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Posted by core jr  |  27 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)


Core77 is very pleased to be a media partner for an event that happens literally once every hundred years: 2014 marks the centennial of the AIGA. Since its founding in 1914, the New York-based professional association has expanded to 67 chapters nationwide, boasting some 25,000 members across various design disciplines.

In keeping with their mission to recognize and advocate for design, the AIGA will be celebrating this momentous occasion with several events this spring, as well as the just-launched 100 Years of Design website. Although it is ostensibly a look back at the past hundred years of design, the online gallery also serves as an extensive standalone survey of design history since 1914. Indeed, the AIGA worked closely with Second Story, a part of SapientNitro, to develop "a dynamic online platform documenting significant design works from the last century that have impacted our collective visual experience."

Viewers are encouraged to add their own favorite examples of design history to the initial selection of works, which are drawn primarily from the AIGA Design Archives and woven together with commentary from leading designers. Driven by participation from designers, students and design enthusiasts, the site invites conversation about design's rich legacy and expanding impact.

We had a chance to speak to AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé about the centennial festivities and the story behind the impressive "100 Years of Design" website.

Core77: First of all, congratulations on 100 years! How does it feel to be spearheading the festivities for this momentous occasion?

Richard Grefé: The centennial is a tremendous affirmation of creative professionals—the value of their coming together as a community is to inspire each other, to seek ever-expanding opportunities for the design mind to thrill others with stunning and evocative work, and to enhance the human experience. A century marks a hundred years of growth, change, creativity and achievement, and the beginning of an era with even greater possibility. The festivities celebrate the breadth, depth and diversity of the fellowship of designers who come together as AIGA in order to advance the profession. Pretty exciting!

AIGA-Adler_ClearRx.jpgDeborah Adler - ClearRx (2005)

Regarding, how did you arrive at the five categories? And did you have trouble classifying any of the artifacts, quotes or clips? I imagine there was quite a bit of overlap...

Organizing the story of design over the past century was no easy task. We wanted to move beyond a linear chronology. Ultimately, we decided the purpose of the site should be to begin the conversation, not end it, so we selected five broad categories that most would agree should be among any list of intents for great design. We then invited viewers to consider other impacts by including an open-ended prompt: "Celebrating 100 years of design that..."

Because any work of design can of course have multiple impacts depending on context and the viewer, it was at first daunting to assign works within the structure. Impact is subjective and a work being featured in a certain narrative for this project does not circumscribe its larger meaning. However, key works started falling into place as particularly representative of one impact or another, and then supporting pieces began to make sense in that context.

We pulled quotes from primary sources and books—such as Graphic Design in America, Looking Closer, Design Culture, Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design, and Design Discourse—that spoke directly to the impacts chosen. For example, Samina Quareshi on the need for design to connect a community; the designers behind the First Things First 2000 manifesto on designers' imperative to assist in addressing environmental, social, and cultural crises; Paul Rand's defense of humor to delight through visual communication; Robert Fabricant on designers exerting influence through every decision they make. The final pieces were the voices of design legends, which help hold groups of work together. Each "impact" such as Delight or Inform contains three themes, and these voices complemented what we called the "narrative glue" that described each theme (for example, here and here in the Connect section).


Posted by erika rae  |   8 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

POM-Lead2.jpgOne of the designs on display at the exhibit opening and auction

It's easy to feel weirdly disconnected from your favorite designers. They're always finding inspiration from this and that, but you don't know much about how they view themselves. Consider this exhibit as close to a personal introduction as you might ever get. In a collaboration with Alessandro Mendini for TAM TAM (a free and unrestricted non-school in Milan), 50 designers decided to take on an assignment: decorate a white vessel (designed by Mendini) with a self-portrait. The pay-off? A motley mix of slightly psychological designs titled "Immagini d'Io," on view through January 19 at the Triennale di Milano museum.

POM-Comp3.jpgFrom left to right: Franz Preis, Lorenzo Palmeri and FormaFantasma

POM-Karim.jpgL: Karim Rashid; R: Alessandro Mendini


Posted by LinYee Yuan  |  12 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)


With over 70,000 people descending on Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach, its no wonder that the buzz surrounding the Design Miami sister show is getting louder with every year. This year's strong showing represented the increasingly international nature of the design business—the gallery list including Galerie BSL from Paris, Spazio Rossana Orlandi of Milan and Victor Hunt from Brussels alongside American favorites R20th Century and Cristina Grajales.

Primitive forms and the wonders of mother nature inspired designers to create objects of bizarre beauty. Nacho Carbonell's otherworldly works were as dramatic as Design Nucelo's monolithic metal tables that paid homage to the bronze age. Crystals and geodes continue to fascinate designers like Hella Jongerius and emerging-ceramicist Charlotte Cornaton with their spiritual properties and natural variations.

UUfie - Peacock L (at top)
Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Design Miami
Canadian-based UUfie crafted the dramatic Peacock chair from a single sheet of Corian. The mesmerizing grid casts a lovely shadow and a theatrical profile for its debut at Design Miami.


Hella Jongerius - Gemstone Side Table
Gallery Kreo, Design Miami
The iconic Dutch designer was inspired by the depths of color that occurs in natural stones like agate and malachite. Layers of translucent resin and plywood stack to form a revealing cross-section for this asymmetrical table.


