Friday, February 29, 2008

us census intrigue

Studies for American Varietal (US Population, by County, 1790-2000)
2006 - Jason Salavon -
10' x 40' x 1'

Amazing...above is a sample of various studies, visualizations, and process documents from a commission for the US Census Bureau. This large site-specific project was designed for the lobby of their headquarters building by SOM. All form and color are derived from US state and county information from 1790-2000. Who knew the US population could be so visual + beautiful!

{ have a great weekend all~ }

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

tap project recruiting

This year, I am a tiny volunteer for UNICEF's Tap Project, a nationwide effort that is intended to bring clean, safe drinking water to children around the world.
For World Water Week, from Sunday, March 16 to Saturday, March 22, participating restaurants will encourage their customers to donate $1 (or more) for the tap water they would normally get for free. For every dollar raised, a child can have clean drinking water for 40 days - crazy sounding but true!

The idea originated from agency, Droga5, in branding something that is free and not specifically owned by anyone. Put into the hands of UNICEF, here we have the Tap Project. There are amazing pro-bono efforts from the big ad agencies like TBWA/Chiat/Day, Saatchi & Saatchi, and others, to promote this noteworthy cause.

There is a growing number of restaurants that have signed up but there's definitely room for more - and so I am trying to get my East Village neighborhood places to join in on the cause. All the restaurant managers and owners I have met with love the idea - and I only hope this has a nice ripple effect. It's a nation-wide thing this year, so I encourage any participation, whether to donate, volunteer to get more restaurants to participate, or just spread the word...

Tap Project website [ www.tapproject.org ]

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

three potato four shop

I'm a big big fan of Three Potato Four - an online shop run by a couple who has a love for collecting {housewares, accessories, + vintage finds}. Not only do they have lots of "something different" items available, they also have the most charming photos of their merchandise (see above). Living in a small NYC apt, its fun to click around the site and let my imagination run wild with my pretend spacious abode. But I do end up clicking the "add to cart" button...cant resist! Some recent purchases: Bluebird & Trees Carafe by Shinzi Katoh + Sub-Studio's "Rooftop" Photo Illustration Print.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

postalco bridge bags

Stumbled upon Postalco - originally from Brooklyn - that creates beautiful document carrying envelopes made in pressed cotton and leather. They have evolved into bags and here it is: the Bridge Bag (shown above) that are lightweight bags for carrying heavy things. Inspired by the structural elements of bridges - divide and distribute weight - the straps are utilized to be part of the framework of that bag...that makes it all work. I love the original sketches and the inspiration of the everyday that create the concept~

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Monday, February 25, 2008

ny in north korea

[ photo from nytimes.com ]

First, I read about the NY Philharmonic having a concert in Beijing's new National Center for the Performing Arts (interesting building I might add). Then...I read that they are in North Korea. Wow. The NY Phil are being welcomed to Pyongyang, North Korea - with 80 journalists and company (400 total). They performed a full program there - but also, the North Koreans presented a gala of performances that is meant to represent everything beautiful in the culture. The NY musicians mention how on the one hand, the dances and the presentation were impeccable and beautiful but on the other hand, it was sad to see the disparity between the luxury of that and what is actually going on outside of the gala event walls. I feel that music is so subjective - the way your interpret the music, the individual opinion you have about the music, the different feelings and emotions the music can evoke - which goes against all that is so regimented there. I wonder if there will be any affects on the country and its people...Well, actually, the North Koreans, who were present at the concert probably have been abroad and have been exposed to western culture. But I REALLY wonder what a plain average citizen would think + feel if they had the opportunity to hear the concert...
See photo slideshow of the trip >>

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Friday, February 22, 2008

beauty in motion

Last night, I saw Diane Vishneva, a prima ballerina of the Kirov Ballet and the American Ballet Theater, flow across the stage at the City Center. The program started with a modern piece with singer of the Kirov Opera singing against some string "sounds" and ended with another modern piece about 3 relationships. The 2nd act was true art on stage. It was in 3 parts - 1) The dancers' arms and legs were lit with blacklights on a black stage as they moved around to electronic music 2) Diane had a sultry solo performance - but as she danced on a huge mirror, it was almost as if she had a partner there with her 3) Another solo performance as she artistically spun around with a beaded curtain headpiece that tested/explored the beauty of centrifugal force - I'm not explaining well but you just had to see it. It's amazing to see traditional ballet with a classic storyline, but when you get to experience an artist bring their talent and skill to another level and creates something so fresh, it's nothing but inspirational. Diane...yes, we are on 1st name basis now :)...has numerous performances coming up at the City Center and the ABT through the spring. Go for it.
*Have a great weekend~ *

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

mind tricks


This is an optical illusion: Squares A and B are the same shade of gray. It was created by Edward H. Adelson, Professor of Vision Science at MIT. Need the proof? I certainly did...

