Design and Art

Visual art and design topics, reviews, articles and random posts on art and design related issues.

Thanks to “Google Arts and Culture”, You Can Virtually Tour Your Favorite Art Museums.

I would rank the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as one of the top 10 in the United States, and I’m not just saying that because I work there. I’m saying it because it has such an amazing collection that is on par with other art museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, LACMA, Cleveland Museum of Art, San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, and so many others.

With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing right now, no one is going to any of the museums mentioned above. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your art on though. Thanks to Google Arts and Culture you can visit hundreds of art museums and in many cases take a virtual tour. I just did a walkthrough of the Uffizi in Florence Italy. And you dear reader can take that tour as well or visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to see why I say its one of the top ten in the country.

Take the Virtual Tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

We might be staying home, and keeping our distance from others for the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel cooped up. While it’s not the same as actually being at your museum of choice, it’s a pretty good alternative.

The Creative Journey – Wacom

It’s Monday March 16, 2020 and the world is in shutdown mode over the Coronavirus outbreak/pandemic. The stock market is losing ground again, people are hoarding supplies like the world is ending, schools are closed, businesses are having employees telecommute rather than come in to work and a slight sense of general pandemonium has settled over my part of the midwest.

Here is a way to hopefully help you forget all about what is going on in between washing your hands, coughing into your elbow, keeping your distance and doing all the other things the WHO wants you to do to stop the spread of COVID 19.

“Not To Scale” and “Iris” have collaborated to produce a beautiful series of eye-catching short animations for the Wacom Cintiq 16. The films imaginatively illustrate the typical journey and endeavors that an Artist takes through their career to realize their creative ambitions.

There are 6 in all and I have the behind the scenes/making-of video at the end. So, do yourself a favor and take a bit of time to escape the pandemic news and watch this series of short animations. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks to Layer, the Beosound Balance, Looks as Good as it Sounds

I’ve always loved Bang and Olufsen products. I know many people will argue that they aren’t the best sounding audio gear for the price you pay, but you have to admit they make beautiful stuff. Bang and Olufsen’s design aesthetic, choice of materials, attention to detail, and yes, the audio quality in my opinion. Sorry folks my ears don’t hear well enough to play the granular specs game.

Design agency Layer has designed the new “Beosound Balance” for Bang & Olufsen and the look is so nice. The distinctive, sculptural silhouette expresses the speaker’s performance, with a large base unit supporting a textile-covered cylindrical speaker. Controlled with a touch- and voice-activated interface (using Google Assitant) on top. This is sort of Bang and Olufsen’s entry into the smart speaker market.

The result is a room-filling, three dimensional sound from a speaker that takes its inspiration from the design language of domestic objects rather than high-tech electronics products. This is the first project by Layer for Bang & Olufsen and was 18 months in research and development.

The form of Beosound Balance is driven by the speaker’s audio performance, with a simple, cylindrical base unit on which a more expressive form sits. Together, these two elemental forms combine to create a sculptural object – like a plinth supporting a sculpture or vase. It’s this look that sets it apart from the cylinder/block format of most smart speakers in the market today.

The timber base unit contains a large, omnidirectional bass speaker driver, which is positioned with a vertical orientation and topped with a metal mesh screen featuring perforations in a Fibonacci sequence. The bass is reflected off the rounded metal base beneath the top form, maximizing its acoustic potential and providing a room-filling, low-end rich sound. 

The softly sculpted upper unit contains the precise mid-range drivers and tweeters, which complete the warm, well- balanced audio performance. These drivers – which provide directional audio – are positioned under a seamlessly knitted textile cover. 

To reinforce Bang and Olufsen’s positioning of “Beosound Balance” as an object to be looked at as much as listened to, the speaker is crafted from a rich palette of materials that are more readily associated with homewares and soft furnishings than high-tech or audiophile products.

The base unit is made from FSC-approved solid timber, blocked and turned as in furniture production. This material choice not only oozes craftsmanship but also offers quality and superior sound resonance. The upper unit is wrapped textile, with a nod to interior upholstery; while the metal reflector and the interface panel are made from pressed aluminum and inspired by finely crafted tableware. The textile wrapped power cable is long enough that the speaker can be easily positioned around a room as needed, meaning the speaker is not constrained based on power needs. (I love the fact that they used a textile-covered cord. It always seems to be the one thing that gets overlooked.)

Beosound Balance won’t come cheap. It rolls in at $2250.00 dollars. Way more expensive than other smart speakers on the market. It is Bang and Olufsen though, and I’m thinking if you are considering B&O products you can probably afford this price point. You’ll be able to pick this up starting in March of 2020 on their website, third-party retailers and in Bang & Olufsen stores.

The Poster Designs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Are Crazy – Awesome

I’m not sure what the selection criteria were for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but I’m digging the completely crazy set of images that were chosen.  The styles range from Manga to Cubism to Surrealism and Photography. If you compare these to what we traditionally have gotten the Tokyo posters seem almost out of left field. Hat tip to the judges for taking a chance and choosing posters that are a reflection of Japanese culture, and that take a chance. You can see all of the posters here and read the artists statements about the works as well.