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These cool table lamps from the BlankBlank design studio resemble upturned iPods, emitting notes of light rather than those of music. Entitled ‘Low Frequency’, the lights come in a range of designs and colours. As the BlankBlank team says:
“The light consists of 6 white planes whose reverse sides are printed with vivid colors that reflect colored light onto the preceding planes, as well as through the translucent enclosure. Front and back planes are available in light or dark wood laminates”
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.
These three carnets are covered with a charming French design reminiscent of the wholesome 1950s. The three designs feature floral patterns, a feather quill and an early modern motif featuring school kids arranged as if they were players on a fuseball table.
I’ve been away a bit. I was in an accident and woke up in 1973, not knowing if I had travelled back in time, was mad, or was imaginaing all of it while in a coma. But i’m back now, and i’ve taken this fantastic little journal home with me, a relic from life on mars. The Formata Star Notebook is subtitled with the words “Lined Notebook Germany”. Presumably because Germany is synonymous with neatness, order, rules, regulations, rows, lines. The kind of country that will drill a bit of discipline into unruly kids from Guadalajara. For us in the anglosphere, however, the journal appeals more for its kitsch, retro verve – the kind of louche, incongruous style the hipsters ache for. Boldly designed, it’s a Bowie song about the Berlin Wall, or a disco tune for Chairman Mao, or a Kraftwerk piece about the Zapatistas down in Chiapas.
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.
The Black Honey Bowl by Arik Levy is based on the hexagonal pattern of the honeycomb. The combed effect provides the shell with structural integrity as well as an intricate and delicate motif dripping with the sweetness of honey.
Francois Azambourg’s Brindilles Lights taper downward in twig-like twirl, mimicing the broken straws and curling stems of a brushwood plant. The luminous strands are made from a combination of LEDs and fibre optic cables, arranged randomly they light up like exposed filaments, burning brightest at the tips, or tumbleweeds catching the sun of the desert and the tincture of white sand.
Tord Boontje’s line of lights for Unica Home are currently selling fast at the store and this is one of the stand-outs. These wonderful chandeliers speak of once lush foliage now crisp with the cold autumnal air, turned golden brown in the sun or to flakes of silver in the snow. The light emanting from within briefly touches the elaborate brocade and dusts the patterns with wintery light. The tones of earth, rust, barley and wheat are expressed by the choice of materials, grounding the frail designs with permanence and instilling a sense of perennial fall. A Hanging Gardens of Babylon curated with the colours of New England.
The release of this rare, collectible laptop bag has been timed to coincide with the Japanese tour for Beck’s latest album The Information. The bag is a limited edition luggage concept designed by Beck and French artist Genevieve Gauckler (who has also designed the album sleeve for Beck’s album). The bags come with a 150 page sketchel book featuring images from around 180 global artists.
Over a decade after the concept design for Marcel Wanders knotted seat was presented in Milan, the idea still seems as contemporary and cutting edge as ever. Now those in the US can purchase one of these unique furnishings – cathedras of barbed-wire lattice bristling with beautiful tension. The chairs are made from aramid and carbon fibers and possess a strong, taut frame whilst also looking as precarious and as dainty as the ornamental icing on a wedding-cake.
The Arts Council have produced a range of limited edition travel wallets designed by some hot contemporary artists. The wallets are standard British Rail size so perfect for credit cards or your London Oyster Card. Tracy Emin has done one, featuring her infamous pet cat Docket, as has uber-lesbian Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. The wallets are available at Oxfam stores in Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove (my ‘hood!) for a limited period of time, and will also be released to the public for free at a couple of PR stunts ’round the nation. If you can’t get to any of these places, then they’re also on Oxfam’s Ebay shop, but be quick – some of the best designs have already gone!
These chic, modern designs make functional clothes baskets an integral part of a well designed room. Made of a soft rubber with a brash sheen, the baskets concentrate on deep, autumnal browns lifted by blasts of sharp yet bright coolness from the pictorial representations.
These lights glisten like winter flowers suspended on ethereal branch-like wires. The light element uses translucent envelopes fitted with electroluminescent film upon which one can write messages that will glow in the dark with a soft, ambient light. Using a dry erase marker, the messages can be wiped clean or kept on as long as one desires. The lights stand on either white marble blocks (recovered from the making of the Arco lamp) or a bundle of pure wool felt moulded into unique shapes.
