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Charles and Ray Eames introduce their legendary lounge chair on daytime TV, 1956
09.09.2014
02:32 pm

Topics:
Art
Design
Television

Tags:
Ray Eames
furniture
Charles Eames


 
If Charles and Ray Eames weren’t the greatest figures in American design in their era, they may have been the ones that most encapsulated the American twentieth century. Their careers flourished after World War II, and they made important contributions to the areas of architecture, design, industrial design, photography, and film. Their lounge chair is an undisputed icon of American design. After already having introduced a series of fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and wire mesh chairs for Herman Miller, the Eames introduced the lounge chair in 1956 on the Home Show, hosted by Arlene Francis. (It’s common to refer to this appearance as having happened on the Today Show, but I don’t see any justification for that.) 
 

Charles and Ray Eames sitting on their creation
 
In the interview, Charles mentions a movie about their home, known to all architecture lovers (including Ice Cube) as “Case Study House No. 8.” That movie is linked below in addition to the Today Show clip. Impressively, the music was composed by Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein.

In that vein, Charles discusses a project he’s doing with the great director Billy Wilder, almost certainly a reference to the montage Charles did for The Spirit of St. Louis, but it’s worth pointing out that the connections between Wilder and the Eameses are extensive.

 

 
Towards the end of the clip Charles plays a cute little movie of a man constructing an Eames lounge chair on his own. Using time-lapse photography, the man skids and slides around with unnatural speed and the chair begins to take form. Once he is done, he sits in the chair and enjoys a brief reverie, during which the image of a woman materializes on his freshly built ottoman and then vanishes, after which the man begins to disassemble the furniture.

Not to be too unkind about this, but that movie cries out for a psychological reading, methinks. I mean, that woman may as well be Ray Eames, right? Ray shows up briefly on the Today Show set but then vanishes too, and at the time Charles was given the lion’s share of credit for the couple’s creations. Arlene Francis even repeatedly emphasizes that Ray is “standing behind”/“supporting” Charles. After stating that her role is too look for the “big idea” and to “look critically at the work”—core elements of an artistic persona, both—Francis inanely says that it’s important to have “a critical viewpoint of your husband’s work, so that he can improve along with it—otherwise he might be stagnant or stand still.” 
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Devil Tarot Card, Cthulhu, Ouija Board and Critical Hit area rugs
09.08.2014
08:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Design

Tags:
home decorating


Devil Tarot Card Rug: Order here

Because every home needs a nice, simple accent piece for their living room or family room, right? Why not these lovely Devil Tarot Card, Cthulhu, Ouija Board or Critical Hit area rugs by Middle of Beyond AKA MOB?

The only thing slightly bumming me out about theses rugs is they’re hand-tufted acrylic (wish they were hand-tufted wool).

They’re all pre-order right now and ship in 4-6 weeks. The prices range anywhere from $50-$300 (depending on size).
 

 

Cthulhu Lovecraft Rug: order here
 

 

Ouija Spirit Board Rug: Order here
 

 

Critical Hit Large Rug: Order here
 

 
 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Not so happy McDonald’s Happy Meals
09.05.2014
09:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Design
Food

Tags:
Twin Peaks
V
Vampira
Happy Meals


 
McDonald’s should take note from artist Newt Clements on how to improve upon their Happy Meals presentation. Seriously, I’d go to McDonald’s every day (not really) if these were a real thing. I especially like Clements’ toy designs that accompany the “meal.”

They’re just mock-up prototypes, but with fast food sales dropping like a stone, perhaps McDonald’s will listen? A Twins Peaks Happy Meal? That’s marketing innovation!


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Amazing ‘Plants of Gods’ terrarium
09.04.2014
09:05 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
terrarium


 
A neat newfangled take on terrariums by designer Prodip Leung. According to the website selling ‘em, the “Plants of God” terrarium is limited to 100. So I guess that makes it a collectable? Either way, I dig it.


 

 

 
via Superpunch

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Game of Thrones’ intro redone retro 60s-style
09.03.2014
08:28 am

Topics:
Design
Television

Tags:
Game of Thrones
Saul Bass


 
Milan Vuckovic reimagined the Game of Thrones title sequence and theme song as a 60s-era homage to famed movie title designer Saul Bass.

