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Archives: May 2007

A Little Early Afternoon Saville Goes a Long Way

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We like when we get to hear from Peter Saville because, well, we like Peter Saville. This time around, the big shot designer who worked for Factory Records, making all those albums you bought in the 1980s and creating things you and your pals would be admiring for years to come, showed up in an interview with the Scotsman newspaper (which we learned about by way of Eightface). It’s an interesting piece, once you get to the first half which is mostly backstory that you probably already know. In the second half, he starts talking and that’s when it starts getting interesting. Here’s a bit:

Malcolm [Garrett] and I would sit at art college in Manchester looking at books on the Bauhaus and, staring at Market Street, we’d wonder what the f*** had gone wrong. We’d look at packaging and signs, and we’d see how brilliant it could be, and it wasn’t and it upset us. We found reality shabby. And although we couldn’t change the world from the top down – we weren’t invited to redecorate Downing Street! – we did get invited to do record sleeves. And we realised we could make a difference.”

Fast Company Gets to the Heart of Oven Design

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We don’t do a lot of oven design coverage here at UnBeige because, well, it’s oven design coverage and why would you? Unless you work for a trade magazine, say, “Oven Design Monthly,” no matter what you tell us otherwise, really there isn’t any possible reason. So it’s as surprising to us as it will be to you that, this very day, we’re doing oven design coverage. By way of Tropist, we found this interesting piece over at Fast Company about the whole start to finish product design, by a firm we really like, Frog, of their creation of the Turbochef 30″ Double-Wall Speedcook Oven. We know what you’re thinking because we thought it was a weird thing to look at too, but once you get into the short slideshow you’ll be thinking, “Huh, this isn’t too bad.” You might even start thinking, “I wonder if I still have that free business subscription card to Oven Design Monthly.” It is only then that you’ll realize that you’ve taken this whole thing way, way too far. Weirdo.

Frank Gehry Takes a Joke

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By way of Gothamist, we were pointed to a story coming up in the new issue of the New Yorker about Frank Gehry finding a shirt made by Barnaby Harris, the maker of extremely popular, pointless shirts with the set-up: “Fuck [insert product, event or person here]” that read “Fuck Frank Gehry.” And Frank, being the nice guy he is, decided to just start wearing it around the office, sort of like those bands who get t-shirts printed “[band name] sucks!” just so they can jump ahead of the curve. Here’s a bit:

It was suggested to Gehry, who once had a cameo on “The Simpsons,” that for a high-powered architect he had an unusual ability to take a joke. “Yeah,” he said, “because as I’ve gotten to be pretty well known there’s a lot of negative stuff written, right? People potshot at you. So I sort of ignore it. You know, when Bilbao was presented publicly, there was a candlelight vigil against me.” He let out a rueful laugh. “And then there was a thing in a Spanish paper saying, ‘Kill the American Architect.’ That was scary. So I stood beside the President every time there was an event. I figured, if they’re gonna kill me…Anyway. Once the building was built, I could live there for free. And the same thing with Disney Hall — when it was first shown they called it broken crockery, and now everybody thinks it’s great. So it takes a while.

The Monster Hog: Too Glorious to Be True, Says Hoax-Seekers

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Sure to be the next Adnan Hajj fake photo event of the season, only this time very stupid: that story coming out of Alabama about the 11 year old who killed the “Monster Hog,” well, it turns out that we may be looking at the work of Photoshop, according to the Associated Press and Fox News. The fact-determined journalists behind the whole affair are from Stinky Journalism, who have apparently hired photo analysts to get to the bottom of it all and figure out the truth. God willing, they will. We’re far too proud a nation to let a hoax like this left perpetrated.

“These are authentic pictures,” Stone told the Web site StinkyJournalism.org, which claims it can prove the colossal claim isn’t kosher. “They have not been altered,” Stone said.

Still, StinkyJournalism.com enlisted the help of a retired New York University physicist, Richard Brandt, who offers what he says is a “technical analysis” of the Stone family’s claim.

The site also claims to have evidence that other photos on the family Web site were doctored to make the feral hog look bigger than life.

Helvetica Declared a Cult, If So, We’re In

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Boy, do we l-l-l-l-ove it when Michael “Published Author” Bierut is kind enough to point us towards more Helvetica coverage, especially when it comes with clever little bonuses like today’s feature in Slate. And although the Slate authors didn’t take it upon themselves to actually create this most brilliant word ever, we certainly will: Helveticult. And we are card-carrying members.

The typical slide show essay features Helvetica in the wild, but what we really love is that they asked writers something we always thought would be an extremely interesting but fairly obvious question: What typeface do you write in?

