A Thoughtful Essay On The Details of Design by Craig Mod

A Thoughtful Essay On The Details of Design by Craig Mod

I really hate the phrase “the devil’s in the details” but I certainly appreciate it’s intention. As a designer and someone who regards aesthetics in all forms, the details are the key. When an object, or even an experience, gets all the details right and it’s a transformative experience. Good details surprise you, they excite you, and they elevate the bar of your personal taste.

Writer Craig Mod recently posted a poetic piece on Medium titled Let’s talk about margins, which relates the importance of details to book making. Funny enough, my favorite part of his piece isn’t about books, it’s about buildings.

Consider buildings. Although you may not be an architect, you can be touched by a graceful space. The kind of space where you close your eyes and feel the gentle hand of the architect reveal itself in the way sound and air moves around you. Try it sometime. Go to your favorite space. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and intuit the goodness. Conversely, you can sense neglect or disregard the same way. There’s a building in Tokyo that feels like it hates the world. Standing in its shadow, the wind becomes portentous, howling, angry. It will swallow you if you close your eyes. It does not want you there. Its rotating doors even killed a child the first week it opened. It is not a nice building. You are not an architect but you know this: The building is bad. There are no George Nakashima chairs inside.

Bobby Solomon

August 19, 2014 / By

An Interview with Knit Wit: A Biannual Print-Only Magazine About Fiber Art and Textiles

Knit Wit Magazine

I was recently introduced to Zinzi Edmundson and Gigi Jack, the creators of a lifestyle-based indie print magazine focused on knitting and fiber art called Knit Wit. Their concept is simple, they want to highlight the fresh, contemporary side of the craft, bringing to light the types of people and projects you wouldn’t find in normal craft magazines. They’re currently trying to Kickstart the magazine so I figured it would be great to learn more about the project. I spoke to Zinzi who filled me in on why the world needs a print magazine devoted to this specific culture.

Tell me a bit about yourselves, your backgrounds.
Gigi is a native Southern Californian, Santa Monica actually, and I’m from Providence, RI. We met our freshman year of college here in LA and were friends from more or less the first day. Gigi was a diplomacy/Russian major and I was comp lit/classics—yet somehow we got into magazines.

Gigi got a job in the art department at C magazine and I started as editorial assistant at Bon Appétit. We worked those jobs and moved up a bit for several years (Gigi probably lasted longer than I did) before I quit BA to tour with my band and Gigi moved to the land of e-commerce. I returned from the road and started working as features editor at FOAM (a women’s fashion and surf magazine here in LA), where Gigi joined me as Art Director a little after. We found out that we love working together. FOAM experienced a bit of editorial upheaval, so we moved on and both started circulating in that branding/e-commerce world more. Gigi is currently the Art Director at Sole Society, I do copywriting and content creation for brands like Nasty Gal, Vans, Nixon, etc. and I also have a brand consultancy company with a friend.

Knit Wit Magazine

Why do you feel it’s important to share the world of textile art?
The idea started much smaller. I’m a knitter and, looking around, I realized there wasn’t anything media-wise that totally spoke to me and the way I relate to the craft. Initially I was going to do a zine (in the sense that I would be its only author, emphasizing DIY in content and character, and all that) about knitting. As it turns out, I’m not great at keeping things on a small, reasonable scale. The deeper I dove into the world of textiles the more I kept expanding the scope. Dyeing! Weaving! Embroidery! There are just so many beautiful, thoughtful, dynamic things being made and truly incredible people cooking it up—ultimately I couldn’t limit it to knitting. So, I guess the answer is that I started by trying to make a zine for myself and ended up making a magazine about all the fun shit I found—for everyone else to see.

And why do you think you were drawn to making it a print magazine versus doing it digitally?
I get asked the print question a lot. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a super concrete answer, but I do have several vague ones. There is something really square, sort of plumb I think, about representing craft or craft-based art in a physical form. It’s a little bit symmetrical, which I like. I also missed it. I’ve done some branded magazines post-FOAM, but I think we all know those aren’t the same, try as they might!

