An annual report you’d want to keep by Matt Chase

An annual report you'd want to keep by Matt Chase

An annual report you'd want to keep by Matt Chase

An annual report you'd want to keep by Matt Chase

I’ve been a fan of Matt Chase since his widely publicized rebrand of the U.S. Postal Service, but it was his annual report for the University of Virgnia Library which I thought I’d share. I’d say that there is a subtle change in reports. Most companies and institutions are starting to realize that they communicate their brand goals with these commonly stodgy reports. What Matt has created is both informational and fun at the same time. His use of images, color and type blend create a project that feels contemporary while managing to include things you’d actually dig up in a library.

You can see more photos by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

March 30, 2012 / By

Kaap Skil Maritime and Beachcombers Museum by Mecanoo

Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers Museum by Mecanoo Architecten

Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers Museum by Mecanoo Architecten

Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers Museum by Mecanoo Architecten

This is the new entrance and exhibition space of Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers Museum designed by Mecanoo Architecten. Recently opened on the Dutch island of Textel, the playful, gabled volume greets visitors to the museum which highlights artifacts from the “Dutch Golden Age” when Texel was the departure point of vessels in the Dutch East India Company fleet. Four hundred years ago, sailors and businessmen set sail in search of spices

The exterior of the project is finished with vertical strips wood repurposed from a nearby canal. From the project’s interior, the vertical louvers filter views outward and cast long, striped shadows on the museum’s surfaces.  The fins run up to meet the project’s jaunty roofline, which may seem like an irrational flourish but the gables help tie the project to the surrounding buildings. Both details help reinforce the identity of the museum as references to water.  In the case of the roofline we have the abstract form of a wave and the facade is more like driftwood- something found and repurposed.

Alex Dent

March 30, 2012 / By

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit of the Week - Lado Alexi

Space Suit of the Week - Lado Alexi

Space Suit of the Week - Lado Alexi

The photos of Lado Alexi are filled with sexy, fashionable people, but clearly he also has a soft spot for space suits. He took the spacesuit, something that’s decidedly not sexy, something made for protecting the human body from the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space, and turns it into something mysterious and sensual. The model almost appears to be protecting herself with the suit, the last photo looking like she’s preparing to suit up. The colors are also pretty fantastic, they almost look like something from an old pulp comic book. Be sure to check out the rest of his work as well, he’s got a great eye.

Bobby Solomon

March 30, 2012 / By

Immateriality as material: Visualizing the unseen aspects of our world

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Data is beginning to flow from of everywhere these days. As mobile devices continue to spread we’ve slowly and steadily begun mapping our world, through our own eyes. We’ve got geotagging and image sharing networks, but what about the stuff we can’t see, abstract things like electromagnetic fields? Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have taken this idea and created these beautiful visualizations, which are like spatial holograms of bubbling information. I find the idea of visualizing things we can’t see an extremely interesting field. It’s like when you see maps of wind currents, we know it’s there but you can’t quite see it. There’s also the idea of emotional cartography, a term I think that was coined by Christian Nold, which can tell you things like the emotional states of people in a certain geographic area.

For the last 2000 years we’re a people who’ve relied upon geographical maps to determine our next location, but what if that changes in the next 100 years? What if instead you navigate based on your personal interests? We’re soon approaching a breakdown between the physical and digital worlds, so much so that I think one day we may have to come up with a new word for it all. It’s fun to dream up potentials for the future, and important to start making them reality.

Bobby Solomon

March 30, 2012 / By

‘I Feel Better’ by Gotye

Gotye

It’s tough to be a stranger to Gotye. The Bruges born multi-instrumentalist has had a worldwide hit with Somebody I Used To Know. This is partially due to the meticulous, focused video by Natasha Pincus and Co. Gotye sings about making her “someone he used to know” while he gets painted; Kimbra strips of paint while singing and screaming in his face. And even after singing it in his face, he says the same things… cause that’s all he’s got.

The song amalgamates the freakish, post-empire pop of the past three years. The music is unafraid to be itself as it is arranged, sequenced, and contorted. It owes as much to Jon Brion as it does Peter Gabriel and the Police. Lofty company if you ask me. Two songs later, I Feel Better pops up, a breathe of fresh air past the smoky mirrors that dominate the first half of the record. Instead of the wild introspection of Future Islands, action takes precedent, moving forward in life and in attitude. With a Motown horn backing, no less. This track really isn’t progressive rock, or funk… its music of elation, release, and possibly deception.

Calling Making Mirrors a break-up record is like saying all ice cream is chocolate: you’re only as right as you want to be. A story as deliberate as this record can be clear and pointedly arched. Yet you are the sole viewer of the story. Your view is your complete own. The new power pop that Gotye brings (one lacking genres, geographic regions and race) is in its own world, unable or unwilling to grasp anything beyond its measures. So I Feel Better could be completely honest or completely dishonest. Projection instead of reflection.

But does it matter? You’ll feel better.

Alec Rojas

March 30, 2012 / By

Simian Mobile Disco’s new video ‘Cerulean’

Simian Mobile Disco's "Cerulean"

Simian Mobile Disco's "Cerulean"

Simian Mobile Disco's "Cerulean"

Simian Mobile Disco have been mum for some time, likely a little sore for a few slight missteps in the past few years. Well, they are back and they seem like they have their stuff together both musically and visually, which is super, super fantastic to hear. They recently released their new single “Cerulean” with an accompanying video by fellow UK folk Jack Featherstone and Will Samuel of ISO Studio.

The song is a charging tech house song that is fairly accessible while being quite aggressive, kind of marrying the ideas of their more hardcore tech Delicacies with that of their very friendly Attack Decay Sustain Release. It’s a push in a very positive direction that definitely makes pre-ordering their new album Unpatterns quite tempting.

One of the reasons why this song is so great is because the video they’ve released for it is a brilliant pairing, really personifying the song. The video follows a little circle who is on a journey. To where? It doesn’t matter. He is just pushing along through a video game like world and, even though there is no talking or “story,” the song articulates what this little guy is going through, which you see as he confronts sticky acute angles, color changing shapes, entrapping boxes, and other geometric landscapes. It’s a very simple, visual approach to a music video and has to be one of the best videos I’ve seen in a while from a band. Big high fives for Featherstone and Samuel of ISO on this. (And, if you guys did in fact make this into a video game, I would play this so much. I would give you my money and I would play this game forever.)

Check out the video above and be on the lookout for the release of the band’s new LP on May 14.

KYLE FITZPATRICK

March 29, 2012 / By

Salton City, California

America's Dead Sea by Jim Lo Scalzo

America's Dead Sea by Jim Lo Scalzo

There are many great things about this video: Jim Lo Scalzo‘s short documentary America’s Dead Sea. First off, the story of Salton City, California is kind of insane. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Colorado River spilled over an irrigation canal and for two years the river flowed into the desert, forming the Salton Sea. In the ’50s, a sugar magnate developed a town along the “Salton Rivera” which is still inhabited, but just barely. Since it’s formation by the Colorado River, the only  water flowing into the Salton Sea has been irrigation runoff, and the body of water has become increasingly saline and polluted.

But it’s not just the story that makes this video worth watching. The compelling cinematography is thanks to the years that Jim spent working as a photojournalist. What might be the best thing about his video is that Jim doesn’t narrate it; instead, he uses archival footage and sound clips to contrast the promise the lake offered in the 50′s to the reality of the Salton Sea now.

Alex Dent

March 29, 2012 / By

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