How to make the Faceture vase by Phil Cuttance

I spotted these vases some time back at Mint in South Kensington. The Faceture vase series by Phil Cuttance is produced individually by casting a water-based resin into a handmade mould. The mould is then manually manipulated to create the each object’s form before each casting, making every piece utterly unique.

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Thankfully, Phil produced a short film to show how the vases are made otherwise I may have some terrible description of how it is done. Watch and enjoy…

For those of you who want the lengthy text version, here is how Phil makes the vases…

The mould of the object is hand-made by scoring and cutting a sheet of 0.5mm plastic sheet. This sheet is then folded, cut and taped into the overall shape of the product that is to be cast. The mould’s final shape, and strength, is dictated by which triangular facets are popped in and out. This is done each time he produces each vase, meaning that no two castings are the same. He then mixes a water-based casting resin that is cast in the mould where it sets solid.

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The resin is poured into the hollow mould and rolled around to coat and encase the sides, controlled by Phil on the casting jig on the machine. The material soon sets creating a hollow solid object. Then another, different coloured measure of resin is poured into the same mould, and swirled around inside, over the first. When it has set, the mould is removed to reveal the solid set cast piece. The casting appears with sharp accurate lines and a digital quality to its aesthetic, a visual ‘surprise’ considering the ‘lo-fi’, hand-made process from which it came. The mould is then cleaned and ready for re-use.

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Each vase is handmade, unique, and numbered on the base. Available in two standard sizes: tall (47x12cm approx.) and small (37x8cm approx.). Images by Petr Krejci & Phil Cuttance.

Herman Miller: 108 Years in 108 Seconds

To celebrate the launch of their digital platform exploring the stories behind what they do at Herman Miller, the 108 year-old company asked animators Part of a Bigger Plan to answer the big question…Why has Herman Miller thrived for 108 years?

The result was a delicious animation, 108 seconds long, beginning telling the story of how it all began in 1905 when the Star Furniture company opened near Lake Michigan. Their first president renamed the business after his father-in-law Herman Miller in 1923.

After entering the modern-age of the 1930s the company took a new direction which set it on a course to create some of the iconic pieces of the twentieth century.

I love discovering these kind of animations which tell a company story and for Herman Miller who are well known for their corporate work, this is a great insight in to where the company originated.

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Cassannet font inspired by Cassandre posters

Very few font launches get the attention that Cassannet has done. Of course, the inspiration for the font was the posters designed by Cassandre, pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, a Ukrainian-French painter.

His creations for Dubonnet were among the first posters designed to be seen by occupants in moving vehicles and are memorable for their innovative graphic solutions and their frequent denotations to such painters as Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso.

This font, with its many glyphs to play with, include the essential ingredients to create posters with the same impact that Cassandre had… just add some style, grace and originality…

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So what better way to launch the font than to create a short film recreating one of the most famous Dubonnet posters. The brogues, the brogues, how sad to see brogues ruined… but it is in the name of art. Enjoy…

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Vitsœ: A persistent system

Regular readers might have noticed that I worked for Dieter Rams shelving makers Vitsœ for some years and have often referenced Dieter Rams in my blog posts.

Last week saw the release of a short film by Vitsœ about how the company which spans more than 50 years has today become a much loved and desired product, being something so very unsexy as a shelving system. Of course, this love rarely comes about because of the aesthetics of the product but for the geeks amongst us, those aesthetics are the sexy part.

“We’ve never sold the same system twice” says Mark Adams, managing director of Vitsœ. The product is not a packaged item, but something where the parts are configured and packaged to your individual needs before sending them off to you to arrange, and rearrange, as you need them to be.

My system is testament to this philosophy, having been through a move once and reconfigured to work within the new space… this idea means that all of my books have been accounted for, my clothes, my desk space, my cookery books and even vases will always have the same place in each home, even if the place they occupy is in a different place than the last. No longer do I need to concern myself with “is there enough storage” and I bring it with me.

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This drawing below, drawn in 1955 by Dieter Rams, shows this idea in a simple way. A system that can fulfil the needs of a space without intruding and can be configured to any other space, over and again. Many have tried to copy this idea, but very few achieve the same result.

