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Got some last minute Christmas shopping to do and you’re desperate for ideas? Here’s a few clever options that will give you something to talk about around the Christmas tree:
The water-proof pool table
If you’ve ever been lounging in your pool and thought how great it would be to play a game of pool then this waterproof pool table is aimed squarely at you. It’s fully weatherproof, so you can leave it out all year round and, at $6,500, you probably don’t have to worry about spilling your drink on the baize either.
Fire Escape Shelves
These cool Fire Escape shelves from Urban Outfitter’s US webstore bring an iconic feature of countless American apartment blocks and cop shows to your home. Though they might not be the most practical of shelves they are great to look at and are a unique reminder of your time stateside.
Astronaut duvet set
If space is a problem in your home then you’ll the right equipment for exploring it. This brilliant duvet and pillow set from Dutch designers Snurk comes in both single and double sizes so big and little kids can both indulge their dreams of being an astronaut.
Classic videogame table
The Arcane Arcade Table takes it’s inspiration from old videogame tables that were briefly popular back in the Eighties, so you’ve always got somewhere to rest your drink while you’re playing. The Arcane table updates it with a simple, stylish cabinet and over 100 classic 8-bit videogames, including Bubble Bobble and Dungeon Crawl.
In New York October has been all about Banksy. The mysterious street artist from Bristol staged a month-long residency in the city entitled ‘Better Out than In’, which has seen him reveal a new work every day of the month. But to say his art has been met with a mixed response would be an understatement.
Despite being condemned by Mayor Bloomberg and reportedly targeted by the NYPD it is actually aggrieved graffiti artists and property owners that have been Banksy’s biggest headaches. The result has seen many examples of his work, valued at around £20,000 each, be defaced, cleaned off or removed for sale within hours of them being revealed.
On the plus side many of the artworks have also drawn big crowds to areas of the city not often associated with the typical tourist trail and significantly raised the artist’s profile in the US.
Among many examples of street art his stand out New York work have been installation pieces. These included an abattoir truck circling the Meat Packing District containing stuffed toy animals and a Grim Reaper wildly riding a dodgem car to the tune of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of his residency came earlier in the month when Banksy set up a stall selling genuine, signed canvases of his work for $60 each. Throughout the day only five people actually bought pictures, including one man who bought four pictures to help decorate his new apartment. For just $240 he managed to walk away with over $80,000 worth of art.
Find out more about Banksy’s New York residency here: http://www.banksyny.com/
From this month the V&A are celebrating the explosion of pop culture, fashion and music that came out of the London club scene in the 1980s. A showcase of more than 85 outfits illustrates how a few experimental young designers, including Katharine Hamnett and John Galliano, defined the style of a decade and launched successful careers.
Where: V&A, Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
When: Now until 16th February 2014
The exhibition follows the different subgroups that developed on the vibrant club scene and influenced a new generation of designers bridging the gap between high fashion and high street. It celebrates iconic movements like the New Romantics and Goths with displays of outfits worn by leading lights of the club scene like Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery.
This Post was posted in General Posts on 24th July 2013.
Argentine artist Leandro Erlich has been commissioned by the Barbican to install a brilliant optical illusion that makes everyone look like Spider-Man.
Using a former bomb site in East London Erlich has erected a huge wall of mirrors at a 45-degree angle over a life-sized horizontal reproduction of a Victorian terraced house. Entitled Dalston House, visitors are encouraged to ‘climb’ around the installation making it appear as though they are defying gravity.
The installation is free to visit and is open until 4th August.
It’s the Glastonbury Festival this weekend so the British Summer of music festivals is officially in full swing. But it doesn’t always have to be about the music. Coming up this summer are a couple of alternative festivals that mix music with a spot of culture.
Where: Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
When: 19th to 21st July
To the untrained eye the Latitude Festival, now in its eighth year, looks like a conventional music festival with names like Bloc Party and Foals topping the bill. But this family friendly festival is a much bigger melting pot of arts and culture with multiple stages and tents hosting full schedules of comedy, theatre, dance and literary events across the festival site. It’s possible, if you so desire, to visit Latitude and never see a musical note played, although you’ll be missing the point as the real pleasure of Latitude is the opportunity to dip in and out shows from obscure acts as well as big names. The highlight must surely be German techo geniuses Kraftwerk headlining the main stage on Saturday night with a 3D extravaganza.
Find out more: http://www.latitudefestival.com/
When: 27th to 28th July
The brainchild of designer Wayne Hemingway the first festival was created in 2007 to celebrate the rich heritage of British creativity. It plunders every field of creativity and culture such as music, fashion, art, design, film and even food from the 1920s all the way up to the 1980s. It will showcase how style through the years has influenced modern design while also celebrating the revival of retro and vintage design. It’s unlikely you’ll find another festival this year where you can learn hair and beauty tips from specific decades of the 20th Century and enjoy ‘Make do and Mend’ workshops.
Find out more: http://www.vintagefestival.co.uk/
If you’re planning your holidays this summer and want a helpful guide with a difference chances are Herb Lester has just the thing. In an ever-expanding library of maps Herb takes a quirky look at some of the world’s biggest and best cities and renders them in a beautiful retro style.
Much of his work would look just as nice in a frame as it is useful in navigating destinations like Paris, Madrid, London and New York. Plus they promise to make you look at even the most familiar places in a different light with each map taking a different subject to focus on.
Writing Manhattan takes you on a tour of New York’s literary landmarks associated with certain authors or that actually appear in their books. The Look of London will guide you to some of the most influential fashion hotspots in the capital while At Your Service: London’s Specialist Suppliers may well prove invaluable in tracking down the unique and obscure for your wardrobe or home.
