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Archives: January 2007

Away from Starck and Into ‘Normal’cy


Here’s another reaction piece, but one that uses it as a nice segue into another interesting subject. This time around, it’s Design Sojourn, first talking about the recent uproar about Philip Starck‘s comments in Icon Magazine, then moving into a talk about the “Super Normal” exhibit by Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison at last month’s London’s Designer Block, which called out product design for product design’s sake, items that accomplish exactly what they’re intended to be used for, without any pomp. Their point being: priority number one in design is that it’s gotta work and it’s gotta work well.

Armani First on the Web to Show You Things You’ll Never Afford


Wednesday was a red-letter day for any and all of you who enjoy the thrill of fashion shows but equally as much as you like sitting in your underwear in front of a computer screen, eating an entire jar of peanut butter with a spoon. Reason being, as reported by the AP, Giorgio Armani debuted his new haute couture collection in Paris and, for the first time ever, broadcast the show on the internet. Here’s a bit:

It was just the latest in a series of publicity coups for Armani, which included a huge fashion show and concert in London in September that drew stars including Bono, Leonardo DiCaprio and Beyonce Knowles.

Wednesday’s event illustrated the paradox at the heart of haute couture — though its customers are estimated at less than 500 people worldwide, images of these shows helps fuel sales of lucrative cosmetics and perfume.

Anna Wintour, the influential editor-in-chief of U.S. Vogue, said she was in favor of any effort to bring fashion to the masses.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said, referring to the Armani Webcast. “It helps (fashion) maintain a glamorous image and I’m all for it.”

A Strong Reaction to the Strong Reactions to that Craig’s List…Reaction


Remember last week when we posted about that “you’re hurting the industry” Craig’s List post? Well, because we are fair and balanced (copyright of that phrase pending), we thought we’d offer up this reaction from Andy Swan and his post “10 Reasons Digg’s ‘Graphic Design Hero’ Is DEAD WRONG…” Here’s a couple:

10. People like me should NOT stop looking for up-and-coming, hungry talent that will work cheap JUST BECAUSE you want to make more money.

9. If your work was constantly amazing your clients and bringing them an exceptional value, you would have repeat business and referrals to keep you busy for a lifetime…

8. You’re right about how difficult it is to find someone that actually has talent and does a good job. That’s exactly why we NEED to see your ideas about the project before we pay you. We’ve been disappointed by your competitors too many times to make a commitment.

Heller Talks Toys


An interesting piece in the NY Times yesterday in what’s not usually a section that talks up design all that often: the Sunday Book Review. But yesterday was your day, as Steven Heller took a look at “I Am Plastic: The Designer Toy Explosion” by Paul Budnitz, the Kidrobot founder and a guy who clearly knows the whole trend. Here’s a bit:

Small toy companies — with rock-band names like Secret Base, Tokyo Guns, Cube Works, Rough Toyz and the Creatures in My Head, featuring bizarre (sometimes sarcastically cute) toys by illustrators and artists like Frank Kozik, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Sara Antoinette Martin and Jim Woodring — have since flooded art and design galleries and alternative toy stores with collectibles in a wide price range. These radical, ribald objects are influenced by all manner of pop culture genres, from the gangsta rap used in Misha & Shauna’s Missing Link to the heavy metal in Takumi Iwase’s Rock Rabbit. In the outlaw tradition, there are plenty of scurrilous defacements of corporate symbols: the artist Filth transforms Mickey Mouse into a monster mouse with Devil 666 Bear Qee; Ron English’s MC Supersized is a stubby, bling-wearing Ronald McDonald.

Kikkerland Acquires Their #1 Moleskine Fan


Some good news for the fan on all things Moleskine notebooks. It was announced recently that, the independently financed site dedicated to all things little brown books, has been bought by Kikkerland Design, the company that distributes the Moleskine books, thus ensuring its continued existence. Here’s a bit: was started on January 12, 2004 by Armand Frasco, an award winning photographer and journalist, and has since become a hub of Moleskine users from around the globe…The popularity of the site became so time-consuming, Mr. Frasco needed a partner to keep the project alive so he approached Kikkerland Design, the official Moleskine US and Canada distributor.

