The BACU Association -- the folks behind the incredible brutalist Socialist Modernism Tumblr -- have announced a limited run, 800-copy book collecting photos and details on 242 Socialist Modernist "objects" in Romania and the Republic of Moldova.
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Brutal Block Postcards
is a new book that, er, celebrates the concrete landscape of the Soviet era. Over at Collectors Weekly
, Lisa Hix flips through the pages:
Many of these postcards, published by governments of the U.S.S.R. between the 1960s and 1980s, depict the bland, 1960s five-story concrete-paneled apartments known as “khrushchyovka” as if to say, “Look at the modern wonder of collective worker housing!” To Westerners, the boxy buildings telegraph the bleak authority of so-called poured-concrete “Brutalist” architecture, which was somehow popular with both democratic and totalitarian governments during the postwar years.
However, in Brutal Bloc Postcards, the images of stern rectilinear apartments, government offices, and hotels stand in stark contrast to the dramatic public monuments. These Cold War-era monuments are epic in scale, towering over the Soviet landscape; their angular, avant-garde forms convey movement, as if hurtling toward brighter future through Communism.
"Postcards From Big Brother" (Collectors Weekly)
Brutal Blog Postcards: Soviet Era Postcards from the Eastern Bloc (Amazon)
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Brutalist Web Design is honest about what a website is and what it isn't. A website is not a magazine, though it might have magazine-like articles. A website is not an application, although you might use it to purchase products or interact with other people. A website is not a database, although it might be driven by one.
A website is about giving visitors content to enjoy and ways to interact with you.
The design guidelines outlined above—and detailed below—all are in the service of making websites more of what they are and less of what they aren't. These aren't restrictive rules to produce boring, minimalist websites. Rather these are a set of priorities that put the visitor to your site—the entire reason your website exists—front and center in all things.
Yes, you are allowed to use link colors other than blue. But don't get too fancy, buddy.
Photo: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com Read the rest
Low-poly sculpturist Pellegrino Cucciniello of Italy has rethought the ordinary. He's taken an icon of outdoor kitsch, the garden gnome, and stripped it of its details and paint job. His angular, concrete creation is named Nino.
Nino is produced by Rome-based studio Plato Design who sells the 14-inch indoor/outdoor figures in three monochromatic colors for $108.46 each.
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The stark concrete style known as Brutalism is instantly recognizable in architecture, just as it is with this espresso machine by design studio Montaag of Berkeley, California. Not content with the current aesthetic offerings of espresso machines, they decided to create their own. Bare concrete became the machine's outer shell after the studio's team went on material-discovering expeditions through local salvage yards.
The result of their efforts is the AnZa (which is also available in slick white Corian):
The AnZa is not your typical appliance, collecting dust on your countertop. Concrete. Corian. Wood. Steel. Brass. Glass. These largely ordinary materials are not often found on espresso machines. But their application shows you don’t need to look far to find design elements that create a dramatically new experience—emotional, practical, or otherwise. The result is a spectacular espresso machine, and an unparalleled conversation piece.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, this high-end coffee maker can now be pre-ordered through Indiegogo for $799 plus shipping.
(Curbed) Read the rest
Check out txt.fyi, a toy "publishing platform" I made. I put that phrase in quotes because it's designed to be as lightweight as possible: you type in text and hit publish, and your work is live on the internet. From the "about" page:
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But it is legible, no-nonsense static hypertext, good for short stories, not-short-enough tweets and adventures and all your numbers station or internet dead drop needs. Here you can scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever.
Search engines are instructed not to index posts and I'll do my best to make sure this isn't used as a tool by spammers or other abusers. Nonetheless, posting will be turned off if anything bad grows out of it.
Use Dumbdown to format posts: #header, **bold**, *italic*, `code`, quote, and hyperlinks in the format [link](http://example.com). Try !hacker and !professor and !timestamp too. ...
Long live the independent web!
Brutal London: Construct Your Own Concrete Capital tells the stories of nine of London's greatest brutalist structures (with an intro by Norman Foster!), including the Barbican Estate, Robin Hood Gardens, Balfron Tower and the National Theatre -- and includes pull-out papercraft models of these buildings for you to assemble and display. Read the rest
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.
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.
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Peter Chadwick -- he runs the @brutalhouse stream of loving photos of imposing brutalist monuments -- has teamed up with Phaedon to publish a coffee-table book of the biggest, most uncompromising hulking monsters of the bygone age of concrete futurism: This Brutal World. Read the rest
Pascal Deville loves "beautiful atrocities"—websites that could be described as intentionally brutalist were they not mostly just ugh. Fast Company interviewed him on his love of rough design, strangely compelling as it is in the age of bloated, broken, but very pretty websites.
"I wouldn't call it a protest but a shout-out for more humanity in today's web design," Deville says. He views his site as a bastion for a segment of Internet culture of people who built scrappy websites themselves as opposed to using services with pre-canned templates like Squarespace. "Terms like UX and user friendly don't have a lot of soul or guts and treat everything like a product. They also killed a lot of the web culture, which seems to find a voice on Brutalistwebsites.com."
More from The Washington Post.
Intriguingly, Deville has found in his Q&As with coders and designers that few set out to mimic this newly popular aesthetic; instead, they all arrived at the same point out of a drive to create something original.
“[Brutalism] is interesting to me … because it doesn’t necessarily have a defined set of aesthetic signifiers,” said Jake Tobin, the designer behind trulybald.com. “What defines those signifiers is decided by the platform it’s built on.”
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Brutalist websites: "In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of todays webdesign."
An evocative (if imperfect) word for the combination of considered minimalism and retro-HTML design that's coming into vogue as a reaction to the overtracked bloat of the modern web. I'll take it! But "brutalism" doesn't seem to account for the nostalgic component that suffuses a lot of the entries, even if the materials match. Brutalism didn't look like something from 20 years ago until it was 20 years old.
P.S. There are many ways to view Boing Boing, but ASCII is worstbest. Read the rest