Month: January 2013


The Magic of Modernism: Alvar Aalto’s stool celebrates its 80th anniversary

I went on a month-long trip to Scandinavia the summer before last, mainly for a little Alvar Aalto pilgrimage to see his architecture and furniture in Finland. You can see a post I wrote on his studio in Tiilimaki, Helsinki here, as well as, a post on his house in Riihitie, Helsinki here. Now, furniture producer Artek are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Aalto’s three-legged Stool 60 by re-releasing the stool in two new colourful editions. The simple, stackable wooden stools were created when Alvar Aalto repeatedly threw the prototype of his three-legged stool to the floor at the Korhonen furniture factory to test its sturdiness. He shouted excitedly: “We’ll make thousands of these one day!”. Aalto spent several years perfecting the curved, L-shaped legs of the stool in collaboration with the technical experts form the Korhonen furniture company. Little did he know that they would become a design classic and go on to sell millions of copies. The new colourful stools released by Artek feature the hues Aalto used at the Paimio Sanatorium, a former …


Shipping container house by Daiken-Met Architects

This three-storey studio and living space by Japanese Daiken-Met Architects is made from repurposed shipping containers. Sited in Gifu, Japan, the studio acts as an office for the architecture practice. The firm obtained permission for a temporary structure which didn’t require construction below street level. Daiken-Met proposed a steel sturctural grid that is easily assembled and can subsequently be disassembled and reconstructed elsewhere. Image © shinkenchiku-sha via: homedit

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Ciné 32 by Encore Heureux

Seeing as I write quite regularly about French films in French Film Club, what better than a post about an actual French cinema. Paris-based Encore Heureux has designed a five-screen cinema on the site of a former barracks in Auch, South of France. The architects wanted to give the feel of a collection of small neighbourhood cinemas and not a gargantuan multiplex. Encore Heureux said: “We came up with images of old cinemas’ pediment and a tobacco dryer from the south-west of France, with their openwork natural wood façade”. An artist, with a fantastic name, Bonnefrite, has designed the graphic signage on the exterior facade, including the hand painted numbers on each wooden hut. “Cinema has this unique opportunity to gather different people for a common but yet unusual journey. We wish to offer remarkable conditions for such a trip”, Encore Heureux added. Images: Encore Heureux via Dezeen


Dogs as Fonts

This is genius. Vienna-based studio Grafisches Büro has created a series of images that depicts what each breed of dog would be if it was a typeface. So a germanic Dachshund has been reimagined as a gothic Fraktur, a doe-eyed pug as an italic Times, a German Shepherd as a straight-forward Helvetica and a round bull-dog as a slightly flattened Eurostile. The poster was printed using a silk screen technique on sheets of 1000 by 700 mm and published in a limited edition box. Via Designboom


Embroidery on print by Maurizio Anzeri

Italian-born artist Maurizio Anzeri makes his portraits by sewing directly into found vintage photographs. The artist said: “There’s a dynamic in what happens between the photograph, the embroidery on top, and you standing in front looking at it. I try never to completely cover a face, you can always still see the face underneath. Like a costume or other identity, my work reveals something that is behind the face that suddenly becomes in front. It’s like a mask – not a mask you put on, but something that grows out of you. It’s what the photo is telling you and what you want to read in the photos”. Anzeri’s work has been featured in Dazed and Confused, see a previous post on his spread ‘It Came From The Sky’ in Dazed and Confused June 2011 here. His work has also been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Images: Maurizio Anzeri


French Film Club: 2 Days in Paris

For the latest film in the blog’s series French Film Club I watched 2 Days in Paris, directed by and starring Julie Delpy. 2 Days in Paris is an amusing account of an eccentric New York couple, French photographer Marion and American interior designer Jack, as they stay in Paris and meet Marion’s family, friends and ex-lovers.         Marion and Jack attempt to enjoy the most romantic city in the world, despite Marion’s overbearing non-English speaking parents and her array of flirtatious ex-boyfriends. The trials and tribulations of the couple are hilarious and reminded me of the humour in a Woody Allen film.     2 Days in Paris also has a sequel, 2 days in New York, starring Delpy’s lovable alter-ego Marion and a new boyfriend, played by Chris Rock. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, Delpy also stars in a similar series, the films Before Sunset (2004), Before Sunrise (2005) and Before Midnight, out this year. Watch the trailer for 2 Days in Paris below.


Weekend Inspiration #2

This week’s Weekend Inspiration comes from Venetian restaurant, Polpo. Polpo has restaurants in Soho, Covent Garden and Clerkenwell and serves delicious Venetian fare, from meatballs and spaghetti, to cichetti (Italian nibbles) and fritto misto. They also do a mean Campari Spritz, for which I have been scouring London for one as good as I had in Venice. I recently lived in Venice for a month for the Architecture Biennale, and while having withdrawal symptoms from the rich Venetian pasta and mout-watering seafood, I was given the Polpo cookbook. It is beautifully illustrated with ethereal images of Venice and includes all the classic dishes I sampled while I was there. The book itself is also a beautiful object, with exposed stitching on the spine and a drawing of an octopus on the front, as seen below. I can’t wait to try the spaghetti vongole and the zucchini shoestring fries shown in this post.


Stop Look Listen: Three things to do this week

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here’s my pick of what to do to keep you occupied this cold January. STOP Rachel Whiteread House 1993 Image: Sue Omerod What: Who owns public art? Where: Tate Britain When: January 29, 6-8.30pm The proposed sale by Tower Hamlets Council of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman, commonly known as Old Flo, recently provoked public outrage. This debate addresses the question of public art ownership, the role of the government in these decisions and the difficulties faced with the preservation of public art. Book here. LOOK What: Juergen Teller: Woo Where: ICA When: Until March 17 This exhibition of Juergen Teller’s photographs provides a journey through his landmark fashion and commercial photography from the 90s, presenting provocative images of celebrities such as Lily Cole, Kate Moss and Vivienne Westwood, as well as more recently unseen Suffolk landscapes and portraits of Teller’s children, Ed and Lola. LISTEN What: The Real George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London Where: BBC Radio Four When: 10 episodes, January 28- February …


The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe

In case you missed it earlier in the week, I wrote a lesson piece for Disegno magazine on Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair. You can see the post on their website here. Images: Knoll The Barcelona chair is in many ways the zenith of Mies van der Rohe’s European career. It’s up there with the greats: the Corbusier chaise longue, the Eames lounge chair, and the Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair. Even recently, the unmistakable form of Rohe’s Barcelona chair has been referenced in the form of Konstantin Grcic’s B bench, launched at IMM Cologne. But, although the Barcelona chair has had a huge legacy beyond the original Barcelona-based pavilion for which it was designed, it is still tied to its birthplace: a building that put Rohe’s name firmly on the map and raised his furniture design to public attention. The Barcelona chair was originally designed for the German Pavilion at the International Exposition of 1929, hosted by Barcelona, Spain. Demolished at the end of the fair, the pavilion was reconstructed on the same …