29 April 2013

Jaw dropping home

Building large living spaces that are cozy and modern isn't an easy feat. Personally I'm drawn to cozy and comfort, but I love a good clean aesthetic too, so when I come across a masterpiece that combines all of those things, I'm often speechless with it's beauty. Behold the House Aboo in Limpopo, South Africa by Nico Van Der Meulen Architects, once an outdated brick home, it is now a stunning space whereby light bounces and plays with the expanses of glass and double height living spaces. Made of wood, concrete and steel bars, the home features purposely placed water features around the residence to aid in natural cooling during the hot summer months. And there are plenty of spaces to sit, eat, converse and relax throughout the home. My kind of living space! See more photos of this amazing home over at Design Milk.

Photos: Design Milk

Rock posters gone Swiss

There was a day when you'd peruse the music store just to look at the album cover art. You know the ones... Journey, the Eagles, David Bowie, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones. Over the years I've often proclaimed "Bring back album art!" Unfortunately, those days are long gone, but designer Mike Joyce who runs NYC-based design house Sterotype, has combined his love of punk rock and Swiss modernism into Swissted, by redesigning old show flyers into hundreds of International Typographic Style posters. Mike struck a cord with thousands asking for the designs in print form, so he recently published the book Swissted: Vintage Rock Posters Remixed and Reimagined. I love what he says about the art of album packaging...

via We Are Design Bureau: "I love that vinyl has made a comeback and there are still a lot of labels doing great packaging. To this day I meet young people who crave album package design and feel sort of cheated that their generation has missed out on that art form a bit. We had double gatefold 12-inch sleeves with colored vinyl and they get a 100 pixel square jpeg to look at."

Read Mike's entire interview here at Design Bureau and make sure to peruse the plethora of super crafted designs on Swissted.

Photos: Design Bureau

28 April 2013

Travel in recycled style

Recently I came across an article on companies making products from recycled airline textiles and parts. What I didn't realize was most things have a shelf life. For instance, life vests are only good for six years before they need placing. Several companies are taking old seats, life vests, engine parts and the like and making some stylish products. The Delta Airlines blue seat cover bag from Tierra Ideas was first to catch my eye. It's a good looking, sturdy bag that will probably last a lifetime. And California based Moto Art uses old parts to create one-of-a-kind furniture, would definitely make for some great conversation, like the Boeing 707 wheel coffee table. Or how about a conference table made from a Gulfstream fuselage. And Air France asked Bilum to create a line of travel cases made from recycled life jackets. If you like traveling, these would certainly make for some interesting and useful souvenirs. Here's the original article on CNN.

Photos: Moto Art, Tierra Ideas, Bilim

27 April 2013

Water bottles Italian style

Born and raised in Milan, designer and letterer Nick Misani went on the SVA Masters Workshop last year. I've posted some of his incredible work before, but this time I'm featuring the project he worked on for the SVA program. The project is called 'Anofre' and was completed over the course of one week during the Masters Workshop. Quite simply it's about the value of Roman public water and the conservation of resources. It consists of three aluminum water bottles inspired by three Roman aqueducts (to be refilled at the many fountains) designed and completely hand-lettered with quintessentially Italian typography. I'd love to have such a beautiful typographic water bottles to use!

Photos: Nick Misani

SVA Masters Workshop

Ahhh... the SVA Masters Workshop in Rome is coming up again. The program, now in its fifth season taking place from 26 May - 9 June 2013, is a unique way to learn about type and typography, book and lettering design in the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. As well as architecture, art, archeology and epigraphy, including studying alongside some the best typographers and designers in Italy.

You're accompanied by some of the most accomplished faculty, like archaeologist and professor Darius Arya, Milan typographer James Clough, master typographer and letterer Louise Fili, Marimo founding partner Paola Manfroni, Cristina Chiappini Lita Talarico, Mario Fois, Mario Rullo, Maruo Zennaro and none other than Steven Heller. One of these days my friends, one of these days....

Photos: SVA

25 April 2013

A sweet boutique treat

This pastry boutique is as delicious as they come! Cioccolato, a pastry boutique specializing in custom desserts, was recently rebranded by Monterrey Mexico-based SAVVY Studio and it oozes with sweetness, literally. What makes this shop so visually appealing is the contrast between the clinical environment and the whimsical elements of dripping chocolate and pop of color everywhere. Even the ceiling pendant lamp oozes with whimsy! 

Photo: SAVVY Studio

21 April 2013

Do I feel Lucky?

Lucky Strike's white packaging is known world wide, thanks to Raymond Loewy who turned the packaging from green to white in the 1940's, in a move to make it more female friendly. At the time, they didn't change the iconic target logo. However recently, the owners of Lucky Strike the British American Tobacco company, decided it was time for a change and hired Berlin-based G2 to give the logo a refresh.

You can read more over at Brand New, but I agree 100% with their assessment on the updated logo... "The new logo is a terrible modernization of Lucky Strike’s original logo as it appeared on its tin packaging. If Lucky Strike was going for a revival look I don’t know why they didn’t just stick with it, as it was, instead of putting stubby slabs on the lettering that completely cheapen the logo. I mean, look at the letterforms on that vintage package. That shit is hot. The new packaging, I guess it could be worse. The addition of “Luckies” on the bottom and the badges/seals on the side are both nice touches but, overall, the whole thing just feels cheap."

