Archive for the ‘explorers’ Category

My friend Ryan in Melbourne sent me a scanned copy of this article from Good Weekend that features Lucy Feagins, head wrangler of delicious Melbourne design blog, The Design Files.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lucy when I was down under for the State of Design show last July.  She’s a doll and her blog has become one of my favorite go to’s for inspiration and insight into what good things are happening in the Southern hemishpere. (She was also kind enough to post an interview with me the week of the show which brought a lot of people my way.  Amazing!)  So it’s great to see her getting the attention she deserves!  She not only does daily posts while keeping up a full time job, she manages to do original, thoughtful, and in depth posts, which puts her on my list of personal heroes.  Yah Lucy!

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Strolling through Melbourne one of my first days there, I came across the storefront for Craft Victoria.  It showcases some of the best work from local makers and houses exhibitions in their gallery space that celebrate artists from all over the world.  


Unfortunately I’ve misplaced my notes that contained all the artists names, so I apologize that these images are uncredited, but none the less, these were my favorites:


{ I LOVED these little ceramic morsels! }

craft-victoria-wood-spoonscraft-victoria-collection5craft-victoria-inside1{ gallery space where they featured international crafts }


Morphed show by Emma Davies }

I was really impressed by all the amazing work I saw there.  Visiting the Craft Victoria website by clicking here is a really good idea…

Ocean Views

mel-beachI was so luck to get the chance to go ‘around the bay in a day’ and check out some of the fantastic beaches and towns outside of the big city. (Many thanks to my champion tour guide Ryan!)  Taking a little side track trip down the Great Ocean Road brought miles upon miles of beautiful beaches and some cool modern ocean front homes to oogle. (insert picture of me on balcony waving at camera’s jealousy here)


Coming back up through Tootgarook brought more beauty and many beach boxes.  They were so fun, bright, and colorful.  Good stuff.


Australia definitely gets two thumbs up from me for visual splendor!


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heide jeff_carter-at-the-pasha-nightclub-cooma-c-1957-59

[Jeff Carter ‘At the Pasha Nightclub, Cooma’ c. 1957-59]

I was lucky enough to arrive in Melbourne in time to catch the last day of the Heide Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit ‘Modern Times: the untold story of modernism in Australia’.  The museum is located on 16 acres of gorgeousness that belonged to art collectors and visionaries John & Sunday Reed.  In 1963 they commissioned  a home (now known as Heide II) to be designed by Victorian architect David McGlashan of firm McGlashan + Everist as “a gallery to be lived in”.   They intended for it to become what it is today after they moved on (when I plan ahead to the weekend I feel good about myself, so I find this rather amazing…) and it was a huge treat to see such amazing work in such a personal setting.  



heide fireplaceheide office

[Heide II photos by Rory Hyde. See more at his flickr site by clicking here.]

The grounds surrounding the buildings that make up the museum are filled with an odd but somehow sweet synchronicity of sculptures & structures.  (not shown: the 2D metal cows with movable udders…)

heide-pagodaheide-sculptureAnd these are some of my highlights from the show:

heide roy-de-maistre-colour-composition-derived-from-three-bars-of-music-in-the-key-of-green-1935

Roy de Maistre
‘Colour Composition derived from three bars of music in the Key of Green’

heide a-modernist-vision-of-australia-the-interior-of-the-australian-pavilion-at-expo-67-in-montreal-1967

National Archives of Australia
‘A modernist vision of Australia: Grant and Mary Featherston’s wing sound chairs were a feature of the Australian Pavilion, designed by architect James Maccormick with exhibits selected by Robin Boyd, at Expo 67 in Montreal, 1967′

heide max-dupain-sunbaker-1934

Max Dupain
1934 printed 1937

heide australia-square-1968-max-dupain-a-keyhole-to-the-future-courtesy-of-max-dupain-and-associates1

Max Dupain
‘Australia Square, 1968′, Max Dupain-a keyhole to the future
Courtesy of Max Dupain and Associates.
heide james-birrell-view-of-the-elevated-restaurant-centenary-pool-brisbane

James Birrell
‘View of the elevated restaurant, Centenary Pool, Brisbane’

Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, Victoria 3105

Opening hours:
(Heide II & Heide III)
Tue–Fri 10.00am–5.00pm
Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 12.00noon–5.00pm
Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day

Heide Museum of Art website


Work photos via: Marcus Bunyun’s Art Blat

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melbourneAs it turns out, looking back over the pictures I took from my trip, I’m not the best photo documentarian.  Meaning I tend to focus in on details and forget to step back for the big picture sometimes.  But I’m a detail girl, so I guess that makes sense for me.  I also forgot my camera battery charger so there is a chunk missing. (I eventually broke down and bought another one of those spendy suckers) But overall, I think I captured my fave bits and am happy to share them, starting at the beginning, with Melbourne.

a minor place outside

[image from Breakfast Out]

