Publisher Gestalten writes: Staging Space presents an extensive collection of work in which images and space meld seamlessly into a single narrative entity. The spectrum of examples includes exhibition and event architecture, interior design, art installation, and stage design as well as multimedia brand concepts and light projections on city surfaces. The book also features an array of hybrid solutions whose focus lies on using space to achieve pre-defined dramatic effects.
The diverse international work collected in Staging Space demonstrates inspirational new applications for aesthetics, information technology, and sales pitches. Because this work crosses boundaries between creative disciplines and defies convention, it gives us the opportunity to appreciate the added value of a well thought-out presentation in physical space. This insight is especially relevant for those working as designers, interior decorators, and set designers, but also for those in advertising and marketing.
Another great volume by Gestalten. This one, however, features even less text than other books from the publisher i've reviewed in the past. If loads of images and a scarce but adequate amount of words is what you're looking for as a Christmas present to yourself or cousin, go ahead!
The volume starts nice and clean with inventive interior design for office and home but it gets increasingly exciting, surprising and unbuttoned as you turn the pages. The last chapter, Spatial Explorations - Redefining Space in the Contemporary Arts brings wild constructions made of kilometers of string, sleek splashes of paints or trash. Shapes and materials swirl, break, hang, glow, bend or decay.
As usual, the book review provides me with an excellent excuse to show projects i've discovered along the pages:
The opening chapter, Scenic Interior - Indoor Spaces for Living and Working, looks at innovation in office spaces and private houses.
Visiondivision was commissioned to design an extension to a villa for two kids in southern Stockholm. Hill Hut is all about the landscape surface, with enhanced elements around and inside the house for the kids to play with.
Next, Brand Experience - Indoor Spaces for Corporate Communication from fair stand to retail store, moves decisively into the commercial sphere. The chapter reminded me that on a Saturday afternoon, no shop -no matter how wonderfully designed- can ever live up to the glossy images that emerge in magazines right before the store opens to the public. After that, it's heaps of unfolded clothes, ugly wet boots staining the carpet floor, and big red stickers that advertise the Winter sales. Still, as the examples below will prove, brand experience is more than just fancy boutiques.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of an English tea brand presence in Japan, nendo designed a cafe based on the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland. The size of the long table and rows of chairs was distorted to heighten the room's sense of receding depth. Some of the chairs were so tiny visitors could barely squeeze into them. Other were so big that their feet couldn't touch the ground. Silhouettes of characters from the novel were covering the wallpaper.
Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom, founders of TAF designed Soft Parcel, a furniture range wrapped in fabric like parcels. The high-quality fabric looks like paper and the product becomes both a gift and a soft module that can even be loaded on a trolley to become an easy chair.
Third section, Themed Environment - The Art of Exhibition Design demonstrates that the art of designing an exhibition has started to be recognized as a form of creative expression in itself.
Cardboard Cloud by Fantastic Norway. A giant pixelated cloud made of some 3000 suspended cardboard boxes installed a couple of years ago at the Centre for Design and Architecture (DogA) in Oslo, Norway.
Viewcones --inspired by 'ViewMaster' toys-- distributed around NAU's Matterball reveal flat screen monitors that showcase Alex McDowell's original designs for films like 'Minority Report', 'Fight Club' and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'
Performative Spaces - Scenographic Environments for Stages and Shows is all about drama, fashion, theater as well as electronically enhanced environment. At this point, the book starts to get really exciting.
Thom Browne staged his fashion collection at Pitti Uomo Fashion Fair in Florence inside the Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronatiche. In a 17 minute performance, male models gave an interpretation of a 1950s office environment in perfectly synchronized movements. They carried the same briefcase, hung their coats at identical stands, typed at identical desks, ate the same packed lunch.
For the 2008 edition of the "Nuit Blanche" in Amiens, François Wunschel and Pier Schneider (1024 architecture) designed the BOOM-Box, an oversized ghetto blaster where the DJ stage takes the shape of a tape recorder.
Final chapter, Spatial Explorations - Redefining Space in the Contemporary Arts is even more experimental than the previous ones.
