Article Archive

  1. Rr-oakland-home-int

    Produced by Levi’s Skateboarding, director Ryan Reichenfeld’s Skateboarding in Oakland follows a group of friends who skate around Oakland and its renewed Town Park Skate Park. The film focusses on the voices of Lemuel West and Terrell Newell, who have lost both friends and family often down to the gang culture that thrives in Oakland and its suburbs. They and their friends, having grown up under similar circumstances, see their skate community as a relief from this and an opportunity to extract themselves from potentially destructive lifestyles. Ryan describes Skateboarding in Oakland as “not a story about surviving tough circumstances in a harsh environment, [but] a story about perspective and thriving in the face of it all.”

  2. Thomasheatherwick-studio-nanyanguniversity-int-list

    Whenever I get invited to give a talk at a university I have a pang of jealousy about people spending their days doing creative things (and their evenings drinking in subsidised bars). But it’s fair to say that architecturally speaking, higher education tends to be pretty functional, unless you go to the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore that is. They have just opened their new Learning Hub building designed by Thomas Heatherwick, which comprises 12 tapered towers and an interlocking network of social spaces. The architect says he was motivated by exactly the kind of underwhelming university structures I mentioned above – “unappealing spaces with endless corridors, no natural daylight and only hints of other people’s presence.”

  3. Studio-audience-lemon_list

    WELCOME my little podlings to this week’s episode of the It’s Nice That podcast Studio Audience. Join me, Liv Siddall and my guests Rob Alderson and Maisie Skidmore in talking about this week’s most pressing art and design news Including Bjork at MoMA, Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel designer Annie Atkins, Apple watches opening garage doors, Zoolander sequel and Women of the World. Then we move on to discussing Dublin’s Offset festival and what makes an event worth going to. We also chat about the sheer brilliance of seeing or reading about a sage older creative speak about their career gone-by. Thanks to Nelly Ben Hayoun for her bizarre opening question, and thanks to Perrin over at AIGA’s blog for their gush-worthy post about this very podcast.

  4. Bob-benedict-cock-robin-int-lis

    I don’t know what I was expecting when I sat down to watch Cock Robin, the first film by newly-formed direction duo BobBenedict to see the light, but it certainly wasn’t the intense wave of emotion, humour, and the slick, charismatic production that hit me when I pressed play. The pair, formed of photographer Benedict Morgan (who was responsible for this astounding project) and production designer Sean Hogan (or Bob), re-worked the classic nursery rhyme Who Killed Cock Robin? with a perfectly briefed cast of actors. What’s more, the lot was filmed at the Mansfield Indoor Bowling Club, a distinctly familiar and achingly kitsch location which has since sadly made way for a luxury housing development. The setting absolutely makes the film, elevating the idea to the realm of a finely-polished and well-loved 1970s British TV show rather than a short film.

  5. Wouters-here-int-list

    Our fourth annual Here symposium takes place in the summer and in the run-up to the event we’ll be looking at some of the stellar speakers who’ve graced the stage in previous years. Here is all about insight and inspiration, through accessible and enlightening talks from an international array of artists and designers, from big names to cutting-edge practitioners. Over the next few weeks the It’s Nice That team will be flagging up some of their favourite talks from the past three years, and next up is managing director Alex Bec on Job and Roel Wouters’ 2012 happening…

  6. Vice-mushroom-int-list

    Introducing Phil Ross, an artist who’s a huge fan of mushrooms, but less in his spag bol than as a medium with which to create his artwork. For almost 20 years he has been experimenting with mushrooms for their recycling properties, growing them in new formations to make them stronger and more versatile and then using them as a material with which to build, among other things.

  7. Nicer_tuesdays_childhood_list_image

    Ladies and gents, it’s time to push your electricity bills to one side and to stop furrowing that frustrated brow – this month’s Nicer Tuesdays is dedicated to the subject of Childhood!

  8. Applewtach-list-int

    The Apple Watch was officially unveiled yesterday (as was a super-thin 13.1mm new MacBook) and as ever the internet is awash with run-downs and reactions slobbering over the new products. For Wolff Olins design director Jan Eumann though, the imminent arrival of the new timepiece got him thinking about logo design, and in particular how app buttons have rehabilitated the logo. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  9. Home-og

    Designer Oscar Gronner is very elusive, his website has no information at all and in terms of search engine research, it’s difficult to get much further than the fact that he is a graduate from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Whilst shunning internet celebrity, Oscar has evidently used the time to make lots of great work; there are record sleeves, posters, books and an abstract video about pyramids. His books and posters have a confident restraint to them whilst being playful, with skilled details in the print and production quality. Oscar has documented Brazil’s prison football clubs, drawn lots of stretchy-wobbly cartoons and done some very, very flattering portraiture. Take a look!

