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Archives: April 2006

Saddle Up To The Trough

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Although this writer can’t cook to save his life, and is so picky about what he eats that it’s not much of a life worth living, he still appreciates food (looking at it) and the whole process that goes into the making of it. That’s why think it’d be a blast to hit up the upcoming new exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, “Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005.” The opening happens on Tuesday, May 2nd, from 3pm-5pm, and geez if we sure would like to be there (hint, hint, readers with private planes). Loads of terrific images here, and the pdf press release is here. And this, friends, is the scoop:

Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005,” on view May 5 – Oct. 29, 2006, is a rich, contextual journey through the evolution of dining from the Renaissance to the present. More than 300 objects will be on view, including historic and modern flatware from Cooper-Hewitt’s permanent collection. The exhibition offers a scholarly yet celebratory overview of the history of culinary culture, exploring the physical forms and social meanings of eating utensils and serving tools.

Objects will be organized according to a wide range of dining-related topics, such as the ergonomics of the table, commemorative flatware, and flatware as social commentary in the 20th and 21st centuries. The development of production methods, such as silver-plating, forging and gilding, and the role of new materials, such as stainless steel and Bakelite, will also be explored. In the main gallery of the exhibition, visitors will encounter a large circular table set with eight different historical place settings, each representing a specific decorative style.

A special section devoted to the 20th century will address themes such as the role of the designer, with pieces by Josef Hoffmann, Peter Behrens and Scandinavian designers such as Georg Jensen and Arne Jacobsen. Among the exhibition highlights is a collection of unusual specialized dining tools from the late 19th century, including silver ice cream hatchets, asparagus tongs and scallop forks.

Massimo Shops at Ikea!

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O Massimo! You always remind us that we can be smarter. And your wife Lella, pictured above with you, always reminds us that we can dress better.

In this article from the Independent, Vignelli doles out his ever-inspirational rant about the state of design. He calls for work that’s responsible, simple, timeless, elegant, and not vulgar–and he approves of Ikea for mass-marketing good design. He’s even got their bookshelves in his bedroom.

Michael Bierut made us realize just how many things the Vignellis have designed with his description of a hypothetical journey that would keep you in constant contact with their creations. That sent us on a little Google quest–and what do you know–we were eating off Massimo-ware for most of our childhoods.

See Jane Run. See Jane Jump. See Jane Concept.

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To be filed under “um…yep,” it’s a new site that just popped up that’s dedicated to getting the word “concept” recognized as a verb in the dictionary (in particular, Merriam-Webster’s fine book o’ words). If you’re in a creative field, especially the ad world, you’ve probably been privy to the word used in the way explained on the site. “Hey, Bob, let’s do some concepting on this project.” or “Damnit Bob, don’t just sit there! Concept!” So there’s a petition and everything, and although we’re 99% sure there’s something funny going on here, stranger things have happened. We suppose, if VJ can be in the dictionary, the language is already pretty screwed as it is. Not that it made all that much sense to begin with. Here’s the explination:

At the core of every advertising campaign lies a concepting session where shared thoughts manifest into brilliant ideas. As it reads now, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines ADVERTISING as, “The action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcements.” Though this definition was probably written sometime during the Fillmore administration, some components still hold true today. These “announcements,” that once came in the form of posters hawking remedy elixirs, now represent a thirty-second spot, a print ad, a billboard, or a viral campaign. This current definition however only describes the final product of our creative process where the work is polished, shined, and unveiled to the public.

What remains to be defined is the method used to develop these campaigns. For a book that identifies a vast number of professions from fossil finders (paleontologist) to glorified tooth-brushers (dental hygienist), Merriam-Webster fails to properly record the full scope of advertising. In the end one could dismiss Verb4Concept, arguing that “concepting” is just brainstorming, but if that’s the case then the argument can also be made that leprosy is merely a collection of boils.

But No Foreign Library Cards, Thanks To That Ports World Fiasco.

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In the past decade or so, and more each year, you hear about the amazing architecture in Dubai (which is that country where they successfully harvest money trees). This was again confirmed as we found this info about the German architectual firm, asp Architekten, who was recently awarded the gig to build the Dubai Central Library. There are only a couple of images on the firm’s site, but geez if it ain’t ever pretty. And make sure you spend some time looking around at their other projects. Wow. Here’s the info on the library:

In association with Obermeyer Planen+Beraten GmbH and Abu Dhabi based ACG Architectural Consulting Group, ‘asp’ Architekten was awarded 1st prize in the international design competition for the Dubai Central Library in the United Arab Emirates.

The base of the building contains public areas such as a conference center, exhibition spaces, a bookstore, a children’s library and administrative offices. Above it the grand space of the central library area rises in a sweeping gesture that was inspired by the shape of the traditional “rahle” lectern.

Ain’t No Party Like an East Coast Party Cause an East Coast Party Don’t Stop

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Seeing as both the UnBeige private jet and the UnBeige teleporter are being borrowed this week, we regret to inform our New York readers that we will not be simultaneously clinking glasses at mediabistro.com’s NY Design Party this Thursday evening. However, in our absence, we’re depending on you to spill just a splash of your Michelob Ultra on the floor for the bloggers who ain’t there.

You’ll head to the persuasive-sounding Happy Ending on April 27 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. RSVP here. Bonus points for anyone who sends us a report on Friday. Triple bonus points for anyone who sends an email from the event.

