30 July, 2013

the blacks and whites of Benoit Courti

Benoit Courti is a french photographer living in Paris. Fascinated by photography since his childhood, he first embraced a career as a music composer before becoming a professional portrait/art photographer in 2010.

Perhaps it's because Benoit Courti was a music composer in his past life that his photos have a lyrical feel. A professional portrait and art photographer since 2010, the Paris-based creative has made a beautiful set called Deep Black where he's staged a series of symbols against black backdrops. While some of these photos appear light and playful, still others have an emotional heaviness about them that can't be denied. "Illuminating simple subjects, minimal compositions whilst preserving a strong expressiveness," Courti says was the thought behind this series. [1]

the Viks urban steel commuter

The Viks urban fixed gear commuter bike is made entirely from stainless steel tubes, featuring two identically shaped cylindrical frames  to form its body. developed by estonian engineer Indrek Narusk and owner of Velonia bicycles, the design of Viks draws styling cues from cafe racer-style motorcycles and classic streamlined aesthetics. conceived without a seat tube, the overall construction is joined at the head tube and bottom bracket, with the fork and handle bar coming together as a single piece. crowns, dropouts, and welds are all also composed entirely of stainless steel tubes.

Stainless steel unique frame without seat tube. Two identical tube frames rune alongside the entire fraem. Joined at the head tube, seat tube and bottom bracket. Handmade with sizes built to order. The Viks frame is still in prototype mode. First set of frames are in the production for first customers, with a waiting tie of around 5 weeks. For updates check the page here.

29 July, 2013

a home for 2 travel writers

Emma Sloley and Adam McCulloch, travel writers, bought a house in the historic center of Mérida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán. The couple undertook the house’s renovation themselves, without the help of an architect or designer. Bold use of colours and a seductive combination of mid-century modern furnishing and local materials

The letters in the entryway, hanging over a 1950s vanity, spell the name of a popular Mexican boy band. The tile floor is original. A casita the couple added on the other side of the pool, across from the dining room, brings the total number of bedrooms to five.

casa W in Chile

An amazing, beach house, located in Huentelauquen, Chile and designed by 01Arq. Located in on the windy coastal town of Huentelauquén, casa W spans an area of 130m2 that includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room and terraces. The commission presented two restrictions, the first to create spaces protected from the wind and the second not to exceed a construction budget of 500USD per square meter. The house is located parallel to the sea, maximizing the view. Common areas are located to the south taking advantage of views over the existing cliff; these are resolved through a large space that includes kitchen, dining and living room. By a continuous wall of pine set vertically the house resolved three of its four facades, which allows it to articulate different patios and isolate the interior from the future constructions. [1]

The setting of these patios refers to the need to control the prevailing wind, the first developed as an intermediate space for expansion of the living room area and the second is designed to accommodate the tents of the children who can camp in safely. Between the two patios the access and the parking for two cars are located.

26 July, 2013

11 : the luxury football table

11 is a luxury football table for discerning lovers of the world’s favourite game. After a full year of careful planning and development it has now gone into limited production. 11’s sweeping curves reflect the beauty and grandeur of today’s modern stadiums, while its atmospheric lighting and chromed metal players capture the excitement and drama of a classic sporting encounter. Each individually numbered table is meticulously hand-finished to the very highest standards by skilled European craftsmen. This award-winning design was first showcased at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008. After attracting much critical and public acclaim, it has now been developed for limited production.

Each table is handcrafted to order and takes approximately 12 weeks of careful preparation before delivery and installation. Delivery times dependent on location. Pricing starts from 48,500 euros for the Classic Black and White version. For more iages go here.

I believe I can fly

I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies) is an amazing journey into the unknown. Two friends test the boundaries of free flight and friendship as they take their passion in a totally new direction. Join Tancrède and Julien on an incredible exploration into the world of free flight. The two friends are pioneers in ‘highlining’ - a vertiginous combination of climbing, slackline and tightrope walking. Using their skills and experience as climbers, the pair push their boundaries beyond the realms of possibility as they embark on a new evolution of their sport.

They travel from the Verdon gorge to the skyscrapers of Paris, and finally to the spectacular cliffs and fjords of Norway - where the pair plan to put weeks spent training to the ultimate test. Could months of planning and training really lead them to their dream of complete freedom... the freedom of flight. The talented friends featured in the film have been instrumental in the innovation and development of highlining and baselining, and this exciting project was born from their passion and love for what they do. It was filmed amongst a group of friends, with no funding or sponsorship for the training, filming & production involved.

Rubbee Electric Drive for bicycles

Today’s electric bikes represent a great alternative to traditional pedal-powered bikes, especially when you’re traversing a hill or on a hot summer day. The biggest drawback is the larger investment over a standard bike, not to mention the dilemma of what to do you do with your old pedal-powered bike once you’ve purchased an e-bike. Rubbee has created a unique and easy way to convert just about any traditional bike into an electric bike with a small motor that can be added above the rear wheel.

Rubbee’s new electric drive mounts onto almost any bike in just a few seconds. With an integrated clamp mechanism, it can be mounted on a bike’s rear wheel in just a few seconds and the innovative drive motor with an integrated battery pack keeps you going without having to pedal for up to 18 miles. The Rubbee electric drive uses a motor that can produce a maximum of 800 watts of power and a 280 volt battery pack. The system has the ability to reach speeds up to 16 mph; it weighs only 13 pounds and can be fully recharged in two hours.

