Colour your own Leica

My followers from the old blog should know that I’m thoroughly addicted to the white and orange combination, which it seems Uncrate also likes, describing it as “tastefully loud” – I have to agree.

But, even if those two colours aren’t your forte, fear not! You can customize your very own and they’ll ship it to your door for the low, low price of $1200. It is a Leica, after all.

Try it out on the official website.

Would look good next to my dream computer, don’t you think?

Image from Uncrate

 

Twin Houses by MGP architects

It’s been done before, of course, it’s a very scandinavian thing from what I’ve seen, which is actually pretty ironic: they have far less space, but they allow houses much more of it, relatively speaking. We (in Canada / America) have duplexes (or tri or quad plexes) but they’re probably a meter away from each other with tiny backyards and they go on for rows and and rows into infinite. And look at how much more land we have than they do. Interesting.

So, it’s a shame we don’t have architecture like this. We have the land for it, but our culture values different things. Sad things.

I love that courtyard. I love the trees. I love the glass and open common areas. I love the library and the Eames lounges. I love the bright colours and lofty bathroom windows. I love how much this is a symbiotic relation between two houses and not just one house split into two. I love how refreshingly non-American suburbia this is.

Work by MGP Architecture – who, like most architects, have a horribly designed website – and there are tons of photos over at The Contemporist. Awesome work.

 

The Beauty of Design – minidocumentry feat. Build, LLC

Although the mic audio is a bit spotty, I really think it’s a good view for designers of any discipline: industrial, product, architectural etc.

A few key points I really liked “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. … everything you do is intentional or you don’t do it and so we choose not to do things that we know would end up mediocre or worse.” Which fits in a lot with Apple’s mantra of knowing when to say ‘no’ to a certain product or trend. I think anybody can try and make everything, but it takes a focus and drive to refuse that and instead make what’s best. I think that’s why Apple’s profits are dominating HP’s and everyone else: they have nearly infinite product lines which leads to customer confusion and less quality per product.

Also, the part just after that, talking about Scandinavian designers: “…they aren’t trying to become rockstars. Just small studios doing great work.” which runs so counter to everything we’re taught in a north american culture. It’s so very American to be that star, that fame, that definition of success and I think it’s inherently bad for design to have that. I appreciate that in their culture, and I wish deeply I could emulate it wherever I end up – we don’t need rockstar designers, we need good design that benefits people. that is success.

I do wonder if they’re using a tilt shift lens for some of those scenes, or maybe freelensing it. Lensbaby? Either way, cool effect. Which the audio was on par.

Franks Originale Branding

Fantastic work by Mads-Berg Illustration

Something about those pale yellow tones is just so luscious and warm against the blues. Perfect.

molo design: Awesome Products

molo design

As my first post on here, I wanted to introduce to you guys a really awesome company based out of Vancouver named molo. Their work goes above and beyond the norm for product design as they have a really unique design philosophy: if it ain’t broke, fix it anyways. They tinker with all their designs, using the old to create the new with minor modifications, and have created things from lights, to buildings in japan, to one of their latest creations, the hobo bag.

What intrigues me the most about molo is that they continuously refresh old projects but never in a dull or drab way; everything always looks new again, like a fresh brand new product using a lot of the same materials. More details after the break.

(more…)

Console FM Neue

You’ll recall I fell in love with Console.fm a few weeks ago and I’m happy to announce they have a slick new UI for our listening pleasure.

I did help out, although in a very tiny way (we had a lengthy discussion on the green for the track bar) and it was super sweet working with the awesome Alex Baldwin who I can’t compliment enough; great guy.

So if you aren’t already using it, definitely go there right now and prepare to have your life changed.

Introducing Jeremy Senko!

I’m pleased to announce a new co-author on the Acrylo blog!

Jeremy is an interior design / architecture student hailing from beautiful, rainy Vancouver and will add his expertise to our humble community.

A quick interview:

Jeremy, tell us a little about yourself and your passions.

Basically, I love everything creative. I love music and have played since I was little. I have been into reading and writing since I was really little, and that has always driven me to expand my knowledge on anything and everything I could. I have played around with tons of stuff, from extreme sports, to economics (the most recent) and am half way through my bachelors of design degree. I love architecture, and not just exteriors, (hence the design degree) but the full on experience that people get from visiting a building.

