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A review of what's visually/mentally stimulating

Archive for Design Profile

Film on Rock Poster Art

2009, Merle Becker, USA, 88 min.

“Finally, a true American form of artistic expression is given the long-overdue credit it deserves.”—Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood
As noted in the December issue of Chicago magazine, the lowly rock poster, once snubbed by the connoisseurs of high culture, is now a hot, sought-after collectible in the art world. AMERICAN ARTIFACT’s sumptuous history of this extravagant art form shows off the colorful work to advantage while giving voice to its fascinating and outspoken creators. Featured artists include Stanley Mouse, legendary designer of the Grateful Dead logo; Victor Moscoso, famed for his vibrating, psychedelic designs; plus Frank Kozik, COOP, EMEK, Tara McPherson, Chicago designers Jay Ryan and Mat Daly, and more. The soundtrack features Butthole Surfers, The Avengers, The Slackers, Andrew Bird, and more. DigiBeta video.

Director Merle Becker and poster artists Jay Ryan, Mat Daly, Steve Ryan, and Jim Pollock will be present for audience discussion following the 8:00 pm screening on Saturday.

Gene Siskel Film Center
164 North State Street       Map it
Chicago, Illinois 60601

January 29th—February 4th
Sat—4:30pm, 8:00pm


A Sweet Designed City Ride

Folding bikes are a great solution to accessible, portable green transportation for the city dweller, especially when storage/parking space is an issue at work or at home. There are many models of folding bikes on the current market, but one of the most exciting concept bikes is the Strida; both because of its incredibly easy and fast set-up/fold-down time and its unique visual style.

The Strida makes a bold visual statement and riders should be prepared to be peppered with questions about the weight, comfort and utility of this unique bike. Ride one and you are appointed ambassador of the folding bike riding experience.

Strida has information about accessories, its history, & demonstration videos on their website.

The Strida has the following features:
• a comfortable, upright riding position.
• the ability to roll when folded.
• the smallest footprint of any full-sized folder.
• no gears to worry about. Just pedal and go.
• a convenient umbrella shape when folded.
• a clean, quiet belt.
• no oily chain or gears. Trousers stay pristine.
• one-sided wheel mounting for easy  tire & 
tube changes.
• a short wheelbase. In bike mode, it takes up much less space than most bikes. In folded mode, it walks/rolls like an umbrella stroller taking up very little personal space.
• the ability to prop up vertically.
• rack becomes a convenient stand when folded.
• the easiest fold. No need to think about complex sequences. You don’t even need to bend down. Magnets do all the work for you.

The Strida has been awarded accolades and recognition from many sustainable orgs. and design-focused competitions including:

– 2009 Treehugger, Best Industrial Design: Strida Folding Bike

– 2007 TBEA Award (second runner up in Complete Bicycles Awards Category)

– 2006 Fiestrai Award of INNOVATIE

- 2002 SMART Award for Innovation

- 2000  i.d. Magazine Annual Design Award

– 2000 Millenum Product Award

- 1999 Design Museum, London

– 1992 Grand Prix Prize, Japan

– 1988 Cyclex Design Award Best New Product

Corriette Schoenaerts . . . . . . . . An Awesome Talent!

Corriette07Corriette is making great explorations into the space between Type :: Image :: Design :: Art.

View her extensive web-gallery to see for yourself:


Urban Green Space Retrofits: Rail Line Parks

What could we do with unused green space like this abandoned rail line section in NYC?

There are many prospects for creating trail parks on existing elevated rail lines within our major cities. This model of protected bike paths and pedestrian-focused walkways connecting parks, playgrounds and neighborhood access points utilizes already existing infrastructure and legal rights of way and reclaims them for productive recreational and protected transportation byways.

See The Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago and The High Line Park in New York City. The High Line Park already has renovated sections open for public access and more sections are in development.
These specific urban projects are opportunities that fall under a larger national agenda forwarded by advocacy organizations like the Rails to Trails Conservancy that promote the conversion of unused rail lines to active access parks and green spaces throughout the United States.
Here are some concept sketches for the Bloomingdale Trail Project in Chicago.

MUTO-Graffiti Meets Animation!

MUTO Animation
This animation by BLU is one of my all time faves. Definitely worth checkin’ out (although not for the squeamish or easily creeped-out folks).

MUTO Wall Stills

People’s Design Award Bestowed on the Trek Lime

Article reprinted from
by Jacob Gordon, Nashville, TN on 11. 5.09
When Trek unveiled the Lime back in 2007, the mission was to bring delightful, non-threatening biking to grown-ups. Some nice validation came last week when the Lime won the 2009 People’s Design Award, a subcategory of the prominent National Design Awards. A simple city bike with an upright riding posture, the Lime uses Shimano’s Coasting automatic three-speed transmission (a pretty complex system with a very simple user interface) and a back-pedal brake rather than hand levers. The mid-priced bike also packs a clever storage compartment into the bike’s seat with enough room for keys, cell, and grocery money.

The National Design Awards happen each year at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in Manhattan. Winners of the People’s Design Award are chosen by public online voting. The Trek Lime cruised over almost 200 other nominees, including the iF Mode full-size folding bike from Areaware, the Dyson Air Multiplier, and upcycled umbrella raincoats for dogs.


The Bully Pulpit of the Cover

Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian

Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian

George Lois was an impact-creating impresario. As photographer/art director for Esquire magazine covers in the 60’s he used the venue to comment bitingly on the relevant moral issues of the day as well as create some stunningly clever cover portraits with the leaders, literati and glitterati of the day. As The New York Observer has commented…”The magazine industry continues to drool over George Lois’ infamous covers in the glory days of Esquire magazine, before all editors and art directors gave up and just put Tom Cruise on the cover month after month after month.”

See this gallery of his covers with personal anecdotes and critical commentary.