Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MetroFarm DJ Decks


From Berlin Germany, Metrofarm Studio has produced a number

of stunning, custom built DJ Desks. Having released a concrete DJ

table a couple of years back, the new desks, in folded stainless steel

and wood painted black and neon orange demand attention. But they're

not just for finely tuned vinyl slingers looking for the perfect ergonomic

ratios to heighten their musical flow. They're for anybody with a musical

mind and an eye for detail, looking to add spark to a lounge room, club

or gallery. It's art for the DJ's sake.

Classroom Of The Future


To many of us it seems like advancements in technology are moving

at an extremely accelerated pace, but to those who are following in

our footsteps, the rate of change could not be fast enough. For some

school children in Camden outside of London, Gollifer Langston’s

prototype transportable Classrooms of the Future will deliver information

and communication technology (ICT) on a flatbed truck in the form

of an oblong gray pod capable of providing a sufficient ICT facility

that many schools are unable to install within their own environments.

The mobile classroom will move from school to school, and is designed

to hold 15 students at a time. Once the pod is delivered, a set of

hydraulics expands the unit wider, and creates an entrance as

well as a stage and a small-cinema-sized screen for presentations

and performances. The work space will provide mainly high school

students a place to explore music and filmmaking. The Classroom

of the Future will have capabilities of adapting for additional needs

as technology races beyond what even the next generation can predict.


Erika-Mann Elementary School II - Berlin


Now, there is no reason why a kid wouldn't go to school in Berlin. The Erika-Mann Grundshule II school has everything children need to open their creativity in a young age. I wouldnt be surprised to discover that the designer was working with kids.


Designed by Baupiloten studio, a group of architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin led by architect Susanne Hoffmann who founded the studio in 2003.


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.


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.



Mehdi Zerouali

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton Party (NYC)


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.

Letter Box House, Melbourne


At first, this house might looks like a wood boat coming out from a making of a war movie. From the street the house’s irregular form reveals nothing of what unfolds once within the property.


At a closer look, the façade consists solely of a mailbox. According to the design team at McBride Charles Ryan the openness of a holiday house in a beach community renders the front door arbitrary.


The house is certainly not an obstruction built within the community. Instead, it’s modest irregularity opens up into an impressive four-bedroom beach verandah. Bold blacks and whites sit on top of the stained hardwood floors, which run the length of the house.


A dramatic red support structure, the most striking interior feature, draws the divide between inside and out.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Turkey..Not the meat...

Nobody ever heard anything related the design about Turkey, other than their mosques. Yep, it is so. In honor of this slightly bizarre thought, today I’m going to take you on a photo tour of deluxe hotels in (wait for it)… Turkey! Yum.

While it is true that I have put a moratorium on holiday travel, I think it will be just fine to take a virtual vacation to any of these fine resorts. Race you to the pool!

The Adam & Eve Hotel, in Belek, Turkey

Looking for a little more Turkey in your Turkey? Try the Marmara Bodrum Hotel in, where else? Marmara

Well, If you’re going to fly all the way to Turkey, for crying out loud, you outta at least spend one night in Istanbul. I suggest you stay at the Witt Suites:

And finally, if you totally want your face rocked off, stay at the Hillside Su Hotel in Antalya:

Turkey :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Berlin-Paris Gallery Swap

If you're feeling shorter of pocket than usual this month, but still fancy a cultural jaunt to raise the spirits, head to either Berlin or Paris, where due to a large-scale gallery swap you get the chance to get a two-for-one experience of both cities' finest contemporary artists

The Berlin-Paris program is a traditional swap shop affair: 12 Parisian galleries have been twinned with a Berlin counterpart and are showing their work in the German capital until 18th January. Led by the French embassy in Germany, the exchange has a cultural precedent in the Centre Pompidou’s 1978 exhibition, ‘Paris-Berlin’, which explored the art scenes of France and Germany in the first half of the 20th Century. Aside from giving us an opportunity to take in a double whammy of contemporary art, the scheme’s idea is to provide the galleries with expanded viewing and networking potentials in anticipation of a more restricted climate in the coming years.

- From www.wallpaper.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Interactive Sharpie e-cast Billboard


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 colors, 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.

Pedro Gadanho Home


Bold use of color has never frightened the 40-year-old, Lisbon-based architect Pedro Gadanho. The color extravagance of the recently completed single-family residence in Oporto, Portugal, follows Gadanho’s established modus operandi of using white and bright colors 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.


