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. 🙂
Fresh street art by Dain, one of Global Graphica’s favoritie artists. This wheat-paste street art piece, like much of Dain’s work, is in SoHo, in downtown New York City.
Israeli artist Yossi Wallner’s viral street art project “Ctrl Alt Del” is one of the coolest projects and cleverer ideas we’ve seen in a while. Wallner has taken the common keys used in laptops and computer keyboards and installed these as buttons on walls, columns, and public infrastructure in his home city of Tel Aviv, in Israel. See photos below.
The re-contextualization of these familiar keyboard components, with their abbreviated function labels (Del, Esc, Wake, Power, etc.), imbue these objects with multiple meanings when in the public space, whether on a telephone pole, next to a security camera, in a leafy park or on a busy street.
What’s more, in these settings the buttons suggest some new kind of functionality whereby we can shape parts of the real world outside by pressing the same keys we use to change the words in an email or re-touch an image in Photoshop. Wallner poses the questions “What if the keyboards that we are buried in blindly all day could change your reality? If you could escape something by a push of an “Esc” button? Delete anything by a flick of a finger?”
The Tel Aviv installations are the first for this project, and Wallner is planning to create a website and a community of collaborators to put up keyboard buttons in cities around the world and submit photos of their installations to his site. We’d love nothing more that to walk down a street in Tokyo or New York a year from now and find one of his “Esc” keys on a wall.
Over the weekend we posted about some coffee we had from a third-wave espresso roaster and cafe in Tokyo called Bear Pond Espresso. As our regular readers already know, we here at Global Graphica are kind of obsessed with hunting down the best coffee wherever we go. Here are some pix of the Bear Pond cafe and surrounding area in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighborhood as seen from the street. (The cafe has a policy against taking photos inside without permission, so we just have a few quick snapshots from outside.) Bear Pond is the fussiest, most meticulous and attentive espresso purveyors and coffee roasters we’ve ever met, which is why we like them and their coffee so much. They’re also really nice and have great style. As noted in that earlier post, they only prepare and serve espresso for two and a half hours each day, from 10:30am to 1:00pm. Furthermore, they’ll only sell some of their coffee beans to you if you first take a short course they offer on how to properly prepare the coffee in the Chemex style. We have to say, their coffee is probably the best we’ve had anywhere.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is currently holding a major retrospective of the influential American artist Claes Oldenberg, as we’ve reported on this blog in recent months. Oldenberg is one of the giants of 20th-century and modern art, and this exhibition is definitely worth seeing. But if you go to the show, there’s a major piece of sculpture from the artist that you might miss because it’s in MoMA’s sculpture garden and not included in the main exhibition galleries where Oldenberg’s work is being shown. The artwork is a large, painted aluminum and steel object titled “Geometric Mouse, Scale A,” and we’ve got pictures of it below. You can view full specifications of the sculpture on MoMA’s website,too, if that’s your kind of thing.
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.
Here are photos of artist Erik den Breejen’s recently completed “Fashion Heroes Bowie” mural at Rag & Bone in New York City. The artwork was commissioned by the clothing company for the exterior of its Nolita “boutique” jeans store, at the southeast corner of Houston and Elizabeth streets. Earlier in the week we published photos of the the artwork when it was a work in progress. The completed work is a stunning portrait of rock legend David Bowie and composited of hundreds of words from the lyrics to the British musician’s songs “Heroes” and “Fashion.” Incidentally, Bowie himself had lived for years in an otherwise unassuming-looking luxury apartment literally down the block and around the corner on Spring Street, across the street from his pal Moby. (For all we know, he may still have the apartment and be staying there.) See more of den Breejen’s work on his Tumblr and at Freight & Volume.
We ran into artists Serban Ionescu and David Nordine on Ludlow St, in New York’s Lower East Side, where they were collaborating on a large street art painting. The mural is a work in progress and was commissioned by the owner of a building that’s currently being renovated and turned into luxury condos. The artwork is on the large roller-shutter that fronts the building, which is at 55 Ludlow Street, just south of Grand Street (and near Global Graphica HQ).
Alright, we’re here in Times Square, New York City, and here they are … lots more fresh photos, including close-ups, of the massive, epic street art building-takeover and billboard by French artist JR. The the giant-eye billboard artwork is the crowning touch on a project that’s been in the works the past few weeks. The images of people faces on the building itself has been a work in progress in since early May, when the artist set up a photo-booth and studio truck in Times Square and then pasted images of volunteer models on the sidewalk and building nearby. The giant eye on the billboard can be seen from quite far away, as photos below and in our previous post show.