Haunted houses

Box Vox, a superb blog about packaging design old and new / re-making the B-29 (via MeFi) / Mapumental, transport times from London mapped / Let’s Make Robots / We are not alone, an Awful Library Book. A link to our collection / the camouflaged military bunkers of Switzerland, always interesting. Go straight to the work of Joel Tettamanti and do not pass go / Are Apple Stores the New Temples? (via Kottke). Related, when Apple changed the glass in its Fifth Avenue Store it went from 90 panes of glass to only 15. The ‘restoration’ was prompted purely by aesthetics and had no functional improvement whatsoever.


Casa Hastings, Lima, Peru, 1976. ‘To avoid house break-ins during their traveling spells, the owners run rumors of a weeping female voice that could be heard in the back of the backyard during particularly foggy Limeñan nights… The story evolved and became a conversation with dead spirits and eventually ‘‘the faithful’’ started seeing faces of saints and martyrs in the salt impressions left on the surrounding walls after the mist and the night were gone.’ At the marvellous OfHouses, a collection of forgotten houses / sort of related, Book Worship, a blog about beautiful books .


The History of Cartography, a seminal three-volume study from the 1980s made available online as pdfs / art and architectural sculptures by Rémy Jacquier / The Art of Fun, illustration by Christian Robinson / The Museum of Hoaxes / ArcheoSF, a French site about future visions / As-tu deja Oublie?, a feast of retro architecture and imagery from the post-war period / Made in Earnest, a design studio / the Project Apollo Photographic Archive / more cabin envy.

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Daft, inappropriate or wasteful

Some connected things. Love London Council Housing, an obviously titled blog celebrating the best of social housing in the capital. To be read in conjunction with Modernist Estates, this recent news story – ‘One in three councils ‘not replacing Right to Buy homes‘ – and an earlier post, the Elephant in the park / hate the Garden Bridge? Then enjoy a Folly for London, an artistic intervention that’s ‘looking for the most absurd, illogical, egotistic and obtrusive designs for the public green space on London’s South Bank which would be sacrificed for The Garden Bridge. You will be hard-pushed to think of something quite as daft, inappropriate or wasteful as the current proposal – but that is your challenge.’ Another earlier post on changing London: Looking down, all is ruins. Finally, two calls to action: Why it’s time to return to architectural idealism and 100 designs to solve London’s housing crisis.


Other things. Landscape painting by Alex Egan, Fred Ingrams and Cornelia Fitzroy, all members of Group Eight / Crash Baggage sell pre-distressed cases to thwart baggage handlers (presumably) / a gallery of car parks / Killer Covers offers up page after page of pulp artwork, including these (mildly nsfw) education-related titles.

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Behind the scenes at the mill

Private Eye’s alternative Land Registry maps the scale of off-shore property ownership in the UK. The map sets out property acquired by overseas companies between 2005 and July 2014 / sort of related, a collection of the UK’s top 10 at-risk buildings. There are some beautiful buildings here and it’s worth urban exploring them online: Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, 1862; Sheerness Port, especially the iron-framed boat store of 1860; Kinmel Hall, near Abergele, Conwy, from 1874; Madeira Terrace, Brighton, 1897; Central Plaza Hotel, Carlisle, 1880; Ladywell Baths, Lewisham, south London, 1884; Hunslet and Victoria Mills, Leeds, 1842 (‘No UE forum is complete without at least one Hunslet Mills thread, probably Leeds most well known UE site after High Royds and where most local explorers first cut their teeth, long before anybody had ever heard of Eastmoor.’); St Luke’s Church, Wolverhampton, 1861; Tolly Cobbold Brewery, Ipswich, 1896; Overstone Hall, Northamptonshire, 1860.


Other things. Cabin envy / the NME goes free / Tor Falcon paints landscapes / Nautilus, a magazine about science / The Calvert Journal is a ‘guide to the contemporary culture of the new east: the post-Soviet world, the Balkans and the former socialist states of central and eastern Europe’ / a couple of pieces from CityMetric: ‘The end of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway meant the end of northern economic independence‘ and, more pertinently for us, ‘TfL produce a geographically accurate tube and rail map, but don’t tell anyone about it’ / Mummy Brown (and other historical colours) – a visual guide to the origins of pigments.

