Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Type In London

December 20, 2008, 1:04 PM

No wonder London designers are so good, growing up seeing such beautiful type treatments day by day surely has its impact.

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London Shop Fronts is the blog where you can admire more of these beautiful store fronts.
(via Swiss Miss)

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United Visual Artists created the Massive Attack…

December 19, 2008, 2:44 PM

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…stageset for their latest tour. UVA based their set up around a huge LCD screen, dominating the stage (unforgetable impressive, as I’ve written just after the Bucharest concert). All the animations were superbly syncronized with the music — political messages running on the screen, huge, red or white, flickering, dominating, pulsating, penetrating the wide-open eyes. The beautiful part was that, at first, I thought that the screen was similar to the one Muse brought the year before, coloured streams of light flooding the stage as the music got higher and higher. But when the light began to shape shift into letters, and then into maps, images, drops of water, I could not help but watch in awe a political–manifesto–perfectly–built show, meant to strike everyone to the core — not just a normal music concert.

I’d bet that none present there left untouched.

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You can view larger images on UVA’s page about the shows (these ones are from The Royal Festival Hall).

And if you’re wondering who the hell UVA are, I bet you’ve seen this before:
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It’s their much-awarded project “Volume“. UVA also did shows for Massive Attack before, U2 and many more, as you can see here and here.

(via fabrikproject — thanks Alin for the tip ;)

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Building with light

September 28, 2008, 11:59 AM

Great article about the glittering, Vegas-rivaling, Tokyo pachinko halls on Ping Mag, made by Tokyo Odyssey (check their website for more projects).

Seeing these amazing lighting solutions proved me yet again that light is one of the most impressive means of building architectural volumes, but also one of the most underestimated. Strange how we, humans, as civilization depend so much on our visual perception and still are toying around like dumb kids with one of physics strongest energies. It also pains me every time I’m involved in interior design projects, on one degree or another, to see how of little importance the lighting is to the architects or the client (can’t blame the latter, though, especially in Romania).

One of the rare things that impressed me during college was the lighting lecture kept by a great designer (even if he was a former doctor and also a plastic arts graduate), Mr. Savel Cheptea, one of the founders of the Design College in Cluj. He taught us the importance of good lighting, the effects it has on our eyes and especially on our working/reading stamina—by extending, the huge importance lighting has on our mood (ever wonder why you’re grumpier on rainy days?—it’s the lack of strong, warm sun light and the omnipresence of cold, shadowless light, not the rain itself). I bought that week a 200 watt light bulb for our student room, it boosted our drawing efficiency by at least two times, being able to draw till 4 or 5 in the morning without our eyes feeling the fatigue. After two weeks we got used to it so well that we could sleep with the light on, as others were working.

Most of my 3D renderings were light studies, I could fine tune radiosity and light scattering for days, but got bored in modelling in just three hours tops. The biggest pain while working as an interior designer was that the company made just 3DSMax scanline rendering for the clients, with no real light simulation whatsoever. Sure real light took hours of rendering compared to the 20-30 minute basic renders, and of course clients were visually uneducated (and sadly, still are in Romania). But lighting is one of the most important parts in interior design. Build anything you like, using the most amazing materials, put a 50 watt bulb inside and you’ve got nothing. Use just plasterboards and LED lighting and you can suggest any mood you’d like, from burning hot to freezing cold. And even if the client is uneducated, presenting a light study rather than a washed out top view image will help you sell the project a lot easier. Engineers can easily make top views, an architect should sell concepts, moods, impressions (Monet anyone?).

Sadly, romanian architecture is in the dark. The majority of public-interest buildings are either washed out with cheap lighting (not cheap actually, cost-inefficient to be more precise) or totally “stealth”, like haunted houses on a creepy road.

Concluding, here are some examples of superb lighting. You can easily guess the succes they have as a retail marketing and branding tool.

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USS CityMall

December 15, 2007, 3:06 AM

This bridge is placed just outside my window. I got to visit it for the first time today. Interesting. Feels like “beam me up, Scotty” :P

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and this is from the night they put it together (can’t believe it was 3 months ago already, time surely flies, with warp ten sometimes :P).

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And if you’re wondering why the pictures are all at night, it’s because designers are actually vampires, we only work at night (it’s a big conspiracy to hide the truth from all of you people and all the other bla bla) :P

Later edit:
City Mall has posted on their site some details about the project (link in romanian). According to their webpage, I’ll have just around the corner 4 banks (Raiffeisen, BCR, Emporiki and Piraeus) and two big retailers, Domo and Billa (plus one casino, in case I feel lucky :P). I’d be glad about them, but having a 11-floors-24/7-open parking lot nearby means less fresh air from the parks around :(

At least I’ll be able to see Bucharest from sky high :)

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An ogre must live here :)

December 2, 2007, 5:29 PM

Beautiful house with huge door, near Armeneasca Str, Bucharest (Toamnei str, if you look on yahoo maps). Irene came up with the ogre :). The image is made from 2 photos on top of each other, since my N73 wasn’t wide enough, with the help of some photomerging in PsCS3 (which still amazes me just how good it is).

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CATEGORIES: Architecture, My photos

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Kashiwa Sato – Japan is another planet

October 21, 2007, 9:22 PM

This must be it, japanese are aliens. Otherwise they wouldn’t come up with crazy stuff like this, website, work, everything. Very interesting how each photo has its own color-strip presented. Take a look at Kashiwa Sato.

Their eye-popping site:
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and some of their work:
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(via Pingmag)

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Design and architecture through art

August 10, 2007, 6:23 PM

It’s all clear to me now why Zaha Hadid and Paula Scher are so good and original at what they do. It’s simply because they are neither architect (Zaha) nor graphic designer (Paula). They’re artists that happen to express their creativity through architecture and design. They don’t follow rules like we do, they simply create. It’s then up to people like us (designers that are often limited by our own education and profession) to develop and eventually realize the artists’ dream/idea.

Here are two interesting article/interview about Zaha’s lack of rigorously sketched notebooks (ID Fuel) and Paula’s failure of adapting to computers, but still drawing type by brush (interview by Hillman Curtis).

In spite of them beeing more artistical in their approach, here are two examples of great architecture/design. Paula’s Jazz logo:
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Zaha’s Centre for Islamic Art and Culture:
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and last but not least, take a look at this great typo-packaging by Paula:
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