Things from here and there

Mysterious, Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped like a Giant Chicken / compare and contrast the puns and names conjured up in the English translations of Asterix / ‘Have you never paused to wonder at the delicate hum that lurks behind the Google search box?’ The Sound of the Internet / short films at the Architecture Player / beautiful gifs from Japan / Calamityware, mugs of chaos / Hokusai’s Ephemera, a project by Louie Rigano / Mass Shooting Tracker / How to make your own slow jams / Carnet Imaginaire, a tumblr / art by Hilary Hayton, formerly art director for BBC children’s programmes in the 60s / the 1955 Belgian Grand Prix, or how F1 used to be reported (via Autoblog) / Argos: 40 years of catalogue shopping: 1986 and 1976.

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A long way from here

Ah, Britain then and now: Salford, 1964 versus the penthouse apartment at Neo Bankside. Still apparently unsold / the Britmovie forums are the place to go for old film stills / real-time map of global cyber attacks, or so they say / prints by Tom Hammick / Remembering Rediffusion, a history of British television / FACT’s regular Best of Bandcamp / Why We Were Addicted to Our Tamagotchis / This Map’s Red and Blue Regions Each Contain 5% of the World Population / Power lines in Anime.

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Old, new and everything in between

A random collection of everything. designers moan about the Apple watch / traffic in 1980s London was stylish / the Atom bomb tests, 70 years on / Dead Disney, ‘When the Magic Kingdom Ends’ / drink a pint in Metro-land, the story of the modern pub / more stories: How Esquire engineered the modern bachelor (via MeFi) / London Underground 3D station schematics / related, what bits of old London can still be seen? / also related, Paris’s Metro is way denser than the Tube / what if New York met Paris? / where are they now? Indie rock edition / examples of internet detective squads / Random, a book produced by accident (potentially nsfw) / I Wish U Would Believe Me, photography by Jason Vaughan / Hate Mail from Mr Bingo. We want some and probably deserve it / we feel foolish for discovering The Dissolve on the day it shuttered / TractorSpotter is a YouTube channel dedicated to large scale agricultural machinery / a short history of the camera phone / Galina Balashova, Soviet space architect extraordinaire. More at Wallpaper / What’s Left, a tumblr / The sound of the dialup, pictured / Landscape Migration, ‘environmental design in the Anthropocene’, or how land reclamation is reshaping the landscape / Owl’s House, a weblog about design.

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Strange incredible truths

UFOs are still a thing, apparently. Related, a treasure trove of UFO Books. We confidently predict the X-Files Revival will fill the friendly skills with alien incursions once more.

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Streets of London

Random things today / art direction by Hugo Moreno / pop-up floppy / Embarrassing Treasures, a delightful repository of old advice manuals, TV guides, theme park literature and other outdated literature / the modern equivalent, perhaps: the Autocomplete Archive / Uncube tackles Bricks / related to our last post: London ‘street graphs’ show full impact of the housing crisis / Slothy’s Pigeonshit, one of those marvellous mp3 blogs stuffed full of ripped and rare vinyl, all of which has vanished with the disappearance of Mediafire and Rapidshare, etc. Still, the descriptions are fun to read. There are still some dedicated survivors out there, like Easy Listening World, Lord of the Boot Sale and The Devil’s Music / more old things: The Houghton Mifflin Readers (1971), ‘Textbook Illustrations that Blew a Million Minds’ / a fine Fanfare post on Michael Apted’s Seven Up series / explore a lavishly created old asylum in The Town of Light / A Psychogeography Of Games #1: Kentucky Route Zero / films for short attention spans: Skinemax and Memorex. The 80s. They remember it wholesale / yet more revivalism: Musicophilia’s epic 1981 Box Set.

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The Elephant in the Park

The word ‘viability’ has a clinical ring to it, but it’s at the heart of London’s current restructuring. Oliver Wainwright’s recent epic piece on the capital’s redevelopment looks at ‘how developers exploit [the] flawed planning system to minimise affordable housing‘. It’s a depressing read, not just for the economic shenanigans used to justify the scale, scope and pricing of developments, but the way in which the new generation of large scale international developers have been handed large swathes of the city on a cut-price plate, ripe for demographic ‘rehabilitation’.

This extends from the Balfron Tower in the east (‘sold‘ for refurbishment) to the great Heygate Diaspora at the Elephant and Castle. The latter continues to be a high profile cause, with sites like Heygate was Home setting out the ‘notorious’ estate’s human side and repeating ‘the broken promises of regeneration’. In a nutshell, the affordable homes quota demanded by the Council was negotiated down by the developer because it would have impacted on the ‘economic viability’ of the scheme. This despite the site being sold for an incredibly low price – £50M – after many years of decanting residents, often against their will, and talking down the estate as a whole. To cap it all, the cheapest apartment we could find at the new Elephant Park – ‘Central London’s greenest new place to live‘, no less – comes in at £563,000. Above image, the Heygate as it might have been, courtesy of Better Elephant. Vice’s video series on the Rgeneration Game is also worth a watch.

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Time machines

The World’s Littlest Skyscraper / Diedrica, a weblog about architecture / Minecraft is a skill / Landscape, Art and Architecture, a tumblr / What did you do in the design studio today, Daddy? A 1996 view from the drawing board, before visual culture changed irreversibly: ‘There are indications that design is in the process of becoming more visible to the general public, and that in its intersections with music, fashion, publishing and technology, it is accruing some cultural capital.’


