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Quote of Note | Stefan Sagmeister

warhol covers

“He seemed to put a tremendous amount of energy into those covers; they are very carefully designed and beautifully produced. When he created them, he used his fame and star power. By that I mean it was unlikely that an unknown artist would have been able to persuade record companies to spend the extra money to produce art with those extreme production challenges and difficulties. Think about it. Having a zipper on an album cover? That was not an easy feat. It was expensive and it destroyed the records next to it. And the banana? With the peel, that you could actually peel. That also required extra cost and added necessary attention to production. Both covers are very interactive. The most legendary and memorable designs have always involved the viewer.”

-Stefan Sagmeister on Andy Warhol’s album covers for The Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers) and the Velvet Underground in Thank You Andy Warhol by Catherine Johnson (Glitterati)

Gary Hustwit’s Design Film Trilogy, Coming Soon in Book Form

design trilogy bookIf you’ve enjoyed one, two, or all three of Gary Hustwit‘s design documentaries—Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized—you’re sure to be mesmerized by his forthcoming book of compiled interviews, now available for pre-order. The 400 pages, gleaned from hundreds of hours (and 31 hard drives worth) of footage, are unedited glimpses into the minds of creative types from Paola Antonelli to Hermann Zapf. “What’s striking to me is how wide-ranging the actual conversations are compared to the films, which seem kind of narrow in comparison,” says Hustwit. “I’m actually excited—and a little frightened—about how it’ll all work in one book…we’ll see!”

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Advanced Style Goes from Blog to Book to Film

advanced style

What began as a blog and became a book—and then a coloring book—has shape-shifted once again. Ari Seth Cohen‘s Advanced Style heads to the big screen via filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, whose documentary follows seven fabulous New Yorkers aged between 62 and 95 as they challenge the stereotypes of beauty and aging with their unique style. Chunky jewelry, statement sunglasses, turbans, magenta, and Iris Apfel all loom large. Advanced Style makes its U.S. debut tomorrow at the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, New Jersey. The trailer (below) is best enjoyed while wearing a cape and a minimum of eight bangle bracelets.

New Book Explores Essence of Japanese Design

wa book

The Japanese concept of “wa” is one of harmony, gentleness, and peace: qualities embodied in the country’s distinctive design aesthetic. In a book of the same name, new from Phaidon, authors Rossella Menegazzo and Stefania Piotti explore the way in which Japanese design harnesses materials ranging from bamboo to polymer-coated membranes in an elegant balance of tradition and cutting-edge experimentation. Printed on craft paper and bound in the traditional Japanese style, the book opens with an essay by Muji art director Kenya Hara, who muses on how “extreme plainness-emptiness-can invite a variety of interpretations.”

Now Read This: Favelization

favelization

Is the exotic Brazil that we see referenced and traded upon in contemporary film, fashion, and design real or imaginary? Or perhaps a little of both? These are among the questions addressed by author Adriana Kertzer in Favelization, a new ebook that is part of the DesignFile series launched last year by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Kertzer, a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design, sets out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of the favela (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as “Brazilian.”

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Now Read This: Conversations on the Hudson

conversationsNew York’s Hudson Valley is studded with artists and craftspeople, and Nick Hand met a bunch of them–by hopping on a bicycle. Conversations on the Hudson (Princeton Architectural Press) chronicles the British graphic designer’s 500-mile, two-wheeled journey between Brooklyn and the Adirondacks. The new book is a charming mix of photographs and interviews with the likes of glassware designer Deborah Ehrlich, ceramicist Michele O’Hana, and stone carver Ted Ludwiczak. “On a bicycle you take everything in,” writes Hand in the book’s introduction. “You can stop anywhere, you don’t miss a thing, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation.”

Like this post? Then you’ll love LiquidTreat, a weekly newsletter designed to quench your creative thirst. Sip generously from past issues and subscribe here.

Getty Follows ‘Open Content’ Program with Virtual Library

getty library

The J. Paul Getty Trust is serious about sharing. The institution, which encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, is following its “Open Content” program that set free some 5,000 high-resolution digital images for use, modification, and publishing with a virtual library. Translation: 45 years of art books for free. Among the 250 (and counting) of the Getty’s backlist titles now available to read online or download as PDFs are the 2004 catalogue of the first-ever exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolor still lifes (“a moving examination of this most subtle and luminous of mediums and genres,” according to Getty President and CEO James Cuno), the definitive English translation of Otto Wagner’s Modern Architecture, and books on globe-spanning conservation projects. We suggest igniting your winter reading list with Kevin Salatino‘s Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe.

Now Read This: History of Design

history of design coverReady to take a deep dive into the history of decorative arts and design? Treat yourself to History of Design, new from Yale University Press. The doorstop of a volume spans six centuries of design (1400-2000) across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Islamic world. In addition to the usual suspects–interiors, furniture, textiles, product design–the book tackles graphics, exhibitions, landscape design, even theater and film design. It’s an essential addition to any design library.

Like this post? Then you’ll love LiquidTreat, a weekly newsletter designed to quench your creative thirst. Sip generously from past issues and subscribe here.

Building Seagram Named Design Book of the Year by Designers & Books

building seagramSo many books, so little time. Designers & Books is there to help you keep up with the latest releases and burrow into the backlists for those life-changing titles that you may have missed. The site has looked back on 2013 and selected its first ever Design Book of the Year: Phyllis Lambert‘s Building Seagram (Yale University Press), a comprehensive personal and scholarly history of New York’s Seagram Building. The $1,500 honorarium will be split equally among the book’s author, editor, and designer.

Honorable mentions were awarded to The Houses of Louis Kahn (Yale University Press) and the splendid Ed Ruscha tribute volume Various Small Books (MIT Press).

DIY Drama: Ten Illustrated Stories ‘About People with Really Awful Lives’

Start with what writer Matthew Swanson describes as ten “stories about people with really awful lives,” add the delightful, Quentin Blake-ish illustrations of Robbi Behr (Swanson’s wife), chop it all up into flippable panels, and you’ve got the recombinant narrative of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings, published recently by Chronicle Books. We asked writer Mariam Aldhahi to take a closer look at this book of fractured fairy tales.

ten thousand stories coverFlip through the first few pages of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings and you’ll be abruptly introduced to a pretty twisted duo.

The book’s introduction, originally nothing more than the usual run-through of what you’re reading and why, is covered in red-ink redactions and rewrites courtesy of the illustrator half of this husband/wife team. We are greeted with a “Hello Sucker!!” and quickly advised that we’ve just wasted $20 on ten-thousand “god-awful” stories only saved by an accompanying ten-thousand “breathtaking” illustrations. Suddenly, you’re confused, a little uncomfortable, and yet completely taken.

The concept is simple enough—each page is divided into four turnable mini-pages that mix and match to create ten-thousand different story combinations, each topped off with its own eccentric illustration. We are handed the reigns and encouraged to “choose our own disaster” by letting the flaps fall where they may.
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