Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I'm not sure how I found out about them, but I've been aware of Poketo for a couple years now. I had the chance to go in December, and it was nothing short of a spiritual experience*. The store is perfect, it feels like it has all of the material things that a person needs for the perfect life. It's like walking into a magazine, but a magazine curated by your most stylish, artistic friend. Everything felt like it was so perfectly considered and executed, and I wanted to stay forever.
Cute mugs and baskets.
Designer-ly socks.
I wanted to touch most of the things on this table.
The notebook-hoarder in me had to be restrained from this display.
We bought this chocolate. It was delicious, and the packaging is adorable.
I wish I had started Poketo.
*Please note that I'm not a person who takes the concept of a spiritual experience** lightly, I reserve it for places like Muji, Poketo, LACMA, MoMA, and films like A Single Man. I'll write a blog post about A Single Man someday, and it'll be amazing.
**I know that someone will call me out for being too consumeristic, but please realize that this is 90% in jest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Materials and Form

I saw this project today, and I was fascinated by it. It's called Not Granola, by Aaron Rappaport.

It's a Panton Chair. But it's made out of grass and clay. Does that fundamentally change the nature of the chair? I know that there are physical differences between clay and plastic, and the way they feel and move and function, but how else does it change the chair as an object? The Panton Chair was designed in the 1960's, and it looks and feels like something from that era - something that abandoned traditional notions of how a chair should be, and it looks very fresh and exciting because of that.
With mud, straw, sand, and clay, that's all different. It no longer comes off as refreshingly modern, but it feels like this strange, natural approach to modern design.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Austin Kleon on Doing What You Love

[Ryan] Even if you’re doing what you love, it’s still work.
Absolutely. I have a couple problems with the “do what you love” ideology. The first issue I have is that it is impossible for everyone to do what they love. As a society, we cannot function without people doing the dirty work: someone has to take out the garbage; someone has to make sure the plumbing is running; someone has to make sure the electric is on for all the startups(laughing). The fact is that a lot of people aren’t going to be able to make money doing what they love, so it starts to make people feel bad. That pressure can make someone with a good, stable, bread-winning job feel like he or she has to toss it out because it’s not what they genuinely want to be doing.
The second issue I have with doing what you love—and I’m sure you two are finding this out—is the pressure to overwork. People are led to believe that if they’re doing what they love, then they should be working long hours, or even all day.
I'm a hundred percent on board with this. From The Great Discontent's interview with Austin Kleon.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cadillac vs. Ford: A battle of ideals

For me, cars were an entry point to design. Cars were around me, I could look at them whenever I wanted, and I made a weird habit of identifying all the cars around me, all the time, when I was fifteen or sixteen*. I grew up in Metro Detroit, too, so the presence of the auto companies probably helped me become a person who really liked cars. Not like I knew how to take them apart or anything, but I liked looking at them. Liked having opinions about what looked best, that kind of thing.
I was wandering around on AdWeek, and I love these ads.
Both of them, really. The Cadillac one seems like a joke, it really does come off as a parody. But, you know, a lot of the people who drive Cadillacs come off as parodies, so...
Here's a response from Ford, made by Team Detroit. I think it's great! I think it does a great job of rejecting the brand that Cadillac has projected and providing something different. To me, it says "Success doesn't have to look like a fancy house, a pool, and a Cadillac. Success looks like you, doing exactly what you want, and making the world around you a better place." That's really inspiring, and I think it targets a younger demographic, going with the idea that Millennials care more about finding meaning and purpose in their careers than being able to buy a fancy car.

 I hope you're having a good weekend! I might be off the internet for a while in the next month or so, I have finals, and they might be taking a lot out of me. I'm also looking for and applying to internships for the summer, so if you know of an opportunity, I'd love to hear about it.
*I was a popular, sociable teenager.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus

I recently saw an exhibit at the DePaul Art Museum called The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus. It was surprising and informative — prior to seeing the exhibit, I knew that there was conflict in the area around Sochi, and that it was fairly economically depressed, but I didn't know much more than that.
The aesthetic of the exhibit was this sort of post apocalyptic realist look. It featured a lot of pictures like the one above, of abandoned buildings, or pictures of people in beat-up rooms, staring down the camera. It felt, in many ways, like it was doing more to make a political point than be art.
I think that's fine. I think that's a good thing, and I think it's much more interesting as a political activist project than it would be as something that is simply a series of photographs. It's journalism, journalism with a long timeline and a fairly uncertain outcome. Since 2007, Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen have been working on this, documenting people and places around Sochi.
As a person who is interested in journalism, this kind of project amazes me. It would take so much dedication, and such a strong drive to tell these stories. It's admirable. It's amazing.
Most of the exhibit feels like it's based off of this book, or that the book is closely based off of the exhibit. I'm not sure which came first, or how it was all planned out, but I would be interested in finding that out. It feels like it's still in progress, like they're going to go back in a few months and take pictures of all the Olympic venues now that they're empty. I don't even know how a project like that wraps up. Do you just stop taking pictures? Do you stop caring? Do you move on to something else?
If you've ever done this kind of a project, I'd really love to hear about it in the comments - what was it like? What did you take away from it?