Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fontificate: Ticket-Tech

We freely admit to hoarding the odd beautiful train, tram or bus ticket from our travels, particularly those that combine simple graphic lines, colour and fonts. The vintage tickets illustrated above were purchased from 'Setright' machines used by conductors across Europe from Poland to Bulgaria, and from Russia to Germany with some still in use in the year 2000. We love these pocket-sized travel souvenirs with their random hole punches, strike throughs and handwriting giving each one individual character.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Monday, 29 August 2011

Friday, 26 August 2011

Mitred touch

Gaudi's influence is well documented in Barcelona, and when we first glimpsed the Metropol Parasol in Seville (above), not only were we left in awe but we grasped how Gaudi's ghost may have inspired architect J Mayer H. Constructed almost entirely from wood, the Metropol Parasol is the world's largest wooden structure with a distinctly 21st century edge embracing digital methodologies in its creation. Sitting underneath its soaring skyline are restaurants, walkways and markets, while perched above spectacular city views can be had, and it seems locals and tourists alike approve.

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban prefers paper and card for his equally awe inspiring creations which are apparently relatively quick to build. Having done some amazing work with high profile clients (think Hermes and Pompidou Centre Paris), we were recently moved when we heard about Shigeru's vision for a temporary cathedral in Christchurch (below) following the devastating earthquakes there earlier in the year. Shigeru has gained a reputation as an 'Emergency Architect' for his Disaster Relief Projects which have included schools, shelters, houses and concert halls in Haiti, Turkey and Kobe to mention just a few. We're impressed by how innovation, sustainability and humility come together to help when needed.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

This is: Ursine

We've been bear spotting, and we're talking polar rather than brown. First up as part of an environment awareness campaign in 2009, a design team in London created a to scale mother bear and her cub floating them both atop a giant iceberg down London's Thames River, drawing attention to climate change and the effect it is having on wildlife in other parts of the world. As winter hit Sydney, a large ice sculpture of a single polar bear was sighted outside Customs House as part of Vivid. As time went on the Sydney Ice Bear melted revealing its skeleton with the suggestion that bears may disappear completely. Ending on a lighter note, the hit of the recent Beaux Arts Ball, in Lexington, Kentucky was a bear constructed of some 20,000 zip ties. It's quite a feat, and beautiful to boot, and completes our tale of three bears.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wiggin' Out: Overload

On our new designer's first day, Fontbook flipped out as he began to load fonts. Quick thinking ensured he captured the screen as font after font opened relentlessly creating a typographic montage. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

Art Round Up

From north to south there is a hive of activity in our big city galleries that has got our travel bugs biting. In Brisbane GOMA is showing Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams which, from all accounts is astounding in its range and scope. Heading into Sydney The Mad Square at the Art Gallery of New South Wales sheds light on Expressionism, Dada, Constructivism, Bauhaus and New Objectivity which saw chaos reign supreme with compelling art from the vibrant Weimer Republic. Things calm a little in Canberra with a Fred Williams retrospective just opened at the National Gallery of Australia. We're in love with Fred's landscapes and the abstracted quality and bold hues. Colour and form are preoccupations for Noël Skrzypczak with her exhibition Talking to Strangers at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne. We've been mesmerised by Noël's work from afar and are busily planning a visit.

Images from top: Victor Brauner / Loup-table (Wolf-table) 1939, 1947 /Collection: Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris / © Victor Brauner/ADAGP, and below: Noël Skrzypczak, Talking to Strangers  2010, synthetic polymer paint, soap, glass and silicone installation dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Neon Parc, Melbourne. Photographer: John Brash © the artist. Fred Williams Lightning storm, Waratah Bay 1971–72, oil on canvas. Private collection © estate of Fred Williams.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Blink: Miriam

One of the team has taken to sketching some of the characters he encounters while traveling from point A to B. The rules are simple, capture the gist of the subject in 20 seconds or less without anyone noticing. See more here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Flashback: Saul Bass

