Sunday, 25 October 2009


Take something simple, basic, something we take for granted and design a new form. Something even simpler, neater, more efficient. That is the art, chemistry, engineering, science of design.

Shoes. Bland. Stale. Dead design. Then this...

Architect Julian Hakes has stripped the shoe down to its basics. A carbon fibre shell with a rubber sole and leather inner.

The inspiration came from seeing his footprint in sand and noticing that there is no weight on the bridge of the foot.

There may be some torsion and balance issues to be resolved and you won't want to go hiking in them, but we think they are stunning.


Saturday, 24 October 2009

Meet Familjen

Aaah! How we miss the family get togethers every mid-summer. This makes us long for those midnight-sun summer evenings, deep in the forest with freshly caught pike, locally distilled schnapps and a song in our hearts.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Tee's Up!

The fashion icon adored by all at sometime. Baggy teenagers, smart fitted 30 somethings, anarchic punks, catwalk glamourpusses all indulge with a passion for their favourite t-shirt. So simple. So expressive. Sexy. Shabby. Torn. Worn.

There is now a book portraying the state of this ubiquitous accessory at the present. The Art of the T-Shirt by Maki is a 336 page wedge displaying 700 images from 82 current designers. Graphic, rude, obvious, anti-establishment, comic, fatuous, pretentious; are all still the fashion!

We do like a good t-shirt, easy, no-fuss and low maintenance. My Dead Kennedy's t-shirt didn't get washed once during my teens!
The actual t-shirt was abandoned to a girl from Malmo. If you see this, can I have it back please?

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pretty Neat

Is it a stool or a table?  In this case both, a Stable, and a magazine rack. We bumped into John Green at 100% Design and love the way his designs can be used in several ways.

His graduation portfolio has some really neat designs including the Embrace benches/storage rack and the Rockstool. He mainly works in plywood and we can't wait to see the new designs he is working on.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Norwegian Ladies

Norway has always had a strong tradition of crafts and workmanship but has been overshadowed in design by its Scandinavian neighbours. In a bid to save these oldtime skills, the country has spawned a new generation of artisans who are producing some exquisite products in small batches. Here are a few of our favourite ladies.

Glassware is an old Norwegian industry that has faded away, but with these hypnotically beautiful pieces from Anne Haavind  taking inspiration from the Norwegian landscape, we think the industry may be on the rebound.
Kjersti Johannessen has a similar glacial touch to her striking glass pieces.

Ceramics is also coming on strong with blazing white porcelain absolute minimal products from Sara Skotte.
And quaint traditional Elfin designs from Wik & Walsoe.

Combining traditional wooden veneer production with skilled local craftsmen and delightful designs are Cathrine Kullberg's lighting lampshades. From small tablelamps to Grand Hall installations Cathrine's work has found its way into becoming a statement of new-traditional Norwegian design.

We look forward to bringing some more Norwegian designers onto the blog in the future. In the meantime with all these talented ladies, "Go North Youngman..."


Somebody snapped us having a relaxing breakfast in Portland Oregon.

Or was it us? Maybe you know better...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I am not a number. I'm a Barcode...

It is 60yrs since the first patent was filed on what we now call the Barcode. Invented by Bob Silver and Norman Woodland in Philadelphia in the late 40s. It was designed to reduce cashier errors at supermarket checkouts. Initially they used ultraviolet inks but this was too expensive. Woodland had the inspiration for the vertical bars whilst doodling Morse code in the sand. He simply extended the dots and dashes downward.

However, it was not until the 60s that computers and lasers were available to use the technology. By this time they had sold the patent for a small amount in 1952 and Silver had died in a  car crash. A universal system was developed by IBM in 1973 and the first product, a packet of Wrigley's Gum, was scanned in June 1974 in Ohio.

Now the code is everywhere, used by artists, designers and architects as decoration, metaphor for vulgarity and stamp of consumerism. However, its days may be numbered with the advent of pixellated ideograms that can be scanned by mobile devices.

The Barcode a simple, effective piece of design.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

25 year old LOVE

"She Sells Sanctuary" is approaching its 25th anniversary. Voted the 8th best Indie track ever by VH1, we have been boogying our butts off to this around the world for years. This summer The Cult have been touring the 1984 "LOVE" album and it is great to see Astbury and Duffy back on the stage. On Saturday we went to witness them play the Royal Albert Hall! We had a box and several bottles of champagne (£47/bottle ouch!). And we boogied our butts off again. They played LOVE straight through except for "The Phoenix"starting with "Nirvana" and Astbury ordering us to "Wake Up!". Not a bad request for an audience who were over 40 or under 15!