Kikkerland believes that by making its support of permanent it will encourage and keep a conversation going between the products’ users and the company on issues such as quality control, product development and design trends in general.

Ringing in Lambert’s 80th with a Bang


Some nice coverage from The Gazette in Montreal about Wednesday’s party celebrating the 80th birthday of Phyllis Lambert, known as Joan of Architecture, and described by the paper as “arguably the brainiest and boldest scion of the Bronfman family and undeniably one of the world’s leading architectural activists.” Here’s some:

One detail was successfully kept from her: The ceremonial climax of the party would be the unveiling of an enormous birthday cake designed by a guest, the renowned U.S. architect Peter Eisenman. Combining a classical column with a model of the Seagram Building – the sleek New York skyscraper Lambert personally willed into existence 50 years ago — the made-in-Montreal megacake represented her dual career as a preservationist and promulgator of modernism.

“It’s all architecture,” Lambert said when asked to comment on the apparent contradiction.

Back to the Future: Design Is a Fad?


While we were Googling around for information about Wired’s mysterious Optical Volumes, we came across this awesome article about design they ran in 2001. We’re pretty sure we didn’t see it then (were blogs even invented yet?), but it sure is entertaining to read in light of how far we’ve come in the last six years. It seems to be some kind of chat room, moderated by Chee Pearlman, and starring everyone from Bruce Sterling to Paola Antonelli to Rick Valicenti.

And speaking of Valicenti, we’ve got a bone to pick with him. Just when we were formulating some really good rants about how design’s here to stay, he said this, all the way back in ’01:

Chee Pearlman: So does design really matter to the bottom line?

Rick Valicenti (design director, Thirst): Design is a fad, so yes.

WK12 Says Hurry Up, Already


From the same friends who instructed us to Fail Harder, we now have a rather ominous if honest message: Hurry Up. WK12, the experimental school at Wieden + Kennedy, has assembled its second installation in the W+K lobby in Portland. View more pics and a 360-degree view of the suspended femurs (not real–we hope).

Mike Burns & Co. Hit the Road Again, But With Considerably Less Fanfare


Remember the gigantic story from about this time last year that had everyone in the ad world talking? The one about Mike Burns and his Saatchi 17, the group who said they’d had enough and left Saatchi & Saatchi in droves and went to Interpublic? Well, they’re leaving again, but with a lot less excitement. The reason this time is that they’re being canned. Their sub-agency, OneSeven (get it?), was apparently doing nothing but losing money, so Interpublic gave them the axe. Here’s a bit from the AdAge story:

OneSeven chairman Mike Burns, the former Saatchi vice-chairman and worldwide account director on General Mills who set in motion one of 2005′s biggest stories of the year when he left the agency and was followed by 17 of his former colleagues, is striking out on his own. “We are now looking forward to building our business with an independent’s focus and an entrepreneur’s energy,” he said. The agency’s clients include ConAgra’s Hebrew National; Gorton’s seafood; McGraw-Hill’s BusinessWeek; Dun & Bradstreet; and Unicef.

The agency was not profitable, a knowledgeable executive said, which led to Interpublic’s decision. Mr. Burns would not comment directly on financial matters, but said, “Our business scale did not make sense for a multinational, multibillion-dollar holding company, but our focus makes sense for our client partners.”

2007 = More Zaha


‘Tis shaping up to be another year full of Zaha Hadid, the famous, well, first an architect, but lately, sort of everything else under the sun. From Dezain, we were pointed over to Vernissage TV, which has a great video up of her most recent exhibit at the Designer’s Gallery. Here’s a description, before you head off to go watch:

Designer’s Gallery / Gabrielle Ammann presents selected pieces from the work of architect and 2004 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Zaha Hadid. On display are design objects, architectural models and Zaha Hadid’s “Silver Paintings” in an effort to make the interrelationship of architecture, design and art visible. The exhibition runs through March 25, 2007. Designer’s Gallery / Gabrielle Ammann, Cologne.