Studio Job - Monkey Business
Carpenter's Workshop Gallery, Design Miami
A Swarovski-studded monkey wearing a fez stands guard over a brass treasure chest. It's not a scene from an Indiana Jones movie; it's the latest conversation-starter from Belgian designers Studio Job. An embedded LED hints at what treasures might lie inside the chest.


Richard Phillips - The Playboy Charger
Venus Over Manhattan Presents Piston Head, 1111 Lincoln Road
Ferrari's art car show in the Herzog & de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln Road explores how artists like Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Tom Sachs and Ron Arad have transformed the beloved automobile into sculptural works. The exhibition also included the first viewing of artist Richard Phillips' collaboration with Playboy, the "Playboy Charger."




Posted by erika rae  |  27 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

12Shoes-Golddigger.jpgPhotos via Sebastian Errazuriz Studio

Sebastian Errazuriz has no fear of sharing his thoughts and beliefs, whether they're translated through bike lane performance art or other shocking surfaces. To put it plainly, the designer is mighty outspoken—and that's why we always love the work he brings to the table. This time, Errazuriz is back with another series worthy of a double-take: "12 Shoes for 12 Lovers."


Errazuriz is working with shoe brand Melissa (yes, the name behind the jelly slip-ons we all used to love) to create the 3D printed sculptures. The exhibit will be on display December 6th through January 6th at the Melissa pop-up shop in Miami. Each shoe design is accompanied by an anecdote (and a few NSFW personal photos) featuring an ex-girlfriend that unofficially—and pretty harshly, in some instances—describes the relationship between her and the shoe design. Some of the series' highlights so far: "Gold Digger," a beautiful and very expensive looking gold heel; "Ice Queen," a chilling display of icicle heels; and "Cry Baby," a splash of spilled milk turned avant garde footwear.

12Shoes-Golddigger2.jpgDigital drawings for "Gold Digger"

Errazuriz shared some to say about the series and some of the responses he got from the featured exes:


Posted by erika rae  |  26 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)


Just when you thought artist Nils Völker couldn't expand on his expansive respiratory installations, we're bringing you a new title to the bunch. Like with his last breathing light installation, "Thirty Six," his newest addition "Seventeen" adds just enough new appeal to catch our attention.

This one features the somewhat creepy breathing motion that the artist is known for along with some smart light play. More understated and zen-like than the others, "Seventeen" culminates in an undulating hanging light system made of Tyvek. The lights are brought to life with cooling fans, LED lights and custom-made electronics. Check out the video below to get the full scope of the installment. Make sure to full-screen this one—it's the only way to watch Völker's work in action.


Posted by erika rae  |  22 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

Last-Supper-Lead.jpgPhotos by Max Falsetta Spina

"The Last Supper" is arguably more well-known for the speculation surrounding it than anything else. Nevertheless, it's an important piece of art history that sparks conversations time and time again. Ghigos Ideas—a sounding board for design-centered discussion and debate—has asked 13 designers to look at the painting in a new way, specifically at the parts that aren't painted.

In the original painting, you can see bits and pieces of chair parts (mostly legs), but the designs are hidden. The designers involved—including names like Alessandro Guerriero and CTRLZAK—were challenged to create a "B-side" to the painting, one that focuses completely on the chairs the subjects are sitting in.

Last-Supper-Comp3.jpgChairs and designers, from left to right: Apostle Judas Iscariot by Alberto Biagetti, James the Greater by Ghigos Ideas, Simon the Zealot by PG Bonsignore


Posted by erika rae  |  14 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

Chameleon-Ceramics-BubbleWrap.jpgPhotos by Yusuke Tatsumi

It's not every day that bubble wrap's noise-begging bubbles take center stage in design—you'd more likely see it protecting another design in a box. But Fukusada good Yu's pieces—titled Chameleon Ceramics—for the "Experimental Creations" exhibit at the Light Box Studio Aoyama in Tokyo turns heads with everyday surfaces and textures.



Posted by Ray  |  11 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

R20-JoaquimTenreiro-1.jpgSide chairs, circa 1948. All photos by Sherry Griffin / R20th Century

Brazil is having a moment, with the World Cup next year and Olympics in 2016, but for everything we hear about their prowess in sports, the fifth-largest country's vibrant design culture suffers from a serious lack of exposure. Joaquim Tenreiro (1906–1992) is among the greats, a master joiner who applied his skills as a craftsman to Modern form. "Often referred to as the father of 20th Century Brazilian design, Tenreiro was one of the first South American designers to adopt a European Modernist vernacular." He is the subject of an eponymous exhibition opening tomorrow, Tuesday, November 12, at New York City's R 20th Century gallery, which will feature several "groundbreaking pieces" from the 40s–60s, many of which are from the collection of Gordon VeneKlasen, who is curating the show. "I have been collecting the work of Tenreiro for more than a decade," said VeneKlasen. "The first time I saw one of his pieces I knew immediately that he was an innovator in the truest sense of the word, as there is something exceptional about the work in terms of his use of forms and materials."

R20-JoaquimTenreiro-2.jpgSix-sided table with white underpainted glass top, ebonized jacaranda frame and black wrought iron legs, circa 1958

R 20th Century Principal Zesty Meyers concurs: "He was an innovator with local materials, such as woven cane and Brazilian hardwoods. His work embodied everything that was happening around the world in design culture, while also referencing the past and traditional forms and ways of working." In other words, he continues, "it is a perfect symbol for the enthrallingly multi-ethnic cultural mélange that is Brazil."