My biggest issue with it, aside from the less than exciting font choice, is the gradient. Why, oh why, do gradients find their way into every stinking logo these days? It's simply not necessary... gradients don't make your logo more modern or current. So you have to ask yourself, do you feel the new Lucky? I know I don't.

Photo: Brand New

20 April 2013

Illustrator Extraordinaire: Marco Romano

Wow, it's been a crazy week. Between all the news in Boston and the workload, blogging certainly took a back seat. But that's why I love Saturday mornings! Instead of jumping into work or trying to get a quick workout in, I spend the morning blogging... and oh how I've missed you! I haven't showcased an Illustrator Extraordinaire in a while, so here's one for you today. The talented Marco Romano (aka Goran), a designer and illustrator from Milan, Italy. He has some pretty amazing clients like Wired, Fortune Magazine and ESPN who get his colorful, whimsical and energetic designs. There's a lot of architectural references in his work I admire. And his Instragram photos are great too, definitely worth following!

Images: Marco Romano 

Grammar, not grammer

There are many words in the English language that we confuse easily. I found this book title most amusing.

19 April 2013

Must try dish

Wow, I must make this incredibly delicious looking Quinoa Veggie Fried Rice soon! For breakfast, lunch or dinner either, it really doesn't matter.

Photo: Damn Delicious

17 April 2013

Boston Strong

To heroes.... to strength... to resilience... my hometown.

"We gave the middle finger to those guys, whoever they are."
-Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe Columnist

Photo: Google images

11 April 2013

Bluerock beauty

If you haven't seen the work of Boston-based Bluerock Design, then you must! And if you have, then you need to take another look. I blogged about their Breakaway identity back in November, but Ben Scott and Lainey Fink are forever creating thoughtful identities and logos. I find their identity and photography for Honeysuckle Oyster Farm on Martha's Vineyard personal and magnificent! But start here for a wonderful overview on the project itself, then take a look at the photography and branding. I'm not a fan of oysters, but they sure make me want to eat one!

Photos: Bluerock Design Co.

About MARK poster

While perusing the very talented design studio of MARK (mentioned in my last post), I came across this poster on their About page. The overall layout and design is very cool! The stylized duo in the upper portion has a great visual effect and I love the little 'mark' design treat throughout. Nicely done!

Photo: MARK website

Panties to Pantone

Now this Pantone application I didn't expect. But then again, why wouldn't I. Cape Town-based agency MARK created Underpantones (a clever nam combination of underpants and Pantone) to make briefs and panties (aka pantytones) for designer types, or anyone for that matter. MARK has a pretty extensive portfolio of great stuff, so be sure to take a look around.

On a side note, the application of Pantone to products really needs a website of it's own.

Photos: Design Taxi

07 April 2013

Aether architecture

If you haven't heard of Aether Apparel, check out my last post here. The Los Angeles-based apparel company makes cool, functional clothing and their office space is no different.

Before moving into their current 1950's warehouse space, it needed some some TLC after years of neglect, but they could see the potential of it's great bones; wooden bow-truss ceilings and concrete walls. They brought in architect David Thompson of Assembledge and Eric Dobkins of Dobkin Construction to do some renovations. The final product is a stunning, eco-friendly, industrial space with a white foam roof that reflects 80% of the suns rays, wider concrete walls for added insulation, a low flow system to help save on water and the most efficient silicon solar panels to capitalize on Southern California's abundant sunlight.

It's an Eames modern aesthetic blended with Aether functionality and I'd love to walk into that office everyday for work! Wonder if they need a graphic designer?

Read more over at Aether about the space.

Photos: Aether Apparel

06 April 2013

Prada meets Patagonia

While searching for a birthday gift recently, I came across the Los Angeles fashion brand Aether Apparel. I had never heard of the line of clothing, but I was immediately intrigued with just the sight of their logo. Surfing through their website, I fell in love with the style of clothing, not to mention the mostly grey/black color palette, perfect for someone like me who really doesn't want to think about what to wear everyday.

The entire Aether brand is brilliant: clean, sophisticated, urban. And the photography is dramatic perfection. It truly is Prada meets Patagonia. The story of how Aether came to fruition is worth a read here, but to recap briefly Jonah Smith and Palmer West were outdoor enthusiasts who lived in the city and could only find either flashy performance-driven brands, which would make them feel out of place in the city or design-oriented labels that sacrificed outdoor functionality. To them, design and function should be equal and that's when Aether began to develop.

I just happen to find the company that created Aether's identity recently too, CSA Carbone Smolan Agency of NYC. Here's a little on what the brand means.

via CSA: “Aether” means “upper air” or “the heavens”. We sought to live up to this godly name with the company’s logo, a mark that can alternately be seen as a mountain surrounded by clouds, an infinity symbol, or the letter “A”.  It’s a sleek, understated yet powerful identity that leaves open the possibility of expanding into new markets, which Aether has done in spades. The juxtaposition of dramatic outdoor photography and gritty city streets completes the story in lookbooks, on the website, and in their traveling showroom, the Aetherstream—and the quality of the clothes speaks for itself.

I've already made my first purchase and think it's going to be the first of many. My new shirt is super comfortable, fits perfectly and looks divine. What more could one ask for?

Here are a couple of articles on Jonah and Palmer over at Food Republic and Outside.

UPDATE: And I hear the Aether birthday gift went over very well... he said nubile young ladies were swarming everywhere he went. Well, not really, but he sure looked great!

Photos: Carbone Smolan Agency 

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