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Archives: July 2007

Countdown to Moss Angeles

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We are, right now, holding in our hot little hands this six-paneled invitation–white and black, of course–heralding a fact we uncovered ourselves a few months ago but were told to keep quiet about: Murray Moss and Franklin Getchell are opening their second Moss store here in LA on Thursday. (Friday for non-invitation-holding peeps).

The disappointingly subdued opening will include such ho-hum entertainment as a hanging garden of eighteen Swarovski chandeliers by Georg Baldele, limited-edition pieces by the Campana Brothers and Tord Boontje, and a vintage Steinway baby grand which is to be played and burned by Maarten Baas. We know, yawn.

In the meantime, read up on Moss the man in this nice piece by Vanity Fair from a few months ago. Party report and photos to follow, but don’t worry: We promise not to touch anything.

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Blackle, Your Energy-Efficient Google

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Forget, for a minute, how ugly Google is, and consider all the energy you’re wasting every time you search for “Britney+Spears+meltdown.” Apparently, a post named Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year got the hydrogen-powered wheels a-spinnin’ and voila–a black Google was born. The all-new Blackle is indeed darker in shade, which leads us to our first question: How can this possibly be for real? Since this is a search engine, there are answers:

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. “Image displayed is primarily a function of the user’s color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen.”

So black is the new green is the new black. Although we will say we found it odd that we Blackled ‘Blackle’ and it asked us if we meant ‘black.’ How sad that it doesn’t even know its own name.

Donatella Versace Tells Spice Girls What They Want, What They Really, Really Want

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Word of the Spice Girls reunion has generated a few surprises already, like the fact that there are three million Spice Girl fans on this planet who can now return to their loved ones after living in exile for over a decade. In another coup for the quintet, it was announced that Donatella Versace will be designing the costumes for their world tour and has even been given a Spice-worthy nickname: Lips Spice.

Instead of the explicit character-driven outfits (Sporty Spice = tracksuit, Scary Spice = Halloween costume) the Girls will still dress like their personas, but in a “much less obvious way.” Victoria Beckham is especially excited for her new look seeing as Versace truly understands the unique challenges of designing for round-breasted unsmiling women with orange skin.

The Plague of Patents and the Weird World of Software Development

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Andy Rutledge points us over to the site Coding Horror for a really fascinating story about the battle ground that is software development in “The Coming Software Apocalypse.” Even if you aren’t a tech person, and lord knows that we aren’t, it’s a great read up on what’s going on behind the scenes with everyone from major corporations to mom and pop operations trying to patent the backends of their software, while the industry simultaneously tries to figure out just what exactly patents are doing in the industry in the first place. There are all of good examples in the piece, employing other professional arenas (like cooks not being able to patent recipes or the lack of control over mathematical formulas), allowing a firm grasp on just how nuts the world of designing software is. After reading, we’ll stick to our whatever-it-is-that-we-do, thank you very much.

Donald Gunn’s 12 Types of TV Advertising

Super cool slideshow and video put together over at Slate using Leo Burnett creative director Donald Gunn‘s 1978 theory that there were only twelve possible kinds of television advertising techniques. We love it and not just because we’ve shamelessly employed nearly all of them in our collective professional lives.

We’ll See It When We See It: The Turn Against the ‘McMansion’

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This was a pleasant, if not a touch skeptical, read in the Guardian, “Planners Move to Close Window on US ‘McMansions.’” It’s all about city and county governments finally getting wise, some ten years too late, to the possibility that building houses of 10,000 square feet for two people might not be such a wise thing for maintaining resources and keeping communities in some way connected other than in three hour commutes on the freeway. Granted, it’s “kick ‘em while their down” news for a struggling housing market, but for the rest of us, it’s welcome news. Here’s some:

In Boulder County, Colorado, which has recently adopted measures to cap the size of new homes, houses have grown from an average of 3,900 sq ft in 1990 to 6,300 sq ft last year.

Last month in Los Angeles, the city’s planning commission passed a motion to restrict the size of new homes. If the city council adopts the measure it could affect 300,000 properties in the city. Similar measures have been adopted in Minneapolis and in Florida.

“I think people are suspicious of development in the US right now,” says John Chase, architecture critic and urban designer for the city of West Hollywood. “People have an unconscious cultural association with a place. mansion-building takes away from a person’s sense of the identity of a place.”

Now let’s just get some kind of “stop building cheap, crappy, brick condos” law passed and our cities will be safe too.

The Return of the Gap Campaign You Can Set Your Watch By (feat. Annie Leibovitz)

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Every couple of years, clothing giant Gap decides to fall back on something it’s been doing in their campaigns for years and years: black and white photos of quirky celebrities, taken by famous photographers. Remember when Richard Avedon was taking them in the mid-90s for that “They Wore Khakis” campaign, like here with Robyn and Rand Miller? Well, just announced for their new “Classics Redefined” campaign, you’ve got the same basic idea, except just replace Avedon with Annie Leibovitz and CD-Rom game creators with people like Sarah Silverman, Forest Whitaker and Twyla Tharp and you’ve got the same general idea. Still, if it moves sweaters, right?

We Want to Take Takagi Masakatsu Home With Us

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It’s not often we have so much trouble picking a category for our posts, but this one was a doozy. Watch this Apple Pro profile of visual virtuoso Takagi Masakatsu and you try to stick a neat little label on the guy. Apple says his “work knows no aesthetic borders” and that’s about right: He’s a star of the music, sound, art, design, animation, film and music video worlds and probably of some worlds that haven’t been invented yet. This sweet little video is incredibly gorgeous, touching and inspirational, even if, in the end, it does have to push a Mac.

A Writer Who Shall Remain Nameless Negects to Credit Designers Once Again

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Sugary-sweet delight washed over us when we spotted a review of the New World of Coca-Cola, a place we’d once drank our weight in empty calories one Hotlanta afternoon. Such fizzy frivolous fun! The perfect portrait of pop culture! But our enthusiasm quickly went flat when we realized that yet again, someone who has been known to bubble over with praise for museums completely forgot to attribute the dirty work to the designers.

After raising some hell the first time around, we had high hopes that the critic had learned his lesson. But when it comes to this brave New World, even the novelty of a “27-foot-tall bottle of Coke that hovers in a 90-foot-high glass pillar; the walls glimmer like chipped ice and are made bracingly cold to the touch even on a 90-degree day” does not merit a mention of either pillar-builder or engineer of bracing cold. And such a shame, even with the full credits widely available online. It almost makes us never want to attribute another article to this writer again.

Brad Cloepfil, High-Art Boutique Practitioner

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When not attending lamaze classes in anticipation of forthcoming projects, Brad Cloepfil kicks around Portland with chaps like Andrew Blum, visiting old projects like the Wieden+Kennedy complex. As chronicled in “The Elementalist,” Cloepfil is one of those rare architects who seems to actually enjoy architecture:

Cloepfil climbed the bleacher seats and paused for a moment on one of the catwalks that cross the main void. An ad guy zipped by on a scooter, and Cloepfil giggled–a high-pitched little sound that came unexpectedly from his big body but seemed to define his attitude toward this and all his work: boyishly bemused at his own good luck on the surface, but in full control to the core. “Whatever it is that you sensed when you walked into the room, that you couldn’t see from a photograph, makes me believe in architecture,” he says.

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