You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘design’ category.
We are big fans of small at the republic of less. We just are. So we keep our eye peeled for little joys in every season and every where.
Above little guys are were found in a local store specializing in things Scandinavian. From Kosta Boda, maker of eye-catching things in glass since 1742. More here.
Big time artists have been known to work at times on a small scale, particularly in three dimensions. Above is a little dancer sculpted by Edgar Degas, found here.
Aristide Maillol is the man behind those large bronzes lying around in unexpected poses in the gardens adjacent to the Louvre. Not far away is the Musée Maillol, a great little museum with lots to like, including the small figure above we saw there.
This we found closer to home base. It is a lovely small figure by Antoniucci Volti (1915 1989) that lives at Vancouver’s Gallery Jones.
In our view, no artist of the 20th century was bigger than Alexander Calder in either imagination or output or playfulness. He too could work small, producing amazing portraits in wire and, as a present for his wife Louisa, a swell set of miniature mobiles in a cigar box, seen here .
Making art large or small is not a modern invention. Humans have been at it for ages.
This pre Columbian terracotta cutie was found in Columbia and is said to date from ca. 600-1200 AD. She’s about 5 inches tall in her bare feet. See more here.
Strike up the band: these little fellas are from Cyprus and they are even older–600 BC. They are now performing at the MET in NYC. We first featured them in a post called Small is.
What’s cuter than a doll? Well, a doll created by the guys and gal at Winnipeg’s own Royal Art Lodge, gone but never forgotten around here. Top group done by Michael Dumontier and Drue Langlois (see here) and lower group by Mr Langlois single handed. Small wonders.
Another doll, no less sweet for being made of clay, we found at the 2011 Venice Biennale. It was part of an exhibit by sculptor Dominik Lang which he called The Sleeping City, a tribute in part to his father Jiri.
Sometimes you spend time looking at children’s books because there is a child in your life that you want to please, and sometimes you just want to please yourself. Above is from an edition of the Wizard of Oz illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerther seen here.
Happily, books are alive and well in stores for kids, and if you go looking, you will find in these little books the work of some of the most gifted and imaginative artists/illustrators/cartoonists from around the world. Above is from a recent book called ICE written and illustrated by Arthur Geisert who is very fond of little pigs, as are we. Read more here.
Above three books are just a sliver of Mr Geisert’s shelf of wonderful work, which has plenty of pig tales, but plenty of pigless wonders too. See more here.
Once you start down this path you will find yourself with a lot more than you bargained for. If you could only have one, how would you choose between a pig tale by Arthur G or a rabbit tale by Komako Sakai?
Ms Sakai is certainly something special. Her simple stories and beautiful way with line and colour will fill your eyes and pinch your heart. She has worked in the textile industry in Japan, they say. More about her books here.
Bears of course have a solid place in children’s stories too. Thanks to Jon Klassen, there’s a new bear on the block and he wants something.
Nice review of Mr Klassen’s book in the NYT here
Along with creatures of the farm and the woods, book artists have found plenty of inspiration among the critters that become part of the household.
Like the wonderful Max brought to life by the wonderful Maira Kalman. Go here
People who love picture books love them as much as other people love chocolate or ABBA–i.e. totally. There are many wonderful websites with tons of these books to show you, including Children’s Illustration, which you’ll find and feast on here.
To send you off, we selected Paul Thurlby an artist from England who, among lots of other things, has made an amazing alphabet, which you’ll find on his site here. Books and pictures, sentences and pictures, letters and pictures, they all go together like summer and running through the sprinkler.
Those of us who like to cook up a storm will lavish no end of attention on a meal. So it’s not surprising that the visual chefs of the world, the artists and designers, have turned their talents to the platforms we provide to serve up the goodies. Picasso took to creating dishy plates fairly late in his career, and as usual he did it entirely his own way. Above from him found here.
Mr P turned his hand to plate making over and over and generated a pile of amazing work, including this great one with a couple of dozen petit visages that was up for auction, reported by the London Telegraph.
The creation and construction of wonderful plates for our food or just feasting our eyes has a long tradition and master practitioners in every era. The above was made about 1460 somewhere in Spain and is now residing (see here) in the wonderful Musee des arts Decoratifs in Paris.
This swell bird (“Coq”) plate also lives in the Musee des arts Decoratifs (well worth a visit, we think). It is the work of Jacques Besnard in 1930. Find it here and be sure to look around the site for much more.
You say plates, we say Fornasetti, namely Piero Fornasetti (1913 – 1988) the incomparable Italian designer who put his signature style–and often this particular woman’s face–on all sorts of household goods, including plates. They are still available and still much loved. The three above can be had at Barney’s, go here.
Well, you take a current design star like David Chipperfield and ask him to create a line of dishes and cups for Alessi and here’s what you get: a lovely tribute to one of our favourite artists, Giorgio Morandi, seen here. More on Mr Morandi in this NYT article. More on Mr Chipperfield in the RofL library here.
