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June 30, 2015 | Posted by | No Comments

The Art of Book Covers

For me, the relaxation of summer is married to reading. Throughout the winter, I curate a list of books people have mentioned or that I’ve stared at longingly on the shelves of a bookstore, but have no time to read. Now, sans classes, with a full-time job and the need for a bedtime, I dive into my book list. I’ve quit the Kindle cold turkey and now I’ve noticed what’s been missing: the book covers. I wouldn’t say the Kindle is killing print books, but it may just be killing the illustrators and designers of book covers. If not killing, then seriously maiming . Take a look of  some of the best work, old and new, that you’ve missed skipping to the meat of the book.

In 2014, these two artists, Sunra Thompson and Patricia Storace, were celebrated among 50 others by The Casual Optimist in the 50 Covers for 2014 article. Both artists use a title not as text on top of art, but part of the piece while capturing the theme of the book.

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews; design by Sunra Thompson (McSweeney’s / November 2014)

 

The Book of Heaven by Patricia Storace; design by Linda Huang (Pantheon / February 2014)

 

With a few overlapping titles, including the Patricia Storace cover, Buzzfeed’s 32 Of The Most Beautiful Book Covers of 2014, has cover-designers Charlotte Strick (illustration by Patrick Leger) and Paul Sahre on their list. These covers play with time and space in their juxtaposition of panels to form a story atop a novel.

Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey Design by Charlotte Strick, illustration by Patrick Leger. FSG Originals

 

Design by Paul Sahre.

 

In 2011, Flavorwire took a look at the historically notable book covers in The 20 Most Iconic Book Covers Ever. While the obvious titles are represented such as Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, some are surprisingly beautiful. Perhaps we’ve been numbed to their artistic allure because their covers are iconic, but these artists should be counted among the best: Francis Cugat and Joe Pernaciaro.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

 

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953. Designed by Joe Pernaciaro

I’m not saying let’s all go home and throw out our Kindles in protest, but I would be sad to see book cover art influences dwindle. Yeah, we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but we do. And readers yearn for a cover that aptly describes the pages beneath. I might add that my bookshelf, fitted with old cloth texts and bright edgy covers, has never looked better.

June 25, 2015 | Posted by | No Comments

Rainbow Chapel

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

I’m a sucker for color and good design, so you can imagine how this Chinese chapel caught my eye. Via dezeen.com:

Couples with a love of stained glass can now get married in a kaleidoscopic wedding chapel next to a Shanghai glass museum.

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

Designed by Chinese studio Coordination Asia, the Rainbow Chapel features a multi-hued facade made up of over 3,000 glass panels, displaying 65 different colours.

These create a 6.8-metre-high cylinder that transitions like a rainbow from warm tones of red, orange and yellow, down to shades of green, blue, purple and pink.

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

According to architect and studio founder Tilman Thürmer, the aim was to create a wedding venue to suit young and creative couples, serving as an alternative to China’s more traditional venues.

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

“There was a lack in the Chinese wedding market that mainly offers city-centre locations and classic settings, and we went on to fill that gap,” Thürmer explained.

The building is located at G+ Park in north Shanghai – a museum cluster designed by Coordination Asia that also includes the Shanghai Museum of Glass and the Kids Museum of Glass.

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

“Over the years of operating the museum park we experienced an increasing demand to have a new type of venue that caters to the Chinese public, now avid for living a creative life, gathering new and exciting experiences and mixing art and lifestyle,” added Thürmer.

Standing over a shallow pool of water, the 390-square-metre building is framed by a rectilinear white structure with a wall on only one of its four sides.

Photography is by Coordination Asia.

The colourful glass cylinder is positioned at the centre of this cuboid, illuminated by lights embedded in the overhanging roof.

“The two basic shapes – square and circle – are fundamental to Chinese symbolism,” said the design team in a statement.

I wish we didn’t have to go so far to find such a cool venue!

June 23, 2015 | Posted by | No Comments

Green Workspace

via theguardian.com by Joe Evans:

Groundwork London’s installation in the heart of Hackney. Photograph: Jack Hobhouse/PA

Nestled among the foliage in Hoxton Square, east London, a businessman opens his laptop. Enjoying a panoramic view bathed in sunshine, he begins his day. He is not a victim of London’s office-space shortage. Instead, he is taking advantage of TREExOFFICE, the regeneration charity Groundwork London’s new installation in the heart of Hackney.

