Archive for the ‘ Art/Design ’ Category

True Colors

4 months. 5,000 photos. No digital effects. Take a gander at stop-motion done unbelievably awesome.

This film, full of color, reminded me of an excerpt from a lovely teacher who I recently I took a workshop with, Lorin Roche.

Celebrating the Doors of Perception, Lorin Roche, Ph.D.

“I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it,” says Shug in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. God wants to “share a good thing.” Scientists who study human vision say we have been given a great capacity to share in God’s good thing – our eyes are capable of distinguishing about ten million different colors. If that is true, then our eyes can perceive hundreds of thousands of different hues just of the color purple. We can walk through fields and see subtly different colors every day for a lifetime. To me, this is a great miracle and mystery – that we can perceive the beauty of the world through our senses.

Music for Today:  Ghostwriter, RJD2 (Deadringer, 2002)


This will make you smile a little smile

“Your secret” is a movie about you.

Something quite different as compared to Jean-Sebastien Monzani’s other works, this short movie evokes a complicity between the spectator and the narrator. Something cheerful, something mysterious, something simple, something that hopefully maybe brightens your day.

Hope you like it.

Song of the Day: Lost Cause, Beck (Sea Change, 2002)

The Architecture of Happiness

The Architecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations. One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings and streets that surround us. And yet a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.

He describes why style, a beautiful house or exquisitely designed teacup, can bring such joy and why a gloomy hotel room can make us question the meaning of life. In a collection of essays he challenges us to take a look at our surroundings to see how they shape us and how we shape them. Does a home filled with dolls and teddy bears, he wonders, reflect a wish to escape from a harsh and cruel world? Can a love of white, spare and minimal spaces be an attempt to fight a sense of chaos and disorder? He questions the notion that aesthetic issues are shallow and argues that if we look a little deeper, our furniture, our houses, and our public buildings will speak to us in distinct personalities.

This is not to say that we only derive happiness from physical objects or settings. However, we cannot forget that we are physical beings. We react, relate to and engage with physical objects, people and environments on a daily basis. I think the point is that our physical environments influence us on more than just a physical level. They influence emotions, mindsets and they influence how we choose to engage with ourselves and others on a daily basis – whether in a positive, negative or even neutral way.

For example, think about religious buildings. These buildings really teach us a very basic lesson, which is that we don’t think the same way wherever we are, that there are certain buildings that put us in certain frames of mind. A well-decorated, a beautiful church will put us into a mindset where we’re more receptive to dwelling on certain issues. And a grocery store will direct our thoughts in other ways. And that’s why religions have, perhaps more than any other entity, been very aware of the power of architecture – because we’re not the same people wherever we are.

Having said this, I do not believe that we can architect our happiness entirely with physical objects – at least in the sense that achieving an end goal of some sort is the definition of happiness or if we put the “right furniture” or “right people” in our life that we will achieve happiness – but I do believe we can gain more clarity about ourselves by understanding how we react in our physical environment. I can’t help but stumble onto the idea of obliquity.

Obliquity is the notion that complex goals are often best achieved indirectly. Happiness is the product of fulfillment in work and private life, not the repetition of pleasurable actions; therefore, happiness is not achieved only by pursuing it. We find out about the real nature of our goals and complexities of personal relationships in the process of accomplishing them. We not only do not know what the future will hold but cannot anticipate even the range of possible events which might occur. Yes, the physical world in which we operate changes partly as a result of our actions, but happy people achieve happiness along the way. The paradox of obliquity is all around us.

So finding happiness is more than just designing physical environments that are pleasing to us. It’s more than surrounding ourselves with people we enjoy. It’s more about the process of taking the time to think about how we react in different environments and why we react in certain ways – whether positive, negative or neutral. At a certain point, it may not be the environment that needs to change – we may need to take a deeper look at why we act in a certain way and decide whether the environment needs to change or if we are the ones who need adjusting.

The process of learning and understanding is key. Maybe the gloomy hotel room is temporarily a necessity in the process of understanding. Maybe you just like white, spare and minimal spaces without it being a larger symbol of your mental state. Maybe it’s less about trying to understand what to change or how to change and purely more about cultivating a higher level of awareness of our surroundings and how they influence us and how in turn, we influence them.

