Category Archives: art

Panton Spanish Specials in Madrid

The Architectural Foundation COAM in Madrid has organised an exhibition of one-off Verner Panton chairs, reinterpreted by a selection of Spanish designers and artists. The show, 10 Autores + 10 Sillas Panton, will close on October 7 with an auction of the pieces, reworked by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Alberto Corazón, Álvarez Sala y Rubio Carvajal, Angel Schlesser,  Guillermo Pérez Villalta, Javier Mariscal, Manuel Serrano, Ouka-Leele, Pedro Feduchi, and Tuñón y Mansilla.

Showroom VITRA
C/ Marqués de Villamejor nº 5 – Madrid
Tel. 91 426 45 60 –  www.vitra.com

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Art Deco in Barcelona

The Design History Foundation launches its teaching programme with a course on Art Deco, which will offer both an international approach to the style and sessions on its local impact.

The 18-hour course will take place between 30.09.09 and 16.12.09, at the Disseny Hub Barcelona, C/ Montcada, 12, 08003 Barcelona. Sessions will be in Catalan.

More information here.

Techs-Mechs – Steampunk time?

Ulysse Nardin Chairman Mechanical Smartphone

Ulysse Nardin Chairman Mechanical Smartphone

I’ve been following the Steampunk phenomenon with fascination. It’s a stylistical branching out that makes perfect sense to me, bringing as it does the formal exuberance of 19th century excitement at the technological wonders of the industrial revolution, its heavy mechanical seduction, its steam and coaldust manliness, onto the flat, bland and opaque physicality of our own turn of the century electronics: Steampunk is hard at work trying to turn Bill Gates into Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Until now, Steampunk has been a somewhat tribal affair, developed by cyberpunk geeks intent on beautifying their gear, a labour of love and tinkering. Well, Steampunk is finally crossing over into mainstream consumer electronics – I was wondering when – and with the support of The Long Now Foundation no less… It makes perfect sense. The Ulysse Nardin Chairman hybrid smartphone’s unique selling point? It’s powered by a mechanical thingy that charges its battery through the users’ movements, just like self-winding wristwatches do. And it looks pure Steampunk.

I leave you with a couple of Steampunk beauties, in the hope that I will get a few of you hooked onto the trend.

Laptop by Datamancer

Laptop by Datamancer

Brass USB stick

Brass USB stick

Steampunk'd desktop computer

Steampunk'd desktop computer

And of course the most spectacular of them all, Paul St George’s Telectroscope that linked London and New York, the twin capitals of Steam and Punk, in the summer of 2008.

The Telectroscope, London end.

The Telectroscope, London end.

A map of writing on walls

IMG_0038

Design collective REDImei are putting together a great online guide to Barcelona graffiti, with photos linked to Google map tags.

UNFORTUNATELY (yes, this is me shouting) I can’t post any of the great pictures here, because all the images on their flickr photostream have an ‘All rights reserved’ Creative Commons licence. Come on, guys. This is street art we’re talking about, our shared urban culture, that laughs at private property and writes on walls.

So the picture above comes not from their otherwise wonderful project, but from my own modest collection. And as all my other stuff on this blog, you are welcome to make good use of it should you so wish, under an ‘Attribution – Share Alike’ CC licence.

At least I can give you the link to their Google Maps page.

Reactable design competition

I just got an email about the Reactable project:

It’s a bit late but, Reactable Systems are running a competition to design an identity for themselves and the reactable. It would be great if more designers in Spain got to hear about this.

Well, the deadline is January 11th, so yeah, it’s a bit late!

Still, it’s worth giving this a shout-out, if only to get you to check out the Reactable project, which is truly magnificent and has gathered a long list of awards, including the Ars Electronica Prix and two D&AD prizes in 2008. It’s an exciting interaction design project that brings together engineers, computer scientists and musicians, based at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Pecha Kucha Night Barcelona, Vol.3

Saturday 15 November 2008
7:30pm to 11pm
Ticket: 5 euros (includes drink)
IAAC (Institut d’arquitectura avançada de Catalunya)
C/Pujades 102 baixos, Poble Nou. 08005, Barcelona
Metro: Línea 4 (Bogatell ó Llacuna)
http://www.pecha-kucha.org/cities/barcelona

After the success of Vol.1 and Vol.2, Pecha Kucha Night Barcelona returns, this time taking place at the IAAC (Institut d’arquitectura avançada de Catalunya). Participants will include the design studio 2creativo, the architect Ethel Baraona, sustainable design consultant Leonora Oppenheim and graphic designer and illustrator Miguel Ángel Moya.

The first Pecha Kucha Night in Barcelona took place in July at the Edificio Fórum and was followed by a second evening in September at the Maremagnum.

The Ballad of the Styrofoam Cup

Recycling and re-using ordinary everyday things to turn them into exquisite glamour-infused objects of art and design is a practice that has become increasingly mainstream, ever since it was showcased almost a decade ago now at the ICA’s Stealing Beauty exhibition in London, curated by Claire Catteral. I have been following the trend with great interest as it has seeped into the recesses of contemporary culture, as an easy conceptual shortcut to comment on the evils of our throwaway society, the excesses of consumerism, the beauty of anonymous objects and the need for sustainable practices.

This now hegemonic trend is about to be enshrined for good in the inaugural exhibition of New York’s new Museum of Arts and Design, Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary.  (Sept 27, 2008 – Feb 15, 2009). Here’s the blurb:

The exhibition features work by 50 international established and emerging artists from all five continents who create objects and installations comprised of ordinary and everyday manufactured articles, most originally made for another functional purpose. The exhibition includes works by well known designers, Ingo Maurer, Tejo Remy, and the Campana Brothers as well as internationally acclaimed artists, such as Tara Donovan, Xu Bing, El Anatsui, and Do Ho Suh.

Highlights from the show include American artist Tara Donovan’s Bluffs, a group stalagmite shaped structures made of clear plastic buttons delicately placed one on top of the other. Do Ho Suh, a Korean artist creates a jacket made of military dog tags, portraying the way a solider is part of a larger troop.

Paul Villinski, an American, creates beautiful butterflies out of his old record collection, producing a “soundtrack” of his life. English artist Susie MacMurray used yellow rubber washing gloves, turned them inside out and stitched onto a calico form to create an imposing out-sized dress.

Other featured works are made from buttons, spools of thread, artificial hair, used high-heeled shoes, plastic spoons and forks, shopping bags, and 25-cent coins to mention only a few.

The exhibition surveys the rich artistic landscape of much contemporary art, in which hierarchies among art, craft, and design are disregarded. In addition, the exhibition examines the ways in which artists transform our world, respond to contemporary cultural paradigms, and comment on global consumerism.

I offer today for your entertainment, a few snapshots of the humble styrofoam cup on its journey of reincarnation as a lamp, which of course hasn’t made it any more sustainable, but is nevertheless turning it into an A-list celebrity of the creative re-use gang.

If you have come across other interesting examples of this, please send me a picture! bcnd [at] narotzky.com

Styrene Lamp. Paul Cocksedge, 2003

"Styrene Lamp". Paul Cocksedge, 2003

“Untitled (Styrofoam Cups)” Tara Donovan, 2008.

“Untitled (Styrofoam Cups)” Tara Donovan, 2008.

Styrolight from Readymade.com (Issue 4)

"Styrolight" from Readymade.com (Issue 4)

Self-made Styrofoam cups chandelier posted on Apartment Therapy, 2005.

Self-made Styrofoam cups chandelier posted on Apartment Therapy, 2005.

Garbage Lamp, Peter Castellucci, 2008.

"Garbage Lamp", Peter Castellucci, 2008.