Designer: Dieter Rams
Manufacturer: Vitsœ
Year: 1960

How to tie a bow tie by The Hill-Side

I love bow-ties. I don’t ever feel fully comfortable wearing them but I love the look of that little piece of cloth around the neck. According to Wikipedia, bow-ties tend to be associated with particular professions, such as architects, tax-collectors, attorneys, university professors, teachers, waiters and politicians. Pediatricians frequently wear bow ties since infants cannot grab them the way they could grab a four-in-hand necktie, and they do not get into places where they would be soiled or could, whether accidentally or deliberately, strangle the wearer. I don’t fit in to any of the above but thankfully the wearing of bow-ties is a little more acceptable with less professional people.

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“To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.”

Warren St John, The New York Times

For many, including me, tying a bow tie is like summiting the sartorial mountain top. To give you, and I, a refresher the Hill-Side have put together a clever clip using stop-motion. One natty chambray bow tie walks you through every step to ensure you’ll never think of the words “clip-on” again.

Richard Meier x Massimo Vignelli

Illustrious modernist Richard Meier and multi-disciplinary creator Massimo Vignelli reflect on their respective crafts, city life, and enduring friendship in this mesmeric film by Johnnie Shand Kydd. Shot at the minimalist offices of Richard Meier & Partners on 10th Avenue and West 36th Street, the two powerhouses discuss their collaboration on the firm’s forthcoming monograph, Richard Meier, Architect Volume 6, chronicling the stark, white, rationalist buildings that define the firm’s aesthetic.

The Pritzker Prize laureate’s most notable projects include the Getty Center in L.A., the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and more recently, the two glass-and-steel towers on Perry Street in New York’s West Village that Martha Stewart, Ian Schrager, Calvin Klein, and Nicole Kidman have all called home. Vignelli, too, has left a significant mark on Manhattan, having famously designed the New York subway map and signage, in addition to working on everything from packaging and furniture design to corporate identities for clients like BMW, Barney’s, Xerox and American Airlines.

“Architects need to have a certain arrogance, a sense of self-belief,” posits Shand Kydd. “A designer, however, has to be more collaborative. Consequently, Meier and Vignelli have very different natures, but like all very talented people, they both look forward and not back.” Here Meier nonetheless looks to his present city, and beyond, to reveal his select few architectural necessities.

Richard Meier x Massimo Vignelli, On the Edge of Modernism With the Master Architect and the Genius Designer at Nowness.com.

Lernert & Sander with Brioni

I posted videos by Lernert & Sander a couple of years ago so when I saw this video, commissioned by Wallpaper* magazine I was instantly hooked.

Dutch artists Lernert & Sander’s idea for this stills and video series for Wallpaper* Handmade 2012, shown in a specially-designed outdoor cinema at Brioni HQ in April 2012, arose naturally from the marriage of Brioni’s bespoke craftsmanship and Wallpaper’s Handmade theme.

‘We like to be playful and have fun, so there is an element 
of mischief about this film,’ they say. ‘What better way to showcase the abilities of Brioni’s master tailors than to set them the ultimate test of skill with a particularly exacting customer?’.

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Fiat 500 by Gucci

Originally launched in 1957, the latest iteration of the doe-eyed classic Fiat 500 has been specially customised by Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini, who enhanced the Fiat 500’s distinguishing traits and added the fashion house’s signature detailing via a signature red-green web down the side and the unmistakable “Guccissima” leather print on the seats.

Invited alongside visionaries such as Italian Vogue’s Franco Sozzani and Purple’s Olivier Zahm to dream up a film celebrating the partnership between the Italian automaker and fashion house, Director Chris Sweeney created a giant plastic model kit of the Fiat 500 by Gucci like the ones he used to make as children. “It’s an extreme, austere fashion version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Wallace and Gromit, which are very playful, silly, colorful and magic,” explains Sweeney of his film.

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26 typewriters

“Wrongful practicing of xylophone music tortures every larger dwarf” or “Falsches Üben von Xylophonmusik quält jeden größeren Zwerg” as it should be, is a sentence with the 26 letters of the alphabet – in German natch as clearly it is missing ‘bjkqz’ in English. This was the perfect way to test the functioning of every key on a typewriter. This method of communication, obsolete nowadays, is the ancestor of many major innovations.