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Bottles and apples

A random collection that encompasses almost everything. Scans from ‘the earliest Chinese book printed by the technique of polychrome xylography‘ / Thomas Kiefer, the El Sueno Americano Project / Alcor once more / Lawrence Lee Magnuson continues to curate one of our favourite tumblrs / see also The Colour Scale and Cinque del Mattino for more art / small buildings showcased at Model Architecture / Q’s History through Ties, Desmond Llewelyn, neckwear and James Bond (via Fanfare) / Reconstructions of Vermeer’s Rooms: 3D space and the camera obscura / 1962 Fallout Shelter Handbook.


Steve Albini Shows That Punk Rock Ethics Are Good Business, an interview at Psychology Today (via Longform) / revisited, The Charnel-House, leftist aesthetics / Panoramical, a collection of abstract musical landscapes (via RPS) / the recreated ZX Spectrum / see also: an explanation of old school graphics / also related, computer graphics c1968 / sort of still related, Commodore Amiga powers school air conditioning system / condom graphic packaging / the story of the Pink Lady, the apple engineered to beat all rivals. Of course, there is a specialist website called Adam’s Apples / related and recommended: Forgotten Fruits: The stories behind Britain’s traditional fruit and vegetables by Christopher Stocks (former things contributor).

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‘… the heaviest of all extant musical instruments’

According to Wikipedia, the Carillon is ‘the heaviest of all extant musical instruments’, comprising of ‘at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord’. Most remarkable of all, the Carillon is played by a ‘Carillonneur‘ using a special keyboard. Yale University’s Memorial Carillon consists of 54 bells cast by the Loughborough Bell Foundry run by the Taylor family since the 1780s and the world’s largest foundry. You can even play with a Virtual Carillon (created by Matthew Wrather, Class of 2002). A ‘Great Bell‘ is ‘arbitrarily defined as a tower bell which weighs at least 4 tonnes’. The British cathedral with the most number of bells is York Minster with fifty-six (the largest of which, Great Peter, was also cast at John Taylor’s, as were the bells at Gravesend, seen above, from the Church Bells of Kent website, complete with soundclips). Another library of bell recordings. London’s oldest foundry is the Whitechapel. There are plenty of places to ring bells in London, including the Garlickhythe Guild, and aficionados read Ringing World, ‘the weekly journal for bell ringers since 1911’.

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Shapes and sounds

Odd things. Ions in the Ether, a tumblr / 91 shot table tennis rally / another iconic Japanese hotel prepares for demolition. More from Monocle / Twitter is terrible pt723: Judy Murray vs Yoko Ono / Follow the Brown Signs, a perfect blog along the lines of the long-defunct I Like (our blogroll is in dire need of a clear out – it’s very representative of the state of the internet c.2010) / buy something that’s out of the ordinary / Truths we’ve learned from children’s TV / beautiful design by Gabrielle Pauty / buy illustrated things at The Printed Peanut / Still Rooms, a photographic project by Richard Barnes / a story of mudlarking on the Thames / London’s bombsites / the TP-82, the standard issue Russian cosmonaut firearm / architectural paintings by Daniel Mullen / moon.dogs, a weblog.


Music things. Swapping iconic pieces of music from major to minor key / some soundclouds: dreamy, noisy – Death of the Author / angular, mathy – Noyo Mathis (via Campaign for Quiet) / mash ups, samples, beats – Burnt Clay / atmospheric indie rock – Maara / south London sounds – Mindpilot / all London sounds – London Sound Survey / impro noise rock – Waheela / spacey, lo-fi – Luna Island / trending upwards – Sahara (via Grow Young) / new synth with vox – Pethrol / west country instrumental – Killer Bees (recommended, via Dominic Bailey) / also recommended – Wicket / more new music at the blog that celebrates itself.

