Monthly Archives: September 2011

Feeling blue? You might just get charmed …

Does jewellery have power? Rather than attracting luck, can a charm mop up the emotional disturbance caused by an ‘un-charming’ thing that has already happened? The c3 project (Melbourne) intends to find out.

Charged Charm Cards (c3) are credit card-sized sheets of sandblasted stainless steel from which pre-cut pendants and earrings can be punched out – and given away. The idea is to empower people by giving them the tools to enact quick emotional change on their friends, colleagues, and family.

As the c3 team explains, the c3s “are best put to use in emotionally charged situations that are big enough to elicit a sympathetic response, but not so big as might require a more somber gesture.”

There are four card designs. Shown here is the ‘Lighten Up!’ card, which contains a pair of light bulb earrings, two light bulb pendants, and linen thread for the pendants. Other cards contain different symbols of power – sockets, circuit resistors, and batteries.

The ‘Lighten Up!’ card was in my mailbox today with a c3 kit. I’m one of a handful of lucky ‘charmers’ who will be participating in the c3 project, which has been instigated by Melbourne-based jewellery designers Melissa Cameron and Jill Hermans.

The c3 kit – incorporating the charm card, incident report cards, and recipient report cards – is contained in a neat portable fabric pouch. Melissa and Jill will be collating details about the ‘charmings’ along with feedback from the charmed. They’re keen to find out what happens when people receive these surprise gifts, and they’ll be showing photos of the charms and feedback cards on their website. I can’t wait to see the results!

So, if you’re feeling blue and we happen to meet, be prepared – the power of a c3 charm might just be activated on you!

Click to read more about the c3 project and ‘Southern Charms’.

Milking it. And enjoying efficiencies.

I’ve created a Facebook page for my business. It’s here.

I’ll provide quick links to upcoming events there, and leave the more extensive posts for here at the blog. All of my blog posts will show up there as well, though, so you can easily keep tabs on my ramblings!

FBers, do ‘Like’ it if you’re keen to catch my feed of upcoming design/archi happenings in Singas and Oz!

Non-Facebook users – you can view the page too without having to join Facebook, phew.

Thanks 🙂

Interior Pop! On sale now!

The second book I worked on at an\b editions is back from the printer and on sale. Interior Pop! presents interiors from around the world that juxtapose visual art, installation, graphics, pattern, and space.

As opposed to the brown tone of an\b editions’ first title, Cardboard Book, the pages of Interior Pop! practically explode with colour. The book grew from the observation that the makers of interior spaces are having to work ever harder to attract and maintain our attention. These days, we can customise our expression of identity at an instantaneous pace. Similarly, many interiors are being individualised through art and idiosyncrasy.

Interior Pop! surveys how brands and enterprises are using space as their canvas and making a big impact.

The 57 projects are each presented with a text description and multiple photographs (as well as drawings where appropriate), and are thematically grouped in five chapters: Playful, Illusionary, Illustrative, Abstract, and Fantastical.

Featured designers and artists include:
Formavision (USA)
Keiko + Manabu (Japan)
Asylum (Singapore)
Ab Rogers Design (UK)
Tjep. (The Netherlands)
Dizel&Sate (Sweden)
Gloss Creative (Australia)
Zaha Hadid Architects (UK)
Nomad Ink (Brazil)
Buj+Colón Arquitectos (Spain)
Glowacka Rennie Architects with Felice Varini (UK)
Electric Dreams (Sweden)
and many others!

The book has just hit the shelves at Basheer Graphic Books. You can also look for it at Workshop. I’m only going to show you the cover. To see its 320 pages, you’ll have to go and find it in the shops!

A co-edition (with a different cover) is being released by Gingko Press for the USA and Europe.

NRF, ETH, SEC, and FCL: Four acronyms worth knowing

If you’re interested in “sustainable building technologies, the city as an urban system, and the relationship between urban and rural environments,” then the following acronyms are some you’ll want to KIV (that’s “keep in view” for non-Singlish speakers):

1. NRF

Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF) was established in 2006 as a department in the Prime Minister’s Office. Its mission is to coordinate the research activities of different agencies within the larger national framework, and to fund strategic R&D initiatives that would generate economic benefits for Singapore.

NRF is currently collaborating with ETH.

2. ETH

ETH Zurich is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. It is an education and research institution that was founded in 1855. It focuses on engineering, architecture, mathematics, natural sciences, system-oriented sciences, and management and social sciences.

