Alias revisits a key archive project by Pio Manzù, the brilliant protagonist of Italian automobile design during the sixties. The idea materialised at the GAMeC of Bergamo where the archives of Pio Manzù’s work are stored. It is here that Renato Staffaucher and the designer’s son, Giacomo Manzoni, met in 2010. Together they studied sketches, projects and materials until their attention was drawn to a prototype chair designed for the Rinascente department store, clearly taking its inspiration from the automobile industry. Unfortunately, the chair base was missing and only one photograph had survived to tell its story. So began an exciting journey of research and reconstruction. Three-dimensional systems were used to redesign the five-star base originally created in Pio Manzù’s day by a collaborating Japanese artist. At the same time, the leather prototype, which had been damaged over the course of time, was carefully restored. The re-edition began to take form and finally reach its completion. The decision was made to integrate a footrest on a four-star base, designed to be wholly coherent with the design and proportions of the chair. This journey of culture and design has given Alias the opportunity to discover a deep-rooted affinity with the historical figure of Pio Manzù. One of the first designers to have conceived the man-machine relationship beyond mere function, considering aspects of safety and well-being, Manzù’s uncompromising approach to design and his familiarity with technology made him a genuine pioneer in the sphere of ergonomics.
Monoqool has made a series in the unique NXT@ material, which is extremely strong and lightweight. This has helped them to make eyeglasses with ‘volume’ without adding weight. So the frames weighs only 5 grams. The NXT material was first developed by the US military for the usage in windshields in helicopters. The NXT series also comes with photochromatic frames, where the fronts of the frame change colour when exposed to sunlight. Indoor the frame is light grey, and when you go outdoor the frames turn almost dark (not the lens, but the actual frame). A bit of magic.
When race car driver and auctioneer Herve Poulain asked his friend, artist Alexander Calder, to paint the BMW 3.0 CLS that he would race in the 1975 Le Mans endurance race, it was the beginning of a truly gorgeous concept. Calder’s design of the BMW 3.0 CSL was the first Art Car ever, and one of his last works of art before he died in 1976. His rendition of the BMW Art Car boasts powerful colors and attractive curving expanses, which he applied generously to the wings, hood and roof.
Calder saw his art in action when he attended the Le Mans 24-hour race as a guest to witness his work’s premiere.
BMW 3.0 CLS Art Car, for the 1975 Le Mans Endurance Race, by Alexander Calder
via: City Furniture
Fifty years ago, the IBM Selectric typewriter was introduced to the public. In the 25 years that followed, more than 13 million of the typewriters were sold. The machine, designed by Eliot Noyes over a period of seven years, transformed typewriting by allowing the use of different fonts and dramatically increasing the speed at which most people could type. Unlike other typewriters, which struck the paper with hammers, it used golf ball-like type heads embossed with a full set of alphanumeric characters. The ball zipped along in close proximity to the paper, tilting and rotating as necessary to lay down characters on the page almost instantly. Thanks to that head, the typewriter was the first of its kind to eliminate carriage return.
The aesthetic design of the Selectric was the responsibility of Eliot Noyes, an architect and industrial designer who served as consulting design director to IBM for 21 years. Noyes drew on some of the sculptural qualities of Olivetti typewriters in Italy. The result was a patented, timeless shape, and a high-water mark for IBM’s industrial design and product innovation.
The US Post office has included the Selectric in the new series of stamps in honor of Pioneers of American Industrial Design.
“O” (as in “eau” in French meaning water) is designed, aiming to go back to the origin of the watch. It is as if sculpted from water, and creates the scenery which only the time itself embraces the wrist of the wearer. The smooth curvature of the transparent bangle leads our eyes to the mirror finish body, which reflects the scenes of the surroundings, and gradually blends into the environment as if disappearing the form of itself.
Using the transparent special plastic material, “O” opens up a new direction in watch design with non-definitive form like water, which is as if freed from the concept of the materialism.
The Blackbird Rider features an all-hollow uni-body shell setting it apart from any guitar in the world. That is the body, neck, and head are cast in one-piece with the sound board, fretboard, single-coil pickups, tuners, etc. added to that main component. Forming the main component in one-piece eliminates the weak and sound-absorbing joints associated with standard guitars. This patent-pending construction relies on the incredibly strong and stiff properties of carbon fiber as well as plenty of unique design features to create the strongest, most resonant small-bodied guitar available anywhere.
The first model was the Rider steel-string, a truly satisfying and nearly indestructible travel companion which set the benchmark for the category. Blackbird’s singular blend of F1/aerospace design technology and traditional craft gives form to a new highly resilient and responsive guitar annually and including the first carbon fiber ukulele. Each Blackbird is individually made by small team of luthiers in San Francisco.
Carbon Fiber String Instruments, by Blackbird
The new Firmship 42 is a classic boat with a modern look. With the artistic directions by Studio Job who have modernized nautical traditions — without losing any of today’s functional comfort. The Firmship is a classic boat of the type that was still being built fifty years ago; an honest boat exuding confidence that will still be admired fifty years from now. What makes the boat even more striking is that literally everything is grey, from the railing and the bollards to the sundeck and even the throttle. Yet the Firmship is anything but drab or boring. Bold, or firm actually: a Firmship.
