Eclectic, electric, electrifying and energetic are words that describe the work of art director and designer Pedro Vilas-Boas. Stationed in Lisbon, the Portuguese-born Vilas Boas collaborates with a variety of complementing talent and comes up with fascinating web sites, online and offline projects, graphics, posters and even T-shirt designs for A-list clients such as Nokia and Carlsberg.
His work is characterized by a mix of contrast, electricity, motion and bold lines. The result is an effective blend of energy and punch. Lucky for his high-energy clients that Pedro Vilas-Boas chose this type of punch as his preferred medium, and did not fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a policeman. - Tuija Seipell
Patrick Tighe, principal of Santa Monica’s Tighe Architecture, may hate space-age references. But, here we go: Tighe’s work for Moving Picture Company’s (MPC) Los Angeles office IS space-agey. With its pod-like central spaces, curving ledges and white drywall expanses, it evokes memories of retro space movies.
But it all fits. The U.K-based MPC is in the business of computer animation, color-grading and digital effects, so you wouldn’t want color, hard edges or natural light to mess with that. MPC is known for its work on the past six James Bond films, Slumdog Millionaire and commercials.
In turn, Tighe’s residential and commercial work is characterized by roofs shooting out at angles, curves sweeping, horizontal planes slanting. Your eye follows these lines easily and accepts the direction. A goal that MPC is most likely familiar as well. - Tuija Seipell
Have fun with your pimples! That was likely the thinking of Gideon Amichay, Chief Creative Officer and partner at Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R Interactive in Tel Aviv, Israel, when he created a campaign for Clearex acne treatment gel. A pimply-faced, 5-meter-tall climbing wall at Israel’s largest climbing center exposed 8,000 teenagers per month to the brand during their summer holidays. The agency’s online take on the same predicament earned it a perch on 2009 Cannes Cyber Lions shortlist. Teenagers entered their friends’ photos online and pimpled their faces liberally. The only way for the friend to remove the pimples? Use “online” Clearex, of course. This campaign gained over 2.7 million exposures and 25,000 active surfers in under 48 hours. - Tuija Seipell
How far will your need for speed take you? If you’re like many of us, dreams of sitting in the cockpit of any kind of aircraft rolling through the clouds are unlikely to ever happen... until now. The US Air Force has teamed up with Galpin Auto Sports and built the stealth-looking Dodge Challenger Vapor – part muscle car, part fighter jet – all military strategy.
The designers fitted the body of the car with jet enhancements that would even make Batman look twice. Special radar-blocking black paint covers the car, while a stealth exhaust allows it to run virtually silent. A roof-mounted camera detects any type of movement within a quarter mile. Biometric verification via the driver’s thumbprint gives access to the vehicle through gull wing doors.
All that’s left to do now is strap on one of the custom-designed helmets, climb inside the cockpit and take off. Once seated behind the wheel (or wheels, as there is a passenger-side steering wheel as well), the pilot and co-pilot can use an advanced computer-system complete with internet access, a GPS tracking system, exterior proximity sensors, as well as switch on a thermal vision projection on the windshield to track enemy forces through the darkness.
Jumping back to reality, only briefly, the USAF designed the Challenger as a recruitment tool for future cadets. The military planned a Super Car Tour and is visiting various high schools across the US, along with a handful of auto shows to entice young hopefuls into military service. - Andrew J Wiener
I hate the term ‘comeback’.” That’s Casey Spooner, one half of Fischerspooner, the iconic electro duo who’ve just released their third album (Entertainment) after a four-year gap in recording. “It’s not a comeback because we didn’t actually leave,” implores Casey. He’s right too. Fischerspooner haven’t been hiding after their last album, Odyssey, failed to ignite in the same way that electroclash touchstone #1 did, they’ve just been busy working on other facets of the Fischerspooner universe. “Releasing albums isn’t all we do, we’re performance artists so we could be working on stage shows, theatre pieces, ballets or installations.”
Yet for a duo that can work (successfully) in so many different creative arenas, there is something appealing about the musical side of Fischerspooner that lured Casey and creative partner Warren Fischer back for Entertainment. “I often wonder why we do it,” Casey remarks with a pause for contemplation. “This job can be terrible. I haven’t had a day off since the beginning of the year,” he moans. “But I think, in the end, Fischerspooner as a musical entity offers us a chance to incorporate a lot of different elements and open things up for collaborations. For us, it’s never just an album. There’s a stage show we’ve got to think about and with that comes choreography, costuming, design as well as art and image direction. We’re always thinking of new stuff to do and who we can do it with to make it work right.”