Color 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.


Images/Fernando Guera

Reebok 09


Pop culture's fervent embrace of the 80s aesthetic - from fashion to music - is not about to abate anytime soon. Which is why now is the perfect time for iconic 80s brands to wipe away the cobwebs (and any chips on their shoulders about being "has-beens") and re-invent themselves to a whole new generation (Y, that is) that did not have the pleasure of consuming them the first time around.

Iconic 80s sports shoe giant Reebok has heard the revival call and is responding beautifully with a mix of classic retro-ism and futurism. Everything about the brand is undergoing a renaissance, from the product right through to the marketing, such as their recent pop-up store in New York which was a feast for the illustrative senses. Good work, we say. Will the brand rise to the dizzy heights of its former glory when a pair of Reeboks was the only shoe any man, woman or child from Dusseldorf to Detroit wanted? Maybe not but we're predicting that the hipsters will give them an excellent run (pardon the pun) this time around. -


Wellness Sky


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 center. 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 elevator 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. -

Benjamin Hubert - 100% Futures

Benjamin Hubert sent over his new product lines, set to debut at 100% Futures in London in a few weeks. My favorite is his Labware lamp series which are inspired by laboratory beakers, and showcase the purity of glass blowing through the range of large, geometric glass lamps. Furthering the laboratory idea, each lamp comes with a Portuguese bark topped cork.

The Diamond Chair seems inspired by the Eames' fiberglass shell chairs, but has the surprising detail of an upholstered fabric seat.

Benjamin used thin walled concrete to make his Heavy Lights. I like the playful practicality of the ceramic Yumbrella bowl and banana tree.

Joost Greenhouse, Melbourne




The Greenhouse, by Joost and others, is an opportunistic temporary insertion into a gap in Federation Square, Melbourne.

It’s built entirely from recycled and recyclable materials. The exterior is dis-assembled shipping containers and packing crates, filled with straw bale and covered with plants. When I was there, the walls were embedded with strawberry plants and potatoes were planted on top (and used in the potato salad served below), amongst other things.




The contents within comprise a carefully curated set of local and international sustainable products. For example, the toilets, with products by Aesop, let you wash your hands in the water that is then used to re-fill the cistern below. No need for a separate washbasin, and saves a fair amount of water. Very simple, very smart.


Galloway Design Collective have re-worked shipping crates into roughly-hewn but very pleasing chairs, which are also reusable as tables, stools, benches - a little like alt="Greenhouse_crate_chairs" src="http://www.cityofsound.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/11/greenhouse_crate_chairs.jpg" border="0" />


Metal chairs are recasts of old street signs, with seat covers made of recycled advertising and signage, creating accidental détournement as per Freitag bags. Great food (locally-sourced of course) is served up on a wooden board, salad in a tin, apple juice in a bottle. Pre-lunch, it was a touch too early for a cocktail but they looked good too. Music was played off vinyl, behind the counter (sounds are recycled from the late-1960s, though.)





It’s these details that make the Greenhouse successful: the original concept is fantastic, but the realisation is consistently strong throughout.




The form of the building is difficult to discern, and essentially consists of a wedge filling the gap made available by two shards of Fed Square. But you get a good juxtaposition of the greenery against the metal walls hugging it, in turn propped against the chaotic background of Flinders Street. The barn-like main interior space is bathed in light at one end, facing the street; up top, it'd be baking on a hot day but wonderful from dusk onwards. It's clear that Fed Square works superbly as a platform for these kind of interventions.





Visiting on a sunny morning in early November, there were only a few people kicking around, but by lunchtime it was pleasingly busy, with a great mix of people ensured by Federation Square (a space that really works for Melbourne now). The City’s Rob Adams also deserves credit for fast-tracking it through the approvals processes.




Particularly interesting to me - as a keen if limited urban gardener - is the building as platform and showcase for urban agriculture. A little more could be done to explain the system at work here - which plants make it into the food; how the waste is turned into compost etc. - and the opportunity for increasingly greening all urban spaces with productive planting. I'm trying to move a few projects forward in this area during 2009 ...


A simple newspaper-format publication explains in more detail, as does the website - which is a little bereft of many images. With that in mind, all my photos of the Greenhouse are collected in a set at Flickr.



The Greenhouse is installed at Federation Square until end-January 2009.

Incidentally, also to be seen at Fed Square this summer are these fantastic Dali-esque melted skateboards.