Mike Winkelmann Has Created A Beautiful Piece of Technological Art Every Day For Six Years

Mike Winkelmann

Mike Winkelmann, a Wisconsin based designer who works under the name Beeple, is a rather prolific creator. For the past six years he’s created an original image every day, and this year he says he’s focusing on programs such as Cinema 4D, Octane Render, and X-particles. The outcome of this image a day endeavor is a trove of science fiction looking works that are unlike anything you’ve seen before.

I think he has a particular knack for creating shapes that feel both organic and technological at the same time. None of the pieces feel overly perfect and often have specks of dust and scuffs or signs of wear which gives them a sense of realness. If you’re interested in seeing more of his work I’d recommend looking at his portfolio on Behance.

Mike Winkelmann

Mike Winkelmann

Mike Winkelmann

Mike Winkelmann

Mike Winkelmann

Bobby Solomon

August 11, 2014 / By

Haydenshapes Makes Marble Float With These Exclusive Surfboards for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

If you think about, making a surfboard can be a form of art. You need to sculpt the shape, reinforce it, seal it in resin and so on. For Haydenshapes founder Hayden Cox, he’s taken the artful practice and elevated it even further with a recent collaboration with fashion designer Alexander Wang.

Photographs of unique marble slabs were digitally printed onto silk, then onto the boards, to create one of a kind designs for the Cage. The surfboards are the award winning Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto model, which was recently awarded ‘Surfboard of the Year’ by the Australian Surf and Board Sports Industry Association.

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

I love a good marble pattern and seeing them on a surfboard like this is incredible. There’s a slight humor to the idea, that you’re surfing on a material like marble, well-known for being durable, and of course, heavy. The patterns created are so complex and each feel extremely unique compared to one another. And what further sells the idea of these surfboards is the gorgeous product photography they’ve created, all done in lovely high-contrast black and white.

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

The installation itself, which you can see below, couldn’t look any more at home, matching the overall mood of Wang’s SoHo store. The surfboards are presented in what’s called The Cage 22 – a curvy, black metal enclosure for displaying installations. An enormous black wave sits in the middle of the Cage, a few of Wang’s products litter the dark shoreline, while the boards hang off to the side.

The installation stemmed from the idea of developing a high-end surfboard as a visual art piece for the Cage, while maintaining a superior level of innovation, performance and authenticity. The marble artwork was co-developed by Wang and Haydenshapes for this limited series. Haydenshapes founder, Hayden Cox, personally crafted each limited edition surfboard by hand for the installation.

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Haydenshapes Surfboard for Alexander Wang

Broadly I feel like this project is an incredibly successful collaboration between two rather different brands. If these surfboards were affordable, I’m going to assume that they cost thousands of dollars, I would hang one on my wall as art. They’re almost too beautiful to go into the water.

Bobby Solomon

August 11, 2014 / By

Chef Naomi Pomeroy Reminds Us How Lucky Are To Be Creatives

Naomi Pomeroy

I came across an interview with Naomi Pomeroy, renowned chef at Beast in Portland, who spoke with the Ace Hotel blog back in 2012. This year she won a James Beard Award and has been nominated almost every year for the past 4 years. This woman is damn talented.

In the interview they speak about Julia Child and the influence she had on Pomeroy, and this particular passage stuck out to me.

One thing about Julia Child is that she so clearly loved life. Do you think chefs are happier people?

I do think chefs are happier…usually. Sometimes we get too caught up in perfection and complexity though. I think that is why Julia makes such a great role model. She really showcased what is best about a GOOD chef. When something doesn’t go right, you just laugh, and turn to something else… It is a kitchen! We are COOKING and if we aren’t happy, we certainly SHOULD be. We are all so lucky to be doing what we love for work.

Replace “chef” with “designer” in all of those instances and I couldn’t agree more fully. Never lose sight of the fact that we have a pretty sweet gig, and however frustrating it can be, we’re lucky to do what we do.

Photo by Alicia J. Rose

Bobby Solomon

August 8, 2014 / By

An Interview with Joey Roth, Who Brings A Newly Refined Design to the Sorapot

Sorapot by Joey Roth

I’ve been a fan of industrial designer Joey Roth for over five years now, and his commitment to quality has always been one of the traits I admire most about him. Recently he released a newly refined version of his infamous Sorapot teapot which is a marvel of design. The upgrades he’s made have transformed the object into the true vision he had for the product all along. Curious about these refinements and his future plans, I asked Joey a few questions to get some background.

Your original version of the Sorapot was the first product you released, and I’m curious to know what spurred your desire to make a teapot in the first place?
I love brewing and drinking tea almost as much as coffee, but it’s interesting to me as a designer because of the ritual involved in its preparation and enjoyment. The slow reversion of steeping tea leaves from dry rolled up balls to the full, translucent forms that were picked from camellia bushes is a transformation worth emphasizing through design. The Sorapot is a frame for this process, each of its design gestures playing a supporting role rather than taking over.

