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Archives: May 2007

Marc Newson Cleans Up Qantas’ Digs Real Nice


For those of you just having spent time in an airport over the weekend, you’ll find it difficult to look at this story we found by way of Designboom It’s about the launch of designer Marc Newson‘s first class lounges for Qantas Airlines in Sydney and Melbourne and they are nothing short of stunning. Certainly much better than where you’ll usually find this writer when he travels: those rows of seats near the McDonalds in Terminal 4 at O’Hare. Before you head to the gallery, here’s some:

The Sydney lounge — believed to cost around $20m — also features a vertical garden designed by international botanist Patrick Blanc featuring 8400 individual plants.

In the bathrooms there are individual marble-lined shower suites with stereo volume and lighting controls, radiant heating to reduce condensation on the mirrors and luggage racks.

The deep red, black and brown leather (to me, rather hard) lounge chairs, recliners and sofas are by Italy’s Poltrana Frau.

Dining chairs and tables are by Cappellini, Tai Ping wool carpets are from Hong Kong, marble from Carrara and quartzite from Switzerland. As Newson says they’re all his contacts and they’re “the best contacts in the industry”.

Scott Heiferman Pits Google Vs. Meetup


By way of Zach Klein‘s blog, we found this funny piece of comparison. Scott Heiferman, CEO of the site Meetup (which is down at the moment of this writing), put together a back and forth between what it’s like to work for either his company or for Google. It’s really terrific, with the occasional jab at Google, but mostly just wonderfully self-defacing and relaxed. And it works in getting the point across of how cool this group must be to work with to potential job applicants (the reason for posting the comparison sheet). Here’s a bit about snacking at both companies:

At Google, you get free snacks stocked by Snack Googlers.

At Meetup, there’s this fruit stand around the corner. Bananas are 25 cents. The dude gives you a free plastic bag.

Advertising Lives To See Another Day: Consumer Ads Stink


If you step away from the masses-with-gain-control-of-all People’s Republic of Internetia for a minute and take a look at one of those “create your own commercial!” contests, you’ll immediately be faced with the reality that people have no idea what their doing. Such is part of the point of “The High Price of Creating Free Ads” in the NY Times. The other half of the article concerns how expensive it is to run these things, primarily in having to watch all the junk that gets sent in (and most of it is completely awful, they say). Good news for those of us in advertising. Whew. Here’s a bit:

Some people, meanwhile, have been using the contests as an opportunity to scrawl digital graffiti on the sponsor and its brand. Rejected Heinz submissions have been showing up on YouTube anyway, and visitors to Heinz’s page on the site have written that the ketchup maker is clearly looking for “cheap labor” and that Heinz is “lazy” to ask consumers to do its marketing work.

“That’s kind of a popular misnomer that, somehow, it’s cheaper to do this,” said David Ciesinski, vice president for Heinz Ketchup. “On the contrary, it’s at least as expensive, if not more.”

But please don’t forget how effective these contests can be, either. Particularly when it comes to this writer’s entries for Asheville, North Carolina’s “make your own commercial” contest. Although we made six of the thirteen total entries, but didn’t win and we never heard back from them, you’ll see that they posted each and every one and we’re imagining that they still must be wildly happy with them, even to this day.

The Faces of Businesses


Man it’s tough being back into work, eh? To start thing off gradually, before we get into the really heady stuff that requires you to think, here’s a bit of fun, as well as usefully resource from the ever-fun-and-resourceful-herself Swissmiss, a tremendous list of nearly every major company in the world and what typeface they’re using in their logos. It’s a great place to head the next time you’re hunting around for ideas, or even just a nice spot to browse around in for a bit. Oh, and the extra cool bit about it is that, if a company is using a custom-made font, they’ve listed the typeface most closely related to it in an adjoining column. You’ll be making bootlegs and falsifying documents in no time, thanks to this little site. Hooray!

Creation Museum Opens Doors to Share Craziness With the World


Probably the most important day was today in what’ll likely be one of the biggest museum stories of the year: The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky opened their doors to the public today, allowing people a look at $27 million dollars worth of crazy. You’ve no doubt heard at least stirrings about it by this point, the museum put together by the Answers in Genesis foundation that takes the Christian bible completely literally and features things like displays of people and dinosaurs running around together, section of what Noah’s Ark must have looked like, and lots and lots of un-scientific facts being passed off as reality. Now, after reading those last couple of sentences, you understand that we’re a little biased, so it’ll be nice for you to read the NY Times‘ sneak peek at the museum, wherein writer Edward Rothstein takes a very gentle approach and gives the whole thing a very fair, sometimes even praise-worthy review, by essentially saying, “Sure, it doesn’t make any sense, but if you take it for what it is, here are the positives and negatives about it.” But, even after reading Rothstein’s essay, you’re still bewildered, maybe take a trip over to the site for Rally for Reason, the group who has been out there all day in front of the museum protesting and calling for people to come to their senses. And, if you like that, you should definitely read our favorite response to all of this yet: this opinion piece from the LA Times, “Yabba-Dabba Science.”

