Posts Tagged ‘design’

How it gets done: A TBE SHORT

In Excerpts on June 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Napkins, notebooks, etc.

COLLECTED: Border porosity, 2.5-D flash fiction, salt mazes, and a jungle cat

In Excerpts on June 20, 2011 at 7:07 am


TIJUANA / SAN DIEGO—“Last week at the Political Equator 3 conference, which described itself as a “2-day cross-border event” occurring simultaneously in Tijuana and San Diego, something very interesting happened. … For one afternoon only, Mexico formally welcomed international border-crossers, coming south from the United States, into the country at a temporary checkpoint located at the mouth of an underground drain. For this brief phase in international relations, then, the U.S./Mexico border formally included a strange, pop-up entry/exit point. A kind of embassy of the porous. Passport stamps from the experience must surely stand as some of the most unique in the world.” —BLDGBLOG

“On one side of the border there is an emphasis on surveillance while, on the other side, a series of systematic social, economic, and environmental policy failures have created a hazardous living condition for thousands of Tijuana’s poorest. The failure, however, can be felt on both sides, as the watershed pushes the sediment and trash from the illegal settlements in Tijuana’s Los Laureles Canyon directly across the border into the Tijuana River Estuary State Park. While politicians on both sides demagogue, the lack of communication and collaboration between the two nations leads to social and environmental catastrophe. —Quilian Riano, Architect

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LONDON—“The short stories of this book’s title are set in different time periods of London, intentionally locating themselves in the liminal territory between fiction and architecture to provoke an engagement between readers and their two-dimensional counterparts occupying the depicted city. The stories are neither illustrated texts nor captioned images; the collages represent a network of spatial relationships, and the text, which splices genre such as science fiction, magical realism and the fairy tale, a thread that links some of the nodes of that network together. —CJ Lim and Ed Liu, Authors

“In other stories, Alice in Wonderland collides with the Playboy Mansion, which arrives for one night, and one night only, in the parks of London, where ‘underground chambers, replicating the hole through which Alice follows the white rabbit, had been scattered through the garden, capped with circular lenses and mirrors,’ optically augmenting this hedonistic underworld.” —BLDG BLOG

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VANCOUVER—“Canadian studio The Practice of Everyday Design is a newly formed partnership between Antoine Morris and David Long. Together the duo focus on installation art, product design, and architecture. To promote their practice they created the ‘Tiger Tiger’ photo series. The cardboard tiger head was made as a sculptural piece and will now be used for their installation needs. —designboom

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COLOGNE—“Japanese installation artist, Motoi Yamamoto, … uses hundreds of pounds of refined salt piped out of a plastic squeeze bottle to construct what he appropriately calls his Labyrinths. At the end of the installation’s show, visitors are asked to collect the salt from the floor and then everyone travels to the ocean or a river to return it to the water. Yamamoto has constructed close to 30 of these mazes since he started working with salt in 2001. He began working with salt a decade ago after his sister passed away from brain cancer. In Japan, salt is a symbol for purification and mourning, so his drawings and sketches were a way of honoring her and expressing a sense of eternity. —Inhabitat

Snow Geometries: A TBE SHORT

In Excerpts on June 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

“One of the interesting things we found is that there are dominate geometries in the nature of a snow environment. I would define those as the long horizontal lines of the snow, the tall striping of the trunks in the tree structure, and the wide expanses of sky and mountain. You spend the entire day immersed in the wide palette of those elements, so it became important to bring those elements indoors.”John Maniscalco, on the design of his Sugar Bowl Residence, near Lake Tahoe

‘Trichopterae’ by Hubert Duprat (plus some caddis flies): A TBE SHORT

In Excerpts on June 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Trichopterae is “an unusual artistic collaboration between the French artist Hubert Duprat and a group of caddis fly larvae,” write the people at Cabinet magazine.

“The larvae are remarkably adaptable: if other suitable materials are introduced into their environment, they will often incorporate those as well. … After collecting the larvae from their normal environments, [Duprat] relocates them to his studio where he gently removes their own natural cases and then places them in aquaria that he fills with alternative materials from which they can begin to recreate their protective sheaths. He began with only gold spangles but has since also added…precious stones.”

Bill Rankin, mapmaker

In Excerpts, Thoughts on April 28, 2011 at 7:19 am

If you’re as fascinated by maps as I am, Bill Rankin—candidate for a dual PhD in science and architecture at Harvard—is someone to follow. His maps, cataloged at Radical Cartography, have been included in numerous exhibitions, including the traveling Experimental Geography (which, if it doesn’t, should include Leah Evans‘ textiles). Above is Chicago by race. Anyone who lives here knows how segregated the city is; Time Out Chicago recently reported that,

While Illinois leads the nation in electing African-Americans to statewide office, we’re actually the third most segregated urban area in America. Among the reasons for the concentration of blacks on the South and West Sides, and whites to the North: historical (and now illegal) housing and lending practices, the concentration of impoverished blacks in public housing towers, and the Interstate Highways Act of 1956, which resulted in expressways like the Dan Ryan being routed through African-American neighborhoods in Chicago, further dividing black and white enclaves.

