Kids

January 19 2009



We feel no sympathy at all for any kid in Berlin who complains about school if their school is Erika-Mann Grundschule II . Not only do the principles of their school seem like they were actually created for children, the school’s recently revamped environment is amazing – perhaps not surprisingly as it was designed by the kids themselves with Baupiloten, a group of architecture students.


 
Some time ago, we wrote about Taka-Tuka Land Kindergarten which was also designed by the same Baupiloten studio. It is a group of architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin led by architect Susanne Hoffmann who founded the studio in 2003.


 
Baupiloten projects allow the architecture students to experience all facets of a real-life project, from design to budgeting, cost control and site supervision. The students also learn to present to clients and to convince them that their solutions are viable and practical.
 
A group of just under 10 architecture students worked on the Erika-Mann Grundschule II project. The kids who are using the space participated actively in the design process, giving the architecture students their views on how they will actually use the space, how it should function and what they’d love to see in their school.


 
Together they sought to lighten and cheer up the heavy and authoritarian air of their old school building from 1915. They developed a playful concept based on a fantastical world of the Silver Dragon. The farther into the building one moves, the stronger one feels the presence of the Silver Dragon whose spirit changes, moves, glows and shimmers.
 
The different spaces are called Snuffle Garden, Snuffling Room, Chill Room and Dragon’s Breath, each starting with a clean white background and offering freedom of expression in the form of flexible furnishings.


 
The Chill Room located on the third floor includes one and two-person seating platforms covered with foam, tarp and various textiles. Meter-high petals protect each pedestal creating little isolated cocoons, each of which is also moveable and changeable by the children depending on what they wish at the time.
 
The Snuffle Garden on the second floor is furnished with horizontal and sloping surfaces for sitting, lying down or sliding. No wonder that the school was named one of Germany’s best schools at the end of 2008. - Tuija Seipell


 
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Events

January 16 2009



Held between June 14 and September 14, 2008, the International Exhibition Expo Zaragoza 2008 is already a distant memory but its effects still reverberate.


 
The 25 hectares along the river Ebro near Spain’s fifth-largest city, Zarazoga, hosted thematic pavilions and thematic squares plus the pavilions of more than 100 countries, all exploring the overall theme of the Expo, “Water and Sustainable Development.”


 
Some of our favourite Expo mementoes are these spectacular images from the Portuguese Pavilion. Theming the Portuguese participation in the watery event, Lisbon-based Bak Gordon Architects envisioned a river’s ever-changing flow from its trickling source to a river mouth by the sea.


 
BAK created the pavilion’s spaces as versatile, changeable and changing surroundings for audience participation at levels of each individual’s choosing. The three main areas – Alert, Consciousness and Change – explored water and sustainability and featured a red “river” of pavement that helped the visitors track the flow of the exhibit.


 
From an alarming tubular “jungle” of Alert, to Consciousness where Nuno Cera’s photography highlighted the three mighty rivers of Iberia – Guadiana, Tagus and Douro, the visitor ended up in the hopeful Change, where the promising movement of citizens was depicted, literally, with the movement of images and words spoken in various languages. - Tuija Seipell



Photography by ultimasreportagens.com



News

January 16 2009



TCH wins best culture blog for 2007 & 2008!

It's official. We are proud to announce that we have won the Best Culture Blog category at the Weblog Awards for 2008. We are thrilled to take out the prize, our second, after also winning the same category at last year's awards.



A huge thank you to all of our very progressive and active readers who voted for us. We thank you for supporting us. We look forward to continuing to inform and inspire you with our finds.



Pics via TCH Platinum

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Events

January 15 2009



Fashion launches are a bit like romantic comedies; pretty people in pretty clothes in pretty places - and they all start to look and feel the same after a while. Louis Vuitton broke the mould with its latest launch for its new Stephen Sprouse collection. The mega party was held over three venues in New York, starting with a cocktail party at the Louis Vuitton store, followed by an exhibition of  Sprouse's artwork. The night ended with a packed after party at the Bowery Ballroom, where Debbie Harry took to the stage for a mini concert.

Louis Vuitton did the late designer proud, celebrating his unique Punk couture aesthetic by creating mini 'Sprouse worlds' - referencing his work at every turn, from the walls to the ceiling and the furniture, culminating in a spectacular 'hall" of graffiti, a 'tower' of vintage TV sets and custom neon signs. Even the food paid homage to Sprouse - neon coloured hors d'oeuvres and desserts spilled out in a kind of punk colored rainbow.



Sprouse, who was part of Andy Warhol's set, become famous in the 1980s for pioneering the uptown pop punk look; a wild and edgy mix of elements such as day-glo colours, high-tech fabrics, sequins, velcro, superb uptown tailoring and hand painted silks. The designer and artist, who died in 2004, also created elaborate costumes for the likes of Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, Trent Reznor, Courtney Love, David Bowie and Duran Duran.

And now, thanks to Louis Vuitton, a whole new generation will have the opportunity to discover his work. - Laura Demasi

Music

January 14 2009



It’s best to get this out of the way early, otherwise it’ll just distract us later. Yes, Telepathe are very cool. They’ve got a wealth of New York City style, hookups with labels like Merok and Isomorph Records and their upcoming Dance Mother LP features friendly assists from !!! and TV On The Radio wunderkind Dave Sitek. But don’t let the hype of all that get in the way of Telepathe’s music, because that’s where the real magic lies. Coming together like an art-school student’s wet dream, the NYC three-piece cook up an exhilarating brand of tribal dance music, complete with boom and doom drum circles, séance-channelling vocals, a mess of fluttering synthesizers mixed with a nice touch of stuttered hip-hop production aesthetics. It’s all sorts of weird, but equally wonderful, of course. — Dave Ruby Howe

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Design

January 13 2009



Many of the brutalist forms of architecture constructed under the watchful eyes of the Soviet regime in the latter half of the twentieth century sit unused or abandoned throughout various eastern European cities.  The ‘Danube Flower,’ a Belgrade landmark sited along the river’s foreshore was no exception.  Originally opened as a restaurant in the 1970s, the triangular structure built 15 metres above the river sat empty for fifteen years after the fall of Communism and during the civil war in what was then Yugoslavia and now is Serbia. 