R20-JoaquimTenreiro-3.jpgEbonzied "Structural" chairs with upholstered seats, circa 1947


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |  11 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)

Kuho Jung's Second Skin garment at News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory, 2013. Installation view, Sullivan Galleries, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Except where noted, all images by the author for Core77.

The premise of Desert Island Discs, one of the BBC's most popular radio programs, is a simple one: if you were sent away to live on a desert island, what would you bring with you? Guests are allowed to take a selection of music (which plays during the program), one book, and one luxury item with them. What makes the show delightful is not the mundane realities of its premise—after all, how would you play the music after the batteries run out?—but the thought process that comes with the assumption of lack.

News From Nowhere<, an ongoing exhibition at the Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, takes this basic premise of lack and sets it in the context of design. Developed by Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, News takes the form of a collaborative project in which designers, artists, poets, philosophers and others are invited to imagine a post-apocalyptic world, where humanity almost goes extinct and we must start over from the beginning. The title of the exhibition comes from the eponymous 1890 novel by William Morris, a British designer who imagined a future society in which all property is shared.

A screen still from Moon and Jeong's El Fin del Mundo. Image by James Prinz.

Upon entering the exhibition, we are greeted by El Fin del Mundo, a two-channel installation developed by Moon and Jeon, depicting parallel narratives of a young woman in a totalitarian society and an artist developing work on the side. The woman is dressed with plain severity, as many apocalyptic scenarios like 1984 and The Matrix have imagined we will one day dress. She examines a set of Christmas lights without context, while on the lefthand panel we watch the artist install the lights.

takram design engineering's hydrolemic system imagines organs that maximize our bodys efficiency in a world where water is scarce.

Toyo Ito's Home-for All: Kamaishi Revival Project.

This focus on an object and the narrative behind it sets the stage for much of the exhibition. Moon and Jeon invited leading design thinkers like Toyo Ito, MVRDV and Yu Jin Gyu, amongst others, to participate in the exhibition. Toyo Ito imagined a reconstruction of a Japanese village devastated by the recent tsunami, with a recreation of village life and structures. Takram design engineering's team assembled a series of metallic implants that would make the body more efficient in the face of rapidly-decreasing water availability.


Posted by erika rae  |   7 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)


Disney's fantasy movie "Fantasia" gave us all false hope when it comes to the magic behind composing music (and hanging out in forests in general). But we can thank artist Robert Seidel for creating the grown-up, "Fantasia"-esque installation, "Advection"—a perfect title, considering the word by definition describes "the transfer of heat or matter by the flow of a fluid, esp. horizontally in the atmosphere or the sea." The installation is a two-channel video projection displayed on a water fountain and pond in Bad Rothenfelde, Germany.




The reflections from the resting water and the shadows from passersby add an additional layer of interactive visuals past the planned digital image. The end product is an ethereal mix of music, digital projection art and fantasy. Check out the video below to get a better feel for the project:


Posted by Ray  |   1 Nov 2013  |  Comments (0)


An abridged history of Industry City, f.k.a. Bush Terminal, via Wikipedia: Just as New Amsterdam became New York in the late 17th Century, so too was Jan Bosch's surname anglicized to Bush (no relation to the former presidents) when he arrived from the Netherlands; six generations later, Irving T. Bush invested a sizable inheritance in building a shipping terminal in Sunset Park. The year was 1895, just three years before Brooklyn became part of New York City, when the ambitious plan was dismissed as "Bush's Folly" (again, no relation to W. or H.W.), but Irv quickly made good on his promise of inexpensive shipping and storage compared to that of Manhattan. He employed a ruse—something to do with bales of hay—to convince intransigent transportation authorities to ship to Brooklyn by rail and, by 1910, steamship as well, despite what a scanned encyclopedia article calls "a peculiar prejudice of New Yorkers against any possible business facilities in Brooklyn."


The federal government took to Bush Terminal during both World Wars, but the facilities plateaued and eventually declined in the second half of the century as shipping migrated across the harbor to New Jersey. (The 50's saw the rise of Topps, who produced baseball cards at the Terminal, as well as "what might have been the largest explosion in New York City History.") Industry City, as it was renamed in the 80's, has been relatively quiet (but not dormant) for the past three decades; recent years have seen increased interest from both the City and developers, most notably Jamestown Properties, who own Chelsea Market. Along with a handful of other stakeholders, they're looking to revitalize the sprawling real estate while remaining true to its manufacturing legacy: "Not only was Bush Terminal one of the first and largest integrated cargo and manufacturing sites in the world; it also served as a model for other industrial parks and offered employment to thousands, and is the home of many businesses today."


So that's the short version of Industry City's rich 100+ year history (it also involves lots of bananas—Bush imported them to promote his piers) and a brief introduction to a recent pop-up event that took place there over the past two weekends. We announced Factory Floor with measured optimism about both the venue and the event itself, and it was a success by most accounts. Each of the exhibitor/vendors I spoke to provided a slightly different cocktail, so to speak, of feedback (including the need for more cocktails, or at least beer during the final hours of the show last weekend): Some took the event as a testing ground for potential projects for NYCxDesign come next spring, while others treated it as a deadline to complete works-in-progress.