Mapping change with Google Earth Engine / photography of the things left behind and the places marked by events / Spotting Real-World Architecture in Monument Valley / Nick’s World of Synthesizers, some great homemade machines in here / PAL 9000, a free Windows noise generator / Progress is Fine, a weblog about old technologies / Bizarre homemade attractions / Bye Buy Stuff, Kate Bingaman-Burt is drawing the things she is ridding herself of / Swissted turns post-punk into a 1970s graphic fantasy.


Charlotte Bland is a photographe. We especially her project, The Coast (via The Common Pursuit, which collects together interesting places to stay around the world) / Like Love Want presents an ever-changing selection of artists exhibiting online / Nick Cobb’s fabulous images of Peckham’s multi-storey car park in ruins; urban bucolic / Derelict London on Instagram / an online index of artist-designed Hermes Scarfs / a re-engineered Polaroid SX-70.

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The Curta calculator

The Curta is a cult mechanical calculator, a complex arrangement of gears and cogs that can be used to perform a wide array of calculations by a combination of rotating and arranging an array of dials and sliders. There are plenty of Curta pages out there, including this great image of the tightly packaged internal mechanism. If you have access to VRML, you can even try YACS (Yet Another Curta Simulator), although there’s a flash version here.

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High and dry

The Frontier House

Daniel Stier’s project The Frontier House looks at new housing and communities in the UK. The sudden arrival of instant nature and landscaping and the juxtaposition between newness and what existed on the site before / Operation Redsand Forts proposes the transformation of the Thames Estuary’s Redsand Forts into a hotel and leisure complex (via The Spaces). The forts are rusting hulks (via the excellent Caroline’s Miscellany, which has an ongoing series on the memorials at the Postman’s Park), slowly being reclaimed by the waves. Would a hotel work? The existing Spitbank Fort in the Solent is around £750 night / Colossus is the making-of video of a massive illustration of New York by Patrick Vale / candy in the park: Serpentine Pavilion 2015.

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Islands in the sun

Nostalgia and technology, music and memory / the Aibos are dying. Back in 1999, they really did seem like the future / a post celebrating the glorious world that was SNUB-TV, coming via the world of, one of those online treasure troves that you never wanted to end / Tammy Ruggles takes photographs, although she is legally registered as blind / not content with building a bridge in London, Heatherwick is creating an island in New York for Barry Diller / China is also building a few islands / The Dom-Ino Effect, the skeleton of a house. The modern design that foreshadowed half a century of loophole-dodging construction / there is now a book of Ugly Belgian Houses / turn your computer into a Jazz Computer.

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High and low

A whole load of randomness today. The story of Wendon, ‘Ireland’s first modern home’, a thesis by Brendan Madden / KLF: Embrace the Contradictions, a documentary (via b3ta) / paintings by Martin Wehmer (via Miss Moss) / Brutalist Walking Simulator / The Order of the Good Death, ‘a group of funeral industry professionals, academics, and artists exploring ways to prepare a death phobic culture for their inevitable mortality’ / an exhibition of work by Richard Prince / a documentary about Slowdive / a demo of holographic Minecraft / find fine samples via the Wide-band WebSDR, an online radio / Una Vida Moderna, ‘mid century modernism in Mexico and Detroit’.

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Trial treatments

From Woman and Home magazine, December 1937: these two adverts were on different pages. Each cream promises a very different result, with a very different price, even though they come from the same postal address in Willesden Green. Could the ‘Vegetable Flesh Former’ and the ‘Vegetable Reducing Cream’ have been the same formula? And were these adverts a joke from the consumer watchdog of the day? Click to enlarge…

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The 19-day, 57-storey skyscraper

Chairman Zhang’s flatpack skyscrapers: ‘Steel is delivered to one of Broad Group’s six huge hangar-like factories, where it is machine-cut and welded into one of a few basic modules – a column, crossbeam or floor section. These are then loaded on to lorries and driven to the site, where they are slotted into place like Tetris pieces, and finally bolted and welded together.’

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Things made and unmade

Unbelievably, we have overlooked the excellent Unmaking Things for so many years (link via). Born out of the Royal College of Art / Victoria and Albert Museum History of Design MA course – just like things itself – it is space for looking at new ways of talking about the study of design and objects. Topics include ‘ugly things‘, the design of the everyday and specific objects like the Malacca Cane, gingerbread house and the British plug socket. This publication began in exactly the same way, although the current editorial board has no connection whatsoever with the RCA and our academic rigour and intellectual scope has certainly coarsened over the past few years. Every now and again we toy with the idea of transforming things back into a print object. Would this be a raving folly?


By way of illustration, a selection of links from here and there. Apologies in advance for any inappropriate juxtapositions. Unusual homes from around the world / a selection of pervy vintage ads – ‘x-ray specs’, that sort of thing / a map of UFO sightings across the US / architects defend the indefensible / some thoughts on the Link Trainer, the first flight simulator / the lasting legacy of cassette tape / the Fallen of World War 2, a visualisation / Isopresso, a collection of balloon animals / expert answers questions on the life and work of Robert Smith.

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Don’t go in the basement

Architecture and design round-up. A couple of titanic Art Deco piles to kick-off: Villa Cavrois, France (via The Spaces) and Villa Dirickz, Belgium (via Wowhaus) / Cartastrophe, ‘mistakes were made’ in the presentation process. See also, a new way of looking at the city / sort of related, a map of the United States Settings of Horror Movies (via MeFi). See also the Lake Monsters of America and Monsters in America (via Boing Boing). Rather more functional, a Cryptozoological map of the World / design for film: Jensen Skodvin and the sets of Ex Machina / the aesthetics of the off-shore world, a photographic exhibition by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti. Related, Who owns London’s most expensive mansion? Lots more info, images and rampant speculation on twitter.

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