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Archives: March 2005

Architecture Days


I was thumbing through The New Yorker last night and came across ad an for Architecture Days (scary flash nonsense upon clicking that link, sorry) described thusly:

The publishers of Architectural Digest invite you to celebrate the power of architecture and its ever-increasing influence. Architectural Digest “Architecture Days” is a three-city series of events including lectures by leading architects, customized tours, receptions in amazing spaces and more.”

They’re doing events in New York City, Chicago and LA. You can skip the aforementioned Flash scariness by simply going to their Calendar page. If you want to participate, it’ll cost you. Ticket prices start @ $20 and go as high as $75.

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Brand Blog

I came across this blog the other evening when I was surfing the blogrolls of the blogs on my blogrolls, or maybe via my bookmarks (to which I added it. It’s all so very meta. Anyway I found this blog, brand new, and I think it’s swell. It’s very readable – brief, but insightful posts, very simple design. Jen says: check it out!

Crimes Against Urbanity (This Time It’s Personal)

amanda.jpgSocial X-Ray/City Planning chair Amanda Burden impressively comes in at fourteen out of the Fifty Most Loathsome New Yorkers according to cranky weekly New York Press. Her boss, Mayor Bloomberg earns the top spot. The Press minced no words about Burden (or anyone else for that matter):

Once the hope of the public-interest planning community, Burden gets loathsome points for dating Charlie Rose, but earns her way onto the list in her own right for heading up a rubber-stamp commission that betrays the true mandate of the city land-use approval process. When she sat on the board of the commission, Burden was considered a thoughtful and innovative urban planner. Since taking the body’s helm in 2002, she’s become the ultimate City Hall insider, presiding over an authoritarian commission that has approved massive zoning changes throughout the city and paved the way for big developers for decades to come. Like the mayor who appointed her, this Upper East Side daughter of society fashion icon Babe Paley doesn’t need to work for a living; she does it to serve the people of New York City. Too bad she doesn’t listen to them more.

Eva Zeisel in DC

EZ-Belly-Button-Space-Divid.jpgThe New York Times published a special section on museums today – it’s a pretty impressive array of articles. I’m particular fond of the article about artists who work as art handlers. I know a lot of artists with art handling day jobs and have been treated to some great behind the scenes stories from all of them.

The thing I’m most excited about however, is the Eva Zeisel exhibition that’s opening in DC at the Hillwood Museum & Gardens on April 19th. The exhibition, entitled The Playful Search for Beauty, is a survey of the 98 year old designer’s amazing and prolific career. There’s an excellent description of her work in the Hillwood release:

“Although the elegant lines and organic shapes of her work are clearly modern, Zeisel has managed to avoid what she describes as the ‘cold, negative’ aspects of modern design. “Instead of severe functionalism, Zeisel’s work features abundant curving, natural shapes that are playful, yet familiar,” notes Frederick J. Fisher, Hillwood’s executive director.

Zeisel was one of the first designers to attract me to design overall – when I first discovered her work I spent hours poring over eBay search results and hunting down her work in flea markets and thrift stores. It’s the playfulness of her work that got me then, and still gets me now. It makes me smile, it makes me happy. The schmoo salt and pepper shakers are the quintessential example of why I adore Zeisel’s work.

(The Times requires free registration to read their articles. You can also go to bugmenot to get around that.)

Exactly What Steichen Had in Mind!


This fresh interpretation of the classic Steichen image comes to us via a clever Curbed reader.
An excellent follow-up to yesterday’s Crimes Against Urbanity post.

Breaking Into Design Journalism

Over on the the mother ship they’ve posted a transcript from a seminar led by Metropolis Magazine editor Julie Taraska. Breaking Into Design Journalism is available to Avant Guild members only, but here’s a sampling of what Julie had to say:

One important thing to do is, for every story you should have a hook. And “hook” means, why should we bother to cover this story now? And there are a lot of different kind of hooks. For our purposes, for a design magazine, some of the hooks can include: It’s an exhibit coming up; there’s a talk; there’s some sort of anniversary; there’s a preview; the product’s going to be unveiled to the market like at a trade show. There’s street date, which means when the product actually is going to be unveiled to the public….”

Crate & Barrel Smackdown over at AT

2005_3_29_cordova.jpgOver on Apartment Therapy, there’s a long thoughtful analysis about the most recent Crate & Barrel catalog. I am a sucker for a recap that covers good design, consumer culture and the influence of fashion on design. A sampling:

I do like the idea of C&B reissuing and/or resurrecting some design classics, like what they’ve been doing with Marimekko the past few seasons, and what they have done with the Eva Ziesel dinnerware. But the Adler/Graves stuff seems beneath them (C&B), to me. If they want to go name-brand designer, I’d rather see something by some less exposed talents (like Martha Sturdy, for example, who seems to be more a fit there.)

Yet more Social Networking: Yahoo 360

ma_360-beta_1.gifYahoo! 360 is yet another entry into the whole online social networking fray. The Yahoo application is an everything but the kitchen sink roll-up of web-based services, which is easy for them of course, since they offer all these services to begin with: Share pictures! IM! Decide which profiles your friends can see! Best of all, they encourage you to start your very own.. blog! Fantastic!

I don’t know about you, but I need another blog like I need a hole in the head. I have a hard enough time keeping up here, and only get to post to the gallery blog sporadically at best.

Also my friends, friends of friends and friends of friends of friends are everywhere: Flickr, Fotolog, Friendster, (where I am apparently part of some art world cabal, news to me!), LinkedIn and others that I am sure I’m leaving out. Then on top of it there are blogrolls, “social” bookmarks and the 100+ people on my AIM buddy list. And let’s not forget the grandaddy of them all, my geek badge of honor: my membership to The Well. I am feeling all networked out!

All these tools are useful for different reasons. For me, IM is the most indispensible of them all. But one of the things I’ve noticed about all this online connectedness is that it ultimately can have the effect of disconnecting me from my real life world.

My laptop has been at Tekserve for well over a week now (grr.) and it’s been a horrible inconvenience, but I have to say, there is certainly some merit to being a bit less plugged in.

But back to the Yahoo! thing – I have 100 invites! So, if you’re not experiencing network fatigue, or like me, you’re always curious about the latest entries into this arena, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite. (as always: jen AT unbeige DOT com)

More LED Coolness


An anonymous tipster sent me a link to this blog entry on information aesthetics. The image above is of a buliding with:

a matrix of LED lights embedded into the entry walkway respond to the presence of visitors, while a massive display of lights on the building facade mirror these patterns. the building facade acts as a real-time visual representation of the human activities within its physical borders, turning the architectural concept of facades inside out.

Electroland a collaborative that describes itself as “a team that creates comprehensive and multi-disciplinary urban projects and scenarios.” [ed. note: Powerpoint slide or mission statement... or both? You be the judge.] developed the project, called EnterActive, which is located at 11th & Flower in El Lay. Any Unbeige readers who’ve checked it out in person – I’d be much obliged to received a first hand account! Email jen AT unbeige DOT com.

Braun at Fifty


Holy smokes! I can barely stand the grooviness. Braun has a fabulous (and much blogged about) timeline of their 50 years of designing very hip and functional items. The fact that the entire interface is Flash-based earns it a big black mark from yours truly, for reasons well documented in previous posts, but… sigh! The red Aromaster coffee maker from 1972? Divine. The Atelier 1 HiFi system? Austin Powers central! Their 1986 TV set looks like inspiration for the iPod.

If I could, dear readers, I would link you directly to these objects of my design affection, but I can only offer you a link to their Flash timeline: Design Innovation 50. Flash aside, it’s groovy baby.