I first came to admire Martina Flor’s work when I discovered Lettering vs Calligraphy, a project she worked on with calligrapher Giusseupe Salerno. It continues to be a highly valuable resource that explains two distinct ways of crafting letterforms to new designers. Her latest side project, Letter Collections, features equally delightful letterforms, this time printed on postcards that she's sending to people around the world.
As guest artists at Valencia's Poliniza Street Art Festival in May 2014, Luca Zamoc and Ferran Gisbert spontaneously decided to collaborate on a piece that combines their individual approaches to large-scale painting. The result is "Vipera," a 10-meter long snake that wraps around the wall of the city's Polytechnic University.
Miroslaw Balka is a contemporary Polish sculptor and video artist. His show at Gladstone gallery last year was a confrontation of the natural and mechanical. I loved it.
I'm very big fan of large, intrusive and invasive sculptures. (Gladstone is one of my favorite galleries for that). Upon passing the reception desk at Gladstone you see a large white wall covering what usually shows the soon-to-be-viewed gallery space. As you start to open the door to enter the space you're hit with a wall of sounds made by the rushing water on top of the sculpture to come.
Entering the room you're greeted by two monolithic steel containers that completely dwarf you. Their original context is unknown, but the notion of the machine and its empowering drive to propel is evident.
A loud wall of sound is presented and could be confused for a waterfall if not for the overwhelming containers that sit in front of you. The thick black, oil-like substance that's currently being expelled from two industrial hoses into the two four-sided containers could be representative of many things. Is it oil? Is it another form of industrial waste? Or it is simply water and paint? It's re-circulated to continuously spool the liquid around in a fountain-like motion; gallons upon gallons of it circulate in a never-ending flow.
At this point you can take two positions: either walk around and explore the circulatory system that sits behind, or you stand on the plinth in the center of the two containers 10 feet back. After exploring this, I stood on the plinth and began a somewhat hypnotic experience. You're left with the discourse of nature and mechanized world. The scale and sound work together to focus your energy on the piece and the surrounding sound.
The transformation of something so industrial into this serene environment is something that I really love. You're confused as to what it is and you want to know more, but you're left there, watching and listening intently to the subtleties in the wall of sound and what distinctions come from every rotation of the substance. The confusion with the representation of machine and nature is polarizing; How could something so unnatural be so natural once I close my eyes? It's strong in itss appearance and idea, but upon further reading it only gets deeper—I truly loved this piece (and wish I had done it).
What I love most about these types of shoes is their ability to suspend my knowledge for their creation.
For some time now, paper merchants have been looked upon by designers as an opportunity to produce “print porn." Yes, most are beautiful things in their own right, but what were they beside a designer's wet dream?
This is where the strength of design studio Made Thought’s rebrand and repositioning of paper manufacturer G.F Smith, and more specifically their new Colorplan paper sample book, is brilliant. Not only does it show a level of restraint not shown in many other sample books, but its core value and offerings are evident in every piece. It's paper, and beautiful paper at that, so why not show the paper for what it is? It's a really strong concept that makes you think “I wish I did that,” executed to the utmost perfection of quality. Made Thought truly nailed this.
The effortlessly simple confidence and beauty of the product itself is always prevalent. All the pieces have minimal printing crafted using techniques that are exceptionally gorgeous. From the business card that uses a very traditional piece of craft called paper marquetry to showcase not one or two, but three styles of Colorplan offering at once, the three papers represent three signature aspects of the range: color, weight and embossing.
The same technique is also used on the sample booklet, which uses simple fold techniques to minimize material waste, and once again, showcase the paper. Minimal printing is used, with only the necessary details. You're clearly informed and understand how the paper will hold a texture and print when needed. The concept is inherent in the product and has been used with craft and high production value to form a real gem for the designer to truly salivate over, whilst having a piece that is useful for the potential specifier.
The transition from something that's inherently physical to the digital world is also somewhat seamless, and the best use I have experienced. You can view and get a gauge for how different stock weights bend and look just by viewing videos on the site. The colors and textures are fully viewable in hi-resolution downloads—I've used many in image mock-ups for client presentation. The production introduction videos are all exquisite.
Being so wrapped up in the paper and online components, I almost overlooked the bespoke typeface for the logo designed by Colophon. It’s subtlety only helps by heightening that the product is key through and through when showcasing their offering.
When a good product is coupled with strong thinking, beauty will take shape. It's obvious with this example. I implore you to get calling or emailing to get your hands on a piece. Below are further examples that incorporate the beauty shown in the above.
Banks aren't typically places that you look forward to visiting (this is why we can now scan checks on our phone). The bland stillness inside makes you want to get in and out as quickly as possible. But now artist Urs Fischer is using a gutted Chase bank on Delancey Street in New York City (leftover signage hanging feebly from the ceiling and all) as a gallery space.
The facade is covered with graffiti and looks completely dilapidated, which is actually quite fitting considering the nature of Fischer’s work and the sculptures in the current show.
You might recognize many of the works from his large show at MOCA, entitled "YES," where 1,500 participants created clay sculptures on-site, ranging from cats to crazy monsters. Fischer then selected a batch of these to be cast in bronze. The MOCA show was about the energy that's sustained within the creative process, as well as the fast pace of working with clay. It holds a similar energy drawing or writing in a sketch book. Fischer wanted to capture that feeling and then solidify it, which he does here, too.
These sculptures are spread throughout the bank—literally every corner of the bank is accessible—from the vault to the the tellers’ desks. There are many surprises found in locations not normally accessible to customers. In the vault at the very back of the building, I found a large, body builder torso wearing a baseball cap, aptly named "bro w/ hat." Held atop a squished clay-like cast bronze base, it was both bewildering and confrontational. The scale and placement of the sculpture worked gave me a feeling of discomfort. Even though the security cameras were no longer running, I felt like I was doing something wrong.
Other pieces included a one-legged boy in an armchair, a gigantic foot, a fireplace, some columns, a bust of Napoleon, a Louis XIV chair, a mermaid (conceived as a functional fountain), a depiction of sleep, a man copulating with a pig, a man and woman embracing, a hat on rocks, a man in a boat, a faceless cat, a pile, a Pièta and a lion in chains. Though constructed in cast bronze, some of which are silver- and gold-plated, they still retain their essence of the decrepit, expressionistic tone in many of Fischers pieces.
The banal nature of the bank only heightens the surreal representation of these sculptures; their construction and dilapidated nature mirror the dilapidated bank to retain a sense of "banal shittines." As Fischer says, they're a "chaotic little non-family of things," brought together in an unexpected and "convulsive" context, which was key in heightening my experience.
For further reading, I recommend his book, Urs Fischer.