The Dutch de stijl movement from the first half of the 20th century continues to inspire designers. The above set of plates borrows–or steals, say the designers, London retailer Darkroom–the strong colour and shape from the movement, which was also applied to textiles and paper goods. Found here.
This nifty plate is from a design by Nikolai Suetin done in the so-called Suprematist style in 1905, auctioned recently, and reported here.
When the world was black and white and the smart set chowed down in the living room wearing the same clothes they wore to the office, plates came in lots of shapes and sizes and colours to handle the new trends, like fondue, crab dip, and miniature marshmallow/pineapple cube salad. Go back here.
Jetting back to our own time, we seem quite comfortable dishing food out on both the exquisite and the goofball, sometimes in the same meal. This swedish bear plate found here. What do you think you’d serve on that? Gumballs and goat cheese croquettes?
And this from our youth is a fine depiction of the magnificent Hopalong Cassidy on a plate by Kimmerle Milnazik discovered at the unforgettable Plate Lady website. No question what you’d serve up here: fresh carrots and sugar cubes, we reckon.
And we complete the meal with another American artist Molly Hatch who, among other things designs plates in groups so you only see the whole picture when they are all together–say on your large dining table or here.
If you care about food, we think you should care about what you put the food on, whether it is a blank white canvas or a handsome cowboy. If we are what we eat, maybe we are also, a little bit, what we eat OFF.
Who’s that up on the roof? Well, it seems lots of people like it so much up on the roof that they’ve built themselves a place to live and play and sometimes work. This woman in Paris (from a Jacques Rivette movie) has come up to take a look for herself.
This is one of those pictures that you can never quite forget. The pool is on the roof of a house designed by Rem Koolhaas called Villa dall’Ava outside Paris. It’s an iconic image for life on your own terms. Take the plunge here
New York is also renowned for people who live life with both style and daring. Diane von Furstenberg built her studio up on the roof of a 6 storey building in an area of the city once known for meat-packing. Supply your own quip if you feel the urge. (credit to Work Architecture Company; Image by Elizabeth Felicella Photography). See more at archdaily
New York being New York the desire to be on top has captured more than one resident. This is in Tribeca (found here) and it results in a splendid cupcake effect to our eyes.
Whereas this New York roof topper has more of a …what, French country house feel? Generous water supply very close by. See here.
But no matter what anyone says, you can actually find cool examples of unique living beyond Manhattan, even when it comes to rooftop living. The blue beauty (designed by MVRDV) above and below is in Rotterdam, Netherlands and was built for the Didden family. See more at archdaily again
The two pics above are of a playful rooftop residence (designed by JDS Architecture seen here) in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. Dad and son are having a nice bonding moment taking in the Danish summer sun–though the boy looks like he is not about to move his head and look down.
This remarkable book above takes us far from Paris, New York, and Scandinavia. Portrait from Above is a chronicle of rooftop living in Hong Kong. These roofies are not thinking about being cool or unique. They are just taking up residence in the only place available to them. More here
There is a neat video here of a guy who designed for himself a very compact home on a rooftop in Barcelona.
The above film series was hosted on a rooftop in good old Austin Texas. It was last year, but if you want to celebrate this idea of getting on top of things, you might look for a rooftop near you and see if you can organize a wingding or two.
This was in London atop Selfridges department store above Oxford Street, photo from here
Or maybe you could get a band to play some lively music like this one did on another London rooftop some time ago.
White light has something that coloured light doesn’t. For one thing, it contains all the other colours, as some of us remember from science class. It’s the mother light, it’s got it all. The trio above are maybe thinking about this as they hang out near a wonderful piece by artist Doug Wheeler found here.
It was learning about Mr Wheeler’s work (for above, go here) that got us looking at white light and wondering about it. We’re none the wiser, really, but it sure feels good–and not just on the eyes.
Doug Wheeler has been conjuring up moving encounters with white light all over the place for about 40 years. He had a solo show in New York in January/February 2012, and the lovely thing above is showing in France this summer and beyond, it says here.
Artist Robert Irwin has also been busy for years and years exploring the wonders of white light. Above (seen here) is a recent installation of a 1971 work now called slant/light/volume. Another view below, found at the site of the Walker Gallery–for whose opening back then the piece was originally commissioned–shows the scale of it.
And the above view, from the Walker as well, shows the work alone at last beaming like a slice of the moon.
James Turrell seems to have become the best known American artist working with light his primary medium. While he has not limited himself to white light (he does things with blue that will make you forget who you are and why it mattered), when he does take on the mother light, he does a nice job. Of course.
It’s time to back slowly away from the white light before you find you can’t. Let’s retreat in stages, by way of three more doses of Doug Wheeler’s light work. All of these are found at the David Zwirner gallery.
Pssst–time to go now. You can come back. Meanwhile, there’s always the moon.