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What Really Happened to Michael Rockefeller? The story of the Rockefeller heir and anthropologist who was allegedly eaten by cannibals in New Guinea in the early 1960s. Also a link to the utterly tragic Wikipedia article: List of people who disappeared mysteriously / the art of the cityscape; painters take on the urban experience / the Moonjs: An Online Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) Simulator / consumer electronic nostalgia at The Electronic Wizard / 99% Invisible is a radio show about design / Space Travel, a flickr set / paintings by Federico Infante / illustrated maps by Abi Daker / searching for the Polaroid People. As more and more analogue photographs are discovered and digitized, these searches for unknown people is going to blossom. For example, who on earth are these people? / the ruins of Second Life / The Happy Pontist enthuses about bridge design / cranes lifting cranes lifting cranes / The Aural Dustbin, a defunct but entertaining music blog / infographics of the US Armed Forces / Actual Sunlight is a game about depression. Play through video / sorry about the badly formatted post yesterday.

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The point of no going back

More on big data: ‘To prod employees, Amazon has a powerful lever: more data than any retail operation in history. Its perpetual flow of real-time, ultradetailed metrics allows the company to measure nearly everything its customers do: what they put in their shopping carts, but do not buy; when readers reach the “abandon point” in a Kindle book; and what they will stream based on previous purchases. It can also tell when engineers are not building pages that load quickly enough, or when a vendor manager does not have enough gardening gloves in stock.’ We like the phrase ‘abandon point’ – in the future, this could be the flashpoint at which all culture exists. Related, Taylorism and Amazonians, how ‘rank and yank’ culture permeates all big organisations.

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Down the whirlpool

The Downstairs Gays, a tale of double kitchens, cyber-stalking and of digging yourself deeper and deeper with Google: ‘the second hit was his website, [hisname].com, which featured a sidebar of links, including his Twitter, his Instagram, his résumé, his portfolio, his Tumblr, his Pinterest, his LinkedIn, his Vimeo, YouTube, and SoundCloud likes, as well as links to a few “obscure Netflix faves” and several TED Talks he’d enjoyed.’ Social media is a cursed medium for deciphering what someone else is actually thinking. More’s the pity. Although we’re living in a world where companies are becoming more and more adept at extrapolating things about their customers from their data and behaviour, as illustrated by this example Target’s cunning way of concealing its targeting of pregnant customers. How soon before those ‘skills’ are turned on human relationships?


Other things. Sort of related: The Ghosts of Pickering Trail. Death, haunting and the world of ‘psychologically stigmatized’ real estate / revisited: Dialogues in Design is essentially things‘ successor, the contemporary equivalent of what is possible as a student-driven spin-off from a course / Life on the Lion Farm estate 25 years ago, photographs by Robert Clayton / things to watch: the Butterfield Diet Plan / Steven Soderburgh’s ‘Butcher’s cut‘ of Heaven’s Gate.

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Mystery train

Romantic London hosts a fascinating, if depressing, mapped version of the infamous Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies for 1788, a regular publication chronicling the availability of vice in 18th century London (via MeFi) / Chain, Chest, Curse: Combating Book Theft in Medieval Times, an article at Medieval Books / Alphabets: Photo-Lettering’s 1969 Alphabet Yearbook at the Tenth Letter of the Alphabet / The Cubli is ‘a cube that can jump up, balance, and ‘walk”. It’s all done with gyroscopes / a collection of unusual homes / the Incredibox is a fun music mixing tool / Hélas …L’autre musée des horreurs, a weblog / Lemon Incest, a tumblr (occasionally nsfw) / Oui Non, a tumblr / The Physical is an Illusion, a tumblr specialising in occult imagery / A Bigger Splash (via Zero 1 Magazine) / beautiful books, designs and posters at Modernism 101 / see also the beautiful collection assembled at A Good Book / the world’s largest archive of natural sounds at the Macaulay Library / surf is still a style driver: Acid Surfing and Read Wax, two sites / Recuperate is filled with videos / photography at the Unchanging Window / The Girls on the Negatives is a quest to discover the subjects in a set of negatives (via RVA Magazine). See also Magdalena Cwiklicka’s The Honeymoon / finally, Paperholm, the crisp white city model built by Charles Young.

