Friday, December 28, 2007

Back (barely)

Okay, so holidays are over and it's back to irregular blog posting. Well, maybe a few after this weekend. I promise.

Until then: check out totally awesome Hugh Ferriss renderings at this museum and on this flickr set. This stuff vascillates between space-age modernism, neogothic mountains, American Futurism, and just generally kick-ass stuff with a paper and pencil. Honestly, this is the basis of the middle fifty years of architecture in the last century, not efficiency, not theory, not some hidden socialist agenda. At least not in this country; here, the acceptance of bombastic high modernism was more about the Jetsons, popular mechanics, and the mind-blowing rendering skills of guys like this.

I really don't think that much has changed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

kindling for the fire

Maybe starting off with a terrible pun was a bad idea.

OK, I'm going to make a stand here. I'm going to risk apostasy and say it: I kind of want a Kindle.

The online jeering at Mr. K has become somewhat silly. I have never seen so many reviews of a physical object (especially a piece of personal electronics) that were done without even touching or using the object. The internet is being used as a ten-foot pole, people are just poking at it and then wringing their hands, saying "it looks like an obese albino blackberry!

Even from a purely compositional standpoint I'm not that offended. Since when is random asymmetrical chamfering a terrible design concept? And don't tell me it's about the interface. You have to touch it first if you're going to talk about that. In fact, the public reaction is far from terrible. The first run has sold out. Nerds like it. Old people like it. And these people actually have one. They're not shrieking "see! see!" when Philippe Starck says something critical, jumping on an anti-hype bandwagon that is becoming increasingly divorced from reality.

Actually, the Blackberry is a great example. This is a device whose original looked like a half-chewed version of its namesake, had the color choices of a facial bruise, and had buttons so small you had to carry an infant around with you as an operator. And the last time I checked, these little monsters weren't going away.

This isn't to say that I think that this device is anything fantastic. One typface? No USB port? Unholy DRM? And yes, I'd much rather this thing had been designed by Dieter Rams. But it's not. And I'm still curious, because this thing is responding, if not perfectly, to a deep-seated desire for an as-yet unaddressed solution. So get off your iPhone high horse and touch the damn thing before condemning it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sim Kong

I spent about a half hour today being mesmerized by the sterile isonometric beauty of the Edushi Hong Kong site. Whoever made this map has gone full-circle, reimagining a city - in great detail - in Sim City vocabulary. Parking lots? Check. Construction sites? Check. Monstrous housing blocks? Double-check. They even have little trucks with shipping containers next to the docks. Check it out:

I am having some trouble figuring out exactly whom would find this mapping system useful (although I am tempted to tile together screenshots and wallpaper my room with them.) Perhaps it was made by an evil superbeing bent on dominating Hong Kong and slowly guiding the city growth and policy, as in some sick, humongous game. Followed by, of course, destroying it with giant monsters.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

radical cartography

I was drawn into the radical cartography website through the following image in ffffound:

I'm a sucker for scale comparisons. Poking around, I found a lot of other wonderful map-mashups:

Including this awesome series called "The Errant Isle Of Manhattan" in which the aforementioned island goes on a sightseeing tour (inspired by Rem's epilogue in Delirious NY, natch):

I'd like to see this continued. Maybe New York should go on a European Tour? Visit the Dead Sea? Or maybe enact an epic naval battle against Key West and the Fleet of Venice? Or float North, eventually embedding itself within the seasonal ice in the North Sea, only being freed after decades of global warming?

Kind of reminds me of this Lie-Ins and Tigers drawing: