This poster from Peter Tarka, a graphic designer and illustrator from Poland, combines two things that I’m not very good at, typography and 3D graphics. It’s simple phrase, ‘Look At Me Now’, is a beautiful mixture of tangled shapes all delightfully rendered in gold. It’s great because there’s such an eclectic mix of type as well. I love that the O’s are these great tetrahexahedron thingies, the M is this fantastic curl, and the W is a chevron looking symbol. Such imagination, so creativity.
When the town of Luckenwalde wanted to convert their old, dusty train station into a public library, they turned to ff-Architeckten. When the architects wanted a way to signify that this building had been transformed into something new, they turned to creating a giant, guilded parallelogram added to the existing structure. Although if we want to be entirely correct we should point that that a three-dimensional parallelogram is called a parallelepiped and the surface of this particular urban-scaled parallelepiped is clad in copper and not actual gold. But it’s still shiny! Photos above are by über talented photographer Andreas Meichsner.
Gold week started out with some luck as Gold Panda released a couple of new tracks this morning, ‘Mountain’ and ‘Financial District’. The tracks differ greatly from each other, embodying two different aspects of his sound. The first track ‘Mountain’ was named while he was flying over Mt. Fuji. With that image in mind you get a good sense of how the song might sound. The best word I can think of is “glistening”, like drops of water reflecting the sunlight. ‘Financial District’ though is lopping and synthetic sounding, and endless rhythm, a droning melody with a crunchy base. Here’s how Mr. Panda describes it:
Listening to ‘Mountain’ again on a trip to Japan over New Year, we flew directly over Mt.Fuji and it seemed to just fit what I was seeing out of the window. ‘Financial District’ was just the opposite of the vast expanse of the mountain I guess. Crowded, synthetic and shiny… repetitive – and of course both can erupt at anytime.
When I first started thinking about a week of gold the first person who popped into my head was Tobias Wong. The Canadian designer made a splashing his shortly loved life by creating work which he called “paraconceptual”. When I first started seeing Wong’s I had a lot of trouble with it. It was brash, it was unforgiving. I would ask my friends, “How is that art, he’s just gold plating plastic crap!” I didn’t get it.
A perfect example are his Coke Spoons, two of which you see above, mundane objects cast in gold. When I first saw these I was confused. The missing part of the story for me was the backstory, the reason why he chose the objects he chose. For example, the McDonalds coffee stirrer, an icon of mundane design, was frequently found in drug-related crime scenes. So they started slowly phasing it out, eventually replacing it with a new design.
What Wong did was gold plate the McDonalds coffee stirrer, imbuing it with the idea of luxury. What was a PR nightmare for McDonalds was elevated to something coveted by the rich. At the end of the day though, it’s still just a coffee stirrer, right? And that’s why it’s art. It questions the very fundamentals of our culture. Does the simple addition of gold to a product bring value to it?
No stranger to gold, he also created Gold Pills. Taking luxury to an absurd level, he filled capsules full of gold flakes so you can literally shit gold. It’s this kind of hilarity and commentary that made him such a genius, at least in my eyes. We can only hope the world is lucky enough to have another interesting character like Wong enter the product design world soon.
An oldie but a goodie, the Golden Domsai is a tiny planter inspired by the Tamagotchi craze of the 90s. Rather than planting a small succulent in an ordinary ceramic pot, designer Matteo Cibic has given the plant a personality of sorts, making it feel like a tiny astronaut. Of course, the gold plated version is the best of the bunch, but of course, it comes with a rather… hefty price tag. I guess some people out there might love well designed Tamagotchis still?