Posted by Ray  |  16 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


We've been fans of François Chambard (a.k.a. UM Project) for some time now, but I must say he's really hit his stride with his latest project, a series of theremins (thair-uh-min, for the uninitiated) for Butterscotch Records and Moog Music. On view now at Judith Charles Gallery in New York's Lower East Side, Odd Harmonics features a dozen one-of-a-kind theremins handcrafted by Chambard, ranging from a breadbox-sized tabletop version to several filing-cabinet-sized renditions.

FrancoisChambard-OddHarmonics-1.jpgThe theremins are exhibited alongside 2D-artwork by Cassandra C. Jones and Tomory Dodge (pictured), who have created album art for Butterscotch Records

The sturdy wooden construction and bright colors—in keeping with Chambard's signature style—have a certain retro appeal, yet they're entirely contemporary, sui generis works that blur the line between sculpture, furniture and, of course, musical instrument. Chambard notes that the hardware itself was provided by OG synth-makers Moog, and the functional control knobs that comprise the 'dashboard' of each theremin are a riff on A/V equipment.

FrancoisChambard-OddHarmonics-2.jpgMoog's standard Etherwave theremin usually comes with a natural wood finish; Chambard has painted some of them to nice effect.

Meanwhile, some of the antennae actually consists of wire brushes, funnels and various other household objects, evoking the child-like sense of wonder at noisemaking antics—i.e. banging on pots and pans—without compromising aesthetics or functionality. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the proto-synthesizer, the theremin simply generates a sine wave and a pair of electromagnetic fields (localized to the antennae on either end). The musician modulates the pitch by moving his or her right hand along the vertical antenna; the loop at left corresponds to volume.


Posted by core jr  |  16 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)

MAD-OutofHand-FrankStella-NikeVaporLaserTalon.jpgShane Kohatsu's Vapor Laser Talon for Nike / Frank Stella - 'K.162' (2011) sculpture

In what will certainly be a must-see exhibition this holiday season, New York City's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is pleased to present Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital, which opens today and runs through July 6, 2014. Billed as "the first in-depth survey of digital fabrication in contemporary art, architecture, and design," the exhibition includes a catholic selection of "more than 120 works of sculpture, jewelry, fashion, and furniture by 85 artists, architects, and designers from 20 countries." Curated by Ronald T. Labaco, Out of Hand explores various approaches to and modes of computer-assisted production through works—"including commissions created especially for Out of Hand and objects never presented before in the U.S."—by the likes of Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Maya Lin, Greg Lynn, Mark Newson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and many more.

Seeing as the works date from 2005 to present, MAD is clearly planting a stake in the ground with this first look at what will eventually be considered 'early' examples of art and design in the digital era. It's too soon to tell whether some of the work on view will be canonized or it will be forgotten, but the fact that these technologies will likely evolve over the course of the nine-month run of the show is precisely the point: Out of Hand is a timely snapshot of the intersection of art and technology at this moment in time.

MAD-OutofHand-DrorBenshetrit-VolumeMGXLamp-2009.jpgDror Benshetrit - Volume.MGX Lamp (2009)

MAD-OutofHand-RichardDupont-MichaelSchmidtFrancisBitonti.jpgRichard Dupont - Untitled #5 (2008) / Michael Schmidt with Francis Bitonti - Articulated 3D-printed gown (2013)

We had the chance to speak to Labaco in anticipation of the opening.

Core77: How did this exhibition come about? Is there a serendipitous origin story, or has it been in the works for some time now?

Ron Labaco: The concept for the exhibition came out of a meeting with the director and chief curator about two years ago. We were tossing around ideas for exhibition topics and the subject of 3D printing came up. If you think back to then, which wasn't so long ago, 3D printing was not as familiar a term with the general public as it is today. You could count the number of articles about it in popular magazines and newspapers on one hand.

But rather than simply focus on 3D printing, I suggested a more inclusive exhibition on digital fabrication—including CNC machining and digital knitting/weaving—to provide a broader look at how computer-assisted manufacture has changed our physical world. By doing so, I was able to develop a more complex story about how these methods of fabrication were being utilized in individual artistic practice across different disciplines. I opened up an interesting dialogue between practitioners who approached the same technologies from different perspectives with differing goals. At first I had also planned on examining developments in the medical sciences, but with the wealth of material that I was finding, I had to limit the scope to design, art and architecture.

MAD-OutofHand-LucasMaaseenUnfold-BrainWaveSofa-2010.jpgLucas Maassen & Unfold - Brain Wave Sofa (2010)


Posted by Ray  |  11 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


I've been a fan of sculptor Do Ho Suh since I saw his work at a 2011 solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin; curious to learn more, I arrived at the profile of the Korean artist, who is currently based in New York and London, on PBS's Art21. The son of a well-known painter, Suh traveled to the States to study at RISD and Yale, where he earned an MFA in Sculpture a decade after he completed a masters in Oriental Painting at Seoul National University (the hiatus was due to compulsory military service).

Suh's work generally addresses his sense of displacement, rife with cultural references to his native Korea, including sentimental notions of home and community, as well as identity, independence and conformity. Yet his work is consistently beautiful and is broadly concerned with space—architectural, public, private, shared, personal—whether it's a formal study executed in unconventional materials or a playful visual pun, or (as is often the case) both.


