â€œThe Urban Forest Project presents the work of 185 celebrated (thatâ€™s nice) designers, artists, illustrators and photographers from 21 countries. Each banner uses the form of a tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at the crossroads or the World, one of the planetâ€™s busiest, most energetic and emphatically urban intersectionsâ€.
So reads the official introduction to the Urban Forest banner project, just installed in and around Times square. We are proud to have been invited to design one of the banners. Our banner is located on the North side of 41st Street at 6th Avenue, facing directly onto Bryant Square, by coincidence in the same block as my old penthouse studio at 42nd and Broadway. We have also included three favorites by other designers, from top to bottom: Walker Art Center, Donna David, and Seymour Chwast.
Following their display in and around Times Square, during September and October, the banners will be recycled into tote bags and be sold at auction. You can find out where and how at the Urban Forest website, where you can also order some nifty tee-shirts.
Ben and I have spent the last week in Rancho Mirage, California, overseeing the installation of the mural we have designed for MGA Partners, Architects’ Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. Consisting of over 4,000 nine inch square aluminium tiles, the mural has a base image of eyes, the predominant mechanism of discovery, to create an inviting facade for visitors. Over time, each of the gray tiles will be replaced by a donor portrait, carefully matched in overall density to the tile it will replace, keeping the base image intact. Thus an initial image without any indication of age, gender, or ethnicity will be seen on close inspection to be a muticultural mosaic of the Museum’s visitors. If you are interested in becoming a donor, or sponsoring a child or family member, the cost of a tile is only $225, and is a fully tax-deductible contribution. You can contact the Museum for details. We will be returning to the Desert in a few weeks to oversee the installation of the first portraits and will post pictures of the completed mural at that time.
For those of us who have to deal with symbols and icons on a regular basis, and there can’t be many of us who don’t nowadays, Mies Hora’s new publication Official Signs and Icons 2 is a wonderful resource. It comes both as a book and a CD (containing outline EPS files) which you can buy separately or as a set.
In eleven chapters, it brings together in one volume, pretty much every symbol you will ever need to wrestle with, including highway and transportations signs, safety symbols, recreational symbols and some nerdy stuff for electronics, computers, meteorology, and labelling. Most fun is the chapter which shows each character of the alphabet in signal flags, semaphore positions, Morse code, American Sign Language, and Braille.
There have been several such books published from time to time since Henry Dreyfus’ 1972 Symbol Sourcebook, which still contains the most fascinating and esoteric selections, such as hobo signs. But for symbols with everyday applications, if you aren’t planning to jump a freight train, Mies has excelled himself in putting together this exhaustive collection (although I must admit I gave him a little help with some of those relating to accessibility).
Last week in Central Park, a gingko tree in full color. This week, the last leaves are falling.
We were presented with this dialog box while updating to Adobe CS2 this week. I was so disappointed that the OK button didn’t say UPDATE instead.
What was the last book you bought?
Whatever it was, I have a hunch that it had either a distinctive or descriptive title…
(Catch 22 and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity are my last two and I would highly recommend both of them!)
In essence, every e-mail you send has a title too. it is called a subject line and should describe the contents of that e-mail as clearly and succinctly as possible. Yet often, subject lines end up being the most disregarded aspect of the communication. The Subject line is much like the spine of a book, describing the information it contains. I certainly would never pick up a book that had any of the following titles:
Photographed in London last month, these two new footbridges over the Thames are very much worth checking out and have really made access to the newly developed South Bank of the Thames more inviting. The Millennium bridge, by architects Foster and Partners with sculptor Sir Anthony Caro ran into some early bouncing problems and was closed until the installation of monster shock absorbers. Leading directly from St. Paul’s to the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre it provides some wonderful vantage points of the River and the City. The new Hungerford footbridges, one on each side of the rail bridge, by architects Lifschutz Davidson replace an old, dangerous, and creepy footbridge I often used during trips back and forth from the National Film Theatre when a student. Take the tube to St. Paul’s, walk over the MIlennium Bridge to the Tate Modern, then west along the embankment, and return to Trafalgar Square via the new Hungerford bridge (the west side is best). Great views and some stimulating modern design. All paid for by a publc lottery. Is this a way to go for paying for much needed public space improvements in the US?
How many times do you check your e-mail every day?
If you are like most e-mail users, your e-mail program is set up to check for e-mails every 5-10 minutes. That’s a whopping 48-96 possible interruptions per day respectively! That’s like the mail person giving you letters every few minutes throughout the day. Oh! here’s another one.
This is a bad business and organizational practice.
- It is a sure way to get distracted from your tasks at hand.
- Answering e-mail throughout the day, instead of at a given time, can cause attention and focus deficits often resulting in poorly thought-out or rushed replies.
- Answering e-mail throughout the day will often create a “now or never” reply strategy.
- Constant interruptions can take their toll on your attitude and self-esteem.
Quark, makers of QuarkXpress just unveiled a new identity which is a really fresh departure from their old dusty 1980’s Quark logo.
Unfortunately, It seems that their new brand is almost identical to that of The Scottish Arts Council.
We featured a wonderful Wendy House a few weeks ago, designed by UK Architects Sanei Hopkins for their daughters. They have followed up this success with an equally wonderful project for their sons. (Before we start, we have to explain that Pig Arcs in the UK are arched corrugated galvanized steel shelters for pigs to live in – like mini Quonset huts). To quote their own words:
“As there was no precedent for a ‘Peter Pan House’ we based the design on a Suffolk Pig Arc for ‘Flying Pigs’. This concept captured the imagination of all our children as they were all intrigued to know when the pigs would come? In fact, most of the design decisions could be explained to them simply by referring to the needs of the flying pigs. eg. the structure is suspended between two trees because the pigs need good clearance around them when they are coming in to land. Also, the structure is only six feet off the ground as flying pigs can’t fly very high etc. The boys have permission to use the structure only when the pigs aren’t there.”
Who said minimalism is no fun?