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.
Over the last couple months I’ve been enamored with the work of Simon Walker. He’s an Austin, Texas based designer/typographer who does some of the most consistently great branding work I’ve ever seen. He’s been working on a project with Austin Eastciders for a while now to brand their newly released Gold Top Cider. I found it interesting because I would see different designs pop up on Flickr, slowly progressing to the final packaging which you can see up there on the left.
Simon had created some designs with stickers and labels, but I have to say that this version, with the simple white silkscreening, is my personal favorite. I think the goldness of the cider is so strong and intense, it only serves to make his beautiful design work look even better. You can see a couple of the earlier versions below.
This one’s for the ladies who want something a bit different. byAMT is the studio name of Alissia Melka-Teichroew, a New York based designer who’s got quite a knack for turning product design on it’s head. One of my favorites of her pieces is the Diamond 14K Gold Ring.
We value diamonds because they’re even more rare, shinier, and durable (and often fraught with human rights concerns). No wonder they are so expensive. Do we really need one to prove our love? byAMT rings are precious for their creativity, ingenuity, style, and wit–not their glittery bits.The metal rings include a “too-thin-to-be an engagement ring” (2mm), “perfect diamond ring size” (4mm), a square 9mm size. The thinnest rings hint at the fragility of marriage and commitment. The largest is a sly commentary on our culture’s competitive nature when it comes to conspicuous consumption: “my diamond is bigger than yours.” The Diamond Rings invite us to step back, get some perspective, and even laugh at ourselves.
Hunter & Fox, a multimedia production company here in L.A., recently paid a visit to Vanessa Hernandez, who goes by the name The Vaguely. They captured Vanessa creating one of her Gilded posters, a series of freehand typography pieces which she embellishes with gold leaf on vinyl. Vanessa has some crazy skills, creating this poster with what looks like grace and ease. It’s always so fantastic to see the process of talented people, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this before. You can see the rest of Vanessa’s work by clicking here.
It isn’t exactly gold and it isn’t exactly a house: it’s a rental property just outside of Joshua Tree covered with gold paint. But don’t let the description fool you, the effect created by a space enveloped in monochromatic gold is more substantial than the veneer of paint that enables this effect. This project is called Acido Dorado (spanish for Golden Acid) and was designed by Robert Stone. The house has a nearby sibling that is monochromatic black; both are available to rent and both have been extensively featured in magazines. The house is more real than a mirage of El Dorado, but like a mirage, the house has a few optic tricks going on thanks to a reflective ceiling and planes of overlapping, gilded grids. I imagine that the Acido part of the name comes from these optic tricks.
The ‘Ori Pendant Lamp’ is designed by Swedish designer Lukas Dahlén. Made from metal, Dahlén’s design is influenced strongly by origami. According to him the sheet metal used has many of the same characteristics as paper and before designing the light Dahlén spent a lot of his time working with paper and exploring and experimenting with the Japanese technique until finally creating his own unique folded pattern. In fact, the word ‘ori’ is Japanese for ‘fold’.
The combination of metal and origami is wonderful and I particularly like the use of the bright golden brass on the inside of the lampshade. This use of color is designed to reflect light downwards, and it adds a certain golden quality of the emitted light. Make sure to check out more of Lukas Dahlén’s work on his site.
I’m sure we are all own at least a couple gold records. Generally awarded when a musician has sold half a million records, these are symbols of success for the record industry. Basically every commercially successful artist (even Tom Waits) seems to get one.
The real Gold Records, however, are on Voyager 1 and 2. A 12 inch, gold plated copper disc is carried on each of these unmanned space craft, hurtling out of our solar system. These records have a different purpose: to introduce Earth and Humanity to an unknown civilization. As NASA states:
Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form. The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music.
Here is a video of Steven Holl in discussion with Preston Scott Cohen. Holl received the 2012 AIA Gold Medal, which is awarded in “recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.” In this video Holl talks about solar flares, some of his past work, and projects that are nearing completion. After his short overview of some of his work, he sits down for what he jokingly calls an interrogation with Preston Scott Cohen, the Chair of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The photos above are from a recently unveiled project, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Richmond Virginia.