His forthcoming solo show at Lehmann Maupin's Hong Kong gallery features a new series of his iconic translucent polyester sculptures: "specimens" of household appliances and fixtures (no permalink but it's listed in the 'Upcoming' section of the Exhibitions page). By 'rendering' full-size replicas of entirely banal objects in gauzy drapery, Suh elevates the mundane into the magical, transcending kitsch by faithfully reproducing details such as crisper drawers, the heating coils of the stove, the innards of the toilet tank, and all variety of detail on the radiator.



Posted by erika rae  |   9 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


In January, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei stacked 760 bicycles at the Galleria Continua in Italy. His most recent installation, on display until October 27 in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square, tops his previous one with 3,144 bikes, illuminated by blue and pink lights. A similar exhibit (with the same name, but using 1,200 bikes without the lights) was shown at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in early 2012.

The lights reflect the bikes' chrome, giving it an eerie, almost blurry look. Weiwei is known for his social design and this sentiment isn't lost on this project. The sound variation of "Forever Bikes" was created as a labyrinth-like monument to the rapid social change China—and the rest of the world—is constantly experiencing. Never before has a pile of chrome looked so good.

The installation was an exhibit at Toronto's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, which took place on October 5th. Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is a one-night contemporary arts and culture festival that features artists from around the world.




Hat tip to Design Taxi

Posted by Ray  |   3 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


Whereas the Museum of Bicycle Parts materialized (or popped-up, as they say) in a quirky storefront space in Dashilar's labyrinthine hutong, the Factory No.8 space a couple alleys down served as a more traditional venue for about a dozen Beijing Design Week exhibitions as it has in past years. Both the main two-story building and several project rooms—organized around a communal courtyard, as in the surrounding abodes—had been converted into galleries for a week, featuring a mix of temporary installations and new work from Chinese and European designers.

A standout amongst the exhibitions was a joint project from the Moscow Design Museum, curators Evgenia Novgorodova and Peipai Han, and a handful of supporting agencies. Spanning two large rooms (and an interstitial corridor) on the ground floor of the Factory, Common Objects: Soviet and Chinese Design 1950–1980's is the "first retrospective of its kind, bringing together daily objects designed in Russia and China in the second half of the 20th Century."

A shared dream of equality and prosperity was one of the motivators for an active exchange of goods, which lead to a common social experience for Chinese and Soviet consumers. The primary function for design and branding of day-to-day-Soviet and Chinese items in 1950–1980 was to satisfy basic human needs. At the same time, designers—or 'artistic engineers,' as they were called in the USSR—were responsible for creating a new, unifying aesthetic, guided by the principles of functionality, sustainability and durability, while coming up with a design fit for mass production.
The Chinese and Soviet industrial and graphic design objects selected feature significant moments in the design histories and the similarities in material culture of the two nations.

BJDW2013-Dashilar-CommonObjects-2.jpgPackaging for confectionary goods



BJDW2013-Dashilar-CommonObjects-5.jpgBidon with logo of Youth and Students Festival 1985


Posted by Brit Leissler  |   3 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)

If you are among the two million people who would have liked to expose their senses to the biggest revolution in cooking since the discovery of fire by visiting the legendary elBulli restaurant on Spain's Costa Brava, but didn't manage to do so before it closed two years ago, here comes a consolation: The Art of Food show in the Embankment Galleries of London's Somersethouse narrates the story of the elBulli restaurant and its protagonists in an engaging and well-executed exhibition.

Drawings and carefully crafted putty models preceded every new dish that Ferran Adria put on the table.

The work in the upper gallery focuses mainly on the molecular cooking techniques developed by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert Adria, whereas the lower showroom provides (via countless photographs and personal memrobilia) an intimate view into how the elBulli restaurant came into existence and how it developed over the years into the Mekka of New Cuisine. In the late 80's, chef and elBulli co-owner Ferran Adria's priority shifted from simply creating dishes, to create concepts and techniques that would be capable of making diners live experiences.

This giant meringue Bulli (french bulldog) was created for the final dinner at the elBulli restaurant in 2011. It's now on show in London's Somersethouse.

By doing so, he is an artist and a chemistry professor in equal measure (holding a honorary doctorate of Barcelona University), while being considered the most influential chef of the past two decades. To put it with the words of Richard Hamilton (a passionate disciple of Adria's cuisine): "Ferran did for cooking what Shakespeare did for language—he completely re-invented its vocabulary".


Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)


This is the second of two posts on the INDEX: Design to Improve Life 2013 Awards program. See the previous post on the 59 Finalists here.

This past Thursday, we had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the winners of the INDEX Awards, recognizing "Design to Improve Life." Once again, the esteemed jury of the INDEX awards selected five winners (from the 59 finalists) to receive prizes of €100,000 each, albeit with a different tack than in previous years. Not only did the organization introduce a new 'telecast' format for the fifth edition of the biennial event, but they held the festivities in a handful seaside venues in Elsinore, Denmark, about 45km north of Copenhagen for the first time. Following a VIP cocktail reception at the Kronborg castle, historic site of Shakespeare's Hamlet (where one speaker attempted an ill-advised riff on "To be or not to be"), attendees took their seats at the adjacent Culture Yard for the live announcement. The massive, hangar-like space was a Siemens factory as recently as three months ago, and the raw space offered a nice contrast to the slick movie set feel of the production itself. All told, the fast-paced and tightly-scripted presentation was a welcome change from the plodding ceremonies of the past, and the threat of rain cleared up for the warm reception afterward.


