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InStyle’s Rina Stone on Brand Evolution, Collaborations, and the September Mega-Issue

rina stoneThe latest Julia Roberts-fronted issue of InStyle is more than a fall fashion blockbuster—it’s also a celebration of the Time Inc. magazine-cum-brand’s twentieth anniversary. The 700+ page-September book is brimming with retrospective morsels along with expanded takes on signature features that strike the signature InStyle balance of inspirational and attainable. We recently sat down with creative director Rina Stone to discuss her (extensive) responsibilities, the evolving InStyle brand, and the making of the mega-issue. Snagging Roberts for the cover was “a real coup,” Stone told us. “Ariel [Foxman, InStyle editor-in-chief] felt there was no one better to celebrate our 20th anniversary. She’s such an InStyle girl. Putting that shoot together, we wanted to do a fashion story—obviously, because it’s the September issue—but we also wanted to make sure that we left with something that was iconic and memorable—some pictures that would last forever. She loved the concept, and she has such personality. I think some of these portraits, you can put them in a time capsule, take them out in 20 years, and they’ll still be relevant.”

Read the full interview on FishbowlNY: So What Do You Do, Rina Stone, Creative Director at InStyle?

Seven Questions for Karim Rashid

Karim RashidIt’s been a busy, brightly colored, organic-shaped summer for Karim Rashid. The designer has given lectures, made appearances, and occasionally DJ’ed in cities from Miami and Toronto to Hamburg and Ekaterinburg (Russia’s fourth-largest city). On Friday he could be found in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he keynoted the Construye & Remodela confab. Not that there’s any shortage of stateside projects: Rashid was recently commissioned to design three Manhattan residential buildings, including a mixed-use project (20 apartments, with office and commercial space at the street level) located at 1633-1655 Madison Avenue. The concept is a continuation of Rashid’s signature boundary-pushing, rooted in a desire to “bring a fulgent vibrancy to the environment and move away the trends away from tired archetypes and cold minimalism.” He made time between groundbreakings, prototyping sessions, and DJ sets to answer our seven questions.

You recently lectured—and DJed—in Ekaterinburg, Russia. What is your impression of the state of design in Russia?
I have been to Russia 25 times and always love the country, the energy, the people, the intellectual spirit, the food, the sensibilities. In regards the state of design I have seen things change drastically since 14 years ago, but the problem is that Russia has not embraced the design phenomena enough, yet it is getting better and better. The condition is changing. In order to know Russian designers internationally they either work and develop brands in Russia—that become globally established—or work for foreign companies. And in all those trips very few Russian companies approach me to design for them.

Russia with all its diversified money, increasing incomes, intelligence, education, and manufacturing capability, lacks globally recognized brands. I always thought how fascinating it is that a country like Sweden has international brands like IKEA, H&M, Absolut, Volvo, and Voss with only a population of 7 million. Because of the size of Russia, companies were producing goods exclusively for their huge market and taking no impetus to export. Russia has the manpower and money to create major global brands. But times have changed and the doors to the West are open. I would love to see Russia build some very contemporary brands that contribute to our beautiful global consumer landscape.

I just completed the new OK.RU website [a popular Russian social media platform], and I am working on a shopping mall in St. Petersburg, an orange juice bottle, a cognac bottle, a tractor, and other projects in Russia, but I would love to design some hotels in every major city. There is a lack of design-driven boutique hotels in Russia.
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Now Read This: Rube Goldberg Redux

rube coverRube Goldberg (1883-1970) is synonymous with his elaborate chain-reaction approach to completing simple tasks, but he was also an established cartoonist, humorist, sculptor, and engineer. The master of contraptions and comics gets his due in the sumptuously illustrated pages of The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, published by Abrams ComicArts. Authored by Goldberg’s granddaughter, Jennifer George, the book delves into his long off-limits archives to reveal and celebrate the many (moving) parts of Goldberg’s astonishing career.

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Oh, Canada! Edward Burtynsky, Fred Herzog Among Photographers Honored with Stamps

herzog stamp

stampsCanada knows how to have fun with stamps, eh? Current postage options in the Great White North include a set of spooky stamps devoted to “haunted Canada” (featuring beloved phantoms such as Alberta’s Ghost Bride and the burning ship that is often spotted in Prince Edward Island’s Northumberland Strait), pop-country songstress Shania Twain, and Superman, but our favorites are the new set celebrating Canadian photography.

