Archive for September, 2007

The Knife

Posted: September 30, 2007 in creativity

A brother and sister duo hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the Knife takes inspiration from vintage synth pop and forward-thinking electronic music, crafting a sound that is equally unsettling, playful, and beautiful. Olof and Karin Dreijer formed the Knife in 1999 and worked on their music in their home studios, releasing their first single, Afraid of You, in 2000 and their 2001 self-titled debut album on their own Rabid Records label. In 2003, the Knife was nominated for two Grammis, one for Best Pop Group of the Year and one for Best Pop Album for their second album, Deep Cuts. However, the Dreijers boycotted the ceremony, sending two people in gorilla costumes to protest the dominance of male acts in the music industry. They also released the Hanna Med H Soundtrack later that year. In 2004, the Knife began work on their third album in unusual locations, including a former carbon dioxide factory and the vaults of Stockholm’s Grand Church, before finishing their sessions in a more conventional studio. The following year, José González’s cover of the Deep Cuts single “Heartbeats” (which was from his 2003 album Veneer) appeared in a commercial for Sony’s Bravia and became a hit, earning more acclaim for the Dreijers outside of Sweden. Early in 2005, the Knife performed their first-ever live show at London’s ICA, appearing with Rex the Dog (who also did a remix of González’s version of “Heartbeats”) and playing in front of video created for the event by artist Andreas Nilsson. His work also appeared on How I Found the Knife, a DVD/CD set that included all of the band’s videos, short films, and remixes, which was released that summer. The Knife and Nilsson teamed up again for the video for the title track of the group’s third album, Silent Shout, which was released in early in 2006 in Sweden and that summer in the U.S. (by Mute) and U.K. (by Brille). The Knife’s darkest, most ambitious work to date, the album featured singles such as We Share Our Mother’s Health, which included a mix by Trentemøller. The duo played a handful of European, Scandinavian, and North American dates in 2006, accompanied by more of Nilsson’s visuals. That fall, Mute reissued The Knife and Deep Cuts.

Waveline furniture

Posted: September 30, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,


Aswoon™/Susan Woods Studio specialises amongst other things in the
design and fabrication of high-end objects of functional art. The two
examples here from aptly named ‘New Wave Line’ series look like
beautiful yet functional sculptures. The first is called Ribbon Float Lounge
 – a golden brown poplar bent plywood lounge chair with a satin finish,
whose steel underpinning give it a firm grounding.

The furniture piece below is called Short Wave Table and seems to be
made from the same material. The glass top is perfect, allowing the full
appreciation of both form and material. Quite gorgeous …


KEF’s MUON speakers

Posted: September 30, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,


A few weeks ago I went to our local HiFi specialist and, in talking to him, I mentioned that I find it amazing
that people would fork out 20 grant for a stereo system. He smiled at me and corrected my figure to $250,000
– which I found even harder to believe. Having seen these speakers by KEF today, I do firmly believe him now
– their price tag is US$140,000. Just slightly out of my price range … 

It’s not only their sound quality which – hopefully – is excellent; for that sort of money you also get sophisticated
modern design. KEF, known to music lovers as the British manufacturer of top-quality speakers, made this
7 foot tall, four-way speaker system of high-shine aluminum, vacuum molded into deep curves. MUON was
created by modern industrial design icon Ross Lovegrove. Only 100 pairs of these speakers will be made.

[via Pure Contemporary]

Twin bike

Posted: September 30, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,


I don’t have any information about this bike, and I’m not so sure about its looks and functionality; even though it seems to balance an adult and child alright, you wouldn’t like to share the ride with a Japanese Sumo wrestler. And as far as aesthetics are concerned, I guess it’s functionality the designer focused on. As far as tandems go though, it’s nice to sit side to side rather than having to hide behind the possibly sweaty co-rider’s back, feeling like a passenger or somehow else dropped back on the ladder of importance.


I wonder why these guys have their faces hidden behind a question mark – I hope it’s not a statement on the bike …

[via technogad]

Stylish martini glasses

Posted: September 30, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,


Wow, finally some glasses with a difference. Serve your guests in a glass as full of pizzazz as the martini you mix. These stylish Bravura Cobalt Martini Glasses feature a contemporary design with clear glass and a curved cobalt blue stem. Includes set of eight 6-3/4 oz. glasses. Dishwasher safe. Set of 8. Made in USA.