Marc Anthony-Polizzi explores 'the domesticated chaos of the post-consumer world.;
Views inside the book:
Publisher Princeton Architectural Press writes: The last decade has witnessed a proliferation of artists whose primary medium is software. Algorithmic processes, harnessed through the medium of computer code, allow artists to generate increasingly complex visual forms that they otherwise might not have been able to imagine, let alone delineate. The newest volume in our Design Brief series Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture is a non-technical introduction to the history, theory, and practice of software in the arts. Organized into themes linked to aspects of code--repetition, transformation, parameters, visualization, and simulation--each of the book's sections contains an essay, code samples, and numerous illustrations. An accompanying website (www.formandcode.com) features code samples in various programming languages for the examples in the book. An ideal introductory text for digital design and media arts courses, this unique primer will also appeal to students and professionals looking for a survey of this exciting new area of artistic production.
Just like Processing: a Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, this paperback was co-authored by Casey Reas. But Form+Code doesn't have the same ambitions as its tech-heavy and rigorous predecessor. Conceived as a prelude to the use of software for creative purposes, the book is the perfect opening for designers, visual artists, and architects eager to explore the possibilities that coding offers.
Form+Code is no "Coding for Dummies" as you will not learn how to program. Instead, the authors take you through a series of concepts, background facts and works that are meant to inspire, stimulate and encourage you to explore the topic further.
Form+Code is also the ideal introduction to coding for people as creative as a vacuum cleaner but curious about the world of visual arts like i am. Reading this book, there is no doubt left that code is hidden in every single discipline that shape contemporary visual culture: sculptures, information aesthetics, story-telling, live performances, graphic design, large-scale installations, industrial design, photography, gaming, artiﬁcial life, etc. I posted a few examples below that i discovered in the book.
Roxy Paine's SCUMAK (Auto Sculpture Maker) is an industrial-style machine that melts plastic with pigments and extrudes them onto a conveyor belt, creating blob shapes. A software programme controls the process so that instead of churning out mass produced objects, the machine creates one of a kind sculptures.
Flocking Diplomats is a series of posters that visualize parking violations by foreign ambassadors in the US over two decades. Catalogtree's images show a spike in parking tickets around lunchtime on weekdays. On a larger scale, they reveals more macro trends, such as a dramatic drop in violations shortly after September 11, 2001.
In his online narrative and navigable experiment, The Whale Hunt , Jonathan Harris has used an automated data collection process to document the 9 days he spent with a family of Inupiat Eskimos as they were getting ready to hunt whales.
"An algorithm written by [Keith Tyson] determines what will be on view in this new exhibition. The subsequent rolls of a die determined the parameters of the sculpture, including the color, depth and position of each element."
To be honest, Form+Code was the book i was waiting for. It is remarkably down-to-earth, clear, resourceful and has found that rare balance between illustration and text.
BIS Publishers writes: Creative Characters is a collection of in-depth interviews with the most influential type designers in the business as well as up-and-coming young guns about the motives and methods behind the typefaces.
The list of designers include Jim Parkinson, Underware, David Berlow, Alejandro Paul, Veronika Burian, Rian Hughes, Cristian Schwartz and many more.
WARNING: Reading the interviews feels like being a peeping tom pressing his nose against the window panel of a private fetish club. I might not share the designers' craze for fonts but that doesn't prevent me from being curious about what's happening at their parties.
Creative Characters is a collection of interviews with some 30 typeface designers, mostly from Europe and the Americas. Some have started designing fonts at a time when type design was 'not an option' neither as a course nor as a career. Jim Parkinson (whose interview i recommend most enthusiastically) remembers how he was paid with free pizza coupons and beers. Others have freshly graduated, some are even self-taught.
The interviewer and editor of the book, Jan Middendorp -a designer, writer and type critic author of several books on typography and graphic design- certainly knows how to make an interview compelling. Readers get an almost intimate glimpse into the daily life and challenges of each of the designers interviewed: how they started designing types, what their favourite font is, how the city they live in fuels their creativity, how they react to type trends, determine the price of a font, navigate between constraints and creativity. But by piecing the interviews together, readers also get lessons on common mistakes to avoid, the evolution of the discipline, the use of online networking tools, etc.
