Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fiat Cafe

The Fiat Cafe in Nolita, in downtown New York City, is a tiny Italian-style restaurant with the classic Fiat car as its interior and graphic design theme. Below are pix of its menu cover and interior. The food is here is pretty f*cking good, too.

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The Red and the Yellow

Caught this bright yellow NYC taxi driving by this bright red graffiti’d truck next to the Apple Store in the Meatpacking District of New York City and the juxtaposition of colors and the street aesthetic struck us as kind of cool.

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Saturdays Surf NYC

The wonderful display window at Saturdays Surf NYC, the Crosby Street surf shop and cafe in SoHo in downtown New York City. Beyond the couple in the foreground, there’s an awesome selection of long boards and short boards. We love this place. LOVE it.

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Tico Boat

We found this small overturned fishing skiff (dubbed “Caguama”) on the main beach at Playa Tamarindo in Costa Rica, where Global Graphica was recently on a surfing expedition. We like the the simple, striking design with the colors of the Costa Rican flag painted near the front.

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Gussa

There’s little street art or even graffiti in Costa Rica’s beach towns, but here’s an uplifting graff by “Gussa” we found in Tamarindo, the popular Pacific coast surfing town.

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Surfing Stickers

Not sticker art per se, but lots of stickers of mostly surfing and surfing-related brands on the wall at the Los Amigo sports bar and Mexican restaurant in the surf town of Jaco in Costa Rica.

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Real Madrid v Barcelona Adidas Commercial

If you’re a huge European soccer (“football”) fan, like we are here at Global Graphica, then this month witnesses a rare series of matches between arguably two of the world’s best football clubs, both from Spain: Real Madrid CF and Barcelona FC.

Due to their successes this season in three simultaneous club league and tournament competitions, the two clubs are facing each other four times this month. One final regular season match in LA Liga, the Spanish League, plus a meeting as the finalists in Spain’s Copa del Rey tournament (a.k.a., the Spanish Cup), and two meetings, one home and one away, against each other in the European Champions League. The last is the biggest prize of all.

Ahead of the Copa del Rey final today in Valencia, Spain, Adidas has produced a commercial capitalizing on the intense rivalry between the two clubs.

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Tipping

Droll, punnish surfer-tourist-town bar humor in Tamarindo, Costa Rica: “TIPPING is NOT a city in China.” Sigh.

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POPS

The candy-color POPS sign in front of its heladeria at a road stop in rural Costa Rica. POPS is a chain of fast-food ice cream restaurants in Central America.

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Architecture: San Jose Brutalism

The capital city of Costa Rica doesn’t have much of a high-rise skyline to speak of. But one unmissable architectural landmark on San Jose’s urban landscape is a massive brutalist skyscraper that’s home to the Instituto Nacional de Seguros.

Depending on your point of view, the building is either an ugly eyesore, an oddly ambitious and out of place gesture of modernist architecture, or it’s an architectural gem, a shining, living example of brutalism.

In any case, the structure is one of the largest in  San Jose and it’s architecturally significant. The brutalist style was an influential architectural  movement that came of age in the 1950s and was in vogue for a time in the  ’60s and ’70s, a time when many large cities in Latin America were experiencing a building boom. (See more examples of San Jose architecture here and here.)

(See another example of brutalist architecture on Global Graphica.)

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Artist Ai Weiwei Detained

Ai Weiwei is one of China’s leading artists. He’s perhaps the nation’s best-known artist internationally. The Beijing National Stadium, the centerpiece venue of the 2008 Olympics Games and dubbed the “Bird’s Nest,”  was designed by Weiwei and built by architects Herzog and de Meuron.

Weiwei has been a politically controversial figure within China for years, but has recently run further afoul of the Chinese government to the point where, as the New York Times reports, he has been detained for “economic crimes.”

Below is an image of a 2009 installation artwork by Weiwei in at the influential “According to What?” exhibition in Beijing.

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Central American Vintage Modern

San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, like many a Latin American capital in the 1950s and ’60s, went through a building boom.

The city is dotted with many low-rise buildings and a few skyscrapers that are testament to some of the prevalent contemporary and forward-looking styles of the era.

Some of these structures have not aged well. Others have a certain vintage-modern, diamond-in-the-rough quality.

Of the better ones, you can see the timeless quality of the architectural design and imagine them being restored someday. Below is a building on a side street off of Avenida Central in downtown San Jose.

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