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This typographic map reduces London to the sum of its named places. The icons, symbols and hard lines representing churches, streets, rivers and parks have been expunged from the map, leaving only letters. London’s burnt off the earth yet it still exists as a psychogeographic entity recognisable by familiar place and word if not by objective figure or form. The map was an award winner at London Design Week 2007 and now a limited edition lithographic print of 100 is for sale. The poster is a wall-filling 60 by 40”, a scale that seems appropriate for the sprawling immensity of the city itself.
Sarah Oates is a young artist living in North-East England who works with furniture to create objects of symbolic and practical signifance. Her latest pieces are a collection of glass and steel tables fitted with throwaway objects such as wine bottle corks, foam and striped vinyl tape. The most captiving amongst the collection is perhaps her Polo Mint table – rows of the white mints have been fitted under a pane of toughened glass for a cool and sleek effect.
In commemoration of Felice Varini’s artwork in, or on, the docks of Cardiff, I’m linking to his seminal publication “Points of View”. The monograph illustrates Varini’s idiosyncratic work, playing with perception by using surfaces to paint geometric and 3-dimensional shapes. The paint appears as discordant, even violent, lines boldly painted at random across streets and buildings, yet when perceived from one particular vantage point, the works become powerfully coherent, transcending their immediate surroundings. The works though, are not posed as puzzles intended to be solved, but works that provide vivid meaning from each and every angle, validity and significance even in chaos and subjectivity.
Rene & Edgar have created this outdoor storage unit for dutch design market Frozen Fountain. Called “Herbal House”, it’s intended as an open cabinet in which to store whatever herbs you may wish to grow, from domestic staples such as Rosemary or Thyme, to more illicit varities of shrub. The wrought metal calligraphy adorning the sides of the cabinet consist of 12 English herb names often used in European cuisine.
Visionaire’s latest limited edition issue features a decorative set of 50 russian dolls designed by such luminaries as Kurt Vonnegut, Rita Ackerman, R. Crumb and Chino Aoshima. The collection is released at an initial price of $175 but as the stocks dwindle the sale price rises, so these toys represent a fantastic investment as well as an irreverent snapshot of our times.
While Ryan Frank’s Hackney Shelf takes its inspiration from the East End, it is an adulteration of urban contexts. The brutalist shapes, squares cut out arbitrarily, recall the brash and vulgar Malaga of the Cubists, the overbearing weight and height Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, while the cheap plywood & chipboard surfaces recall rain-glazed favelas in Brazil. That is where Frank’s input into the system ends. The rest of the credit for these shelves must be granted to the anonymous street artists and vandals who spontaneously decorated the blank wood panels – deliberately left out at night in illicit locations around Hackney and Bethnal Green.
This limited-edition monograph of sorts was released to accompany Cerith Wyn Evans’ ICA installation a few months back. It takes the form of a clear plastic flip album inserted with photographs Evans’ took on a recent trip to Japan. The photos often employ displacement or elision, scenes seem to be cut in half, sun glare distorts the colours and pictures are taken at unorthodox angles and viewpoints. The incongruoux mix of chaotic urbanity and serene nature also provides jolts of discomfort as one flicks through the photos. The individuality of the images then, seems enhanced – rather than an objective record logically filed, the photographs are uniquely peculiar visions that express a singular subjectivity. In looking through this piece we use Evans’ eyes to look, and rather than fixing upon the objective world we are alienated by it. Instead, we are forced to focus not on what we see but the ways in which we see. The albums are signed and numbered by Evans on the backsheet.
Tord Boontje’s tempered glass table design for MoreSo presents a sleek black dining surface shot through with his fine etchings. Like the veins on a dead leaf the iconic patterns resemble a skeletal map, transcending mere ornamentation. The table is sustained by a steel base powder-coated in high gloss black.
The elusive & empyrean cloud shelving system designed by the Bouroullec Brothers is currently being sold at Unica Home. The shelves consist of repeated circular modules that combine to form a shape not unlike the humble cumulus cloud. Stack the shelves on top of one another to create a vertical bookshelf or room divider. The stratospheric shelves are constructed from high-density polystyrene and come in 4 colours – white, light green, dark green or red.
Some of the best times in your life will be sitting on these – park benches. The ones in the Luxembourg Gardens are the best, watching kids play football, little toy dogs being walked by their little toy owners, joggers, families having picnics, lovers kissing and so on. In the summer the best bench is by the Fruit Garden, a good place to eat gelato or sorbet. In the winter there’s a bench by the Rue Fleurus entrance that is very pleasant, and good for munching on the chocolates you just bought from JP Hevin round the corner.
Now DMK have their hands on a rare, historic piece from Danish mid-century designers Wörts. You can sit down and contemplate the world in your own residence as if you were in the middle of a large city-park.
Fashion Illustrator Ruben Toledo has created a couple of cute totes for LA’s MOCA gallery, taking inspiration from the worlds of art and architecture. This bag uses Shigeru Ban’s Curtain Wall House in Tokyo as a design motif, and looks rather splendid.