Saturday, January 10, 2009

When He Offers His Hand

Wallace Berman Untitled (Single Verifax #44). 1964–1976.

More Wallace Berman, in case you find yourself in Paris between this evening and March 10th.

Wallace Berman: Verifax Collages
Galerie Frank Elbaz (click for more images)
7, rue Saint Claude
75003 Paris
Tuesday - Saturday, 11am–7pm
Opening party tonight, 5pm–9pm

Friday, January 9, 2009

Objects of My Affection

Objectified is a new film from Gary Hustwit, who was responsible for Helvetica, the excellent documentary on the ubiquitous typeface of the same name. This time out, through interviews with Hella Jongerius, Marc Newson, Jonathan Ive, and others, Hustwit explores the wide world of industrial design, taking a look at the creative processes responsible for mass-produced material objects, and at how those objects impact our lives and identities. Objectified premiers in March (go to the website for updates).

(side note, this logo strikes me as the anti-helvetica. clever though.)

AND… In celebration of refined materialism, here are three brilliantly designed objects at the top of my want list. They have been there for a long time and I still don't have them. Maybe I never will but it makes me happy to know they are out there somewhere.

1. Olivetti Valentine portable typewriter, by Ettore Sottsass (1969)

2. Tie! A Land Rover (above) and a Boston Whaler.

In this 1961 Life magazine photo, Richard T. Fisher, the guy who designed the hull of the Boston Whaler, smugly demonstrates that his boat is totally unsinkable, even if some crazed logger sneaks underwater and attempts to saw it in half. Beautiful utilitarianism.

3. Pretty much anything designed by Dieter Rams.

I also want this new gigantic Samsung TV – it's only an inch thick and it consumes 40% less energy than other HDTVs. It's not on the top three though because you're not supposed to get excited about a TV.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Architecture in Idaho

Seattle-based architect Tom Kundig strikes again with a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere. There are a ton of things I like about it, the most significant being the way it blends and interacts with the landscape.

More here.


Hmmm. Not sure about this yet. Some definite funny moments.
Will have to watch the rest and decide.

(Note, an ad that plays at the beginning of the video, and then you have to hit play.)

More episodes of Rob Corddry's Children's Hospital here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Smoke Like Ribbons

You may have already heard about Coco Avant Chanel, the forthcoming Chanel biopic, which stars Audrey Tatou as the great Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.

Chanel has been portrayed on film at least a few times previously:

Marie-France Pisier in Chanel Solitaire (1981)

Shirley MacLaine in Coco Chanel (2008).

…and live on stage: Katherine Hepburn in Coco (1969).

When I think of Coco Chanel, I think of this classic 1935 Horst image…

…crossed with this 1961 photo of her adjusting a model's dress with a grandma-sized cherry at the end of her ever-present cigarette.
An interesting, multi-dimensional personality, to be sure.

Audrey Tatou seems like a fairly solid casting choice to me, and with Karl Lagerfeld's design direction, I think Coco Avant Chanel shows a lot of promise. More images here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to Basics

I've run across a couple of interesting articles in the past few days on designing during tough economic times. No question it's rough out there, but I have to say that I find it inspiring to think about design becoming more resourceful, more practical, smarter. At Design Observer, Michael Bierut weighs in with an insightful, inspiring post on designing through the recession; in Sunday's Week in Review section of the Times, Michael Cannell takes it a step further, saying design loves a depression:

The pain of layoffs notwithstanding, the design world could stand to come down a notch or two — and might actually find a new sense of relevance in the process. That was the case during the Great Depression, when an early wave of modernism flourished in the United States, partly because it efficiently addressed the middle-class need for a pared-down life without servants and other Victorian trappings.

“American designers took the Depression as a call to arms,” said Kristina Wilson, author of “Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression” and an assistant professor of art history at Clark University. “It was a chance to make good on the Modernist promise to make affordable, intelligent design for a broad audience.”
Click here for the rest of it.

UPDATE: Murray Moss completely disagrees.

Above, a 1930s Lester Beall poster for the Rural Electrification Administration.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I thought we were traveling together.

Last night when we got back from Whidbey Island we watched The Go-Getter, directed by Martin Hynes and starring Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel, Jena Malone, Yaphet Kotto, and Maura Tierney. It's a good movie, really beautifully filmed, great music, and I recommend checking it out at your earliest convenience.