(via) This three-storey treehouse at Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin was built around a tree as a tribute to the camp owners’ father, who had built a swing on the tree before he died (and the tree had fallen ill with Dutch Elm disease).
The tree comes through the house’s deck near the ground level, and it breaks through the upper floor in three spots. At two of those points, the arms of the tree are sawed even with the floor, while the third pierces it and extends out the window. Reclaimed wood was used for much of the construction and the interior features nearly all vintage and repurposed items. Stumps of the trees were fashioned as side tables, and a hanging antler chandelier was made from old shed found at the camp.
(via) In Finland, citizens have the option of the Sauna Lauta, a three deck floating sauna with hammocks, outdoor grills, and diving platforms for dips after hot hot hot sessions inside the sauna. If the powers that be are serious about their “most liveable city” nonsense, they’ll green light a pilot project wherein a dozen of these bookable babies can be accessed at different points along False Creek…
(via) Beyond being transfixingly pretty, this machine flipbook by artist Juan Fontanive also makes a mesmerizing racket, of a sort similar to that of the old flip machines that would list arrival times at airports before life went digital. And if you dig butterflies more than hummingbirds, you’re in luck…
The GOODS from Much & Little
Vancouver, BC | After 2 1/2 years in business, Much&Little is proud to announce the recent expansion of their location at 2541 Main Street. An intimate shop specializing in timeless, hand-crafted goods and accessories, it is now double the size with half the space dedicated entirely to women’s clothing. Consistent with the store’s original concept to support independent businesses, clothing is also sourced from emerging or indie designers and is mostly North American-made. Many of the labels are not available anywhere else in the city such as art school-influenced Feral Childe, vintage-inspired Lauren Moffatt, and the minimal and edgy Black Crane.
The refurbished section of the shop takes over the former space of Whoa! Nellie Bikes. Although joined, the spaces have a distinct ambience. The original side focuses on home goods, accessories and gifts. The new side, with its cosy cabin feel, showcases clothing. Change rooms and store fixtures are made with reclaimed wood, while the floor and walls are adorned with vintage kilim rugs, most of which are for sale. Read more
Strangely, to date, there remains no credible explanation for any of it. Bonus: dude at 0:52 wins the internet.
(via) Combining a mix of photographs with some serious editing savvy, photographer Robert Jahns created a convincing set of images depicting the city of Venice with its famous canals frozen solid. He posted one of the pictures to Twitter two months ago and it went viral (before being debunked as a fake two days later). Pliable ice sheets formed on the canals back in 2012 for the first time in two decades, but the picturesque waterways have never frozen completely solid, as imagined so invitingly (for skating) above.
The GOODS from Much & Little
Vancouver, BC | We are on the hunt for someone very special to join our team as a part-time salesperson. Please note this post is for a long-term, part-time position, with an immediate start date. We are currently looking for someone with weekend availability and flexibility in the week for a minimum of 2-3 shifts a week. If you’re interested in this opportunity, have the requisite skills and experience, and can commit to a long-term situation, we’d love to meet you to discuss the possibilities. Please drop off your resume with the store Manager in person Monday to Friday, you can also submit your resume via email to jennie [at] muchandlittle.com and include a cover letter/short blurb about why you would like to join our team. We looking forward to welcoming our new team member! Read more
(via) You know how when it’s sunny there are a million things to do and everyone is super excited about all of them, but when it’s raining nobody gives a damn about anything and they just want to go home and sulk until the sun comes out again? It would be nice – cool, even – if we had reasons to look forward to the rain. Not for our gardens, slip-and-slides, or Fred Astaire fetishes, but rather to appreciate some public pieces of art that were only visible in the wet.
Such is the case on an old building’s brick wall in Hartford, Connecticut, where artist Adam Niklewicz created a 30ft x 45ft “Charter Oak” tree – a symbol of American independence – using sealant, stencils, and graphite transfers. According to Niklewicz, “Public art should embrace the existing environment and work to enrich reality.” We couldn’t agree more.
While it’s true that Vancouver doesn’t have the deep well of historical context to draw from that Hartford does, I’m sure we could come up with a few ideas for similar wall treatments. How about the iconic maple tree that Vancouver’s early settlers used to meet under to seek shade, shelter, and gossip? It was located in Maple Tree Square (the heart of Gastown), right where the statue of Gassy Jack Deighton stands today. I’d like to see it again, wouldn’t you?