Sorapot by Joey Roth

Some may not know that this is a “refined” version of the original design, could you describe some of the changes and improvements you’ve made?
Sorapot 2 is a realization of my original design intent, enabled by better investment casting technology and my growth as a designer. It’s 40% lighter, its geometry is held to tighter tolerances, and it uses about half the stainless steel of version 1. I also re-engineered the spout to eliminate dripping and simplified the opening and closing operation. I made these improvements to eliminate annoying experiences like dripping and enhance pleasurable experiences like the feeling of a slightly warm stainless steel handle, further reducing the friction between the user and the tea.

Sorapot by Joey Roth

These days we always seem to be so busy with our lives. Do you think there’s anything significant about the process of making tea? There is a bit of work that goes into it.
I optimized Sorapot’s design for richness of experience rather than efficiency. Efficiency is a great design goal for cars or medical devices, but efficient tea comes in a bag and brews in microwaved water. Tea encourages single-minded focus and patience, and rewards manual preparation. Sorapot is designed to be a precise but completely manual tool for making, appreciating and serving tea that requires significant user participation. That said, I optimized the individual steps, such as cleaning and pouring, for efficiency, in the service of a rich experience.

Do you feel like you’ve truly realized your vision for the Sorapot?
I’ve realized my vision as of now, but it is continually growing.

Any other food-related products on the horizon?
I’m working on a coffee maker in collaboration with a Bay Area roaster that will be launched later this year.

It’s clear that Joey as a designer truly cares about the experience of the objects that bear his name. Many people would have said “good enough” and moved on to the next thing. I love that he decided that he didn’t get it right the first time and did something about it.

You can preorder the Sorapot now by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 6, 2014 / By

A Four-Story Home In Tokyo That Feels Like A Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

If there’s anything any home needs it’s an abundance of plant life. Studies show that plants help fight colds, clean the air, lower your blood pressure and make you happier overall. That said, could you imagine living in a multi-story concrete home that basically slender vertical garden? This is what architect and designer Ryue Nishizawa, one half of the design firm SANAA, has helped create.

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Tucked away in a tiny crack in Tokyo is this four-story home which mixes concrete and glass to create a series of terraces and balconies that blurs the line between interior and exterior. The home is united with a spiral staircase the punctuates the space from top to bottom yet still feels elegant, not consuming or overpowering the space.

It’s always fascinating to me to see how the Japanese utilize such unique spaces with such creative solutions. A space like this isn’t for everyone, though if you offered it to me I’d take it in a heart beat.

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Ryue Nishizawa Designed A Home That Doubles as a Vertical Garden

Bobby Solomon

August 6, 2014 / By

The Manual Coffeemaker Brings Ritual and Lovely Aesthetics Back Into Coffee Making

Manual Coffeemaker

Manual Coffeemaker

The world of coffee makers seems to be a ripe field for new development. After decades of Mr. Coffee and the rising tide of K-Cups we’re starting to see a concerted effort to appreciate the time and effort it takes to create something of quality, specifically in this case, a cup of coffee. I’ve written about another “high-tech” coffee maker recently, namely the Ratio Eight, but the Manual Coffeemaker seen here is much more simple, more akin to the classic Chemex.

Manual Coffeemaker, or MCM, is a pour-over coffee maker that lives on the countertop in a home or office, like a low-tech appliance. Hot water is gradually poured through fresh ground coffee in a filter, and brewed coffee slowly drips into the carafe, or even directly into your mug.

MCM takes inspiration from manual coffee brewers of the past, but completely redesigns the experience with a new form. Other manual brewers have more in common with pitchers or kitchen funnels, while MCM is designed to be a beautiful freestanding appliance—an appliance you truly love to see on your kitchen counter day after day.

Personally, I find it hard to find time to enjoy such rituals though I appreciate what Manual is trying to do here. Plus it’s nice to bring more beauty into the kitchen. You can pre-order one for your own space by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 6, 2014 / By

‘Cobrina’ – Elegant Furniture from Japanese Studio Torafu Architects

Cobrina by Torafu Architects

Formed in 2004, Torafu Architects are a Japanese studio founded by Koichi Suzuno and Shinya Kamuro. The duos work is fantastic, covering a broad and diverse range that includes everything from product design and architecture; to interiors, installations and film making. Recently they collaborated with the well-established Japanese furniture manufacturer Hida Sangyo to produce a furniture collection called Cobrina.

Cobrina by Torafu Architects

Cobrina by Torafu Architects

The name Cobrina comes from the Japanese expression “koburi-na”, which is used to describe things that are small or undersized. It’s a fitting name for a collection that is designed to be small and lightweight. For the duo, it was important that the furniture could easily be moved around – perfect for those who have compact living areas!

Cobrina by Torafu Architects

Consisting of nine pieces, the furniture is made in beautiful oak and each piece is characterized by its playful rounded shapes on both its surfaces and its legs.

Cobrina by Torafu Architects

I love the simplicity and the elegance of this furniture. The hat-stand that includes a small bowl for keys and wallet is a wonderful touch and the bright blue of the chairs adds a lot of great color to a perfectly restrained collection. More images from Torafu Architects can be seen on their website.

