Cycling. I have tried it, but it hasn’t ever quite succeeded in becoming my dominant means of getting about. I think it has something to do with my clumsiness and lack of knowledge of the road rules. And maybe that time I fell off my bike face-first, trying to smoothly glide from road to sidewalk at high speed, scraping the skin off both of my palms…However, I admire cyclists immensely. The people who hop on these two wheels with nothing but their bodies to propel them onwards, wedged amongst fast mean cars of steel, are heroes in my eyes.
With the general populace becoming more aware of the drawbacks of oil dependance, and keen on becoming more healthy and fit, cycling has become increasingly popular. We have also seen bicycles become a fixation in the design world. From wooden frames, to slick minimal designs, to the tech-savvy machines, we’ve seen them all in the past couple of years. The Kit Bike, by Bangalore based Lucid Design, offers something different. As the name suggests, it can be dismantled into parts and reassembled back to tip-top shape in around 10 minutes. The wheels attach to the frame on one side, allowing it to lean against a wall for easy assembly. Other features include powder-coated aluminium tubes, beige rubber tyres and easy-lock joints. The 21 parts come neatly packed inside a round leather backpack. For most regular commuters this may not be entirely practical, but the Kit Bike would be mighty handy for a weekend away. Or just use it as a regular day-to-day bike—it’s a clean, minimal fixie—a hipster’s dream.
Lucid Design have won a 2014 Red Dot Award for this concept bicycle. There are, sadly, no plans to put this into production yet, and the structural integrity of design would need to be thoroughly tested. Still, the idea opens up new possibilities for portable bikes.
Back by Swedish designer Ann-Sofie Back is a clothing label that I have only just discovered and I am mighty exited about it. This particular collection (Spring/Summer 2014) has been around for some time now, but I just love it too much not to share it! Back, the designer’s diffusion line, was formed in 2005 and has since become one of the most subversive and exciting labels to come out of Sweden. Taking cue from her atelier mainline collections, Back picks elements to further develop, elaborate or rework into the more fun, ready wear line.
It’s hard to find street-wear done well and at the affordable end of the scale. Back delivers on both accounts. Classic basics—the shirt, the leather jacket, the denim skirt, the relaxed tee, the sweatshirt—are deconstructed here, exaggerated there. Skirts and dresses that look like casually gathered sheets add rebellious air to the collection, while managing to retain the elegance of Grecian drapery. Gathered leather, elements of shiny plastic, wide elastic bands reiterating the brand-name, along with frivolously placed sweeps of tulle, combine a bout of 90s nostalgia with post-internet aesthetics. There is something here for the less adventurous too. Perfect sweats, structured denim, crisp shirts and clean-cut t-shirts complete the collection. These simpler garments complement the statement pieces with understated chic. I am particularly fond of the sweatshirts and skirts that look as though they’ve been folded over and stuck down by strips of tape.
If some stylistic elements seem familiar, maybe it’s because Ann-Sofie Back has also worked for Acne Studios and currently spends half of her time as creative director for Cheap Monday. Basically, Back has the Swedish fashion industry sorted! Check out some shots of Black’s Autumn/Winter 2014 here and you can snap up what’s left of the S/S 2014 collection here.
Photographs: Stockholm Fashion Week
For those of us who switched to Macs and never looked back, computer viruses are a threat we need not fear any longer. Our PC-bound cohorts, however, live on in fear, periodically bugged by anti-virus updates, (along with malware that pretends to be anti-virus updates!). I really hadn’t given computer viruses much thought in recent times, until I discovered Computer Virus Catalog—an online-based project curated by Dutch creative Bas van de Poel. The catalog,“an illustrated guide to the worst viruses in history,” is a brilliant collection of illustrations van de Poel has solicited from a pool of designers and illustrators. A brief, insightful description of the virus accompanies each image. In some cases, we even get a glimpse into the inspiration behind the creation of this malice—something that I have always found fascinating and puzzling.
The illustrative styles are eclectic and varied, with some participants responding to the name in a very literal way, others with abstracted compositions or a pattern. I love the idea of this project: it’s focused enough to give the illustrator some direction, while leaving unlimited room for expression; the subject matter lends itself to online publishing, which is simple and cheap; it has a clearly defined scope with enough past material draw from and, undoubtedly, more to come as new viruses are developed and unleashed upon the masses.
Contributors to the project include a couple of my favourites, Hort and Darius Ou, plus many other talented folk. Find the rest of the catalog here, and check out the work of Bas van de Poel, the man who started it all. He has teamed up with Daan van Dam to form creative duo Wonder Years, who have managed to do some awfully clever things in their one year of existence, such is the ingenious Dutch Become a Legend football jersey.
Blastto is an art director, graphic designer and illustrator by day, DJ by night. Born in Spain and currently based in London, he nails several illustrative styles, but his specialty lies in 3D-rendered illustration, which he contrasts with thick bold lines, patterns and simplified icons. There’s a heavy influence of the Memphis Group revival that has recently transpired in furniture, graphic design and beyond.
I have been really enjoying looking through his series of illustrations for Yorokobu magazine. Abstract blobby forms, harking back to surrealism, float in the air alongside sausage shapes and Greek columns. Three psychedelic-coloured shapes, vaguely resembling a smiley face, look like something out a nightmarish dream…Marble, grids and gradients all make an appearance—you only need to look through a few of his projects to be brought up to date will many of today’s visual trends. I find his work compelling and interesting and it’s quite refreshing to see editorial illustration that veers away from a literal, figurative representation of the text.
Besides editorial illustration work, Blastto’s portfolio includes the design of a couple of slick free typefaces, which you can find here and here, as well as identity and web design.
When I think of visuals associated with an LA film production studio, I think of over-the-top glitzy gold, heavily edited imagery and a mash-up of outer-glow and reflection effects straight from Photoshop 101. Thankfully, Blok Design didn’t adopt any of these elements when creating an identity for Lucky 21. Lucky 21 is a film production company that originated in Dallas, but has since set up a second studio in the competitive and fast-paced market of Los Angeles. This is a tough place for a small production company to take on but having a great identity to back their work is a great start!
The logo is simple and clean, set in energetic orange, and is supported by a range of bold, busy patterns. These are paired with a selection of adjectives and idioms that describe the company’s personality and approach. Bright colours are toned down with grey and plenty of white space. Chunky borders act as a device to help pull together the patterns on the the stickers and notepads, honing in the energy of the visuals. I like Blok’s approach of combining pop-art inspired patterns and strong statements to communicate the manifestos of the company. To articulate your brand so clearly and emphatically demonstrates a confidence, conviction and vision in what you do. And what Lucky 21 do seems like a whole lot of fun (and hard work)!
Blok are a design studio based in Toronto, specializing in brand identities and experiences, packaging, exhibit design, installations and editorial design. They have some great work—check it out here, and their website is beautiful to browse through, bonus!