The winning entries themselves are stronger than ever, not least for the fact that several of them have already made an appreciable impact in the real world, demonstrating the potential of design to improve life. Drum roll please...


Copenhagen Adaptation Plan

Along with execs from the INDEX Awards, Lord Mayor Frank Jensen made a few introductory remarks at the press conference, welcoming us to the lovely city of Copenhagen, only to return to the stage just a few moments later to accept one of the top prizes for the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan. Although the city has been considering plans to explore new models of urbanism for over a decade now, the crippling floods of 2011 sparked a renewed effort to create the city of the future.

And while the fact that the city is host to the awards—founded as a private initiative, INDEX now has government support—the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan is impressive both for its scope and the fact that it's on track to meet ambitious deadlines within the next few years and decades.




Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


It's a common refrain: ambitious designers develop brilliant, potentially world-changing solutions to the large-scale problems... which never leave the poster presentation or PDF precisely because they're simply too far-reaching. Even when researched and developed to a degree of realizable specificity, few designers have the resources or network to actually execute their vision, and investors are more inclined to support the likes of, say, Rap Genius, as opposed to a water filtration system for the developing world, which may never see any kind of quantitative ROI.

Yet social problems such as lack of food and water beleaguer the everyday lives of billions, and (perhaps more insidiously) environmental issues haunt our existence with no ostensible consequences... until a 100-year storm ravages a city or nation.

The organization also partnered with CNN to produce video 'vignettes' on each project

Thus, the INDEX Design Awards represents a new definition of design that is at once broader and more nuanced: moving beyond beautiful objects towards the intent to "improve life." The very premise of the award is that it might ultimately render itself obsolete—that humankind might eventually prevail over the various humanitarian crises that we face today, that we might achieve ecological homeostasis, that we might reach a point where there is nothing left to improve.

If it seems like a grand vision for what design could or should be, the organization is putting its money where its mouth is, with a total of €500,000 in prize money, as well as new initiatives to connect 'designpreneurs' with business training and savvy investors. And if the notion of "improving life" seems like too broad a directive, each of the finalists of the fifth edition of the biennial celebration of design offers a concrete solution to a remarkably broad range of issues.


The jury team winnowed the field of over 1,000 entrants down to 59 finalists, which can be viewed on the site (we'll have more on the five winners shortly). We've covered several of them before, but the INDEX Awards were a nice occasion to catch up with the likes of Massoud Hassani, who mentioned that his team is working on a new version of his much-lauded Mine Kafon; Dong-Ping Wong and Archie Lee Coates IV are hoping to launch the + Pool test tank in the East River next summer; and Scott Summit of Core77 Design Award-winner Bespoke Innovations, who mentioned that they'd actually started collaborating with another finalist, Ekso Bionics, just before we'd suggested that they work together in our write-up of the latter. We were also glad to see several previously-covered projects in the mix, including hydrogel, the Nest, Rabalder Parken, Skillshare and Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton.


Posted by Carly Ayres  |  29 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Founder Noel Wiggins describes Areaware as "a gallery for artists, sort of like a group show." A fourth generation painter, Noel brought a different perspective to the product design industry when he formed of Areaware in 2005. Since then, the company's line of "everyday objects" has struck the perfect balance between function and sculpture, as they continue to seek out young, local designers for objects to include in their line.

Core77's Carly Ayres had the opportunity to talk with Noel Wiggins at NY Now (formerly NYIGF), where he walked her through some of Areaware's latest products.

* * *


Core77: Areaware seems to strike the perfect balance between function and sculpture. Having a background in painting and the fine arts, what led you to form such a product-driven company?

Noel Wiggins: I'm an object guy. I like things. And I also have a lot of the engineer's mentality of wanting to do things better than they're already being done.

I come to it from a kind of problem-solving idea. Painting, honestly, wasn't collaborative enough for me. You have to be a really kind of solitary person to be an effective painter.

I love mixing it up with our staff and the artists, and then we're banging ideas around, so it's like movie-making with objects—you know, with crews—and thinking about things, and they have narratives, and stories behind things. So it keeps me very mentally engaged.


Posted by Ray  |  26 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)

IsaacSchell-RickJones-COMP.jpgPortrait by Isaac Schell / Additional images courtesy of Rick Jones

We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

As a specific manifestation of the burgeoning maker movement, the craft of building a bicycle by hand has seen a resurgence in recent years, in tandem (yeah, yeah) with the increasing popularity of cycling in major metropolitan areas. Although the Brooklyn bicycle builder community is a relatively new phenomenon—Johnny Coast is an elder statesman at a decade in the game—cycling aficionados have long regarded the greater Tri-state Area as a builder hotspot, home to the likes of J.P. Weigle and Richard Sachs, who have a collective 75 years of experience between them.

Indeed, one of Harry Schwartzman's goals in producing the event is to showcase the previous generation of builders—those that Jamie Swan of Northport, Long Island, calls "Keepers of the Flame." We'll have more on the elusive Swan (a cult figure in his own right) shortly, but we can glean some of his story through his young charge Rick Jones, to whom he has passed the proverbial torch and, by his mentor's account, may well surpass his forbear.

