Friday, 15 July 2011

Etsuko Ichikawa's inspirational burn art

Etsuko Ichikawa’s work uses a unique process to create wonderfully organic, almost balletic pieces.  Watch this wonderfully shot video to see it in practice.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Design trend: Looking to the past

Thanks to my lovely colleague Alexa Saller at Bloom for permission to re-blog her excellent Design Trends thought piece:

Design trend: Looking to the past

Last week we posited that one of the reasons for Habitat’s demise was that its futuristic furniture was no longer to the public’s taste.  Increasingly in design we’re noticing a trend for reviving the old and making it relevant to the present.
A blast from the past
Since the mass fashion market exploded in the mid 20th century every decade has had its own particular style – hippie in the 60’s, rockers in the 80’s, grunge in the 90’s. This century has certainly had its own style notes – leggings sadly being a defining feature – but increasingly fashion brands are reinventing the past for the present. Prada has done an exceptional job of this in their S/S 2011 campaign.   They’ve done more than just take influence from the 70’s, they’ve fully embraced the decade to create a retro collection that really stands out from the crowd.Pradacampaign2Modern Classic
Christian Louboutin has chosen to recreate a number of 17th C portraits for his Fall collection. In doing so he has created a shorthand for ‘classic’, a statement that his shoes, a hallmark of the modern age, will stand the test of time.F81c131f78886acb_lb4.xxlargeThe age of ingenuity
Whether influenced by the Doctor Who revival or the imminent arrival of the final instalment of Harry Potter, we’re not sure, but Steampunk has become a thriving cult movement.  
Embodying a kind of neo-Victorianism Steampunk has spawned a whole culture, influencing everything from architecture to music to fashion. The movement’s appeal seems to stem from its roots in counterfactual history, which encourages followers to use their imagination and consider – what if? 399px-Steampunk-falksenAuthor G. D. Falksen, wearing a steampunk-styled arm prosthesis by Thomas Willeford, exemplifying one take on steampunk fashion.
The Golden Age
Despite many consumers having to tighten their purse strings, the upper echelons still have plenty of cash to splash.  However in an era where superstructures are a dime a dozen and 3D tvs are the norm it can be difficult to impress the jet set.  Yet the past is rarefied and can therefore form a compelling reference point.  The fog of time has a tendency to preserve only the most glamorous features, making the memory all the more precious. To this effect Van Cleef & Arpels have recently created a Bals de Légende collection of jewellery. Consisting of 160 unique pieces, the collection has been inspired by five of the most extravagant balls of the 20th C.  Today equivalent events aren’t nearly as exclusive and many have beencommercialised, making a celebration of a bygone era is even more fantastical for its rarity, you almost can’t help but be impressed.
A simpler life
The last couple of years have also seen growing support for The Prince of Wales’ rejections of modernist architecture and a long waiting list to buy a plot in Poundbury, his New Urbanism development on the edge of Cornwall.  Again this seems to stem from a desire to return, not to the extravagances of the past, but to a time when things were simpler and communities were smaller.Img_3skbrmcqgldcu
Breathing new life into an old brand
Brands are also tapping into the past.  The most recent example is the Little Chef redesign, which has leveraged one of the brand’s biggest assets - nostalgia.  The simplification of the marque helps the quirky chef to stand out even more.  Meanwhile the bright modern colours prevent it from looking dated, giving it greater longevity than the Hovis packs, which have arguably gone too far down the nostalgia route and now just look a bit dated.Little_chef_logoLittle_chef_wild_postings
The past can be used at all price points in a multitude of ways - to inspire, excite and engage. Furthermore it provides a short-hand of associations, meaning you don’t have to re-educate the consumer. It’s not suitable for every brand, but get it right and a strong emotional connection with the consumer will be your reward.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Super cool book designs

I'm a big fan of Jules Verne so I was a bit over excited to come across these book cover designs by Jim Tierney

Monday, 4 July 2011

V&A exhibition - Cult of Beauty

One of the best exhibitions I've been to - well put together, thorough and really interesting.  The Cult of Beauty ends on the 17th July, so if you haven't had a chance to go yet, I strongly suggest you get your collective arses down there: