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Stephanie Murg

Now Read This: Louise Fili’s Grafica della Strada

grafica della strada

fili book sideLouise Fili has done it again. The designer of all things bello, including stunning packaging and branding for the likes of Jean-Georges, Tiffany & Co., and Sarabeth’s, turns her Italophilic eye to signage in the pages of Grafica della Strada: The Signs of Italy, new from Princeton Architectural Press. The chunky yet compact book is a photographic diary of sorts, revealing the most inventive restaurant, hotel, street, and advertising signs spotted by Fili over three decades’ worth of Italian travels. “These signs chart the highs and lows of Italian typography, from a classically elegant gold leaf script for a Turin jewelry store to a very spirited (and unreadable) type rendered in orange and blue dimensional plastic letters for a shop selling doormats in Rome,” notes Fili by way of introduzione. “From the sublime to the ridiculous, each and every one, in its unique way, is dear to me.”

Ayse Birsel Explains It All

birsel

Intriguing future book alert! According to the readerly repast that is Publishers Lunch, designer Ayse Birsel has inked a deal for Design the Life You Love, “a playful, creative, interactive book that teaches readers how to use Birsel’s own design process to think like a designer, and design the life they love.” The co-founder of Birsel + Seck, an expert at deconstruction at reconstruction, will publish the volume with Ten Speed Press.
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Mark Your Calendar: Michael Graves ‘Past as Prologue’ Symposium

denver central library

Stock up on Peeps and reserve your ticket to “Past as Prologue,” a just-announced symposium that will be held “in honor of Michael Graves on the occasion of his fiftieth year in practice.” Organized by The Architectural League of New York and hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, the November 22nd confab will consider Graves’ deep influences on the disciplines of architecture and design. Tackling subjects such as architectural pedagogy, drawing, and the design of objects (fingers crossed for a session on “the Hitler teapot”!) will be the likes of Billie Tsien, Steven Holl, Paul Goldberger, and Museum of Arts and Design director Glenn Adamson, with a day-capping conversation among Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Adele Chatfield Taylor, the former director of the American Academy in Rome. Tickets are now available: they’re $25 each, but League members and students can attend gratis.

Quote of Note | Pete Wells on Keith McNally

cherchemidi

“[O]f course, he worries about the interiors. Cherche Midi’s is lovely. Outside is a dystopian intersection. You’d never know it in the dining room, which feels intimate, almost private, although of course every face is on display, bathed in light the color of apricot jam.

For three decades, Mr. McNally has been rooting around in the same Lego kit: distressed mirrors, chipped subway tiles, bottles backlighted to look like stained glass. In his hands, these well-worn tricks give restaurants the battered nobility of a vintage Saab. When anyone else tries, they end up with a 1986 Ford Escort. Sets and lighting will never be the whole show.”

-New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells in his recent review of Keith McNally‘s Cherche Midi, which opened in June on the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery in NYC

Holy Philately! USPS Debuts Batman Stamps in Gotham City

batman stampsBatman turns 75 this year (and yet, riddle us this, Adam West just turned 86), and the U.S. Postal Service is celebrating with—you guessed it—stamps! The collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment debuted last week in Gotham City at the Batcave-like Javits Center, where legions of Batfans had conveniently already gathered for Comic Con. There was no mention of Robin. The stamps, a limited-edition Forever affair (which only sounds oxymoronic) now available at a post office near you and on the USPS website, follow the Caped Crusader and his trusty Bat emblem, through four eras of comic book history.

Spire Wins People’s Design Award

COOPER HEWITT'S 2014 NATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS GALAThe people have spoken, and selected Spire as the winner of the 2014 People’s Design Award, announced by presenter Bruce Mau at the Cooper-Hewitt‘s National Design Awards ceremony and gala held last night in New York. Designed by Zhao Zhao (pictured), Spire—a wearable device that senses and tracks physical movement, position, and breathing patterns—takes its place alongside past winners such as PackH2O, Trek’s Lime Bike, and Toms Shoes.

The mission of Spire, which began shipping this month after three years of R&D, is to “change the way the world breathes.” Data from the device, which is zapped to a mobile app, can provide the wearer with insights about his or her daily activity and state of mind, according to the San Francisco-based team. The app also can help users to boost their activity, relaxation, and focus. Spire bested a slate of 20 nominated works, ranging from elegant and inventive consumer products (Drift Light, Lumio, Soma Water Bottle) and eco-friendly construction materials (Mushroom Building Blocks) to emergency tools (SAM Junctional Tourniquet) and design solutions for human and environmental problems (Deka Arm, Ecozoom Stove).

Quote of Note | Emmanuelle Alt

vogue paris jj14

“This story [for the June/July 2014 issue of Vogue Paris] began with Inez [van Lamsweerde] and me exchanging images by e-mail. Sometimes it comes from almost nothing; it might just be a color. When you’re shooting in the sun—you know that strong blue sky in St. Barths—you need a contrast. So I might say, ‘What do you think about red and white?’ And Inez is like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure!’ I’ll send a picture of a red shoe and a René Gruau illustration, which is full of red, and just a silhouette or a little sketch. It’s not always photographs—often it’s a painting or a frame-grab from a YouTube film. Very quickly, we’ll start to build up an image of a woman, and then we can discuss the casting. Some photographers will keep changing their casting or think they need a stronger idea. But Inez isn’t someone who hesitates. It’s like three phone calls and everything is booked.”

-Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt in an interview with Penny Martin, editor of The Gentlewoman, that appears in the latest, fashion-themed issue of Aperture

Visionaire Teams with John Baldessari, Samsung for ‘Celebrity Selfie’ Art Issue

dustin hoffman

blue visionaire“I’ll probably be most remembered for putting dots over people’s faces, so its funny to do an issue devoted to the selfies of famous people,” says John Baldessari, who has applied his signature “color interventions” to a suite of celebrity self-portraits for the latest issue of Visionaire. The sixty-fourth incarnation of the shape-shifting publication, creating in partnership with Samsung, is now available in three editions—Red, Green, and Blue—each with a distinct set of portraits tucked in a canvas-clad portfolio that folds out to become a display case. After meeting with Baldessari in his Venice Beach studio, Visionaire founders Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos recruited the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Cameron Diaz, Miley Cyrus, Marina Abramovic, KAWS, Bill Cunningham, and Gisele Bündchen to contribute self-portraits that were printed in black and white and then altered with embossed shapes and colors created by Baldessari. The resulting images range from the exotic (as when a turbaned Lupita Nyong’o gains a second chapeau in a floating, noseless face) to the serene (the clasped hands of Ed Ruscha, amidst a yellow orb and swoosh of orange). “Now we live in an age of self-celebration and constant surveillance in which nearly everyone carries some form of camera,” notes Dean. “It seems ironic and hilarious that an artist so famous for putting dots over people’s faces would devote an issue to the technology that celebrates face-time.”
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John Galliano Named Creative Director of Maison Martin Margiela

renzo tweet

gallianoRenzo Rosso has a reputation for talking trash, but like any billionaire, he deploys compliments with military precision. “Who wouldn’t like to work with him?” the mogul said last month of designer John Galliano. “If he ever got back his name, I would be the first to produce his collections.” Fast-forward a few weeks, past Rosso’s firm denials and the Milan spring 2015 collections he enthusiastically appraised from the front row (sometimes beside Kanye West), and it’s official: Galliano is the new creative director of…Maison Martin Margiela.

Rosso’s Only The Brave (OTB), which owns Diesel, Viktor & Rolf, and Marni, as well as production and distribution powerhouse Staff International, acquired Margiela in 2002, seven years before the departure of its enigmatic Belgian founder. The Paris-based house has maintained its artsy appeal, both preserving and advancing Margiela’s minimal yet experimental bent, which dabbles in Warholian cult of personality, albeit a collective one, while celebrating sartorial anonymity. Galliano, a puckish chameleon whose obsession with historical and cultural references fueled his dazzling, scandal-capped tenure at Dior, would seem an ill fit for a house that loves nothing more than sheathing quotidian objects in white cotton, but Rosso sees it differently: “Margiela is ready for a new charismatic creative soul.” Loosen up those lab coats, avant-gardistes, for there is a Gibraltar-born toreador-ringmaster in the maison. He is your new pirate king.

Nan Goldin, Martin Parr Among 2014 Lucie Award Honorees

(Nan Goldin) 1998
Nan Goldin, Guido on the dock, Venice (1998)

The Lucies, presented annually to honor statuette-worthy achievements in photography, turn twelve this year, and in the run-up to the glittering November 2 gala at Carnegie Hall (tickets now on sale), the Lucie Foundation has announced the 2014 honorees:

• Lifetime Achievement: Jane Bown
• Achievement in Fine Art: Carrie Mae Weems
• Achievement in Documentary: Martin Parr
• Achievement in Photojournalism: Nick Ut
• Achievement in Portraiture: Nan Goldin
• Visionary Award: Pedro Meyer

Top winners of the 2014 International Photography Awards juried competition will be announced at the gala, as will the winners of the Lucie Foundation’s Support Category Awards, including Print Advertising Campaign of the Year, Fashion Layout of the Year, and Picture Editor of the Year.

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