Kafka, Redesigned and Reconsidered by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

I figure with The Great Gatsby Re-Covered Project coming to an end on Friday it makes sense to feature another redesign for a major author, Franz Kafka. Peter Menelsund is art director at the book publishing company Knopf, who also own the rights to all of Kafka’s novels. Technically these are being released by Pantheon, a subsidiary of Knopf Double Day, which Menelsund is also taking over art directing duties on. Anyhow, he’s had the chance to redesign all of Kafka’s novels and I think they look stunning. Eye-catching, if you don’t mind the horrible pun. Here’s what he has to say about the designs:

So, as you can see, I’ve gone with eyes here (not the first or last time I will use an eye as a device on a jacket-book covers are, after all, faces, both literally and figuratively, of the books they wrap). I find eyes, taken in the singular, create intimacy, and in the plural instill paranoia. This seemed a good combo for Kafka- who is so very adept at the portrayal of the individual, as well as the portrayal of the persecution of the individual.

I also opted for color. It needs saying that Kafka’s books are, among other things, funny, sentimental, and in their own way, yea-saying. I am so weary of the serious Kafka, the pessimist Kafka. Kafkaesque has become synonymous with the machinations of anonymous bureaucracy- but, of course, Kafka was a satirist (ironist, exaggerator) of the bureaucratic, and not an organ of it. Because of this mischaracterization, Kafka’s books have a tendency to be jacketed in either black, or in some combination of colors I associate with socialist realism, constructivism, or fascism- i.e. black, beige and red. Part of the purpose of this project for me, was to let some of the sunlight back in. In any case, hopefully these colors, though bright, are not without tension.

The typography. The script is an amalgam of Kafka’s own hand, and a wonderfully versatile typeface called “Mister K” (based on Kafka’s own hand) by Julia Sysmäläine who works at Edenspiekermann in Berlin.

These editions should be available, in June or July, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

Illustrating Watersounds

abbott 1

abbott 2

abbott 3

If it were possible to visually capture the gorgeously lilting sound of flowing water, British illustrator Sarah Abbott, who rather aptly produces work under the moniker Watersounds, would be able to do it. Using a subtle and almost monochrome palette, her art and commissioned design work exudes calm and a keen eye for natural settings, eccentric animal characters, a sense of cute fun and aesthetic simplicity. Really, you have to love that the fox in the second illustration is wearing a Black Flag t-shirt.

Uncover more delightful imagery via Abbott’s personal blog, flickr and her awesome collection blog no mountain, which features postcards and photographs of mountains, hills and lakes.

Danica

Danica van de Velde

January 26, 2011 / By

Kind of Like An Inverted but Sophisticated Lite-Brite

stained glass perpendicular to the window

layered translucent color panels

While we’re on the topic of color (see yesterday’s post) there’s this lovely research center up in Canada that uses translucent layers of colors as part of the project’s exterior. The colors make the building look happy rather than institutional. Designed by MCM Partnership, the Child and Family Research Institute carries out translational research about a whole host of disorder and diseases that are no fun at all: obesity, diabetes, and childhood infectious/inflammatory diseases.  No thanks.

While most of the project’s materiality is naturally or neutrally-colored concrete, stone, wood or metal, there are repeated moments where brighter colors literally shine into the project. In the top photo, you can see the stained-glass fins that sit perpendicular to the windows. I’m not sure if you would still call them shadows, but the resulting colored parallelograms of light move across the building’s surface throughout the day; when the shadows are long, they overlap and make other colors. In the lower picture, there’s a slightly more complex wall construction where clear glass windows are set into a translucent polycarbonate wall with a random distribution of colored polycarbonate panels. It’s an effect precedented at the Laban Dance Centre by Herzog and de Meuron. For the CFRI, the use of color is pretty smart if you ask me: it invigorates an otherwise fairly neutral project and continually changes throughout the day, briefly making a spectacle of the southern face before sunset.

And while diseases are not fun, this building is seeking an antidote inside and out.

