Art Deco

Shadows in the Windows

With summer officially just a couple of months away, and rebuilding the patio on my project list, I’ve decided that I should probably get new patio furniture to go on it. I was thinking about getting the typical teak and metal stuff, but then I saw this set of chairs designed by Italian designer Andrea Ponti. They probably aren’t very comfortable, but damn they are sexy looking. There is something about them that reminds of that mid-1980’s design aesthetic that was a reinterpretation of 1930’s Art Deco known as Art Deco Revival. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Something about the forms, and maybe the color pallet. Anyway, I like them. I don’t care if you can’t lounge on them, or if the really aren’t that comfortable to sit on. They look great, almost like sculptural elements, or accents.

Ponti’s “Shadows in the Windows” is a project that portrays Hong Kong’s urban landscape through two symbolic elements: a window and a seat, in eight variations. The project is a metaphor of the architecture of urban density and represents the relationship among the individual, the product, and the urban landscape.

The window is the architectural element that best represents the concept of urban density. The seat by the window is a symbolic element that contributes to the representation of Hong Kong’s urban landscape. Eight seats, eight shadows in eight windows. The eight seats share the same design concept: a square window frame, the contour of a chair, clean lines, steel and ABS. Yet each seat is different and embodies a unique version of the design concept.

Shadows in the Windows will be introduced at 2017 Milan Design Week, April 4-9th, 2017, as part of the Superdesign Show at Superstudio Più.

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Dead Flowers.

This morning while going through my weekly design reading list I came across some work by artist and designer Marcin Rusak. There is something so refreshing about the Art Deco aesthetic that he has applied to his Flora collection. The line of of furniture, feels like it could have been made in the 1920’s and at the same time feels fresh and unique, in part do to the choice of materials used. Rusak’s new line is constructed in part by using real flowers that have been encased in resin to form the primary sections of each piece. Accented with a muted brushed brass, the line takes on a new, yet vintage feel. The Flora collection features hand made brass structures with blown glass, black resin, and dried flowers. The flowers are cast in the resin, which over time will shrink slightly allowing small slivers of light to pass beside them.

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Friday Font Find. Directors Gothic, and Programme.

Over the last few years there has been a trend toward hand lettering styles with the chalkboard look reach a white hot furry in the last year or so. That look dovetails onto the sketchbook look that was so  in design fashion a few years back, and in my opinion has jumped the shark. Maybe that is why I am drawn to a couple of new typefaces, one that is a redone classic from the 1930’s and another that is based on the Swiss International style.

Directors Gothic which is being offered by MyFonts was painstakingly developed from the original 1930s glass masters. The new digital set includes a full international character compliment, automatic fractionals, ordinals, and an impressively large assortment of alternate characters.

The original font was inspired by the Art Deco movement popular that had gained popularity toward the end of the 1920’s and early 1930’s.  Directors Gothic was designed with an eye toward expanded utility for use in advertising headline and smart corporate materials.  The redesigned font was created by Neil Summerour for Lettering Inc.

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Over the last 4 years Swiss design firm Maximage has developed Programme which is based on the geometry produced by computer programming, and calligraphy. Programme is an innovative typeface  that originated s two different versions, a more sophisticated softer form, and a more angular rougher version. Because the font is OpenType you are able to switch between versions and combine them into specific sets. Because Maximage designed the font with the computer in mind, the font is optimized for both display and text needs. I love the geometry of the letter forms here, and the combination of both styles adds just a bit of that retro 1980’s vibe that is starting to make some headway into design circles these days.

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Design Friday. A.E. Halliwell.

Yesterday while reading a design blog that I hit about once a week I came across a post that had been made about Designer, Illustrator, and instructor A E Halliwell. I have to admit, that like David, the designer that featured Halliwell, I was unfamiliar with his name. The work seemed familiar, and there is a possibility that I have seen some of Halliwell’s work in the past. What I didn’t know was how much work, and influence A E Halliwell had on graphic design over the span of his career.

A E Halliwell was a design educator, teaching higher education courses from the mid 1930’s through the 1960’s. Halliwell attended the Royal College of Art, and practiced as a professional designer from the 1930’s on. In addition to professional work he taught at Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, influencing hundreds of students over a span of thirty years.

What I have posted below are images that came from the vads online resource for the visual arts, and really focuses on works Halliwell produced in the 1930’s and 40’s. These images are such a great example of Art Deco graphic design stylings. The graphical nature of the work, the color pallets, and typography are indicative of the late Art Deco style that was so prominent in both Europe and the United States during this period. The posters show Halliwell’s excellent use of layout, and his solid illustration skills. This is so typical of this period, most people who went into the field of graphic design, could draw, as well as layout a page. I say this not as a dig against the current state of design, but as a reflection of the way design used to be taught, and executed. Especially in the pre-computer era. And yes I am someone who cut his teeth during that period, so I am probably a little biased in my feelings about those added skills.

The full archive contains over 200 images of Halliwell and his students work. Unfortunately none of the images are high-resolution, they are however large enough to get a good visual sense of Halliwell’s design aesthetic, and the quality of the work he produced. What is featured is poster art that Halliwell produced for a variety of businesses and services in the United Kingdom.

One interesting note about the collection. A number of the images show the poster art before typography was added. You can see from the layouts where Halliwell left space for type, but it isn’t shown in the sample they have. Also there are a few images where the original illustration is present, and then later on you see the completed poster with typography in place, giving you a look at how the design process was in the 1930’s and 40’s.