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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Signatures by Sweetgrass Productions

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

This weekend I sat down with a good friend to watch Signatures by Sweetgrass Productions which has just been released this week. The film features a beautiful series of tantalizing visuals of skiing and snowboarding in remote regions of Japan that just left me in awe of Japan’s natural beauty. While viewing this cinematic original I discovered noboarding and snow surfing which are two sports that were previously unknown to me. What got me excited about both of these sports was just how much they likened themselves to surfing and took the experience of snow sports back to its more rustic roots by freeing the artist (the snowboarder) to be more in harmony with the medium (the snow) by doing away with the bindings that normally keep the experience constrained. Also, by shaping the board to carve the way a surfboard does the athlete is then left to rely supremely on balance and positioning which, inevitably bring him closer to Mother Nature.

Any surfer recognizes the value in a well carved board and although beginners may start on boards that are designed at factories most surfers worth their salt turn to hand crafted boards as they recognize the value in having a board perfectly customized for their height, weight and style. From a design perspective I’ve become completely ecstatic whenever I see a move in any industry away from mass produced design and towards a more handcrafted approach. Watching the artisans at work in this movie as they perfect the lines of their boards is as evocative as watching the snowboarders they equip aesthetically carve powder on the wintery slopes of Japan.


Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Thom Yorke, “Harrowdown Hill” from Bent Image Lab.

Dubbed Smallgantics, the technique in the video above takes footage of large objects (rivers, factories, city skylines) and makes them appear as though they are actually miniatures. In “Harrowdown Hill,” the videographer used aerial footage from the pacific north west to be miniaturized using Smallgantics.

The process involves splitting the footage up into several vertical planes that move back over the perceived z-axis, or into the image along its perceived depth. These planes are then affected with varying degrees of blur to simulate a shallow depth of field. If done right, the amount of blur increases smoothly as it moves along the planes of the image. Next, these levels of blur are animated to simulate a change in focus or to compensate for the forward movement of the camera.

Designing Obama — The Book

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Designing Obama the Book

Today I saw that Scott Thomas (@simplescott) design director for the Obama Campaign is now looking to publish a book titled Designing Obama. The book is a chronicle of the art from the campaign and provides a unique perspective on how design was used by the campaign and how it was supported by Americans everywhere in a grassroots fashion.

The 360-page book is full-color and hardbound, highly crafted with a stylish embossed sleeve. Having seen Scott Thomas present at An Event Apart in Seattle this year I simply can’t wait for the book to come out. Pre-order yours now as they have to raise $64,000 by mid-November or the book will not be published. We just ordered our copy!

2nd largest aquarium

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Kuroshio Sea – 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world. From Jon Rawlinson.

Sit back, full screen and enjoy the view. I wish I had something like this in our office. Of course we would have to buy a small neighborhood to house it all but hey, why not.

Posters for Men

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Posters for Men

I love the classic style of these humorous and playful vertically designed posters by Omar Tehawkho outlining the keys to being a man. His works include Skills A Man Should Possess, 5 Step Plan For Making Your First Billion, 3+2 Things A Man Oughta Do in His Lifetime, Top 5 Male Occupations, and The 5 Key Steps of a Proper Shave.

Advanced Beauty

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Advanced Beauty 7 of 18 / Directed by Jelle Feringa from Universal Everything.

Advanced Beauty is “an ongoing exploration of digital artworks born and influenced by sound, an ever-growing collaboration between programmers, artists, musicians, animators and architects” that was developed by the bright minds of Universal Everything.

Yvon Chouinard on sustainability

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Fast Company recently interviewed Yvon Chouinard (one of my business heroes) on his thoughts on sustainability. His drive and determination is unstoppable. A true inspiration to the environmentally minded business man.

Yvon Chouinard fishing in Terra del Fugo
A passion for outdoor activities, fishing in Tierra del Fuego | Photograph by Doug Tompkins

“I’m kind of like a samurai,” says Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor-apparel maker Patagonia. “They say if you want to be a samurai, you can’t be afraid of dying, and as soon as you flinch, you get your head cut off. I’m not afraid of losing this business.”

He may actually mean that. Ever since Chouinard began forging mountain-climbing pitons in 1957 and selling them out of his car, he has defined his business’s bottom line as something other than pure profit.

Photographs of Mass Consumption

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Beautiful, industrial, unsustainable, dramatic. Photographer Chris Jordan describes the photos in his series “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption” as his “first foray into being an engaged artist.”

Photographs of Mass Consumption
The idea [behind this series] was to capture the scale of [our] mass consumption. It was the first time I stood in front of piles of the detritus of our mass consumption.
~ Cell phones #2, Atlanta, 2005

Cell phone chargers
Initially, I thought I was seeing the scale [but] in the end, I realized this was the tiny tip of the iceberg.
~ Cell phone chargers, Atlanta, 2004

If today were your last day…

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

An excellent article from Good Experience poses a series of thought provoking questions on the nature of work during a recession.

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs

It’s easy for Steve Jobs to make this point, but is it the same decision for a worker at GM who has 4 kids and a mortgage? Tough times mean tougher decisions. The real issue for most people I believe is overcoming the fear of starting something new or pushing beyond what is comfortable. When you start expanding your horizons you begin to discover the things that you love. It is then only a matter of pursuing those things to the utmost, even if it simply starts in your spare time.

Havaianas, Gold

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Havaianas, Gold sandals
Nothing reminds me more of the Caribbean or of South America than this ad for Havaianas sandals. The photo contains in my opinion the perfect colour combination for creating a kitchen that makes you smile every morning at breakfast. Of course it might not make you smile if you are not a morning person.

“By reflecting Brazil’s easygoing personality, its soul and culture, we’re building a unique identity. Transforming a simple rubber sandal into the first truly Brazilian global brand.” ~ AlmapBBDO