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Archives: August 2007

Beleaguered Miss Teen South Carolina Reveals Career Aspirations; Design Community Mourns

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There’s really no need to rewatch the clip of the conversationally-challenged Miss Teen USA contestant that internet users chugged down like a cheap wine cooler. Aw, heck, let’s watch it again.

Amazingly, Lauren Caitlin Upton was given another chance to answer the question that brought her web notoriety, on the “Today Show” (live television no less), to an overly-sympathetic Ann Curry and Matt Lauer, who admitted he says stuff like that all the time. Uh, yeah.

But what will likely stun you more than Upton’s muddled original answer to why some Americans can’t find the US on map is her answer to this question: What’s next?

My goal is to attend Appalachian State University, major in graphic design. Once I graduate from there, go to LA and go to the International Academy of Design Technology, and major in special effects, and learn to design special effects for movies and television.

We personally believe that as a US American some people South Africa Iraq education over here design. Such as.

Thanks to Christopher Simmons.

Frogtown Artwalk Was Hoppin’

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The second Frogtown Artwalk was held this past weekend in LA, which had many LA residents asking themselves one very important question: Where the heck is Frogtown? A tiny strip of space along the LA River, Elysian Valley (as the residents there prefer it be called) is a booming little neighborhood for creative types that’s just getting discovered. Even if you missed this one, don’t worry, Frogtown is covered with murals like these that you can see any day of the week.

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We weaved through a maze of studios and workshops occupied by artists, architects, photographers, furniture designers, and fabricators with an incredibly diverse crowd. Seeing how the occupants had tricked out their spaces was part of the fun.

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Architect Tracy Stone‘s unique live-work space served as the social hub of the walk; sundown at the Blake Art Studios, a great group of spaces for about a dozen artists on the Los Angeles River. The river in this neck of the woods, by the way, is lush with vegetation and filled with chirping birds, unlike what some magazines are reporting.

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No one should be without James Piatt‘s AK-47 purse and brass knuckle clutch, or…whatever those other things are.

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Circuits and Poetry hack kids’ instruments, turning them into synthesizers; a group of local emerging artists impressed us with their interpretative performance entitled “Wheelies While Riding Through Crowds at 30mph.”

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More from the Frogtown permanent collection.

Some pics by Emily Burton.

Heathcote’s Walk Through the Serpentine

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One of our favorite writers, Edwin Heathcote over at the Financial Times, has a piece up about London’s famous annual Serpentine Gallery and the surrounding temporary structures it’s inspired. Just opened this past weekend, you’ve likely see a lot of photos leading up or read bits and pieces about this minds behind the oddball creation, but we always like checking in with Heathcote to give us the whole tour of whatever it is and allow him to take us through it with words (my, wasn’t that poetic?).

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is leading the field, a real delight. The building, designed by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Norwegian architect Kjetil Thorsen, is a dark, spiralling ramp twisting around a shell-like auditorium, containing it within taut, twisting strings. The artist’s idea was to create not just an object, a sculpture in the park, but an experience. As I walked up it in the pouring rain I couldn’t help thinking of his dryer, and incredibly successful, artificial sun installation at Tate Modern.

Koolhaas Talks China, the Industry and Koolhaas

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If you need an opening hook to your story, look no further than this one we found by way of Archinect, “Rem Koolhaas has some photographs to show me.” How’s that for a big punch right off the bat? It’s from an interview with the starchitect in Jonathan Glancey‘s piece, “Welcome to the Future,” in the Guardian. In it, Koolhaas talks a lot about his past and a lot about his new project, the China Central Television building in Beijing. It’s a fun read and should provide you with enough Koolhaas to last the week.

When he says he hates “celebrity” culture, he almost means it. Koolhaas, though, is nothing if not contradictory. A man who thrives on free thinking, he works happily for absolutist governments. An architect who claims to distrust fashions in design, he is responsible for some of the most eyecatching of all new buildings, the Casa da Musica and CCTV chief among them. He is also in the process of designing “anti-icons”, buildings that are almost willfully bland or simplistic, in Dubai. He seems to find the growth of Dubai absurd, yet is very much involved there, with the design of ambitious office buildings (one designed to revolve), apartment blocks and convention centres. Some of Oma‘s Dubai designs, such as the proposed Ras-al-Khaimah convention and exhibition centre, look as if they’ve been culled from the pages of sci-fi comics; others seem like slab-sided 1960s office towers.

MediaVest: More Painful Video From the Agency World

What? Is August the official month of having agencies release stupid videos? AdFreak points us to this piece of embarrassment by MediaVest. Although the company, a division of Starcom, is not an ad agency full of creatives, it’s still in the marketing and “brand-building” business, so it seems like there should be a little less badness in all of this. But in AdFreak’s comments section, we see that this was for a competition, so maybe they should be excused entirely. Still, it’s fun to watch the awkwardness unfold.

