Brutalist Sandcastles

sandcastle-6

Calvin Seibert makes modernist sandscastles on Coney Island. At Little Atoms, Caroline Christie interviewed him about his remarkable creations.

I like making things and tend to work with whatever is at hand. Building sandcastles at a beach to me is a very natural thing to be doing. As a child, I saw photographs of the French ski resort of Flaine. I was very taken by the brutalist buildings, designed by Marcel Breuer. Since then I have always gone out of my way to see brutalist architecture and when I build sandcastles I have them in mind.

Technique:

A five-gallon paint bucket is essential. Paint buckets are particularly rigid and have a nice sharp edge for digging with. Then it is used for carrying water. Lots and lots of water. The tools are all made of plastic. I have a couple that are nothing more than a small rectangle of 1/8-inch plastic with a beveled edge and then a couple of trowels of different sizes.

Read the rest

Buy Bowie's amazing 1960s stereo and his Memphis furniture collection

411L16149_8ZJGZ.jpg.webrend.1280.1280

On November 11, Sotheby's will auction off David Bowie's beautiful collection of Italian designer furniture and other objects, including his incredible 1966 "Radio-Phonograph, Model No. RR126" by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. The bulk of his collection going on the block though are 1980s pieces of Memphis furniture. Over at Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford writes about Bowie's deep appreciation for Memphis:

The name “Memphis” was supposedly chosen after an early brainstorming session, during which Bob Dylan’s song “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” played repeatedly on the record player. The designers appreciated the word’s disparate connotations, evoking both cheap American kitsch and the regal city of ancient Egypt.

United in their efforts to reject traditional notions of “good design,” the Memphis artists mocked the bland austerity of Modernism by mixing clashing colors, patterns, and materials on playful geometric forms that often masked an object’s intended use. Although their collaborations only lasted a few years—Sottsass left the Memphis group in 1985, and the rest parted ways in 1987—they caused an uproar in the design world. Memphis sensibilities continued trickling into mainstream design via knockoff brands that influenced interiors everywhere from movie sets to high-school cafeterias.

“It didn’t look serious. It looked like a prank,” Bowie wrote of Memphis in 2002. “It mixed Formica attitude with marble diffidence. Bright yellows against turquoise. Virus patterns on ceramics. It couldn’t care less about function.”

"Space Oddity: David Bowie's Secret Obsession With '80s Memphis Design" (Thanks, Ben Marks!)

Read the rest

The Modernist Utopia that never was

california-living1

HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network, is back for its fourth season. This week:

What happens to a utopia that never got off the ground? Bits and pieces of one, an experiment in postwar living for the masses, are hiding in plain sight in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Architect and author Cory Buckner talks about Crestwood Hills, a Modernist vision for a cooperative future that never quite arrived.

A note from the producer: If you'd like to help HOME get off to a good seasonal start, drop by the iTunes Store and subscribe. And if you have a minute to leave a rating and/or review, that helps stir the algorithmic stew that gets shows noticed. Thanks for listening.

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS Read the rest

Vintage Soviet space program cigarette packages

The Soviet space program inspired some of the great space-themed tchotchkes of the 20th century, including a whole line of cigarette packs from Russia and surrounding nations. Read the rest

Space-age refrigeration, 1968

Frigidaire's commitment to modernism waned in the product-development phase, as can be seen from the wood-grain on this "space-age refrigerator." Read the rest

Mary Blair gallery show at Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco

San Francisco's Walt Disney Family Museum is running an exhibition on the art of Mary Blair, one of the all-time greats of Disney history and modernist illustration and color. I've covered her work here before (for example, there's a gorgeous collection of Blair's Golden Books, and, of course, the amazing Alice in Wonderland edition featuring the rejected concept art she produced for Disney's psychedelic Alice in Wonderland animated film), and I've been lucky enough to see some of it in person while I was working at Disney, but this exhibit, called "MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair," looks extraordinary. Read the rest

Modern Ewok

Read the rest

Building the prefab Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World

Imagineering Disney has a great gallery of construction shots of the Contemporary Resort, a huge, modernist A-frame structure whose rooms were all prefabbed offsite and crane-lifted into place.

WDW Construction: Contemporary Resort Read the rest

Two "bold spaces": 1935, 1942

On the Vintage Ads LJ group, NoLuck_Boston posts a pair of ads for "bold spaces," the first from 1948, the second from 1935, a two-frame timelapse. I love the busyness of 1935's Chinoise car-wreck, prefer it to 1942's modernism.

Battle of the bold spaces Read the rest

Beautiful vintage jetpack-futurist car

On Super Punch, set of photos of a beautiful, enbubbled, betailfinned Los Angeles land yacht spotted on the 101. Hoo-ah.

Saw a this on the 101 in Los Angeles today. It was caravanning with a bunch of classic cars. Read the rest

What do Christian fundamentalists have against set theory?

I've mentioned here before that I went to fundamentalist Christian schools from grade 8 through grade 11. I learned high school biology from a Bob Jones University textbook, watched videos of Ken Ham talking about cryptozoology as extra credit assignments, and my mental database of American history probably includes way more information about great revival movements than yours does. In my experience, when the schools I went to followed actual facts, they did a good job in education. Small class sizes, lots of hands-on, lots of writing, and lots of time spent teaching to learn rather than teaching to a standardized test. But when they decided that the facts were ungodly, things went to crazytown pretty damn quick.

All of this is to say that I usually take a fairly blasé attitude towards the "OMG LOOK WHAT THE FUNDIES TEACH KIDS" sort of expose that pops up occasionally on the Internet. It's hard to be shocked by stuff that you long ago forgot isn't general public knowledge. You say A Beka and Bob Jones University Press are still freaked about Communism, take big detours into slavery/KKK apologetics, and claim the Depression was mostly just propaganda? Yeah, they'll do that. Oh, the Life Science textbook says humans and dinosaurs totally hung out and remains weirdly obsessed with bombardier beetles? What else is new?

Well, for me, this is new:

"Unlike the "modern math" theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Book teaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute....A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory." — ABeka.com

Wait? Read the rest