Salone Milan 2012: Transnatural Art & Design Collection at MOST

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Amsterdam’s Transnatural is a multidisciplinary organization that offers, among other things, a selection of well-curated design objects “in which nature & technology come together in unison without damaging the planet.” (They also host public programming and workshops, mostly in the space “between nature and technology with a combination of art, (speculative, future) design, and emerging technology.”)

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Their group exhibition at the Salone occupied the very first space following the all-but-immersive maze of the MOST’s headliner (and ‘instigator,’ per the press language), an installation by Tom Dixon himself. A series of mirrors by Lex Pott & David Derksen ostensibly echoes (‘mirrors,’ perhaps) Dixon’s aesthetic, though the “Transcience Mirror” is more properly construed as an illustration of degradation over time, where the designers have accelerated the oxidation process with sulfur. Following their initial material exploration, Pott & Derksen have quantized the patina into geometric shapes in the finished products (above).

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The mirrors are adjacent to Jólan van der Wiel‘s “Gravity Stools,” which are produced from a homogenous mixture of iron fillings and a plastic compound that cures in half an hour once he has extracted the material from the mold.

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We’ll have more on him from his exhibit at Ventura Lambrate shortly, but the original production video (after the jump) is well worth watching:

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Sky: Pirates of Christmas

Sky: Pirates of Christmas

Make Christmas more cinematic.

Advertising Agency: 1861 United, Milan, Italy
Executive Creative Directors: Pino Rozzi, Roberto Battaglia
Creative Directors: Giorgio Cignoni, Federico Ghiso
Art Director: Giorgio Cignoni
Copywriter: Federico Ghiso
Photographer / Post Producer: Carioca

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studio 400: white book installation

the continuous surface of the woven installation provides an environment for professors and students to gather and discover the architectural research findings of studio 400’s twenty team members at california polytechnic state university, san luis obispo (cal poly). 

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Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising

Amsterdam’s creative communications agency tells it straight in a new book

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In their new book “Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising“, the Amsterdam-based communications agency KesselsKramer details the creative side of an industry often considered devilish, making a valid claim that like sex, advertising is “only as warped as the people involved.”

Written in a cheeky, conversational tone, the book imparts some sage advice on how to conduct responsible advertising. Established in 1996, KesselsKramer pioneered the movement for inspirational multidisciplinary campaigns that don’t think like traditional advertising—instead they engage an audience and encourage interaction with a product. In other words, what they call “Open source over hard sell.”

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In addition to showing examples of their own work—such as the brilliantly honest “anti-advertising” campaign for Brinker’s budget hotel—the KK team asked top creatives to discuss how they ultimately stay creative in a client-is-right, money-obsessed field. Weighing in with refreshingly candid takes are Alex Bogusky, Stefan Sagmeister, Steve Henry.

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KK’s longstanding creative director Erik Kessels puts things into neat perspective in a chapter called “The Laws of Creativity and How to Mess With Them”, offering snippets with intriguing and sometimes provocative titles like “Make News Not Ads”, “Follow Not The Process of Others”, “Never Brainstorm” and more.

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Kramer’s rebellious approach to design and creative, responsible advertising—or, communications as KK calls it—helps inject a little confidence in the future of quality brand messaging. The book is out May 2012, and is available for pre-order from Amazon or Laurence King.

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Echoes of the Future

Young designers turn back the clock on design

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As food, clothing and home goods have skewed toward an old-timey vibe with a focus on handmade, locally crafted wares, so too has graphic design turned back the clock to the pre-digital age. Gestalten‘s latest release, Echoes of the Future, profiles emerging designers that mix current technology with letterpress printing, vintage imagery, dated photographic processes and hand-lettered type—or at the least the illusion of it. There are nods to modernism, abstract expressionism, futurism, retro color palettes and the birth of the gridded layout.

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As you page through one muted, mid-century color palette to the next, the influence of past designers can start to feel a little heavy-handed, begging the question, how much style can you assimilate without sacrificing your own voice? But they don’t borrow as much as you might think. Tenfold Collective‘s illustration for a “Winter Wyoming Getaway” comes off as kitsch until it is compared to a true example from a 1950s travel brochure. The side-by-side comparisons showcase just how original these new designers are.

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The book also makes the interesting assertion that the draw towards time-honored design work indicates an “aspiration to visual longevity”. The introduction continues, “In these times of visual uncertainty more and more brands, products and businesses are using designs that promote the impression of stability.” Take the new Hertz campaign, illustrated by Chris Gray for DDB. The bold, three-color palette, the shading technique and heavy typeface are clearly inspired by the European and Russian futurist movement—and it’s great. We can’t help wondering if this is a way to make a statement or to play it safe, something only time will tell.

Echoes of the Future is now for sale from Gestalten and on Amazon.

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Evil Twin / Omnipollo Russian Roulette

Designed by Karl Grandin & Martin Justesen | Country: Sweden/Denmark

“Evil Twin/Omnipollo Russian Roulette is a collaborative effort between Swedish brewery Omnipollo and Danish brewery Evil Twin. Instead of doing a collaboration beer which is quite common these days, we choose to brew a beer each – a dark and a light one – and seal them in identical packages. For this project, Karl Grandin and Martin Justesen managed to merge the two company identities avoiding a collision and creating an expression with is forceful yet respectful. Bust a cap and face your destiny.”

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