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Home Depot’s Stealthy or Accidental Roll Out of Their New Logo

Fairly quietly floating around Twitter late today was this photo of a possible new logo for Home Depot, spotted on a self-service checkout kiosk screen. We’ve hunted around and seen no mention that the company has announced a planned re-brand, so is this the quietest roll-out of all time, perhaps gun shy after what happened to companies like Gap? Regional logo market testing (we believe the photo was taken in New York)? Or an accidental glitch that updated the image before the company could get around to unveiling it? We’ll leave it up to you to decide your opinion of it, so comment away.

The only thing that raises a small, suspicious flag in our minds is that the photo was taken by one Gavin Becker. As his personal site says, he’s the Executive Director of Digital Innovation & Strategy at the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. So should we also be wondering if this is some sort of viral-y experiment?

Daily Mail Claims to Have Discovered Identity of Banksy’s Wife

The UK’s Daily Mail is continuing their crusade to one day unmask famously illusive street artist Banksy. Following their big 2008 announcement that they’d absolutely, positively discovered that he was one Mr. Robin Gunningham and whom they had photo evidence of, in that the man was standing next to some stencils and a bucket, the paper has now purportedly uncovered the identity Banksy’s wife. If they’re to be believed, she’s Ms. Joy Milward, a lobbyist who works for charity organizations with the firm she launched in 2005, Principle Consulting. Like we took their 2008 report on the artist’s true identity (as would appear most of the rest of the world did as well), we’re not entirely convinced. But for what it’s worth, it makes for fun reading. Here’s a passage from a source close to the couple who helped spill the beans:

Some of Joy’s relatives have not been told who her husband is or what he does. Joy does tell people her husband is an artist of some type. She says he does the artwork for cook books and album covers. Banksy has told people he designs the sets for award ceremonies, which explains his frequent absences.

Banksy Responds to Oscar Loss (Though Maybe Not Really)

A couple of weeks out and looking back, all of the Academy’s concerns over what would happen if Banksy won an Oscar for his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop were for naught (and/or publicity). And now all can go back to normal with the world, with us just referring to him as “the famous street artist” instead of “the famous, Oscar-winning street artist” (though we suppose people throw around “Oscar-nominated” just as often). But before letting the story ride off into the sunset, we turn to some news making the rounds last week, concerning the possibilities that Banksy himself was responding to the loss. The site Small World broke the story that a new, painted stenciling had appeared in England, depicting a small girl holding an Academy Award, looking glum. Many thought a) it was in reference to the video of The King’s Speech producer Simon Egan, which shows his infant daughter playing with and accidentally breaking his Oscar, and b) that it was Banky’s doing. Just before the weekend, the site Melrose & Fairfax responded to the story, determining that the “stencil of the girl holding an Oscar is most likely not a Banksy.” They point out a number of things that brought them to the conclusion; that the girl had already been used in a previous project, sans Oscar, the details are slightly different, and a supposedly “found” used stencil had shown up on eBay the week before the piece was discovered, selling for a hefty £500. So it might be real or it might not. Either way, we figure this finally marks the end of all the Oscar vs. Banksy talk, something we’re not entirely sad about.

Kanye West Either Is or Is Not Enrolled in the Fashion Design Program at Central Saint Martins College

In case you missed it this week, there was quite a bit of buzz this week about the future of Kanye West‘s fashion education. Despite being already well-known for his occasionally trend-setting clothing choices, palling around with designers, and had a successful internship at Gap (we assume), The Sun broke the story earlier this week that West was preparing to enter the masters-level fashion design program at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. While the school is the alma mater of a number of industry giants, including Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen and less-than-giant-at-the-moment, John Galliano, it also has celebrity legacy in other fields as well, having included people like Jarvis Cocker, Colin Firth, and Pierce Brosnan as students at one time, to name just a very few (though not all, of course, were enrolled in fashion). So maybe West would have no trouble moving right into a program. The only trick is that he might not actually be going at all. MTV News called the college and was told that “Kanye West is not enrolling in the MA Fashion program.” Furthermore, they said, “He visited the college last week on unrelated matters.” So will the musician be noticeably absent over the next year or two as he digs in, spending hours buried under books and fabric? Somehow we doubt that, but who’s to know when it comes to Kanye. Maybe he’s just reading the writing on the wall and realizing that the future of celebrity follows the James Franco model and every person in the public eye must now be enrolled in at least 15 different programs at one time in order to stay relevant.