The boat’s forceful and bold exterior is designed by nautical architect Willem Nieland. The deck, the interior and colouring is a choice of Studio Job, the design duo whose artistic ornaments have earned them a worldwide reputation. With great subtlety, icons of our seafaring past have been worked into the interior, but given an unexpected twist. The sofa is upholstered in prints showing anchors, Moby Dick and skull and crossbones. A stained glass window between the cabin and the pilothouse displays the same ‘iconography’. At Studio Job, dream and reality become one. The interior can be added to as desired, with items selected from Studio Job’s custom-made design — a bronze ship’s bell, for instance, or a marquetry cabinet. Even people who do not normally like boats are attracted to the Firmship. It is more than just a boat: it is a home.
Firmship 42 by Studio Job, Willem Nieland
Probably the best engineered and most versatile folding bike available today. The Strida Folding Bicycle is designed for effortless transportation with its ability to fold in 5 – 15 seconds, making it the quickest, easiest folders to collapse and put back together. The bike weighs only 22 lbs, and its ability to roll when folded allows it to be carried easily into home or office or store on planes, trains and automobiles. Magnets on each of the wheels hold the two wheels together when folded.
With its unique triangular frame construction, lightweight, rustproof frame, the bike is very low maintenance; by using a Kevlar belt instead of a chain, no oil will get on your clothes. The ride is fine, with direct steering and a very tight turning radius. Best of all, the bike is tall so you can ride upright and get a good overview of traffic.
Strida LT, Strida MAS (Mark Sanders Special), Strida SX (Xtra Speed), by Mark Sanders
Boucheron’s peerless artisans have conceived the HM3 as a splendid three-dimensional jewelled owl, presented either in 18k white gold, with amethyst, diamonds and blue and violet sapphires, or in 18k red gold, with pink tourmaline, rose quartz, diamonds and pink sapphires.
The owl’s eyes are large glowing cabochons, set over the twin cones, and its sparkling wings, wrapped protectively around the precious HM3 engine, are entirely pavé-set with brilliant-cut stones. Its feathered breast is sculpted and engraved from a single block of amethyst or rose quartz. Most mesmerising of all: beneath the owl’s breast, its heart appears to be beating. The visual illusion is created by the faintly perceived swings of MB&F’s solid-gold battle-axe-shaped rotor beneath the translucent stone.
The original MB&F Horological Machine No3 (HM3), in gold and titanium, sent tremors through the fine-watchmaking world when it was launched in 2009. Its kinetically energetic engine is displayed on the top of the watch, where the swinging battle-axe-shaped rotor – an iconic MB&F symbol – and the fast-oscillating balance are clearly visible. The time indications parade around twin cones rising majestically from the three-dimensional sculpted case, driven by two oversized ceramic ball bearings. This combination of futuristic performance art and highly technical wristwatch is a feat of micro engineering. MB&F’s engineers and watchmakers machine, hand-finish and assemble the 305 parts of the HM3 engine to tolerances of a micron.
“Transport,” a thematic exhibition by Marc Newson at Gagosian Gallery, that brings together for the first time all of his major designs and realized products for transport and human locomotion since 1999.
Situating Aquariva by Marc Newson within the breadth and reach of Newson’s enduring obsession with human and mechanical locomotion, “Transport” explores the full range of his vehicle design. Some have been commissioned by leading international corporations specializing in automotive, aerospace, and nautical design, others designed for pure pleasure. From MN Special (2008), a lightweight carbon fiber bicycle designed for Biomega, to EADS Astrium Space-Plane prototype (2007) designed for commercial space tourism; from the mirror-like Nickel Surfboard (2006) designed for competitive tow-in surfing, to Kelvin40 (2003), a small, idiosyncratic jet plane named after the main character in Tarkovsky’s Solaris and commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain; from the “convertible” Zvezdochka trainer for Nike (2004), designed for general use by Russian cosmonauts in the International Space Station and named after the fifth Russian dog in space, to the endearing Ford 021C urban concept car (1999), Newson’s imagination reveals a sense of playfulness and fun behind the requisite rigor of the modern design mind.
Newson approaches design as an experimental exercise in extreme structure and advanced technologies, combined with a highly tactile and exacting exploration of materials, processes, and skills. As an industrial designer, his reach is broad and diverse, from concept jets and cars to watches, footwear, jewelry, restaurants, and aircraft interiors. Since the outset of his career, he has also produced beautifully crafted, limited-edition furniture, including the iconic Lockheed Lounge (1986). In a world where the distinctions between art and design are becoming increasingly blurred Newson is a trailblazer, having pursued parallel activities in exclusive and mass production for more than twenty years.
As a kid obsessed with designing and making things, post-war Italian design was a huge source of inspiration. I was amazed by the seamless ability of designers and industry to produce every conceivable type of industrial product, from furniture to automobiles. My own career has undoubtedly been influenced by the Italians’ impact on so many areas of design.
Transport, by Marc Newson, September 14 – October 16, at Gagosian Gallery, New York