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“26 Typewriters” was a very successful exhibition held at Envoy Enterprises gallery in New York for one night in September 2011. 50 vintage typewriters were collected, reflecting 70 decades, including classic models such as the “Groma”, built in Germany in 1944 and the “Olivetti Valentine” by Ettore Sottsass in 1969 as “antimachine machine.” Exit Content chose 26 images to produce a series of prints and published a book of 36 pages in limited edition. Can you hear my geeky heart pounding?

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To fall in love with this even more, watch this type-omatic video…

You can buy the book from colette for £34.31. If you would like to buy me one, feel absolutely free. :)

Still + Co for Sit and Read

I wrote about Sit and Read in February last year and have kept a close eye ever since. I love their latest project, working with Still + Co to create a collection of rugs, hand-dyed in Brooklyn.

Mike Strout of the burgeoning Still + Co made a series of overdyed rugs that went on display in January with a limited edition chair part of the exhibition.

If nothing else, this beautiful film with a soothing background tune makes me want to run away to the country and sell hand-knitted jumpers and backed apple pies. Now, I’m sure I had some hair dye somewhere from 1997…

Still + Co for Sit and Read

29 ways to stay creative [video]

It’s not easy to stay creative when you are doing it day in, day out. We all fall in to the same patterns and traps. There is a myth that all creative people can turn it on every morning at 10am and come up with the newt big thing every single time. Even the greatest designers have had some bad days, we only see the good things after time passes.

In fact, that would make a great post – a collection of the most famous designers biggest mistakes. Or perhaps that is a little too sinister.

So, when I saw this video it did make me smile so I thought I would share it with all of the creatives out there struggling to get their mojo back after the Christmas break…

  1. Make lists
  2. Carry a notebook everywhere
  3. Try free writing
  4. Get away from the computer

  5. Get away from the computer
  6. Quit beating yourself up
  7. Take breaks
  8. sing in the shower

  9. Sing in the shower
  10. drink coffee

  11. Drink coffee
  12. Listen to new music
  13. Be open
  14. Surround yourself with creative people
  15. Get feedback
  16. Collaborate
  17. Don’t give up
  18. Practice, practice, practice
  19. Allow yourself to make mistakes
  20. Go somewhere new
  21. Count your blessings
  22. Get lots of rest
  23. Take risks
  24. Break the rules
  25. Don’t force it
  26. Read a page of the dictionary
  27. Create a framework
  28. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect
  29. Got an idea? Write it down
  30. Clean your workspace
  31. Have fun
  32. Finish something

Halstock cabinet makers

Halstock design, manufacture and install bespoke interiors for homes. Working closely with architects and interior designers, Halstock’s designers and cabinet makers are experts in their field and are passionate about their work.

I discovered them thanks to the great blog Manufacture & Industry.

Based in Yeovil, Halstock take great care in creating every single piece for their clients making them so successful that they have grown from 3 people in a chicken-shed 20 years ago, to the size and scale that they are now. It is a wonderful British manufacturing and craft story…

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colette. Paris.

colette. For many I needn’t say anything more. They know what I am thinking and I know what they are thinking. Even the critics can’t help but recognise that this über-fashionable store in the heart of Paris is so well turned-out and so achingly cool that appreciation is always given.

Founded in 1997 by Colette Roussaux and her daughter Sarah Andelman (formally Lerfel), or simplement Sarah of colette, the concept store is the epicentre of Parisian cool and the only store of its kind in the world.

As well as cutting-edge fashion from the likes of Gareth Pugh, Comme des Garçons and Lanvin, colette (always lowercase ‘c’) houses a bookshop, a water bar serving more than 100 types of water and they regularly hosts dance classes, music shows, and art exhibitions.

Crane.tv recently spent some time in the store to discover what makes them so bleeding edge. “There will only be one colette in the world. Paris.”

