Design

September 24 2008



In most cities, strategic downtown street corners are flanked by enormous, old banks, the ornate cathedrals of capital designed to impress and intimidate. With the massive changes in real estate values and consumer banking habits, such monuments to Mammon are no longer smart or necessary. But what amazing opportunities such massive commissions must have been for the architects of the day! And what depressing alternatives we’ve experienced since! Luckily, online banking has made a bank visit almost obsolete, but when you must visit, most of the time you’ll find a boring, convenience-store-type standardized box – retail banking in the worst meaning of both words.


 
But we are starting to see a change. Several new bank design concepts are in the works, and some have been launched recently, including CheBanca! in Milan by Crea International. The concept for CheBanca! (translation: What a bank!) reflects the brand’s simplicity, transparency and innovation. When Crea International co-founder Massimo Fabbro will speak at POPAI Italia in November on the power of physical brand design to bring to life a brand's language, spirit and values, he will no doubt mention CheBanca!


 
And now that we have seen a few examples of fabulous bank design, we want more! If you’ve seen, designed or commissioned one, let us know. — Tuija Seipell



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Events

September 24 2008



A glass of expensive champagne on a swanky rooftop bar just doesn't cut it in the competitive world of product launches, which are all vying for VIP attendees and press coverage. 

Chanel decided to think outside of the square for the launch of the brand's new perfume, ‘Eau première,’ staging the event at a private Parisian apartment. Chanel recruited acclaimed set, window and interior designer Jean-Marc Gady to create an experiential event for guests, a "scenography" tasked with bringing the new fragrance and the heritage of the brand to life. Gady has created spaces for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon and Apple.



The designer transformed the apartment into a set, which guests were encouraged to explore as the event played out. While they played with artfully arranged test sprays,  a fountain sent drops of the new fragrance into the air, sweetly permeating their senses. The evening ended with the unveiling of large format photographs of Chanel's iconic "faces" over the years, from Marilyn Monroe through to Nicole Kidman. - Lisa Evans




Art

September 22 2008




The name Gary Fernandez has started to appear often enough to warrant a closer look. Fernandez is a freelance illustrator and graphic artist based in Madrid, Spain, and currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His client list is impressive, ranging from advertising heavies DDB, McCann Erickson, JWT and Grey to superbrands such as Coca Cola, Nokia and Camel. His illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines and books.


 
Fernandez's intricate, retro-esque illustrations marry a liquid stroke with a rigid tension, which in turn projects an underlying seething mood and latent danger. For some reason, I'm thinking Dadaism and Salvador Dali mixed with the sixties London vibes and New York's retro fashion illustrations. At the same time, some of his work is almost whimsical and merry; evoking images from Cirque du Soleil and old European circus posters. Whatever you see, you are irresistibly drawn into his world.


 
A fantastic recent example is his elaborate illustration book titled Introduction to Fantastic Girls, Future Landscapes & the Most Beautiful Birds Ever Seen, available -- possibly -- on his site in limited quantities.


 
Gary Fernandez is also the founder and creative lead of the T-shirt brand VelvetBanana. The name VelvetBanana draws its parts from The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol banana cover for their first album The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967).


 
Fernandez started VelvetBanana in 2005 with the goal of redefining the "Art Rock T-shirt" by producing thematic collections. The themes capture certain moods, songs or bands. The latest, Collection #3, is described as having electrifying, abrasive, furious and hypnotic graphics full of energy, although the photo book of the collection appears indoorsy and tame, with clean yet fashionably brooding models photographed against a pristine white background.- Tuija Seipell
 

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House

September 2 2008




One thing we really love at The Cool Hunter is reinvention. Taking a fresh approach to an established form is at the foundation of innovation and we applaud anyone who can pull it off - like Ron Arad who has created this incredibly unique luxury bath concept, which turns the traditional bath on its head, literally. Aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal - it's like a giant art installation for your bathroom - its also multi-purpose, transforming from bath to shower as the whole unit revolves. Arad worked with Italian bathroom design brand Teuco to bring the concept to life. At this stage it's still a prototype but Arad is confident that with Teuco's production expertise his bath dream will soon be a reality in our own homes. We want one now. -Lisa Evans (via Sept issue of Wallpaper magazine)

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Transportation

August 26 2008




Quickly now, name a cool camper, caravan, trailer, motorhome or RV. Indeed, the only thing even close to cool in this category is a something retro. But this may be changing. Forget the 1973 Winnebago Mini Winnie, forget Shasta Airflyte, forget even the shiny retro Airstream, because a new generation of caravans is just being introduced at the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf (August 30-September 7, 2008)
 
Visitors to Europe's biggest camper show are getting a first look at the prototype of Mehrzeller, a completely customizable trailer. While RV designers and manufacturers the world over were nodding off at the wheel, Theresa Kalteis and Christian Freissling, two students at Austria's Graz University of Technology's faculty of architecture, decided to make a move. Their thesis project on 'mobile living solutions' under professor Peter Schreibmayer was going to be not just a theory; it was going to become reality and something that will change the world of trailers.


 
They made the very simple assumption that the people who know best what the ideal camper needs are the people who will use it. On the Mehrzeller's project website, the designers explain (in German) that when their 'configurator' interface is fully functional in the spring of 2009, potential buyers can input their data and wishes, and order their unique Mehrzeller camper online. The name Mehrzeller can be translated as 'moreceller,' i.e. something with more cells. The name is fitting as the pods or units that form the Mehrzeller in various configurations do look somewhat 'cellular.'
 
