Other things and random thoughts. The Pioneering Spirit is a truly big thing, the largest vessel ever built at 403,342 gross tons and 123.75m wide (Wikipedia), designed specifically to lift oil rigs without the need to dissemble them. With a slot between twin hulls, the ship can scoop up rigs and take them to new sites or back to port for decommissioning. It will soon be topped by a larger vessel, ‘Amazing Grace’ / Dezeen asks, ‘what happens to temporary pavilions once their time is up?‘ / art by Alice Bucknell / an island for sale / we love this kind of landscape: the bog / photography by Maria Lax / photography by Gareth Gardner / OK Go drop another video / sometimes it seems that Patrik Schumacher often acts as if there is an outstanding vacancy for an evil, cackling architect, rubbing their hands together at the thought of their will being imposed on a fumbling, ignorant populace, too stupid to know they’re actually crying out to be saved by the perfect machinations of the market. It’s the only way to explain it.
Modern Berlin is the latest map from Blue Crow Media. The spike of interest in architecture-related travel continues unabated with Phaidon’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: West Coast USA. Modern architecture has always had this problem of being reduced to a thing, a pin on a map or a perfect snapshot. Perhaps we need a prosaic revival / instead, we have the curious cultural misappropriation that is ‘hygge‘, a mix of optimism, nostalgia and largely bogus presumptions (via MeFi) / nostalgia: Peckham’s Crown Theatre, long lost / the evolution of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The crumbling infrastructure of the nuclear age intersects with religious fervour in North Dakota’s concrete pyramid / paintings by Phil Hale (via Hi-Fructose) / Unkee E, a flickr stream rich with illustrated and printed ephemera / Peter Serafinowicz’s Sassy Trump will save us all / the legacy of Ian Nairn in the Return to Subtopia / the Dutch have good maps and have done for many centuries / the end of What.cd, the internet’s biggest and best music collection / design by Cheng-Tsung Feng / where is Miami’s sand going?
Photography by Mischa Haller / see also Amelia Shepherd’s project Peacehaven in III parts / photography by Sarah Janes / The Politics of the Office is a photographic series by Andreia Alves de Oliveira, quietly chronicling the subtle ‘system of spatial ‘status markers’ – quantity and quality of furniture, décor, amount of space per person, location within the floor and the building, – put in place to signal hierarchical relations of power, reflecting wider systems that influence life in industrialised society, where material possessions often signify social status.’ / ‘Edgelands‘, by Geoff Hodgson, ‘the non-descript spaces between the Urban and Rural, an ill-defined, constantly changing boundary that separates the City from the Countryside’ / Alexandra Serrano’s moody ‘Postcode War‘ charts ‘various crimes scenes throughout the borough of Hackney, where gang members have violently lost their lives over the last 12 years’ / Cosplay, portraits by Mark Hooton / Nothing here’s set in stone, edge conditions captured by Alex Gale.
A house in the Alps, a short film on Kirsten Dirksen’s very engaging channel dedicated to small, architecturally elegant dwellings / architecture photos of the year, a shortlist / top 30 Art Deco houses at Wowhaus / beautiful stop motion animation of the Lego Death Star being built / old but good, a supercut of cinematic hacking scenes. Clack, clack, clack / music: Gemini Suite by Outer Space.
In Love with Japan, an illustrated book by Johana Kroftová / beautiful illustrations by Erwin Kho / glacial, disconcerting self portraits by Katerina Belkina / Driving Survival, post-apocalyptic road trip pursuit game (via RPS) / vaguely, sort of, could be related, inside Porton Down / a poster on the work of Guillermo del Toro by relajaelcoco studio / extraordinary Brutalist pile in Queensland / journey deep down in subterranean London / artist and architect Christian Tonko / paintings and prints by Steven Hubbard / a selection of Fritz Lang-style sandcastles / Czech-based company Bastl Instruments make custom synths and explain massively complex traditional rack systems in their videos (via Synthtopia) / in 2013, UKIP put out a ppb that was essentially ‘A Vision of Britain’ in video form.
Contemporary portraiture by Alexandra Diez de Rivera / Desert Islands, a design project by Elisa Chieruzzi, which brings to mind Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands (subtitled, ‘Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will’), and seen here at The Island Review / an original Harry Beck Tube Map from 1939, at Sotheby’s endlessly fascinating sale of Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History / fluid simulator by PIC/FLIP Fluid Simulation by Ryan L.Guy / design by La Tigre Studio from Italy / the graphic art of Atelier Bingo from France.
Crows, a series by Marten Lange / Photographing the Impact of California’s Water Crisis, by Mustafah Abdulaziz for the New York Times / colour guide from 1692 at Colossal / grand photographs of mountains by Tim Hall.
Some interesting things / an interview with painter Eva Mansdorf at Painting Perceptions / Apologia is hosting an open forum for links about ‘digital space and fabricated realities’ / Herzog & de Meuron reflect on the decade-long process of building the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg / The Optic Cloak is a new sculpture by Conrad Shawcross, with accompanying book and film by Pentagram / design by Mathew Lucas / photography by Seamus Nicolson / Chest of Drawers, a creative collective / neat 3D architecture for a game called Woodville / Dragons’ Den: the Intellectual Property blog / denudees, a blog about the nude in art / Visual Pleasure, a blog about figurative painting / illustrations by Romain Trystram / the Free Car Brochure blog.
