It’s been seven decades since J. Gordon Lippincott and Walter P. Margulies set up shop as Lippincott & Margulies, and the brand strategy and design firm, now known simply as Lippincott and part of Marsh & McLennan-owned Oliver Wyman, is both celebrating its septuagenarian status and using the occasion to get introspective. In the below video, directed by Matt Kalish with creative director Brendan Murphy, the firm looks to its past and its future to ponder the eternal question, “What is a brand?”
No starchitect’s portfolio is complete without a jaw-dropping image by Iwan Baan. The Dutch photographer stumbled into the architectural world in 2005, when he pitched his services to Rem Koolhaas. Baan got the gig and began what would become his first major project: documenting the construction of OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) building and Herzog & de Meuron’s completed National Olympic Stadium, both in Beijing. Less than a decade later, the likes of Frank Gehry, SANAA, Morphosis, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro keep Baan on speed dial. “What I find really fascinating is what happens when architects and planners leave and these places become appropriated by people,” explained Baan in his talk last month in New York at TEDCity2.0. Watch to learn about his search for pop-up cities and villages built in the unlikeliest places using the most bizarre methods.
As if you needed further reason to procure a sturdy blue French workman’s coat, throw a couple of old-school cameras around your neck, and call everyone “child” this Halloween, check out Bill Cunningham‘s latest video report. The original street style photographer cast his sharp eye on the idea-laden Paris Fashion Week scene, and while the headline is netting (recall that Cunningham is himself a lapsed milliner), we think he buried the lead in spotting a flowery fabric on the Dries Van Noten runway that originated in the atelier of Charles Frederick Worth. Amusez-vous bien:
Hold on to your Dunnys and Munnys, design fans, because Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz is making time in his new life as a maker of beautiful bicycles to guide Smorkin’ Labbit lovers–and anyone else who is interested–through the process of creating a great designer toy. Budnitz has signed on to teach “Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy,” an online course that launches October 16 through Skillshare.
“The goal of the class is to help artists sketch their own toy,” Budnitz tells us. “I talk about the basic history of designer toys, since it’s important to know the medium in which you’re working. There’s also a discussion about appropriation and juxtaposition, two elements of design that are found in most good art (and toys), and some ideas of how to apply this to your own toy.” And of course, he’ll offer plenty of pointers on how to design and draw a toy, with an eye to getting it off the page and into into production.
And now for something completely different: Baz Luhrmann‘s 21st century take on The Great Gatsby, recently released on DVD, gets a “supercut.” Editors at Tribeca Film scouted the latest cinematic adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel to find all of the utterances of the “old sport” that peppers Gatsby’s speech, turned up at least 43 (for the record, we counted 45 in the book), and strung them together into this mesmerizing video. “After a while, the ‘old sports’ start to tell their own twisted tale of lost love, delusion, and desperation—or something,” say the editors. “Enjoy! Just don’t turn this into a drinking game.” Bottoms up, old sport.
As the talented and exceedingly charming gentleman of Rich Brilliant Willing (a.k.a. Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams) head across the pond for the London Design Festival, which kicks off on Saturday, join them for a video interview produced by our friends at Design Within Reach. Click below to watch the trio discuss their design process —which only occasionally calls for consensual “duking it out,” their way with materials, and how their own decidedly 21st century aesthetic resonates with that of midcentury masters.
Once upon a time, creating signage involved more than Microsoft Word, 72-point Comic Sans, and an inkjet printer. Everything from storefronts to street signs were hand-lettered—with brush and paint. But all is not lost. Even as staid (and quick-and-dirty DIY) signage proliferates, there’s a revival afoot in traditional sign painting. Dedicated practitioners get their close-up in Faythe Levine and Sam Macon‘s Sign Painters, published last fall by Princeton Architectural Press. But with a subject as scintillating as hand-lettered signage, why stop at a book? The anecdotal history of the craft and stories of sign painters working in cities throughout the United States comes to the big screen in a documentary that is now making the rounds (next up: screenings in Orlando, New York, and Seattle). The trailer is bound to inspire you to drop that die-cut vinyl lettering:
We hate to fly and yet love airplanes. We eschew airplane food yet can spend hours happily discussing the EPCOT-y optimism of the curvy blue plastic silverware favored by Icelandair, the smart lighting choices (and kooky liveries) of Virgin America, or the evolution of Delta’s increasingly unhinged pre-flight safety video. We wish that the short-lived dramatic series Pan Am had not been grounded after one season. And so it is with nostalgia for a “golden age of air travel” that we never actually experienced—and yet can get an intoxicating whiff of in the streamlined, space-age-polymer forms of Marc Newson—that we anticipate Keith Lovegrove‘s Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet, out next month from Laurence King. Charting a course through interior design and fashion (pass the Pucci), technicolor food, and logos a-go-go, the book shows how airborne culture has changed from the 1920s to today’s sweatpants-and-flip-flops milieu. Here’s a cinematic sneak peek made by Lovegrove and Andrew Lennox:
Alexander Calder and Jean Prouvé get a joint close-up in an exhibition at Gagosian Paris. Organized with Galerie Patrick Seguin, “Calder | Prouvé” mixes the biomorphic mobiles and stabiles of the former with the smooth yet strong furniture and architectural projects of the latter. Born three years and an ocean apart, the two met in the early 1950s, became pen pals (although we’re pretty sure they didn’t use that term), and later collaborated on the steel base of “La Spirale,” Calder’s mega-mobile for UNESCO HQ in Paris. Gagosian has created this virtual tour of the exhibtion, on view at its Le Bourget space through November 2:
Surely one of the most mesmerizing installations at this year’s Salone del Mobile was Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec‘s “Quiet Motion,” a quartet of cork platforms that rotated, slowly and silently, in the cloister of a Milanese monastery. The installation, presented in partnership with BMWi, was designed “as an allegorical interpretation of movement and contemplation,” according to the brothers, who interpreted the concept of sustainable mobility with materials including fabrics made of the sustainable wool yarn that will be used in the electric car’s seat upholstery and lightweight carbon columns created using renewable energy sources. Here’s a cinematic souvenir of the project: the Quiet Motion film, directed by Juriaan Booij: