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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Old school text link collection. Re-finding things. Wolfgang Thaler has an excellent website. Found via his DS Actrice page, a compilation of classic Citroen movie clips / Tokyo Camera Style, great idea for a tumblr / bldgspace blogs and reblogs some interesting structures.

The website of Simon Ing, author of a book about the eye / Dan Zambonini has created a 'version of the London Tube Map (copyright Transport for London...) which replaces the station names with the main point(s) of interest at each location' (via Meg Pickard) / art by Rosemarie Fiore / a photography blog by Rachel Hulin.

Keep Left London, a blog by the 'Head of Retail at the Design Museum London'. Links Magtastic, Andrew Losowsky’s lovingly compiled weblog of print publications. We liked the link to 'Life After Death', 'the complete history of dead rap magazines'. There are a lot.

Repository of Records, a weblog full of beautiful imagery
Design Kabinet, chairs chairs chairs / British Seaside Cabins, a flickr set. See also UK shanty houses and Bungalow Britain, three collections of overlooked vernacular.

Learn how to play Sharp Dressed Man. We still haven't. Related, 'I want to really understand the guitar'; help me become a better shoegaze guitar player / Hobbit, the Soviet Spectrum clone / 1950s Volkswagen Brochure via Will You Look at That.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Word of the day: Listcruft, which 'refers to indiscriminate or trivial lists'. Large swathes of the internet seem to be given over to listcruft, which spreads like kudzu as lists of clippable pictures are copied, pasted and swapped into new lists of their own. The term originated on wikipedia, where editors object to lists that are 'created just for the sake of having such a list'. Their list of examples is one such list: 'List of people who have ears', 'List of dog names', 'List of songs containing the sound of a woodpecker', 'List of groups of eight people'. Etc. Sadly, the list of fictional things was deemed to be listcruft (unlike the list of fictional towns and cities).

Feral Houses, a series by James D.Griffioen (via Fresser). Griffioen took the images of the abandoned, ransacked Detroit Public Schools Book Depository - see also these flickr images (via me-fi) in Griffioen's flickr stream.

Toy Story minifigures via Doobybrain / Tom Ngo's art, via We Are Architects / the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, 'a dazzling, torquing bauble from master architect Frank Gehry' / the Orbiter Space Flight Simulator /

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Monday, July 27, 2009

You Thought we Wouldn't Notice, design plagiarism, via graphic design plagiarism and rip-offs at Just Creative Design. The post on Emily the Strange is interesting, as is the Disney stuff, now animated. The relentless emphasis on imagery and novelty drives this plagiarism, the sheer volume of visual material tricking the inexperienced into believing they'll never be noticed, let alone get caught.

NASA's World of Change feature, especially the page on Dubai / what is the real reason for X? Paranoia embodied / tons of land, a tumblr / Pink Iguana, a weblog / the Experimental Gameplay Project / Vintage Children's book pool.

A few speculative architectural fantasies. Seen everywhere, but no less interesting for that, The Manhattan Airport, a Strangelovian/Ballardian/Moses-esque urban mash-up of sacred public space into a forbidden, carbon-dense zone of globalisation. Effortlessly provocative / follies for sale on French eBay: the Flake House / Stories of Houses, a weblog / PropGO is a 'luxury real estate' search engine. Good for idle time wasting, and similar in tone to the curated approach of both Architecture for Sale and The Modern House.

Beech Street is a special place for me, Will Wiles on the subterranean street beneath the Barbican, a zone that 'screamed modernity, the first pioneering signs of a new city'. 'In this arrow-straight tunnel, the overall effect is of a Renaissance study in perspective with the guide lines left in.' Alternatively, it's reminiscent of the trippy effects of 2001 / see also 'Moonhead', 'A instrumental piece used for a tv-programme on the evening of the first moonlanding July 20, 1969' (via Tons of Land) / moon photographs at now voyager.

Related. Why Robin Hood Gardens should be listed / 'The appeal of miniature villages', on the approaching 80th birthday of Bekonscot / Business Guys on Business Trips (especially office bonding) / we haven't tried this (and it does have a whiff of the company's fabled April Fool's adverts): the BMW Z4 in augmented reality. Webcam required.

Penguin's design portfolio continues to intrigue. We wonder how much the company itself is doing to build on all the online attention. Aside from Phil Baines' fine book, and the occasional lapse into self-conscious retro-style. Related, The Penguin Blog.

An experiment. We've set up a tumblr,, with the intention of siphoning off our editorial images from the past couple of years (and clearing up a few dead links in the process). Kowtowing to image-driven pressure? Of course.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Yet another collection of strange buildings, a typical product of contemporary listomania. It's strange how these lists intersperse the 'modern' with the vernacular and the just plain crazy, making no aesthetic distinction between - as Venturi might have it - ducks and sheds, adverts and experiments, or even innovation and eccentricity. Related, Julius Shulman has died, aged 98. Perhaps the man most responsible for generating modernism's shift from functionalism to iconism, Shulman's camera chronicled contemporary architecture finding itself as a glossy life enhancement of an already gilded existence, rather than a tool for improving things from the bottom up.