One of my favorite things to do is eat out for breakfast.  So I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found the most excellent website Breakfast Out, a guide to all the best breakie spots in Melbourne (and a few in Sydney).  Really yum.  My favorite by far also happened to be the first one on my list,  A Minor Place at 103 Albion St. in Brunswick. This little nook had everything I desire to start my day off right:  good coffee, great food, nice natural light, & a thoughtful, fun decor.  Not to mention that “winter” in Melbourne means still being able to eat outside…  


graffiti-across[view across the street from A Minor Place]

Next came exploring downtown.

alleybuilding detail

round signs

Lots of cool restaurant filled alleys and modern details.  I loved that the current default aesthetic, even for public design, was very modern with pretty seamless integration of the heritage elements.  After the numbing horror of my small west coast town’s 80’s trapped commercially/publicly built environs, it was very soothing on the eyes.  

And then we get to my favorite part (after the food of course)… the graffiti!

acdc-laneACDC Lane (yup, after the kick ass rock stars) had plenty of fun vandalism as did a few others near by.  Apparently these alleys are quite popular as backdrops for wedding photos which makes sense, because who wouldn’t want to see their grandma glam it up in ACDC lane? 


graffiti-teeth-guygraffiti-hand-guygraffiti-hippograffiti-green-guysgraffiti-brick-guysMore Melbourne fun to come…

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[Julia’s ‘Electronic Chaos’ wall stickers for Diz Decor via: not beige]

German graphic artist Julia Wolf is not only a great designer, she is also a fearless explorer.  She and a friend spent 6 months traveling the world as dynamic graphic design duo, Twocollect.  This is what she has to say about the project:

“Twocollect is a self initiated work and travel program I realized together with Antonia Kühn in 2007. For half a year we sought out on a trip around the world visiting Hong Kong, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Based on the idea of a creative and cultural exchange, we worked as graphic designers for board and lodging in every city we went to. This way we met a lot of great designers, many of whom we got the chance to collaborate with in different projects.”


Her independent work is also very engaging.  There’s a lot going on, but in no way is it complicated or visually overwhelming.  I love how versatile she is, working her special flavor into all different mediums & formats.  I am officially a fan. 

julia press more

[Julia’s Gocco prints, Berlin/2008]

julia print 2

[Twocollect’s christmas card, Berlin/2008]

julia clockenflap_3

[Julia’s handmade paper project for the Clockenflap Mulitmedia Arts & Music Festival, Hong Kong/2008]

julia tc_ignacioinfante

[Twocollect’s website design for photographer Ignacio Infante]

To see more of Julia’s work, go to her website at:  www.juliawolf.info.  And for more information on the ideas, projects, and concept behind Twocollect visit: www.twocollect.com, or www.twocollect.blogspot.com. (I highly recommend checking out their adventures! Pure inspiration!)

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I’m not sure what they put in the water over there, but Denmark seems to produce an un-naturally high number of inspired/inspiring designers. Here are two of my favorites.


[clockwise from top:  Polder Sofa, 7 pots/3 centuries/2 materials, Animal bowl, Office Pets, PS Jonsberg for IKEA, Backpack Stool]

Hella has had an amazingly diverse and successful career producing her own lines as well as designing for high end brands such as Vitra & Nymphenburg.  She is thoughtful, playful, and gives us a delighting eye-full.  


[clockwise from top right: plywood sectional, aluminium Go-kart, classic cupboard in scrapwood, ‘welded’ ceramics, woodpile table, plywood chair kit]

Piet is intensely prolific with a steadfast commitment to re-using retired materials and resources.  He strikes a perfect balance between tradition & innovation creating pieces that would be ultimately very comfortable in both modern & rustic setting alike.  I quite like.  

Hella images via: jongeriuslab  and erbutler;  Piet images via: piet hein eek and desmetlive

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John & Conn on their lanai

It’s time for our weekly ‘meet the maker’ interview and I’m so pleased to introduce to you designers Conn Brattain & John Giordani.   These two are a constant source of inspiration for me.  (Conn was the one who introduced me to Shelter-Kit !)

After years of working as graphic designers in NYC  for companies such as Todd Oldham (Conn) and Details Magazine (John) they packed it in and moved on out to two acres of heaven on the island of Maui, Hawaii.  There they have cultivated a modern style babylon of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, & off the grid sustainable living.  They are a true testament to the attainability of dreams.  With passion, a smart savings plan, and creative follow through, anything is possible.  They are my proof.   And in addition to being conscientious land owners, successful gardeners, & delightful cooks (I haven’t tasted but have drooled plenty over Conn’s kitchen creations) they are just good fellas.  They rescued & raised an orphaned baby pheasant (no bird has ever had it so good. Check out the tale of Kekoa on their lovely blog Cuckoo for Coconuts) and were busy last week helping to plant trees at an animal sanctuary.   On top of this they still maintain their careers, now as freelancers, and continue to produce beautiful design.   So I tip my hat and raise my high five hand to them for being all kinds of cool.  Thanks Guys!