The GOODS from Cavalier
Vancouver, BC | This month is all about diamonds at Cavalier. We’ve filled our showcases with as many as we possibly could just in time for wedding season, and we’ll be hosting a day devoted to diamonds on April 30th for those interested in learning about where ethically sourced diamonds come from. Stanley Park beers will be involved, so it’ll be a fun but informative learning experience. If you’ve ever wanted to design a custom engagement ring, we’ve got you covered and want to give you the run down of how we do it here at Cavalier. If you’d like to attend, send us an email to info [at] cavaliergastown.com and don’t forget to check #30daysofdiamonds for event updates and to see our exclusive collection. Read more
by Luis Valdizon | On Tuesday, March 24th, Vancouver Fashion Week‘s Fall / Winter 2014 season came to a close. I had the pleasure of attending its two final evenings at the Chinese Cultural Centre where everything from VFW’s opening gala to shows took place. Both nights offered an atmosphere that was lively, friendly, and largely free by the elitism that can sometimes sour these type of affairs.
Generously, my invitation to document VFW went beyond the runway. It was a privilege to capture all the models, designers, make-up and hair artists right in the thick of their elements, right when everything is just coming together. It’s the side of fashion that excites me the most, and I feel fortunate to be able to share it with you.
One note of criticism: it’s too bad that more local menswear labels such as Reigning Champ and wings + horns weren’t on VFW’s radar. It would have been nice to see the two internationally coveted brands by West 5th’s own CYC Design Corporation on the runway. There’s definitely an appetite for more menswear at VFW, and it’s unfortunate that it’s not capitalized upon. Presentations by the aforementioned labels, together with the stunning Arc’teryx Veilance 2014 F/W collection and the latest season from the budding Raised by Wolves, would have all been welcome additions!
We’ve invited Gastown’s excellent Pony Salon to join the Style & Retail section of our GOODS program as a recommended place to get your lid properly sorted. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our curated list of independent goodness. We would like to thank them for their support and for making BC a better looking place to be.
by Grady Mitchell | Local designer Fiona Morrison specializes in jewellery that’s elegantly edgy. After receiving compliments on a favourite – a ring shaped like a wolf’s head – and realizing the confidence a detail like that could invite, designer Fiona Morrison began creating her own pieces and named the Chinatown-based company after the ring that started it all.
Fiona says her ideal customer is “bold, beautiful, brainy and badass. They’re not the perfect little princess who’s going to wear a locket and heart. They’re edgy, and they want something that speaks to that.” True to those words, Wolf Circus pieces make innovative combos of metals and minerals and ride the line between grace and aggression. She recently launched Creatures of Desire, a higher-end collection, and has begun work on a men’s line, too. You can learn more and shop for pieces at Wolf Circus’ website.
by Luis Valdizon | Tom Dixon inconspicuously entered the design world as an art school drop-out in the 1980′s while trying to repair his post-accident motorcycle with no technical training. His works have since been collected by some of the world’s most top museums, including the London’s V&A, New York’s MoMa and Paris’ Pompidou. Just two months ago he was the recipient of the prestigious Maison et Objet Designer of the Year award. I was fortunate enough to chat with Mr. Dixon on the last stop of his North American lecture tour. The evening, hosted by Gastown’s Inform Interiors on March 3rd, was lively and tightly packed by a handsome crowd of design enthusiasts. What follows is the transcript of my conversation with Dixon and a gallery of photos from the evening.
Can you share some details surrounding the night in Milan when you slept on a public park bench, which resulted in the inspiration for your first season with Adidas?
It was my first visit to the furniture fair. I thought that I would be able to find cheap accommodation quickly and that just wasn’t the case. I had no idea of the scale of the fair. Sleeping on the park bench is not something that I can recommend. It’s never comfortable and the temperatures drop substantially in Milan. It wasn’t a great experience. I’m just hoping not to do it again without my own sleeping bag.
I think it’s funny that these sort of things still happen in Milan. Only two years ago there was the Icelandic volcano eruption and everything stopped. There were about a couple hundred-thousand people stuck in Milan and very quickly they didn’t have hotel rooms or residences. For the benefit of my own interests, it could easily happen again, so it’s better to be prepared.
Your release with Adidas has an unmistakable editorial presence in its packaging and presentation. What inspired this?