We came of age as editors and designers in a weird time. We have a rarified, archaic vocabulary and knowledge that became moot almost as soon as we learned it. It felt like it would be nice to exercise those muscles. Maybe that is misplaced nostalgia or I am prematurely stodgy (won’t be the first time I’ve heard that!), but all I ever wanted to do was make magazines and somewhere along the way I stopped doing that.

Thirdly, it felt a lot like a challenge. I don’t think it’s an easy thing to start a blog, do it every day (every. fucking. day. sheesh) and do it well enough everyday to garner a following. No that’s not easy, but there was something about starting a print magazine from scratch without any online presence to support it (besides social) that seemed (still seems) a little bit like I couldn’t do it. I think I liked that I might not be able to do it—and that I was going to try and see if I could anyway.

Knit Wit Magazine

The imagery and content in the magazine has a really contemporary feeling, is there a world there most people don’t know about?
Right, we aimed for a more graphic and fashion forward aesthetic than is probably expected from a magazine primarily dealing in handmade/craft. One of the reasons is definitely to do just that: To stray from some preconceived notions of what the community might be like. It’s not all deep dark shadows, greyed out photography and introspective girls with low pony tails living in remote snowy cabins.

There also seems to be an understanding that no matter what your subject, if you’re making an indie magazine you’ll probably employ that style of photography anyway. It can be pretty repetitive. It’s a little bit like how every organic market or raw food restaurant feels the need to roll out a fleet of bamboo tables, a sagey mint wall color, and a logo with some obligatory sprouting leaf icon scrolling out. Do we really need these obvious visual clues to know we’re eating real food?

Knit Wit Magazine

Was it important to feature makers from around the world?
Yes, definitely. In general, we tried to keep things broad. I lifted a phrase from FOAM recently while describing Knit Wit (I can’t remember if I coined it or not, so let’s credit our EIC Kristina Dechter with this one). The phrase is: “general interest niche magazine.”

So yeah, there’s a really rigid framework that informs all the content (fiber art, textiles, knitting), but we look at it from all angles and in the familiar format of a women’s interest or general interest book. That means that we might have a trend piece about tassels, followed by a travelogue to an ancient weaving village in Oaxaca, followed by a visit to fiber artist Elena Stonaker’s idyllic LA studio, followed by an editorial featuring model/knitwear designer Rachel Rutt in Sydney. Ultimately, it became global because we kept it so broad.

Do you feel like the independent craft community around textiles needs a proper outlet?
Well I certainly hope so! I think there’s definitely an opening for this type of title, neither essay-based/institutional nor crafty/hobbyist. We’ll see if it takes. I don’t think I’m too unique of a person, so I think that if I would want a magazine like this, then there must be more like me out there. We’ll see what happens.

Knit Wit Magazine

If you could feature any maker, dead or alive, in an issue of the magazine, who would you choose?
Oh, hm! All the people who never wrote us back during the process of making issue 1? I kid… I got pretty enamored with the women of the Bauhaus weaving workshop earlier this year. Gunta Stolzl, Anni Albers, Otti Berger. Talk about making the best of your circumstances. Because they were women, they were limited to fiber, but they worked within those parameters and pushed the boundaries of “women’s work” and craft into the realm of design and fine art. Yeah, ladies! Subversion and especially feminist subversion seems to go hand-in-hand with craft these days, but the Bauhaus women were starting this revolution with subtlety, poise and stoicism.

Or maybe whoever is responsible for Nike Flyknits because sweater sneakers are basically the ultimate marriage of my favorite things and I would love to talk to that person.

Any final thoughts or feelings?
I guess the only thing I haven’t really touched on yet is our lack of DIY or How-To elements in the magazine. There aren’t any patterns and there aren’t a series of photos that will illustrate with severed hands the step-by-step of how to do a project. It’s not that we won’t ever and it’s not that we don’t like that stuff (we do), but I think it is important to note as part of our initial DNA/value proposition that we aren’t experts. We won’t get instructional because we don’t consider ourselves the teachers and readers our pupils. It’s stupidly cheesy, but we’re all in this together! It’s a magic carpet ride.

