Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Escher Staircases

I went to see the above staircase in Austria, inspired by the Escher designs. The stairs go upwards on the underside of the spiral as well as the top and they break off in odd directions. It makes you feel really dizzy! There are some other examples I've found of similar structures below:

Kunst Haus - Graz, Austria
I would say this is probably the most memorable piece of architecture that I've seen on my travels. It was designed by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, both London based architects. The thing that struck me most about this building was the way it drastically contrasted with it's setting. The reflective panels create distorted displays of the surrounding traditional Austrian architecture when stood up close and its looks so odd and obvious amongst the panoramic view of the town from afar. The alien-esque character of the space lab fits in with it's presence in the setting; it represents the future and the possibilities that are ahead of us. Its plexiglass skin is a media fa├žade which can be changed electronically and has protrusive skylight openings.

"The aesthetic dialogue between the new biomorphic structure on the bank of the Mur and the old clock tower is the trade-mark of a city aiming to create a productive tension between tradition and avant-garde"

"In terms of urban design, the building is intended to have a major impact on the regeneration of the western half of the city which has until now been relatively underprivileged compared to the Eastern side which contains the major public buildings, universities and museums. Cultural institutions, particularly museums of modern art, have the remarkable ability, if made appealing to the public, such as the Pompidou centre in Paris, the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Tate Modern in London - also located on the “wrong” side of the river - of acting as powerful catalysts of change and symptoms of this urban transformation are already noticeable."

Kunst Haus Graz hosts international exhibitions of multi-disciplinary modern and contemporary art. The particularity of the Kunsthaus Graz is that it is not intended to house a permanent collection.

The Kunst Haus features a slow moving travelator that transports visitors around the galleries and gives the sense of being penetrated through the outer skin.

Colin Fournier - “The friendly alien swallows everything with its travelator. It is like a giant Hoover, like the belly of the whale, evoking the distant memory and unconscious desire that we have, since childhood, of being swallowed by the dragon, the subtle pleasure we experience when licked by the family cat’s sandpaper tongue. It is the black whole of the whale’s stomach, where one can find all sorts of things: old boots, lost treasures, bewildered fish, Jonas himself: that’s what a museum has to be, a place that plays on our desire to find ourselves in the company of surprising and unexpected things, bizarre confrontations, things that sometimes are not yet quite fully digested."


I adore Gaudi architecture. It's all so interesting and intricate so that the closer you get to it, the more amazing it looks. Last summer, I travelled with friends to Barcelona, where we visited the Sagrada Familia and learned about his influences and inspiration for the design. It was really fascinating to see the miniature models of the finished building (it's still unfinished at present) and all of his sketches of different natural structures that he had taken the shapes from. These included honeycomb, shells, the double helix structure (present in the winding columns) and forms such as the Fibonacci Golden Spiral. There are echoes of cubist design in the figures and gargoyles adorning the walls, buried in the bark-like earthy exterior texture. The ceiling windows created splendid lighting and patterns. Some of my photo's are below;
We also went to see the Casa Mia apartments and Park Guell. Park Guell is situated high up on a hill and gives awesome views of the city, be prepared to climb ten or so escalators up the hill to reach it.. but they are interesting in themselves because the streets are so steep and narrow and run down and ghetto-like that the escalators seem almost surreal in the setting! Some images I took are below;

Price James - Music Videos

I love this pop-up-book style music video directed by Price James for Shit Disco. He also directed the above for Simian Mobile Disco. You can see more of his work on the myspace link below;

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Stress Paul

New York New Museum

This museum in lower Manhattan was designed by Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa, and their Tokyo-based firm, SANAA for the New York New Museum.

The institution had been running for 30 years before the site was obtained. The problem posed to the architects was - how does a 30-year-old operation stay fresh, off-balance, and edgy when it finally decides to put down roots? The architects supplied a building that seems perfectly aligned with the New Museum's persona.

The buildings eight floors are stacked like boxes, each pushed off-kilter so a sense of tension is created. The top floor slides north to create a side terrace with an all-glass railing that from street level makes it look as though people are walking around on an open ledge! The street wall on the ground floor is made of glass and shows the street pavement extending inside the building. There are now apparently several warning signs adorning this transparent wall, due to many people walking right into it...