Architecture with a Bang: Is Author Tom Clancy Trying to Build an Indoor Shooting Range at Baltimore’s Ritz-Carlton Residences?

Speaking of powerful men with lots of money who want things done their way, there’s an interesting architecture development happening in Baltimore, stirring up some rumors in the process. The Baltimore Sun reports that an owner of a penthouse-level condo at the Ritz-Carlton Residences near the city’s waterfront has hired an architect and is seeking permission from the city to build an indoor gun range. No one is sure who wants a portion of their house torn up and spot to fire guns in put up, not even the architect, but most of the rumors point to novelist/licensing-guru Tom Clancy. A known gun enthusiast, who has built ranges at his other properties, owns and entire floor of the tony Baltimore building. Clancy is sure to be up against some big hurdles, and not just from his neighbors who might put up a fight (we also can’t imagine that the association’s bylaws include “No gun ranges may be installed in any property.”) As the Sun reports, “State law prohibits the firing of guns within 150 yards of any residence. Whether that would prevent a permitted gun owner from shooting indoors in a controlled environment such as a firing range is one of the questions being considered by authorities. ” But when you’ve already spent nearly $17 million on buying a whole floor of a building, that likely implies that you don’t mind spending a few more bucks to help grease some wheels.

Will Moving Back to the UK Ruin Designer Jonathan Ive’s Career at Apple?

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Almost two years ago, Apple‘s design guru Jonathan Ive caught a bit of flak for not commenting about the state of the product design industry in his native UK, something that some read as something of a slight. Now, however, it appears the tables might be turned just a bit. The tech world is abuzz that Ive’s days might be numbered at Apple after the reclusive designer requested that he’d like to spend more time in the UK and enroll their children in school there. The Daily Mail reports from a source that the company has said if Ive moves back to England, he would either no longer work for the company or his high-ranking position would dwindle to a very large degree. Of course, this being Apple, an organization that keeps its secrets far better than most countries across the world, all of this is entirely speculation. What is known, due to the release of public records, is that Ive is soon set to receive a very large chunk the company’s stock, to the tune of $25 million, which has more than doubled from when he was originally given those shares just three years ago. And as Ive regularly ranks fairly highly on lists of the richest of the British, even if he does decide to part ways with Apple, we have a feeling he won’t be hurting too badly. We have a feeling James Dyson would be making a social call around that time, too.

Norman Foster Hired to Build Apple’s New Headquarters?

Though it could all turn out to be fake, as has become par for the course with supposed image leaks of the company’s future products, the rumor mill is abuzz that Apple is planning to hire Norman Foster to build for them a new headquarters. The rumor came from an unlikely source, not from the various Silicon Valley insider blogs or the local northern California papers, but the Spanish newspaper El Economista, who claim to have sources who leaked information about the top secret plan. Calling it “The City of Apple,” the paper said the company’s plan is to build Foster’s new headquarters on the land it purchased from Hewlett-Packard late last month. Though, again, like anything Apple, a place known for being able to keep a secret, it’s usually always safest to not put too much stock in anything you hear unless it’s Steve Jobs doing the talking. Here’s a bit from a Google translation of the paper’s piece:

ElEconomista has been told by sources familiar with the situation, the future headquarters of the company Steve Jobs care especially environmental issues, to the point that the entire road transport transit through a network of tunnels that will clear the surface areas green. The buildings which will house the engineers and R & D will also be multifunctional and will incorporate cutting-edge technology in materials and equipment as well as renewable energy resources.

EXCLUSIVE: Karl Lagerfeld Developing Lower-Priced Line for Macy’s

Just in time for a certain famous Thanksgiving Day Parade comes news that is sure to elicit gratitude among fashion fans: designer Karl Lagerfeld will soon unveil a fashion venture with Macy’s, multiple sources told UnBeige. We hear that the national retailer has inked a deal with the Karl Lagerfeld brand, owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, for an affordably priced ready-to-wear line that will range from jeans to gowns. The new line, slated to launch with a collection for fall 2011, is also expected to include a major online component, with e-commerce as a key distribution channel.