In essence, what works of design and architecture talk to us about is the kind of life that would most appropriately unfold within and around them. They tell us of certain moods that they seek to encourage and sustain in their inhabitants. While keeping us warm and helping us in mechanical ways, they simultaneously hold out an invitation for us to be specific sorts of people. They speak of visions of happiness.

Music for Today:  Fresh Feeling, Eels (Souljacker, 2002)

“Chasing After Shadows… Living with the Ghosts”

No need to explain the beauty behind this Hammock video.  Just take a moment and enjoy each and every shot – especially the color.  This post fits perfectly into my “Just Because” category ;).

Music for Today:  Honey and the Moon, Joseph Arthur (Temporary People, 2008)

Sustainable Skyscraper Captures Rain to Fulfill Water Needs of its Residents

OK so I have been really into architecture recently.  It just fascinates me – especially the sustainability piece.

Architectural students of H3AR have received a special mention for their proposal in the 2010 skyscraper competition for a sustainable skyscraper that maximizes rainwater harvesting. Dubbed “Capture The Rain”, the skyscraper features an innovative roof and external shell, which consists of a system of gutters to harvest rainwater to meet the daily needs of its inhabitants.

Personally, I like the presentation on the right especially the rain cloud and sun cutouts 😉

Sustainable Skyscraper

How it Works

The designers estimate that the average daily consumption of water per person is about 150 liters, out of which 85 liters may be replaced by rainwater. The design team focused on the shape of the roof to capture as much rainwater as possible. Under the roof’s surface, special water reservoirs have been placed in the form of a large funnel and reed fields, which serve as a hydro botanic water treatment unit. Genius!

Sustainable Skyscraper Rain Water

Rain Water Filter

This unit processes water to make it usable before it is transmitted to apartments. A network of gutters on the external surface of the building is designed to capture rainfall flowing down the building. While most of the harvested water is supplied to the apartments, surplus water is stored in a reservoir under the building.

Sustainable Skyscraper3


The takeaway? We can get creative about how to work alongside nature to accommodate our needs.

Music for today: Set My Baby Free,  Ian Brown (Golden Greats, 1999)

Better than the Hunky Fireman Version

This is rad.  That’s all there is to it. Check out their February version and March version soon to come!

Better than the Hunky Fireman Version

In order to start the year off on the right foot, Alphabet Arm teamed up with Flagship Press to create a unique, fine-art inspired calendar. The coolest aspect is that each month will feature radically different artwork and printing techniques. Each month will serve as a handy guide to different print processes and paper stocks, as well as ample eye-candy. The calendar comes with an all-in-one easel/envelope. When you are done viewing a particular month, you can store it in the envelope for later reference.

“As we kick off the new year, we can’t help but to look even further forward to what lies ahead for humanity. The other source of inspiration for January is a collection of satellite photos being released by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), capturing the surface of Mars. Simultaneously familiar and alien, these images sparked our creative fires and our imaginations; leading us to wonder what marvelous technologies the future will bring. After all, we’re also still waiting for our very own flying DeLoreans.

January’s calendar was printed on 12 pt. Nordic cover stock, with process inks. Additionally, it was printed with both matte and UV gloss varnishes to give extra contrast between the dull and shiny surfaces.

We’re offering the calendar for sale on our store. You can get it both as a yearly subscription, or just your favorite month. Take a look here.”

Music for today: Army of Me, Grisbi/Bjork (Army of Me Remixes and Covers, 2007)

Even the Smallest Glitches

“The coolest part is how every single musical element effects the visuals — even the smallest little glitches cause something beautiful or cool to happen. It’s all about the details.”

Seems like a rather simple yet beautiful metaphor for life – even the smallest little glitches cause something beautiful or interesting to happen. Linger a moment to take in the details – even those smallest, tiniest glitches.

PS: Song is lovely too: “LePetitPrince” by cubesato. And thanks to ISO50 via Alphabet Arm for helping me stumble on this.

Music for today: Ambling Alp, Yeasayer (Odd Blood, 2010)