— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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ARCHITECTURE

Audi have initiated a potentially interesting collaboration with noted videographer/artist/provacteur Chris Cunningham to help launch the ‘Audi City’ project. The project itself sounds quite interesting, and something that fits perfectly with the brand experience of Audi (and it’s message of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’). Audi City is an ongoing exploration of the relationship between the space and the city. Almost 50% of the Earth’s population now lives in and around urban environments, putting unprecedented pressures on infrastructures and space. The Audi City therefore is an ongoing project/space (in London) to explore solutions and mediations on the tensions between the two. The scope of the project, and the inclusion of collaborators such as Cunningham, brings to mind the more radical work of Archigram. The late 1960’s architecture collective whose radical ideas on space and it’s relationship it’s inhabitants was crucial  in re-fashioning and re-imagining the urban experience in post war Europe & America. One to watch for sure. Check the site out here, while a follow on Twitter could well land you with tickets to see Cunningham’s exhibition for 19th & 20th July.

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TBWA\Hakuhodo in Japan have launched ‘The Mirai Nihon Project’ A project exploring the possibilities of a 100% ‘off the grid’ lifestyle. The idea of living off the grid isn’t exactly new, and does conjure up both the social and architectural utopias of Buckminster Fuller, as well as hippie communes in the New Mexico desert. What makes the project interesting is the perspective it’s coming from. Namely, the space is a direct reaction to the consequences of devastating effects from the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami last year, and of course, the partial meltdown of the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plant.

‘Mirai Nihon’ (translation: The Future Of Japan) video (above) introduces the concept, as well as profiling a small selection the companies involved, from Nissan and it’s LEAF Electric Car, to filtration experts, and many more (2o in fact). But what’s more striking about the film is the sense that Japan is still fundamentally shaken by the events of last year. The response ‘the coexistence of man and nature and technology’ feels suitably Japanese, but also hugely ambitious. Exactly how you would imagine a culture such as Japan’s to respond to the cultural, environmental and societal challenges that the disaster wrought. From an Advertising and Brand perspective, it’s interesting to see TBWA involved. And another example of agencies engaging in genuine problem solving.

One to follow with interest I think.

(Via Contagious)

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Goodby, Silevrstein & Partners along with a host of collaborators has just launched this intriguing and ambitious project for Adobe. Their Museum of Digital Media idea is an online space that blurs the boundaries between physical interaction environments and interactive spaces. The ‘Musuem’ itself is a digital piece of architecture, towering 50 storeys high in the real world. It will hold and curate and ever revolving (and growing) collection of digital media experimentation and artistic explorations. The first exhibition launched in the museum is from Tony Oursler, a video artist who has created some frankly bonkers pieces of work within this space, I might not like all of them but I respect the adventurousness of the work…

Overall, I think this is a hugely exciting and strikingly original piece of creative work. It has the potential to work fabulously on a strategic level for Adobe, (reinforcing their preeminent digital position) and is a beautifully sideways approach to a creative brief from the guys at Goodby. The interfaces and inside the museum right, once you go full screen, you really start to lose the sense you are in a browser. More than anything, this obviously is a starting point, as with any museum, the more exhibits there are (it seems the museums content will be curated by a number of different people, as opposed to just a single vision throughout it’s life) the greater the story will become. Great work guys.

Here’s the intro.

and the ‘making of’

(Via Digital Buzz)

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DETROIT CITYSCAPE

Last Sunday’s Observer had an insightful and tragic article on the slow decline of one of the most iconic cities in the USA, if not the world. Detroit. Highlighting not just the hardship that the recession has wrought on the long suffering working class of the city, but also the damage now being inflicting the once prosperous suburban districts, scene of the ‘white flight’ that left inner city Detroit a unique wasteland. This wasteland has now taken on an almost post-apocalyptic quality, with some abandoned skyscprapers now sprouting plants and vines, mimicking something out I Am Legend. A truly surreal state. So it’s no surprise the the Internet is at the forefront of documenting this slow decline.

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NYC skyline 3

On the better never than late blog, I followed a link to a huge thread based on the evolution of the Manhattan skyline from the 20’s to the 70’s, through photographs and postcards and illustrations. There are some truly amazing views to behold and sides of the city I have never seen. (The ones of the World Trade Center under construction are very poignant and you would imagine.) I’ve selected a few of my standouts, but take a peek at the whole set here.

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Just saw this on Selectism, which solves a little mystery I had from my travels in October. Namely, what was this amazing building in the Meatpacking District? Was it a Hotel? Was it another luxury apt block? Well, it’s going to be the new Standard Hotel, joining sister establishments in L.A and Miami. Designed by Polshek Partnership Architects for André Balazs, it looks absolutely stunning. The rooms look well proportioned and the views are either the irregular rooftops of downtown New York or overlooking  the Hudson and all seem equally impressive. It also looks (relatively) reasonable price wise. There is a more in-depth (and excellent) critique from Design Observer on the building which I would recommend, as well as a piece in Vanity Fair. So there you go, one to put in the (Smythson) diary to visit.

The Standard NYC – October 2008.

The Standard October '08

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