Sunday, October 25, 2009

Poplie radio show, Sunday 25 October 2009 - dedicated to Trouble Over Tokyo

This Sunday's show is dedicated to Trouble Over Tokyo - you will find one of his songs in each half-hour of the show. He is playing live in Athens tonight, at Swing-Bar in Gazi, starting at 22:00, free entrance. The gig is organized by Muzine magazine for it's 2nd birthday celebrations and sponsored, between others, by Poplie radio (where my show is every Sunday, 12:00-14:00). Download it from the right side of this blog as usual! Hope you like it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poplie radio show, Sunday 18 October 2009

Click on the image to see the playlist

Second show on Poplie last Sunday and I think I am getting the hang of it. The first hour was more acoustic, second hour was more dance/electronic with the new tracks of Roisin Murphy presented at the Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2010 fashion show this month being the absolute highlight. So join me every Sunday at noon for more. You can download the whole radio show from the right column of this blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Design Can Change

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web. At the moment I am writing this post 8192 blogs from 145 countries and 11,799,400 readers have been registered and participate!

First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. Bloggers are asked to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue. By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue. Out of this discussion naturally flow ideas, advice, plans, and action. In 2007 on the theme of the Environment, bloggers were running environmental experiments, detailing innovative ideas on creating sustainable practices, and focusing their audience's attention on organizations and companies promoting green agendas. In 2008 Poverty was the theme, and similarly focused the blogging community's energies around discussing the wide breadth of the issue from many perspectives and identifying innovative and unexpected solutions. This year the aim is to do the same for Climate Change, an issue that threatens us all.

I dedicate this post then to Design Can Change. An effort to bring together the world's graphic design community to address the issues surrounding climate change. While it is a complex and sometimes contested topic, nevertheless it cannot be ignored. Designers in particular must examine how our practices impact the environment. Acknowledging the problem is the first step. As designers (and this is true for all areas of design) we have great abilities and can group together to make a collective difference. It is important to consider all the parties we can work with and how we can all lend a hand.

Some of you may ask why should designers be concerned with climate change? Leave this to the politicians and social groups. But we beg to differ: designers are so close to the issue that are better placed to be able to make the difference. Designers often characterize ourselves as problem solvers. If so, then how about applying this to climate change? As the public has come to accept the importance of good design and demand it in almost every facet of their lives, our efforts as designers are pivotal in shaping the world around us.

Design Can Change works with the notion that we can collectively encourage substantial change. By utilizing our ability to effectively communicate and build interest, we can generate awareness and further the cause to end global warming. Designers are the hub connecting companies to customers. Additionally we steer lots of work to various sections of the construction industry, printing industry, and various suppliers of every possible resource. So what can we do? Implement sustainability in our work - from the way our practices work to our final products to making our collaborators and partners aware of it and suggest to implement it themselves. By choosing to work with people who are environmentally aware in their work too.

Sustainability is becoming the most important addition to the creative brief. As much as we might not like to admit it, many designers aren't prepared for this. We've been busy working on our skills, learning about brands, adapting to new technology, and keeping our studios alive during some lean times. Also note that sustainable practices in design do not have to be costly. In fact, smart designers leverage efficient ways of working that often reduce costs to organizations. Today most major brands have added sustainability to their business agendas because they recognize it is a competitive advantage and a key to continued success. From a position of self-interest alone, you really have to start thinking green.

So if the above have started to convince you a bit, go to DesignCanChange page, and take the pledge. From then on, lots of tips for changing your studio, raising awareness and making a difference will follow.

Images and text courtesy of DesignCanChange and Getty Images.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My first radio show at Poplie!

Just started a weekly radio show on Poplie internet radio. It is on every Sunday at noon and for two hours I will be playing my favourite tunes, mostly new stuff but old ones as well! I will also try to mention things relevant to design (like today, I said that the Ebony Bones track is the soundtrack to the video of YSL's Manifesto for this season). Here is my playlist for today's show (click on it to see it larger):

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Irving Penn: a legend passes away at 92

Top models in 1947
Irving Penn. One of the most prolific and recognized photographers of the 20th century, with an elegant, minimal and defined style, died today at age 92. His art, much sought after by museums and photography lovers the world over will live on. Born on June 16th, 1917, in Plainfield, N. J., to Harry, a watchmaker and Sonia, a nurse. Studying at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, (now the University of the Arts), from 1934 to 1938, Penn studied drawing, painting and graphic and industrial design. he had as a teacher the designer Alexey Brodovitch, a Russian émigré from Paris, familiar with avant-guard European art and design. Mr. Brodovitch worked in New York City for Harper’s Bazaar at the time and travelled to Philadelphia on Saturdays to meet with his students and to evaluate their work. Penn’s graphic talent impressed Mr. Brodovitch, and he chose him to be his unpaid assistant at Bazaar during the summers of 1937 and 1938.

