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Archives: December 2005

Watching Buildings Go Up Is Awesome, Especially Through The Eyes Of Annie

timesre.jpgOur bff returned this morning to point us in the direction of Annie Leibovitz’s “Building the Times” project, an online series of photographs documenting, you guessed it, the building of the new Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building at 41st St and 8th Ave. Apparently, the project will “provide an intimate look at a dramatic process that is usually invisible to the public.”

We heart intimate. We like dramatic. And we love public.

Books Are Nice For Looking And Learning And This Saturday They’re Cheap

Our friends at Hasted Hunt are hosting a de.MO book sale tomorrow from 12-4. Last chance to see the VII photos, and only chance to buy often weirdly-shaped but generally quite nice books for half off. Because nothing goes with shopping like a little Antonin Kratochvil.

Hasted Hunt, 529 West 20th St, 3rd Fl. December 17, 12-4.

Roberta Smith Takes On Pixar And Likes The Fuzzy Parts


We haven’t yet made it to the MoMA to see the new Pixar show, but in the spirit of being well-informed and on top of the culturescape we read Roberta Smith’s take in today’s Times. We learned that the exhibition is definitely lacking a catalog (mentioned twice), that it’s not a dirty show (unlike the Armani one at the Guggenheim which just happened to coincide with a corporate gift), and that the furry fuzzy animals are the best. Oh, and she takes it back to some “art” “historical” “referent.”

Pixar’s innovation is ultimately primarily formal and stylistic. It brought a new and startling degree of spatial illusion and sculptural reality to animation, and, as we all know, illusion is an exciting, many-splendored thing. To see the characters and objects in “Toy Story” move, or more often career, through space for the first time was thrilling. You can imagine the Italians of the Renaissance experiencing a similar delight upon seeing the cleanly defined box of illusionist space created by Masaccio’s, Pollaiuolo’s and Raphael’s progressively more assured deployments of linear perspective.

Ah. Yes. Quite.

We Don’t Know Anything Except We Know We Like Squidoo

lens1249860_handoff.jpgWe were trolling through our morning mail–everything from alumni lists to more alumni lists–and almost (shockingly!) ignored our latest Daily Candy. Which would, we discovered, have been tragic given that we now know about squidoo, a wikipedia-type site with the tagline “everyone’s an expert on something.” Was cosmic as we clicked and found that the graphic design “lens” comes in as the top 7th. There are general links, random wisdom (“It never gets easier. It just gets more complicated and you get paid more for it.”), blog roundups, portfolio advice, and more wisdom.

Yeah… it’s probably time we caught up.

Norman Foster, Back Again For The First Time

norman.jpgWe heard rumblings about a Larry Silverstein press conference but both couldn’t be bothered to go and, bizarrely, no one had invited us. Oh and he’s a geezer. Thankfully, other more serious reporters went and paid attention to the doozy of an announcement. Then Curbed (and their little bitch, the Gutter) picked it up.

Turns out that everyone’s favorite gherkin-tect Norman Foster, who originally tried to sneak in the back/front/side door of the WTC (did anyone get in legitimately??) reconstruction process, has just been selected by Larry himself as the architect of Office Tower #2, hot on the heels of the almost-completion of Office Tower #1 aka 250 Greenwich aka 7 World Trade Center aka That’s a Lovely View of the Pit of Death You’ve Got There.

Best quote? From the ever-smoove John C. Whitehead:

“I just fervently hope that that building begins to fill up,” said John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Hope? You better pray.

New Museum Now For Real Breaking Ground, For Real This Time

Our last foray into covering the Sanaa-designed shiny slipped matchboxes that will be the new New Museum was also our first foray into live-text-blogging, which enabled us to post such instantaneously updated highlights from the official groundbreaking as Laurie Anderson putting electronics into her mouth, Shinto priests, and mention of cultural commissioner Kate Levin’s height.

But, as with so many of these “groundbreakings,” there seemed to be very little ground actually broken. A small case of the emperor’s new construction site, as it were. Which is why we were psyched psyched psyched to received this picture, taken yesterday, of actual ground being broken–dug, even!–on the Bowery site. In all its glory:


If that isn’t reporting, we just don’t know what is.

Shacking Up With Your Broker


We’ve had a few real estate snafus in our New York day, but it never ever occurred to us–not even in the depths of couch-surfing homelessness we’ve found ourselves in not once, but twice–to call up our broker and strike up a deal. Today’s mostly incomprehensible House & Home gives us the charming story of the Lenn family, who moved in with their broker because their place wasn’t ready. Another couple moved in with the chick’s mom (and their cats) and a graphic designer (and we bring it back home, shazam) had to sublet for two years. Sucks. But, as the Times concedes, it really doesn’t suck as much as oh, say, having your entire city destroyed.

While the plight of these displaced homebuyers pales in comparison to those who are genuinely homeless, like the victims of the hurricanes that swept the Gulf region this year, living out of a suitcase does pose a financial drain and can lead to some strange living situations in sublets or with parents.

There’s inconceivably awful. And then there’s strange. But at least the editorial finger is right on the relativistic moralscape.

If You Think Your Brochure Is So Hot Why Don’t You Just Submit It And See If It Is

best.jpgWe rarely to never think about brochures until a really bitchin’ one crosses our virtual desk, but when one does it always occurs to us that graphic design can be, you know, really important. In convincing us to buy things. And things like that. So we’re grateful to cupcake enthusiast and lusty blogger Rachel Kramer Bussel for telling us about the Best of Brochure Design 9 competition from Rockport Publishers.

Best of Brouchure [sic] Design

Breakthrough brochure design can make an event, service, or product a winner. Rockport Publishers would like to celebrate your winning graphic design style in the latest volume of the best in the business, The Best of Brochure Design 9. Send your most creative examples of graphic design for brochures, pamphlets, corporate annual reports, and product booklets no later than December 15, 2005. Winners will be featured in The Best of Brochure Design 9, a full-color, 224-page, 9 x 11-inch (229 x 279 mm), hardcover book brimming with great design. Slated for publication in the fall of 2006, this volume will present cutting-edge corporate and service brochures created for clients large and small.

Really. How could you not?

Designers Having Deep Thoughts About Designers And Their Deep Thoughts

thinker.gifRalph Caplan writes in AIGA Voice about how he wonders why graphic designers are smart even when they don’t have to go to smart schools to learn to be smart, instead just having to go to schools where they learn how to make things. While conceding that he’s implying that he is very smart in being able to tell who else is smart. The crux, as we see it:

Men and women, boys and girls, gravitate to design for any number of reasons; but common to all of them is the itch to make something–a picture, an artifact, a plan. That itch is satisfied by drawing, carving, shaping, molding–somehow using the hand to realize a concept in the mind.

If designers are more cerebral than expected, it may be because designing is more cerebral than expected. In an age when digital no longer refers to fingers, the work of the designer is no longer hands-on. That regrettable circumstance becomes truly deplorable with the realization that hands-on is never all that far from heads-on.


Eisenman Et Al Officially Geezers

121905_article_huxtable.jpgLove today’s Observer’s Power Geezer theme. Especially the Finance & Property section, which includes profiles of both the New York Five (Hejduk, Gwathmey, Meier, Eisenman, Graves) and Ada Louise Huxtable.

Only another eighty years to go.