Category Archives: Culture

Bits ‘n’ Bobs

Colourful baggiesOld cinema ticketsColourful ephemera found on Designspiration. One of my favourite ways to waste time is to play around with the colour palette feature on Designspiration. Sometimes really nice images appear as a result of what you might think would be a gross colour combination.

Pierdom

Southend Pier by Simon RobertsSouthend-on-Sea, Essex

I’m very fond of the British seaside. Not so much in a twee “OMG, let’s take photos and eat candyfloss!” kind of way – although that can be fun – but because there is so much to genuinely love about these former tourist traps, with their juxtaposed tackiness and architectural charm. I spent a lot of my childhood holidaying in Britain, as opposed to going on package holidays to places like Tenerife or The Costa del Sol. I felt quite envious of my classmates, who got to travel on an aeroplane and were guaranteed sunshine but, looking back, I think that spending rainy days in a caravan in Scotland and having trips out to Morecambe, Southport and Blackpool has made me feel more connected to the place where I was born. As I got older, I began to romanticise the typical English seaside resort because of their mix of joy, despair and faded grandeur. Of course this is present in a lot of small towns, but with the harshness of winter and idyll of summer by the coast, these extremes seem…amplified. This isn’t just some abstract feeling I have either. Although there are exceptions to this trend in prosperous locations, such as Brighton and Poole, the traditional British seaside town has long been in decline – offering the kind of unfashionably kitsch holiday that belongs to your granny and granddad’s halcyon days. A recent report called ‘Turning The Tide‘ details the deprivation present in the UK’s coastal towns – including the ones which haven’t been totally deserted by tourists. In a lot of these towns, the grand old hotels have since been converted into bedsits that are full of transients. Although I will always have a soft spot for Blackpool in particular, the reality of life there is pretty grim. In the series ‘Pierdom’, Simon Roberts focuses on Britain’s iconic Victorian piers, and his lens captures my feelings about these places perfectly. From wind-bitten, rusting structures to sun-bathed promenades, his photographs evoke the curious charm and essence of the British seaside.Hastings Pier Simon RobertsHastings, East Sussex

Boscombe Pier Simon RobertsBoscombe, Hampshire

Teignmouth Grand Pier Simon RobertsTeignmouth, Devon

Blackpool South Pier Simon RobertsBlackpool, Lancashire

More of Simon Roberts’ brilliant photography is on his website - there are more photographs from the Pierdom series, and you should also have a look at another project he has done called ‘We English‘, which focuses on English tourism in a much broader context.

Project A15 Video Mapping

Projection Mapping RotterdamThis image might look like it’s a CGI mockup or a scene from Bladerunner, but it’s actually a video still of projection mapping in Rotterdam. Below is a photograph of the OMA-designed skyscraper that the visuals were projected onto.De Rotterdam OMA Building by Raban HaaijkDe Rotterdam building, as seen from Erasmus Bridge. Photograph by Raban Haaijk.

Project A15 – the idea that this event was promoting – is an initiative that seeks to make the busy highway running from Rotterdam to Nijmegen into the most sustainable highway in the world. The projection itself can be seen in the video below, and bear in mind that the height of the De Rotterdam building is 150 metres. That’s taller than London’s Centrepoint, which stands at 117 metres!

Pop-Up City: The Book

Pop Up City BookThe guys behind Pop-Up City are bringing out a book! Well, they are trying to. They need a little bit more financial backing first, so I’m trying to do my bit to help them get it. Pop-Up City kindly gave me a book back in 2012…unfortunately it wasn’t my very own book – it was a copy of Indie Brands by Anneloes van Gaalen – but it still made me happy because I had won their competition, and got something lovely for free. So yeah, spread the love and all that, you get a discount if you pre-order!

Instagram IRL

Real Life InstagramBrazilian Street Artist InstagramInstagram Art ProjectBrazilian artist Bruno Ribeiro has been creating and placing actual Instagram-style filters in popular London spots since September 2013. The project is ongoing – see the latest ones on the Real Life Instagram Tumblr.