Irving Penn in the 1960's

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn

Although trained as a painter and designer, he dedicated himself and his talent to photography. Penn started at Harper's Bazaar under Alexey Brodovich after he finished his studies. But in 1943 he began with Vogue what would become the longest running collaboration of a magazine with a photographer, under Alexander Lieberman. Starting out as his assistant, he was supervising the design of the magazine's covers. And when he found out no staff photographer would shoot what he suggested, he did it himself, under Lieberman's suggestions. His first shooting was a colour still-life photograph of a glove, belt and pocketbook, which became the cover of 1943's October issue. His photographs would grace more than 150 Vogue covers over the next 50 years.

Penn's first Vogue cover, Oct. 1st 1943

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn

Although fashion is constantly changing, it's image a blur from season to season, Penn's style was constant, timeless, his photographs instantly recognizable from the 1940s up until the early 21st century. It is most rewarding to see how fashion changes throughout the decades through his photographs, clothes, designers, models, come and go, but Penn and his inimitable style is always there, transfixing the eye of the observer with it's brilliant use of geometry and lighting.

Linda Evangelista

Photo for a Vogue cover, April 1st 1950

His photographs were never spontaneous. Not for him the jumping, dancing models of Arthur Elgort, the exuberant leaping ladies of Richard Avedon, the decadent women of Guy Bourdin, the overtly sexy femmes of Helmut Newton. Instead his subjects, elegant and timeless, restrained but sensuous, poised with a geometric precision, look frozen for posterity as if you look at the Parthenon marbles.


Audrey Marnay with Amidala's costume from Star Wars

Nicole Kidman

For Issey Miyake, a long and fruitful collaboration

He did not do only fashion photography of course. His subjects ranged from cultural figures like Truman Capote and Pablo Picasso to Peruvian peasants, Guinea tribesmen and incredible still lives: his wilted flowers, published in the December issue of Vogue for years, look incredibly like paintings. The compositions with food elements he photographed to illustrate the food column or the beauty abstract photographs in Vogue are works of art in their own.

Richard Avedon

Truman Capote

Christy Turlington


He had a long and happy marriage with his eternal muse, the model and sculptor Lisa Fonssagrives. They had a son together, Tom. With her, they defined the image of an era between the 1940's and 1950's. Slim, sophisticated and seemingly lofty, Lisa was a perfect match for him and his photos of her display an incredible aesthetic standard.

Always anxious to improve his photographs, he experimented constantly with their printing. He printed his own photographs and revived the platinum-palladium technique (instead of silver), which, although more time-consuming and costly, delivered great depth and luminosity, giving lovely velvety tones to the image and increasing its longevity. He will be sorely missed.

Kate Blanchett

To end this post, some photos of my muse, Christy Turlington, shot by Irving Penn through the years (all in Vogue magazine).

Monday, October 05, 2009

World Day of Architecture today!

The International Union of Architects has chosen the first Monday of each year to be celebrated as the World Architecture Day. So here is the UIA president's message, which concerns a very current topic.

Architects' energy versus the global crises
How can we do more, better, with less?

We are together today to celebrate the 2009 World Day of Architecture and its theme: Architects’ energy versus the global crises.

The world is experiencing unprecedented and simultaneous environmental, climatic, financial and social crises that force us to urgently reconsider a number of parameters and find innovative solutions. In these difficult times, architects must step forward and show their aptitude to lead the struggle, to use these crises as a springboard for developing new technical, environmental, social, economic and aesthetic solutions. Developing pertinent responses to entirely new situations is the daily task of the professional architect.

Today, we must ask ourselves:

What are the new opportunities, orientations and aspirations resulting from the current crises?
What are the alternative and creative processes that architects and architecture students can offer?
How can we effectively contribute to reducing carbon emissions and the use of non-renewable energies.

How can we do more, better, with less? We must assume all the possibilities that are now open.
New options are always available for those willing to look for them. It is time to establish new partnerships in new areas.

I call on all architects to take every opportunity, even the smallest ones, to show what they can make out of nothing, using their intellect, design skills and lateral thinking to create sustainable solutions from this global crisis.

This year’s World Day of Architecture represents a new engagement toward a sustainable future. The next appointment is in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and everyone in the UIA is working to elaborate a world architects’ declaration for this event. The UIA’s commitment will continue, focusing on the Tokyo 2011 UIA World Congress of Architecture, where architects will invite all the creative planning forces to help design our planet for 2050.

From here in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, where the UIA Bureau has assembled, I wish you all a constructive celebration of architecture and the architectural profession.

Louise Cox, AM
UIA President
5 October 2009.

And to celebrate the day, here are some photos of buildings by Mies Van Der Rohe, one of my very favourite architects ever.