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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.
Objects With Light’s latest release is a novel lamp at the junction of sight and sound. The Tweeter lamp uses reclaimed parts from stereo speakers arranged in a spherical or semi-spherical shape surrounding a bulb. Once the light is plugged in to an electrical source the lamp lights up and the speakers begin to play whatever music they are hooked up to.
The One Shot.mgx Stool by designer Patrick Jouin is now available at Unica Home. This rare piece is a portable, fold-away seat that was originally presented as a concept at the Del Mobile exhibition in Milan last year. The seat unfolds at the push of a button so that the legs entwirl outwards. This sturdy and stylish stool is perfect for jaunts out to the country to paint with a suicidal Dutch friend that you are sharing a house with in Arles. And don’t worry when he cuts his ear off, that’s totally normal.
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.
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 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.
These parachute hanging lamps from designer Chahiro Tanaka are currently selling at Australian boutique Via Alley. The lights are suspended in groups like dynamic sculptures of movement, falling bombs arrested at the decisive moment just as they approach the ground, or parturient biopods pungent with life. Thankfully this intimidating, haunting power is counter-balanced by the soft, cushion-like feel of the lights as well as the joyous and ambient glow that the lamps subtly and beautifully emit. These lights are as belligerent and as soft as a pillow-fight.
This multi-layered glass self-portrait of Japanese artist Keiichi Tanaami is a limited-edition reproduction of an original 1960s piece. Upon each pane of glass is impressed a single colour and single pattern so that when the panes are aligned a coherent image can be seen. The three dimensional play of light and colour as one’s eye moves across the work evokes Tanaami’s psychedelic background as well as the youthful verve of his days as Art Editor of Japanese Playboy.
The Art-o-Mat Books are 200 unique flip books showcasing art from members of to the AIC (Artists in Cellophane) organisation. Each book is unique and includes 18 different and original artworks from artists such as Christian Pietrapiana, Guy Boutin and Nell Whitlock.
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.
The Wurst Gallery, that’s who. Last month they announced a load of one-off art products based on the theme of man’s best friend. Luckily there’s still quite a few of these unique artworks left.
The German Shepherd
This piece is entitled “A Policeman’s Best Friend”, it includes a B&W can with a bold logo and motto emblazoned onto it. Inside, a lump of Chris Ofili-esque ‘poop’, that seems to be made from papier-maiche. This one is designed by Emil Kozak, costs $100 and is available here.
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.
British publisher Penguin have released a line of classic books with blank covers so that you can design your own front-page. You can send in your cover and Penguin will display the best submissions on their website and on flickr.
Craig Atkinson’s limited edition run of sketch books is just about sold out at Cafe Royal bookstore near Liverpool, but there are still a few of these one-of-a-kind books available. Each book is a unique record of sketches focusing on the household, featuring TVs, Polaroid cameras, garages, games consoles amongst other things. The paraphenalia of domesticity is lovingly rendered, yet tinged with a comical irony that subtly distorts and estranges familiar objects. The detailing on the electrical appliances for instance, dates the items as slightly retro in our streamlined age, and due to the fine relief of graphite these details stand out vividly. That which once made an item cutting edge now historices not only the item but our relationship with it.
The Piece and Peace greetings card is one of the latest productions coming from Japanese graphic design duo D-BROS. The card recycles a variety of discarded mixed media to create a rough yet charming assemblage. Torn magazine pages, a tea doiley, lined paper and a Polaroid are amongst some of the scraps used to achieve the unified whole.
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.
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.
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.