Album Art: Life in Digital Tinyland

May 4, 2009 by

It’s 1975 and my thirteen year old peer group has just had an earth-shattering realization. After staring at the elaborately illustrated cover of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy for most of an afternoon, pondering the question: could Elton John be gay? (news flash!) we decided en masse: of course he was! He was gay WITH Bernie Taupin! Obviously he couldn’t simply be gay on his own, and we felt very sophisticated for figuring all of this out just from studying the artwork. Worshiping the record jacket was a crucial part of the experience of listening to LPs. Album covers and liner note designs contained rich fields of information to be harvested, inviting listeners to spend hours happily searching the images to decode their meaning. Today, the visualization of music has dwindled to the size of a tiny icon in the era of the downloadable MP3. As the artwork’s dimensions shrank, becoming more like a postage stamp than a poster, its role and importance faded. Let’s face it: does anyone download songs today because they fall in love with the 240-square pixel cover on a computer screen? Very doubtful.

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Around Again

March 25, 2009 by


Rodney Allen Trice creates witty items for the home from discarded objects he finds at the curb and in dumpsters. Trice doesn’t see what he does as recycling, preferring to use the term refitting instead. His Brooklyn studio resembles a parking lot for things awaiting their next chance at a new life.

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The People’s Car: Nano from Tata

March 24, 2009 by

Learn from this, Big Three! These funny, non-offensive, and already familiar four-letter words describe the new eco-car. In this case eco- stands for economy as well as ecology, as this car costs only $2,200 and gets 47 miles to the gallon. A perfect fit for the budget and the climate. Just keep in mind, with a 2-cylinder engine, the Nano from India reaches a top speed of 65 mph. No drag racing here, just affordability and responsibility. I wonder if any of these principles will find their way into the Land Rover line that was sold by Ford to Tata in 2007.

via Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing

Stuff Comes in Waves

March 24, 2009 by


I love the combination of traditional style and contemporary commentary in this painting by Manabu Ikeda. For more on the topic, check out the work of Masami Teraoka too.


The Number 7 Lights Up

March 23, 2009 by

img_0594The new indicator lights on the NYC Subway’s 7 Train are a godsend. Previously the 7 Train, which runs local and express on weekdays, often had an identity crisis. The only signage difference was the purple shape surrounding the number 7 (local was a purple circle and express, a purple diamond), but they were never correct.

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Clothing in the Year 2000!

March 22, 2009 by

This short film was made in the 1930’s with a view of fashion in the year 2000. Some of the predictions have come true, making me wonder if Marc Jacobs watched it when he made his backward heel shoes.

Towards the end, a man is shown wearing a suit that contains several pockets for his accesories, including a telephone. And now here we are eighty years later, obsessively carrying our Blackberries and iPhones. Who knew?

The LM Project: Crossing the Cable-Stay Bridge

March 22, 2009 by

On Halloween of 2008, Steven Holl Architects unanimously won the international design competition titled The LM Project for their design connecting two civic and business buildings with a public walkway 65 feet above the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark. This monumental design is reported to be profitable, elegant, civic-minded, and ecological, all wrapped into two piers connected by an angular bridge. It looks like Holl’s obsession with porosity is moving toward a delicate handshake. Meanwhile, Copenhagen will gain what was sought: an iconic landmark and new urban spaces on the tips of the Langelinie and Marmormolen Piers.

Keep Your Job: Look Busy @ Work

March 22, 2009 by

I love CBS’ Sunday Morning show. The trumpet intro and the Alexander Girard-like sun image; what’s not to like? Last Sunday, this great piece with Bill Geist aired, and it is worth a watch. For more information about how to look busy at work, go to Looking Busy: 50 ways to look busy at work even when you’re not.

Edith Wharton’s Estate: No Longer Troubled By Foreclosure

March 22, 2009 by

Behold The Mount! Edith Wharton designed this estate and gardens overlooking Laurel Lake in Lenox, MA for herself; it was completed in the fall of 1902. Wharton, renowned for her often frustrating Victorian novels and novellas was also highly informed about architecture, interior design and landscape design. In addition to her works of fiction, she authored several books about design and travel, including The Decoration of Houses in 1897, which she co-authored with Ogden Codman, Jr.

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Sound On

March 22, 2009 by

More often than I’d like to admit, I buy stuff more because of how it looks than how well it works. I can’t help it, though I know the functionality should be part and parcel of the appearance of any well-designed thing. (Remind me to tell you sometime about my gorgeous sofa that dresses up the living room and is a heinous mockery of sitting in comfort.) But here we’re talking about headphones.

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