Designed by Stéphane Huot, the stamps—five domestic-rate stamps, one U.S. denomination, and one international stamp—feature Fred Herzog’s Bogner’s Grocery (1960, pictured above), Lynne Cohen’s Untitled (1970), Michel Lambeth’s St. Joseph’s Convent School (1960), C.D. Hoy’s Unidentified Chinese man (circa 1912) and Louis-Prudent Vallée’s Quebec City in Winter (1894). William Notman’s Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill (1885) graces the U.S. denomination while Edward Burtynsky’s Railcuts #1, shot at Skihist Provincial Park in British Columbia in 1985, appears on the international stamp. And for philatelists, the Canadian photographic fun doesn’t end there: the Canadian photography series is set to continue for three more years. Sorry, Superman!

Mark Your Calendar: Bill Cunningham at 92Y

The METROPOLITAN OPERA Season Opening Night GALA

The indefatigable Bill Cunningham has been prowling the streets for stylish types since World War II, child, when his camera of choice was a Brownie. Come September 3, the 85-year-old aesthete will pedal up to the 92nd Street Y—not to snap photos but to join Fern Mallis on stage for a rare interview. The event, announced today, will kick off the fourth year of Mallis’s “Fashion Icons” series, during which she has interviewed everyone from André Leon Talley and Bruce Weber to Tom Ford and Vera Wang with a surgical, this-is-your-life approach that inevitably reveals all manner of fun facts (did you know that Penelope Tree was a college classmate of Wang’s? Or that she herself had seven wedding dresses, in a nod to Chinese tradition?). Those interested in getting a peek at the man behind the blue French work jacket should grab tickets here, and fast. They’re likely to be gone in a flash.

At Chanel, Le Corbusier Inspires Concrete Couture

chanel set
At left, a view of the Paris apartment designed by Le Corbusier that inspired Chanel’s latest haute couture collection and runway show. (Photos from right: © FLC/ADAGP, Olivier Saillant)

chanel fw coutureHaving recently tapped into markets high (fine art) and low (the grocery store) to inspire his collections for the megahouse of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld looked to the work of Le Corbusier to fire up his creativity for the fall couture. With the blessing of the Fondation Le Corbusier, he transformed the Grand Palais to resemble the paradoxical outdoor living room, complete with fireplace, of the long-demolished Champs-Elysées apartment that Corbu designed in 1929 for one Charles de Beistegui. “All white concrete, with some baroque elements,” said Lagerfeld yesterday in a post-show interview, as he described his architectural inspiration.

The modern material found its way into the collection via tiny tiles of gray and white concrete (pink and green are in the works) that Lagerfeld used for elaborate or starkly geometric mosaic-style embroideries that accented bodices, traced hems, and encrusted entire dresses, all shown with flat sandals and hairstyles that evoked plumage—in a nod to the rara avis who is the twenty-first century couture customer. “What I liked about this collection is that it’s really flawless, impeccable shapes,” said Lagerfeld of the 70 looks he sent down the grandly scaled runway. “They’re light, they float, they don’t walk heavily…and I think that makes it more modern.”
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Quote of Note | Tomas Koolhaas

(Tomas Koolhaas)
Rem Koolhaas in Venice at sunset. (Photo: Tomas Koolhaas)

“Usually architecture documentaries really only appeal to viewers with a deep understanding of architectural concepts and jargon. I think by taking a more humanistic approach my film will appeal to anyone who can relate to other people….I don’t think it’s as black and white as either ‘architecture people’ or ‘general public.’ I think there are a lot of gradations in between. For example, creative people who can appreciate architecture but maybe are not interested enough to be very well versed in technical jargon or abreast of every element of architectural discourse. I think those people make up quite a large group and most architecture documentaries fail to engage them. It’s those kinds of people that my film could manage to reach. I don’t presume to think that a large portion of my audience is going to be people who don’t care about architecture at all, but I want there to be elements of the film that anyone can enjoy.”

-Tomas Koolhaas on the anticipated audience for the documentary (view trailer below) he is making about his father, architect Rem Koolhaas. Read the full interview in the new Rem-themed issue of CLOG.
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Seven Questions for Chester Jenkins, Designer of New Cooper Hewitt Typeface

(Kirstin McKee)
(Photo: Kirstin McKee)

Come December, the renovated and expanded Cooper Hewitt will welcome back visitors with a bold new look. The tricky task of reimagining the graphic identity of the Smithsonian Design Museum was taken on by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara, who tapped Chester Jenkins to work his typographical magic. Jenkins, co-founder of Brooklyn-based Village, created a custom typeface—Cooper Hewitt—that the museum has released into the digital wild: the bold sans serif can be downloaded free of charge as installable fonts, Web font files, and open-source code. Having taken the recent press preview of the museum as an excuse to follow Jenkins around and ask him his views on the various typefaces that were revealed by the painstaking restoration of the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, we agreed to relent if he would answer just seven more questions. He graciously agreed.

c h logotypeWhat three words best describe the Cooper Hewitt typeface?
Objective. Accessible. Spirited.

