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Archives: January 2007

UnBeige Can Read: New In 2007 Books

Well, boys and girls, it’s time for another edition of UnBeige Can Read, where we go through the stacks of books on our desk to recommend the best in pageturning for you, our dear readers.


The premise is simple: Forty Posters for the Yale School of Architecture by Michael Bierut. But as you page through it you start to realize, “Forty posters? For the same client? Damn.” As a body of work, it’s both playful and elegant. The introduction is by Robert A.M. Stern and it’s a Winterhouse Edition, with the black and white posters set against this nice creamy ecru. Read more on Design Observer, and by the way, we hear a rumor that Bierut’s got a book of his essays coming out this year, too…


We’ll admit it when we don’t know something, and we did not know who Antonin and Noemi Raymond were until this book landed on our doorstep. Crafting a Modern World is the first English-language book of this dynamic duo, who gained great prominence for their design work in Japan. But they also collaborated with people like Noguchi, Wright, Nakashima, creating some incredible mid-century works that, at least for us, were a pleasant surprise. Tons of drawings, sketches and photos.


Antiques of the Future features “connoisseur of high design” Lisa S. Roberts‘ personal collection of “mass-produced products that are being created today that, once they are no longer in production, will significantly go up in value because they represent noteworthy design in their time.” Although the book does chronicle an interesting time in the development of designer products (early 1980′s-recently) we’re kind of at a loss for the secondary concept Roberts proposes–teaching readers to appreciate and recognize “good design,” and start their own collections. Wait, is this book by Target?

And that’s it for this editon of UnBeige Can Read. See you next time, and remember, you don’t have to take our word for it.

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Mizrahi and Millman Are Speaking Our Body/Language


Well, it’s just about the most fabulous idea for a conference that we never thought of. Body/Language, coordinated by the cool kids at AIGA NY, stitches together the oft-coordinating worlds of fashion and graphic design. The stylish Ms. Millman presides, with appearances by Andy Spade, Abbott Miller, Ruth Ansel and many others, including our favorite off-the-cuff designer, Sir Isaac Mizrahi:

“On his passion for the graphic design of fashion”

Uh oh. Debbie, during that tete-a-tete, watch out!

AvroKO’s Social House Rescues Treasure Island


Some of us were in Vegas this past weekend, which may explain a few things. Doing our best to engage in design-worthy pursuits while away, it was our duty to make a reservation at Social House, the sushi-sake joint designed by the four hotties at AvroKO.

It must have been terribly distressing for the designers to get to this part of the brief: “And then, a life-sized galleon will sail in front of the space, filled with Jack Sparrow-esque types–but in this case, very obviously gay–who, using their highly developed gymnastics skills, board a neighboring boat where scantily-clad dancers have only their gyrating hips to defend themselves.” See, Social House is located in Treasure Island, or TI, as its signage insists, which has until recently resisted hipification. But now they’ve sexed up the street show, acronymed themselves, and hired AvroKO to design their flagship restaurant. So TI it is.

Read more

Men With Hats Introduce You to Gutenberg Via Song and Dance


A little bit of miscellany to round out the day for this writer. By way of bblinks, we learned about Gutenberg! the Musical, now appearing at the Actor’s Playhouse in NY. We’re not entirely sure what it’s about, but we see that it involves hats, and on one of those hats (see picture), it says Helvetica. So we’re thinking that, at some point, for however long, the thing has to do with type. And thus, it has found its way here. A synopsis from their site:

In 1450, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. In Nutley, NJ, Bud and Doug wrote a musical about him. They don’t have a cast, an orchestra, or a clue, but they have a lot of hats. Tonight they’re pitching this hilarious epic to the producers who might take their dream to Broadway.

If you happen to see it, drop us a line and let us know what you thought. Sounds interesting.

A Moment with Carson Ellis

By way of Drawn, a nice feature on Carson Ellis, the illustrator know for, most recently, designing the cover of the new Decemberists album.

