If the word ‘melancholy’ does not appear in this post, I am not doing my job. Sure the photographs of Garmonique are a little on the gloomy side, but that doesn’t stop them from being absolutely gorgeous. The color and composition of each is tremendous. (Can color/composition be described as tremendous? Probably not, but these shots are great enough that I willing to bend any vocabulary rules you might subscribe to.) He captures a very specific mood. I feel lost and lonely — but in a good way. Mysterious, dark and yes, melancholic indeed. That one image of the ocean reminds me a lot of the Hiroshi Sugimoto shot used for U2’s last album cover.
“The birth of a new color exists”. Well I’m intrigued; I’ve always wanted to see a new color. This video gives you a little behind the scenes look at the Pantone color factory. Be prepared for a number of tasty shots of ink and paper. The video is “to celebrate the release of The Plus Series, the next generation of the classic Pantone Matching System” and was produced by Base.
What would be really cool is if a color was invented that actually *looked* new. Sure they have ‘invented’ lots of new colors, but to the average person, it’s all the same stuffs: green, blue, pink, etc. You show 99/100 people a new Pantone color and they will look puzzled if you tell them it didn’t exist before. What I want to see is a new color that literally doesn’t exist yet. The kind of thing that is so new your mind cannot even comprehend what it would look like because by definition it is impossible. Something outside the spectrum of visible light. Until then, I don’t want to hear about these “new” colors. A little trippy I know, but when the Pantone guy said they invented new colors I got excited.
I don’t know quite how to describe Feric Feng. His site describes his work as a “surreal blend of the natural and mechanical” — which is an apt description, if only lacking in deserved adjectives of praise. ‘Gorgeous’, ‘innovative’ and maybe ‘spell-binding’ would be my additions. For me his renderings conjure aspects of the work of Si Scott. Something about the complexity and super minute detail. Such detail that most people probably don’t even perceive the intricacies of the work; rather it just looks “complicated” until you look further and realize how much consideration and attention each element has been given. I have my eye on a few of his prints.
catalogtree is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Amsterdam. Their work is instantly recognizable for its complexity and exceptional clarity; a combination not easily achieved. Their ability to compress large amounts of data into these gorgeous infographics is unparalleled. Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross are the designers behind catalogtree and I had the pleasure to ask them a few questions before I left for Tokyo. Their answers and some example work after the jump.
What were your goals when you initially set up shop?
We never really set up shop and in a way this is our goal. To not have a shop and be amateurs at what we do. Right now we’re working on a 232 meter long radio antenna and are building a crystal radio to receive a local pirate station. We have never done this before and have no idea if this project will succeed.
Well this wasn’t a hard decision: Undercover is officially my favorite clothing store in Tokyo. The SS/10 collection is based on the work of Dieter Rams, using the motto “Less but Better” to guide the design. Need I say more? I walked in and saw rows of Vitsoe shelving and was sold immediately. Then I saw Snow White’s coffin, an old Braun catalog, and basically every object Dieter Rams had ever designed. Eventually I realized there were also clothes for sale and I had to take a seat to collect myself. Of course I found myself sitting on the 620 Chair.
We make noise, not clothes. – Jun Takahashi and Undercover.
So obviously I’m a fan of the overall aesthetic and ethos of the store. My one complaint was, as much as I loved the clothes (and I did), absolutely nothing fit me. Of course I became frustratingly used to this in Tokyo. Would have loved to pick something up; though I did search long and far to find their 2010 lookbook as a consolation prize. They had a display copy in-store, which I pleaded for in broken Japanese, but they wouldn’t part with it. Every book store in Tokyo was the same — it wasn’t until the last place I tried where the guy told me I could just grab one on Amazon.jp. This is true, but you need to create a new account and shipping ends up costing about double the book itself. I have one on the way and will let you know if it’s worth it. From what I remember, it is.
Cheers to the sales guys there for letting me take so many pictures. Pretty tough thing to do in Tokyo; most places will freak out and lock you down if you pull out a camera. Not sure why, free publicity as far as I’m concerned. Anyway these guys were really nice and made a special “exception” for me — I think because they felt bad that literally the entire line didn’t fit me.
Yes, both of those passports are mine. The first thing that was said to me upon my arrival in Narita was “Do you know Interpol?” I answered yes and was lead into an interrogation room where I sat for about 45 minutes. Periodically someone would come explain that my passport was stolen. I would explain back to them that it couldn’t be, as it was right there in front of us. In the end I was told to go to the American Embassy and get a new one (hence the two above). So now I have two passports and a unique knowledge of the underworld at Narita Airport. That was at the beginning, much has happened since then.
Since my last update I have been out mining for cool things. No more tourist attractions (besides the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. My Mom already made fun of me for visiting a noodle museum, so don’t start). I am happy to say that I have been successful in my searchings for all things weird and wonderful. Most of my time has been spent in Aoyama, Harajuku and Naka Meguro (with some Daikanyama too). It’s been hard to decide what to focus on; clothes, housewares, interiors, music, games, food…I could easily spend all of each day bouncing between all the different shops in those areas. One place I literally had to leave because I was afraid I might buy too many things (Sempre). I also found a hair salon that was having a yard sale. Their three items for sale were a replica M16, faded porn, and a Twitter sign. Awesome.
I spent today walking around Aoyoma, a fairly upscale shopping district near Harajuku in Tokyo. One of the more distinctive features of the area is the Prada building, designed by the Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron. It was really hot walking around it and staring up at the sun, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to shoot such a cool looking structure. The way the glass warps the interior while simultaneously reflecting the exterior makes for some really interesting compositions. From immediately below, looking up at the sky, the building kind of resembles bubble wrap, or perhaps the bottom of an almost boiling pot. My favorite part is the color contrast of the cross sections, between the black of the edges and the off-white of the supports. The attendants inside kept tossing me suspicious glances, once they figured out I was *not* there to buy anything.
I passed by this evening as well and the building looked awesome in a completely different way. Kind of like a 24 hour bee hive. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera; I would have really liked to round out the photo group with a few night shots. On an unrelated note, I didn’t have my camera because I was on the way to a Mike Stern concert at the Blue Note. If you are remotely into progressive jazz guitar at all, check out his music. He and the band (especially bassist Richard Bona) really tore the roof off the place tonight.
We’ve been in Japan now for about 5 days. Mostly in Tokyo, though the last couple days were spent in Osaka and Kyoto, utilizing our JR Rail Passes. I almost blitzed to Kobe for the afternoon but got caught up on the world’s largest ferris wheel in Osaka. I didn’t know I was afraid of heights until this trip, where I have managed to induce vertigo about 5 times. We’ll be in Tokyo for the rest of the week, staying in a pretty crazy part of Shinjuku.
The trip thus far has been amazing. The weather — especially compared to two years ago — has been really cooperative. We’ve gotten lost many times; usually the result of me half-remembering where something is from last time. I can speak enough Japanese to ask for directions, but not quite enough to fully understand the answer. This usually results in us basically bouncing between locals until we happen upon our destination. I refer to this process as Lost Alex’s Local Japanese Pinball. Travel companions generally do not find this amusing.