  10. Laserigraphie_cover-int-list

    If you aren’t already familiar with Atelier Bingo then I can’t think of any better way to introduce their joyous work than to have them present five of their favourite publications, in their own words. The atelier consists of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, a creative couple living in an impossibly beautiful barn in the French countryside where they experiment with illustration, graphic design, surface and textile design on a daily basis to create an endless array of utterly unique and distinctive works for clients including Vogue, The Plant, Wanderlust and Wrap magazine. But also just for fun, because why wouldn’t they?

  11. Nathalie-due-pasquier-int-list-3

    Nathalie Du Pasquier is a figure who seems to leave a trail of intrigue behind her everywhere she goes. This is largely because, as a founding member of the Memphis group (an Italian design and architecture group founded in Milan in 1981) she’s been an unstoppable force in shaping the design world as we know it, colours, angles, ideas and all. But it’s also partly because her work is just so much fun.

  12. Chrissie_macdonald_17_theredlist-int-hero

    From walks on Hampstead Heath and shelves bursting with books to cinema tickets and old magazines, Chrissie Macdonald takes a very analogue approach when she starts work on a new idea. Screens take a backseat as she rifles through her collections of stuff, filed in boxes alongside perhaps less useful collections including a “Keanu Reeves file,” shown in all its glory on the huge screen at this year’s Offset festival.

  13. Zakgroup-6-ee-int

    London-based agency Zak Group are dab-hands at exhibition identities and this one for Europe, Europe at the Astrup Fearnley Meseet is no exception. They designed the identity and accompanying print and promotional materials for this, the first iteration of a touring exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux and Gunnar B. Kvaran. The exhibition brought together over 30 young artists all under the age of 35 and from eight European cities. The design referred to the “multiplicity of identities that exist within the continent… Europes within Europe.”

  14. Spin-uca-int-list

    You may remember the outcry when the University of California changed its logo – 54,000 people signed a petition demanding it be withdrawn and the university eventually complied. It’s now seen as the definitive model of a redesign perfect storm, which must impact on any designer approaching a similar project.

  15. Ewen-spencer-int-list-new

    To describe Ewen Spencer as anything less than a pillar of British counterculture would be to do him an extreme disservice. Having served stints at iconic magazines The Face and Sleazenation in the 1990s he has since watched the rise and fall of UK garage, documented the grittiest corners of grime, shot teenagers partying in Napoli and Ayia Napa and caught the best of European styling which has made its way over to Miami. He actually told us about some of it at our Here conference last year, and if you’re interested you can watch the full talk here.

  16. Icinori-int-main

    French duo Mayumi Otero and Raphael Urwiller are a couple united by their unbridled love for print. When their visual arts/illustrative forces are brought together they go by the name of Icinori, and create some of the most beautifully considered, traditional publications, pamphlets, concertina books and posters around. Considering the staggering detail present in every single image they piece together and print, it’s shocking how much new work they’ve just whacked up on their site.

  17. Annie-atkins-grand-budapest-hotel-list

    Anyone who’s seen Wes Anderson’s very pink, very stunning, and very, very meticulously created masterpiece The Grand Budapest Hotel will be aware of just how complex a setting it is. But until we heard from the movie’s graphic designer Annie Atkins at this year’s Offset festival about the painstaking processes the art department went through behind the scenes, the complexity we thought we understood turns out to be just the tip of a very, very deep graphic iceberg.

  18. Rod-hunt-int-hero

    Do you really need an agent? Why? What do they actually do? In a talk hosted by The Illustrator’s Guild of Ireland at this year’s Offset festival a panel featuring Peepshow Collective’s Andrew Rae and Chrissie Macdonald, illustrators Rod Hunt and Matthew Griffin and Bernstein & Andriulli agent Sam Summerskill, we heard about how best to go about finding an agent, what they look for and what they get up to. Here’s what we learnt…

  19. Graphicmeans-int-main

    Ever stopped to think as you adjust text, step backwards and copy and paste at the speed of light on InDesign that once upon a time you would be doing all of that with GLUE and PAPER? It’s obvious, but when you really think about it, your respect for the graphic designers of yore increases tenfold. Briar Levit, an assistant professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University, decided to bring this to light via a film in which designers who never used computers are interviewed about the difficulties they had. It wasn’t all doom and gloom of course – you could easily argue that the hand-designed work they produced back then was much more considered than it tends to be now.

  20. Aishazeijpveld-whatremains-int-list

    Aisha Zeijpveld likes to toy with the viewer. She once overheard two girls discussing her work at a show, with one of them solemnly declaring that her photographs are “definitely Photoshopped.” In fact for the most part they’re not, but Aisha is an image-maker who enjoys confusing us as to what we think we’re seeing. Take her What Remains series from a couple of years ago that was inspired by Egon Schiele’s sketches and created alongside set designers Sara Ivanyi and Judith Veenendaal.