If this sounds like the sort of thing you’re into be sure to support the duo on Kickstarter by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 19, 2014 / By

Levi’s Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Quarterly

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Lookbooks for fashion brands must be tiring to make year after year. Most consist of moody looking models against a wall in alley or something variation of the sort. Levi’s Made & Crafted, the sub-brand that’s much edgier from a fashion perspective, decided to pair up with nature-centric magazine Wilder Quarterly for their Fall/Winter 2014 lookbook. Together they’ve presented the latest collection with a mix of classic product shots, interesting interviews with makers, and profiles on beautiful places and phenomenon.

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

The collection is a well-made mix of classics like leather jackets and denim paired with some pieces made with soem really interesting patterns. It also seems like the collection is extremely comfortable looking, like you could put on any number of these pieces and feel like you’re ready for the winter to come. Peter Stolz, LM&C men’s designer explains the inspiration for the collection.

The title that we gave the collection for Fall 2014 is The New West: Outdoor. We are constantly excited by the West Coast as an eternally inspiring and pioneering land. We were influenced by how we connect to the outdoors in a modern way. It’s about getting away from the urban hustle and connecting with nature––while also staying connected to the modern world. By contrast, we were also inspired by an increasing grassroots support of local foods, farms, farmer’s markets and local, seasonal ingredients and materials found in cities.

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Levi's Made & Crafted Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbook Collaboration With Wilder Magazine

Overall I think Wilder Quarterly has done what they do best, which is creating interesting stories around makers and their crafts, as well as writing stories on star watching and seeing the Northern Lights. The stories and features complement the fashion well and creates a cohesive feeling when you visit the site. You can easily imagine the site as a print experience but I’m glad it’s not. Translating an aesthetic to the web can be difficult but I think Levi’s has done it.

Bobby Solomon

August 19, 2014 / By

Marcel Dunger Uses Resin To “Mend” Broken Pieces of Wood Into Jewelry

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

I’ve noticed an interesting trend of makers “mending” or completing pieces of wood with another material. I few weeks ago I wrote about Hilla Shamia creating table and benches out of wood and aluminum, and now I’ve run across the work of Marcel Dunger, who combines resin and wood to create brightly colored pieces of jewelry.

Broken maple which was poured into colored bioresin and then processed mechanically by hand. The decorative elements reach their maximum color fastness in sunlight and can be used as rings, pendants, earrings and other accessories.

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

It’s quite a simple concept, yet the brightly colored resin paired with the maple wood is an attractive combination that easily grabs your attention. This feels like it’s a sort of design intervention, an interesting way to re-use unwanted or damaged materials. It’ll be interesting to see if more projects like these start to pop up more and more.

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

Marcel Dunger Jewelry

Bobby Solomon

August 18, 2014 / By

Summer Escape: The Perfect Holiday Apartment in Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

It’s August and people are on holiday all around the world. Unless you’re like me, working in the U.S., and the idea of holiday is a foreign concept and you can only dream of getting away for a month. To be specific, I’ve been dreaming of this holiday apartment in Barcelona which was rebbed by CaSA, an architecture firm run by Matteo Colombo and Andrea Serboli.

The brief was to transform this neglected, very badly distributed apartment into an attractive holiday home. The property is located in an extremely central street, right between Plaza Catalunya y Plaza Universitat, on the sixth floor of an art nouveau building. Nonetheless, this last floor was built in the ’60 and lacked of the charm of the rest of the building. In order to meet the brief, spaces had to be re-thought completely and all existing partition had to be demolished. The budget was tight and clever solutions were required to complete the needs providing an attractive, contemporary holiday atmosphere.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

The biggest success of the space to me is the relationship between inside and outside. The terrace originally had been extremely closed off. The architects came and opened it up with a number of interseting window spaces that allow the air to circulate through the space. They’ve also brought the wood elements from the outside into an indoor relaxing area.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Overall the space is neutral until you reach the hallway, which is a wonderfully rich shade of blue. The hallway leads to three bedrooms which are quite similar, the main difference between them are their brightly colored, tiled bathrooms. The contrast between punches of color and neutrailty is quite nice and lends to a tranquil environement.