Philip Kennedy

August 5, 2014 / By

Haruki Murakami’s New Novel and its Delightfully Designed Cover

Murakami-Tazaki-0

Talking cats? Strange moons? Brooding teenagers? Yep, it’s time for a new Haruki Murakami novel. Next week the English-speaking world will be treated to the Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, the long-awaited novel of Japan’s critically acclaimed author. Published by Knopf and Harvill Secker of the Penguin Random House Company, it’s been eagerly anticipated since the release of Murakami’s best selling epic, 1Q84, in 2011. In preparation of the launch, we’re treated to an excerpt of the new book, as well as a look at the cover’s design—in which there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer—born in Kyoto in 1949, he currently resides in Tokyo. His works have been translated into 50 languages and his best-selling books have been published in millions of copies. His most notable works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore. The Guardian praises Murakami as “among the world’s greatest living novelists.” He’s kind of a big deal and happens to be one of my favorite authors.

Murakami-Tazaki-4

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. Newly released in Germany, Spain, and Holland, it has already topped the bestsellers in all three countries, and it sold over one million copies within its first week when originally released in Japan of April last year. You can read Slate’s excerpt from the new book, “Haida’s Story,” which is a story within a story that touches upon the nature of narration and how stories change the more we retell them.

“A return to the mood and subject matter of the acclaimed writer’s earlier work… A vintage Murakami struggle of coming to terms with buried emotions and missed opportunities, in which intentions and pent up desires can seemingly transcend time and space to bring both solace and desolation.” —Publishers Weekly

As with every Murakami release, I’m quite excited about the book cover’s design. If you’re also a fan of Murakami’s work then you’re familiar with the designs of either John Gall or Chip Kidd—who’ve been primarily responsible for the classic covers of previous Murakami western releases. Always beautiful and ever evoking the abstract, these works never fail to catch my eye, draw me into the novel, or give new meaning to the words on page.

Murakami-Tazaki-3

Unfortunately, neither designer was involved with Murakami’s newest release. But fret not; handling the new cover was Random House’s creative director, Suzanne Dean. She’s responsible for the fantastic work coming out of the publishing house’s Vintage Classics line, who previously commissioned the talented Noma Bar to redesign Murakami’s backlist. They’re some of the best-looking book covers in recent years. Under Dean’s guidance, the designs featured a circle motif, accompanied by a three-colored palette—in order to reflect the “seen and unseen” often portrayed in Murakami’s work. These covers were screen printed by hand to give a personal, softer edge, demonstrating the care that Dean puts into every piece under her guidance.

Murakami-Tazaki-2

A circular motif reappears for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Dean states that the new cover is “an elegant abstract design, representing the five main characters.” The process began with her, as she recounts, “I cut out five circles and played with the position of each of them as physical elements away from the confines of a computer. I experimented with overlapping the circles to represent the interactions within the close friendship of the main characters. Gradually the design came together in a congruent and meaningful form.” Following the physical preliminaries, Dean transferred the design to Photoshop, where she could refine the color interactions and land on a look that quickly fell into place.

Murakami-Tazaki-5

Accompanying Dean’s cover is a set of stickers. Dean explains, “Tsukuru’s name means to make or build and this was a gift, a completely perfect match for an idea to include adult stickers for the book buyer to decorate the novel.” As a result, Dean commissioned five Japanese illustrators, who brought a uniquely Japanese style and knowledge of Japanese detail to the project. Each illustrator was given a character, and therefore a color, and asked to read the novel with that character in mind. They were then asked to create images reflecting their character, using their specific color.

Murakami-Tazaki-7

Mio Matsumoto: Colorless
“My drawing style here is very sharp and clean…Tsukuru is colour-less. But I thought he is influenced by the others so, based on the strong drawing line, I wanted to add all the other colours in his related objects.” Matsumoto graduated from the Royal College of Art and is currently living and working in Tokyo.

Fumio Obata: Blue
“I chose certain objects to illustrate from the text because of their noise, for instance Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” was an inspiration for the first image I did.” Obata studied at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he worked in animation for some years before deciding to concentrate on comic books and illustration.

Ryu Itadani: Red
“In all my images I carefully chose other colors to highlight red, so (hopefully) viewers can imagine that the images have something to do with red.” Itadani currently lives and works in Berlin.

Natsko Seki: White
“All the items had to be beautiful as she was, and show fragility and sensitivity.” Seki lives and works in London.

Shinko Okuhara: Black
“I worked with the colour by considering how to express the difference between the image of her full name “Eri Kurono” and her nickname “black” and her character.” Okuhara lives and works in Tokyo.

Murakami-Tazaki-6

As you can see, what at first looks like a very simple and basic book cover turns out to be a well-thought and involved process between many artists. The result is an exceptionally designed cover that readers can customize, turning the book into an interactive experience. Its design harkens day’s past and evokes nostalgia, something that I hope will only further my attachment to Murakami’s newest work. You start putting stickers on your own copy next week, August 12th, which you can purchase here (or here if you want the stickers and Dean’s design). Check out Murakami’s Facebook for release events near you.

Nick Partyka

August 5, 2014 / By

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