To find out more visit Herb’s shop at: http://www.herblester.com/
Last week Microsoft announced its latest games console designed to take on Sony’s forthcoming PS4 and reign supreme over the world’s gaming market. The company’s third entry into its increasingly popular console range is, confusingly, called the Xbox One as Microsoft thinks from now one this is the only black box you’ll need under your TV.
It is an impressive machine, not only playing games but letting you watch DVDs, live TV, listen to music, make Skype calls and much more. A new feature is voice recognition so you can wake it up, load a game or change channel without lifting a finger.
Each console also comes with a Kinect sensor for gesture control and motion capture, a Blu-ray drive and a 500GB hard drive. However, concerns have been raised about the need for it to always be online so games can be played and the fact that Xbox 360 games won’t be compatible with the new console.
The shift to becoming an all-in-one entertainment centre was inevitable – the PS3 had led the way in many of these areas – and takes Microsoft into the same markets as GoogleTV and Apple TV. But many games fans remain worried about the change in focus.
Although nothing has been confirmed it is thought that the Xbox One will be out at the end of the year and will be priced around about £400-£500. Expect more details to come out at the E3 consumer electronics show in June.
Last week was the fourth Clerkenwell Design Week, an event where, for three days in May a small corner of North London becomes a creative hub showcasing the best in interior design. This year it had over 150 exhibitors spread over 60 show rooms and galleries.
Big names such as Knoll, Vitra, Arper, Camira, Ege, Mitab and Muuto all made the trip to show off their latest designs but Clerkenwell is also a great place to see up and coming designers with all three winners of the 2012 W Hotels Designers of the Future award presenting work at the festival.
It’s a great place to get inspiration for your home from furniture to decoration, and lighting. If you didn’t make put the date in your diary for next year and head over to the website to see what you missed:
If you want to see inspiring, innovative art and design from the past, present and future this summer London is offering a wealth of opportunities. We’ve chosen three of the best must-see exhibitions that are going on in the capital right now.
David Bowie is
Where: V&A, Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
When: Until 11th August
The V&A have got into the habit of staging high-profile exhibitions but the latest is by far the biggest and the best. Bowie is… celebrates the life and work of the Thin White Duke, David Bowie. Not only is it the fastest selling exhibition in the museum’s history but it also sold out online before it even opened. It’s a fantastic showcase of his influences, work and amazing stage personas, packed with over 300 objects ranging from handwritten lyrics to stage costumes. As an exploration of his work it illustrates how Bowie fused music, fashion and art to create exciting and original performances. Despite a few glaring exceptions (such as Bowie’s less successful side projects like Tin Machine) this is a comprehensive journey through the career of one of the Twentieth Century’s leading musical icons. Don’t worry if you haven’t got tickets though. You can still get tickets at the V&A box office on the day but be prepared to queue.
Designs of the Year 2013
Where: Design Museum 28 Butlers Wharf, Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
When: Until 7th July
The Design Museum’s annual exhibition of new and innovative design from the past year celebrates up and coming as well as established talents, awarding the best in seven design categories. The exhibition encompasses architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport design. So not only will you see iconic buildings but the best in cutting edge lamps, chairs, audio equipment and even bicycles. However, the stand out designs of the exhibition have to be Thomas Heatherwick’s stunning Olympic Cauldron, which had a starring role in the Olympic opening ceremony last year, and Renzo Piano’s The Shard, which looms large over the Design Museum from it’s home in nearby London Bridge.
Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013
Where: Burlington House, Piccadilly London W1J 0BD
When: 10th June to 18th August
Every year new artwork is selected from thousands of submissions from new and established artists by the Royal Academy panel of experts. Now in its 245th year it’s a showcase for paintings, sculpture, photography, film and architecture. You’ll see over a thousand new works of art and the best bit is they’re all for sale. So you get the chance to make a canny investment or get a one-off for your living room. Even if you’re not in the market for some art, they’ll also be new work from Grayson Perry and Anthony Caro to enjoy.
Google recently let eager technology journalists get their hands on their latest piece of ‘wearable tech’ known as Google Glass. Essentially it’s a computer in a pair of glasses that, among other things, allows you to surf the internet, send emails, record 720p HD video and take pictures.
For such a small device it is packed with technology. Glass uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to the internet or your phone and offers 16GB of storage. The innovative screen gives the wearer a view of a translucent screen apparently suspended in front of them on which information, emails, directions, etc are projected.
Because it lacks a keyboard Google have incorporated several ways of controlling Glass. The touchpad allows clicking and scrolling functions, while voice activation software means you can prompt actions and search for information. Finally Glass uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to recognise gesture, such as flicking your head up to activate the computer. Voice, gesture and touch obviously have been around for a while now thanks to Apple’s Siri, Xbox’s Kinect and many mp3 players and tablets. But this is probably the most successful use of all three in a device. It’s a nail in the coffin for keyboards and another step towards invisible interfaces.
As innovative as Google Glass is, it’s not without its problems. While it makes checking emails and messages less intrusive than looking at your phone unless you’re an amazing multi-tasker you could trail off during a conversation to check out the latest alert to pop up in your viewfinder. It will take quite a confident person to stand in a crowd telling their glasses to ‘take a picture’, which doesn’t seem like a better option to simply pressing a button.
Because of its ability to unobtrusively film and take pictures it’s thought that many public places, like cinemas and swimming pools, will ban the use of Google Glass for fear of copyright infringement or voyeurism. Finally, while you’re lost in a cutting edge technological world all everyone else gets to see is you staring into the middle distance slowly stroking the side of their head.
While Glass is breaking new ground for technology, time will tell whether it redefines how we interact with technology or just becomes an evolutionary footnote. We should find out towards the end of 2013 when the first consumer versions will be released. They’ll come in a choice of five colours and will probably cost you the best part of £1,000.
Find out more: : http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/