 

The Belgrade design studio, 4of7 partnered with London-based Superfusionlab to adaptively reuse the space as a high-end gym and spa in city’s centre.  From the ground-level pedestrian esplanade, visitors enter the Wellness Sky through the central core, the sole support for the entire structure, which contains two lift shafts and a double spiral staircase.



Once inside the facilities, its namesake genuinely takes meaning.  Fitness gurus and gym junkies are immediately awash with sweeping city and river views from the uninterrupted ribbon window, which wraps entirely around the building.  During the day, light glows through the widows onto the reflective resin floor.  The faceted ceiling comprised of backlit semi translucent triangular panels allows visitors to feel as if they are exercising within a cloud.  The openness and loftiness of the design of the Wellness Sky allows members to feel nearly weightless in the very environment where burning away the excess is the ultimate achievement. - Andrew J Wiener.

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Architecture

January 13 2009




The boxy and containery appearance of residential buildings currently attracting accolades and attention is starting to get boring. However, simplicity, clarity and openness are qualities that continue to appeal.



While this is yet another house of stacked boxes, we cannot help but admire the vacation residence clinging dramatically to the sloping hill up in the trees of the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, Canada.



Locals, used to a more traditional ski chalet in this popular ski resort area, refer to the building as the cube, a name choice requiring no imagination. When the Montreal-based architectural firm Saucier + Perrotte won the Canadian Architect magazine’s Award of Excellence for this project in 2004, the magazine called the entry the Lac Superieur Residence in Lac Superieur, Mont-Tremblant.



Whatever the moniker, the house stuns with its elegant lines, stylish use of materials and lack of unnecessary distractions.



As it should be, the building’s real redeeming features reveal themselves inside. The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows provide all the visual stimulus you’ll need, and at the same time, demand a streamlined approach to everything else in the interior.



The boxy-cubey theme continues inside as do the color scheme and the lack of distracting materials. The residence is divided into three functional areas’ sleeping quarters on the top floor, middle and entry floor for living and the lowest level for play.



Although the building looks like a disorganized corner of a stylish container-port it exudes a solitary, silent grace that allows the distinctive, four seasons of the mountain to provide the main attraction.



The building meets the criteria for a log cabin as described in the area’s design guidelines for recreational development yet, fortunately, fails to resemble a Tyrolean mini castle. - Tuija Seipell



Ads

January 9 2009



Many of us have a fascination with graffiti art, and we sometimes even look over our shoulders to make sure no one’s watching when we scratch out our initials in a freshly laid slab of cement — or carve them into a wooden desk — or even scribble profanities across the stall door in a public restroom. 

The creative minds working for Sharpie, the ultimate in permanent markers, have discovered a way to satiate our desires to deface public domain.  Interactive e-cast billboards have been scattered around cities, which allow people to experience the rush of creating their own graffiti.  Choose some colours, write a message and Sharpie makes it possible for anyone to leave his permanent mark on the side of the bus stop or the public phone or anywhere else billboard adverting may be experienced. Andrew J Wiener.

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Design

January 6 2009




Bold use of colour has never frightened the 40-year-old, Lisbon-based architect Pedro Gadanho. The colour extravagance of the recently completed single-family residence in Oporto, Portugal, follows Gadanho’s established modus operandi of using white and bright colours as key elements of a space. The petrol-blue kitchen and sanguine stairway draw the attention while at the same time punching up the power of snowy white.



Colour played an important part also in the widely reviewed and admired Orange house he designed with Nuno Grande. The private residence was completed in 2005 in Carreço, Portugal.
 
Another example of Gadanho’s use of color is the high-profile Ellipse Foundation Art Centre in Estoril/Alcoitão, Portugal. He designed the 20,000 square-foot converted warehouse with Atelier de Santos. It was completed in 2006.



Gadanho’s thought-provoking architecture matches his overall attempt to provoke critical thinking about the relationship between architecture and current culture. He is known not only as an architect but also as a free-lance critic, curator and teacher. He’s taught architecture theory and history at Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto and curated the Portuguese presence at the 2004 Venice Biennale. And for those of us who like lovely names, his full name is Pedro César Clara do Carmo Gadanho. Tuija Seipell



Images/Fernando Guera


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Music

December 15 2008



Trying to describe Tacoma’s Mono In VCF makes you feel like a tongue-tied fool attempting to convey a transcendental experience. This is music quite unlike anything you’ve heard before, perhaps best imagined as a young Suede camping on a rooftop, watching storms clouds with Phil Spector. It’s on Masha, lifted from Mono In VCF’s self-titled LP, that we witness the band’s finest hour. It’s a song born of the cold sea, with guitars that shudder like crumbling icebergs and synths that brush a transpacific wind across the nape of your neck. Bang in the middle of the mix sits Kim Miller’s voice, an exercise in beguilement that could seduce a fleet of sailors into the abyss. Stupefying, soul-tickling stuff. — Matt Shea

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