Most chose Courier, which we expected, at least for that “See? I’m a writer suffering on this fake typewriter for my craft” quality. Author Anne Fadiman, however, seems to possess an uncanny knowledge of both type and antiquated typewriter technology, namechecking Justus Erich Walbaum, John Baskerville and even Mrs. Eaves.

Design Writers Reading Design Writing In NYC

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The Other Means Reading Series brings together three writers for reading events that benefit a mutually-agreed-upon cause. Tonight’s edition has a design-for-good feel to it: It features Martin Pedersen, Karrie Jacobs and Philip Nobel reading various works of fiction and non-fiction related to design, and benefits the Hester Street Collective, a design-build org that works in low income NYC neighborhoods. Nobel tells us that he’ll be reading an excerpt of a biography of the architect/polymath Jacob Karl he’s currently working on. If you ask him nicely, maybe he’ll read his criticism manifesto for you, too. Last Exit Bar, 8pm.

Sanjaya Pretends His Failed Singing Career Was an Industrial Design Project

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Since “American Idol” reject Sanjaya has already ruined his reputation, why not take down the reputation of an innocent educational institution as well? A video is currently making the rounds that features Sanjaya claiming to be Bill Vendall, an industrial design student in the grad program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Apparently this whole off-key charade we’ve been subjected to was actually a project he calls “The Sanjaya Installation,” an assignment made as part of his regular thesis work. Pretending your entire career up until this point was fake is one thing, but pretending it’s a design project? Wrong. You can also watch the follow up video where Sanjaya admits that Will Ferrell put him up to it. We almost believe him, but if Will Ferrell had anything to do with it, wouldn’t it have been…funny?

Shouldn’t RISD take legal recourse to end this libelous scandal? Text your vote to 5537 by 5pm EST.

Touring Architecturally-Smug New York City

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When the AIA picked the 150 best-loved buildings in the U.S. earlier this year, it was no surprise that New York racked up the most mentions, including not just one but two Manhattan Apple stores. The NY Times’ Seth Kugel curates a walking architecture tour of NY that hits 25 of the 33 on the list in a meandering, Starbucks-dotted nine-mile urban hike.

Want to organize a tour near you? Visit the C&G Partners-designed Favorite Architecture site for the entire list. For those of you Los Angeles, hitting the list’s highlights will be all too easy: Go to Union Station. It’s the only LA building on there.

Intel’s Laptops As Purses

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We’ve talked about such stories before here, about PC manufacturers getting wise to Apple‘s successes within the laptop industry due to their high-quality slim design, but Airbag pointed us to this interesting story in BusinessWeek that’s similar in tone, but also handles that progression in a broader sense, that people now want technology to function more and more as an accessory, not just a tool. And so they focus on Intel‘s design and construction of the thinnest notebook to date, the Metro. Its width is far smaller than the MacBook we’re writing this post on and even slimmer than a cell phone, and wow, if that keyboard don’t just look like the sexiest thing ever. It’s porn for geeks, certainly, but it’s also a pretty interesting story about trends to boot. Here’s a bit:

“It’s like jewelry,” says Omer Kotzer, a creative director at Ziba, a firm renowned for consumer-electronics design.

And like cell phones, which come with different ringtones and in different colors, this laptop also strives to be a personal fashion accessory. The computer comes with a diary-like folder that attaches to the laptop via magnets. The folder, available in different colors, also functions as a wireless charger for the device. One side features a screen made of material devised by E Ink, one of the recipients of investment by Intel Capital. It can display a picture, the calendar, or your schedule for the day.

A Million Entries, One Job: SitePoint Design Opportunities

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Maybe we’re a little slow to learn about this, judging from the traffic and business the company says it receives every month, but then, maybe you don’t know about it either. Whatever the case, we’re not sure what to think about it. Springwise has this post up about SitePoint, which they describe as “Crowdsourcing Graphic Design.” The way the site runs is simple. A company posts some design service they need, say what they can afford, and then designers who want to participate do what they can on the project and then the company picks what they want to use. In a way, it’s just that same old spec discussion and many are sure to hate what they’re doing. On the other hand, isn’t this just a lot like an RFP, but with very little money changing hands? Here’s what Springwise writes in response to that question:

While many established designers protest that this type of ‘spec’ work is devaluing their profession, crowdsourcing is a valid and cost-effective option for small businesses or organisations who can’t (yet) afford to hire a traditional branding agency or graphic design firm. Gaining access to thousands of aspiring designers means that a small town pub or a summer computer camp can buy a logo or t-shirt design for USD 100-200. Meanwhile, designers from across the world can tap into a much larger market for their services, while building their portfolio, honing their skills and presenting to real clients.

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