It's great to be called the web equivalent of the 8-track, with .htm file extensions and all (thanks, kottke), but we genuinely don't know how to do this differently. We like the post that attempts to define what fast looks like though / Curated Magazine / Indian tiger park 'has no tigers'.

Keeping Up Appearances: London Turns Eye to Empty Mansions, a piece on the prevalence of apparently abandoned properties in Mayfair. Where there's wealth, there's waste: the Bishops Avenue in Hampstead is another haven for Ghost McMansions and 'evil' squatters' (via Wired).

How long will it take to remove the word "videotape" from the collective vocabulary? Probably never / the power of words: you should follow me on twitter / Cyrket is a desktop Android application browser / dome u planeta, a weblog / the Hobo Code, referenced in Mad Men, parodied by Cockeyed.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Cheap Trick's latest album is available on 8-Track tape. Related, noise, noise, noise on The Poor Man's Eight Track Tape, the history of the 8-track tape and 8-track Heaven, which offers helpful repair tips. Some great 8-track pics available in the Analog Rules galleries.

Claudette Chiclette, a weblog / Broken Kode is nice and spare / C-monster, an arts blog / Top 10 comic book cities / Mark Gussin's slot car page / White Elephant, a dead weblog / Strange Closets, a design weblog.

The International E-Road Network is a little known web of highways that links Europe's major roads together (see more details here on Open Street Map). The 'E' designation is almost entirely unknown in the UK (via Joe Moran's 'Road' book), even though there's romance to be had with the idea of roads that run from Ireland to Russia.

Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies in the Kitchen, cooking with the deck (which has slowly evolved over time) / Pylon Sounds, an mp3 blog / This, That, These and Those, a weblog / the Fast Company blog has a video of a great interactive castle facade, a light installation by Apparati Effimeri. The project is also chronicled on their own weblog.


Friday, July 10, 2009
The Interior Prospect has prospects ('Can the fundamental ideas of architectural design be read through interior views?'), but it's very early days / The Death of Bunny Munro, Harry Angstrom meets Southern Gothic / Roberto Greco's tumblr / worship the glitch, a weblog / The September Issue / a me-fi bust, how the Ruins of the Second Gilded Age were romanticised through Photoshop. From the comments, 'Photoshop is the steroids of photojournalism,' addictive ones at that.

What are the quirks of your particular area? / child soldiers, Matchbox style / 385, a design blog / 44, a tumblr / Square Glasses, a weblog / Karmatrendz, adding to the feedback cycle of modern design culture / The Present Sound of London / a new broadsheet from The Frontline Club.

How to build Moonbeam, a 100 MPG microcar. Related, Minutia, the online magazine of the microcar and minicar club / Heading East, a photography blog / we like the deskhouse, a table/playhouse space / fine, almost unbelievable images of salt ponds in San Francisco at the Killer directory / the 2009 Wallpaper Architects Directory / Old Map App for the iPhone, via UrbanTick.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Suspiciously Like Red Communism, a video games blog. See for example this post on a little pastoral moment in Half Life 2 / The H Line, a weblog / Optimist Club, a fine tumblr / art and design portfolios at / an open letter to Dwell magazine / a paper craft castle on the ocean at Tokyobling / The Casual Optimist, a weblog / Asking for Trouble, crafts and more.

Siloboy, 'I'm Alexander Michael, your site host, and the proud owner of this extraordinary relic of Cold War USA. This Atlas-F ICBM silo was designated by the US Airforce in 1960 as Boquett 556-5 or Lewis Missile Base.' The silo is currently being restored and enhanced in the High Cold War Camp style, or what one might call 'Ken Adam Baroque'.


A rather lovely retro evocation of a '1967 Dodge Viper', a historical what-if. The advent of design blogs and sophisticated rendering software for everyday desktop computers has turned car design into far more of a populist art than it used to be, back in the arcane days of Pantone pens (although there's no denying the levels of skill involved). Sites like Car Design News, Coroflot and Car Body Design offer tutorials and portfolio space, with the classic marker pen rendering almost entirely usurped by 3D packages. Google a term like 'rendered speculation' and you're presented with a collection of imaginary machines.

It's surprising that there isn't more amateur architectural and urban experimental imagery, especially given the dominance of architectural CG imagery for planning and promotional purposes. Given that the auto industry is paranoid about the need to protect brand identities and intellectual properties, there is still a healthy amount of 'photochopping' going on as enthusiasts set about creating speculative alternative futures, even 'redesigning' current models. This activity has traditionally been the realm of students, usually with the explicit advocacy of the manufacturers themselves. However, there's a sense that brand identities are up for grabs, and that anyone can take a carefully constructed design language (or 'brand DNA') and attempt to steer it themselves.

So is pastiche and homage the architectural equivalent? Mash-ups aren't stylistic or even ideologically sympathetic, but usually directly opposed: Quinlan Terry stomping over Richard Rogers. Or Stirling up against One Poultry. The cut and pasted environment is still very much the realm of architects themselves, not gifted amateuers, illustrating the extent to which the physical environment is regulated and controlled by a tiny percentage of technicians and taste-makers.


