When I was a student, I really didn’t like brick buildings– because brick is rarely used as a load-bearing structural system nowadays and it’s basically really expensive wallpaper for the outside of buildings. Plus, the use of brick in the States is almost uniformly boring. I used to say snarky things like “Oh, how exciting… another monolithic running bond rainscreen interrupted only by efflorescence.” But lately my attitude about brick has started to warm . The first brick building that really surprised me was a small, scandanavian church designed by Sigurd Lewerentz. In the church, St. Peter’s, Lewerentz used brick, manipulating the masonry in ways I hadn’t seen or expected. So maybe it should be no surprise that this project, and its delightful tapestry of brick is also in Scandinavia.
These are images of the Saunalahden Koulu, a school in Espoo, Finland designed by Verstas Arkkitehdit. The recently-completed school serves nearly 800 kids within the metropolitan area of Helsinki. The brick front of the school is a kind of experiment in bricklaying (like the courtyard of Muuratsalo) and the result here is a mix of patterns that might excite a few other brick skeptics. I ran across these images on an online forum here.
Mike Perry’s Twitter bio reads that he’s “busy making stuff,” and after witnessing his latest project in person it’s clear he’s not kidding. He’s an extremely prolific and talented artist with a solid work ethic, and his efforts in the past few years have become more and more ambitious. From his first book, Hand Job: A Catalog of Type, to successive books Iron Me On, Over & Over, and most recently Pulled: A Catalog of Screen Printing, Mike has become a major figure where contemporary art and design collide. His own work has expanded from drawings and screen prints to sculpture, painting, products, and animation, with solo exhibitions across the US, Europe, and Japan.
Verdens første ballongferd (The World’s First Balloon Flight) is a newly released book for children written by Lena Lindahl and illustrated by Rui Tenreiro. The book is about of the world’s first aeronauts and it tells the true-life story of two brothers in 18th century France who set about building the first hot air balloon. The illustrations really looks terrific and wish I could speak Norweigan just so that I could read this.
It’s illustrator, Rui Tenreiro, is a Mozambican author, artist and editor. Dividing his time between Sweden and Mozambique he creates wonderful illustrations filled with detail and character. Some prints from the book will soon be available from Rui Tenreiro’s online shop while the book itself is currently available online here.
Last week saw the release of a brand new trailer for the upcoming The Hobbit film and boy is it stunning looking. Peter Jackson and his team are back, expanding their original vision into an even larger epic. I read The Hobbit back when I was in the 8th grade so I’m not familiar with the exactitudes of the storyline anymore, but if these are anything like the first trilogy they made, we should be in for a treat. The one big character I’m looking forward to seeing, who is absent from the trailer above, is Smaug, though he probably won’t show up until the very end of the first film or perhaps the second. Yes, you read that right, the single book has been expanded into three total films.
The first film comes out December 14 of this year, which is titled An Unexpected Journey, the second will be released December 13, 2013 (The Desolation of Smaug), and the final film July 18, 2014 (There and Back Again). It’s a whole lot of LoTR but I think that’s what the diehard fans want, LOTS of films. December can’t come soon enough.
The A & C Shop At HVW8
We’re really late on this but Art & Council curated a little shop at HVW8, an art and design space. One of the biggest features of the show are five extremely limited edition Modernica chairs that artist KRINK took to. They are drippy and trippy and really, really rad. They even made a process video that’s super great, too.
Move over Comic-Con, there’s a new kid in town: Comikaze. Last weekend was the second annual pop culture/comic book/horror/etc. festival that brought out tons of great artists and tons of great characters and tons of great oddities. There was a zombie apocalypse zone, Elvira had a whole museum, there were live Quidditch games, and–best of all–Stan Lee was there. What’s so cool about that? He’s actually in charge of the convention. Doesn’t get any more legit that that!
LA In NYFW
Last week was New York Fashion Week. What does that mean for us in LA? Our best and brightest designers were out there sharing their wears. We shared nine or so LA designers who were in New York and analyzed what they all did and how they connected to each other and Los Angeles. Bottom line? Jewel toned interpretations of sky and sea, which are very LA.
Zack Herrera’s Downtown Oz
Photographer Zack Herrera did something super clever: he noticed that Downtown Los Angeles at night looks like Oz, the fictional land from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard Of Oz. He captures zones that look like Oz creatures would crawl out of and entry points that look like the entrance to that green land (but it’s actually the underside of a bridge). It’s really fascinating and incredibly clever. If you have ever been to Downtown LA, you’ll think it is amazing.
While many architects have worked outside the confines of traditional building, few have worked with the productivity and visibility of Greg Lynn. In fact, Lynn has finished just a few buildings, and instead has used his skill as an architect to realize of a plethora of everyday objects. Chairs? check. Teapots? check. Flatware? check. He’s even taken the large plastic toys we used as kids (the same kind he and his wife bought for their kids) and turned them into a kind of building material for delightful tables and twofountains. Now, Lynn has partnered with Swarovski to bring us a line of somewhat wonky, but surprisingly elegant jewelry for Atelier Swarovski. In an interview with the New York Times, Lynn remarked that this line of jewelry is related to his love of the water, saying, “you aren’t sure if the piece is a contemporary design object or something very old, eroded and polished like driftwood, river stones or sea glass.” Lynn is an avid SoCal sailor on his boat, the Kraken, and his collaboration with Swarovski started with an installation for Design Miami in 2009 where he suspended giant crystal-encrusted sails from the ceiling.
Sometimes, I suspect that Lynn’s is able to make all of these small scaled objects because his buildings are novel in a way that can make people nervous about larger scales. They can be constructed, sure, and they can be structurally sound but it’s less clear how they can be inhabited or used. Still, who wouldn’t want to live in the world he has created in the meantime? Where the toys we loved to play with become elaborate and dynamic fountains and where jewels can cling to our bodies like barnacles.
The work of Paris based illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti struck me this week, with her unique mixture of striking greyscale and subtle textures. Her work is almost Parisian, you could say, with a certain mood and geometry pervading each of her pieces. The angularity of her work, especially in the piece at top, is pretty stunning as well. It’s abstract in so many ways, referencing the idea of the world, and yet stil clear with it’s intent. I love the way the trees reflect in the puddle on the ground and in the windows of the building.
Despite the heaps of construction material and clutter of debris in this video, it’s nice to see the lastest project from Massimiliano Fuksas coming together: the Shenzhen International Airport. The firm’s design for the airport beat out submissions from Foster + Partners, Foreign Office Architects, Reiser + Umemoto, and others. I think the sectional models Fuksas made for the competition are incredible, because they illustrate both the assembly strategy of the complex exterior envelope and give a hint about the spatial quality for folks who will eventually use the building. That said, I didn’t expect the interior to be as airy and expansive as it appears in the video.