Fashion February 28, 2011 By Mary Biosic

Black shell minaudiere with brass detail

Black shell minaudiere with brass detail

If I could assign fashion a “$64,000 question”, it would probably revolve around the age-old debate of whether to share the excitement of a new discovery with everyone in your contacts list–or keep it safely tucked under your hat for as long as humanly possible. In no area does this temptation to “plead the Fifth” seem greater than accessories– where the quest to find a statement-making bag that will keep its cool long after the latest “it” bag has said its goodbyes is still considered a challenge.

Lucky for us, Ria and Yiouri Augousti, the husband-and-wife team better known as R&Y Augousti, are up for the task. If the label doesn’t ring a fashion bell, that’s because the line’s focus has been rooted in small furniture and home accessories design since launching in Paris in 1990. Influenced heavily by their love of the Art Deco era–a period known for taking creative carte blanche in using rare and extravagant materials–the couple adopted a similar sensibility, using exotic skins and shells to create striking pieces with a distinctly “modern vintage” flavor, as they call it.

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Features, Music February 24, 2011 By Timothy Gunatilaka

ar 1 A.R. Rahmantitle47 A.R. Rahman
On February 26, A.R. Rahman could make history. On that night, he could be the first Indian-born composer to win four Oscars, having been nominated for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (”If I Rise”, featuring Dido) for the film 127 Hours. Then again, such boundary-breaking does not seem to faze this veteran, who’s worked on over 110 films and who already made history with his two Academy Awards for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. Also directed by Boyle, 127 Hours depicts the harrowing fight for survival of mountain-climber Aron Ralston (played by James Franco). The film follows Ralston for the titular five days, after his arm was trapped by a boulder and he resorts to unthinkable measures to free himself. Dialogue is minimal in 127 Hours, meaning music holds a more significant role in driving this otherwise one-man show. Rahman spoke to us from his home in Chennai about such challenges, not to mention his charitable work, for which he recently earned the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum.
filler29 A.R. Rahman

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Art February 23, 2011 By Jennifer Pappas
Caption Here

rayonant_crap collage courtesy Devin Flynn and Dadarhea; seeing the world with toilet roll eyes

title46 Dadarhea
Like some kind of demented artistic genius with a sick sense of humor, Canada continues to confound in the best possible way. Opening February 25th, the wily gallery plays gleeful host to OHWOW’s second installment of Dadarhea, a collaborative, bourgeois-denouncing video work (and paintings) by a select group of equally demented artists. Animation, musical performance, green screen, and improv unite in what promises to be the most heinous, and illogically good time you’ve had all year. Many of last year’s artists have returned for round two: Devin Flynn, Jim Drain, Melissa Brown, Brian Belott, Fran Spiegel, Takeshi Murata, Joe Grillo, Marie Lorenz, Laura Grant, Naomi Fischer, Ara Peterson, Michael Williams, Jessie Gold, Billy Grant and Alison Kuo are all repeat Dadarhea offenders. According to Canada’s website, the collective group of artists are joined in a pact to “explore, laugh, splat, maximize, question, flap, drop, trough, dangle and generally go too far in the name of curiosity without actually killing a cat.”

Dadarhea runs from February 25-March 20 at Canada in New York.

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film February 22, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

Courtesy: Big Red Barn Films

Courtesy: Big Red Barn Films (Click for Slideshow)

title45 Oscar Documentaries.
Following the awards season success of environmentally themed non-fiction films like 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth and last year’s Oscar winner The Cove, it would appear as though we’re seeing the establishment of an entire new division of documentary films – one focused on the health of the planet and the people inhabiting it. That’s certainly the impression given by this year’s list of Academy Award nominees, with two feature-length and two short-form films that can boast green credentials among the ten documentaries being recognized this Sunday. Let’s coin this new genre Cinema Verde.

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Architecture February 17, 2011 By Nalina Moses

Click for slideshow

Click for slideshow

filler29 Yes is moretitle44 Yes is more
Just weeks ago the Danish architecture office BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) made it very, very big, unveiling their design for a new pyramid-shaped apartment tower in midtown Manhattan. So their first monograph, “Yes is More,” comes as a happy surprise. Unlike typical starchitect monographs, packed with stiff, self-congratulatory photographs, it’s a comic book that casts Bjarke Ingels, the office’s charismatic young leader, as a superhero who flies around the world designing buildings, calling upon his tireless staff of architects back home in Copenhagen for support.
It’s a saucy, surprising self-presentation. Most architects, especially successful ones, take themselves very seriously. The book’s title is a playful — and useful — inversion of modern architect Mies van der Rohe pronouncement, “Less is more.” It’s also a bright spot of optimism in the face of a troubled global economy that has devastated the construction and architecture industries. Bjarke Ingels, superhero, challenged by limited budgets, restrictive schedules, and demanding clients, nonetheless always finds a way to get things done.