Liverpool Preservation Trust, a suitably splenetic weblog given the local environment / StoodThere, an attempt to build a 'list of 100 Greatest Places To Stand on the Planet' / post-Katrina, critiquing new homes in New Orleans / London Under Construction / 3D Realms has put up a selection of original Duke Nukem maps on its site, each one a miniature masterpiece of pixel-perfect design.

A gallery of Harlequin NASCAR romance novel covers. You can buy them here. An NYT article on the link-up notes that the NASCAR link is pitched at the more down-to-earth reader. 'Romance novels are changing these days. Old standbys, like romances set in the Regency period, continue to do well, as do stories set in Ireland and Scotland, but the fastest-growing category now is paranormal romances, books about vampires and werewolves in which the path to true love often entails looking past a guy's fangs and body hair to discover his inner self.' From the ridiculous to the sublime, old covers from Which. See also our set here.

Joe Moran on the sat nav's potential obliteration of tradition, with a welcome diversion into the history of Sat-nav, including the Jones Live-Map, 1991 Honda Electro Gyrator system.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Super Colossal on a survey on the legacy of the architectural monograph for an upcoming exhibition on 'the history and influence of the architecture book' / all about the ongoing construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, currently blasting its way through 153.3km of Swiss rock. If we were click savvier this would be an excellent place for a 'ten best tunnels' feature / Michael Jackson transformed Neverland Ranch much as he did music: 'There are countless signs at Neverland of Jackson's attempts to put his architectural stamp on the estate. Some of them suggest a dedicated interest in architecture - and the design bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls in Santa Monica was said to be a Jackson favorite - but there is no coherent theme. Nothing matches.'

Ah, coherence. 'Recession brings 'Las Vegas dream' to an end', a piece about the city's ill-advised swing towards 'sophisticated modernist luxury', as opposed to jolly post-Disney adult playspaces. The new direction is epitomised by CityCenter, currently under construction with an 'architectural 'dream team'' that includes Pelli Clarke Pelli; Rockwell Group; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Kohn Pedersen Fox; Helmut Jahn; RV Architecture, LLC led by Rafael Viñoly; Foster + Partners; and Gensler.' Libeskind and Foster are actually both consultants. CityCenter is slowly emerging like a giant architectural zoo, an instant neighbourhood in which every participant has dialled in an overscaled facsimile of their aesthetic approach, each vying with each other in this contextual and literal desert.

The article also mentions the much-delayed Fontainebleau (which still looks a bit like this), $3.9bn in and apparently unfinished and the Echelon (thanks to Vegas Today and Tomorrow, which also has Fontainebleau images. See also Classic Las Vegas). Abandoned casino projects are joined by unwanted homes. 'The city was at the centre of the sub-prime mortgage crisis as lenders handed out unsustainable home loans. Some 35,000 houses and flats now stand empty. Keith Schwer, an economist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, says: "The housing industry basically got into the casino business."'


Friday, July 03, 2009
Should electric cars make a noise or is the future a city of silence? Or is the roar of the internal combustion engine too ingrained our the urban psyche to ever be entirely banished. Not touched on by Dan is the noise that often comes with cars, the steady thud of a bass drum, window rattling noises that echo down whole streets, dopplering past. As manufacturers never tire of pointing out, car hi-fi is escalating in performance and intensity - most of the multi-speaker systems fitted to very high end luxury cars (Naim for Bentley, Bang and Olufsen for Aston Martin, etc.) comfortably outperform domestic set-ups costing thousands of pounds.

Seven designs that were never built, along with the frankly unsurprising news that the Dynamic Tower might not materialise quite as originally envisioned. Massive doses of architectural schadenfreude all round. Related, collapsing new buildings. More images.

Morgues, photographs by Rob Ball / Baekdal, a sort of image-driven content delivery site / projects and ideas by Tim Schwartz / no flying cars, but plane-like cars instead. Maybe / Favorite Worst Movies, with clips (see also, chumps).


Thursday, July 02, 2009
This is a Champion, a project / The Graphing Calculator Story / Le Corbusier's furniture from Chandigarh, 'salvaged from a skip' / create background patterns / The Lives of Space, a site developed to accompany the Irish pavilion at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, proceeding 'from the modest proposition that the designed spaces which architects produce play a crucial role in supporting, shaping and framing our lives.'

What will happen to the Dwell Pre-fab, developed in conjunction with Marmol Radziner, one of the few architecture firms making a convincing stab at a factory-built home / Directorio d'Arco brings together built and unbuilt work from architecture blogs around the world / KaChing!, a tumblr / a tribute to Steven Wells, more here.

The Ideas Bazaar, a weblog / One Life Experience offers camper vans for hire / sculptures by Michael Ferris Jr / Q magazine's print deadlines were particularly unfortunate this month / Miglior Acque, a weblog steeped in medievalism.