There must be a word in the English language for when a thing is designed to look like another object with which it’s associated in some practical way, but we can’t find a suitable word. Take for example, this bicycle rack in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles. The rack is shaped like a set of bicycles. It’s a nice touch that makes an otherwise mundane, utilitarian piece of street furniture into an amusing part of the urban landscape. The bicycle shape of the rack communicates its purpose, making the rack easier to visually identify at a distance and thus the search for it that much easier. As for a suitable word, we suggest creating a new, more applicable word. Our suggestion: “resembladinger.” It’s a portmanteau we mashed up from the the words “resemble” and the old Germanic word “ding,” which means thing. We added an “-er” suffix for effect and to suggest it having a practical, tool-like quality. Any other suggestions? Let us know.
We’re not “into cars” nor have we aspired to possess a stylish sports car. That said, we love great design and if somebody wanted to give us a Porsche 912 like the one pictured here, we wouldn’t say “No.” In fact, we would lovingly care for it and fully appreciate its beautiful form. A variant of the iconic 911 — a vehicle dubbed the “car of the century” back in the ’90s — the 912 was manufactured from 1965 to 1969 and originally outsold the 911. From appearances and body, the 912 and 911 would appear to be the same vehicle. But subtle differences exist under the hood that translate into the car performing differently and selling at different basic prices. We don’t know much about cars, but from what we’ve been told by our friends who do is that one fundamental difference between the two models was that the 912 had a 4-cyclinder engine compared to the 6-cyclinder of the 911. What strikes us most though are the aesthetics of the car’s design, a compact, elegant and curvy, if mildly sexy shape that seems to be unburdened by any superfluous volume or form. The one pictured here is in mint condition. We spied it parked overnight in a lot adjacent to some light-industry warehouses in Los Angeles. The next day it was at the same spot and we took a moment to photograph it in the afternoon light.
At the recently re-opened, renovated and expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), there’s currently a first-rate design exhibition that offers examples of important, game-changing innovation, including the first Apple Macintosh computer from 1984. This one appears to be in mint condition.
The galleries of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York are not someplace you’d expect to find a an actual helicopter on display, but the Shiebel S-100 “Camcopter,” a large unmanned drone the size of a sub-compact car, is fact currently on view at MoMA as part of its exhibition titled “Design and Violence.” The design exhibition looks at the design objects that have, on appearance, an ambiguous relationship with violence as seen in warfare and various private and state security operations around the world. The curved, aero-dynamic design of the chopper and its clean look and minimalist, robotic aesthetic are at once beautiful and ominous.
We stopped by the recently minted New York City outpost of Intelligentsia Coffee in Chelsea, an NYC neighborhood that is home to the city’s largest art galleries and, as such, a global art-world hub. The new Intellgentsia is actually two distinct cafes: a smart, beautifully designed cafe in the lobby of the High Line Hotel, and a mobile espresso bar set up in a vintage Citroen truck parked in the garden courtyard in front of the hotel.The coffee is great, and the drinks menu includes the “Angeleno,” a agave-sweetened iced coffee based on a recipe created in Los Angeles as an alternative to the ubiquitous Starbucks frappuccinos. Perfect for summer. If you’re not an espresso freak, a visit is worth it if only to appreciate the decor and relax in the wonderfully-designed space.
We just picked up this artfully crafted “La Cupola” espresso maker by Alessi at the Eataly foodie emporium in Smeraldo, in Milan, Italy. We couldn’t resist, what with coffee being something close to sacred to us here at GG, and the design of this device making it an object of beauty. As soon as we post this, we’re going to brew up a double espresso on ice! Ciao.
We recently visited the South Beach, Miami studios of artist-designer Laz Ojalde and took pictures of the space and his work, which includes these lights and objet. Ojalde runs a separate design studio called LMNOQ and has developed an aesthetic around sustainable, minimalist furniture design and art pieces. Super dope stuff.
The RR226 by Italian electronics maker Brionvega is a modern-design classic from 1965 that can be found in the permanent collections of some of the world’s leading museums. This one pictured below is in pristine condition and part of the design trove at the Pompidou Centre museum in Paris.
Over drinks with friends on a recent hot, humid evening in New York’s Lower East Side, the conversation turned to the subject of design, specifically Ikea and some of the Swedish company’s flatware products. Our friend S. drew this literal napkin sketch of what the Ikea fork and knife looks like. The original article, we think, looks something this set on the Ikea website. 🙂
This is one of the more interesting things we’ve seen in a museum lately. It’s the notebook of the man who originally conceived the iconic Volkswagen van, which eventually became the basis for the more popularly known VW bus. The notebook contains his initial sketches of the vehicle, and it’s on view in the design section of Amsterdam’s spectacularly renovated — and recently re-opened — Rijksmuseum. Though Volkswagen is a German company, the concept for the VW van was created by a Dutch race car driver named Ben Pon, who in addition to being an Olympic athlete and vintner was also an importer of VWs after World War II. Pon wanted a smaller, lightweight “truck” type of VW vehicle more suitable for the needs of the Dutch market. He was inspired by a small cart he saw in a factory, and based on his design VW began to produce the vehicle. The full story of how Pon’s idea evolved and got produced is fascinating.
Last weekend Global Graphica paid a visit to a new design exhibition at the New Museum’s Studio 231. The show is titled “Adhocracy” and we can’t recommend it enough. It’s a fascinating survey of the work of designers, architects, hackers, makers, artists, technologists and programmers around the globe who are redefining design and how things are made and used. These practitioners are working either independently or collaboratively, in academia or within commercial or corporate organizations, and sometimes illegally, as part of a DIY underground of people who fix public infrastructure that local governments neglect. It’s also a look at how sustainability, re-use and recycling, open-source systems, life-hacking and the economics of design are being addressed. Among the highlights is a working 3D body scanner called “Be Your Own Souvenir” that feeds data to a 3D printer to make a resin model of a person, and a short film documenting a group who secretly broke into the Pantheon in Paris at night, where they staged film events, built their own secret members lounge, and fixed the broken clock atop the historic building, which hadn’t chimed in four decades.
Photo credit: New Museum