Architecture, that’s cool. What inspired you to become involved with that?

I never really knew I was interested in anything architectural until about 3 years ago, when I met my beautiful fiance Britt. I always doodled ideas for houses I’d want to build some day, but when she and her mom saw them, they loved them, my parents pushed me to always do what I loved and what felt right, and next thing I knew I was enrolled for my bachelors degree. The main focus of the program is design, but I choose to push the envelope more towards the architecture world, because there has to be a cohesiveness running through the whole structure, or people may be lost in the experience.

What is your favorite kind of cheese, and why?

Laughing Cow. I don’t think that’s a kind of cheese is it? It’s good. And it has a cool little wrapper. Love it.

If given the chance to live in any city in the world, which would it be, and why?

I’d probably stay here in rainy Vancouver, though I probably wouldn’t want to live in the core (nothing against it! Just too busy!) I’d probably stay out to the suburbs or even somewhere like Burnaby. I’d really love to work with a firm that allows me to travel for jobs though, potentially taking my future family with me. The only way I think I’d ever move is if I were offered a pretty hefty pay increase, and some really great incentives for moving and even then, only if my family was on board would I go. Oh and why would I stay here? Who wouldn’t! Beautiful mountains, its green (in color and in spirit) and its got some pretty amazing people flowing through it. Can’t ask for much more.

Awesome, thank you very much, Jeremy, and we’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts.

Thank you good sir. Can’t wait to start tearing up this blog together.


 

Targeted Marketing

The anti-Gmail ads are great, I really do like them, but it raises a question I’ve always wondered but never asked out loud: “Who cares?”

I mean, you’re getting ads either way, right? So why not have them tailored to things you like? Isn’t that actually ideal? I mean, heaven forbid you actually find out about something new and awesome from an advertisement. If it helps, think of them not as ads but as a feed of things that you might like and may or may not be accurate all the time. If this is the case, I’m all for telling it the things I like so it can tell me what’s related to that.

Specifically, there’s a pretty big difference between a human reading your mail and a server farm scanning for words and making matches. It’s entirely impersonal, which I don’t see as an invasion of privacy at all. Privacy is only broken once a human observes it. To take the example to the extreme: maybe there’s a camera in your shower that no human can use / review, is that an invasion? It it really any different than your shower head? In both cases: no humans, no observation and therefore no invasion.

We live in a fantastic world. No more do I need to read ads for things I hate, because they’re smarter than that. It’s awesome!

Also, unrelated, this is the 100th post on Acrylo blog. Happy celebration of arbitrary round numbers!

Parallel Parking – Yum Yum London

Parallel Parking from Yum Yum London on Vimeo.

Just going through my list of things I’ve ‘liked’ on Vimeo. It’s an oldie, but a timeless classic. Definitely watch it multiple times to take in the sheer amount of subtle things happening at once.

Happy thursday, everyone.

House of Leaves – Architecture and Psychology

First off, I have to say I have not yet finished the book. In fact, I’m probably closer to a third complete, so in no way is this commentary a definitive thing or a retrospective overview.

Possible spoilers. I don’t even know the ending myself, though, so it can’t be that bad.

But, some thoughts while I journey through the experience:

Typography

I definitely advise you pick up a printed copy of the book, because it does contain a lot of very specifically placed typography and I’m not sure how ebooks deal with that sort of thing. At the very least, get a PDF which holds each page as an image and therefore very close to the author’s original intent.

As it is a horror novel, typography lends itself well to inducing horror: margins that aren’t quite vertical make things feel uneasy, for instance. It’s subtle, but it trips your mind just a little bit. Sentence / line length is varied throughout the book by incorporating other page elements (text boxes or blank areas within the page are sometimes just there) which really has an effect or reading speed and can change how you read certain things. This is effective as a tool since a lot of the book is a commentary on spatial awareness and the sheer relativity of everything to the human mind. I have no doubts these parallels are intended.

There are definite patterns in things. When people are in certain areas, some things are added or removed or changed or in a different direction altogether. Sometimes the additional text boxes in the middle of the text slowly grow from page to page which displaces the story into ever decreasing space, a sort of typographic closing in, just as the monster draws closer to the characters. It’s a typographic claustrophobia, really. And I’m not sure if it’s just me as someone who notices these things, but it’s actually fairly effective. As you decrease space, the lines get shorter and therefore your eyes are moving faster and more fervently from line to line.