The Re-birth of the Company, a book about the creeping return to the glory (?) days of the Corporate Town. Wikipedia has a list of company towns. We’re living in an age when corporations are suggesting they sift through your posting history and base your insurance policies on what they find: ‘In contrast, evidence that the Facebook user might be overconfident – such as the use of exclamation marks and the frequent use of “always” or “never” rather than “maybe” – will count against them.’ Little wonder that some people disengage altogether and chose to spend their time hunting imaginary aliens in the far reaches of imaginary space / paintings by Clare Haward / a glass slide / music by Thidius / like punk never happened: Smash Hits archive, via Daniel Gray.
More design and illustration. Beautiful objects by Santi Zoraidez, including Embedded / Habitat 316/D, an imagined socialist dystopia by Marcin Wolski / Airport of the Future, illustrations by Sam Chivers / illustrations by Federico Babina / Beware the Bibliophilia, a splendid tumblr / Mother Ludlene’s Hole in Moor Park, 1790, by Samuel Grimm, a cave near Farnham that housed ‘the White Witch of Waverley’ / Don’t make fun of renowned author Dan Brown.
Affadavit magazine, taking ‘a middle route between in-depth essays and short-form arts journalism. It is designed to be engaging and precise, grounded in the moment as it moves from topic to topic’ / Blackpaint’s Blog, a site about painting / Architecture of Doom tackles prison architecture / The Dutch Mountains are coming / crash tests, old vs new: 1962 Cadillac vs 2002 Cadillac / 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs 2009 Chevrolet Malibu / 1998 Volvo 940 vs 2009 Renault Modus / 2015 Nissan Tsuru vs 2016 Nissan Versa.
Scenes From Underground, recent troglodytic photography collected at The Atlantic / Fabian Krueger’s images of Eltz Castle in Germany / paintings by Jon Redmond / the great Obscure Media subreddit / the video artwork of Cao Fei, ‘flitting between real and virtual worlds‘ / 40 years of change in central London: the Fitzrovia Community Newspaper Archive / animated illustrations by Rafael Varona / paranormal investigations: Should Goddard’s Squadron Drop Dead Fred? / the dark side of Rentaghost, a ‘essentially about failure’ / see also the Science of Ghosts (now defunct) / also related, England’s most interesting ghosts, which sent us off to find more about balloon jumping, the turn of the century equivalent of wingsuits.
The story of Action Comics, the blood-soaked weekly for 70s kids / Atlas Obscura maps its 10,000 global points of interest / Robin Davey is an illustrator and animator / some online magazines: Klat Magazine; Flow Magazine; Paste Magazine; Little Atoms / the HyperNormalisation playlist, get all your spooky millennial sounds / take home a nude at the annual auction held by Paddle8 / Writing Cities, ‘a meandering exploration of land and community and history, public space and architecture…’.
This year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift Catalogue is here, so the Christmas panic is over. Thirty-six classic children’s first editions, a steal at $100,000. The Rose-gold private plane also caught our eye, although the Cobalt Valkyrie is mean enough without a special paint job. And the ‘week of living at three English estates for $700,000 seems like a very time-poor and hurried way of living out your Downtown fantasies. Especially when a half-decent Scottish pile will cost about the same amount.
Grim London, a macabre map of the capital / McMansion Hell, the ten circles of housing insanity / A Brief History of the Studio as an Instrument, over at the Ableton website / The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, anarchism from 1988 / How London Architecture has evolved, a documentary / yet another Guardian piece, perhaps a bit more nuanced, on gentrification / what are some ‘gripping, non-fiction books about things‘? / beautiful illustrations by Josie Shenoy / Ursula K.Guin on The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, via MeFi, on the skewed historical, cultural and fictional balance between ‘hunting’ and ‘gathering’ / old, and abandoned, the GUIdebook, or Graphical User Interface Gallery / art and paper at Cartolleria / paper cculptures by Makiko Azakami, via Faith is Torment.
The Road Not Taken: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit, by Adi Robertson. In the utopian timeline (which could sitll happen), these PRT systems could be reborn in the form of self-driving autonomous cars. What will be different, however, is the way they are branded and graded according to status and desire, rather than the ‘one-pod-fits-all’ solution originally proposed / other things. London Social and Functional analysis, 1943 at Mapping London / architectural art by Atelier Olschinsky / design by Stefan Wagner / the mirror maze, totally missed this / New Town Utopia, ‘A documentary film about utopian dreams, concrete realities… and some rather angry puppets’ / the city of natural gas, visions of a fracking town of the future by Jason Lamb / Bradford Unconsidered Trifles, a weblog with a penchant for industrial archaeology / the intricate art of Adam Dant / animated weather map / work by Misha Semenov, including research on the Garden City, visualisations, sketches and urban fantasies / The Angry Architect, a weblog / the illustrations of Kempster and Evans / more modern utopian dreams at Architizer.
Stephen Walter’s map of ‘Nova Utopia‘ is a characteristically hyperdense cartographic narrative journey, a ‘a fictionalization of Thomas More’s Utopia, shown now in the present day, 500 years on from when it was first written. The book of 1516 forms its backstory. Certain things that he described remain, like the traces of its 54 elegant towns spread evenly throughout. Its size is roughly the same and it has a prominent bay now named the Mouth of Feo, with its outcrops of rocks and a garrison tower. Many of its towns are now named after the nations exports that are mentioned in the book.’ Loosely based on Abraham Ortelius’ 1596 map of Utopia, it maps out a landscape shaped by a continuous search for meaning. Walter also has beautiful maps of the ‘Rivers of London’ and ‘London Subterranea’, as well as a series on London’s Boroughs / see also The New Illustrated Map of London, available at House of Cally / see also, Utopian town planning, Mormon-style (via MeFi) / also related, ten failed utopian cities / other things. An unofficial guide to building with Lego Technic / Tin Can Forest, a tumblr / it’s been too long since we last looked at Mighty Girl / solar landscape at Sundrop Farms.