Availabe at

[via recipe voice]

Liverpool Museum

Posted: September 28, 2007 in creativity


Liverpool is getting a new museum, based on 3XN’s winning proposal. It will be built at one of the city’s most prominent development sites, within the Liverpool’s World Heritage site which was inscribed by UNESCO last year. The building is conceived as inclined or elevated platforms, gradually forming a sculptural structure. It will be fully accessible and will contribute to the public promenade flow along the Docks. Situated at the Pier Head, next to ‘The Three Graces’ (Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building), the museum will be visible from both the river and the city.The Museum of Liverpool will become the World’s leading city history museum, showcasing social history and popular culture and will look at Britain and the world through the eyes of Liverpool. Hope is that it will attract at least 750.000 visitors on a yearly basis, and that it will help Liverpool to be resurrected to new grand times while creating a new and attractive image for the city.

Adaptation to the site and a clear distinction between new and existing buildings is essential in a sensitive and listed environment. Architecture true to its own time is the only way the area’s history stays visible; pastiches that mime the existing buildings will inevitably obscure the picture. The distinction is furthermore achieved by using smaller size, lower height and a formal contemporary language. This makes The Three Graces and Albert Dock stand out and maintain their visual power, while the waterfront maintains its characteristic skyline. Distinction does not rule out harmony. Harmony is achieved by a balanced use of materials such as a natural stone in keeping with what can already be found in the area, and by planning the new building according to existing public flow lines along the promenade in order not to block any movement patterns. The new building creates protected outdoor spaces and indoor view points towards the city’s attractions.

The museum will be a focal point of 2008 when Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture. It is with this impetus that the first phase of the museum must be complete in October of the celebration year. After the Capital of Culture Year, phase two, the exhibition fit out will begin with the museum completion scheduled for April 2010.

God is an Astronaut – Fragile

Posted: September 27, 2007 in creativity

This video by post-rock/experimental group ‘God is an astronaut’ shows how arrogant and at the same time ignorant the human species is … pretty sad really.

This year I didn’t look at anything relating to Burning Man – until I came across these and other photos at TechRepublic and LAist. What I’m not showing here are pictures of the burning effigies or the fireworks, which besides generators and recreational vehicles apparently created large amounts of pollution, leaving some attendees of the annual counterculture festival in the Nevada desert wondering how green the event actually was.

Several large art pieces at Burning Man 2007 attacked the oil industry head on. Mike Ross cut up pieces of two real oil tankers for his “Big Rig Jig,” curved them and hoisted them in the air in an “S” shape. People could crawl up inside the tankers.

Sean Orlando’s “Steampunk Tree House” evokes a vision of the future and the past. In a world with no trees there may be replicas, Orlando writes in an artist statement. His tree house is made of rusty machinery and gears and gives off steam in a nod to circa-1900s steam technology.

Bikes are a necessary form of transportation on the “playa,” the barren alkaline desert in northern Nevada on which Burning Man takes place. This year, an arch built out of bicycles was placed at the entrance to Center Cafe, where coffee can be purchased in recyclable cups. Along with espresso drinks and lemonade, ice is the only other item available for purchase at the event.



Posted: September 18, 2007 in creativity


Here is an interesting way of becoming environmentally conscious and reducing your eco-footprint. For 365 days, every time Tim Gaudreau threw something away he photographed it. Gaudreau, who recycles and considers himself ecologically conscious, limited what he bought and didn’t participate in any of the traditional consumer holidays. Everything photographed was his average, daily consumption. And most of it was food packaging. As the project revealed his consumer habits, it changed his behavior. “The daily coffee cup adds up,” he says.

Memphis design style is back

Posted: September 17, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,

Ettore Scottsass

The International Herald Tribune carried an article today by Alice Rawthorn, announcing that the loved and loathed Memphis Design is back en vogue. Named after the Bob Dylan song Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (coincidentally the song had been played repeatedly throughout the evening and the record player’s needle kept getting stuck on the last three words of the song’s title), the movement/group was founded in December 1980 by Ettore Sottsass, then in his sixties and a grandee of Italian design. He had invited invited a group of younger designers to develop a furniture collection to show at the following year’s Milan Furniture Fair. After that meeting the participants resolved to meet again with their designs in February 1981, and decided then to form a design collaborative. The group, which eventually counted among its members Michele de Lucchi, Matteo Thun, Javier Mariscal, Marco Zanini, Aldo Cibic, Andrea Branzi, Barbara Radice, Martine Bedin, George J. Sowden and Nathalie du Pasquier, disbanded in 1988 when the design pendulum then swung against PoMo playfulness, and back to rationalist restraint.

