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Archives: July 2013

In Which John Hodgman Deftly Compares Corn on the Cob, Typewriters, and 3D Printers

We first discovered the genius that is John Hodgman in late 2005, when we spent Christmas reading aloud to our family (and anyone else who would list) the lists of “hobo facts” and wacky state mottoes (e.g., Nebraska: “Birthplace of Unicameral Government!”) in The Areas of My Expertise. That inspired volume, the first in his since triumphantly completed trilogy of Complete World Knowledge, would go on to catalyze Hodgman’s transformation from a literary agent-turned-magazine writer to global renown as an author of fake trivia books, The Daily Show‘s resident deranged millionaire, judge, and most recently, star of his own Netflix special. In addition to the highly enertaining Judge John Hodgman Pocast, he adjudicates disputes (in 100 words or less) in a wee column of The New York Times Magazine, and his latest is a doozy:

Sophia writes: My father eats corn horizontally. I eat it in a circular motion. I believe that his way of eating is inefficient. Could you please issue an injunction stating that the proper way to eat corn is in a circular motion?
Your father eats corn that way because, as I do, he remembers what a typewriter is. It’s hard for us to see a roller-food and not proceed left to right before returning to the next line. Sometimes I even hear a bell ring. You dismantle your corn like a 3-D printer in reverse: vertical stack by vertical stack. Your argument from efficiency is specious, so I find in your father’s favor: I would rather look like Hemingway while eating than like some kind of mechanized chipmunk any day.

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BMW Unveils i3 Electric Car, ‘Designed for Sustainable Mobility’

When we learned that the “first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of carbon fiber” would make its global debut this week, we dispatched writer Nancy Lazarus to take the UnBeige hovercraft (powered by orange peels and recycled periodicals) downtown for the big reveal.

(Photos Courtesy BMW)

“BMW’s i3 has unique proportions for the urban environment and is being sold for the mega-city, but it’s not out of place on the freeway,” noted Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group’s global head of design during Monday’s New York launch. BMW simultaneously unveiled the car at events in London and Beijing. The brand is counting on stateside sales when the car becomes available next year, since The U.S. is the leading market for electric vehicles.

“From sketch to street, it’s innovative in every aspect, including the customer experience. The i3 was designed for sustainable mobility,” added BMW board member Norbert Reithofer. He said the car provides solutions for urban lifestyles, such as easy access, smaller turning radius and more interior space. BMW is also eager to overcome skepticism about driving electric cars, mainly charging issues.

Design of the i3 started from scratch five years ago, according to van Hooydonk. “We pushed the reset button on colors and materials. Our new aesthetic is called ‘next premium,’ and the design language maximizes the effect with fewer elements. We used some familiar features, like the kidney-shaped grille, but also many new elements.”
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Design Jobs: McMurry, KTVU, Kaplow

This week, McMurry is hiring a senior art director, while KTVU needs a design director. Kaplow is seeking a graphic designer, and WRNN needs a creative director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Marina Abramović Takes to Kickstarter to Raise $600K for Performance Art Institute

The artist with a study model of the Marina Abramović Institute. (Courtesy OMA)

“In the life of an artist, it’s very important to think of the future,” Marina Abramović has said. “When you die, you can’t leave anything physical—that doesn’t make any sense—but a good idea can last a long, long time.” Her good idea? Purchase a crumbling old theater in Hudson, New York (check!), get Rem Koolhaas and OMA on board for a gut reno (done!), and channel 40 years worth of pioneering performance art into the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation for Performance Art, a living archive-cum-laboratory that will explore “time-based and immaterial art,” including performance, dance, theater, film, video, opera, and music. To help achieve that last part, the artist has launched a Kickstarter campaign, where her goal is to raise $600,000 by August 25.

“I feel like I’ve become a brand, like Coca-Cola,” said Abramović of her decision to name the institute after herself. “When you hear ‘Marina Abramović,’ you know it’s not about painting. It’s about performing art, and it’s about hardcore performing art.” Hardcore donors to her Kickstarter effort (those who pledge $500 or more) can receive thank-you gifts such as a tour of the MAI and OMA offices, an eye-gazing experience via webcam, and lunch with the artist, but there’s something for everyone, including an 8-bit Pippin Barr video game version of the institute ($5 donation) and access to live-stream demos of Abramović Method exercises ($25). Our favorite performative bonus is reserved for those who pony up $10,000 or more. They’ll be treated to a life event called “Nothing”: “Marina will do nothing. You will do nothing,” notes the website. “You will not be publicly acknowledged.”
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Shiny, Happy Makeup: Established Designs Packaging for Marc Jacobs Cosmetics

Sure, Francois Nars‘s formulas are great, but Fabien Baron‘s rubbery matte black packaging and assured Helvetica Neue identity for the makeup artist’s eponymous line helped it zoom to enduring global glory (and eventually earn Nars a mega-payout from Shiseido, which acquired the brand in 2000). Marc Jacobs is going shiny.

