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A Nation’s Identity


Sparked by new infrastructure and development taking place in the country, El Salvador’s Exports and Investment Promotion Agency decided to promote the country with a new brand. We have a lot of admiration for the project, which was created by Interbrand. Rebranding a country is a fresh idea—and the result is both beautiful and intriguing.  read on

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (funded largely by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson) is officially chartered to land in Exposition Park in downtown LA. The apropos aesthetics of the space-age museum were designed by renowned Chinese Ma Yansong of MAD Architects. The museum’s theme—narrative—will be woven through many different media within the visual arts. The museum will include lecture halls, theaters (with daily film screenings), digital classrooms, shops, restaurants, a vast library, and ample green space. And of course, the museum will house an extensive collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

The museum hopes to be a large presence in the community—and the 100 elementary through high schools in the surrounding area—by offering educational outreach programs.

The building is set to open on May 4, 2020. To learn more visit: lucasmuseum.org

The Fabric of Societal Fringes



Sometimes the best and most creative outcomes arrive from the collision of unlikely pairings. Here are two: quilting and the fringes of society. Or as quilter Ben Venom describes: “motorcycle clubs, punk rock, heavy metal, the occult, mysticism, folklore, paganism.” The imagery in his quilts include skulls, knives, blood, dice, spiders, eagles—you get the idea. And he doesn’t just design these themes of the fringes, they are built right in; you can find anything from old denim to bandanas to camouflage to old band t-shirts among the fabrics.

In terms of quilting techniques: “There’s a right way, there’s a wrong way, and there’s the way I just decided to do it—which is my way,” says Venom.

He cites seeing the quilts of Gee’s Bend (a selection of quilts made by four generations of African American women who inhabit a strip of land formed by a deep loop in the Alabama River) as his first dive into the world of quilting. He was inspired by the rich history and use of old, recycled fabrics. Immediately after seeing the collection, he went home and began cutting up fabrics he had on hand.

Venom’s unique and unusual quilts have sold for thousands of dollars and have been exhibited in countries all around the world. Appropriately, he works out of San Fransisco’s Haight-Ashbury.

Want to view Venom’s complete gallery? See his portfolio of quilts here.

Swinging en Masse


Who doesn’t look fondly upon their childhood memories of swinging on playgrounds? Well, now you can relive that experience—with an upgrade. Nestled in the lawn next to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is a set of 20 oversized, glowing oval swings. Commissioned by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and designed by the husband and wife team Eric Howeler and Meejin Yoon of Howeler and Yoon Architecture, the installation was designed to be the first interactive space in Boston. By day, you can see the light and airy O-shaped swings and surrounding metal structure set upon the lawn, and by night the glowing swings hover about in the dark for a truly unique visual experience. Take a look here.

If you happen to swing on over, be prepared to wait in line; the installation has been pulling in masses in every age group from the community and beyond.

Coffee on Tap



Ever fantasize about having a never-ending stream of hot coffee pouring out right from your office desk? Well, now you can have it—and control it with your phone no less. All for the affordable (ahem) price of $11,000, TopBrewer has come out with a coffee tap system that allows you to order your drink (type, size, amount of milk, etc.) from an app, walk over—or reach out—and start sipping. read on

Putting Stock in the Imagery of Women


If you have ever done a search on a stock photography site that includes the word “woman”, hoping to get photographs of a professional or ordinary woman, you know that the results can be surprisingly…um…unprofessional—women splayed across desks with buttons undone, looking seductively at the camera, and so on. These photographs—utterly unasked for—often populate the search results at a surprising clip, sometimes far outnumbering the much more expected search results of just…a women at work or going about her day. But all those who have been largely irritated and somewhat puzzled by this phenomenon have gotten some good news this week: The Guardian has reported that stock sites are reforming their sexist ways to more accurately reflect “real women” in their imagery. And demand is just as promising: “Over the last three years we have seen a monumental spike in searches for ‘female business executives’ and in the last year alone, searches for ‘empowered women’ have increased by an incredible 772%.” The article also reports on several galleries created under different feminist campaigns such as #LeanIn, #LikeAGirl, and #ThisGirlCan.

And there is good news for the men as well—more photos of fathers with their children are being both supplied and searched for: “By changing the representation of not just women but men too, we build a more balanced perception of both genders; the dads who enjoy great relationships with their children and in turn, the working mothers of the world.”

Read the full article here.

Photograph: Tara Moore/Getty Images

Contract 2016 Designer of the Year: Todd Heiser


“I love to say that you can be cautious or you can be creative, but you can never be a cautious creative. It’s important to jump into design headfirst and really explore possibilities with a certain fearless quality.”

Todd Heiser, a design principal and consumer products practice area leader at Gensler Chicago, has won the title of Contract 2016 Designer of the Year for the 37th Annual Interiors Awards. His work ranges from co-working incubator spaces to hospitality interiors to perhaps his most ambitious project, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. read on

Ramp Revamp: Historic Church Transformed into Skate Park


In the Spanish city of Llanera, sits a 100-year old church, that, up until the Spanish Civil War, was the spiritual gathering place to the northern city’s munition’s factory workers. After decades of abandonment, a local collective of skateboarders—appropriately named the Church Brigade—decided it was time to revamp this piece of history—albeit for a very different community. Now, fully packed with skateboarding ramps and rails, La Iglesia Skate (as it is now called) opened its doors on December 10, 2015 and is once again brimming with activity. But it is not just the new framework that draws people in—the interior of the church has been coated from head to toe in the colorful, geometric murals of Madrid street-artist Okuda San Miguel. The project is stunning. read on

Colors of the Red Carpet


For those of you who enjoy the red carpet more than the actual awards segment of the Golden Globes (like I do), you may have noticed some beautifully designed ensembles this year. Shutterstock has cleverly arranged ten color palettes based off some of the winning wardrobes: 10 Color Palettes Inspired by the Golden Globes Red Carpet.

Golden Globes not your thing? You can also check out 10 Color Palettes and Patterns Inspired by New York Fashion Week, 10 Gorgeous Color Palettes to Inspire Your Website Designand 10 Unexpected Color Palettes to Inspire Your Holiday Designs.

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