Someone in the YouTube comments asked Vuckovic if the static you hear during the song was done purposefully. Vuckovic said indeed, that it was done on purpose.

 
via World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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ChávezPro: Hugo Chávez’s handwriting is now a revolutionary, anti-imperialist font
08.19.2014
07:47 am

Topics:
Class War
Design

Tags:
Hugo Chávez
fonts


 
Hugo Chávez’s regime was a mixed bag, but though the Bolivarian bureaucracy has its issues, the advances he made have seen him canonized among poor and working class Venezuelans. He’s responsible for massive developments in infrastructure like rural schools, free university and excellent, free hospitals. He democratized natural resources and largely dismantled the oligarchy that previously ran the country—these are the sorts of accomplishments that predictably produced a palpable cult of personality around Chávez as a leader. 

Still, it’s a little odd to see his handwriting commemorated in an “anti-imperialist” font. A group called Creative Trench actually reproduced his penmanship from his prison letters, and are giving it away for free (naturally), on their website.
 

 

For the full effect, try picturing the scrawl over this letter to his daughter, written from prison in February of 1992 after the failed coup. By the way, “Maisantera” is the name of their home, “the boy” is probably Chávez’s son, and the cuatro is a Venezuelan instrument.

My love: Hello, my heart!

I want you to know that day and night I carry you in my heart and in my mind.

I’m so happy that you are well.  As always, I am proud to have a daughter like you, pretty, intelligent and brave.

Maria, I’m in good physical health and above all have a tranquil conscience. I did what I had to do, with the hope that things would change, with the Bolivarian hope that there will be a better world for you in the future, a world where there is not so much injustice and such corruption, were children have food, shelter, medicine, toys, schools.  All of Venezuela’s children.

You are already a young lady so I’m sure you understand me.

The only thing, my baby girl, is that now I will not be very close to you [...] as before.  But my heart and my spirit are always there in the “Maisantera” and wherever they [the family] go.

Remember to apply yourself to your studies and to your reading, as well as to art and music. It will cultivate a noble and libertarian spirit that you will carry within.

Likewise with sport, to have “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. Keep going to the pool (be very careful).

I entrust the boy to you.  Encourage him to learn to play the cuatro, to write stories and to draw, and to keep going to swimming and to baseball. But please take care of him.

I must go now, my Maria, with the hope of seeing you soon and with the greatest love from,

Papa

ChávezPro (yes, that’s what it’s actually called) isn’t completely unprecedented. In Venezuela, Chávez’s handwriting is on all kinds of swag, from buildings to clothing. Still, the best use of ChávezPro has to be for covert trolling, no? I know exactly what font I’m using for my Republican relatives’ birthday cards, anyway.

Below, Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chávez documentary South of the Border:

 
Via Fast Company

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Raise a glass to Cthulhu at the Lovecraft Bar
08.08.2014
06:24 am

Topics:
Design

Tags:
H P Lovecraft
Lovecraft Bar
Benjamin Enzfelder

lovbarcraft11.jpg
 
The Lovecraft Bar in New York looks like the perfect place to eat, drink and discuss all things Cthulhu. The eldritch interior design and artwork was created by artist Benjamin Enzfelder, and he has certainly given the bar a great Lovecraftian atmosphere. Certainly on my places to visit next time I’m in NY.

The Lovecraft Bar will officially open in September, details here.
 
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H/T Steal This Singularity, via Dark Corner Books

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Meet the Kuba Komet, the most ass-kicking retro home entertainment system ever made
08.07.2014
08:58 am

Topics:
Design

Tags:
Kuba Komet
Federal Republic of Germany


 
This remarkable piece of equipment is called the Kuba Komet. It was manufactured by the KUBA Corporation in Wolfenbüttel, West Germany, from 1957 to 1962. The recommended retail price for the Komet was 2,798 Deutschmarks, or roughly $1250, which correlates to about $10,500 in today’s dollars. (According to this Census Bureau report of 1960, the average income for a family in 1958 was $5,100.) It was a hefty item, weighing 289 pounds and is a little more than seven feet wide. It featured a television, a record player, a radio, eight speakers and a “TV tuner” in the bottom cabinet—if you were willing to pay a little extra you could get a “magneto-phone wire recorder” (a forerunner to the reel-to-reel and cassette audio recorders) as well as a remote control.

