Archive for February, 2009

Man discovers darning by accident.

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

mr skona darns sock

This blog post by Mr. Skona wins this week’s prize for ingenuity and charm.

My lovely wool socks (please excuse the pills) were starting to get a little threadbare around the heels and the ball of the foot. The rest the sock was fine so I didn’t want to recycle them or resign them to dusting pile just yet. There weren’t any holes, the fluffy wool (fleece? is that the right term?) had just worn off leaving a fine grid of threads (they must be made of a blend). I had this idea that I could weave yarn over and under the grid which would fill in the threadbare area. Little did I know that’s exactly how you darn something.

mr skona darns sock

Wish Werner Herzog would come by the studio

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Werner Herzog during shooting of Fitzcarraldo

Wish Werner Herzog would come by the studio and narrate our work in that soft, brutal, matter-of-fact German tone. Instead I just re-read the imaginary Herzog diary, below, to wallow in Herzog postmortemese.

This morning Sarah said “Dear Diary: I am making a bag out of a trench coat. I find tissue in the pocket of the coat and think: someone has blown their nose in an alleyway. It was raining, so they wore this coat. It takes me three hours of work to realize the bag is quite pointless and, by extension, I am pointless. This does not worry me. A cat comes and sits on the unfinished bag. Nature is without sympathy, but yet I love it.”

_________________________

The Occasional Diary Entries of German Director Werner Herzog

Friday November 24, 2006

Dear Diary: Calisthenics, shower, and breakfast. Then I water the garden because it is dry. After the water I put fertilizer into the soil. I feel the flowers growing stronger the more I talk to them. Accidentally with my trowel I kill a flower. The world is chaos. I am unsuccessful at crying.

Dear Diary: Today my car is stolen from the driveway. I am not surprised.

Dear Diary: Work all day, a short break, and then dinner. Routines please me because they put order into the day; without order, there is chaos and violence. But for dinner I make a cheese sandwich and I hate it. I want to spit on it and see what it does. But I eat it anyway. Everyone dies, but for now I must live.

Click below for the rest…

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Ha, finally! The 90s are the new 80s.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

NYT The Moment "90s are the new 80s"

That’s according to the New York Times, and since nostalgia seems to work in 20-year cycles, I guess anyone could have seen it coming. If, as the article says, the 90s were the sci fi thing and the Breeders, then excellent, but … what is that orange outfit! Do I not remember the 90s correctly? No matter what they were, though, anything is better than the 80s, the decade that just makes me go Reagan Thatcher Reagan Thatcher Reagan Thatcher Shoulderpads in a loop. I realize this view is unpopular. Sorry. From the NYT’s blog The Moment :

Show after show this week in London, the Y.B.D.’s were designing like it was 1995. Topshop’s Unique collection, in the hands of the stylist Katie Grand, mined the junkyard-rave aesthetic of the cult classic “Tank Girl” to mixed results. Charles Anastase’s “autobiographical” collection paid homage to the unsung icons of grunge — think the D.I.Y. style of Kelly and Kim Deal, of the alt-rock band the Breeders, and Rayanne Graff, the too-cool-for-school character played by A.J. Langer on the teen drama “My So-Called Life.” Chances are that only the hipsters who crash his shows will be savvy enough to appreciate this.

See also Aeon Flux and read this review on gawker.

You could leave this tree out all year round.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

PossibiliTree

This beautiful Christmas tree or art object is called the PossibiliTree.™ I, a huge pun-hater and disliker of words mashed together, nevertheless really like these and would like to have one. So pretty. There seem to be different sizes, and this is the smaller one. It arrives in a mailing tube and you assemble it yourself, which is apparently not difficult. If you don’t like chopping down a tree every Christmas, this seems like a great idea, and much better than a synthetic tree. It’s made on this continent, too, out of local trees. If you want the Christmas tree smell, it would be simple to get a few boughs and tie them to these branches. You can order these from Possibilitree or get them from DWR.

PossibiliTree

The Japanese live comfortably in tiny spaces. Could we?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

traditional japanese farmhouse

In the western world, 750 sq ft apartments can seem really small, even for just two people. The excerpt below is from an interesting article by Nold Egenter, a Swiss architectural anthropologist, on the cultural influences that allow the Japanese to live comfortably in what North Americans would consider small spaces. From the traditional peasant farmer’s wooden house, above, to contemporary tiny houses and apartments in contemporary Tokyo, Japanese living spaces have often measured less than 500 or 600 square feet, and yet they easily house a whole family. How is this possible?

Several years ago a study of the European Community concluded that the Japanese live in “rabbit cages.” The study was based essentially on statistical research which showed that the average dwelling space for a family in urban agglomerations hardly amounts to 40 square meters [430 sq. ft.]. Great astonishment! “Why do two out of three Japanese affirm that they like their life and that in general they are content?” In view of the fact that in Europe today a corresponding family needs roughly 100 square meters [1000 sq. ft.] – that is to say, two and a half times as much – one could ask the counter question: Do we waste space? Why does the average urban family in Japan manage with so much less dwelling surface and still feel comfortable? In such purely quantitative comparisons, it is often overlooked that spatial needs are closely related to the constructive design, and this is determined by the specific cultural tradition. To illustrate this point there is hardly any better example than that of Japan. Its architectural heritage and its dwelling culture developed under entirely different cultural and geographical conditions from those with which we are familiar.

Environmental and economic constraints are forcing us away from the sprawling way we have lived over the past century. If Negenter is right (to read his whole article, click at the end of this post), both architecture and dwelling habits have to change in order to make city living in small spaces more workable, and that obviously won’t happen overnight (though apparently it’s happening already). North American apartment, house and condo architecture would have to change, and so would our daily tools, appliances, expectations and habits. Nearly every design magazine and design blog now constantly revisits the question of how to live in fewer square feet, but perhaps what is needed is a much less piecemeal approach, and something that goes a little deeper than the “ten tips for living small” approach.

Tiny Tokyo house by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima

Bump House, Tokyo

The houses shown here are larger than many Japanese apartments. They are spacious by Japanese standards but still tiny by North American standards. All are less than 1000 square feet inside, some much less, and all make use of previously unused empty urban lots. The tiny white Tokyo house at top is by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, whose most recent project is the New Museum in New York (great picture of her by Annie Liebowitz here). Directly above is the relatively large Bump house, (900 sq ft) and below is a tiny house by Sschemata (760 sq ft). I suspect they’re all white because it makes them seem larger. See Apartment Therapy on 300 sq. ft. houses, and see also a great post on increasing the perceived size of a house through Japanese building techniques – the videos show a number of tiny urban Japanese houses. Top ten ways Japanese live small is here. And a small article here by O.N. Gillespie, author of The Japanese House. North American example? Tumbleweed Tiny Houses.

Tokyo house by Sschemata

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Origami shoe by Sipho Mabona

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

This origami was created for Japanese shoe company ASICS by Sipho Mabona of Mabona Origami. Original video is here. Celebrating corporate advertising isn’t really our thing, but this little movie is pretty engaging and it has, not surprisingly, won many of the world’s top animation and advertising awards. We can’t figure out where Mabona grew up, but he seems to be a black South African living in Switzerland who’s now a world-renowned origami artist. He also did the origami for Fleet Foxes’ “Mykonos” video.