Bence Bakonyi Photographs Figures Disguised By Their Environment

Bence Bakonyi

I find the work of Bence Bakonyi an interesting contrast to the last post Philip wrote which featured the minimal and colorful photos of Hans-Christian Schink. They both depict these bright environments as the focus of the work, only in Bakonyi’s case he’s inserted people into these environments who seamlessly blend in to them.

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

Bakonyi’s point of the works is to show the effect that our surroundings have on us. That we can be influenced by our environment and learn to identify with it. The pieces feel like the super pop versions of Liu Bolin’s photography, although he’s much more detailed and camouflaged than these. Still there’s something captivating about these figures lost in blocks of color. They’re there but they’re not.

Bence Bakonyi

Bence Bakonyi

Bobby Solomon

August 5, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Hans-Christian Schink Finds the Beauty of Minimalism in the Mundane

Seehausen from Hans-Christian Schink's Walls

Since the early 90’s the German photographer Hans-Christian Schink has been bringing his unique perspective to the world. Represented internationally by many museums and galleries, his photographs often cover a broad range of subjects but a fascination with landscape always seems to be at the heart of his work.

Frankenheim from Hans-Christian Schink's Walls

Gunthersdorf from Hans-Christian Schink's Walls

Between 1995 and 2003 he produced a body of work called Walls. Easily his most abstract series to date, the work highlights Schink’s direct, near confrontational, manner of photography. Shot with a large format camera, the series consists of 11 images, each one demonstrating the photographers strict approach to his subject matter.

Halle Queis from Hans-Christian Schink's Walls

The photographs examine the architecture of commercial buildings. Each image resembles a large color field paintings, with Schink paring down his subject matter to a point of graphic abstraction. Only the smallest hint of subject matter can be detected from the tiny traces of pathways and skylines that Schink choose to include at the edges of his work.

Sanitz from Hans-Christian Schink's Walls

Personally I love the restraint in this series. There’s a striking directness about each image and the colors of these buildings are just wonderful. You can see the complete series on Schink’s website and make sure to also check out more of his work while you’re there.

Philip Kennedy

August 4, 2014 / By

Punchy, High Contrast Illustrations by Patrycja Podkoscielny

Patrycja Podko?cielny

Polish illustrator Patrycja Podkoscielny has an incredible illustration style which utilizes a muted color palette but still has a high-contrast punch thanks to bursts of white and black. And every now and the, some bursts of gold. The work is rendered with extreme precision and nuance which gives each piece a strong sense of realism.

When I look at each of there’s an editorial voice that comes through. I want to know who these characters are and learn about each of their stories. The fact that I’m drawn in like that shows the true success of the style.

Patrycja Podko?cielny

Patrycja Podko?cielny

Patrycja Podko?cielny

Patrycja Podko?cielny

You can view more of the work by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 4, 2014 / By

Climate Change Could Mean Sour Grapes for Wine Drinkers

Vineyard

Quartz has an interesting article on the effects of climate change on the wine industry and some of the changes we’ll start seeing.

Traditional winemaking strongholds like Tuscany and South Africa will soon become too hot for grape-growing. In fact, by warping the flavors of the most popular varieties and driving production away from the Earth’s poles, climate change is threatening to remake the entire $30-billion global wine industry.

Does that mean a “grape-ocalypse” is upon us? No. But it does mean the wine you sip a decade or two from now will taste very different from today’s tipple—and will be a lot pricier, too.

We’re going to start seeing that by the mid-21st century that the optimal areas for growing grapes will move further and further north. The areas we currently know as “wine countries” will see a 70% decline. You’ll also start to see more Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot being made because they handle heat better. Worst of all, the price of wines will get higher and higher, making your bottle of two buck chuck all but extinct.

Bobby Solomon

August 4, 2014 / By

Hidden Treasures – 7 Camouflage Accessories To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd

Camo Accessories - The Fox Is Black

Modern day camouflage was developed in the 19th century as a means to disguise soldiers from the ever increasing accuracy of rifle technology. These days camo at is seen as an alternative to the more traditional patterns like plaid or check, and the seemingly endless variations continue to grow, creating a world of patterns.

1. Splash Camouflage Short Parka by wings + horns
It might be a bit early in the year for parkas but the pattern on this jacket is one of my favorites. The color combination has a “rusty river” vibe to it and the hood looks extra comfy, perfect for those rainy days. – Buy it here

2. Khaki Camouflage Baseball Cap by A.P.C.
Camo is usually best in small doses and this baseball cap from A.P.C. fits the bill. Made in Italy, has an adjustable buckle with a leather strap and would work style-wise with pretty much any outfit. – Buy it here

3. Bark Camo Porter x Staple Wallet
This collaboration between Staple and Porter is the perfect wallet: functional and stylish. It comes with two slots for cards, a main pocket for cash, and a snap pocket for change. – Buy it here

4. Triple C for J.Crew USB Phone Charger
One of the biggest dramas we face in our modern world is the mobile device that loses it’s charge before the end of our work day. Thankfully J.Crew has teamed up with Triple C to create a portable charger that’s stylish and let’s you browse Instagram all day long. – Buy it here

5. Leather and Suede Camouflage Sneaker by Valentino
Of everything on this list these sneakers by Valentino are by far the most extravagant. It’s made with a pairing of leathers and suedes that add a bit of luxury to the classic sneaker silhouette. There’s even spikes on the heel! – Buy it here

6. Jacquard Camo Weekender 3.0 by Killspencer
Another one of the objects that inspired this round-up, Los Angeles based Killspencer have been doing an amazing job on their bag designs and this weekender is one of my favorites. The jacquard woven cotton camo is one of the most unique I’ve even seen. One the top of my “to-buy” list. – Buy it here

7. Forest Camo Shoelace by Rastaclat
Last but not least are these camo shoelaces from Rastaclat, which feature gold tips for a little bit of bling. I think these are kind of ridiculous but they’d look great on a clean pair of black high tops. – Buy it here

Bobby Solomon

August 4, 2014 / By

Portfolio Update: OMFGCO

OMFGCO

A few weeks back Portland based OMFGCO (the Original Manufacturing Company for those who don’t know) made a substantial update to their portfolio, showcasing works from the last several years. Made up of duo Jeremy Pelley and Fritz Mesenbrink, these guys are churning out top-notch quality work non-stop.

OMFGCO for Beams Japan

One of my favorite parts is the design work they did for BEAMS, the Japanese clothing brand. The variety of logos and word marks they came up with are beautiful and I would wear any of them on a t-shirt. They also did an amazing job on a branding assignment for Union Way, a walking street in Downtown Portland that needed an identity system that seamlessly blended into the area. As you can see below this is a place that would make any designer drool.

OMFGCO for Union Way

OMFGCO for Union Way

OMFGCO for Union Way

See more of their fine work by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 4, 2014 / By

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