Miscellaneous Archive

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    Jammed between the molars or against the curb of the road, prised with the heel of a shoe, the belt buckle, the lighter or the key ring, alternative methods for getting that crafty bit of metal off the top of the beer bottle come in many guises. But the real deal, the bottle opener, is a work of beauty and simplicity and its wonder is being celebrated by Czech creatives OKOLO’s new exhibition Open & Drink!

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    Hey everyone, fancy getting to know the newest member of team It’s Nice That. You would? Well great – doff your collective cap to Emily Beber, our latest intern. Not content with a History of Art degree she is currently half way through a Masters in Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art, which not only proves her serious pedigree but also makes her better qualified than me. Before though we let her loose on the site to share her wisdom with y’all it’s right and proper to get to know her a little better; find out why her phonetic namesake has caused problems in the past and which fruit/crisp/sweet combination makes for a delicious snack…

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    I inherited some Delia Smith cookery books a few years back and was told they would be the first and last cookery books I’ll ever need. One glance inside showed mw that was certainly not the case. Gracing the pages were congealed stews, odd canapes and photos of eggs that made me feel weird about them to this day. I know it was probably all delicious in real life but what is up with retro food photography?

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    Typing things in capitals is hilarious, like when you write an email in caps lock by mistake and it comes out as an aggressive, incredibly loud “I’M GREAT THANKS HOW ARE YOU?” I’d like to say that this project is funny because of the capped title of HAVING A FACE but there’s much more hilarity to it than that.

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    Did you ever lose yourself lost in a mystical forest of some other world on a hot afternoon in your summer holidays, only to realise that the forest was in a game, and you had been playing a console for six hours straight? Me too! This collection of dreamy video game scenery, collated by a seemingly anonymous gamer, takes you back to the worlds you grew up losing yourself in. You can hear the fake sound of the fake waves lapping at the fake shore. You can hear the casio-tone twinkles as the fat, pixelated leaves rustle in the breeze. As far as I’m concerned, these worlds are, far superior to the grey, litter-strewn planet we are forced to actually reside in, and this man has done an excellent job of illustrating that.

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    Stop. Collaborate and listen. G-Technology’s back with their latest competition. Ok that’s as far as I’m going to push that, but do listen up gang because the technology storage solutions company are running their annual Driven Creativity contest giving creatives the chance to win 5,000 Euros and some top of the range G-Technology products to boot.

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    Before you laugh, this isn’t just some stupid internet-friendly cats Photoshopped on to rice, it’s much more than that. Neko-Sushi is “an extremely unusual life-form” the website tells us, “although several references have come down to us through history from various researchers and witnesses, their existence is still shrouded in mystery and actual sightings remain rare.”

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    The contribution of plastic bags to my emotional development has been limited at best. Oh, sure, I got a bit misty-eyed about that one blowing around the empty street in American Beauty (who didn’t?) but other than that they’ve been a largely pragmatic part of my life… until now. Back in 2005, creative agency Mother launched a range of Uncarriable Bags adorned with embarrassing motifs and they’ve just launched a second range “to make people think about plastic bags in 2013.”

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    Much of the cultural world’s attention will be focussed on Edinburgh and its famous festival over the coming weeks but it’s no secret that Glasgow is really where cutting-edge creativity shines in Scotland. Now Talenthouse and O2 are offering young artists, illustrators, designers and graffiti artists a cool opportunity to create an original piece of work to take pride of place at the city’s O2 Academy, one of Glasgow’s most popular live music venues which is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its relaunch this year.

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    It seems somewhat rich of me to sit here at a computer tapping away at a keyboard writing an article about how handwriting is a lost art. But, I am, and it is, and the current Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art exhibition on the handwriting of influential artists warrants no less of a wildly hypocritical gesture.

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    Spanish restaurant elBulli helped change the way the world thinks about food through its ceaseless innovation and experimentation. A new show at London’s Somerset House charts its remarkable story but it does much more than that – presenting one of the most insightful and inspirational studies of the creative process I have ever come across.

