Saturday, July 3, 2010
While the clothes from the the Prada SS11 mens collection did not quite match up to what the raw industrial runway set (together with the opening lighting sequence and the soundtrack by Frédéric Sanchez) had promised, the shoes yielded one of my favorite shoe concept from the Milan round of menswear shows. Dress shoe uppers were fused onto a rope soles which in turn were attached to an athletic rubber sole, forming a clunky footwear mille feuille with multiple identities conflated into one.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sejima wears a comme des garcons piece made for her by Rei, attending the Pritzker Prize ceremony, along with Ryue Nishisawa, at Ellis Island in New York last Monday. Long known to be an avid Comme fan and personal friend of Rei,the choice is no surprise, if not expected. Though the pair had collaborated on the Comme des Garcons exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo last year, I eagerly await the eventuality of these two visionary minds putting their hands together to create a more permanent Comme space in the future.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Picked up a bar of this Mast Brothers chocolate when i wondered into the Steve Alan shop at the West Village in New York some days ago. Run by brothers Rick and Michael Mast, it is the only bean-to-bar artisan chocolate maker in New york city and one of few in the United states. Every bar is handcrafted by the brothers in their factory in Brooklyn using the best cacao beans sourced from small farms and coops around the world. Every type of chocolate bar produced every season is wrapped in a beautiful wrapping paper from Cartotecnica Rossi, giving the eyes a treat before the taste buds. The bar I bought was dark chocolate + fleur de sel and it is possibly one of the smoothest and richest chocolate I've ever had, 72% cacao complemented with a generous sprinkling of sea salt embedded within the bar (which tends to be quite timidly used in many salty chocolate confections I've tasted). Now back on the other side of the earth, I regret not buying a few more bars." Hand crafted locally with organic cacaosourced from farms in Madagascar.Roasted in small batches. Hand cracked.Refined using granite stone and aged.date of Birth 4/15/10 "
edit: video by way of jose at coolhunting
Thursday, April 29, 2010
10 years in the making, the brand new Bras Basah station of the Circle line designed by Woha opened last week. Rising from the platform, one arrives at the bottom of a monumental void bathed in fluttering light refracted through the thin sheet of water hovering above the opening on top. The sky beyond this sheet of water is slightly obscured but signs of the outside world is reassuringly present. Ascending from the bottom of the void, the angles of the various elements play off each other, the retaining walls, light wells, thresholds,escalators, light and darkness, suspended in a tense composition of geometric forms. Cylindrical structural beams fly across the void, punching through the retaining walls, clad in a field of pale staggered rectangular panels. The bold angular geometry is reminiscent of 60s brutalist architecture, in its matter-of-factly straightforwardness, its muscularity and monumentality. There is a quiet restraint in the use of materials and patterns, yet one can still find within the spaces of the station a palette rich in nuances and subtle textures.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Who says carparks do not deserve to be architecture? Parking spaces, the most used but least occupied part of a building, are usually relegated to a banal and unabashedly functional appendage to the building or place which they serve, and if they are incorporated as part of a building, they are masked and obscured from view, as if attempting to pretend that they are not there, like an ostrich with its head in the sand. With such blatant aesthetic neglect and perfunctory treatment, architects are ashamed of carparks, urbanistic deserts met with scorn by urbanists.
At 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami, this conception of parking structures is rendered a stereotype. Designed by Herzog and de Meuron for the developer, Robert Wennett, the carpark is conceived as an extension of the urban fabric in which the whole development is situated, with a mix programme thrown in, a car park with a cultural and urbanistic dimension. Attached to the adjacent residential block, the parking structure is a stack of brute concrete planes, placed at different heights from each other, some extravagantly high, held up by an array of irregular trapezoidal columns. The edges of the concrete planes are lined with railings made of thin cables, virtually invisible. It is like a skeletal counterpart to the more solid volume which it is attached to. There is an abstract and subime quality not commonly associated with parking structures, raw and unadorned, spare and muscular. It is a refreshing change from the more exuberant and baroque fare that the architects have been serving up in the last few years. The whole structure is open and airy, cars are displayed in full view without shame. Retail shops line the ground level, with an island of retail space situated on level 5. (For those who are nearby, a Taschen bookshop will open there soon and at the level 5 retail space, there will be a shop called Alchemist stocking Rick Owens and Margiela among other labels.) The space on level 2 and 5 are available for use as event spaces, art installations, weddings and whatever you can think of.
The structure evokes a constriction site, the superstructure of a yet to be completed building waiting to be wrapped up and for potential programmatic content to be injected. It is this unspecificity that makes the intent of such a bare and open structure so painfully obvious. Easy adaptability makes the structure usable for a wide range of functions and limitless possibilities for retrofitting. There may come a time when the automobile no longer will play such a vital role in the running of our society, and something else will take precedence. And it will be this time when the architecture of this structure can express it's true potential. It is a building designed to change with an elastic programming that is built into it from the very start. The quest for one offs and specificity becomes at best a foolish ideal; the dictum form follows function superseded by form accommodating functions.
"Christine Binswanger, the partner at Herzog & de Meuron in charge of 1111 Lincoln Road, tells of a nervous phone call from Wennett the day after it opened for business. "Most people don't know what it is," he said. "Those who know what it is think it's unfinished. Those who know it's finished don't know how to get in." When I visited, it wasn't yet humming quite in the way it is supposed to."
the observer 28.3.10
Friday, April 16, 2010
L'Officiel just published a special Alexander Mcqueen tribute issue. A collection of archival articles from the magazine in French and English and 1000 photos from past magazine editorials and runway shows, it offers a quick run-through of his work, beginning with his first collection at Givenchy. Condensed into 153 pages, it barely skims the surface of his achievements and influence, and the exclusion of his pre-Givenchy collections somewhat disappointing (his 1995 Highland Rape collection is probably one of his most well known). Nevertheless, with the absence any authoritative literature on him on the market currently, this tribute issue is perhaps the best summary of his work that one can find in print.