Block party

A House for Essex is the dying gasp of Fashion Architecture Taste, in close collaboration with Grayson Perry. The result is an inhabitable piece of folk art, Barbara Jones via Lego Friends / sort of related, 10 Elaborate Floor Plans from Pre-World War I New York City Apartments (via MeFi). Would have been nice to have seen some of the buildings in question. See also Manhattan Classic: New York’s Finest Prewar Apartments, which indulges with photos and floorplans of many of the main surviving apartments of the era.


Soundscapes is an intriguing blog that documents modern Paris through its sounds, all recorded at source. It’s also a good jumping off point for other sound sites / old but good, Tintin in Innsmouth, the Lovecraft/boy reporter mash-up / more Spectra / Lego Architecture Studio / related, edible chocolate Lego / still related, the proposed ‘Lego House‘ in Billund shuns the FAT/Perry aesthetic in favour of a scaled up version of Lego Architecture Studio. Bjarke Ingels Group is at the helm, a practice with previous experience of the material.

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I’m standing all by myself,

Ringo or Robin Ltd was a furniture company set up by Ringo Starr in 1969, alongside the designer Robin Cruikshank. Ringo’s foray into the heady world of 70s interior design was once little chronicled, with information found via such august publications as the Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. However, ROR International still exists, as does the great ROR Archive, containing advertising imagery and more. It was the era of Terence Conran’s House Book, first published in 1974, stuffed full of designs that have come right back into fashion after three decades. Starr and Cruikshank were not against a bit of bling (e.g. the Rolls-Royce table), but what’s most interesting about the firm’s potted history (Starr left in 1986) is its involvement in the Middle East and the involvement of Ted Heath to oil the wheels of certain commissions and contracts. Paging Adam Curtis.

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Looking back

The skewed economics of supercars. ‘Rumour has it that less than 50 individuals have ever owned a Veyron‘. Above image from the recently updated wing mirror project.

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On the road

The 1939 Lindbergh Travel Trailer, ‘designed in San Carlos, California, by an engineer of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. This trailer was custom-built for famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, hence its name. Skinned in aluminum to reduce weight and enhance appearance, the trailer boasts two axles, one at each end. The design gave the trailer a great deal of stability when parked for overnight stops and did not require that the tongue be supported on jacks when unhitched from the tow vehicle.’ See also Tom Bentley’s piece on Airstreams from many years ago.

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There’s a light in the sky

Ryoji Ikeda: spectra(2014) is a remarkable commission from Artangel. The light installation only lasts another 24 hours – go and see ithe source if you can. The organisation has commissioned seven photographers to capture the work, but there are some amazing images on twitter. Of course, in one respect the work is very derivative, but the totemic and symbolic power of light transcends that criticism (as does the fact that you can walk around the lights themselves, feel their warmth, and – most importantly of all – look up from the inside).

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Then and now, revisited

Other things. ArcTangent is a West Country music festival specialising in math and post-rock / recollection of lost smells / music: Charles The Osprey / the origins of Purple Rain / a list of fictional brands / yet more then and now gentrification images, Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013, photographer Brian Rose’s images of NYC in 1985 and 2013 (via Coudal). See also our South London equivalent: Bellenden Road, 2003 and 2013 / a tour of Palm Springs Modernism.

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Blocks and drills

The recent partnership between Lego and Shell is causing ructions. However, Lego has had a partnership with Shell that goes back over 30 years before being replaced by the fictional Octan brand for sets like the Gas’n’Wash Express. The very Lego shell set, 325 in 1966, included a scale model of a tanker. By 1977, the 330 Service Station included beautiful little white bricks with a raised Shell logo, a rather tactile object if memory serves. Back in the glory days of the oil industry, Shell were also the sponsors of the Shell County Guides and the Shell Art Collection, which allied bucolic discovery with the private motor car.

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8-bit flyovers

Myrone created the soundtrack to forthcoming retro racer Drift Stage, channeling the work and moody presets of Vangelis, Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder and Jan Hammer. Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun. See also the work of Kavinsky and the whole genre known as ‘Outrun Electro‘, well represented by the roster of Rosso Corsa Music.

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Digs and links

My Parents Open Carry / Boom! / Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil / How Different Groups Spend Their Day / Moving pictures in Brighton & Hove, Southwick and Shoreham / We live in the dark, a tumblr / sophisticated funk, a tumblr (quite nsfw) / Sargent House looks after interesting bands like Boris, Russian Circles, Helms Alee, Emma Ruth Rundle and Chelsea Wolfe / Lewis Chaplin, the blog as installation / destruction in Syria / Designing for The Grand Budapest Hotel / when architects design children’s play areas, a fun but slightly unfair dig at Goldfinger / above image is from apocalyptic 50s-era public information booklet – to be scanned and uploaded soon.

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Driving Dreams

Driving Dreams is a proposed documentary by Daniel Tomicic exploring Italian car design, focusing on the industry’s heyday from the 1950s to 1970s. There’s an Indiegogo campaign and the finished film will include footage taken at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, an event which is beautifully summarised in the Parr-esque photographs of Henrik Jauert. See also the new concept car show at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

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