The London-based designers are currently trying to raise production funds with a Kickstarter campaign. If you pledge at least £799 ($1,226 US) or more you can get your hands on the first batch of electric drive units that will be available in November.

23 July, 2013

a journey into Africa with Nick Brandt

Nick Brandt is a photographer who photographs exclusively in Africa, one of his goals being to record a last testament to the wild animals and places there before they are destroyed by the hands of man. Born in 1966 and raised in London, England, Brandt studied Painting, and then Film at St. Martins School of Art. He moved to the United States in 1992 and directed many award-winning music videos. It was while directing “Earth Song”, a music video for Michael Jackson in Tanzania, in 1995 that Brandt fell in love with the animals and land of East Africa. Over the next few years, frustrated that he could not capture on film his feelings about and love for animals, he realized there was a way to achieve this through photography, in a way that he felt no-one had really done before. In 2000, Brandt embarked upon his ambitious photographic project: a trilogy of books to memorialize the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa. His photography bears little relation to the colour documentary-style wildlife photography that is the norm. He photographs on medium-format black and white film without telephoto or zoom lenses. [1]

the Beagle of London

The Beagle has landed, in the heart of Shoreditch. a new venture by brothers Danny and Kieran Clancy, it's uniquely situated within three rather beautifully renovated railway arches next to Hoxton station. The place takes its name from one of the locomotives that used to operate on the old north london line overhead, beagle not only comsprises of a restaurant but a bar and coffee shop as well, and has a large south facing outdoor seating area for up to 60 covers. London-based practice Fabled Studio created an interior design that seamlessly matches the industrial vibe of the location with brushed blackened steel contrasting against the clean brickwork, and wooden floor that's very appropriately made from reclaimed railway sleepers. The arches have been fitted with louvered slats, admitting light and air when required. the terrace seating areas feature furniture and planters also made made from reclaimed railway sleepers. [1]

The chef is using a traditional wood grill for much of his cooking, sample dishes include pig’s head croquette with gribiche sauce, wild sea bass with samphire and cucumber and custard tart with poached rhubarb. Read some reviews here and here.

the Shanghai Film Museum

Should you be so lucky as to be asked to design a Film Museum, how would you feel? Most likely, overwhelmed. The many juicy aspects of the dream factory of film business make one’s head spin! The technology – from the first scratchy silent films to today’s 4D experiences. The genres – from drama and documentaries, to sci-fi and animated movies. And the intrigue and mystery of film as propaganda tool and promotional vehicle. The stars and the drama of their lives online and off. The various awards, the gowns and the glitter. Even the people behind the movie cameras – the directors, the movie moguls and the critics – all seem to carry an extra aura of glamour and fascination. Add to that the sets, the locations, the props, the car chases, cliff-hangers, fantasy worlds and the historical epics created and recreated through film. Indeed, no lack of material.

When Tilman Thürmer the German-born architect and founder of Coordination Asia, was selected as the Art Director of the Shanghai Film Museum, he had “film” and “Shanghai” as his directives. No more, no less. The Shanghai Film Museum, opened on June 17 and currently hosting screenings for the nine-day 16th International Shanghai Film Festival, is therefore a highly commendable feat in its minimalist yet immersive approach. It’s goal is to celebrate and introduce to visitors the past and future of Shanghai’s involvement as the centre of Chinese film. The 15,000 square-meter, four-storey building is located in a former film studio in downtown Xujiahui. The new museum involves more than 70 interactive installations and 3,000 historic exhibits. The visitors can ad-lib for famous Chinese films in a real sound studio, walk the red carpet, or Carpet of Light, or learn about animation, post-production, sound and live broadcasting in fully equipped studios.

Over 15,000 sqm this museum will share the story of Shanghai filmmaking, from its magical beginning in 1896 until present day’s 3D blockbusters. Located in a former film studio in Shanghai’s downtown Xujiahui, the new museum boasts 4 floors, over 70 interactive installations and a collection of 3,000 historic exhibits. As the first film museum in the city, the museum will have a leading role in maintaining the international position of Shanghai film and raising awareness for the industry’s value on a national level. Be it by dubbing classical films in a real sound studio, walking through a lifelike film set on Shanghai’s famous Nanjing Road or by becoming a star on the ‘Carpet of Lights’, where virtual fans and photographers flash their camera’s trying to capture the ‘celebrity’ that just passed by; in the Shanghai Film Museum the visitor becomes a part of film and is invited to actively participate in it. This key concept of inclusion in the world of film is the red thread through the Shanghai Film Museum, which seamlessly integrates historical relics in an interactive environment, in a new cultural hotspot of international allure with a certain local touch.

UpperKut communications agency

Upperkut, a young communications agency, based in Montreal, Canada, takes up residence in the basement of a fully operational church, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, in Montreal. The issue posed therefore was how to design the space without compromising the dynamic and fun character of the agency, and without altering the ceilings and other acoustic components of the building? Montreal-based designer, Jean de Lessard, solved the problem by relying heavily on color and large-scale graphics that echo Uppercut’s website. The 380-square-meter space was divided into four areas: president’s office, project managers’ area, studio and multi-function room. The result is a colorful, functional space with a slightly scruffy feel that reiterate the vibes of both Upperkut and church-basement life.

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