There’s no point in me trying to be a fashion designer. It’s not what these collaborations are about. What it is for me is sort of entering a new universe without any preconception. There’s a lot of fashion that’s very poorly explained compared to product design. It’s not very normal to give a lot of information on the packaging. I wanted to bring my experience in other trades to the fashion business rather than become a fashion designer. The graphic sensibility and the information on the pack is really about trying to communicate a bit more in a way that they don’t in the fashion business. I get very frustrated, for instance, when I go to a museum or an art gallery and I see this amazing stuff and I want to know more and they don’t tell you. I try my best to reinvent those trades in a way that best suits me. The collection addresses my inability to pack efficiently; so, it’s a personal problem. I think I design with myself as the customer in mind rather than try to be like a proper designer that should be solving problems for other people. I’m a-typical like that.
You shared an idea of being “a proper modernist” for the first time through your collaboration with Adidas. What did you mean by that?
Modernist? Did I say that? I think the advantage with massive companies that are experts in what they do is that they have access to many more resources, and everybody wants to work with them. It’s an opportunity to work with futuristic textiles and new manufacturing techniques. They are cutting edges in their respective trades in ways you’d never get the chance to if you were doing it in a conventional manner.
Can you speak on the role of mathematics in your design?
I went to a very bad school in the 70s where there was a lot of experiments in education going on. There wasn’t a great deal of discipline. There was very bad teaching, and I found the whole thing very frustrating. However, there was one short-lived period that I had a really great math teacher and it opened up this tiny little window in this other magical world which I’ve never been able to access since. There’s something about the beauty in everything matching up and everything being logical that I’m still inclined to seek. There’s something quite nice about geometry because it is perfect. It appeals to everybody. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Muslim and like Islamic art, or whether you’re a scientist interested in DNA, or if you’re a child building Lego; geometry is always there. It’s underpins everything that’s constantly around us. There’s something rather fascinating to a designer about that, and if you do use geometry in your work it you often find that it appeals to other people as well.
You blur the line between the artist and the entrepreneur with little very backlash in comparison to, say, Damien Hirst. Why do you think that is?
Because he’s much richer than I am (laughs). I’m sure the backlash will come when I get really, really rich. For me, what was kind of nice about commerce – and I think that too few designers are interested in the kind of trading aspect of it – is that it’s what has allowed me to become a designer. The fact that I could think of an idea and the people would spend their hard earned cash on buying it off me seems like such a perfect way to make a living, right? It’s like alchemy, where you can turn something into gold. It’s not like I’m a super successful business man. I really like the idea that I’ve created a platform to have an idea and if that idea is good enough people will just buy it. It’s a great way to live.
What is your first memory of an encounter with an object that influenced your design aesthetic today?
I went to an exhibition at the V&A museum in London and I saw a video of an Alvar Aalto stool being made. It was plywood…pressed plywood with the glue oozing out. And it was that that sort of sparked something. I’ve always been more interested in the manufacturing rather than the actual objects. I don’t think it was the design objects that appealed to me. What appealed to me was the manufacturing process, so when I found welding and I learned how to weld then suddenly this whole world where one could create structures very quickly and very easily became apparent to me.
Did you grow up in a design-minded home?
My parents were design aware but they weren’t designers. One was a teacher and one was a BBC newscaster so they weren’t really involved with anything to do with design. Now that I think about it – and even your last question – it was a pottery teacher at my old school. The school was not exactly academic. It was a big school, but it had the luck of having a proper ceramics department and also life drawing class, which is quite rare in secondary schools. The combination of enjoying drawing and actually getting my hands stuck into the wet clay and turning pots and such was really the moment the form-giving and the practical element of design really got me interested.
You’ve talked about having a “child-like enthusiasm” in your design philosophy. How has your relationship with your children or experience as a parent influenced you?
Funny enough, my kids are even more conservative than me. I spend a lot of time trying to get them to try to be more child-like and they constantly try to get me to be more conventional. They’d really like to have a trad [traditional] Dad. That’s what they want they want, a trad Dad, not a crazy Dad. I guess it’s kind of role reversal in a way.
Despite two accidents, one of which ended your music career, I hear that you still ride bikes?
Yes, it’s pretty much a daily occupation. We’ve had a rough winter so I put them away. I’m a bit more fair-weathered now. By the time I get back, the spring will have started and I’ll get moving again. Fact is that in London traffic is so bad and the city is so big that honestly it’s the only way of getting on in your day.
With your latest venture into scents and now again with music, your design seems to want to cover all the human senses…
The beauty of music is that it allows you to communicate with people without using language. Previously when I was doing it in the beginning; that was my job. You had to go around with eight sweaty boys in a transit band and tour the country, but now I can do it for fun. Music really is superior fun.