View more images and behind the scenes information about the project by clicking here.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Bobby Solomon

August 18, 2014 / By

The Alchemists Dressing Table Requires Time and Effort To Create Your Own Beauty Products

The Alchemists Dressing Table by Lauren Davies

Do you know where your cosmetics come from, or how they’re made? Like a lot of things in our life there’s an unknowing of how the things we use day-to-day are manufactured. Lauren Davies, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, addresses this issue with her project The Alchemist’s Dressing Table.

Together, the tools form a statement piece; reigniting a dialogue about our relationship with nature and the materials we use. I believe this could be the future of cosmetics for the modern woman who has a desire to be more in control of what she uses on her skin and the impact they have on our environment. The tools I’ve designed will enable women to forge a stronger connection to their personal beauty rituals and a more magical relationship with nature’s intricate mysteries.

She’s taken the arcane and archaic idea of alchemy and presented it in a contemporary fashion. The tools she’s created allow the owner to make a wide variety of beautifying products like creams, balms, perfumes, and essential oils. One of the products I find most inventive is the eyeliner that utilizes burnt almond oil for it’s creation.

The kohl plate is for the preparation of black kohl eyeliner. Carbon collects on the underside of the copper plate from the almond oil burning in the oil burner below for a period of time. This black carbon deposit can then be mixed with almond oil for a smudged finish or aloe vera and witch hazel to allow a brush drawn line and used as eyeliner.

I also like that Lauren’s project tangentially addresses the issue of instant gratification. The idea that you’d need to sit down and prepare your beautification products is interesting to me. We take for granted being able to walk into a store and purchase cosmetics and perfumes immediately.

You can read more about the project by clicking here.

The Alchemists Dressing Table by Lauren Davies

The Alchemists Dressing Table by Lauren Davies

Bobby Solomon

August 18, 2014 / By

Milton Glaser Brands Global Warming With A Sickly, Gloom-Filled Mark

Milton Glaser Brands Global Warming With A Sickly Mark

Temperatures are rising, ice shelves are melting, and the realization that global warming is a real thing is finally starting to sink in for more and more people. Milton Glaser, the designer of the iconic I ? NY mark, doesn’t agree that earth is warming, he’s saying it’s dying. His message is “It’s Not Warming. It’s Dying.“, which is paired with a circular mark made of a sickly green and black.

Milton Glaser Brands Global Warming With A Sickly Mark

Milton Glaser Brands Global Warming With A Sickly Mark

I think the mark is strong but simple, the tenants of what Glaser has built his career on. It reminds me of decay, of the slow settling of death, all the things you want people to think of when they mention global warming. It’s aesthetically pleasing in a morbid way, and would probably garner questions if someone saw you wearing their buttons, a mean vehicle for the It’s Not Warming effort. I applaude Mr. Glaser for taking on a serious issue like this, using his talents to try and influence change.

You can purchase a set of buttons and show your support of Mr. Glasers initiative by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 15, 2014 / By

Torsten Lindsø Andersen Creates Vibrant Covers for Jack Kerouac’s Best Novels

Torsten Lindsø Andersen Creates Glowing Empty Pages for Jack Kerouac's Best Novels

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

Torsten Lindsø Andersen (who’s name is quite amazing) is currently studying at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – School of Design. For a recent school project he created a series of book covers for classic Jack Kerouac novels, each featuring a phantasmal, brightly hued gradient with simple blocks of black sans serif text. The effect is quite lovely, and it certainly creates a contemporary feeling to the covers. Kerouac has over 20 books to his name though, so I’m not certain how this could apply to his whole catalog, but I’m certain someone creative enough could figure it out. I also quite like the simple typographic back covers which contrast the front really nicely.

Torsten Lindsø Andersen Creates Glowing Empty Pages for Jack Kerouac's Best Novels

Torsten Lindsø Andersen Creates Glowing Empty Pages for Jack Kerouac's Best Novels

View more of Torsten’s work by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 15, 2014 / By

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