More maps below. Washington, DC, by income. Below that, a strangely disorienting one that takes a moment to grasp. I’ll let you figure it out.


In Excerpts on March 31, 2011 at 7:08 am

This week’s biomimicry: a chair whose design is modeled on the cellular formation of human bone.

A TBE SHORT: Album Cartography

In Thoughts on March 28, 2011 at 7:16 am

Danish pedal-steel player Maggie Bjorklund’s latest album, Coming Home.

No surprise that a Q&A with the songwriter shows up in my Reader about an hour after this post.

A TBE SHORT: Designing for ducks & pigeon amputees

In Thoughts on March 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

At lunch my friend Sean was lamenting what we’ve done to pigeons, as we watched them bob around, missing toes, slurping water from the cement. He said they were despicable. Most people agree. They are a reviled urban creature. But they are also fascinating. And yesterday I ran across a whole blog devoted to them. It even mentions the recent Radiolab episode that attempts to uncover just how they have such infallible senses of direction.

Also from the avian world, a designer recently tried to hang out with a duck—he tried a number of things; he even cooked it dinner—all with the purpose of finding ways to design that bridge the gap between species. How can we create urban environments that serve our purposes as well as those of all the creatures around us?

Essentially, how do we not destroy an animal like the pigeon but actually design for it?

It’s all about tone

In Excerpts on March 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Why do I want to work for somebody like Andrew Maynard?

It’s all about tone.

Here’s a newsletter I got from his architecture firm a couple months ago.

It has been almost 3 years since our last newsletter. Time flies. Yes, we have been neglecting you, but what better excuse to bring you up to date than a change of address and new contact details …..

Andrew Maynard Architects has moved. We bought a building on Brunswick Street, or more accurately the bank bought us a building and are allowing us to doss there as long as we behave. Make sure you note our new contact details. We don’t want to lose you in the move. You can download AMA’s vCard here.

This was the best part:

I am loving twitter. Its far more fun and useful that I thought it would be. If you are keen to keep track of AMA’s shenanigans then jump online and follow Andrew Maynard Architects here.

And this, which I’ve posted about before—and which I got into gb&d.

Following the terrible floods in Pakistan we proposed an emergency housing solution for flood effected called the Airdrop house. Check it out here.

I hope you have enjoyed our newsletter. We enjoy sharing our world with you. We are always looking for interesting new projects. Feel free to make contact, and please spread the word, why not spread the love and forward this newsletter onto your friends?

Peace out.

Finally: the image up top is from Andrew Maynard’s Protest Structures, a design solution to the deforestation of the Styx Forest in Tasmania.

People textures: niche industry of human fictions

In Excerpts on February 21, 2011 at 8:08 am

Last Saturday, my friend Dan asked if I’d seen the New York Times story in which columnist Rob Walker talks to Geoff Manaugh about “people textures,” the small, always pleasant, neatly fictional people inserted into architectural renderings. I had, but his bringing it up prompted another read.

Here are some of the best bits:

In the past…people were often completely absent from architectural representation, so letting figures into the frame humanized and presented buildings in a social context. “The funny thing is how it has become its own subgenre,” [Manaugh] continued. “You can take the most random rendering and just stick in a few people—someone listening to an iPod, somebody reading a newspaper, maybe a couple holding hands, some guy playing an acoustic guitar. Suddenly it’s meant to make the entire building beyond critique; it’s already part of our city.”

In a sense, then, people textures became a form of rhetoric, whether they seem drawn to the buildings they’re placed near or even if they seem oblivious to them in a way that suggests a new structure is a natural part of the streetscape. “You tend not to see people spraying graffiti or a homeless person sleeping in the alley,” Manaugh observed. “Or rats.” [But] every so often, student projects will play with the form—Manaugh recalls examples involving people textures in gas masks or having sex or urinating on the street.

The observation about rats is interesting, only because it’s one more item in a growing cultural catalog that will be published here soon. In the meantime, are you in need of a job? Are you a visual artist or graphic designer? There might be a future career for you in people textures:

There is a small people-texture industry. Realworld Imagery sells CDs containing, for instance, 104 “Business People,” for insertion into renderings, for about $150 a disc. A site in Britain, Falling Pixel, offers, among others, “120 Casual People” (which sounds like a passable indie movie) for about $70.

This last image is a photo of an exhibit by BIG. Their people textures? Legos.


Second photo.