One of the Komet’s best features was that the big “sail” section of the unit could swivel. The blonde-colored wood is solid maple; the darker wood is wenge, a rare form of timber found only in sub-Saharan Africa.

Here’s a picture of the Kuba Komet with its bottom drawer open:
 

 
There are only about ten of them in existence, about half of them in North America. The Early Television Museum in Hilliard, Ohio, has one on display—since I live in Ohio, I should probably make a pilgrimage to check it out.
 

 
On this videokarma.org forum, the users complain about the unnecessary internal complexity of German electronics products from that era, as in, “Why use one part when we can use 15?” In 2011 a nonfunctioning Kuba Komet unit was auctioned for $3250, which isn’t such a bad price for the most awesome fixer-upper in the world. Although according to this thread, they’ve also been auctioned for about $8,000.
 

 
via Atompunk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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You knew this would happen: The inevitable Worf-Joy Division mash-up T-shirt

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One of the most iconic album covers in pop history meets one of the most iconic foreheads in television history in this T-shirt mashup of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures with Klingon Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The T-shirt is called “Klingon Pleasures” and the mix of album’s original image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919 seems a perfect fit with Worf’s brow. “Klingon Pleasures” is one of NickOG‘s (Nick O’Gorman) designs on Threadless.
 
01jdklingpleasure.jpg
 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘The 10th Victim’: Violent, campy 1965 battle of the sexes satirizes reality TV decades in advance


 
For reasons I cannot fully articulate, even to myself, one of my favorite things ever in life is the (relatively) little-known 1965 French-Italian film, The 10th Victim (La decima vittima) starring Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Elio Petri. I have movie posters, lobby cards and various pulp paperback books with different great covers (Part of my fascination with the film, obviously, has to do with Ursula Andress—at the absolute height of her considerable beauty here—that much I do know…)
 

 
The plot (clearly the “inspiration” for The Running Man) revolves around the reality show assassins of “The Big Hunt,” a wildly popular futuristic TV spectacle sponsored by the Ming Tea Company of Japan. For five hunts you are the killer, for five hunts the victim.
 

 
To win the tournament, the assassins must complete ten kills, but they never know if they are the hunter or the victim. The Andress character’s kills are elaborate—one of them was even ripped-off for an Austin Powers movie—and she becomes the most popular of the contestants. Her kills are used as TV advertisements for the Ming Tea Company and she wants her tenth killer to be a spectacular one.
 

 
Next up is Mastroianni’s character, Polletti… or is he? You can’t kill the wrong victim, you see, or else you lose.
 

 
You can’t kill the wrong killer in preemptive self-defense, either, or else you lose. What if she is to be his victim? Neither of them know for sure, so of course they have an affair!
 

 
The SpyVibe blog calls The 10th Victim a “cocktail of groovy music, op art, pop art, space-age fashion, and modern design.” It’s not even that The 10th Victim is all that good of a film (say, a “six” out of a possible “ten”) but man does it LOOK GREAT. If you’re into things like Danger Diabolik, Fathom, Modesty Blaise or the “Matt Helm” or “Flint” movies, this might be for you. Although not an over the top “funny ha ha” kind of comedy, The 10th Victim is a fun, campy feast for the eyes that was a decades-before-its-time satire of reality TV and our violence-obsessed mass media.

You could also see it was an elaborate metaphor for male-female relationships and the battle of the sexes. I’m pretty sure that part was intentional, especially when Marcello’s mistress helps Ursula’s character—who is fucking him—to stalk her philandering lover. How dare he three-time her!
 

 
The soundtrack to The 10th Victim was one of my “Holy Grail” records for many years before I was generously gifted with a copy by Pizzicato 5‘s Yasuharu Konishi when I was visiting Tokyo back in 1994. The score by Piero Piccioni is one of my favorite film scores of all time, consisting as it does of an incessantly repeated loopy organ motif and “la la la la” scat singing by the great Italian singer Mina. Piccioni thought this would sound like jazz in the future. I think the maestro was right:
 

 

 
Below, the original trailer for The 10th Victim.
 

 
The entire film is online at Daily Motion. Blue Underground have released The 10th Victim on Blu-ray which is the way you really want to want this puppy…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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