With an open plan, raw style to the layout, the building is in keeping with the style of the artwork it houses. The galleries have an unfinished feel to them, with simple gypsum-board walls and concrete floors. The ceilings are the undersides of the floor decks above, with exposed steel structure, pipes, conduits, and lighting. The loading dock is even fully exposed.

Wrapped in anodized expanded aluminum mesh, the structure blends and fades into the skyline between the adjacent smaller and darker housing.

Monday, 25 August 2008

HSBC - Your Point of View

I always notice these prints at Stansted airport on the way through to the plane. I think the juxtapositions are clever and simple. Also, in the travel context, they bare an even stronger and relevant message of different points of view depending on culture and perspective. They have built a strong work ethic that this campaign is based around;

"We at HSBC, the world's local bank, strongly believe in the potential of difference. In a world of increasing sameness, we believe it's important to value different points of view and there should be somewhere everyone can air these views and see the views of others."
The website hosts a discussion board where people debate about various topics and you can also see the whole range of their prints for this concept.


These stop motion animations by swedish artist 'Ljudbilden' kept me entertained for hours.. i love the playful style and rawness. I can't imagine how long this might have taken, knowing the amount of work that went into my rather simple 50 second stop motion last year! He won best budget video at CADS 07 in London with this video for Minilogue/hitchhikers choice (above)

If you like this sort of illustration, his galleries on the following pages are definately worth looking through..

Mad World - Zero Hokum

Conceptual photography

How to be a Graphic Designer without Losing your Soul

by Adrian Shaughnessy and Stefan Sagmeister
I read this at the start of the summer, it's quite eye opening for anyone interested in becoming a freelance designer and gives a really good insight into what the career entails.

Across the Universe

One of the best musicals I've seen. It's storyline fits in with a sequence of Beatles songs; a love story set in the 1960's against the backdrop of the anti-war movement in the US. The soundtrack is a mixture of new interpretations and the scenes are vibrant, surrealistic and splendidly choreographed. The director also worked on The Lion King theatre production, which i also thought was incredible.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an architect and interior designer. He had such a unique style that was really ahead of his time and gave way to many future designers. The society website shows you images of his work and gives you information about where you can find his sites, mainly around Glasgow. There is also a fantastic renovated house in Northampton that he designed for a Toy Maker.

Rob Ryan

Ambient Advertising

A useful site for ambient advertising archives with discussion boards:

really sweet illustrations for clients such as Levi's, Channel 4 and Samsung

Sharon Pinsker Illustration

A family friend introduced me to Sharon's work whilst in Portsmouth one weekend. I was really impressed with the precision of her marks when using such fluid, bulky media. It really shows that someone has talent when they can make simple markings freely cohere into a perfect image.

Swarovski Crystal

This Swarovski crystal gallery in Innsbruck boasts a spectacular installation by Tord Boontje. It's an extravagant and dreamy landscape of a 'winter wonderland' that intends to convey the emotional qualities of crystal.

The website is really enchanting and animated as well. Because it is animated, there are no direct links to view the installation page but if you go to (installations>winterwonderland) from the homepage then you can see a virtual tour of the Swarovski gallery.

Alberto Seveso

Alberto Seveso makes graphic illustrations that combine with photographs of models to create these fascinating pieces. The way the body becomes this elusive hollow shell, i think is quite a tactile effect. By combining the different media and styles, he creates something very unique.

Culinary Bubbles..

Such an innovative idea, chopping up the bubbles! M&C Saatchi's Tony Kaye created this campaign promoting Kronenbourg's new Dynamo Systeme in-can widget which gives 'smaller bubbles for a smoother taste'. It works round a similar concept to the old Guinness advert, where there are little people inside the drink;

I think Kronenbourgs approach achieves a much stronger brand character.

Mark Jenkins

Some of these figurine street installations are really quite disturbing! I came across this image of the four legged thing and was interested in what else he might have done.. worth a look:

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Andy Watt - Illustrator

I love this style of illustration. Andy Watt has done work for the Guardian and many other newspapers and magazines. He emulates the character of Gerald Scarfe's work but with much more intricate lines. His subjects are given dark sunken eyes and wispy hair that makes the texture and detail so interesting. The use of block colour is sophisticated and adds contrast and emphasis to the detail of his pieces.

You can see more of his work here;