The designer—and Nars buddy—is angling for a piece of the wildly competitive color cosmetics market with a 122-product line created in collaboration with Sephora, owned by longtime Jacobs-backer LVMH. On August 9, Marc Jacobs Beauty will arrive in Sephora stores and select Marc Jacobs emporiums in packaging designed by New York-based Established.
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In Brief: Zoë Ryan to Curate Istanbul Design Biennial, More Design for Departures

Clinton Smith, former editorial director of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, is moving to New York to become editor-in-chief at Veranda. He succeeds Dara Caponigro, who resigned from the Hearst mag in May.

• Curator and writer Zoë Ryan has been tapped to curate the second Istanbul Design Biennial, which will run from October 18 to December 14 of next year. Ryan is curator of architecture and design at the Art Institute of Chicago.

• Good news, design lovers: after testing the waters with a May issue, Departures has decided to increase the frequency of its Departures Home + Design spin-off to two times a year in 2014, with May/June and October issues that will arrive with the flagship magazine.

Ralph Lauren is funding a restoration project at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. He also plans to stage a post-Paris Fashion Week runway show at the school in October.

Oscar de la Renta weighed in on the Anthony Weiner scandal, part deux: “I think in life people do deserve a second chance,” said the designer during a recent appearance on CBS This Morning (de la Renta designed the wedding dress of Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin). “A third and a fourth? I doubt it.”

Karim Rashid Teams with Sully Wong for Dotty Desert Boots

Designer George Sully and sneaker aficionado Henry Wong describe their Toronto-based brand, Sully Wong, as “a North American/Asian culture clash brought to you in a form of a sneaker.” Add to that cross-cultural rumpus the distinctive shapes and jazzy brights favored by Karim Rashid and the result is a sneaker-cum-desert boot that resembles a pair of Keds that stayed too long at the circus. The limited-edition Karim for Sully Wong shoes, which make their official debut at next month’s Magic trade show in Las Vegas and hit stores early next year for $299 per pop pair, will be available in four prints in eight colors, including Rashid’s preferred pink. Pictured here is the Kromo print in “kool blue,” which just happens to be a perfect match for Duchess Kate‘s post-baby Jenny Packham frock.

Design Within Reach Debuts Textiles Line

Up with upholstery! In a move that makes us want to recover all of our furniture in a hazy wool that is simultaneously ethereal and sweatshirtesque, Design Within Reach has launched a proprietary textile program. The nine textiles in 42 colorways, which debuted online and in DWR studios this week, range from a creamy cotton twill and a broad weave that plays well with saturated brights to a moody ducale wool and a textured, tiger lily-toned take on post-industrial recycled polyester. Seven of the fabrics, including a smart lama tweed, come from a family-run mill in Italy, while the aforementioned dreamy wool melange and eco-friendly textiles are all-American, made by Maharam, which was acquired by Herman Miller in April.

Last Chance to Enter Dyson Awards

Would-be entrepreneurs, the time is now to throw your newfangled, solar-powered, air-purifying, self-cleansing hat into the ring for the James Dyson Award, a competition open to students studying product design, industrial design, and engineering at the university level (or recent graduates) in 18 countries, including the United States and Canada. Entries close August 1.

“We’re looking for people who rather than accept a problem, go further to design a simple and effective solution,” says Dyson. Last year’s big winner was Royal College of Art grad Dan Watson‘s SafetyNet, a device to increase the sustainability of fishing. As for this year’s competition, there’s buzz brewing around bike safety. Nathan Wills from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena has a new take on the bicycle helmet in the Torch T1, an LED-embedded cranium protector that is visible from 360 degrees. Another illuminating project comes from a group of Stanford students, who turned to Kickstarter to help develop Revolights, LED rings that mount directly to each wheel.

Illustration of James Dyson and his trusty Air Multiplier by Adrian Tomine for The New Yorker.

Quote of Note | Os Gêmeos

“Everybody has yellow inside. For us it’s a very spiritual color. It’s something that happens very naturally when we work in the studio, when we are drawing. Everyday we go to work in the room and it’s yellow because of the lights that come in the window. Sometimes in the house of my mother, we take one room and use it as our studio. All our drawings from this time are orange, yellow, red, hot. The night is too cold outside. All the colors you see are how we feel. When you feel the night knocking on your window, you need to be yellow, keep yellow. All the colors you see are improvised, everything we do is improvised. We never know which color we going to put on the clothes or character, it just happens.”

-Brazilian artists Os Gêmeos in an interview with Paper