Architecture

February 26 2010

Vitra Haus, the new home of Vitra's Home Collection, has been covered widely by design media, and not in vain. It is a beautiful example of Jacques Herzog's and Pierre de Meuron's ability to take the ubiquitous stacked-houses concept and still make it look new, interesting and inviting.



Reaching five storeys in height and containing 12 separate houses, Vitra House is geared toward the general public, design-aware consumers who will appreciate the building as well as the Vitra products inside. The entire contraption appears both grandiose and intimate at the same time, with the gray exterior disguising the disheveled heap within the site, while the open glass-walled ends and stark, white interiors facilitate the presentation of residential-scale displays.



Vitra House is the latest addition to the ever-expanding Vitra Campus that started as an industrial park with the manufacturing facilities. Now the Vitra Design Museum--Frank Gehry's first European building opened in 1989 -- the Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando (1993) and the Fire Station by Zaha Hadid (1993) already provide magnificent visual attraction. Vitra Haus and a new circular manufacturing facility by Kazuyo Sejima/SANAA are this year's entrants to the site.



Weil am Rhein is a German town and a community that is a suburb of the Swiss city of Basel in Switzerland. Weil am Rhein is located by the River Rhine, close to the meeting point of the Swiss, German and French borders. The Vitra Design Museum is the town's biggest draw.



The Basel-based architecture firm Herzog and Meuron was established in 1978 by Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950), and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950). It is known for many prominent international commissions, including the Beijing Olympics' "Bird's Nest." - Tuija Seipell

Photography by Iwan Baan





Stores

February 23 2010

We are seeing more and more stores and services dedicated solely to the fine things in life for men. Salons, shops and spas are realizing that men have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to luxurious, beautiful retail environments.

There are millions of sports bars, car dealerships, gyms and hardware stores, but that is definitely not all that men need and want. At New York Fashion Week, British luxury men’s brand Alfred Dunhill showcased its Winter 2010 collection in a vacant Meatpacking District warehouse transformed into a pop-up shop.

With aluminum panels and projection technology, London-based design workshop Campaign created an environment that brought a little bit of Dunhill’s London flagship store to New York.

Alfred Dunhill, who joined his father’s saddlery business in 1887, and planned to change the company’s focus toward the pioneering motorist, said it very well: “It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he has paid for...” We think men are ready to pay for the best -- and “the best” includes the environment in which he spends his money. - Tuija Seipell

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Ads

February 22 2010

HBO’s show HUNG has now made its New Zealand debut on TVNZ’s Channel One.

Auckland-based ad agency Colenso BBDO was retained to promote the show and to generate some buzz. They have definitely created a buzz with their risqué billboard, recently erected on Victoria Street in central Auckland. Whether you like the billboard or not, and whether it draws you to watch the show or not, you must admit that the old, tried-and-true subjects – well-endowed female and male bodies – never seem to fail to draw attention.

Established in 1969, Colenso BBDO is consistently one of New Zealand’s highest-ranked ad agencies. Campaign Brief has also named Colenso BBDO Agency of the Decade. - Bill Tikos

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Transportation

February 18 2010

Some motorcyclists just want a cheap commute to work. Others are speed freaks seeking the ultimate expression of individuality and power.

For these guys and girls, the dream machine is a Confederate Fighter or MV Augusta F4CC. But a few riders will aim even higher, and these are the people the 135hp Ecosse Iconoclast was designed for. It’s effectively a shopping list of high-end motorcycle components, based on Ecosse’s existing Heretic model.



After handing over your £44,000.00 (US$69,000), you get a bike with car-sized 2-liter engine. It’s machined from solid billet aluminum, and wrapped in a hand-welded custom frame that also stores the engine oil. The bodywork is carbon fiber; suspension comes from the favored brand of MotoGP racers, the Swedish company Öhlins.

The Iconoclast is quick, at less than three seconds to 60 mph. But you’ll need to be even quicker to get your hands on one. Just eleven will be made, and they’re exclusive to 20ltd.com—an online gallery that only sells limited editions, from fashion to jewelry to furniture.



If the Ecosse represents the ultimate motorcycle available today, the RogueMoto KickBoxer reveals what might be in showrooms tomorrow. It’s a concept from designer Ian McElroy, and uses Subaru’s rally-bred WRX motor for propulsion. The engine is turbocharged for even more grunt, and feeds into a Baker Torquebox—one of the few motorcycle gearboxes able to handle sportscar levels of power. If the KickBoxer makes the transition from CAD program to showroom floor, the Ecosse will have a serious rival at the stoplight Grand Prix. - Chris Hunter


 

Art

February 17 2010

Robert Bradford creates his life-size and larger-than-life sculptures of humans and animals from discarded plastic items, mainly toys but also other colorful plastic bits and pieces, such as combs and buttons, brushes and parts of clothes pegs.



Contrary to some reports, he’s not a self-taught artist who tinkered in his shed one day and suddenly decided to create something out of his kids’ discarded toys. He is a London-born and U.K. and U.S.-trained visual artist who, like many artists, also had another career on the side. His was that of a psychotherapist.



In 2002, he started to consider the possibilities that his children’s forgotten toys could have as part of something bigger. Bradford says he likes the idea that the plastic pieces have a history, some unknown past, and that they also pass on a “cultural” history as each of the pieces represents a point in time.

Recycling is not his primary concern, but each sculpture certainly keeps quite a few pieces from becoming landfill. Some of the sculptures contain pieces from up to 3,000 toys and sell for £12,000 (US$19,000). - Tuija Seipell

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Music

February 17 2010

With rap mixtapes and DJ sets springing forth on blogs and Facebook accounts like an over-ripe harvest of late, it’s refreshing to find that someone isn’t sticking to the stock standard formula. With his new mixtape project Pianist Envy - yes, that really is the title -, Canadian piano genius Gonzales has flipped things, offering up a collection of quasi-covers in which Gonzales restrings populist jams from the likes of 50 Cent, Beyonce and Lil Wayne as ivory-thumping epics.

After past work with Feist and Jamie Lidell, cover work for Daft Punk and Boys Noize and turns as an MC and electro artist, Pianist Envy is Gonzales cementing his reputation as pop music’s artful chameleon, shifting from one idea to the next with not only swiftness but perfect execution. - Dave Ruby Howe

Download the mixtape here.
 

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Design

February 10 2010

City of Utrecht in the Netherlands has developed a large complex, Cultuurcampus Vleuterweide, where half of the floor plan is taken up by a school and a sports facility, and the other half includes 55 residences, a church, cultural center, theater, and a library.

It is the internet “café” of the info centre/library that sparked our imagination with its bulky, woody mass and colorful, folkloric embellishments. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more internet cafes paid this much attention to design?



The architect of the complex is Vera Yanovshtchinsky Architecten based in The Hague. Interior design and furnishings are by Assen-based AEQUO BV Architects that is known for impressive school and library work.



Throughout the entire Vleuterweide facility, AEQUO has sprinkled fun embellishments, including lime-green, lemon-yellow and azure-blue walls, and pink carpets. Furnishings and lighting fixtures also draw attention: A prim, baroque chair covered in hot-pink fabric in one corner, a group of lumpy recliners upholstered in brown flour-sack material in another. - Tuija Seipell

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Events

February 9 2010

Our new creative ideas agency ACCESS is helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. A simple idea for our McFancy project for McDonald's has already been viewed by over 3 million readers through this site. Millions more have interacted with it via hundreds of blogs that have featured it (google "Mcfancy Mcdonald's or McFancy by Access Agency"). And dozens of magazines internationally are featuring the concept in forthcoming issues. That's several million eyeballs before a single $ has been spent.

Enter our latest concept for Puma that we call SPINSTAR, which aligns perfectly with the brand image. It is a touring program that finds participants who can last the longest in a spin class, with Puma as the backdrop. Participants are offered a free pair of Puma sneakers and workout gear once they pass 2 hours (most spin classes run for 45 minutes). The winners of each session (which can last up to 8 hours) will receive the Puma bike and would then be invited to the final competition where the winner of the longest spin-class is crowned Puma SPINSTAR, receiving $25,000 cash along with $10,000 worth of Puma gear.

Two stellar examples of how ACCESS has taken brand expriences to a transformational level. Is your's crying out for the experience - contact [email protected] 

Puma renderings created by Dobson White

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Art

February 8 2010



We have a hunch we will be seeing much more of the work by the young, London-based graphic designer and illustrator, Nikki Farquharson.


 
Her ongoing project, Mixed Media Girls, gives the viewer a lot to look at. The collages appear innocent and sweet but at the same time exude sharp, pent-up energy that does not feel altogether safe. The title of the work is also wonderfully suggestive – or not, depending on how the reader wishes to understand it.



Farquharson’s work extends from the one-dimensional world to book projects and 3D pieces in which she often ponders and twists the meaning of words and proverbs, spies on conversations, and questions established truths.


 
In 2007, she started the website Random Got Beautiful that is open for anyone to submit images focused on a specific color. - Tuija Seipell



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Architecture

February 1 2010




Casa no Geres, designed by Porto-based Correia/Ragazzi Aquitectos, has received its fair share of international awards and exposure, but we cannot help but show it off one more time. This is the first project by Gracia Correia and her new Italian partner, Roberto Ragazzi. It is a bold statement that hides nothing.



This is also a house that is easy to love from certain perspectives and from others; it looks quite unsuitable for its surroundings. From some angles, the house seems like an accident, some kind of a mishap with transportation containers and building materials. One part of the building is buried inside the hill while another sticks out over the river. It appears about to teeter off the hill at any moment, just waiting to land in its final resting place in the river.

The owners, Mica and Eduardo Pinto Ferreira, have been Correia's clients for more than a decade, and gave her carte blanche to create their dream house on the 5,000 square-meter site by the Cevado river - as long as no trees were cut and the 60 square-meter house (maximum allowed footprint for the site) was made of concrete. The house is located in Peneda-Geras National Park, along the Spanish border in northern Portugal, so the environment and its inviolability were crucial and the rules strict.

But looking out from the inside, the awesome beauty of the home becomes apparent. The simplicity of the structure, the openness of the views and the calm balance of the elements seems to speak the same language as the bleak surroundings. Nature has a way of being beautiful even when it is not, and this house knows that secret.



The warmth and proper scale of the building become even clearer when the illuminated house is viewed at night. It may look like it landed from some other planet, but it appears to be right at home now. - Tuija Seipell

photos from Nelson Garrido