Paul Preece: Making An Unexpected Mint Off Gaming


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we’re not big video game people around here, hence the only occasional coverage. Even though there are a million amazingly talented designers out there working in the field, we just don’t want to do the industry and injustice by talking about things we know nothing about (unlike, say, all the other subsets of design we’re always talking about completely without a clue). But this story, found by way of Waxy, was interesting in a general enough sense to get us hooked. It’s the story “Desktop Tower of Money” over at GigaOM, about designer/programmer, Paul Preece, and how he designed an online game on a whim, did no promotion for it at all, and now makes “in the high four figures” each month purely on ads because the game’s popularity suddenly skyrocketed. It’s a great read, from all sorts of angles, from the “regular guy makes good” to the “ain’t the internet crazy?”

International Design Forum: Dezeen Heads to the Sandy Beaches of Dubai


We can’t think of any rational reason why you wouldn’t, but if you weren’t able to make it out to the International Design Forum starting yesterday in Dubai, Dezeen has you covered. They’re live blogging as many events, lectures, etc. as they can on their own site, as well as handling all the coverage on the IDF’s very own site too. Some really interesting things therein, like the report that Rem Koolhaas is releasing, “Al Manakh,” a book about the region, sort of a summary of all that’s going down in that hot bed of architecture and development. Here’s a bit about it:

Al Manakh offers a detailed analysis of the history, culture and architecture of The Gulf region including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah and discusses the implications of the rapid development of these territories for the rest of the world.

This is the first time that the unprecedented urban condition of this region has been comprehensively documented from diverse viewpoints and communicated to outside the region. Voices of architects, intellectuals and developers making The Gulf happen are represented in the numerous essays and interviews that accompany this richly illustrated study. Key figures such as, Rem Koolhaas, Ole Bouman, and Thomas Krens give their take on the current situation in The Gulf, along with their predictions for the future of this ‘ultimate tabula rasa.’

Leibovitz Conquers Fear of Heights So You Don’t Have To


Archinect pointed us over to the perfect thing for a slow Memorial Day full of casual browsing: hosted by Vanity Fair, it’s Annie Leibovitz‘s photographic coverage of the building of the new New York Times building. It’s not really, how do we say politely?, award-winning photography, as it seems like we could have taken many of these photos ourselves if we’d just been wandering around, but that’s not really the point, because it’s really just about having access to this sort of thing. And if you’re Leibovitz, you get access. Before you going looking, here’s a little from the intro:

To capture this evolving and otherwise irretrievable slice of Manhattan history, photographer Annie Leibovitz has been sagely chronicling the ascent, just as predecessors such as Margaret Bourke-White scaled other New York landmarks three generations ago. presents images from this epic, ethereal work, “Building the Times,” joining Leibovitz as she documents the interplay of men, beams, and dreams. The city’s poetry, insists Piano, lies in “its capacity for change.”

UnBeige Can Read: Hot Summer Reading

We know, you thought that we forgot how to read, what with our erratic drug-addled posting and avowance to swear off words for life. But a stack just landed on our desk and they’re good ones. Just in time for you grab ‘em on your way to the beach this weekend.


We second Speak Up’s good review of The Anatomy of Design. This is one of those books you see and say, man, why didn’t I think of that first? Which is exactly what the book is all about. Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic strip pieces of graphic design down to their inspirations and influences, tracing from whence they came. They also categorize visual trends so specifically that you never realized “fake dripping spray paint” or “fascination with skills” were so damn prevalent. Also, the cover is puffy.


Todd Oldham has long been a champion of the artist Charley Harper: Oldham designed an exhibition of Harper’s work and also created some textile designs with his distinctive illustrations. Now Oldham’s literally written the book on Harper, with Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life a gorgeous 420-page monograph that includes huge pretty pictures of his work in Ford Times magazine, The Giant Golden Book of Biology, and hundreds of paintings, murals and drawings.


Through some magical process, AIGA NY’s Fresh Dialogue events turn into books published by Princeton Architectural Press. We don’t know how it happens, but Making Magazines is the latest to emerge. This conversation by the founders of super-smart, super-beautiful indie mags Topic, Esopus and Bidoun includes the text of the talk and full-color photos of whatever they were talking about, inserted appropriately. The conversation was probably really captivating in person because we sat down to quickly page through this book and ended up reading it all in one sitting.

And that’s it for this editon of UnBeige Can Read. Wear your sunblock, and remember, you don’t have to take our word for it.

Ze Frank To Emerge From Post-Show Hiding On Tuesday


Some of you have expressed your disgust about UnBeige’s near-obsession with Ze Frank. Well, let us be the first to tell you, there’s nothing “near” about it. The man is a god. A hero among men. And we miss him dearly.

And that’s why we just can’t stop yakking about Frank’s upcoming moderating gig for AIGA NY: Designing Audiences, scheduled for Tuesday, May 29. But the obsession doesn’t stop there. We’re obsessed with Stefan Bucher and his Daily Monsters, which are being turned into a book. And we’re obsessed with Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck‘s where-pictures-meet-places app Mappr. And we’re obsessed with all Katie Salen‘s pursuits–like Karaoke Ice and the Big Urban Game.

Besides, isn’t obsession, after all, what any good audience should possess? Buy tickets here.