Monday, 27 February 2012

Friday, 24 February 2012

GOING DOTTY

Spot fever is definitely on the rise, and Yayoi Kusama is at the centre of the commotion. In Brisbane's GOMA the reigns are handed over to the audience as they enter Yayoi's The Obliteration Room. Everyone gets a sheet of sticker dots to affix to the walls, the floor or the furniture. We can only imagine what the final work will look like when it ends in March. London's TATE Modern is staging a dot frenzy with Yayoi's blockbuster exhibition. We loved her work when it was at the MCA a few years back and enjoyed the jaunt to Brissy last month. Now we're dreaming about flying to London to experience it all over again. There seems no end in sight for Yayoi's infectious creativity. Infinitely Kusama is the name of a new range of accessories, shoes and ready-to-wear fashions commissioned by Louis Vuitton. The mind boggles at what that we will be coveting as a result of this new collaboration. Look out for the sure-fire explosion of colour on the street come the launch in July.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

BEE'S KNEES

Our honey pot is always full, we love the stuff. So it's great to learn of another beekeeper making a bee-line, this time in the humid climes of Hong Kong. It seems the bustling metropolis also provides perfect conditions for our nectar loving friends. Michael Leung's honey venture is installing beehives across the city, teaching new owners how to tend their hives as well as offering candle-making workshops to put wax to good use. Sweet.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

FLASHBACK: MORSE CODE

In the 1840s American artist Samuel Morse invented a way of transcribing textual information via dots and dashes. For Morse Code afficionados, these dots and dashes are also known as dits and dahs. Each letter and number has a unique code. The more frequently used the letter, the shorter its combination of dits and dahs. For example, the letter E comprises a single dot. We love the quirky and futuristic appearance of the original Morse telegraphs. The punched out holes in the paper tape are striking in their uniformity, repetition, and tactility. It's a shame the paper wasn’t used once the operators transformed the clicks into dots and dashes and wrote them down by hand.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

GREAT GLAMOUR

One of the hottest trends at the moment is channelling the glitz and glamour of the 1920s and 1930s. From Vogue to Frankie, style commentators everywhere are talking up the era that brought us the Roaring Twenties, Art Deco and fabulous Flappers. It's not just fashion that's in the spotlight, the trend is crossing film, music and art with magnetic charm.

The full effect of the period is felt in the lavish TV series Boardwalk Empire, with its stunning outfits, outrageous parties and wild characterisations from the prohibition era. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (top) cleverly mixed the present day with the era through the use of Parisian nightclubs and evocative cinema. The ABC is in on the act too with its new series Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries (above) set in Melbourne and based on Kerry Greenwood's crime novels. It remains to be seen if this rampant international trend is still breathing when Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby rolls around at the end of the year.

The SS12 edition of Elle Collections has hit the stands in Europe. For this issue they've used a deco type treatment for their introduction pages making reference to the Gatsby trend throughout. They've also reinvented Monopoly, a board game with its origins in the era, for fashionistas. The aim? To hoard properties, designer bags and clothes to not only steal the show, but to capture the attention of street bloggers. On this side of the globe, so far we've only managed to snatch a single glance of one spiffy trendsetter at Central Station.

Historically the era was a hive of creativity for the arts. Picasso had certainly hit his stride by this time, and while we can't believe the current trend is related to the success of the Picasso exhibition (currently showing at the AGNSW), it seems Jil Sander is a fan. Her Picasso knits (SS12 above) are most certainly a nod to his work. Picasso image credit: Pablo Picasso: Figures-on-the-seashore, 1931, Oil on board, courtesy Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Also known as the Jazz Age, it comes as no surprise to see a glimmer of the trend in music. There seems to be a return to nightclub improvisation with small clubs and intimate venues leading the charge. People are dressing up to hit the town evoking a sense of underground cool. We think Gotye's last album cover and more recently Air, Emika and Goldfrapp all echo the era.

And to think the late 1920s is also the period of the Great Depression, a time of austerity with parallels to the present day global crisis. Despite the downturns, vibrancy rules. In short, we're not sure whether it's all too much of a good thing, a struggle buggy or the cat's meow, but if you're keen to be part of the action why not pepper your lingo too?

Monday, 20 February 2012

THIS IS: IN THE MAIL

In an age of electronic communication, it seems the tactility of letters and postcards is still charming receivers across the globe. Margaret Huber started Location Vocation Vacation in 2004, which has not only resulted in an eclectic range of postcard sized art works, but a book too. We're enthralled and have way too many favourites to list.

With ten million postcards delivered worldwide, we can see how projects like Postcrossing have kept posties busy. The premise is simple, sign up and then start sending and receiving postcards from global strangers. We're wondering if post offices are beginning to resemble those seen in Terry Pratchett's fantastical period comedy Going Postal. There, millions of letters lay undelivered after the postal service closed and Clacks, a telegram system in effect, took over. Australia Post doesn't let its undeliverable items pile up. Instead, an annual auction takes place with all proceeds going to charity, and from all reports, the mind boggles at what shows up for sale.


SNAP: NUSA LEMBONGAN 5.48 PM


Friday, 17 February 2012

BOOK GROUP

It seems Summer may have forgotten us this year, but we've at least found time for a good bit of  reading, no doubt inspired by the eye-catching libraries we've been studying from afar. If one thing has come to light, it's that our tastes here in the studio are broad. Some of us took to magazine trash and treasure, perfect for the beach and long haul flights. with the selection above giving a good indication of our eclectic interests.

There was definitely an animal theme for some this summer. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski slowly lured us in and ultimately became unputdownable! No wonder it has sold over one million copies. It gently renewed our love for dogs and respect for their loyalty. With Christmas came The Hare With the Amber Eyes (pictured), and while we're only halfway through all the accolades for this read are ringing true.