These photo albums are wrapped in a soft fabric for a look halfway between a wallet and a moleskin journal. Suitably, these albums are small enough to carry around with you in your pocket or bag. They all come from Stacyhandmade, a designer/artisan who also makes wonderful, felt covered coptic journals in the style of the ancient Ethiopians or Egyptians, filled with smooth, sturdy handmade paper. The photo albums come in a range of covers, all possessing a stylish verve with fresh, pronounced colours.
This paper-like, tulip-leaved locket of love belies its rather strange origin. Though it looks soft and silky, the necklace is actually made from Hytrel, an industrial byproduct usually discarded in the process of manufacturing something else entirely. Studio 1a.m., left-field design group from Chicago, have embraced these emitted shavings and used their completely random and unique shapes to make a stunningly simple and sculptural necklace.
This is one of the most vibrant of Domestic’s Vinyl Wall Prints, a mix of fireworks exploding and silver sparks leaping upward like mackerel. It reminds me of a recent advertisement for Sony Bravia, where a bunch of Glaswegian tower-blocks have been rigged up with paint bombs. This wall graphic springs out like a geyser from its source, perhaps as the visual manifestation of an imagination busy at work at the desk. In this sense it reminds me of RW Buss’ ‘Dicken’s Dream’, the unfinished painting of a dozy Charles Dickens surrounded by the wonderful characters he is dreaming of. Perhaps this wall decoration will inspire you similarly.
Donna Brady’s gritty photographs of urban Brooklyn have found their way into the home as images printed onto lampshade. The hanging lamps use Brady’s pictures of street graffiti on dark, gloomy walls. Twice removed from their natural environment, the exuberance inherent in the colours of the graffiti is exaggerated and heightened, modifying the lamp light with their brash tone. Brady’s photographics are perhaps second-hand art, simply recording the raw & immediate expressions of street art, yet for this reason the pictures seem perfect for the medium of a lampshade – lit from beyond by second-hand light.
These two wall lamps do not shy away from attention but provide reference points for a room, domesticated installation lights that attract as much light as they provide.
The first is entitled ‘Edge’ – it’s an elided cube with panels lit in various bold colours. This is designed by Alessandro Mendini for Artemide.
This book by seminal Japanese photographer Narahara is presently on sale at Galerie 213 in Paris. The publication records an historic time in Japan, as the country found itself inbetween a discredited Imperialism and the corporate tiger that would follow. As a relatively early work, Narahara’s obsession with European avant-garde photography is obvious, while a nascent interest in marginal communities is also visible, with both the disenfranchised and the cutting edge of Tokyo society recorded.
The final, and best (not to mention most expensive) bag featured today belongs to the Queen of Britart. WhiteCube Gallery in Hoxton Sq has its hands a very limited number of these exceptional, individual designs.
Onwards and upwards then, this day bag from London style Guru Lulu Guinness retails at £175. Perfect for travelling, the day bag comes emblazoned with a print of assorted travel documents – a boarding pass (going from London to the World), a UK passport as well as a postcard from Lulu herself.
Staying in L.A. but moving into slightly more expensive climes, this one-off special edition of ‘The New Shopping Bag’ designed by Dutch artist Amie Dicke for designer Susan Bijl is currently available at Peres Projects. Bijl has had huge commercial success with her concept of re-usable shopping bags and has displayed in New York and Tokyo. This one-off collaboration celebrates Bijl’s artful & stylish approach to neccesity by positioning the bags as works of art in themselves whose colours, contours and materials constitute a pure aesthetic form.
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.
I’m going for a handbag marathon today, and I am starting off with Anya Hindmarch’s iconic “I’m not a plastic bag” model. You may have seen the likes of Keira Knightley and Alicia Silverstone clutching one of these limited edition, environmentally friendly alternatives to the supermarket plastic bag, but now it’s your turn to own one. After the initial batch was sold out Hindmarch got to work on making more and these will be made available imminently.
After going on sale today (25th April) in the UK at Sainsburys, the bags sold out completely before 10am. The next chance to get your hands on these rare bags is the US release in June. You can pre-order your bag for $15 by calling one of the 4 US Anya Hindmarch Boutiques. The bags will be issued in a special blue colour, while a further release is scheduled for Japan, where the bags will be lime green.
Colleen Baran is exhibiting at the Object(s) of Longing display at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre at the moment, and I’ve tracked down her exceptionally beautifully crafted and rare specimens for sale. She is a jewellery designer of no little talent whose objects possess a soft yet mischievious melancholy – for instance, some of her rings are imprinted with bold declarations of love in an ink that gradually fades to resemble the dead wings of a moth, or butterfly.