There are several authors, so to speak. It’s sort of a traveling document that was penned by an old man, reviewed by drug using young man and finally found by the editors, who we’re lead to believe assembled the very novel you’re reading. Since each layer adds footnotes to things (and goodness, half the book is footnotes) it sort of weaves the various commentaries in and through each other, since although we read them simultaneously, we know they have a certain chronology applied to them as the document is passed from hand to hand. Each author uses a different typeface, which is handy for intuitively separating things. I’m not a huge fan of either Times nor Courier for body text, but it works, I suppose.

Architecture / Psychology

Of course, the house itself is questioned. I appreciate the multi-layered authoring approach because we see not just a horror novel and left to quizzically rationalize it ourselves, but instead we read the notes of the old man who saw the tapes of the event and rationalizes it to himself, drawing on a near infinite number of sources and further research. In this way, we see not only the event but also what the true author wants us to draw from that event. It’s unique, certainly, because so rarely do we get to see what the authors are trying to pen into the story, whereas now the story is the description of the underlying story, which I actually really appreciate. It’s also a subtle way of effecting the reader’s emotions: since the reader would most likely be rationalizing it on a superficial level, by writing to that level directly it can also tug the reader a bit, but not enough to make the reader jump out of that level again (which would ruin the immersiveness) and so creates a sort of horror because it can effect the reader’s conscious mind itself, which ultimately is our last stand of rationality, the very thing the book comments on.

The house shifts and moves and they briefly go into an explanation that it does so in a pattern relative to the occupant’s mind – that is, it becomes what they think. The staircase is endlessly down on the first trip because they aren’t sure if there even is a bottom, and yet the second group (who do know there is a bottom) reaches it in a matter of minutes. This is covered in a lot of science fiction stories (Michael Crichton‘s Sphere comes to mind) and ultimately is a fantastic way of not actually explaining anything at all. I do appreciate the quotes pulled in from authors both real and imagined with explanation, questioning whether spaces not observed are inherently one thing or another until they are in fact explored (again, simply narrating the things the reader would be justifying themselves anyway) which brings open ended questions that no one can answer (which thus adds to the mystery and chaos).

It is interesting the results the house has on the explorers, and how they deal with them. It’s very much a character study; showing how each person reacts to the same set of known and unknown things. I’ve been on several spelunking trips / cave tours and there are those times when the guide tells everyone to turn off their lights – it’s exactly how the book describes: a darkness that takes on a physical mass, a weight to it. You do imagine things, even in the couple minutes we sat in silence. The guides have stories of people who before the cave was properly explored became stuck or lost, and when finally found days later were utterly mad with delusion. I understand how easy that would be.

Darkness is often used as a cop-out for horror. Obviously, your imagination is far more horrible than any monster, any seen thing, and so the unknown becomes the antagonist in a lot of stories. I suspect sometimes that’s just because the author would fail miserably if they did try to pen some unspeakable beast and so choose not to claiming the reason above. However, this is above that, I think. It’s deliberate and genuinely good at describing the nothingness, revealing what the characters are seeing in the nothingness and how they’re responding to it individually.

Architecture, really, is just as much about space as it is the lack of it. The concept is brought up a few times in various footnotes, and how foreign the space is because of it’s lack of human features (although it has doors with door handles and so far they seem human sized) or evidence of construction. We only understand things based on origin, we seek to describe thing’s beginnings as a solution to that object’s existence. And so, to find these seemingly infinite hallways and rooms is sort of terrifying in itself with the simple question “Where did it even come from?” – a source of horror in the unknown.

The exterior is explored. Not explored like examined but explored as in explained. As explained as anything inherently unknown can be, I suppose. Where is the exterior? Are there any walls that lead to somewhere that isn’t another room or hallway? Which means, logically, like a hotel floorplan, all of the walls are shared and all of the hallways run congruently to support the geometry, and yet everything shifts which makes it a sort of physical impossibility in the most literal sense: some spaces are occupied twice. Which is, as a rational person trying to navigate, utterly terrifying. Also, begs the question: Can people get stuck in a double space? Which would also imply a sort of quasi-teleportation concept as space is traditionally thought of. I wonder if the book will touch on that at all, later on.

This has become a lot longer than I thought it would.

Anyway. Some thoughts as I read.

 


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