After doing justice to LOVE, they took a break with Astbury telling us to "Stick Around!". We did! The boys came back and unleashed a hit from all their subsequent albums. A sheer headbanging romp through "SunKing", "FireWoman", "WildFlower", "Electric Ocean", "Love Removal Machine", amongst others. Astbury had the Hall clapping in unison and then asked if we wanted some Bon Jovi or Coldplay with some arm waving. He was taking the piss and claimed to actually like Chris Martin!
They went off again with Astbury asking if we believed in magic. Duffy returned and announced he would now play with the original guitar that LOVE was recorded with and had been kept in a cabinet ever since. Astbury then introduced the original 1984 bandmembers; Jamie Stewart and Mark Brzezicki. They played an encore of "The Phoenix" and "She Sells Sanctuary".

It was a blistering night from a band who sent members to Big Country, Velvet Revolver, Guns & Roses, The Mission. They play their last date at The Shepherd's Bush Empire on Sunday 18th October. It may be your last chance to catch some LOVE. Get on down there and dance your ass off!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Design by Stealth

Inspiration for design comes from all around us. It is our environment, our life, that feeds our imagination and allows us to derive and resuscitate ideas. Original thought will always find a seed of inspiration somewhere. Look what the secret Stealth program of the 1980s has influenced. The Stealth aircraft first flew in 1979 but was not made public until a decade later.

The angles and flat-faceted body can clearly be seen in Armenian designer Norayr Khachatryan's N-7 table for casamania in Italy. Made from a single sheet of cast aluminium, the design is stark, minimalist and available in black, white, aluminium and red.

Although hardly a snip at £5200 plus change you may want to consider it as an investment. The 1986 Lockheed Chaise Long by Marc Newson was orinally available for a few thousand pounds. One sold this year in the present financial climate for £1 million.

More directly, photographer Nina Burman, has published a book for Trolley Books examining how American ideologies have been reshaped post 9/11 and the influence of a homeland security state. The book is called "Homeland".

A recent addition to the realm of "stealth" design influenced products is the Benjamin Riot Lockheed Chair. Angular, aggressive and uncomfortable underneath but with a smooth place to park your bottom. The design also borrows from Ray and Charles Eames' DSW chair.

More abstractly, Jonathon Barnbrook and Marcus Leis Allion have developed the "Hopeless Diamond" font based on the carved nature of the stealth aircraft. Available from Virus Font, the font comes in 4 styles with 3 varieties of each; Regular, Alternate and Italic. The name comes from the pet-name for the initial stealth prototypes which were very unstable to fly.

So go out there and find your inspiration. there is nothing wrong with borrowing. Think of it as evolution!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Say Cheese!

We love "taking pictures" wherever we go. We even get asked now and again to "snap" the family or friends for albums or special occasions. But we want to create images as strong and full of texture as Todd Antony. His portraits are alive. They speak to you...

So maybe we'll just stick to landscapes, but he does those as well...

 And cityscapes...

At least he doesn't make deep, revealing, atmospheric images of mundain things like a pile of containers...

Oh...Where's my coat?

Por Ti Volare

What Blossom failed to regale, is that this is the effect my singing has on those around me... That's the way I see it anyway. And furthermore dancing is an expression of self, not a statement of being cool. Now where's my axe?

Singalong with Seger!

Bill has been driving me crazy all day singing this old rock tune. Although after he told me it was about a young man driven crazy by the beauty of a young girl, I ended up singing along with him all night. It's amazing what a few glasses of Bardolino can do! He dances like Bill as well! Why don't men wear white satin suits anymore? Here we go...

"She stood there bright as the sun on that Californian coast...."

When in Rome...

We have been nurturing our love affair with Rome this weekend. It is a great time to visit. The temperature is a comfortable high twenties, the locals are still on holiday and the summer tourists are backing off.

And what else is there to do on a Sunday in Rome but enjoy a magnificent Gelato! Here are our favourite Gelato parlours downtown...

Il Gelato Di San Crispino on Piazza Della Maddalena is around the corner from Via Dell Orso where local crafts people make and sell their wares on a sunday only. Indulge in a giant gelato, take a stroll and buy something that has just been made.

The most popular parlour is Della Parma, Gelato di Roma. Always packed and with the added bonus of being able to lick the face of the Pope!

Moving west towards the banks of the Tiber hidden down Via di Monto Brianzo is 71degrees. We love this not only for the great icecream but because it is next door to a fantastic design boutique, Fortinna.

If you need a place to chill with your icecream and fancy some posh cakes as well, then go to La Meridiana on the corner of Piazza des Lorenzo in Lucina. A bright big piazza, ideal for watching the Roma catwalk pass on by. The head around the corner to the north to find Borsalino to pick up that Fidora you have always wanted. The best headware in Rome - Italy - the World!