mail unbeige@mediabistro.com.

Learn Infographics and Party Like a Chart Star

daniel zeeviReady to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by tech-meets-branding whiz Amanda McCormick, whose resume includes work with organizations such as New York City Ballet, Bitly, and SocialFlow, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts October 7. Learn more here.

Watch: On the Art and Craft of Art Forgery

art and craftWhen it comes to films about art forgers, woe betide the documentarian who attempts to top Orson Welles‘s delightfully gonzo F is for Fake (1973), which you can—and really should—watch in its mesmerizing entirety at the bottom of this post (what else are late summer afternoons for?). But the directorial trio of Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker have quite the character in career art forger Mark Landis. After he dupes Matthew Leininger, the intrepid museum registrar will stop at nothing to expose the technically skilled fraudster. The cat-and-mouse game unfolds in Art and Craft, which has been burning up the festival circuit and opens in limited release next month (keep an eye out for showtimes here). Behold the trailer:


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Design Students Compete for World Sneaker Championship Title

pensole beltIt started with 30 carefully selected design students from 16 countries. Divided into eight design teams, with three footwear designers and one color and materials designer in each, they took an original design idea from concept to finished design over the course of four weeks as competitors in the World Sneaker Championship. Part footwear design master class and part sneaker smackdown, the event is organized by Pensole, the footwear design academy founded in 2010 by Nike veteran D’Wayne Edwards, and after Friday’s presentations to industry pros, the finalists (in eight categories and for eight sponsoring brands) have been chosen. Head to the online home of Sports Illustrated by 6 p.m. EST Wednesday to cast your online vote for the overall winning design as the finalists head to Vegas to present their designs at the FN Platform trade show. The big winner, to be announced late Wednesday, will be presented with the coveted (and pencil-studded) Pensole World Sneaker Championship belt (pictured) and the possibility of seeing their design sold at retail.

Friday Photo: Picasso, Bullish on the Beach

(Gjon Mili) xWhen it comes to great men on the beach, our heart has always been with Einstein (and Robert Wilson, and Philip Glass). But where more literal beaches are concerned, we’re biased toward those in the south of France, particularly in the 1920s, when wealthy American expats Gerald and Sara Murphy frolicked on and off the sand with an eclectic group of friends that included a young Pablo Picasso. Back then the artist favored a less-the-breezy fedora to shield his cap of black hair from the sun, but by 1949, he had moved on to bolder Côte d’Azur chapeaux: a minotaur mask, here worn backward in a photo by Gjon Mili for LIFE magazine.

Maptastic! NYPL Labs Partners with Electric Objects on Net Artist Residency


An 1870 map of Long Island and the southern part of Connecticut. (Photo: NYPL)

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of: unfettered access to a collection of more than 20,000 historical maps and atlases, oodles of urban data dating from the 19th century (think old NYC building footprints and the equivalent of ye olde white and yellow pages), and your own dedicated patch of the New York Public Library to make sense—and art—out of it all. Such is the premise and promise of the Net Artist Residency program dreamed up by NYPL Labs, the New York Public Library’s in-house digital innovation team, and Electric Objects, emerging maker of nifty computers-cum-digital canvases to display digital images on your walls. The residency, created to “explore the creative possibilities of historical collections and the potential of the EO platform,” is open for applications through August 20. Start thinking in 1080 x 1920 pixels (the slightly goofy extruded-portrait orientation that is the native resolution of the EO1 prototype frame) and browsing NYPL maps for inspiration.

In Which We Seek Your Design News

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: “I could tell you this Big Design News, but then I’d have to kill you.” Now you can give us the scoop and skip the messy task of plotting murder, thanks to our handy “Anonymous Tips” box nestled in the menu bar at right, below the search box. Simply type in your news—design happenings, movements of the Revolving Door, scandalous revelations, a designer’s hidden talent, or any newsy, design-y morsel—and click “Send.” And for those not inclined to clandestine tipping, we’re still just an e-mail away.

Merrill Elam, Jeanne Gang Among Winners of New ‘Women in Architecture’ Awards

(Timothy Hursley)

There’s a new set of design honors up for grabs, and those with a Y chromosome need not apply. Architectural Record is recognizing the design leadership of women architects with its Women in Architecture Awards, which will be presented on October 9 in Manhattan following the magazine’s Innovation Conference. The five inaugural recipients, selected by an independent panel of architects, scholars, and critics, and announced this week, are:

  • Design Leader, honoring an architect with significant built work and influence: Merrill Elam of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
  • New Generation Leader, honoring an architect who is rising in the profession: Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang
  • Innovator, honoring an architect who has made a mark in innovative design, materials or building type: Sheila Kennedy of Kennedy & Violich Architecture
  • Activist, honoring an architect who has used her skills to design for social change, effect the public realm or perform pro bono work: Erinn McGurn of SCALEAfrica
  • Educator, honoring a professional who has helped the advancement of women: Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, former dean of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture

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