The result was a highly-acclaimed debut at the 1981 Salone del Mobile of Milan, the world’s most prestigious furniture fair. According to Rawthorn, “the secret of Memphis’s success was its flair for marketing. There were long lines outside the opening party at the Milan Furniture Fair, and Sottsass posed for photographs with his young collaborators in a “conversation pit” designed by Masanori Umeda to look like a boxing ring. That image appeared in magazines all over the world, and Karl Lagerfeld placed a bulk order of Memphis furniture for his Monaco home.



Ettore Scottsass

Showy, media-savvy and an easily digestible expression of fashionable, but often obscure postmodernist theories, Memphis was perfectly attuned to the early 1980s. It was design’s equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s photo-op presidency, and all of those pantaloon-clad New Romantics – Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Culture Club – preening in early MTV promos. But there was only so much leopard-printed plastic laminate that the design world could take and, by 1985, even Sottsass was bored by it. He quit Memphis, followed by most of his young collaborators.”

Memphis was a reaction against the post-Bauhaus “black box” designs of the 1970s and it also hoped to erase the International Style where Postmodernism had failed, preferring an outright revival and continuation of Modernism proper rather than a re-reading of it; Ettore Sottsass, called Memphis design the “New International Style“. Prepared to mix 20th century styles, colours and materials, it positioned itself as a fashion rather than an academic movement, and it had a sense of humour that was lacking at the time in design. In contrast to the severity, starkness and the dark appearance of the objects of modernity (from furniture to buildings), the Memphis Group offered bright, colourful and shocking pieces. Taste of course is a highly subjective matter, but the word tasteful is generally not associated with products generated by the Memphis Group; nevertheless, they were certainly ground breaking at the time.


Ettore Scottsass

All this would seem to suggest that the Memphis Group was very superficial but that was far from the truth. The group intended to develop a new creative approach to design. They drew inspiration from such movements as Art Deco and Pop Art, styles such as the 1950s Kitsch and futuristic themes. Disagreeing with the approach of the time and challenging the idea that products had to follow conventional shapes, colours, textures and patterns, their products were conceptually in stark contrast to so called ‘Good Design’. This in turn split the world of design into those who loved the group’s work and those who absolutely hated it; until today apparently, MoMA still doesn’t have a single piece of Memphis in its collection.

That could change. According to Rawthorn, Memphis design is in demand again – not just at auctions but also as a concept underlying new design. “All of Memphis’s hallmarks – super-sizing, dizzy colors, gaudy patterns and cheesy motifs – were visible in the most directional pieces at this spring’s Milan Furniture Fair. They will surface again at this week’s London Design Festival. And cool young designers are suddenly citing Memphis and Studio Alchymia as inspirations.”


Job Smeets – Robber Baron Collection

Art and design always seem to fluctuate between similar poles: the rational, the romantic and the emotional/expressive. According to Rawthorn, “right now it is rebelling against the slickness of megabranding to chase the ‘emotional and expressive’ qualities that Job Smeets (of Studio Job) relishes in the original Memphis pieces. Design is also searching for alternatives to the delicate neo-romantic style, which was fashionable in the early 2000s.”


Karen Ryan – Untitled Light

Memphis’ influence on contemporary design can be spotted “in Marcel Wanders’s giant replicas of ornamental porcelain bells at this spring’s Milan Furniture Fair, and in the super-sized mosaic objects that Jaime Hayon exhibited there. You can see more hints of Memphis in the Day-Glo pattern of the Untitled lamp that Karen Ryan is exhibiting at designersblock in London this week, and you’ll pick them up again in the fantastical Robber Baron collection of objects that Studio Job is designing for Moss to exhibit at the Design Miami fair in Florida this December.” And “the Memphis aesthetic even chimes with what’s happening in pop culture. It is visible in the fluorescent colors worn by the New Ravers, who hang out at the London club, BoomBox, and in the gaudy graphics of SuperSuper, the style magazine, and of acid house revivalist bands, like The Klaxons. And, let’s face it, if ever an era was as showy and media savvy as the early 1980s, it’s this one.”

Jamie Hayon


Ettore Scottsass


Marcel Wanders – Antelope

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]