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Music February 15, 2011 By Lily Moayeri

Labrador/Caroline Records

Labrador/Caroline Records

Radio The Radio Dept.: Passive Aggressive: The Singles 2002 2010
Sweden’s morphing group Radio Dept. has been sporadically releasing material for the past ten years. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 collects this cool people’s band’s releases over the last decade. A cratedigger’s dream, featuring both A- and B-sides, Passive Aggressive shines a light on the group’s evolution — or lack thereof. The earlier recordings are similar in their moody, almost aggressive, shoe-gazing nature. On “Freddie And The Trojan Horse”, however, light guitar plucks take the place of the jagged fuzz the style is known for, and lively piano takes center stage, passifying the sound. The four numbers included from Radio Dept.’s 2010 full-length, Clinging To A Scheme, feature a stronger hold on melody than the muddy ones leading to this release.
filler29 The Radio Dept.: Passive Aggressive: The Singles 2002 2010

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Buy this at iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for “Never Follow Suit”.


Architecture, Art, Greenspace February 14, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

Image Courtesy of Robert Flottemesch. (Click for slideshow)

Image Courtesy of Robert Flottemesch. (Click for slideshow)

title 2 Lunar Cubit
While the people of Egypt are anticipating a bold new future for their country, thanks to the powerful protests by demonstrators in recent weeks, an American artist has been recognized for his exciting plan to bring future-minded energy of a different sort to the Middle East.
Robert Flottemesch and his team of collaborators received the Land Art Generator Initiative’s grand prize last month for the design of Lunar Cubit, a blueprint for a 50-meter-tall solar paneled pyramid surrounded by eight 22-meter-tall pyramids, each of which represents a different phase of the lunar calendar. The intended construction site is five kilometers from Abu Dhabi’s international airport in the United Arab Emirates, the host country of the World Future Energy Summit, where the prize was presented. Flottemesch accepted the award with his landscape designer Johanna Ballhaus, his artistic consultant Jen DeNike, and Adrian De Luca, who helped develop the project’s data monitoring system.
Making use of the design template left by the ancient Egyptians was a longstanding goal of Flottemesch’s. “Ever since I visited the pyramids when I was much younger, the mystery that has surrounded them and the scope of the engineering has been something that I find quite significant,” he tells PLANET.

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Art, Books, Design February 10, 2011 By Lizzi Reid

RM 1 Rop Van Mierlotitle43 Rop Van Mierlo
Vivid watercolors seep into the page and emerge with life. Page by page a menagerie of wild creatures reveal themselves: a baby fawn, a pig, a parrot and many more, each one rendered in the same colorful wet wash technique. Rop Van Mierlo’s book, Wilde Dieren (Wild Animals), showcase this illustrator, graphic designer and animator’s talent in all fields. Each critter is embodied with the sensation of watercolors soaking into the paper. Displayed with immediacy, the animals spring to life from their minimal white background. Van Mierlo attended the Design Academy in Eindhoven studying “Man and Communication,” as well as the Willem de Kooning Academy, where he studied Graphic Design. His modern education has taught him to “ask questions and not give answers” and has yielded impressive work. The red McCaw’s wings look blotchy and soaked and the tiger seems to drip his strips, each creature taking on a new kind of life. This 34 page book is a unique living experience, every beast as absorbing as the next.

Rop Van Mierlo

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Architecture February 9, 2011 By Nalina Moses

title42 Staging Space
Everyone knows how it feels to walk down a city street that they’ve walked down many times before only to find that a familiar shop or restaurant has disappeared, been remodeled beyond recognition, or replaced with something new. Although we accept these spaces as fixed elements of our environment they’re really quite ephemeral. Even if a building survives for hundreds of years, it’s refashioned again and again to suit changing needs and tastes.
     A new book, “Staging Space,” spotlights some impactful contemporary interiors whose power lies in their theatricality — in the assertive way that they shape the way we live, work and entertain ourselves. The designs featured in the book don’t hold back, using the boldest geometries, colors, and lighting to hold a visitor’s attention. This strategy works best in spaces that people spend a limited amount of time inside of, like stores and restaurants. A denim shop in New York City gives over its central space to an enormous, tree-like light sculpture, while the clothes hang quietly along the wall. A sweater shop in Osaka is lined with an arched, honeycomb-like plywood shelving system that gives it a happy, trippy feeling.
     Other designs shape a radically inward-looking space that pulls inhabitants away from the larger environment. Exhibit spaces and offices are often designed this way, in order to divert an occupant’s attention from outside concerns.

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Music February 8, 2011 By Areti Sakellaris

stephen title Stephan Said: Aheb Aisht Al Huriya

With our eyes turned toward Egypt, Stephan Said implores us to lend our ears as well. The Arab-American artist, who boasts acclaim for his anti-war songs, teed up a rock-infused version of the Egyptian civil rights anthem “Aheb Aisht Al Huriya” (“I Love the Life of Freedom”). Originally penned in the 1930s by Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the historic song fits the decades-old situation coming to a head in Egypt. In the simple accompanying video, Said holds a notebook with the English translation of the earnest lyrics for the camera. The activist introduces the song as a beacon for non-violent advocates “to build the international movement for a more just society.” Intended for release on the forthcoming album, difrent (out in September), Said unveiled the song early for maximum potency.
filler29 Stephan Said: Aheb Aisht Al Huriya

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