The production will be based on the principle of mass customization, and production costs will not be significantly higher than those of standard campers. The basic architecture and design parameters remain the same, while the customers get to choose pretty much everything else. Using the configurator interface, they input the number and age of the people and animals that are going to be using the camper. Then they input the usage of space - eating, sleeping, cooking, working, entertaining, relaxing and so on - and the relative importance of each function. The system will then determine the floor plan and generate a 3D rendering. Next, the buyers select the materials and appliances. The program then calculates the price and creates the production specifications.


 
Mehrzeller will most likely move forward, and not remain just a crazy one-off prototype, because it has the backing of such heavyweights as BMW, 3M and many others. If you cannot catch the camper in Dusseldorf, you can see it at the Caravan Salon Austria, held in Wels October 15.-19, 2008. By Tuija Seipell (via squob)


 


Music

August 25 2008


Empire of The Sun. Little is known - no bio, no press kits, no explanations. The vital components are Nick Littlemore (Pnau) and Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson) and the music is a precise dovetail of the two. The silky strings, tight-strums and cheeky hi-hats give 'Walking On A Dream' a distinctly French-house flavour. In stark contrast, the accompanying clip in all its weird and colourful glory was shot entirely in Shanghai. In the words of the song, this is the sound of two men at the peak of their powers 'pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it'.

Download the Sam La More remix here - Nick Christie

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Offices

August 25 2008



If you are reading TCH while working, stop for a moment and consider your surroundings? What is your environment like? Are your surroundings in tune with what you should accomplish? Some of us work in our homes while others stare at their computer monitors all day in a multitude of places referred to as “work.”



Our environment has a direct impact on our work and on how we feel about our work. From the time you sit down with your Monday-morning latte to the moment you make the mad dash to the elevator late on Friday afternoon, innumerable stimuli affect your every action and reaction.

Can you gaze out, or better yet, open a window to let in fresh air? Is your concentration broken each time a nearby coworker turns on the external speaker when he answers the phone? Do you spend most of your day away from your workstation? Are the meeting rooms and common areas in your office inviting and inspiring?



Fortunately, designers have become increasingly ingenious when designing office space, but the ones making the decisions at the top deserve praise as well. We’re noticing more and more collaborations between designers and organizations that unquestionably result in satisfaction throughout the staff.



The focus of attention has started to shift. As leaders, we expect employees to produce more, better, faster, cooler. But we often spend all our time and energy ‘evolving our brand,’ and don’t pay much attention to work environments. If we changed the workspace, we’d probably start seeing more of what we want. Creative environments foster and attract creative minds.



Designers have figured it out — change the cube, evolve the thinking. Designers collaborate with interior architects and now the focus is on the entire space. How can we use space better? How do we create an interesting working environment? What if we did something really unusual? Like creating workspace inside a giant pipe — or a series of pipes?

Designers have now also been paying attention to elevators, stairwells, bathrooms, meeting rooms and other social spaces. These previously ignored and undervalued spaces are becoming an integral part of design strategies — and not just to look good, but also to function well. By adding colour, neon, digital interiors, irregular shapes and patterns — cool stuff to look at, to touch, or to sit in or on — we’ll heighten the senses and draw out creative thinking.



We know at least some of you have benefited from our previous take on innovative workspaces, aso now we're now on the hunt for more of the best creative offices for our third book - "World's Most Creative Office Environments.”  Email us at [email protected]This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or nominate yourself if you think you’ve got what we want. - Andrew J Wiener

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Stores

August 21 2008



Aesop continue to deliver outstanding, intelligent and considered design in not only their product but with their individual approach to each retail concept store they launch. Their latest offering in Zurich embodies this philosophy perfectly. Utilising a long, narrow space to advantage, the focal point of the store is located in the centre of the space allowing consumers to walk around and interact with the products which are located on a series of suspended shelves.  There’s a sense of weightlessness and room to breathe due to the fact that the shelves don’t make contact with the ground and only the necessary products and shelving is featured.  The repetition of the shelves seem to co-exist with ease but not at the peril of functionality. Using Aesop’s signature store sensibilities of incorporating water, merging modernity and recycled materials and not “over-designing” or adding unnecessary objects, this Zurich store is no exception.  — Kate Vandermeer.



 

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Ads

August 19 2008

 

 



Thanks to Apple and its superior design, marketing, advertising and, well, anything else to do with creating and selling a product, most other global communications brands have languished in a kind of brand-image purgatory. Sony is fighting back with this great campaign created by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, helmed by art director Eron Broughton. The agency took Sony's earphones and literally mapped out the New York subway system, mimicking a traditional subway map. It's a simple idea but powerful in its execution, giving Sony a much-need dose of coolness. At last, other brands are thinking outside of the square. Now all Sony needs to do is apply that principle to its actual products. Innovate or die, guys. - Laura Demasi

 

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Events

August 15 2008




Forget the sport..some of the most interesting things happening at the Beijing Olympics are coming from clever sponsors who have dreamt up creative ways to promote their brands at the mega global event. We're loving the offering from Mini Cooper, who have dragged traditional Chinese street transport into the 21st century with these great bike-powered Minis. Samsung has been equally creative, giving Olympics' fans a chance to view all of the action from their own "private" alien-like pods. Both of these offerings are a lesson to global brands: get creative and innovative in your marketing or risk being drowned out by the noise. - Laura Demasi

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