Following a retrospective exhibition earlier in the year at London's Kemistry Gallery, we've been looking back at the work of Saul Bass. Saul's title design set the scene for famous films from directors as diverse as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Quoting from Saul Bass in Film Quarterly, “I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would already have an emotional resonance with it.” That certainly worked with Vertigo, and perhaps this idea was in the backs of the minds of TV credit producers we noted previously. Saul's use of bold type with minimal form was groundbreaking and influential for a raft of young designers.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Friday, 12 August 2011

This is: Metal

We're not normally hard core headbangers, but we reckon that if we were in Birmingham right now we'd be fans. Eye #79 alerted us to Morag Myerscough, a Supergroup founding member, along with Luke Morgan, and brains behind the Home of Metal exhibition currently showing at Birmingham Museum. Morag's work is bold beyond belief transforming space with dazzling vitality, which we're sure is pure wonder to experience in the flesh. Home of Metal is on now with other shows across the West Midlands until January 2012. Images: Ben Venom, I Am Demo quilt (top) and entry Home of Metal (below).

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Gardens are go!

As fans of Sanaa's work, and keen followers of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commissions, we're curious about Peter Zumthor's (1 & 2) first UK foray, Hortus Conclusus. Peter's design features gardens within gardens, places to sit and contemplate and even a feature by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf. Branching to our recent How Green Is Your Garden post, it seems gardens are proving inspirational for everyone from Jil Sander (4 & 6) with lush floral bags to Valentino's Garden Party, onto Stella McCartney's Summer 2011 range (5) and over to Hermés (3) whose new fragrance is inspired by Parisienne rooftop gardens. Bring on spring...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


The Bangara Dance Ensemble's emotionally charged Belong left us in a state of awe, with some of our crew moved to tears. We'd even go so far to say that we think it's their best yet. Melding traditional and contemporary dance styles, Belong raises poignant questions in relation to contemporary indigenous identity. Music, movement and light are put to dramatic effect in a stimulating performance tackling social and political issues from an indigenous perspective. Amazing! Photography courtesy of Bangarra Dance Theatre and Jeff Busby.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sate: Sliders

We're big fans of a good burger (although preferably not the Wagyu variety) and they are an institution Australia wide. When we first spotted sliders on the menu at 10 William Street in Paddington a few months back, we knew something was up. These boys take their Italian seriously so we hadn't expected to find anything resembling a meat-patty-in-a-bun there. Essentially a mini hamburger, sliders are thought to have originated in 1921 with the White Castle burger chain, however we're keen on the yarn of patties sliding around the griddles of US Navy ships. It seems Jamie Oliver may have some claim to kickstarting the recent trend and even Masterchef contestant Danni Renn presented guest chef/judge David Chang with her version of the Korean Rice Burger a few weeks back. In true style Heston Blumenfeld has taken the traditionally fast food a huge leap further with a version said to take days to prepare. And with what seems like another cool cultural twist, credibility is gaining momentum locally with hip Argentinian destination 'Porteño' joining the bandwagon. Image: A Porteño Pulled Pork Slider photographed by Andrew Quilty.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Gallery as Sculptural form

With the redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art (above) well underway, we've been musing about how art and architecture make the perfect bedfellows. Ever since Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Ghery paved the way with their groundbreaking Guggenheim visions, in New York and Bilbao respectively, it has been game-on for architects to create invigorating spaces for art to be seen. Designed by Sam Marshall, the MCA's new wing promises to invigorate the Quay through it's bold use of sculptural form, reminding us of Sanaa's design for New York's New Museum. A new museum of a different kind is currently underway by Steven Holl (bottom). The Nanjing Sifang Art Museum is all about shifting viewpoints, referencing the mysteries of Chinese painting. Closer to home, Tasmania's MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) provides a fresh way to experience work from modern masters, and throws a ferry ride into the bargain. Images: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo: David M. Heald, © SRGF, New York, and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain. Photo: David M. Heald, © SRGF, New York.