Having a look at the online archive of creative characters will give you an idea of the type samples, graphic designs, sketches and discussions reproduced in the book. The volume however provides additional material: much more illustrations, focus on a particular typeface and the history of its creation, etc. I must confess though that i couldn't find the "concise beginner's guide to type design by world-renowned specialist (and MyFonts collaborator) Adam Twardoch" promised by the publisher.
Publisher Taschen says: Made in collaboration with featured artists, Trespass examines the rise and global reach of graffiti and urban art, tracing key figures, events and movements of self-expression in the city's social space, and the history of urban reclamation, protest, and illicit performance. The first book to present the full historical sweep, global reach and technical developments of the street art movement, Trespass features key works by 150 artists, and connects four generations of visionary outlaws including Jean Tinguely, Spencer Tunick, Keith Haring, Os Gemeos, Jenny Holzer, Barry McGee, Gordon Matta-Clark, Shepard Fairey, Blu, Billboard Liberation Front, Guerrilla Girls and Banksy, among others. It also includes dozens of previously unpublished photographs of long-lost works and legendary, ephemeral urban artworks.
Trespass is not simply a street art book. Even if it were, it wouldn't be any street art book. This one comes with the Wooster Collective seal of approval. Marc and Sara Schiller have contributed an essay to the book. So did Banksy. And culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick.
Trespass features graffiti of course but also other types of urban reclamation, such as protest interventions in public space and illicit performances. These grassroots, creative actions might be uninvited and illegal (the book ends with a small chapter on graffiti and law in the USA) but that doesn't prevent nowadays' advertisers and corporations from trying to track, exploit, and copy them.
The most fascinating quality of the book is that it brings what we would lazily describe as 'street art' into historical context, affiliating today's most iconic clandestine artists with performers and activists from the '70s and the '80s.
More importantly, the works inside the book invite us to see our urban environment with new eyes and reassess our relationship with it. But i'm sure you've heard that one before so i'll end with a few interventions i've discovered in the book:
Father Anthony Joseph (aka Joey Skaggs) peddling the Portofess, a confessional booth mounted on the back of a tricycle. "If people can confess on Oprah, Phil and Geraldo, I don't see why they can't confess right here on Eighth Avenue," he declared on his way to the site of the Democratic National Convention in New York City during July of 1992.
John Fekner's stenciled spray painted messages on Charlotte Street in the South Bronx became a background where politicians, activists and leaders liked to be portrayed. Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan chose to stand in front of Broken Promises on August 5, 1980 at the People's Convention.
On a wall built by Israel to segregate Palestinians:
Shannon Spanhake distributed a community garden inhabiting inside the potholes around Tijuana. She planted flowers and vegetables and added a note inviting inhabitants to take care of and use the garden as their own.
Un incidente in gondola was not a performance, but an orchestrated accident. After special preparations by Hans Winkler, who sits on it, the gondola did sink in a canal. The project addresses a City flooded with tourism and struggling to preserve its sinking beauty.
Publisher LIBRI says: This book brings together some of the world's leading practitioners and thinkers from the fields of art, architecture and design who all share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The book reveals, for the first time, the working processes of these major practitioners' work that breaks down traditional creative disciplinary boundaries. Digital Blur provides a rich picture, both visually and textually, of the following nine leaders in the field - Jason Bruges Studio, Greyworld, HeHe, Crispin Jones, the Owl Project, the Pooch, Bengt Sjolen, Troika, and Moritz Waldemeyer.
(...)The book provides a detailed insight into the techniques of these ten significant creative individuals and how they exploit the latest computing technologies in their work and the impact this will have for creative practice in the future.
Two years ago, inter_multi_trans_actions, a symposium at the Napier University, brought together 10 talented and innovative artists, architects and designers who integrate computing technologies in their creative practice. Digital Blur presents the proceedings of this one day event. The book seeks to present how the work of the invited participants is 'blurring' the boundaries that used to divide disciplines such as art, engineering, fashion, hacking, design, architecture, etc.