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

feel (or at least look thru) new fabrics

Found a beautiful slideshow of fabric photos from the Maison et Objet home furnishings trade show outside Paris (a la nytimes.com). Sample photo above but you have to check out the entire photo series. The texture of the fabrics are exquisite - like you can feel them off the page/screen. Does anyone else sense a strong Asian influence - kiminos, obis, weaves - in the fabric treatment and pattern/motifs? View Slideshow >>

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architectural details

After a meeting with a client, I was checking my messages on my crackberry in the building lobby (to avoid the blustering winds outside). And as I stood there, in a typical big 30-floor office building, I slowly realized I was actually standing in a beautiful space. It wasn't a landmark building by any means, or a building that houses a big famous corporation. On the surface view, some people rushed to the elevators and some people came out of the adjacent Starbucks - how much more typical can you get? But if you looked up or down from this, there were these amazing art deco architectural details - golden, angular light fixtures, matching ceiling adornments (30 feet up), vent covers with intricate designs (photo above), and geometric floor tile motifs. There are lots of beautiful buildings in NYC - many being office structures - but this was such a random, pleasant surprise and a reminder that sometimes you have to also look up and down for that special find. Cheers to more unexpected moments...

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Monday, February 18, 2008

petie by lori fischer

Tonight, I had the amazing pleasure to hear a reading of my friend's play called "Petie". Lori Fischer is a phenomenally talented writer (as well as singer, actor, and everything else) who is a grad student at NYU for dramatic writing. She received the honor of being a runner-up for the NYU Goldberg Award for this play. It was very intense - a story about a torn family in the south who loses a son/brother, Petie. The numerous characters test the ideas of faith, the strength of the human spirit, but most importantly, hope. I was fortunate to collaborate with Lori to design postcard mailers and posters for the play. And the best reward was experiencing this reading in person. Keep your eyes and ears out for this one~ She's going to make it big.
The other runner-up, "Flat Sam" by Antoinette Nwandu, has its reading next week - you should all go check it out. Info in flyer above...

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

una pizza napoletana

In my neighborhood, there's a really special pizza place called Una Pizza Napoletana. Whenever I go, I wonder why I'm not there WAY more often...and so this thought crossed my mind again this weekend when I went with some friends. It's a tiny cozy place that is only open from Thursday to Sunday from 5pm until whenever they run out of pizza dough. And they only have 4 items on their menu. For a laid back kind of place, there are lots of rules - only cash, limited hours, limited menu, no exceptions. But with their southern Italian style pizza made of the freshest basic ingredients (my favorite is the Filetti - top right), they not only can get away with it, but they also get a big line going out the door. There is something admirable about a business that has perfected the basic core of their product and sticks to serving just that as their niche offering. It's an East Village pick. link to Una Pizza's info

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Friday, February 15, 2008

blame it on fidel

I have a movie for you to see: Blame it on Fidel. In this French movie, Anna is a privileged young girl living in Paris; order and discipline are things that make her smile. However her structured life changes when her parents become politically and socially active in the 70s. Although so young, Anna is sharp and opinionated and this movie is a very perceptive view on how change affects kids, couples, and family. Perhaps you'll like it too...
Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

branding of obama vs. hillary

[ photo: from nytimes.com ]

The New York Times has a fun article"Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC?" (link to full article) that compares Obama to a Mac: appealing to the youth and embodying harmony - and Hillary to a PC: seemingly regal but shouting for attention. Noam Cohen writes, "The Mac may be the cooler computer, but aren’t there more PC users in the world?" The article compares their campaign website design, their public persona, their usage of social-networking tools...essentially what makes up their brand identity as Democratic candidates. And speaking of brand identity, I was on cafepress.com, checking out the selection of Obama/Hillary goods out there (not difficult when the home page's main banner is for "shop election"). And there are buttons/shirts/baby bibs with the typical patriotic stars & stripes motif with the candidates name in a serifed font, as well as, "Barack n' Roll the Vote" in an Urban Outfitters-esque retro graphic. You almost choose WHO you want to support by which T-SHIRT might be "more my style". Silly but you know what I mean right? There are so many design considerations/strategies in this year's campaigning - and well worth it, I suppose, since it's getting criticized/acclaimed/recognized. How fascinating...