Nestled in a quiet corner of the North Shore, Jones' unassuming workspace is tucked in the back of his family-owned bicycle shop. Glen Cove is a short train ride away from New York City but a world apart, and if the Road Runners Bicycles storefront probably doesn't look too different from any other suburban bike shop, it's worth noting that it's been around for some 50 years now. The 33-year-old mechanic and framebuilder shared more in a recent conversation with his mentor and friend.


Jamie Swan: Ok, we're at Road Runner's bicycles in Glen Cove, New York. We're talking to Rick Jones, proprietor and framebuilder. Rick, how long have you been in the bicycle business?

I was kinda born into it—my family has owned this shop since before I was born; I've [been] spending a lot of time here since I was about eight years old. Since then, I've probably been here every weekend at least—now I'm here every day—it's just been a big part of my life since as far back as I can remember.

I also raced BMX starting when I was nine or ten years old. I took to it, like I wind up taking to a lot of things: full steam ahead, going for it. In a very short amount of time, I went from just riding a BMX bike to racing on a pretty serious level, full national circuit, becoming nationally ranked... I did that for about three or four years, and then I moved away from bicycles for a while.

And your grandfather started the shop?

My grandfather opened the shop in 1964. It was originally a motorcycle shop, but they'd [also] fix bicycles and eventually morphed from being a motorcycle shop to being a bicycle shop. During that time [in the 60's and 70's] when the shop started out, my father raced motocross, to show support for the lines that they were selling.

Do you still fix motorcycles?

Yeah, we still fix all sorts of old motorcycles and stuff. Mostly vintage stuff that we'd started working on, in that era, when they were doing motorcycles. Today, we still do some restoration work on British and German motorcycles; we do a lot of vintage British—Norton, BSA, Triumph—and BMWs.

And I understand that you worked in the automotive industry for a while?

I spent about seven years as an auto mechanic; I started out working on a variety of high-end European cars, and then moving to Mercedes for the last five years, where I was a factory-certified engine builder and diagnostic technician.

But throughout the time when I was working on cars, like I said, I was here any day off I had, helping out. When I left working on automobiles—it's been about 12 years ago now—it's been a full-time six, or seven, or eight days a week kind of thing for me. [Laughs.]

When and why did you decide to get involved in the family business?

It was almost a matter of necessity. I had lost my job fixing cars and I didn't know what I wanted to do. After working on cars for several years, I kind of decided that as much as I actually liked the actual work of working on cars, I just hated working for car dealerships. It was just a miserable experience for me. I weighed about 325 pounds, I smoked about two packs a day... I was at a very low, depressed point in my life. And just out of needing a salary, I came to work here to see where things were gonna fall for me and figure out where I wanted to head.

I immediately bought a bike, started riding again, and started to see this passion get reignited in me, that I had when I was a kid, racing BMX. And I started getting into mountain bike riding again, and I just started getting more and more and more... more deeply involved with bike riding, bike racing. And it was after a short amount of time when I started back up here again, it was just like, 'Ding, this is where I was supposed to be,' and I realized that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And it's just been like that ever since.

It's certainly not an easy business to be in—I often tell people that 'It's a good thing that I like what I do, because I gotta do it a lot.' [Laughs.] But it's great, I love every aspect of bicycles. I love building custom bicycles. I love being the guy that, you know, sells a four-year-old his first bike—having this kid look at you like you're god, you know, and you see this future 'Brother of the Wheel,' budding right in front of you. It's a really cool thing—it's a fun business to be in. I find it to be very rewarding.


Posted by Glen Jackson Taylor  |  20 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our friends over at PSFK took their self-published "Future of..." trend report series to whole new level this month with a physical exhibition showcasing over 60 products, ideas and services from their latest research into "The Future Of Home Living." Located in the 5,000 sq. ft. future retail space of Stonehenge's latest building development, 101 at 101 West 15th Street, the exhibition not only addresses the changing needs of the modern-day New Yorker but also the global shift towards urban living and managing smaller spaces.

To examine our trends through a macro lens, we've organized them into three larger themes: Adaptive, On-Demand and Equilibrium, which point to the importance of a clean, efficient and responsive space that can flexibly conform to the ever-changing needs of its residents. This overarching framework is meant to inspire anyone to reshape their life at home, regardless of whether they live in a studio apartment inside a high rise, a split-level home in the suburbs or a remote cabin in the woods.

Anyone familiar with the Life Edited project will be aware of many of the concepts put forward, but one thing that resonated with us was the subscription-based services for: coffee, cocktails, exact ingredients for healthy homecooked meals, and a library for periodically rotating your wall art. The on-demand services are not only practical but offer a form of entertainment for the dweller, improving the quality of their life at home.

PSFK-popup-04.JPGKitchen and living room section.

PSFK-popup-03.JPGAT-UM Table for Lenovo's Horizon Tablet PC by UM Project.

PSFK-popup-05.JPGHome Aquaponics Kit by designers Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez.


Posted by Ray  |  12 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)


We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

Johnny Coast has been handcrafting custom bicycle frames in his Brooklyn shop for the better part of a decade now, but he first got his hands on a torch before he learned how to drive. Of course, seeing as his father owned and operated an auto body shop that specialized in custom work for hot rods, Coast was certainly comfortable behind the wheel by then. (As the story goes, his grandfather was also a machinist, and Coast inherited machine tools that have been going strong for three generations now.) "I basically grew up in [my dad's] shop," he says, reminiscing. "As far back as I can remember, he was teaching me how to work with metal, I was welding by the time I was 12 years old." Beyond the work itself, Coast's father taught him "how to work and think about metal, how to safely run a shop... Basically he planted the 'maker bug' in me."