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Cloaked in white

Is there really such a thing as a ‘SuperHouse‘? In the old days we called them McMansions. What’s clear today is that there’s such a thing as the ‘Modernist McMansion’ – McModernism, perhaps – a style of building that’s just as bloated and excessive as any pastiche, only it’s cloaked in the stylistic language of ‘progressive architecture’, hiding a multitude of sins / Bruno Munari, pioneer of the Modernist book, at Letterology / behind the scenes with Container List, the Baader-Meinhof Library Escape, a meticulously planned illustration by James McMullan. His Line by Line series of drawing lessons are worth a read / Artisan Books make publications for artists and illustrators / a gallery of people using phones by Timo Arnall / the Swincar is an electric fun buggy from France / Marcello Barenghi streams the creation of his photo-realistic paintings on Youtube / the lost relics of PostModernism, a list by Charles Holland for dezeen / The Ault & Wiborg Poster Album, as presented by Codex 99.

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On the road again

Unsurprisingly it turns out that Japanese RV culture is amazing. Check this collection of Micro Japanese RVs (camper vans) as well as some slightly larger ones. Check the Karucan, or the MiniBig from Car-Taka, who also sell the Prius-based Relax Cabin. Or the TentMushi. More Kei-car sized campers. So where are the importers? / other things. How far did Frodo and Sam actually walk? / five deliberate groundings at breaker’s yards / Trees in art, a tumblr / the GravityLight, a zero energy alternative to oil lamps (via Kottke) / male writers hide their gender to sell more books / The luxury watches that have caused international outcry, how bloggers are tracking corruption through conspicuous consumption around the world.

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Pinned through the heart

How Pinterest simplified, compartmentalised and scattered the web. Daniel Gray on how the site offers content free from context, the new definition of ‘curation’ (a word which’ll ‘do until we’ve come up with a succinct catch-all term for finding and grouping and sharing and procrastinating and pretending to be adding something new to the world when all you’re really doing is regurgitating’). Other things, pinned by us in old-school html. Paperworld is a stop motion film by Jöns Mellgren / Jumabc.tumblr.com / New Women’s History Museum in London Turns Out to be a Jack the Ripper Museum, all part of the distortion of the East End / beautiful architectural illustration by Jan Van Der Veken / illustrations by Jeremie Fischer / the Wonders of Weston / Urban Campsite Amsterdam. Folies to rent / The Secret History Of The London Plane Tree / a review of Hatherley’s new book, ‘Landscapes of Communism: A History through Buildings‘.

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Phones, frissons and oak trees

Many different things. The quirky smartphones of China / Less Adjectives More Verbs, a tumblr about architecture / we are kidding ourselves with kitchens of the future / old forgotten houses, a tumblr / fine concrete house in Argentina / Nick Daw has a gallery of photographs of Mid-Century Modernism in the UK / How to Paint an Oak Tree, a visual essay by artist Stephen Taylor at tmn / So what is the dream of the 90s? / the South East London Journal / Paul Gorman writes about pop art and culture, with a special focus on the rich histories of the 70s and 80s / Amuseum is a new magazine which takes ‘a playful look at objects to find FASCINATING stories about culture, design, history, science and art’. Our kind of magazine, in other words / Ultimate Vision (Dazzle Camouflage), a project by Stephanie Syjuco / Hopes and Fears, a new culture review site with long form essays / The strange phenomenon of musical ‘skin orgasms’. How does music move the mind and body? Or is it just auditory cheesecake? / Atlas for The Blind 1837, at the David Rumsey Map Collection.

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Walking the edges

The Perimeter is a photography project by Quintin Lake based on walking 10,000km around the coast of Britain in sections. The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul’s cathedral and I’m following the coast clockwise. I expect the journey will take around 5 years.’ An absolutely superb series / see also the New English Landscape / other things: Hide, a photography project by Jason Vaughn, at Polar Inertia / hylobatidae.org, a weblog / ‘The City Wasn’t Always Here’: The Artist and the Engineer, a project by Eastside Projects with illustrations by Peter Nencini / Russell Davies on the V&A’s 1991 exhibition Visions of Japan.

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