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    In more ambitious moments I sometimes fantasise about launching a dating service for creatives, like Uniform Dating but with designers and illustrators instead of firemen and nurses. The long hours, obsessive nature of the work and achingly aesthetic sensibilities may not be conducive to forming meaningful attachments, which is where my grand plan comes in. Over in New York, Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh and Tim Goodman have come up against this familiar roadblock to romance and decided to take action.

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    The ominously named Project B have but one aim – to rediscover brilliant vintage photographs and reprint them in limited editions so that people can adorn their houses with images which would, otherwise, have lain undiscovered in dusty treasure chests the world over. It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it?

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    This is the kind of Tumblr that really floats my boat. Devastatingly I can’t find the genius behind it to give him/her due credit, but there may be a reason why they want to remain anonymous. In essence they have taken some of the ridiculous emails that are sent to all the staff in their company and collated them on a blog with appropriate visual representation. We all know how strange people can be, and this can be accentuated in the workplace; this blog is a celebration of our bizarre at-work behaviours.

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    Amid the pantheon of brilliant characters from The Simpsons, Troy McLure has a special place in my heart. From his love of Selma to his slightly disturbing obsession with fish, his presence enlivens any episode but of course he’s best known for his ridiculous CV. Now one Christopher Coleman has collected a bunch of them together to make this supercut which is guaranteed to perk up your day. Just imagine the writers sitting around trying to come up with these!

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    A six-month exploration of sound design culminated in a two-day symposium bringing together leading sound designers and some of the city’s best creative students. The event was put on by Be Open, a global creative think tank dedicated to “fostering creativity and innovation.” With a year-long theme of design for the five senses, Be Open used London to take on the exploration of sound, which launched at last year’s London Design Festival with the Be Open Sound Portal in Trafalgar Square.

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    Ever wanted to rob a bank? Me too, but I don’t fancy prison so this “what if?” project will have to do. Ilona Gaynor has been quietly planning a highly organised heist of five major banks in the downtown Los Angeles area for the past two years, and is now reaching out for some funding to allow her to complete her mission.

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    It’s competition time again folks and we’ve got a great opportunity for an incredibly talented illustrator to provide the packaging design for next year’s Beefeater 24 super premium gin.

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    We’ve all been there, cruising through Ikea’s giant field of homeware dreams only to find that the geometric patterned rug you’ve travelled for hours to purchase isn’t available on the shop floor. Off you go to find the nearest assistant to fetch you one from out back, and then you freeze. How do you even pronounce the name of the thing? “Hall-knop,” you mutter apologetically. “Haller-um…” the disdainful look from the yellow-clad employee is enough to send you scurrying away so that no other customers can overhear your linguistic failings. You head straight for the door and return to your woefully spartan flat empty-handed.

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    Yeah nice one May, just be wet and miserable and make my hair go all fluffy at the back. Really good work. Anyway despite your best meteorological efforts to crush our spirits we will not be broken! As if to prove it, we are dialling up the enthusiasm factor to 11 as we are thrilled to introduce our newest editorial intern Maisie Skidmore. And to help you get to know her better we fired some questions at Maisie on her very first day which she was good enough to answer. So without further ado…

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    There’s something overwhelming about turning up in an unfamiliar city during one of the major design jamborees and it can be hard to know where to start. But a new initiative from HTC and Wallpaper* provides carefully-curated guides to a several design-savvy cities showcasing shops, bars and galleries far from the madding crowds.

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    When you’re walking along and you see a pigeon nibbling at some weave-strewn chicken in the gutter, or when you’re watching someone dressed in a Pikachu costume being sick at a party, or browsing the gift section of a provincial corner store, you may be unwittingly witnessing things that Jamie Lee Curtis Taete manages to actually capture with his lens. Most of us pass by these tawdry, depressing sights without a second thought, but it takes someone like him to record it for the good of civilisation.

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    I know the trend for men these days is a long-on-top-and-short-on-the-sides, but to me a mullet and a moustache truly is the sign of a real man. Look at these footballers’ sweaty brows; a toxic lather of sweat and wet-look gel accumulating on their foreheads. This archive of serious sports hunks is Old School Panini, a blog set up by Alexandre Bourouf who, after finding his old Panini football sticker album decided to start seriously collecting these gems from yore.