How does Cooper Hewitt differ from your Polaris Condensed?
The width of Cooper Hewitt is based on the Semicondensed version of Polaris, which only exists as beta fonts on the computers at Pentagram and UFOs on my hard drive. When I drew the Cooper Hewitt types, I didn’t recycle the outlines of Polaris, but instead drew everything from scratch, referring to Polaris Semicondensed, not simply tweaking it.

The range of weights is greater in Cooper Hewitt; while a couple of the master weights were based on Polaris, the family of fonts has a different internal structure. A significant stylistic difference is in the hewing to horizontal and vertical stroke endings, as opposed to the angled terminal strokes which are a touchstone of Polaris. Then there are the “plateaus”—or “plateaux” for the linguistic sticklers—within most of the curves in round glyphs. You can’t really see them at anything less than a million points, but they separate the two designs. And the numerals and currency glyphs depart significantly from Polaris.

Village is a type co-op—what is that exactly and who are the members?
Village is a group of a dozen small foundries from around the world. While not technically organized as a co-operative, our model was the first of its kind in the digital era, as far as we are aware. We contact our members to discuss important decisions, such as adding new members to the group. The members sometimes collaborate with each other, and often pass along custom projects where one member is more suited than another. We also avoid stepping on each others’ toes; one member will not publish a design if it’s stylistically close to another member’s design. We distribute the work of our members: A2-Type, Blackletra, Feliciano Type Foundry, Klim, LuxTypo., MCKL, Schwartzco, Type Supply, and Urtd. We publish work through two foundries: Constellation and Incubator.
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Watch Paola Antonelli Discuss Design and Violence

Paola Antonelli‘s twenty-year career at the Museum of Modern Art has been a journey through many facets of design, “from cute chairs and fast cars to video games and now also the idea of violence,” she told the audience at the recent DLD (Digital-Life-Design) conference in New York. Watch her talk from that confab below to gain insight into the darker side of design as explored—and hacked, penetrated, manipulated, penetrated, and exploded—through Design and Violence, an online curatorial experiment that explores the manifestations of violence in contemporary society.

Seven Questions for David Weeks

SalverDuo300dp
Works from the Salvers Collection, on view through June 20 at David Weeks Studio. A second set of the Salvers debuts today in Paris as part of the “American Design in Paris” exhibition at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture.

You probably know David Weeks for his stunning lighting, fluidly formed furniture, or craggily adorable wooden creatures. Last fall his studio branched out from Brooklyn to Manhattan, with a new standalone atelier in Tribeca that is part design studio, part showspace for one-of-a-kind prototypes, collaborations, and work from other artists. It is currently home to a month-long exhibition of the Salvers Collection, designed in conjunction with Alex Rasmussen from Neil Feay Company. Weeks made time to tell us more about the project as well as his new collaboration with Flavor Paper (spoiler alert: gorillas are involved!), what’s on his desk, and the best advice he’s ever received.

david weeksHow are things at your new Tribeca space? Has having a standalone atelier affected your creative process/output/how you spend your day?
Things are great! Challenging, exciting, exhausting. We had run the numbers before I decided to open a dedicated showroom and they are playing out as planned. I didn’t plan on the level of focus and complexity that it has ended up taking. To have a public venue while running a design and manufacturing company is hard. It’s also exhilarating and fun to be in control of my own destiny.

How did your collaboration with Alex Rasmussen come about?
I met Alex a year ago, and we discussed collaborating almost immediately. He has such a phenomenal facility at his beck and call at Neal Feay. It’s hard to imagine.

How would you describe the six unique designs in the Salvers Collection?
The collection ended up being a reaction to what his CNC [Computer Numerical Control] machine could do. I designed my pieces using the stock material and cutters they had on hand, and tweaked the jigs that hold the piece to the machines. The great thing about CNC to me is that it will do whatever you tell it. There is no need to make things at right angles. It’s an opportunity to visualize a unorthodox form, draw it, and have a huge industrial machine create it.
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