Whatever they’ve done in the last four years has worked, as Entertainment shows off a charismatic and invigorated Fischerspooner. One minute they’re swanning through some pulsating electro (The Best Revenge), the next it’s brooding dance music for androids (Money Can’t Dance) or fractured and futuristic pop (the stunning Danse en France). Entertainment is an album filled with unbridled imagination, but more importantly it’s an album that sees the realisation of all these ideas. “We worked really hard on this record, and we’re proud of it,” Casey says grinning. “I guess I don’t mind too much if people see it as a comeback. It just means that we’ve been through it all. First we were loved by everyone, then hated and now people are excited to hear from us again. I quite like that feeling.”
It’s good to have them back. – Dave Ruby Howe
It is fitting that the 70-year-old Frank Gehry ended up re-envisioning the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) for his native city of Toronto. As a boy, Gehry visited the AGO often, and the effect of those visits on him and his future career was important. Gehry has lived most of his life in the U.S., but the AGO remake allows Toronto to reap some of the benefits of his massive talent before it’s all too late.
One of Gehry’s early sources of career inspiration was the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), known as the father of Scandinavian modernism. The influence of Aalto’s love of gently curving light-color wood, and his clean and airy architectural lines, can be sensed at the newly refurbished AGO. Whether or not Gehry thought of Aalto when he designed the spiraling plywood-faced staircase for the main entry hall is irrelevant, but the feel of the space is decidedly Aalto-esque. To those of us who love the work of both architects, the newly transfigured AGO is simply fabulous. - Tuija Seipell
If square wheels were even slightly workable, Danish designer Michael Ubbesen Jakobsen would have used them in his Bauhaus-inspired BauBike. The pared-down bicycle is designed around the geometric shape of the square, and its main raw materials are minimal: some metal and leather. The bike has the same astonishingly classy vibe as Marcel Lajos Breuer’s Wassily chair, a Bauhaus design icon Ubbesen Jakobsen most likely studied during his education at Southern Denmark’s respected design school in Kolding. From the small touches, such as the BauBike-embossed leather strips that wrap around the handlebars, and the gorgeous springs under the austere saddle, it is easy to see that Ubbesen Jakobsen is a meticulous designer, a serious tinkerer and, at least in the case of BauBike, an elegant minimalist not afraid to have some fun. So far this year, BauBike has appeared at the Salone in Milan and at the DMY International Design Festival in Berlin We are not yet clear when and how we can get our hands on one — equipped with the second saddle accessory — but we are hopeful it will be soon. - Tuija Seipell
Welcome to Matt W Moore's world. His retro, abstract inspired graphics with a steely, graffiti-edge have seen this young Portland-based artist's work traverse the globe. Moore's vast commercial portfolio includes gigs for mega brands including Burton, Nike, Wired, Citroen, Vodafone and many others. Fascinated with symmetry, geometry and saturated colour, he creates retro-spirited, abstract graphics with a wild, graffiti edge.
A process of experimentation led to Moore's lauded signature "Vectorfunk" style of digital illustration, inspired by abstract geometry, vibrant colour combinations, dynamic compositions, depth and contrast. He also works across the spectrum of design and art disciplines - from canvas paintings to textile/apparel design and to logo/identity work. His typography, type treatments and icons are featured in his annual monochrome series, and in a comprehensive solo book called Vectorfunk by ROJO. - Lisa Evans
The Mini Cooper has been created for a TCH Special Mini Cooper project which we will unveil soon.
Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.
The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell
While most of us must accept sitting just AT our regular desks, the creatives at Hamburg’s Syzygy agency get to sit IN their swanky, new desks. Thinking up ads and interactive campaigns for clients such as Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Fujitsu, will most likely go a whole lot smoother when your workplace is custom-designed for you.
The office of Syzygy Hamburg (they also have offices in London and Frankfurt) was created by Christoph Roselius and Julian Hillenkamp, the two founders of eins:eins architecten in Hamburg.
The sleek, white bullpens are not as inflexible as they may seem. On the contrary — the various configurations are endless, but the desks always join together and form a whole. This allows for close cooperation and reinforces the feeling of everyone being in the same boat. The flexible desks also make it possible to turn tight and tough-to-utilize spaces into productive working environments.
Syzygy’s staff is lucky in other ways, too. Their cool office is located in the central part of Hamburg, near the city hall, the Binnenalster artificial lake, and the upscale shopping promenades of Jungfernstieg and Neuer Wall. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? -Tuija Seipell