Thinking inside the box … workers try out the newly-unveiled pop-up office in Hoxton Square, London Photograph: Jack Hobhouse/PA

Groundwork London is seeking to reinvigorate the city’s green spaces through project Park Hack. With the support of Hackney council, its pop-up office (a plastic pod on stilts at the bottom of the tree) has been installed in Hoxton’s leafy square. Blending into the natural scenery, the office is now open for bookings and is available to community groups free of charge at weekends. Users directly contribute to supporting parks in Hackney, as all income from the project is reinvested into more installations or into cultivating existing green spaces.

image via tateharmer.com

The office was designed by the Australian architect Natalie Jeremijenko, in collaboration with the artists Shuster + Mosley and architects Tate Harmer. Rory Harmer, of Tate Harmer, said the aim was to “create a new office concept, changing the way we work in the city”. It is one of a crop of alternative office-space projects in London, like BoxPark in Shoreditch and ContainerVille on the banks of the Regent’s Canal.

image via boxpark.co.uk

Standing 4m tall, the main structure of the TREExOFFICE is made of compressed paper, while the outer walls are a combination of transparent plastic and translucent polycarbonate. The challenge was to create a space that is “robust, but blurs the boundary between the office and nature,” said Harmer. The greenery of the square filters through the panels, filling the office with a soothing light.

image via estateoffice.com

For now, TREExOFFICE is still a prototype, but Groundwork London hopes that, if it proves popular, the project can be rolled out in more sites in and around Hackney.

So, next time you see somebody slip into a garden square, laptop under arm, it might not just be for a lunchbreak. Project Park Hack wants us to reconsider our green spaces, and to do more with them. If all goes to plan, we might find translucent pods popping up in parks all around the country.

 

June 18, 2015 | Posted by | No Comments

Keep Cool

The air has a sticky quality, the temperature has climbed over the sweating threshold, and people are crossing to the shaded side of the street on the morning commute. It’s hot. Even though restaurants are seating customers outside, there is an allure to the air-conditioned dining room. To quench your thirst for a break from the blistering sun, here are a few artists who’ve captured the moment of refreshing relief.

The Joy of Girls by Allan O’Marra $2,350

The second before you hit the water is perfect. Sure the pool is frigid and the water clogs your nose, but the heat that has been stuck to you since the moment you cracked the screen door has vanished. The anticipation is tangible in this photo.

A Fond Farewell by Sharilyn Neidhardt $1,425

The glass of water glistening on the table, even warmed by the sun, is a gift after you’ve baked in a lawn chair. The beautiful bend of light off the cool beverage in this photo catches the perfect sentiment of the a crisp summer drink.

Three Fishermen by william london $640

The touch of toes in the water and the breeze of the bay are reprieves from the bake of the beach. Okay, so I’ve no clue where these fishermen are, but they’re cooled, calm and happy. That’s a beautiful way to spend the summer.

Avoid the heat, enjoy the breeze, and remember the moment when you hit the water to keep cool on the hottest of days.

 

June 16, 2015 | Posted by | No Comments

Art Is Everywhere

TinyDoorsATL #1

Both inside our homes and out in our towns, art abounds. I love seeing and hearing about how different cities across the country are creating their own public art movements. From free art scavenger hunts to large scale public pieces, there seems to be something for everyone and an endless supply of art to discover.

TinyDoorsATL #2

Here in Atlanta, I recently heard about TinyDoorsATL. Self-described as “a small artist cooperative bringing big wonder to tiny spaces. Our constantly evolving installation pieces are an interactive part of their community. With the installation of a door, what was once a wall or the column of a bridge becomes an entrance to collective creativity and an invitation to whimsy. Tiny Doors ATL is dedicated to free and accessible art. You will never have to buy a ticket to see one of our doors.  We inspire curiosity and exploration in people of all ages.”

TinyDoorsATL #3

“Tiny Doors ATL literally installs 6-inch tall doors in strategic places throughout the city.  Atlanta has a vibrant art scene, most of which happens on a large scale.  For example, Living Walls has added incredible art at large mural sizes all over the city.  Tiny Doors ATL plays on a much smaller visual scale.  You could walk past our doors for months and never see them.  We love creating that moment of surprise as you walk by.  We love interrupting your usual walk [with the discovery of a Tiny Door].”

TinyDoorsATL #4

The TinyDoorsATL is an all-volunteer organization with two Co-Directors, Karen Anderson and Sarah Meng. Other members of the group include the Tiny Guardians, who you might see out tending to doors and porches on sunny days. What kind of free and fun art is happening in your city?

 

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