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    A corollary of the triumphant return of Daft Punk – which has dominated the cultural scene for what seems like weeks now – is a lavishing of attention on the humble helmet. And as if to prove that it’s not just their music-making compatriots who understand the power and the glory of this kind of headwear, Paris-based Ill Studio have collaborated with high-end motorbike helmet makers Ruby to create this super limited edition series. Ill created a bespoke pattern for the range called Venecia, “echoing the works of redesign and ornamentation by post modernist artists from the beginning of the 1980s such as Alessandro Mendini or Robert Venturi.” Stylish, restrained and undeniably hyper-cool, let’s have three huzzahs for helmets and all who wear them!

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    There’s few things I enjoy more than needlessly convoluted creative solutions for “problems” barely worthy of the term. But if you were hellbent on separating the cookie sections from the filling of Oreo biscuits then Dentaku, aka Yuri Suzuki and Mark McKeague, have just the thing. The Oreo Wheel developed in conjunction with Wieden + Kennedy Portland “frees the biscuit from the creme” by way of a small ferris wheel and two scalpels. It’s super-fun nonsense of the highest order but this video does prove the value of perseverance in any design process.

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    One of the problems with the constant Instagram culture is that it all feels a bit disposable – images ceaselessly captured, rated, forgotten. But for their Untamed campaign, to celebrate the new CLA, Mercedes-Benz put a call for Instagram snapshots that would “tickle our senses and expand our collective horizon.” They weren’t after the stereotypical Instagram staples, they wanted images that were unique, unexpected and unusual and the best were given a second life in a digital photo installation in Paris last month.

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    Yes you heard us right, thanks to Claude Frisse-Greene, an early British pioneer of film, London has been injected with soft hues instead of the usual black and white we normally associate with the early 20th century. Claude takes us on a journey around London’s famous landmarks, from Hyde Park along the River Thames and right across Tower Bridge. Incredible footage of a nation in-between two world wars, plus the fact that the BBC didn’t start broadcasting colour for another forty years means that old Claude is a full-on cinematographic legend deserving of your posthumous respect.

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    Internet pranksters have targeted the the world of baffling, boring and downright bad stock photography before this newest example made us chuckle. Seemingly produced by someone called Bob Sleigh, it’s takes a swipe at this strange phenomenon by way of a song to the tune of a Bruce Springsteen classic. If nothing else, watch it for the line “Cyber woman holding corn”…

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    If, like me, you spent your teenage years holed up in a dark room playing The Sims for a minimum of two hours a day, you might enjoy this. Did you use the cheats to remove the hot tub while they were “playing?” Did you ever lock them in a room and take away the doors or make them go swimming and take away the ladders? Course you bloody did. We all did. So here’s a blog that highlights the beautiful, glitchy moments in The Sims when things go unpredictably wrong, weird, or broken. What I can predict, however, is that if you never played The Sims this will probably be entirely lost on you. Sorry.

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    Politics and comedy is not always a good mix – remember Tony Blair’s excruciating “Am I bovvered skit?” or Gordon Brown dancing with JLS. But how about this as an exception to prove the rule, and politicians don’t come much bigger than the leader of the free world. The annual White House Correspondents’ dinner is always the chance for the president to show off his funny bones and this year Barack Obama joined forces with Steven Spielberg for this spoof. The set-up is simple enough – Spielberg is working on the President’s biopic – but it all gets weird as method actor par excellence Daniel Day-Lewis speaks about bringing Obama to the silver screen. Enjoy, but for sanity’s sake don’t read the Youtube comments…

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    Occasionally you may ponder upon the process of installing a huge statue or maybe how the precious Monet painting you are looking at got there. Thankfully the world of Tumblr has brought us Installator. With the strap-line “wrapit-tapeit-walkit-placeit”, it reveals painstaking processes behind creating and setting up exhibitions and artwork. From big trucks hauling enormous sculptures, to the care taken with valuable paintings, photographs range from the beginning of the 20th Century all the way to the present day. Modern-day heroes, these people make the world a better place.