JohnnyCoast-Randonneur.jpgImage courtesy of Johnny Coast

Coast eventually parlayed his longtime predilection into a vocation at the United Bicycle Institute, with further tutelage from legendary framebuilder Koichi Yamaguchi. We recently had the chance to check out his Bushwick shop and hear him elaborate on these experiences and more:

Core77: How you ended up building bikes for a living?

I studied framebuilding at the United Bicycle Institute, a trade school for framebuilders and bicycle mechanics. I also learned fillet brazing and stem building from Koichi Yamaguchi, master framebuilder of the famed 3rensho bicycle company. Both [of my educational experiences] were great and almost polar opposites from each other. UBI has an almost lab like setting, with lecture in the morning and lab hours in the afternoon, very structured, as it is a state-recognized trade school.

The Yamaguchi classes, on the other hand, were one-on-one with the teacher. All of the hours spent at the work bench going back and fourth with the task at hand, I would work for some time then Koichi would take the file from me and show me how to file the coping. It was very intense, always with Koichi over your shoulder either accepting your actions, or rejecting them, and instructing you in his way. He was sort of mind blowing for me because we needed a part for the stem I was working on and not having one in stock, he shrugged and said, "we'll just make one." I kind of realized the brilliance of just fabricating anything you need...

After school, I set up shop and started making as many bikes as possible, putting this knowledge to use. My father used to say that [when kids graduate from] trade schools, they think they know everything but have no experience. It was true: UBI handed me all of these answers, but I had no experience, so I set out to learn some things by doing them.




Posted by Ray  |   7 Aug 2013  |  Comments (1)

EzraCaldwell.jpgPhotos courtesy of Ezra Caldwell

We've devoted a fair number of pages and pixels to that singular design object known as the bicycle, and whether you're a leisure rider or all-weather commuter, weekend warrior or retrogrouch, there's no denying the functional elegance of the human-powered conveyance. Thus, when Harry Schwartzman reached out to us about lending our support to the inaugural Bike Cult Show, a celebration of the beautiful machine and a local-ish community of individuals dedicated to building them, we were happy to support the cause.

Bike Cult Show: Save the Date · Ezra Caldwell · Johnny Coast · Thomas Callahan · Rick Jones · Jamie Swan

"I think the bike is inherently the most perfect thing that people have ever designed."

So says Ezra Caldwell, who isn't exactly known to exaggerate, a framebuilder who holds a unique place among their ranks, not least for his unusual background. At least a couple of clichés—Jack-of-All-Trades and Renaissance Man—come to mind, yet his story is anything but: the son of a woodworker, he enrolled at the University of Arts as an industrial design major, only to discover that he disliked the curriculum and "ended up in the dance department somehow and got stuck dancing for 15 years." Despite the fact that Caldwell was talented enough to land a cushy part-time teaching gig after a decade in the dance world, he eventually found himself back in the shop; by 2007, he decided he liked bicycles (and had grown disenchanted with the performing arts) enough to dedicate his life to building custom bicycle frames.

Fast Boy Cycles was barely a year old when Caldwell received a devastating diagnosis of colorectal cancer; up until that point, about five years ago, he "really did get everywhere on a bike." I first learned Caldwell's story via this beautifully executed short film in the documentary series "Made by Hand":

If the short doc successfully transcends the tragic trope of a gifted artist stricken with a terminal illness—a trait that threatens to consume the victim's identity even as he accepts his fate—it's a bit surreal to see him in the flesh, and in high spirits no less, when I visit him in his basement workshop in an unassuming brownstone in Harlem. "It may not seem possible to believe, but I am so happy right now," he declares. "There are parts of it that really bum me out, but on balance, I would say I'm the happiest I've ever been."


Posted by Sam Dunne  |  16 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)

New-Designers-2013-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Sam Dunne for Core77

Serving as a platform for design graduates in the United Kingdom to launch their career, the New Designers 2013 Show took place at the spectacular Business Design Centre in London with over 3,500 emerging designers exhibiting their wares and ideas in disciplines ranging from industrial design and furniture design to textiles, ceramics, jewelry and applied arts.

As usual, the work ranged from good to great, and we've duly taken stock of our favorites from the show. Head over to the New Designers website for more about the show, or check out the ArtsThread blog for more info on the young designers in this year's show.

» View Gallery

Posted by shaggy  |  25 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)


The Cyclepedia Exhibition
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Through September 8, 2013

Austrian collector Michael Embacher's attic might be creaking a bit in relief right now, having been recently dispossessed of about half of its contents. Embacher, who had amassed over 200 rare and unique bicycles in that very neat yet very full attic, has broken out two groups of bikes for simultaneous shows in Portland, Oregon and his home town of Vienna.

We had a chance to catch the Portland show, and highly recommend it based on both the collection and its presentation. Bikes are often defined by their components and require a close look to be fully appreciated, and at the exhibit they hang in an open gallery at eye level, saving the viewer the trouble of craning or stooping. Every geek cyclist relishes the opportunity to scan a dense rack of bikes, examining each, cataloging frames and components, paint-jobs and set-ups; the difference here is that each bike is followed by another more marvelous or curious.