1. What is your favorite movie for visual/design amazing-ness?

Conn:    Oh Yikes. Just one? Well I would say off the top of my head it would be What a Way to Go!  This is one of those rarely known movies that when I mention it, people look at me as though I have 3 heads. Especially for the scene when Louisa May Foster (Shirley MacLaine) is in the psychiatrists office and there is a large 4 row file cabinet behind them that is perfection. Each row is a different color: Orange, White, Brown and Yellow. It is all topped off with creamy neutrals and a blue chair and floor. The vision of that color combo has stuck with me since I first saw the movie many years ago. It was a popular combo back when this movie was made, but seeing it in WAWTG left an impression on me. So much so I jotted it down in a sketchbook and recently used the colors as the inspiration for my logo and website. This movie is non-stop inspiration and entertainment from start to finish. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964 for Set/Art Direction as well as Costume Designs by Edith Head and Moss Mabry.                                                       http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058743/                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


John:   Awesome question! Well for pure visual design amazing-ness, i’ll have to go with my first gut reaction, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964. It’s beyond camp, almost to the point where it’s a bit insufferable to watch (a french musical about a tragic love story?!), but it is, no doubt, a pop feast for the eyes.

2. What is your favorite music genre/band to work to right now?

Conn:   Right now I am listening to the new Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe and Pet Shop Boys – YES, (both are extremely infectious) but it varies on the day and the project. I will say I usually prefer to work without music. I just enjoy the sound of nothing to be honest. Well not really nothing because I do love hearing the birds, breeze and ocean all whirring together out the window. When I am am on the lawnmower for 3 hours, I love loud upbeat tunes that tell great stories from Helio Sequence, Depeche Mode, Hercules and Love Affair, Wilco, The Smiths, k.d.lang, Longwave, Adele, The Magnetic Fields, Madonna… and so many more. I am drawn to songs with witty, clever lines.  It’s a real mixed bag.

John:  If i’m in production mode, I listen to electronica, lately the new Depeche Mode has me taping my toes whilst pushing pixels. For more creative work , the new Red Hot compilation, Dark Was The Night. Or 80’s new wave will always inspire me because it dials my brain back to when I coveted album cover designs by the likes of Peter Saville and Malcolm Garrett.

3. (for Conn)  I find working from home is both a blessing and a curse.  More often than not, a blessing, but still, driving your own work day takes pretty serious discipline.  Some days I have it and some days I just plain don’t.  Are there any little tricks you’ve developed for yourself to help you navigate around this, and past the ever present fridge, to get to work?

Conn:  I’m right there with you Paige. Some days I have it and some days I just plain don’t. John is the more disciplined of the two. I constantly find myself wanting to be outside snapping pics of the plants. I find them to be wildly inspiring because of their color combinations and patterns.img_0073

3. (for John)  Has moving from fast paced, hard edged NYC to your quiet garden oasis in Hawaii affected the style of your work at all?  Like having new compulsions to soften all lines & secretly work flowers into every layout?

John: That’s an amazingly insightful question Paige! And one would think that would be the case. But it’s still very difficult for me to squeeze flowers into my work. Lines have softened a bit but I think NYC will always be somewhere in my subconscious. I have very recently had vignetted visions of me sitting in the garden sketching a flowering Dill. Has that happened yet? No. But the intention is there. I think i’ve become more sensitive to color. Nuances like the rubine red of a radish and the soft orange of a young carrot are inspiring to me. Or the rich purple of a fresh, shiny eggplant. Those colors are more important to me now that I know i’ve had a hand in nurturing them.img_6751So that was just a little peek into the world to two very fine folk.  To check out more of Conn’s color-cool work go to: www.connbrattain.com. To peruse John’s projects, including his lovely illustrations go to: www.johngdesign.com.  And to keep up to date on all their island adventures & delightful garden inspired recipes become a follower of: www.cuckooforcoconuts.blogspot.com.  All the cool kids are doin’ it…                                                                                    

images of movie scene, plant, & radishes supplied by Conn & John.  Thanks Guys!    other images from: design*sponge (click for more pics of their exquisite house) & Cuckoo for Coconuts

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To round out this week, I thought i’d share with you, TED.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design.  It is an organization that holds annual conferences bringing together the brightest minds in these fields, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in just 20 minutes.  This is what they have to say for themselves:

Our mission: Spreading ideas. 

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

I first heard about this from my friend Graham Hill who is the founder of treehugger.com, the net’s biggest & best eco-centered site.  (He had the good fortune to attend this year’s conference & see the talks in person!)  And I was again reminded of this source of inspiration by another friend recently.  He recommended the particular talk I’m posting a link to.  The speaker is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  She waxes on a different way to think about creative genius.  It’s always inspiring to me to hear different perspectives, especially in this generously free &  as-if-you-were-there video format. Very special indeed.   So get yourself a cup of tea, settle in, and click on this link to enjoy!

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you on Monday.  Ole!

via: ted.com

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