Ain’t No Party Like a West Coast Party Cause a West Coast Party Don’t Stop

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It’s high time for a mediabistro.com design party out here in LA, where the TV and film parties have been outnumbering us six to one. And it’s even higher time for us to gather with AIGA Los Angeles, whose monthly Club AIGA events lure designers into all sorts of dark, sparkly corners of the city.

This Thursday, April 27, from 6 to 8pm, this UnBeige writer will be introducing the mediabistro.com designers to the AIGA/LA designers and anyone else who wanders into Citizen Smith trying to lift some of our jalapeno mac & cheese. That’s right; we personally made sure that there would be free mac & cheese.

If you come later than 8, just look for us on the bar. Of course, we may have meant to say in the bar, but you’ll just have to see for yourself, won’t you? RSVP here.

The Typographer’s Biography

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Years ago, when youth was still at our fingertips, we were too busy to think about typographers, what with the running blistfully through meadows, the skipping stones at the ol’ creek, and, well, drinking a lot of beer in college. But now that we’re grown and infintely more wise, we eat up biographical info, particularly those about typographers. It seems like they’re the people no one seems to pay much attention to in the “normal world,” despite probably having the most familiar work. So we love reading about these interesting typographers and that’s why we enjoyed this terrific write-up on the great site Veerle’s Blog. It’s all about Rene Albert Chalet, who’s signature typeface is utilized by the very blog. Here’s some:

At that time he sought comfort in his first love, the opera and started working at the Marionette du Theatre du Luxembourg in Paris. It was also at that time that many colleagues suggested that he should establish himself as a couturier. So in 1951 he started Atelier Chalet. He established a sleek and feminine style and followed the Bauhaus principles closely with his machine made collections that where mostly prêt-à-porter. To many Pierre Cardin is credited as being the first couturier to begin licensing his designs for mechanized manufacture, although fashion chronicles agree that Chalet was the first to make prêt-à-porter his sole focus. The French fashion establishment where threatened by the sudden shift towards prêt-à-porter so supporters of Haute Couture shout down any word of his accomplishments.

More Adventures In Moving Image

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If you’re already getting worked up about the upcoming MOVE3: Under the Influence conference in New York, you might want to check out its Brit equivalent. onedotzero_10 is the London festival that’s apparently been going on for an astounding ten years, hence the _10. If you want a preview of what their events are like, this film captures the spirit of a festival they held at the V&A Museum in February.

This year’s event is scheduled for June 2-11 at the London Institute for Contemporary Art. Spike Jonze, Mike Mills, Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer, and Garth Jennings will be there, so why won’t you?

When mmm…ghft Meets rrrmm…mmrgfh

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Strangely, in terms of visits for necessary things, this writer doesn’t really mind going to the dentist. He much prefers it to getting a haircut, which he finds to be second only to giving a speech while naked in front of an immature, snickering audience (you know who you are). It’s the feeling like you need to talk the whole time, the weirdness of this person grooming you, and so on and so forth. But if you aren’t the weirdo socially-phobic person this writer is and you have the natural tendency to hate the dentist, perhaps this is the story for you. From the photos, and the accompanying story, it seems like visiting Hiroshi Sambuichi’s clinic in Japan would be like a day at the best spa you’ve ever been to. Just an absolute gorgeous, nature-focused design. Sure to get your mind off the scary drills and the hands in your mouth. Here’s some of the whole story (which, to read, you’ll need to register — but it’s free! — and worth it!):

Two design strategies were employed. Firstly, the space is based on a series of vaults whose interiors are panelled in wood. It would feel like entering a boat’s upturned hull were it not for the large glass windows that open onto the outside. The waiting areas and treatment rooms face north so as to maintain uniform lighting. This orientation protects these rooms from direct natural light, thus minimising interference from this and the colour variations dictated by the changing seasons.

In the background, nature makes its presence felt in the site’s native trees and the roofing’s covering of vegetation. In the normality of the urban landscape, the clinic jumps out of the blue with the singularity of its architecture.

Only The Eco-Friendliest of Links

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Wow. Talk about a great site that puts shame on the attractive faces of certain UnBeige editors, it’s renourish. Basically, a lot of writing about thinking “green” when designing, and also a resource of links to companies, services, etc. that are all earth-friendly destinations. Makes us feel kinda bad for the game we editors play around here called “Who can use the most aerosol cans in one day?” Show us, sweet renourish! Show us how to be better people! Here’s some info on the site and how it’s put together:

renourish is a tool. It exists to provide the graphic designer and their clients a host of resources to practice more sustainably in their craft. It helps you understand the importance of sustainability and how practical and invigorating it can be for the creative process and, in turn, our lives.

We have provided, in the guts of this site, a variety of links to resources that are important for the graphic designers’ daily practice: paper companies, ink vendors, printers, companies that provide sustainable products, existing green design firms, bloggers, and news articles about sustainability. We didn’t choose these links at random, nor did any of these companies pay us or tell us to include them on our list of recommended vendors. Our selection of these links was based on two years of research and a set of criteria:
1. Company must have a respect for the community/planet
2.Aim to improve our quality of life with their offering
3.Conserve Earth’s vitality and biodiversity by lessening their ecological footprint
4.Advocate renewable energy
5.Put their money where their slogan says they do – “walk the walk”
6.Promote sustainability through their work

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