What’s ETH doing in Singapore?

3. SEC

ETH and NRF established the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC) in Singapore in 2010.

SEC serves as an intellectual hub for research, scholarship, entrepreneurship, and postgraduate/postdoctoral training. Scholars and researchers from ETH are relocating to Singapore to collaborate on research under the theme of ‘Global Environmental Sustainability.’

SEC’s first interdisciplinary research program is called FCL.

4. FCL

The Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) is a new laboratory for sustainable urban development. This first SEC research program is scheduled for five years and started in September 2010. It involves collaboration between ETH and the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University (sorry, I meant NUS and NTU).

As explained at the SEC/FCL website, the research focuses on three scales: sustainable building technologies, the city as an urban system, and the relationship between urban and rural environments.

There is also a plan for collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (that’s MIT), which, along with ETH, will soon move into the new CREATE Campus (short for Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise).

CMI, that’s more than enough acronyms.

Some related info:

There are a number of research and PhD positions open at SEC/FCL in architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and hydraulic modelling.

An extensive three-day FCL conference titled ‘Making Future Cities’ is coming up in September.

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting one of the ETH researchers, Assistant Professor Milica Topalovic. I look forward to her ‘City and Territory’ lecture at the upcoming conference.

PS – CMI is Singlish for “cannot make it” (also Singlish).

Keeping it real. Engin Celikbas of KesselsKramer speaks for The Design Society

On 29 August, I attended a lecture at LASALLE College of the Arts organised by The Design Society and presented by Engin Celikbas, CEO of Dutch creative agency KesselsKramer (Amsterdam and London). The lecture was titled ‘Past, Present & Future of KesselsKramer’.

If you’re familiar with KK’s work in branding, communications, and publishing, you’ll know it resides on the wonky side of things. It generally has a gritty, raw, and irreverent vibe. (Visit their website and you’ll know what I mean.) True to brand, one of Engin’s opening comments was, “I have no idea where this industry is going.” As you’d surmise, he didn’t talk much about the future of KK; but this omission said more about the agency’s way of working than trite predictions would have.

The well-attended session provided a good opportunity to see past work such as campaigns for the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Ben, and Citizen M Hotel. Engin also showed KK’s satirical royal wedding souvenir plates, which ended up selling in the thousands. Some publishing work was featured, including In Almost Every Picture #1 – a collection of hundreds of photos taken by a husband of his wife in the 1950s and ’60s. The photos were found by Erik Kessels at a Barcelona flea market. The resulting photo book seems an interesting study of habit, fascination, and amateur skill, yet perhaps it also resonates with a slightly opportunistic undercurrent.

I can’t help but admire KK’s stance of valuing honesty and cohesiveness in their portrayal of people, places, and objects. There’s fortitude, too, in their decision to stop entering industry awards competitions, instead using the entry fees to fund independent projects. The agency has more or less capped its own growth (aside from the birth of more satellite offices) with its operational structure – no account managers. KK’s planners, creatives, and producers each take on management roles at different stages of a project. This results in more direct (and hopefully more open and lasting) relationships with clients. The structure limits the agency’s growth, but as Engin said, “We don’t want to be everything for everyone.”

At the end of the session, an audience question about KK’s Amsterdam office space (a collection of wacky scale-bending insertions in a former church, designed by FAT) yielded an admission from Engin that would have pleased any spatial designers in the theatre: “The space affects your mood.” (He meant in a good way!) He also mentioned that the church’s location in the centre of the city – with connectivity to people, places, and events – was a mood enhancer. It did make me pity anyone about to trudge back to an office in an industrial park.

August in the office

So, it’s been a while between posts. I’ve been busy since returning from Sydney! I’ve been keeping the keyboard warm with some copywriting, copyediting, and proofreading jobs (thanks Debbie). I’ve also written a press release for fashion designer Resham Melwani. Check out her Facebook page here.

Resham will be releasing the 2011/12 collection for her label Nocturnal later in the year. She gave me a sneak peek of some excellent sample pieces at her studio. Here’s one of Resham’s snaps of a sample printed graphic with beading:

I really enjoyed seeing how the new work has evolved naturally from her previous collection – in thematic and sylistic terms. Best wishes Resham; I’m sure you’ll meet great success.

Also, look out for the upcoming ‘Robe Raiders’ event – a one-off sale of past-season designer clothing being jointly organised and hosted by Resham. A proportion of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (Singapore).

My September is about to get very busy, so on with the next post …