Pattern recognition

Pattern Play

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Textile and pattern designer Emma Cook’s “Encaustic Patterns,” is a mix-and-match series of woven samples, ceramic and metal tiles, and digitally-printed wallpapers. Inspired by Eastern European architecture, the dynamic patterns play with familiar diamond and scalloped forms, complemented by rich texture and colors like deep reds, shades of turquoise, and pink.

Sneaker Freaker

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Sometimes it takes a well-designed infographic to fully comprehend a subject over time. Pop Chart Lab’s great new Visual Compendium of Sneakers is a perfect summation of the evolution of the iconic comfortable & functional shoe: the sneaker. With graphic illustrations of sneaker highlights from each year since Converse’ Chuck Taylor All-Star in 1917, the chart is a view into a great shoe closet. Many of the earliest designs, like the All-Star, Adidas’ Samba, and Nike’s Cortex, are all still appreciated and in production today.

Camp in Style

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There are now varying levels of “glamping” – from luxurious spa-like accomodations in cabins, to designer gear. On the gear-end of the spectrum, British company Field Candy takes the classic tent form, and spruces it up with designer-created graphics. Dutch designer Tord Boontje applied his trademark illustrative, forested style to his tent. And for those lovers of the classic VW Bus, it can also now be had in tent form – car camping at its best.

Bursting Florals

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Singaporean photographer Qi Wei Fong does what may be unthinkable to some – disassembling beautiful, blooming flowers. What’s incredible is how Fong then takes every individual petal, piece and bud, and re-assembles them into gorgeous new renditions of their prior floral forms. Maintaining the radiating structure, he carefully arranges petals around their core, against bright white backgrounds, creating full, expressive, bursting photographs.

A Lesson in Delft

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Continuing to delve into a wonderful, deeper world of interactive, web-based content, the NYTimes produced a lovely special section on the trend and history of Delftware. Jewelry designer Charlotte di Carcaci narrates a three-minute historical account of the prized blue and white patterning, tracing it from East to West and back.  A slideshow highlights Rem Koolhaas’ 2005 Casa da Música concert hall in Porto, Portugal, Rodarte and Valentino’s use of the pattern in prints, and its continued application in everything from traditional chinaware to upholstery fabric.

Urban Revisions

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We have been admirers of urban interventionist artist Aakash Nihalani’s work for a while, and recently came across this gorgeous re-appropriation of a stop sign in New York. Nihalani is best known for his tape ‘graffiti,’ in which he makes public art on the fly, in witty geometric forms. He uses tape in ways we never would have considered, and adjusts our perspective on the world ever so slightly. We look forward to seeing an installation he’s working on with MTA Arts in Transit and Two Trees in the York Street subway station in Brooklyn. Check out this interview with him.

Old Jeans, New Rug

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Rugs take a beating, and more than other fabrics in the home, they can have imperfections that go unnoticed. So they make the perfect candidate for recycled textiles. Surprising fabrics make for beautiful rugs – like Nudie Jeans’ lovely blue-hued rugs made of old denim. Jeans are cleaned, shredded and hand-woven into the new creations in Turkey. And two Swedish designers started a project, “Re Rag Rug,” in which each month, they sew a new rug from a variety of discarded fabric materials – whether t-shirts, sweaters, towels, or blankets.

World of Props

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British photographer Victoria Ling specializes in creating surreal, colorful, otherworldly scenes with great props, backdrops and lighting. Whether with stitched and felted fake food from prop maker Anna Lomax, or a city atop a diamond from set designer Kyle Bean, her engaging images pop with wit and humor. We are enamored with the little worlds she creates.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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David Carlson’s Make Design Matter is a easily digestible, pocket-sized guide to meaningful design. And the latest release from London publishers Unit Editions is a beautiful collection of experimental typographer Jurriaan Schrofer’s work. And brand consultancy Hornall Anderson has published a collection of their past 30 years of work in a beautiful, open-bound tome, which even incorporates a USB drive on the cover.

(Image of folded book art by Luciana Frigerio)

Spring Pattern

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It can’t be helped – Spring is on our minds. So we were recently drawn to the beautiful, bright, patterned illustrations of Irish designers Poppy & Red. Somehow even their Christmas patterns feels light and spring-y, with great hand-drawn type and whimsical patterned animals. Their designs are nostalgic yet modern, but they obviously take inspiration from the past, with their vintage collection of cute sewing-themed and typewriter patterns.

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