There's nothing quite like taking a peek inside the homes and studios of the world's finest creatives, Karl Lagerfeld or Frédéric Beigbeder for example. Our voyeuristic pleasures were satiated with The Selby is in Your Place, a beautifully collated, fun book offering a tangible extension to Todd Selby's blog (the Selby).

Taking things up a notch, Buyology by Martin Lindstrom proved to be a riveting read. Dazzling facts, intriguing research and a fast-paced writing style saw this book about shopping knocked over quickly. We'll be onto his next just as soon as we get through Plastic by Susan Freinkel, which was quickly picked up, and is equally enlightening though slower paced.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

THIS IS: SUSPENDED

 
From bikes to balls, our eyes have been gazing skywards to all manner of suspended wonders. First we were — it's safe to say — stunned by Ai Wei Wei's mesmerising sculpture called Absent, comprising hundreds of bikes, if not thousands. Absent is currently on show at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, no doubt to rapturous applause.

Last year Katsumi Hayakawa showed Floating City (pictured) at Very Fun Park in Taipei. We're loving how this city, built using paper, glitter, glue and wire, hovers casting a delicate shadow below.

Moving south to Santa Monica, Newton's Cradle by Ball-Nogues Studio makes clever use of silver spheres to create an imposing presence on this busy shopping strip. Said to represent the female reproductive system or a banana hammock — known Down Under as budgie smugglers — we're simply impressed by the sheer scale of this suspended feat. 

Taking this theme to new heights is of Tomás Saraceno's Cloud City currently on show in Berlin's Hamburger Bahnof. If we could bare to brave the European cold snap, we'd be there in a flash to take up residence. In the meantime we're satisfied ogling these clouds via Design Boom.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

Lego is making news again, this time with the help of two young Canadian lads. Their intriguing initiative saw a Lego man launched into space with the help of a weather balloon. At a staggering height of 80,000 feet, and with camera and GPS on board, the Lego Astronaut's adventure is now available for all to see.

PLAYLIST: THAT'S AMORE

When we think of romance, our minds turn to the 1950s, the glamour of Hollywood and to the dulcit tones of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra to name just a few. We're sure Al Martino will be providing the perfect mood in romantic situations across the land this Valentine's Day. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Friday, 10 February 2012

WIGGIN' OUT: HAIR-RAISING

Cutting edge and gravity defying, the Alternative Hair Show has been raising money to help and support those suffering from Leukaemia, Lymphoma and other blood-related cancers for the past 28 years. The outlandish event ousts the common curl in favour of more Gaga-esque dos, unnatural colour and baffling bouffants, with wild costumes and theatrical extravaganzas playing support roles to these outrageous styles. We think it's a terrific cause, and are pleased to hear that global incarnations are also proving successful, including last year's Moscow event. In the meantime, click through to The Guardian's slideshow.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Monday, 6 February 2012

SATE: 10 FISH TO FRY


'The End of the Line' is a documentary discussing the devastating effect overfishing has on our oceans. The film considers: the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by an increasing demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in an explosion of jellyfish; and the implications of a future world with no fish where mass starvation is likely. Sadly, 'The End of the Line' predicts that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.

As fish doomsday lurks, Fish2Fork provides information for people who want to eat fish sustainably, with great tips for consumers. One of the easiest and most delicious ways to eat fish sustainably is by selecting less popular fish to fry. Here's Fish2Fork's top ten: 1. Sardines 2. Gurnard 3. Black Bream 4. Coley 5. Mackerel 6. Megrim 7. Pollack 8. Dab 9. Tilapia and 10. Oysters.

Fishy Fact: A former roving bluefin fisherman monitoring global catches, claims that Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi has cornered a 40 per cent share of the world market in the endangered bluefin tuna. The fisherman suggest that if the Bluefin tuna is frozen at -60C now, it  could be sold in the future  for astronomical sums, particularly if Atlantic Bluefin tuna becomes commercially extinct as forecast. Images sourced from Gourmet Traveller/Ben Dearnley.

Friday, 3 February 2012

EYES DOWN

Libraries near and far are casting their dowdy images aside, taking on startling transformations that make us want to dash out to nab some hot new books, or simply just ogle at some architecture. We've been dazzled by Stuttgart's new library designed by Yi Architects (above), which displays a clever use of building materials working in tandem with design to create a gleaming central atrium. The result: an Escher-esque book repository with a zen-like ambience.


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or possibly a nod to the literary classic Moby Dick? If we didn't know better, we'd say Norway's Vennesla Library transports readers into the belly of a whale. Either way it has certainly ignited our imagination.

Across the seas and way down south is Taltal Public Library in Chile. This light-filled Murúa-Valenzuela refit is a hit with locals. We're liking the brightness of the interior and how the colour of the book spines becomes a design element in its own right.

The Avondale Heights library in Melbourne's Moonee Ponds is much closer to home. Designed by h2O architects, this is not only an explosion of colour and form in the burbs, but a green wonder with energy efficient water systems and an effective use of natural light.

We know it's been there for a while now, but we're happy that Sydney City Library's Surry Hills branch is our local. We're also fans of the Customs House branch, the perfect place to grab a coffee and catchup with the latest magazines from around the globe. With all this building activity, it seems German photographer Candida Hofer, well-known for her large scale photographs of empty libraries (below), has still got her work cut out for her.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

PROJECT 82

We're back in the studio and excited to be working with Project 82, who recently approached us to develop creative for their summer sofa sale and a series of product illustrations. The concept was to be integrated across various applications: outdoor, digital and press. Maybe you caught the ad in Saturday's Spectrum? Or the shop window on Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills is hard to miss! But do not despair, if all this rain is keeping you inside, you can click through and see it on-line.