Alex

Alex Dent

January 26, 2011 / By

The Ghost Project; An Interview Series by Kartell

The Ghost Project by Kartell

The Ghost Project by Kartell

I was recently asked to be a part of series of shorts produced by Kartell called The Ghost Project, featuring Philippe Starck’s classic Louis Ghost Chair in the homes of creative people living in Los Angeles. I had the chair for less than a week, but it was beautiful to have around, albeit kind of weird. It’s an amazingly sturdy piece of furniture but, because it’s clear, it’s sort weird at the same time. The idea of a piece of furniture being invisible, yet highly supportive at the same time, seems like an oxymoron–but it’s true in the case of the Ghost Chair.

The video also gives you a tiny sneak peak into the new apartment I moved into with my boyfriend Kyle. It’s been about a month now, so we’re pretty moved in. But, of course, there’s always more to do. And, to answer your question, yes, that is a giant walnut on the dining room table.

You can see a couple more videos on The Ghost Project website, one with Alissa Walker & Keith Scharwath and another with Nathan Ryan of Proxart, with more on the way.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

Ei Kaneko

Ei Kaneko

Ei Kaneko

Ei Kaneko

Click to enlarge

Ei Kaneko is a Tokyo based artist who creates moody and disorienting portraits with graphite. It’s interesting how he uses fragments of images to create a new meaning. What that new meaning may be I’m not sure, but I love that piece at top which juxtaposes a detailed drawing of a skull with the frail figure of an androgynous person. I found an interesting article over on Art is Alive where he describes his work as “a void identity.” If these pieces interest you be sure to click here to read it. Also be sure to click the images to see them larger and to see more of the details.

Found through YMFY

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

Dana Tanamichi

Dana Tanamachi

Dana Tanamachi

Dana Tanamachi

Chalk is an interesting medium. The first word that pops into my head is “temporary.” And when I think of chalk I imagine kids splayed out on the sidewalk on a warm summer day, their dreams and imaginations spilling out in a chalky mess. But what happens when you take such a simple tool and bring a little craft to it? You’d get something like the work of Dana Tanamichi. Dana does these large scale typography drawings that are simply stunning, harkening back to a time of sign painters creating advertisements on the sides of buildings. Of course, she works for Louise Fili, which makes total sense when you look at what she does because she does it so well.

Found through 100 Layer Cake

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 25, 2011 / By

Junya Watanabe Does Americana Better Than Americans

Junya Watanabe Fall 2011

Junya Watanabe Fall 2011

Junya Watanabe Fall 2011

Over the weekend I was catching up GQ’s coverage of the men’s fashion shows from Milan, seeing what sort of weirdness the big designers were coming up with. There’s a lot of interesting ideas out there but in my opinion Junya Watanabe, the ex-Comme Des Garçons designer, was doing some of the most interesting and wearable pieces that I saw.

It’s no secret that the Japanese have a soft spot for Americana when it comes to clothing, but it seems like Junya has been able to take that style and evolve it from it’s current place. For example, the larger photos show jackets that are inspired by ski sweaters, ornate patterns and bright colors and all. It’s such a clever idea that seems so simple and smart. These heavy patterns and plaids are used all throughout the collection, but in new ways with refined touches.

I wasn’t sure if it was just me, that I was just excited about the collection because it reflects a progression of how I kind of dress. But then I saw The Sartorialist was in the front row of the show snapping photos and I realized I wasn’t crazy. His photos are the larger ones above, the smaller come from GQ. Seeing his photo gave such a human and personal look to the clothes, he did a great job of capturing the personalities of the models, thus making the clothes look even better. Or at least, that’s how I see it.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 25, 2011 / By

Hayato Wakabayashi

hayato 1

hayato 2

hayato 3

When I first viewed the work of Japanese photographer Hayato Wakabayashi I said very little, but I am pretty sure that my jaw dropped significantly. His most recent photographs capture natural phenomena in the process of catastrophe and destruction and yet Wakabayashi manages to infuse each shot with astonishing beauty. Having previously filled his compositions with imagery of flowers and plants – and therefore dealing with subjects that are intrinsically associated with aestheticised prettiness – Wakabayashi’s new work draws attention to finding visual splendour in the unexpected.

Wakabayashi also has a lovely photolog that you can check out here.

Danica

Danica van de Velde

January 25, 2011 / By

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