I’m so sorry for that horrible pun of a title, I couldn’t help myself. Back in 2008 designer Klas Herbert made this series of fabric covered soccer balls which elevates them to this odd level of refinement. Instead of pieces of leather you get scraps of tweed and touches of houndstooth. Clearly not for actual use, I’m sure these would be great to set upon a mantle or next to your bed. Such a clever idea.
Sports films generally follow one cardinal rule. This rule has little to do with the technical aspects of film-making, story device, or even high octane performances. The one unforgivable component of a sports film is that it must – without a doubt- be inspiring. When I learned of the theme week topic I was keen to begin researching Olympics or Sports related films, as this is not a genre that I would naturally gravitate towards. As my research progressed, I gradually began to form self-imposed restrictions to uncover what would stand up as a high calibre sports film. I didn’t want it to star Adam Sandler (although admittedly I am a semi-fan), I didn’t want it to be about Football (to easy), and in the spirit of London 2012, I wanted it to focus on summer Olympics (leaving out the common denominator favorite Cool Running’s). My restrictions may be questionable, but in the spirit of going for the gold, I think rules might apply here.
There are hundreds sports films that are watchable, but there are mainly two that are dimensional enough to be accessible to a wider audience of sports fans and non-fans alike. It’s a cliché choice but, Chariots of Fire is the first. Released in 1981, nominated for seven Academy Awards and three prizes at Cannes that year, the film remains a quintessential example of sportsmanship, and the intrinsic drive that leads Olympic athletes to compete in the world’s fiercest competition. Set in 1924, the film follows two Cambridge scholars Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) and Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) who are both accepted to compete in the Paris 1924 Olympics, but who are driven by two very different motivations. The film tends to be slow and it deals with heavy religious subject matter (Jewish Abrahams experiences Anti-Semitism at Cambridge and Catholic Liddell is asked to compete on the Sabbath). As our 2012 world grows more and more secular the characters motivations in Chariots of Fire may seem trivial, yet the positive spirit of witnessing someone achieve a goal remains vividly inspirational. Besides, every frame of Chariots of Fire looks like it belongs in the dead center of the epic September issue of Vogue. If you could care less about the religious undertones, watch it solely for the luxury in set design and costuming that it displays on screen of an era that has escaped through time.
Without Limits is an easy second choice. Directed by Robert Towne, the 1998 film is the bio-pic of American record holder and long distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) or “Pre” as he was colloquially called. Without Limitsand subsequently Prefontaine’s story, is a staunch example of remaining true to the cardinal rule of inspiration as it profiles Pre’s goal to compete at the Munich Olympics. Not only was Pre an outspoken rebel and tour-de-force athlete intent on over throwing athletic establishments, his stoic and wise coach was Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) the founder of Nike. As much as it is all consuming to sit at the edge of your seat and watch Crudup out run a squad of other exceptional athletes, it is equally as entertaining to witness Bowerman’s empire collate from waffle-iron shoe soles to what we now know as his million dollar industry.
Also worth checking out is the basketball tear-jerker documentary Hoop Dreams available on Criterion, and ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30. All these films are available on Netflix and itunes.
This short animation is merely a preview for a longer animation that the BBC will use in a title sequence for the London 2012 games. It’s a pretty simple idea: showing athletes training around the UK… in a stadium that apparently wraps around the entire country– but what’s particularly nice about the animation is the attention to detail. Everything is gorgeous: the rocks are gorgeous, the diving boards and the caricatural anatomy of the athletes. Direction is by Pete Candeland from Passion Pictures.
Custom artwork for each of Enjoi’s riders (Jose Rojo, Jerry Hsu, Louie Barletta, Nestor Judkins, Wieger Van Wageningen, Cairo Foster and Caswell Berry) that celebrates their individual loves, loathings, artifacts and most importantly: bad habits.
I love how they were ale to pile in so many random objects on each board. Fried chicken, film, condoms, champagne – you name it, it’s in there. It’s kind of fun to pour over each design to see what you can find. And though it may be sacrilege, I think it’d be awesome to see a collection of these on a wall, displayed as pieces of art.
Olympic Vermin is such a great title for this video, featuring the scruffy creatures of London having their own mini-Olympic torch lighting. I have to say, I’d almost rather watch this then the real Olympics. Those rats are pretty cute (but you know, not in real life). Nice work from Amael Isnard and Leo Bridle.
This week I tried to pick a wallpaper from the queue that would fit our sports theme in some way shape or form, so I thought this piece by André Britz was an interesting choice. André is a part of group of creatives called Britzpeterman, and you may remember these fantastic window installations they did in their office. On his own though he’s doing these really great illustrations which are dynamic and colorful, many of which you can see here.
With André’s wallpaper I was imagining a bunch of guys on the soccer pitch, getting ready to play a game of soccer. I don’t think this is necessarily what André had in mind, but I don’t think it’s far stretch. I think a lot of you are going to like this wallpaper for it’s simplicity and color palette. I also love the detail of the image in the hoody, it gives the piece just a touch of texture. A big thanks to André, check back next wWednesday for another sweet wallpaper.
These are images of the Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion designed by Pernilla & Asif. From the model, you may guess that the project was inspired by a stack of hot sauce packets, but it’s actually quite different. The project is an interactive musical instrument that you play as you walk through the structure and interact with its large panels. These panels are the ones lit to stunning effect at night with LEDs around the perimeter of each panel. The sounds are sports-centric: things like sneakers squeaking on a court, or “an athlete’s heartbeat” or an arrow hitting a target. Visitors to the pavilion with eventually make their way to the roof, which offers views of the surrounding park.
Back in 2010 the London based studio HelloVon collaborated with Nike Stadium to create a huge 17 window installation at Selfridges on Oxford Street in London. Designed to celebrate the World Cup, the installation featured 17 portraits of the world’s best footballers with each image measuring a whopping 5m x 3m.
HelloVon is the studio name of Von, a London based illustrator and artist. Von’s mixture of traditional and digital mark-making techniques creates images which combine old fashioned craftsmanship with a skill for creating very clever and contemporary images. His installation at Selfridges was a fantastic display of his talent, and I think his style of image-making is the perfect way to honor these sporting greats. Make sure to check out more of Von’s wonderful drawings on his site HelloVon.