They Might Be the Losers of the VeloPark Commission, But They’re All Very Special Winners In Our Book

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You might remember back in mid-July when Sebastian Coe, everyone’s favorite unveiler of popular Olympics logos, unveiled the group who had won the commission to build the new VeloPark stadium, to be built for the big 2012 festivities. And while we don’t claim to know everything that goes on in that brain of yours, we bet you were thinking, “Geez, I’d love to see the other entries” and your life has since suffered due to that want. Well, Building has come to cure what ails you in revealing the seven runners-up. We’ve gotta say that we like FLACQ‘s the best, but that could be just because they were the only ones who decided to have their sample photo set at night — stuff just looks cooler at night.

Mark Cuban: The Internet is Dead! Long Live the Internet!

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We really like billionaire troublemaker Mark Cuban. We don’t know what it is, we just do. This could be a horrible analogy, but we sometimes think he’s sort of like an abrasive version of Steve Jobs, in that he’s really opinionated and doesn’t back down, while being something of a visionary. Think of it sort of like Jobs unveils the iPhone and then punches a reporter carrying another company’s cell phone. Anyway, in case you missed it, Cuban this week is causing a big stir around the internet with his recent post “The Internet is Dead and Boring.” In it, he says until we increase the user bandwidth in this country, the internet has stopped becoming interesting and that Web 2.0 is just a load of stagnant hype, among other things. In his follow-up, “The Internet is Still Dead and Boring,” he doesn’t change his claim, he just says that being deceased and dull isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There have been a few responses, most notably from Torrez we found the site A VC responding with “The Internet is As Dead and Boring As You Want It To Be,” which is an interesting counterpoint, but this writer at least still sides with Cuban to some degree. Not to bite the hand that feeds him, but Cuban’s point is that the internet has become a part of our lives and isn’t so much of that scary, new terrain it once was. You could make the connection to almost anything. When printing presses were first invented, that was exciting. But you don’t so much see people anymore saying, “Oh my god! Can you believe there’s something printed on this piece of paper?!” Sure, there are books that come out that are exciting, but the act of its printing and delivery is now such a hyper-familiar part of our world that it doesn’t register. It’s that initial growth that’s the really exciting part and that, we believe, is Cuban’s message here.

INDEX:Award Winners Announced

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What do a Tongue Sucker, a Tesla Roadster, and a laptop that costs somewhere between $100 and $200 have in common besides being really great stocking stuffers? They’re all winners of this year’s INDEX:Awards, announced Friday in Copenhagen. The world’s best-known design-for-good competition also gives the best prize: 100,000 Euros (that’s $136,357.08 US, and we’re betting no one’s whining about the exchange rate today).

Jade Chang from Metropolis was on the ground and she’s got details about the award ceremony and a list of winners, with links and commentary. She also snapped a hilarious shot of a local Danish woman staring quizzically at a bubble holding one of the nominated designs in the middle of a Copenhagen square.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Evil Plan to Make Families Get Along

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Choosing an easy target is important in an architectural review, and the Boston Globe’s Ken Johnson chooses perhaps the easiest one of all to shred this week, taking issue with the elder and more deceased Brad Pitt favorite in his piece “The flaws in Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for living.” Johnson claims that the the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful” exposes Wright’s many shortcomings, namely, aesthetic unity, big living rooms and wide open public spaces:

Wright thought the open plan reflected a more democratic, flexible, and modern way of life, but it can be argued that his designs reduce privacy and freedom by exposing all members of the family to relatively unimpeded surveillance and control. A family that does so much of its living in one room must be either unbelievably harmonious or very well trained by whoever holds the reins of power.

Which shouldn’t be any surprise, really, given Wright’s notorious controlling nature. But is it just us, or does Johnson’s tone sound like someone’s having problems with the rein-holder at home?

Telethon Makes Bathing Ape Explode, Soon to be Selling at Wal-Mart

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Because this writer’s an old person and the last cool fashion purchase he made was in 1989, there’s not a ton of knowledge about brands and labels and all of that floating around in his wardrobe. However, we do catch wind of trends and we’d heard about this Bathing Ape craze. And while we probably aren’t going to rush out and buy a $400 hoodie anytime soon, we have to admire the marketing efforts of the company, as we learned about via Jean Snow. Just last weekend, they sponsored the 30th annual airing of the odd Japanese program, 24-Hour Television, wherein celebrities stay away for a whole day and do stupid things for charity. It sounds a lot like the Jerry Lewis Telethon except less scary and more brightly colored. Anyway, everyone on the show wore a Bathing Ape designed t-shirt and sold them on-air. They wound up shipping out more than 300,000 of them in just one day, raising $420 million, and immediately let the company jump from the fashionista subculture to the deep pockets of the mainstream.

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