Art imitating Instagramming life
Artists, the new content influencers // Miami Art Basel
Love it or love to hate it, Art Basel Miami dominated our instagram feeds like never before this past week. As a Florida native, I’ve attended the shows before camera phones and social media were in everyone’s pockets at its inception 14 years ago. I love Miami, and the entire city was ‘gramable during Art Basel, (however you know you bumped up the brightness of that sky because the weather was awful). It was interesting to see the obvious artworks that were there for selfies and sharing - like moths to a flame. Essentially, the bait was artworks utilizing neon, reflective surfaces, or word-art (bonus points for profanity); it was heavily photographed and everywhere online. I couldn’t help but think this was deliberate. After all, it’s no secret that collectors are watching closely and branding partnerships through images they spot by the influencers they follow. It’s a clear discovery tool, and collaborations are popping up from these in real life images and shared buzz. Are marketers and content strategists influencing the artists to get their names and galleries to opt for these mediums? Or are the artists now dictating some sure fire ways to get featured by bloggers and social influencers for high paying collectors? Regardless of actual sales coming out of it, the marketing can’t be denied to leverage other opportunities and provide transparency to demographic trends.
There are a lot of layers and trends that fall into Art Basel and the satellite fairs. It was well documented online that there was a strong female artist focus, something we hope will continue and no longer have to be noted. As installation and immersive art are solidifying their places in the mainstream, the contemporary artists are continuing to propel their work into the digital sharing space with platforms like Artsy.
Full immersive rooms and structural applications are providing a great platform for fine art, architecture and designers to collide; and the non-design media was all over it. Primarily at Design Miami/, where it was nearly impossible to differentiate the fine art from the architecture. These artful spaces were constantly captured by visitors as it seems physical and digital art will continue to feed off each other.
Is it a corner store neon OPEN sign, or fine art? Maybe it’s both. We like to keep ‘em guessing as well.
.Humans Best Friend
Custom dog bed design featured on Design-Milk + Dog-Milk
Interlocking wood slats create a contemporary frame on top of 3" powder coated hairpin legs just for your four-legged friend. Elevated for that that downtown industrial loft aesthetic. While we typically design spaces and objects for human interaction - we are thrilled Design-milk and Dog-milk shared our "Human's Best Friend" design!
Size shown is modeled by Chilla the Chihuahua who is approx 4.5lbs (if she just ate).
Due to the lead time on the custom hair-pin legs, to give you a timeline- all orders should be placed before/by November 1st 2015 to be received in time for the holidays. Cushion options available. Cushion cover is machine washable. Sizes can be custom to square or rectangle.
Back to the Drawing Board
Redefining the Architect
In recent years there has been a surge of architecturally-inspired everything; from clothing, to product designs, and even ice cream, architecture knows no bounds. The architectural spin on ice cream by purveyor CoolHaus is probably the most unique riff, and well, it’s certainly our fave cuz, 1) yum and 2) Coolhaus...ice cream...so good. Ok, anyway, architecture is now even used in daily technology jargon - the structure of backend website design is called “architecture.” Sure, we’re flattered by the appropriation of our industry terms, but uh, why the sudden popularity?
Hell, it seems these days that architects are even celebrities in their own right. Consider the term “Starchitect.” This addition to the interweb lexicon, was coined simply to convey the sheer star power of architectural idols, like Wright, Gehry, Meier, and Neutra to name a few. So if architects are celebrities...or app designers...or ice cream entrepreneurs, what does being an architect today really mean for the rest of us -- well, the rest of us architects?
All this line-blurring has actually opened up new avenues for architecture and architects. See at the same time this trend toward the architecturally-inspired emerged, would-be Millennial architects graduated architecture school and soon realized that there was little money to be made in traditional architecture. They realized that their creativity could easily be corralled by an overzealous or overreaching client. And they realized that more and more, the fundamentals they learned in architecture school, are actually finding their way into other creative outlets.
These new creative outlets change the way we live (tiny homes), the way we work (co-working spaces like The Unique Space in the arts district, and WeWork), and the way we travel (Uber). These new creative outlets challenge traditional understandings of living, working, and traveling; and they’re challenging the traditional understandings of design, as well. It is no wonder that a new kind of architect is emerging whether they chose to or not.