Max Lamb

Traceability may be an important question when buying food, or ordering from a restaurant but with furniture we are much less concerned by this. Designer Max Lamb might not have intentionally set out to redefine this in furniture, but his short time-lapse films show the materials used and how each piece was made.

max lamb courtesy http://www.americancraftmag.org
Courtesy americancraftmag.org

As he told Dezeen in 2009 “My furniture is very personal; people only buy it if they respond emotionally, so they’re unlikely to throw it away. Lifespan and the relationship between an item and its user are more important than so-called ecological materials. It’s the culture of disposal that I think we need to address. The materials and processes I use are very durable – you can be very rough with them. And I don’t follow fashion.”

This rings nicely in my ears as I think about the objects I own and what matters to me when I buy pieces… ‘will it last?’, ‘how was it made?’ and ‘will it grow on me or against me?’. Max works to help answer these questions.

Wuthering Heights

January 1978. The talented Kate Bush releases her best-selling single in the UK of all time. It shot to No.1 in seven countries that it was released. Quite something.

My obsession with this song is partly to do with the video to accompany it, with Bush dancing in a white floaty dress with her long brown locks of hair framing her slim face. We were lucky enough in the UK to have this video shown to us over the years, but there was always a second version lurking around and with the creation of YouTube et al, we see these two videos side-by-side.

Which is your favourite? White dress or Red dress?

Put This On covers Personal Style

Men’s style bible ‘Put This On’ has helped thousands of men manage to walk out of the door with the correct attire on for the situation. Put This On… a web series about dressing like a grown up has gone video.

With a series funded by Instapaper and many, many other individuals they go behind the scenes to bring a witty series of dressing better. Roving reporter Dave Hill asked posed some fairly tough questions to this secret society that meets every year on 11/11… the most corduroy-based date.

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Episode seven takes us into the world of the the Corduroy Appreciation Club on the day of their annual meeting. Two pieces of corduroy are mandatory, and they’ll give you the stink eye if you wear velvet.

“Wouldn’t you say that corduroy is pretty much velvet’s bitch?”

How to make a Fritz Hansen’s Series 7 chair

I have posted about chairs many times over but it is the defining moment for most designers… to try their hand to such a challenging object. It is not as simple as a vase which needs to perform but stay in shape, or a lamp which has to look beautiful both on and off; a chair on the other hand has to perform as an object and be comfortable to sit in, often for long periods of time… and then last for years.

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It is no wonder that few chairs make it into the history books but Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 has done so it is no wonder that Fritz Hansen took time to capture it’s beauty in film…

Found via huffingtonpost.com and core77.com

Constructing Eames

I heart handmade. There, I said it. Well, not a big surprise really after appearing on the Etsy blog a few months back. So, on my usual browse of the Etsy blog for their delicious imagery and well-researched stories I stumbled across a story on ‘Assembling the Eames Lounge Chair‘.

I am a bit of a design-snob and often disregard the Eames lounge chair as overexposed. It has almost made a mockery of itself. But watching this video made me remember everything I thought when I first saw one and sat in it. The quality is perfect and rivals most of its competition, standing the true test of good design…time!

Eames Lounge chair

Do watch this video for some exquisite close-ups of an Eames lounge chair being assembled by Vitra…

Matias Aguayo

Chilean DJ Matias Aguayo caught my eye this week with his music video for ‘Ritmo Juarez’, so I wanted to share a couple of great tracks from him and some really nice visuals…

Born in 1973, Matias is one of the few artist that can nowadays claim true originality in the music he creates, with a unique vision that since its first inception has been challenging the common expectations on electronic music performers and composers.

Matias Aguayo
Photography by Donald Christie

With thanks to The Fox Is Black for this intro.

More information on Matias can be found at kompakt.fm

Kate Spade’s year of color

I have to admit that I never thought I would ever find a way to blog about Kate Spade… I am not a typical customer, but this morning I followed a few links and discovered a film for Kate Spade’s Year of Color and was instantly hooked on the idea.

Ms Spade has chosen a different colour for each month of 2011 to celebrate… they change the accent colours on the website to match which is a cute addition and have a page dedicated to the colour. First up was Red, then Pink and now Yellow. With products to match each month this is a great idea from end-to-end!

Watch the videos below…

Ban play projects

January… ‘Red!’

February… ‘Pink!’

March… ‘Yellow!’

View all of the videos at youtube.com/user/katespadenewyork