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Archives: August 2007

The Decievingly Lovely “Industrial Scars”


Here’s an item that will send you off in an appropriately celebratory mood this weekend. We stumbled across J. Henry Fair‘s beautifully tragic photos of industrial waste in this month’s Harper’s (and of course we have to mention we’re Harper’s readers in the hopes that it will imbue us with more credibility).

Besides the stunning brilliance of the artificial colors, the images play a nasty trick on your mind. The blooms of fluorescence, the tight rings of white are all so perfectly formed they appear to be something on the molecular level. Surely, you think, these must be shot with an electron microscope or something. But then it hits you, with a somber thump that’s so powerful, it caused us to exclaim out loud. “Oh my god. That’s a truck.”

Have a great time at the beach.

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AIGA NY’s Talking Small, Thinking Big


The fall series (oh gosh, can we really say ‘fall’ if it’s 95 outside?) of AIGA NY’s Small Talks kicks off on September 11 with a blockbuster of an event. Be/Seated features Felix Sockwell (designer of the unflappable banner you see above), Steve Frykholm of Herman Miller and Peter Bell, Creative Director of Fairly Painless Advertising. The three collaborated on the Herman Miller “Be” collection, which we got excited about here a few months back.

Now, should you want to be a truly dedicated NY design patron, be sure to buy a season pass to all the AIGA NY Small Talks, which are peppered with all sorts of big names like Tamara Shopsin and Christoph Niemann.

Heller Says Goodbye to CBGB’s Hilly Kristal


Hilly Kristal, founder of the recently-shuttered CBGB, died this week, and the “rock midwife” and “original to the end” is being remembered everywhere from the Village Voice to NPR.

But we like Steven Heller‘s memory best. Heller designed a newsletter for Kristal’s first tavern called “Hilly’s Gazette” and tells a story about the “warm, wonderful man” behind the bar. Let’s not forget that Kristal was also the man behind a worldwide graphic phenomenon, the CBGB shirt you see to your right.

Bad Color Selection + Bad Movie = Bad All Over


Type for You pointed us to this wonderful post over at J. Tyler Helms‘ site: “Red is Not Funny.” Sick of seeing red being used in the main title of far too many movie posters for terrible, terrible comedies, and understanding that the color isn’t often used to express humor, he decided to compile a long collage of snippets of posters that have used it, thus proving his point. It’s brilliant. And his short closing paragraph seals the deal:

The clumsily obese sans type; the blinding white background safely voiding the cutout actors of context. It’s a design ploy as low brow as the films themselves–a desperate attempt to simply be recognized. They dance, jump up and down, and scream at the top of their lungs to get a reaction of any kind… since they must realize that nobody is laughing.

I suppose red is also the color of doomed comedy.

We notice that a large percentage of them are for movies starring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin. So maybe they are using the color correctly as a kind of warning that not only are you are going to watch a horrible movie, it’s going to be made all the worse by witnessing two, once-very-funny people doing demeaning projects.

The Second Annual Tom Dixon Giveaway


Good ol’ Tom Dixon. He really knows how to grab the attention, doesn’t he? Last year, you’ll recall, to celebrate the opening of the London Design Festival, he laid out 500 chairs in Trafalgar Square and then announced that people could take them, in what’s now fondly remembered as The Great Chair Grab”. This year, which we learned about by way of Dezain, he’s doing the same kind of giveaway. Only this time, he’s doubled the amount and changed the product. In collaboration with the Energy Saving Trust, he’s designed fancy lights that use compact fluorescent bulbs and starting on Wednesday, September 5th, a thousand of them will be handed out for free. And judging from the chair grab, that’ll be a lot of people no doubt back for seconds.

Trying to Get a Starchitect Behind the Minneapolis I-35 Bridge Rebuild


A high-profile commission but one that certainly comes with some heavy baggage, the Star Tribune is reporting that the hunt is on for a designer to develop the plans for a bridge to replace the one that collapsed in the Twin Cities at the first of the month. While the city wants to get a new one built as soon as they possibly can, both to help move on from the tragedy, as well as rebuilding a needed high-volume traffic corridor, there are a handful of people trying to get a “name” architect involved (notably Santiago Calatrava). The city, well, they’d be more than happy to get in talks with someone, but not if it means slowing the process down any.

Calatrava has expressed interest in the project and sent his son, who works in his firm, to see the site in Minneapolis, according to a spokeswoman.

An [employee of Peter Kitchak, the lead in trying to get a big name] talked with four teams vying for the bridge project — a fifth, KTM Constructors, dropped out of the running over the weekend. The teams, Kitchak said, have indicated “lukewarm” support for the idea of bringing Calatrava on board.

The firms said that they already have designers and that it would be hard to switch with a deadline for proposals coming in mid-September.

Helvetica, the Scary Version

Yes, Comic Sans is pretty terrible, but can it hold a candle to h? Or, rather, what we like to think is the alternate opening to Helvetica that Hustwit decided against using at the last minute.

Thanks to Type for You posting this on their site. No thanks to them for helping to give us nightmares tonight.

Comic Sans, the Drunk Bastard Left-for-Dead Child of Helvetica. No, Really.

And a final entry for the Official Stupid Design-Focused Video Month Film Festival makes it in just under the wire. Genre Creative, shame on you. You made Gary Hustwit cry.

Thanks to John McCollum.

RISD Mafia Demonstrates How They Keep It In the Family


Likely terrified of what would happen if they didn’t say yes, Jack and Jane Weiselberg entrusted the entire process of building a new summer house outside Sag Harbor–from architecture to juice glasses–to their designer son Josh and a motley crew of his Rhode Island School of Design classmates who openly refer to themselves as the “RISD Mafia.”

According to pot-stirrer Philip Nobel in the NY Times, the gang was so “persuasive,” they even succeeded in talking the Weiselbergs out of their traditional, ivy-climbing ways:

The Weiselberg parents remained anxious about their choice, particularly about abandoning their pitched-roof-and-stone expectations for TBD’s contemporary taste. After ground was broken in November 2005, Weiselberg father and son visited the site. “The look on his face was utter fear,” Josh Weiselberg said. “He saw concrete. He saw a hole. All he knew was that he was getting a grill on the screened porch and a pot filler above the stove.” It wasn’t until another visit, when the walls were framed in, that Jack Weiselberg realized he was getting a lot more from his son. “We went back when the sheathing was up and he could feel it,” the younger Mr. Weiselberg continued. “I started hearing things like, ‘Modern is the only way to go!’”

When the house was finished, the Weiselbergs were surprised most by two contributions: A set of extremely realistic horse-head pillows in the master bed, and a large mural painted in the bedroom reading, “We are watching you.”

I.D. Wants a Peek At Your Creative Space


The next I.D. 40 will feature a nice little twist on the regular line up: Designer Workplaces. Editor-in-chief Julie Lasky writes to tell us that they’re looking for submissions from you:

This means we’re scouring the world for the most interesting studios, factories, garages, or any other environment supporting any kind of design work. The 40 final selections will be published in I.D.’s January/February 2008 issue.

Send a few low-res photos along with a brief description of who works there and what makes the place special to press AT by Friday, September 7. And at the very least pick up your dirty underwear, okay?