Let not the word 'proceedings' scare you, none of the participants at the conference came up with a stiff and cold paper. They gave a very intimate and personal overview of their own practice: their background, first steps in this world of 'digital blur', the importance of working in network, the tricks to engage the audience, the quest for funding and commissions, etc. We follow speakers as they take us through the development of their own projects, including the delicate moments, glitches, errors they had to face and solve.
The tone of the book is very laid-back with humour, questions from the audience, discussions between the designers and cultural historian Lucy Bullivant and loads of images.
The volume closes with three essays: Softspace: the emergence of interactive design installations by Lucy Bullivant, Undisciplinarity by John Marshall and Julian Bleecker and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Interaction by Daniel West.
The cover of Digital Blur, designed by After the News, mirrors the innovative and techy content of the volume. Each of them has a slightly different generative pattern made using Processing.
If you're a student in media art or interaction design or if you're just curious about the story behind some of the most blogged-about installations and interaction designs of the past few years, i'd highly recommend you get your hands on this book.
Recommended books on the subject: Book Review - Digital by Design: Crafting Technology for Products and Environments, Book review: dsocial: Interactive Design Environments and Book review: Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design.
Publisher Gestalten says: This book presents a wide range of projects in container architecture - a contemporary architectural phenomenon. It features container structures used as pop-up stores and temporary exhibits as well as sophisticated housing and office spaces that provoke and inspire while setting new standards in functionality and aesthetics. But the book is not only visually inspiring. Because it documents plans, describes associated costs, and suggests concrete solutions for common problems, it is a practical reference for architects, planners, and cultural activists as well as event and marketing managers, to guide them in deciding what types of containers are best suited to their upcoming projects.
Here's one book i picked up thinking i'd have nothing but a moment of harmless fun. The kind you find inside coffee table books with spectacular pictures and next to no text. How wrong i was! The word "Practical" in the title should not be underestimated. Container Atlas contains indeed plenty of information for anyone willing to live or work inside a container: transportation, construction laws, ecological impact, hidden costs and other economic aspects, even construction physics.
Interestingly, the volume opens on the history of container transportation. It's not exactly a fairy tale. The man responsible for the standardization and worldwide adoption (nowadays, some 90% of non-bulk cargo transits by sea inside containers) of the metal box. Malcom McLean is depicted as a man keen on achieving maximum profit and efficiency. He was a brilliant businessman, not a philanthropist. For example, he would crush the habits of giving names to trucks and of placing nametags inside the driver's can. Convinced that a company that allowed employees to develop a personal relationship to one particular truck could not run efficiently, he gave trucks numbers.
Containers have since then been used as emergency housing for asylum seekers, temporary buildings in disaster areas or as construction site offices.
The dozens of architects, designers and artists whose work is presented in the book managed to, at at last!, bring emotion and personality to the stern container. And that's where the fun i was expecting begins. Whether they are used as part of a more 'traditional' architecture or as the sole building blocks of a dwelling, whether they are used as a cheap and quirky way to advertise how edgy a company (cf. Freitag's flagship store in Zurich and that pop Puma City) or to bring culture on a city square, containers prove that they can outdo the stigma of the standardized box:
A spectacular 100 square-meter tea pavilion suspended above the ground overlooking the Sea of Japan.
sculp(IT) did the most brilliant job at turning a space only 2.4 meters (7 feet 10 inches) wide into a living / working space as well as a light installation. They are located in Antwerp's red light district after all.
Let's fire up the pictures:
Angela Fritsch Architekten's Gold Pavilion in the park of The Alice-Hospital vom Roten Kreuz in Darmstadt, Germany. The container box is covered with a wallpaper made out of sheet metal. The light comes through the cut-out ornamental leaves.
The Cancer Center in Amsterdam is a semi-permanent structure erected while the research and treatment clinic was rebuilt and enlarged. The 7 storey building was built within a year.
Just added on my wish list:
Not sure my eyes will ever recover from the brashness of these sanitary facilities:
Views inside the book:
More container stories: Ann Veronica Janssens at the EACC in Castellon, Spain, Mission Eternity and 17 containers for a concept store.