Minjae Lee is a young South Korean artist whose work expresses a semi-disturbing inner tension that is tough to ignore, even if you feel that you'd like to. It draws you in with its powerful colors, halting imagery and clever juxtaposition of beauty, innocence and fragility with brash, loud and aggressive.
The 19-year old artist is mainly self-taught and uses old-fashioned tools — such as markers, pens, crayons, acrylics — to create his illustrations. He has yet to break into commercial success, but as his style is developing and improving each time new images appear, we will likely see a lot of him in the future.
What characterizes his work overall is drama. The ethereal females that populate most of his work exude a dark, organic tension, and it seems that even the brightest marker colors do not quite manage to save them from some sort of looming peril. Or are we, the viewers, in fact, the ones who are in danger? Whatever the case, we are drawn in, interacting on an emotional level, surprised, looking for something.
Minjae Lee’s penchant for dramatic expression is clear also in the work of those he admires. His favorite photographer is the 55-year-old Japanese Hiroshi Nonami, whose women are equally capable of telling a dramatic, dark story. Not surprisingly, Lee’s favorite fashion designer is the king of runway drama, the Gibraltar-born, 49-year-old John Galliano. - Tuija Seipell
To create a perfume can be a very lucrative business move if you are an established fashion house, brand name or celebrity. It can be difficult to find a fragrance that is authentic, contemporary and created for those who appreciate a good quality scent.
So it is with this in mind, that we recently discovered the unique Nasomatto Project, created by Alessandro Gualtieri (who has created scents for Valentino, Versace and Helmut Lang, to name a few).
“This project is dedicated to people who have a strong interest in a distinguished perfume choice”, Alessandro says. He believes the senses are our primary instruments that guide our reactions and this project is about sharing his personal passion for perfumes. Through the Nasomatto project, Alessandro blends unique fragrances that make strong statements; so much so he’s named each blend to suit. Duro for enhancing male strength, Narcotic Venus for the addictive intensity of female sexuality, Absinth to stimulate irresponsible behavior, Silver Musk to evoke superhuman magnetism, Hindu Grass is about universal peace and love, China White reveals a sentimental journey and Black Afgano is temporary bliss. The descriptions are enhanced further with the clean lines yet organic feel of the bottle designs. We predict you’ll become addicted as well! – Kate Vandermeer
This sleek and shiny new building is the Technology Center Medical Science (Das Science Center Medizintechnik), located in central Berlin between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate.
If you feel that the building, designed by Gnädinger Architects, looks somewhat sterile and synthetic, the architects and owners would not feel offended. The building has two main functions — it is a corporate facility and a science center — but both have to do with human mobility, specifically walking and grasping, and bionics (technology modeled on nature).
The clinical feel and sweeping forms are what makes this such a cool complex. The façade is designed to resemble the structure of muscle fibers. If you visit the Science Centre within, you will learn all about it and will never look at this building the same way again.
The building owner is Otto Bock Healthcare GmbH, one of the world’s oldest and largest companies designing, manufacturing and selling prostheses and orthopedic products. It was founded in 1919 by Otto Bock to meet the needs of war veterans. The top three floors of the new building are taken up by the company and its training and demonstration facilities.
The three lower floors house the Science Center and its three exhibitions: The Fascination of Walking and Grasping, Nature as our Guide, and Technology for People. To design the exhibitions, Otto Bock commissioned Berlin-based ART+COM, that has designed events for the BMW Museum and many retail clients. - Tuija Seipell
A fantastic array of imaginary projects keeps materializing from the hands and mind of the talented Jaime Hayón. The Madrid, Spain-born designer’s work covers practical — and impractical — objects, sets, stores, art and graphics. In addition to retail and restaurant environments, he has created furniture for Pallucco, shoes and sets for Camper, designer toys, various kinds of art, and exhibitions including “Mediterranean Digital Baroque” at London’s David Gill Gallery, and “Mon Cirque,” presented in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Paris and Kuala Lumpur.
A retro film-star sensibility joins a more ornate and traditional luxury vibe in the Octium boutique, for which nearly everything was custom-designed — from the furnishings, textiles and display elements to the lighting fixtures and wall treatments. And although within this fantasy world, each selection of jewelry has its own unique display environment, the overall atmosphere manages to seem calm and the look harmonious. The jewelry on display includes the Octium Collection, exclusive pieces, as well as selections from Hanna Martin, Ivanka Trump and Pipa Small and others. - Tuija Seipell
Architects Anton Žižek and Marjan Poboljšaj, both of whom graduated in 1997, are being noticed consistently at European events and competitions for their progressive design work — from interior design and furniture concepts to architecture. They are the founders of Superform, based in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Recently, Superform created an interesting retreat for a private client by combining two existing buildings in the town of Ljubno ob Savinji, 70 kilometers from the capital.
