Delight & inform

Oh yes, the planet is sublime!

reader

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
cups,
rings,
and bowls –
not to speak, of course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
also
the
infinite-
ly
small–
thimbles,
spurs,
plates,
and flower vases.
Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!

Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda
(photo by Daniel Wert)

 

What are you thinking?

thinking

Guest Blogger, Anna Gerber

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Anna Gerber is guest blogging for us this month covering delightful new storytelling projects that have caught her eye. Anna is a Special Projects Creative Director who knows a thing or two about making stories, be they digital, on paper or brickwork as Co-Founder of Visual Editions and Creative Director of Editions At Play. Welcome, Anna!

wonder.land (By Anna Gerber)

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Are you one of those people who hears the words “adapted from”, “inspired by”, “based on” or even “re-imagined” and your critical tentacles tense up? Do you find yourself thinking things like “I wonder how faithful this film is to the original novel?” or “What would the author think if she saw this dance adaptation?”. I know I certainly am, with my hand held high up in admission, head bowed down.

So when I walked into The National Theatre to watch wonder.land, the wild trippy musical “loosely based” on Alice in Wonderland (there it is, you see) I was full of that critical, snooty, cultural judgement. But just as easily, I transcended those misgivings and can tell you that, over two hours later, I left feeling surprised. More than surprised: inspired. I loved it.

Created by the almighty Damon Albarn, Moira Buffini and Rufus Norris, wonder.land highlights include the coolest, most glitchy, ravey, Gorillaz inspired rabbit you’ve ever seen; a broken-home Alice whose avatar is everything she isn’t (complete with sky high Alexander McQueen-esque platforms); the Cheshire Cat blown up so big on screen you just want to climb into that Bowie grin; a headmistress turned Queen of Spades that made me think of a hipsterfied Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull; and a Mad Hatter (Alice’s debt ridden father) who could be a cross between Albarn himself and Johnny Depp. What’s there not to love? There’s even a virtual reality music video-as-app which is like watching a whole sprawling mini-universe squeezed into the teeny screen of your mobile phone. And in all of this, there’s a mash up of familiar, clever cultural counter points. A constellation full of the world around us — it’s loud, it’s claustrophobic, it’s visually saturated. And utterly familiar.

Of course Albarn and team aren’t the first to tackle Alice in Wonderland: before wonder.land came Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland and then there was Tim Burton’s wild ride of a film (cue: Johnny Depp) and there was Penguin’s polka dotted Yayoi Kusama beauty of a book and then there was Alice for the iPad that blew our digital minds open so wide we thought we’d never come out.

So maybe the real testimony here is the story itself: a story so good it calls out to be revisited and made familiar again and again and again. And maybe it’s okay if this Alice is more about gaming and social media than it is the traditional Lewis Carroll narrative. One thing’s for sure, Alice 2.0 makes for a fabulously wild ride.

(Anna is guest blogging for us this month covering delightful new storytelling projects that have caught her eye. Anna is a Special Projects Creative Director who knows a thing or two about making stories, be they digital, on paper or brickwork as Founder of Visual Editions and Creative Director of Editions At Play.)

The Pickle Index By Anna Gerber (Part 1)

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The Pickle Index is many things.

It’s a story about pickling and exchanging recipes and there’s also something about a circus. At least I think it is. What I do know for certain is The Pickle Index is completely ridiculous and also very ambitious and lives as both physical book-as-object and also crazy-digital-book-as-experience. You’ve got to love Eli Horowitz – carpenter turned McSweeneys Editorial Director turned wood cabin living entrepreneur – and Russell Quinn – digital powerhouse Englishman also living in the woods (I feel a theme coming on) – for having the chutzpah to dream up and make this book-cum-app-cum-recipe exchange at all.

The Pickle Index comes as a boxed edition with a fancy pants trick that lets you piece the two separate books together – lush large format illustrations become even more lush and larger when you place them alongside each other. Clever. There is abundant playfulness here, but there’s also something else: you are made aware, truly made aware, that this book is a physical object. So much so that it doesn’t really matter if this larger, more lush experience adds to our reading of the story because here we get to touch, feel, handle, have a play. And (to me at least) if you’re going to make an object (it can be any object, while we’re at it, it doesn’t even have to be a book) then you might as well make it something people want to spend time with and explore, sniff around its edges. You can even shoot high for permanence and make it a very beautiful keep-able object, which The Pickle Index certainly is (its makers tag it as ‘handsome’). 

New Year, New Beginnings

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No matter how you fill in the lines, Wert&Co. wishes you a colorful holiday season!

Timothy Goodman & Leah Schmidt Oreo Coloring Project)

Fabrica

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Founded in 1994 as a communications research center financed by Benetton, and based in Treviso (Italy), Fabrica has been a beacon to young artists and designers – in visual communication, photography, interaction, music, video and journalism – resulting in socially aware, often provocative work.

Within a new immersive website, designed and developed by italian firm Alquimia WRG, a “social stream”  now offers a behind the scenes peek inside their lively creativity.

(Photo by Reed Young)

Destination is never a place…..

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Wert&Co.’s founders recently travelled to the state of Chiapas Mexico, spending time in the deeply beautiful Mayan culture. Known for it’s colorful and intricate clothing and textile design, there was much visual delight — but on a deeper level it was also rich in learnings about the complexity within societies. For more imagery follow Judy’s instagram.

Evidence is piling up on the power of time off, not simply to disengage from our plugged in 24/7 lifestyle, but as a way to unleash creative thinking.  In a radical fashion, designer Stefan Sagmeister takes an extended sabbatical every seven years which he discussed in a popular TED talk about his motivations and the ideas that flow back into his work as a result.

Everything is Design. Everything!

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Organized by curator Donald Albrecht the Museum of the City of New York has put together a show devoted to legendary designer Paul Rand. The exhibit, the New York Times described as “entertaining and enlightening” includes 150 pieces from over six decades shown in chronological order. There are also several related events, many co-sponsored by the AIGA, including Branding: Why Good Design is Good Business Wednesday, April 29

On view until July 19.

Milton Glaser: Design Icon

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Renowned graphic design icon Milton Glaser designed the new posters for Mad Men’s final season. The 84-year-old veteran worked in advertising during the 1960s, making him and the fictional Don Draper contemporaries. This season’s poster is a whirl of colorful shapes and curling lines, a hybrid of late 60s flower power and Art Nouveau flora. The poster’s blurry lines hints at the show’s constant play between fiction and reality, but in typical Mad Men style reveals nothing concrete.

Image via 50 Watts

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