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    We’ve got an interesting new design competition for you, bringing together a Scottish whisky brand and a really worthy cause. The Bunnahabhain distillery has partnered with The Fishermen’s Mission to challenge designers to come up with a new label for the bottle, putting a contemporary slant on the brand’s longstanding identity based around a travelling helmsman returning to the safety of the distillery.

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    Hey gang – prepare for your Tuesday to get at least 50 per cent more tremendous courtesy of the wonderful Times Haiku blog. Subtitled “Serendipitous Poetry from The New York Times,” the project is the result of an algorithm designed by the newspaper’s own technical team which sweeps the Times’ website for snippets of articles which fit the syllable criteria for a haiku. The best are then posted on the site.

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    We’ve all got objects we can’t live without, be it your favourite pen that enables you to be a better draughtsman, or the tin opener that helps you open tins like a total pro — to lose these objects is to lose a part of yourself. It took Time magazine to collect some of the world’s most influential brains and ask them about their sacred objects, and the results are fascinating, in a pleasantly humdrum kind of way. Behold, Michelle Obama’s gardening gloves, Sam Yagan’s Algorithm for Lovediagram and a book Perry Chen turns to for inspiration. So great.

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    I remember when making your own time capsule used to be a big deal, the pressure to compress your life into a small space was not to be taken lightly. Now the fine folk from Retronaut have used the internet and its infinite space to bring us Anywhen. The concept is still the same, but with the ability to categorise the date, and theme of the item, you can spend hours, even days, just looking through bizarre and kooky fragments of the past. Expect anything, from an early Michelin Man sporting a cigar and roller-skates, to strange Japanese map illustrations.

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    Ohhhh this is so nice. Last November, while you were perhaps been toiling away at a tax return or flicking numb-eyed through the Argos catalogue that you found on the bus, friends and occasional artistic collaborators Michael Crowe and Lenka Clayton were up to something very special indeed. Every day in November Michael and Lenka would create one drawing of something they had witnessed first hand that day, using only a typewriter as their medium.

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    Hot diggity damn! It seems like Coney Island in the 1970s was the place to be. Beach babes in every direction, and no one captured it better than Bruce Gilden. POINT have produced over four hours of material with Bruce Gilden and have given us a short excerpt with the man. Comments like he is only nice with his “wife and cats, and sometimes my daughter,” and exclaiming that he doesn’t want his subjects feel special, you can’t help but start to love the guy for his indirect charm. The complete version will be shown at the POINT Authenticity Conference at RIBA on May 2-3.

  38. Pslist

    Our jolly good friend Paul Smith (that clunking sound was the BIGGEST name being dropped) is opening a new shop in London’s Soho and he wants you to help decorate it. Paul gets sent the most extraordinary array of things from around the world and his studio is jam-packed with everything from scale models to hand-knitted blankets. He is always particularly struck by the beautiful envelopes and packages that arrive at his offices every day and that gave him an idea. So for his new Beak Street store he plans to showcase some of the weird and wonderful envelopes that he receives – you can send them to Paul Smith, 46 Beak Street, London, W1F 9RJ and make sure you include a return address as well. The closing date for entries is May 27.

  39. Toilets

    If you’re the sort of person who has ever sat inside on a summer afternoon paint- bombing the walls of the frigate in Goldeneye, or spending countless hours zooming in on villagers’ faces in the market square of Hyrule, you’ll probably be into this. Andy Kelly, who writes reviews of video games and other “modern lyfe” accessories for fine publications such as Edge, The Guardian, PC Gamer and Total Film, and many other fine publications, has created this fantastic compilation of all the toilets featured in video games.

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    In today’s creative community, it’s all about convergence. Multi-skilled practitioners are well-versed in producing stupendously good results by combining different genres, collaborating with different peers and colliding different visual styles. That goes to the heart of the new campaign for adidas originals, with the brand partnering with Talenthouse to offer you the chance to remix their look and feel in whatever way you see fit, and win £5,000.