A body without a soul is just a lifeless inanimate frame

Jaron Albertin Sony 4K TV AdJaron Albertin is a genius. You’ve probably seen the Sony advert that he directed to promote Sony’s new 4K TV, but I’m totally in love with the car advert that he did for Chrysler’s Viper SRT.Viper TV AdJaron Albertin ViperMain Street AmericaDiner CheerleadersJaron Albertin Body & SoulViper Body & SoulIt’s like a pastiche of the most iconic and beautiful films featuring twentieth century America. The advert is called “Body & Soul” and is widely available to watch online, but I’d recommend you watch the one here, because this edit has the music that I feel really completes it. The first time I watched it, it was one of those adverts that I kept on wanting to watch again and again. It’s got such a gorgeous cinematic quality to it. The accompanying symphony is called “River” and is by Alexander Desplat.*

*Just wanted to add that I’m not so pretentious that I’d act as though I knew that all along – I used Shazam on the video because I liked the music so much. Okay, glad we got that sorted…

David Bowie X Louis Vuitton

ImageDavid Bowie has been the star of a number of beautiful videos in 2013 – notably his own, which have been directed by the sickeningly talented Floria Sigismondi. In the Louis Vuitton campaign film ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’, directed by Romain Gavras, Bowie performs a unique version of ‘I’d Rather Be High’ for Arizona Muse at a lavish Venetian party…or does he? You can watch the full director’s cut below.

This luxurious, high end advert is in complete contrast to Romain Gavras’ usual body of work – which includes gritty, controversial videos for the likes of M.I.A and Adidas. I find it quite surprising that Vuitton enlisted him to direct this video, but I’m glad they did.

John Lewis: The Bear & The Hare

Angry BearThis grizzly bear is doing a pretty good job of aping my reaction to Christmas.

Everyone is going mental for the ‘touching’ John Lewis advert again, which is a blatant Animals of Farthing Hood rip off soundtracked by something no one needed to hear: Lily Allen covering Keane. It’s good, but obviously it doesn’t even come close to melting my ice cold heart or eliciting any kind of Christmas cheer from me. However, this touching tale of cartoon animals does carry an important lesson: if your BFF happens to be an apex predator, you might want to round up a few unwitting friends morsels in the hope that your carnivorous frienemy eats them first. Look how happy the bear is when he sees the meat feast he has woken up to…John Lewis Hare and BearAnyway, enough of my cynicism, here’s the actual advert, which was made by Adam & Eve/DDB and produced by Blinkink and Hornet. The animation really is lovely – and is the result of a lot of hard work – but I’d recommend muting it and playing something more appealing over the top.

Not So Warm & Fuzzy Now

Do you remember Fuzzy-Felts? Those fun craft toys that you used to play with, in simpler times – times when video games were still relatively new and the Internet was something you’d probably never even heard of? Well, prepare to see the medium of felt brought up to date, with new added relevance for your adult life.Jacopi Rosati Fuzzy FeltDo the feelings in this piece by Jacopo Rosati seem painfully familiar to you?Lebrie Felt TV DinnerGreat. How about this felted TV dinner for one by LeBrie Rich? Welcome to adulthood!

Tigers On Tinder

I’ve noticed that a lot of men on Tinder are quite fond of tigers…ImageThis trend is so prevalent that there is even a Tumblr dedicated to it, called Touch My Tiger! Kudos to these guys for noticing it first. Unfortunately, as with any trend, you always get a few bandwagon-jumpers who just don’t get it right…Tinder WannabesGuys, you’re doing it wrong! It’s got to be a REAL tiger. Don’t try and get a picture with a tiger in the wild, though. That would be stupid and dangerous. It’s essential that your tiger prop has been sedated so that annoying backpackers can pose with it. Safety first, and all that.