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“Imagine how many undiscovered Jony Ive’s there are in Africa and some of the other developing parts of the world?”… https://t.co/dONKHGoN6s

Deconstructed Dutch Portraiture

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In American artist Michael Mapes riveting new work, he painstakingly assembles facsimiles of portraits painted by Dutch masters including Rembrandt and Nicolaes Eliaz Pickenoy. Hundreds of specimens – photos, hair, insect pins, gelatin capsules, glass vials, magnifying glasses, and sequins are meticulously arranged by shape and shade to create images that at a distance possesses uncanny likeness to the 350 year-old originals. The fanciful assemblages are evidence that artistic interpretation knows no bounds. Three of the pieces will be shown at Yellowstone Art Museum’s ‘Face to Face’ exhibit debuting March 2014.

Image via Designboom

Internet Balloons

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New initiatives seek to provide internet access to people living in remote areas with balloons. The balloons work as transmission towers and can reach large swaths of space through wireless connections. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) is actively researching the new technology and hopes to employ it in the Amazon and other rural regions of the country. They are currently working on creating balloons that can withstand lightning and wind as to avoid the possible disruption or damage caused by bad weather. Other countries and private sector companies are also beginning to experiment with internet balloons, which are a  lower cost alternative to terrestrial stations and satellite systems.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Taschen’s recently published 100 Illustrators culls a select list of the most significant contemporary artists from their Illustration Now! series. Including work from Istvan Banyai, Gary Baseman, and Anita Kunz, the compilation displays the diverse and showstopping work of the most compelling illustrators of current times. Visual Editions’ Where You Are assembles a variety of writing and visuals from thinkers, writers, and artists to challenge and expand upon conventional notions of what a map is. A lovely children’s book, Aventures d’un Village, replaces traditional pages with origami-like paper forms. The choose-your-own-adventure centers around an evolving village that morphs as the painterly images are unfolded.

Image via Bristol City Council

Enchanting Embroidery

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A Japanese woman recently photographed nearly 500 Temari spheres her 88-year-old grandmother embroidered over the last 20+ years. Originally crafted in China, the intricately embroidered folk art made its way to Japan in the 7th century. The thread of old kimonos is commonly used to construct the colorful spheres, which are often made by parents and grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day. Inside the balls, a child might find a bell or a note written to them by a relative.

Images via NanaAkua

Community Driven Streetscapes

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In an effort to make its streets more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, Los Angeles’s Department of Transportation is launching People St. The new grassroots initiative allows community members to apply online for city approval to transform unfrequented stretches of road into parklets, bike corrals, and plazas. While the applicant will bear the costs of the installation and upkeep, the city will provide the infrastructure that will convert existing spaces into safe and welcoming places for the community. Slated to begin in early 2014, People St. will address the growing demand for public space in L.A.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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To begin the New Year on an ambitious note, we thought to share some inspiring literature on leadership. Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us explores how the internet age is changing the way we come together and connect as a group. Social media, blogs, and other products of the technological age make it easier than ever for diverse tribes to gather around a political cause or environmental initiative. The book poses the question “Who is going to lead all these tribes?” and encourages everyone to take a stand and seize the opportunity to lead. Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life offers 12 practices for infusing creativity into all human endeavors. The authors, a psychotherapist and a philharmonic conductor, interweave their unique perspectives and professional experiences into stories that draw out the inspired person in all of us. A critical success, Thinking, Fast and Slow written by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner in economic science, leads the reader on a tour through the mind explaining the two systems that drive the way we think. The hope being that if we understand the origins of our intuition and impulses, we can avoid the pitfalls and “mental glitches” that lead us astray.

Image via Designboom

Happy Holidays

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From all of us at Wert&Co., wishing you and your family a festive and peaceful holiday season.

Image via Signs for Homes

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Interiors have been an area of focus in the Wert offices this December. And what better way to spend the holidays than browsing beautiful coffee table books by a cozy fire. Rizzoli has recently released a trio of enchanting monographs that showcase magical interiors. Photographer Francois Halard’s self-titled volume includes images from one of his first assignments, photographing a 20-something Yves Saint Laurent’s Parisian abode. With an old-world eye and a bohemian spirit, Halard captured images of the homes of revered tastemakers including Coco Chanel, Richard Avedon, and Schiaparelli. An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce showcases interior designer Timothy Corrigan’s lovely decorated and restored chateau in France’s Loire Valley. Offering both advice and insight into the art of French living, Corrigan reveals the secret to dwelling in a historic residence with modern flair. Lastly, Stephen Sills: Decoration documents Sills’s visionary old-meets-new interior style. Karl Lagerfeld once claimed the decorator’s country home in Bedford, NY to be “the chicest house in America.”

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Next up in our Bookshelf’s holiday series, are books for graphic design enthusiasts. Beginning with the fundamentals, pick up Paul Rand’s Design, Form, and Chaos and learn the trade from a graphic design icon. Musing on his craft, Rand explains how to develop process, intuition, and an aesthetic sense demonstrating the core of great design– the synthesis of beauty and utility. Another essential design text, Bruno Manari’s Design as Art, communicates a zen-like mindset and passion for merging art and life. His advice to “subtract instead of add” resonates as much today as it did forty years ago. And for eye candy, Marian Bantjes’s new monograph Marian Bantjes Pretty Pictures is an explosion of graphic work from the last decade. Bantjes’s visuals have been aptly described as “maximalist” calling to mind the Art Nouveau dreamscapes of Alfons Mucha.

Looking for more gift ideas? Designers & Books have put together a stellar book list for their Holiday Gift Guide.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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This holiday season the Wert&Co. team is planning on catching up on its reading. Our blog will count down to the New Year with bookshelf posts that revolve around the themes that are occupying our minds this December.

We are kicking off the series by highlighting a few stimulating and beautiful books on data visualization. First, Edward Tufte’s classic Envisioning Information presents delightfully illustrated diagrams, interfaces, maps, and charts that span a multitude of topics. Offering guidance on how to visually represent perplexing material, the colorful and award-winning book is a must-have for designers, educators, architects, and artists. David McCandless’ stunning books Information is Beautiful and The Visual Miscellaneum have been revised and reimagined. The author’s use of minimal text places his gorgeous graphics at the fore. Interpreting information on postmodernism to horoscopes to health findings, his books enrapture the reader with every turn of the page. Perhaps the most exciting monograph on visual storytelling of recent, The Best American Infographics 2013 edited by Gareth Cook with a foreword by David Byrne, chronicles the most influential visualizations of the year. The book speaks to our era of information overload, presenting a glimpse of imaginative and lively infographics that allow us to engage with and digest data in brand-new ways.

[Image via Designboom by Felix Lochner]

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