These blurred architectural lines have paved the way for new and unanticipated collaborations; collaborations that reinterpret the way we experience once traditional architectural spaces like, retail and hospitality. This brave new design world has evolved toward movements like structure branding. so that the public can now experience these once-static places with most, if not all, senses. And experience of that place, continues on long after we’ve left the building - we follow that shop on instagram, we watch the reality TV show which chronicles that shop, we sling that shop’s “architecturally inspired” tote bag over our shoulder - a way for brands to collaborate with designers and artists.
This brave new design world enables digital architecture to be interpreted through the physical architecture, and vice versa. Today's architect doesn't just design structures, they design inclusive experiences.
Raw meets raw.
Architectural table displays on-point by Open For Humans.
What is structure branding?
and how start-up brands can benefit
“Structure Branding” refers to the identification of physical components such as materials and objects that directly reflect a brand’s culture and identity. These physical components play an essential role in any company’s experiential design. Just as a logo or graphic helps consumers identify a brand, structures or forms too can convey that product or brand - think that distinctive curvature of a coke bottle; the bulbous body of a VW bug; the sleek modern lines and earth tones that envelope the interior of any Starbucks Coffee location. You’d know these objects and locations anywhere without ever needing signage or a logo to clue you in. That is the power of structure branding. Structure branding helps individuals form an allegiance to your brand on visual contact - and it is just as powerful a tool for a business’ B2B and recruiting purposes, as it is for their consumer-facing endeavors.
Applying structure branding to newly built environments - and even existing ones - requires assessing how you want people to interact with, and interpret your brand. Structure branding goes beyond traditional interior design and architecture since the first step in this design process is actually determined by the brand itself - and what message is to be conveyed and how people are to engage with it. Assessing these types of interactions are key in any number of a brand’s spaces, including a brand’s headquarters, an event or experience such as a festival, a conference, a visual display, or a temporary art installation.
But most brand engagement happens in the digital space, not in person, right?
We still leave the house to interact with the outside world. There needs to be a formative way for brands to engage consumers beyond the social media feed, or online ad. A tangible experience is still needed to bridge the digital space with the physical one. An experience that resonates with tastemakers and consumers, alike, welcoming them into the community that is your brand. And because visuals rule in today’s world, art installations, unconventional materials, guerrilla marketing, or clever messaging all provide ‘gram-able opportunities to present a brand that people can touch, see, smell, and taste (well, sometimes). Structure branding is more than just a style for aesthetics; it reinforces brand culture and lifestyle to increase awareness, and reach target demographics.
Structure branding’s untapped potential for hiring top talent
As brands start out, hiring top talent and offering benefits can be a challenge. Start-up life is not as glamorous as it seems, it’s a lot of sacrificing, but the number one piece of advice is always: hire the right people. Top talent is in high demand, but a cost-effective way to lure in that talent is with a workplace that makes employees proud. If you want the Google office bragging rights but don’t have the Google budget, make your mark with signage, interior design, meeting room installations, break rooms, and lobby areas that all convey your brand culture. These are opportunities to stand out to prospective clients, and cultivate an air of confidence for investors.
1 a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
I believe in design from memories. I seem to pull from an arsenal of combined unrelated interests from my life work today. I've found that you can remember most everything in your life as long as you have something to recall or trigger it. Art and design does that for me and it’s a pleasant surprise. That deja vu moment or a flashback from a neighbor’s house or even a video game from the 90's adds that extra element of phycology to the project. A playful interactive layer or emotional response. In a world where we are inundated with imagery, we seem to have certain images burned into our brains whether it be a proud moment, or an awkward first time.
If scent is the strongest sense connection to memory why not start from there? It's often the first thing someone says when entering a space, "smells like new paint" for example. Perhaps the like new scent, should be something old instead.
One of the artists that has stayed in my subconscious is Victor Vasarely. My mom had a coffee table book of his works I used to flip through as a kid. Before computer aided design, this was my first interaction with optic-art or op-art as it’s frequently called. He also had many styles of his work blown up- to be outdoor installations and even translated into fences and on buildings. He experimented with textural effects, perspective and kept a minimal/graphic composition.
I came across one of his works in real life for the first time at Art Basel Miami 2009. I now make it a ritual to take a photo with a new piece during the convention every year if I attend. I do this simply because of nostalgia. I remember the smell of the thick heavy paper and linen woven cover with bold font....that coffee table art book. I don't even necessarily like op-art but one day I'll purchase an original.
Image of The Victor Vasarely Foundation Building in Provence, France
Architects John Sonnier and Dominique Ronsseray implementing the designs