Speculation about the venture has been rampant since early September, when Lagerfeld announced that he would not be showing his signature collection during Paris Fashion Week and instead had a fast fashion line in the works. At the time, Apax said that they were talking with several potential partners for the new “masstige” play. “I wanted this for a long time,” Lagerfeld told WWD in September. “I prefer to work in another way. I can’t compete with Chanel. I don’t want to be the poor child of myself. This has been my vision for years.”

Our calls to Apax and Macy’s were not immediately returned, but according to our sources, production of the new accessibly priced Lagerfeld collection will be handled by Li & Fung, the Hong Kong-based sourcing giant that has been on a deal spree in recent months. The global supplier, which has worked extensively with Macy’s, recently inked agreements to produce lines for stylist Rachel Zoe, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and celebrity couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony (for Kohl’s).

A matchup of Lagerfeld with Macy’s and Li & Fung recalls other deals masterminded by Apax, which acquired Karl Lagerfeld SAS as part of its 2006 buyout of Tommy Hilfiger. The private equity firm paid $1.6 billion to take Hilfiger private and in 2007 sold the company’s global sourcing operations to Li & Fung for $247.8 million in cash. That same year, Apax-owned Hilfiger signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Macy’s for men’s and women’s sportswear. Apax has since cashed out of Hilfiger—selling the business to Phillips-Van Heusen for $3 billion in May of this year—but retained control of the Lagerfeld brand.
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A Tiny Art Museum on the Moon? PBS Series Investigates

moon_chip.jpgDid NASA quietly create the first moon museum more than 40 years ago? A tiny ceramic chip embedded with original sketches by artists including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Rauschenberg (at right) may have been a pop art stowaway on the Apollo 12 lunar module launched in November 1969. The PBS series History Detectives takes on the case of the moon museum in its season eight premiere, which airs June 21. Host Gwen Wright, a professor of architecture at Columbia University, begins by going right to the source: Forrest “Frosty” Myers, the New York artist who dreamed up the otherworldly art project. “Going to the moon was the biggest thing in our generation. It’s hard to explain that to the kids today,” says Myers, perched in a anodized aluminum wire chair of his own design. “My idea was to get six great artists together and make a tiny little museum that would be on the moon.” The miniaturized works reflect the various perspectives of the contributing artists. Circuitry-like drawings by David Novros and John Chamberlain wouldn’t look out of place on a SIM chip of today, and Myers himself added a sketch of linked shapes. Rauschenberg went minimalist with a lone straight line, while Oldenburg doodled a Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, leave it to Warhol to scandalize lunar museum patrons with a phallic symbol (or is that a rocket?) that doubled as a signature “AW.” Our first thought: how did Jasper Johns miss out on this? Then we remembered that thanks to Apollo 11, the moon already had a flag.

Next on Project Runway: A Sweet Deal?

hersheys.jpgA highly-placed, design-savvy little birdie has told us that the next episode (that’s #6) of Project Runway will involve a chocolicious designer challenge. Our source reports that the regal and charming Tim Gunn will give the remaining 11 contestants all the details on a trip to the Hershey’s Times Square megastore at 48th and Broadway, the “16-floor candy spectacular” that teems with people from all over the world buying candy that is available not only in their own hometowns but also at any drug store and bodega in Manhattan. Meanwhile, we’re taking bets on: Who will make the first Willy Wonka reference? Does Tim Gunn like chocolate? Will Mood run out of dark brown fabric? Will they be able to interpret non-chocolate Hershey’s products, because we think Rami could do a lot with a Twizzlers theme (think of the ruching!)? Tune in to Bravo tonight at 10pm to find out.

UPDATE: Alas, it turns out that we’ll have to wait until 2008 for the next episode of Bravo’s Project Runway. But look on the bright side: now you have a couple of weeks to ponder what designer Elisa Jimenez might do with an unlimited supply of Reese’s Pieces.

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