  21. Mattwilley-independent-int-list

    At this weekend’s Offset festival in Dublin, one of the highlights came from much-revered editorial designer Matt Willey. Now art director of The New York Times, Matt has a faultless portfolio of brilliantly considered work on a raft of top publications (and of course was one of the founders of PORT magazine). It was particularly interesting to hear him discuss his redesign of The Independent, which was the first newspaper project he ever worked on. As he doesn’t give too many talks, here’s some of the things we learned about that particular undertaking…

  22. Escape-to-destiny-1mehdi-ghadyanloo-int-list

    Merging the style of the early 20th Century surrealists with contemporary street art, Tehran-based artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo’s work is strange and beguiling. He’s currently in London, busying himself with the mammoth task of creating murals all around the capital, including one measuring a whopping 3.4km. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also showing at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London, in an exhibition entitled Perception.

  23. Boys-girls-list-int

    I realise that a key part of my job is overcoming the difficulty in describing for the internet just how great printed matter is in the flesh, but with Girls and Boys magazines I really feel like I’ve got my work cut out for me. Created by fashion photographer and art director Brendan Freeman, the two new biannual publications celebrate the freshest in new model talent, and they do so in the simplest, cleanest way imaginable – large-format black-and-white magazines which pair outfit shots with close-up portraits.

  24. Joejohnson-reno-3-int_copy

    Joe Johnson’s photo-essay The Playing Field documents Reno’s casinos in their spectacular neon glory, but completely empty. The interior architecture designed to delight, confuse and distract looks even more absurd deserted than when it’s packed with OAPs drinking Screwdrivers. Almost every surface is reflective and disorientating; those that aren’t project mountain-top lakes and seascapes.

  25. Ke_screen_04_copy

    We’ve featured Neil Donnelly indirectly before, under the guise of collaborator with Rumors and Stefan Thorsteinsson. He is a graduate of Yale’s MFA graphic design programme and has since been designing very attractive books for Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, identities for discussions on New York’s mayoral transitions and a host of well-formed websites for biennials and architect Keller Easterling.

  26. Weekender-list

    Ladies, gentlemen, children and small animals! It’s that time of year when you raise your nose from the duvet you’ve been burying it in all winter to the open window, to feel the soft, warm breeze fluttering against your eyelashes. The prophesy has come true! Spring is on its way and to celebrate we’ve got a shed-load of art and design news, interviews, features and some plain nonsense for ya.

  27. List

    Highbrow folk like us often find the traditional emoticon can struggle to express how we really feel. We don’t ALWAYS want to convey that we’re blindly happy, crying with laughter or horizontally-lipped and nonplussed. Sometimes, we need something a little more creative. Thank the lord, then, that Hyo Hong has come up with just the solution, in the form of the multifaceted (in its truest sense) Cindy Sherman-icon.

  28. Rubenfischer-main-int

    Aha, some “digitale malerei und grafiken von Ruben Fischer,” a new protégé of Eike König over at Hort in Berlin. It’s no secret that Eike has spectacular taste in who he hangs around with in terms of design talent, and Ruben is a prime example. His digital collages in fun, primary colours are all untitled, which suggests that he’s not yet doing work for clients and the like. But to see someone crack out posters, record sleeves, identities and illustrations just for the hell of it is fantastic and refreshing. Something tells us Ruben has a unique way of looking at the world, and some computer skills up his sleeve – some very important strengths in this day and age. You can see some of his more recent work on his very, very colourful Instagram feed.

  29. Eudes-de-santana-int-list

    Eudes de Santana’s photographic portfolio is almost suspiciously international. He has worked on commissions in London, Berlin, Cape Town and Barcelona as well as his home country of Brazil, piecing together a collection of images which are compelling and energetic, but which might lead you to believe he’s on a career-long holiday rather than busily working. On the contrary, it’s just that his clients – Zeit Magazine, Vice, Nike and Sony are known all over the world, giving him more-than-legit cause to travel to wherever the work is. And can you blame him?

  30. Things-march-31-int_copy

    So many great books, prints and cards have been flying through the letterbox that we got kind of distracted reading and forgot to post any of it last week, so here’s a slightly belated round-up of quality publishing in various shapes and sizes. Keep ’em comin’!

  31. Larry-clark-int-list-2

    There are dream collaborations, and then there are those that seem to good to be true but happen anyway, which is probably the category we’d pop Larry Clark and J.W. Anderson in. The pair have gotten together to create a new book entitled The Smell of Us, which features the cast of Larry’s new film (of the same name) running riot around Paris, hanging out in hotel rooms in their pants and generally having the time of their lives, in a host of J.W. Anderson creations. Anderson’s stripy 1960s details give a happily retro vibe to Larry’s compositions, thrusting the cast into an era which reeks of greasy hair, fumbling encounters round the back of the Palais de Tokyo and that conspicuous trail of baccy in jeans back pockets.

  32. The-plant-art-central-4-int-list

    The white marquee walls and immaculate dressers within them at big art fairs feel at odds with anything “frenetic,” but it’s movement and dynamism that have driven the design concept for Art Central’s identity, and boy does it work. London agency The Plant is behind the energy-inspired identity, having worked on similar projects including creating the branding for Art Hong Kong and London Fair Art 15. Art Central is a new fair for Hong Kong launching this month, and cleverly takes the Chinese character for “Central” ( 中 ) as its, well, centre.