The first house that resembles the traditional buildings of the valley is monolithic and introverted and contains the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Its main materials are wood and stone.
Housing the living room, dining room and a large hall, the second house resembles a boat anchored in the green bay and is more extroverted, open an modern than the first. Its materials are glass, steel, Rheinzink and wood. The combined structure looks bold, yet agrees with its environment and looks entirely livable. Not an easy feat to achieve. - Tuija Seipell
She was born in Sweden, worked in Brazil and is now settled in the Portland area. The prolific illustrator and mixed-media artist Linn Olofsdotter is a global citizen of the most interesting kind. Her own life in different locales gives her many sources of inspiration and most likely helps her flex her illustration muscle to meet the needs of a vast variety of clients.
Her work has appeared in Computer Arts and Bon Magazine; she’s created T-shirt graphics for Levi’s, wall murals for a hotel in Los Angeles, CD covers for artists and illustrations for Oilily and La Perla. Nearly all of her work has a collage-like feel, with many layers, nuances and media. The somewhat surreal and psychedelic look of some of her pieces attests to her ability and willingness to trot not just the globe but regions beyond. - Tuija Seipell
Opened this spring in Poland’s second-largest city of Lodz, the Andels Hotel has one of the most stunning entrance foyers we have seen in a while. The restored, stoic, red-brick facade hides the entrance so well that the initial impression is very strong.If you need to host a large event and impress your guests in this city, this is the place to do it. Andels has a large conference space plus the city’s largest ballroom at 1,300 square meters, and it shares its expansive red-brick domain with the best in the city’s cultural and shopping offerings.
The hotel structure is Manufaktura, Polish textile magnate Izrael Poznans’s former textile mill, now meticulously restored under strict official guidelines for building preservation. We love the interplay of old and new, square and rounded, natural and artificial, intimacy and open space.
The design concept of Andels comes from Jestico + Whiles, an award-winning design and architecture firm with offices in London and Prague, and a long relationship with the Andels hotels. This month, Andels Hotel Lodz won the Best Conversion of an Existing Building in the 12th European Hotel Design Awards.
Andels Hotel Lodz is the first four-star hotel in Lodz and the latest addition to the Andels Hotels group, which in turn is part of the Vienna International Hotels & Resorts that has more than 40 hotels in Eastern European countries. - Tuija Seipell
These sculptural cast-concrete planters caught our eye as being perfect when presented in a massive row poolside at a Zaha Hadid-designed beach house. The tallest version of these is 45 inches (about 110 centimeters) high, an impressive presence even without plants. We’d imagine these will look spectacular used to display a bunch of tall dry grasses or branches, outdoors or in. The planters, made by Phoenix, Arizona-based Kornegay Designs, are called the Quartz Series.
The company has no inventory, as each planter is made to order. Custom colors shown in the image are azurite, citrine, topaz and amethyst. We also like Kornegay’s beautifully rounded Dune Series planters. - Tuija Seipell
T-shirt alert - New limited edition Tee's available for $35 from Toronto based brand, Handsome Clothing
What is it that makes Australian electro duo Tim & Jean so special? That's not meant as a corny opening line for this feature, that's a genuine question. We really want to know what kind of magic potion is running through the water in their hometown of Perth or how many virgins one needs to sacrifice in order to have what they have.
With just one song circulating around at the moment, the blissful synth-pop jam Come Around, Tim & Jean have already blown bloggers and industry types away. Indeed, after wowing Australian audiences as part of Triple J radio’s Unearthed competition, the duo has found itself in the middle of a major label bidding war in the US, cementing its buzz as the next big thing set to go supernova in 2010.
On Come Around the kids, and yes I do mean kids as the two are are just 15 and 18 respectively, show off a surprisingly masterful knack for melding mirror-ball electronics with stomping choruses and irresistible hooks. With more gold like this on the way now's the ideal time to fall for Tim & Jean as you can bet you'll be hearing a lot of them very soon. Listen below. - Dave Ruby Howe
See also 21 yr old Australian Jonathan Boulet