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Here Comes Another Bubble

This is a funny video parody about internet loony-ness.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

brr~ its cold outside

It was 65 degrees last week...and now its "feels like 5 degrees" weather - and no, that's not celsius. Only way to fight this nonsense is to bundle up! Peruvian designers Hortensia has these amazing 100% wool handknit neck collars that are long enough to scoop over your head so that it becomes a hoodie too. Not itchy like your usual wool goods, but thick and insulating. And the big knit with no extra frills has a nice simple design.

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chinese new year!

After waiting an hour and 20 minutes, we got a table at the Golden Unicorn for their great dim sum. Why the long wait you ask? Well, it was the Chinese New Year celebration, of course. I expected a wait, but not THAT long. But we ate well grabbing our dumplings, steamed buns, fried bites, sweet rice cakes from the carts coming by.
Afterwards, as I rushed to the subway (finding many roadblocks of closed off streets) I passed a lion formation (left photo), acrobats, floats with people dressed like the old Imperial Courts...The windy day also had all of the firecracker confetti floating through the streets of Chinatown (right photo). Party on...

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

tokyo string quartet

The Tokyo String Quartet is a wonderful group of string musicians. My friend's father plays the viola in this group and I had the fortunate opportunity to see their most recent performance at the 92nd St Y on the UES.
The program was part classic, starting with a Haydn piece and ending with a dynamic Brahms piece. But in between was the NY premiere of a contemporary piece called "Blossoming" by composer Toshio Hosokawa. This young composer wrote this piece for the Tokyo String Quartet. The story being told was a lotus flower blossoming, representing the opening of the mind and awakening of the self. The sounds were very still and parts were very reminiscent of Noh theater.
The Tokyo String Quarter is always traveling and performing around the world - perhaps you will have a chance to hear them sometime.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

popmat placemats

Look at this creative idea for place settings for a nice little dinner party. No need for placecards if they are in/on your placemat! Apparently a brand new product - can be purchased here for a limited time. This could inspire some DIY-ness for your next soiree~
Have a wonderful weekend...

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

clinton street bakery + chinese new year

I had lunch with my friend at Clinton Street Baking Company. February is pancake month (left image is their menu of special pancakes) and they are serving all sorts of sweet creations. I didn't have the blood orange glaze pancake that was the special for this week, but I did get some fish tacos (lower right), fries, and a chocolate cupcake to top it all off! It's tough to get a seat here during prime hours but it's a total recommendation...

It's also Chinese New Year~ I walked over to Chinatown afterwards and there were confetti bits all over the street as I think I just missed the Firecracker Ceremony. The stores were overflowing with red and gold lanterns and paper decorations. This weekend is the full New Year Parade. Cheers to a ratty year =)

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

stamp it

A custom stamp is a great way to literally put your mark on something that is unmarked. A blank piece of paper. A solid colored envelope. A piece of memo paper. For smaller businesses, instead of getting EVERYTHING custom printed, this is a good solution to put your identity on something that you don't necessarily want to or can't mass produce. I got my self-inking stamp here - all you need to do is upload an image and voila~

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

frozen time?

This is wild - Improv Everywhere went to Grand Central Terminal and stood still for five minutes.
http://www.improveverywhere.com/2008/01/31/frozen-grand-central/

And, happy voting new yorkers~

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Monday, February 4, 2008

nyc heart ny

NYC had a group hug moment when the Giants won last night. It's always about the underdog (shedding a tear...). But I have to say, even for me, the last 11 (game) minutes were super exciting and had my full attention. On the subway ride home (from a Superbowl party), I saw one of those rare (but definitely happens here and there) moments when all of the hidden warmth of NYC-ers comes out. Someone coming down the subway stairs giving another Giants-jersey wearing fellow a chin-up thing followed by a high 5. Other strangers talking about the game as if they were neighborhood friends for the last 25 years. There was even a subway line that wasn't working (for some unscheduled reason) and I heard NO complaints or huge sighs - people just smilingly went thru the turnstile to catch the bus instead....THAT NEVER HAPPENS. New York would not be who it was if the city was like that all the time but it's knowing that it's possible when it feels like it. Gotta love NY...I certainly do.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

post-it presidents

In lieu of the interesting presidential debates we've had this week, the upcoming presidents day, and just '08 spring fashion popping up already (eventho it's still 25 degrees?!)...I bring you some snapshots of the Bergdorf Goodman windows that I passed by this evening. They had multiple windows with various portraits - we have Washington and Abe here - created out of post-it notes! Clap clap to the visual display crew, as always.
Have a wonderful weekend~

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