The Dorm of the Future Awaits Us


Kind of an interesting “why not just post it?” find: it was just announced that Jonathan Levi of Levi Architects, has won the $25,000 prize offered up by the Association of College and University Housing Officers International for his design in a competition to find a new sustainable prototype for the dorm room of the future, one that will hopefully last for more than 25 years. The results: well, Levi gets the money, and twenty-five years from now, eighteen year olds who haven’t been born yet, will arrive on campus for their first day and say, “Ick. I bet this was cool twenty years ago, but this place is totally xoid.” ‘Xoid’ of course, being some slang word in the future. Said student will also be a robot.

Gordon Bruce Wants to Make Noyes A Household Name


An interesting story out of Business Week‘s excellent design column. This time, it’s “The Forgotten Pioneer of Corporate Design” about Eliot Noyes, a highly influential designer and architect who, sadly, relatively few people know anything about. Though that might change, as we learn that Gordon Bruce is releasing a book about Noyes and his work, entitled “Eliot Noyes: A Pioneer of Design and Architecture in the Age of Modernism.” Here’s a little:

Bruce begins his story with Noyes’s early years and his education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where the young architect came under the influence of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, who fled Germany in 1937, bringing the modernist ideals of the Bauhaus School with them. But the author moves quickly to the early years of Noyes’s career when, after a brief stint working in the office of his mentors, he became the first curator of design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Seven See a ‘Mies’ In Their Futures, Only Time Will Tell


The finalists for one of the biggest awards in the architecture world were announced yesterday, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award. If you’ve heard of it, you’ll remember that they do this once ever two years, naming the top dogs in the business. Here’s the list:

Pole Universitaire de Sciences de Gestion (School for Management), Bordeaux, France. Architect : Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal/Lacaton & Vassal Architectes
Centre Choregraphique National (National Choreographic Centre), Aix-en-Provence, France. (Rudy Ricciotti)
Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, Germany. Architects : Zaha Hadid/Zaha Hadid Architects
Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany. Architects : Ben van Berkel/UN Studio
Centro de Artes de Sines (Sines Art Centre), Sines, Portugal. Architects : Manuel Aires Mateus, Francisco Aires Mateus/Aires Mateus e Associados
Edificio Veles e Vents (America’s Cup Building), Valencia, Spain. Architects. David Chipperfield, Fermin Vasquez/David Chipperfield
MUSAC Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon (MUSAC Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y Leon), Leon, Spain. Architects : Luis M. Mansilla, Emilio Tunon/Mansilla + Tunon.

Amy Papaelias Handwrites Her Way Into Our Hearts


We’d like to introduce you to our new friend Thomas Phinney, who works as a type designer, among other things, at Adobe. We like him even though he uses a PC–so scandalous!–but he swears it’s because of the increased vertical pixel count that he needs to design type. Fair enough.

We like Phinney because he introduced us to Amy Papaelias, a type designer who completely blew our mind. Her handwritten typefaces have the ability to literally channel the personality of who might be writing in that style. Cranky Kid writes like a whiny five-year-old. Sugar and Spice (above) makes naughty things nice. And our favorite, Francophile, not only French-ifies certain words, but actually totally captures that weird cursive that French people seem unable to shake.

Imaginary Forces’ Creative Director Returns to the Country After Six-Month Visa Ordeal


This is one of these stories that seems too ridiculous to be true. Imaginary Forces creative director Ahmet Ahmet–who has worked on everything from Harry Potter to Spider-Man–returned home to LA yesterday after a nightmare of an ordeal where the U.S. refused to let him re-enter the country. He and his family had been living in a London apartment for almost six months, where Ahmet had been trying to work on projects remotely. And in this LA Times story, IF claims that it’s lost $1 million in jobs because Ahmet couldn’t be there to do them.

According to this week’s Shoot, British citizen Ahmet was granted a special non-immigrant visa six years ago due to his “extraordinary talent.” Funny how they could confuse that talent with something else entirely.