Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dancing Hexagons

Don't worry guys, I found the scariest thing of 2008 (time almost ran out!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


What happens, of course, as you get older is the increased awareness of things you do and do not own. Words like "investments" and "longterm" begin to come into your purchasing vocabulary. Like, "these Balenciaga heels would be a great investment" or "I need to make a longterm decision about my skin care." Seriously. What did you think I was referring to, some sort of liquid asset?

Ha, I'm a journalist. I take what I can get.

So in no particular order, here are the eight things I discovered that I am glad that I committed to in 2008:

1. 16 gig iPod nano in purple - It's purple. It's small. It shuffles when I shake it. And it is engraved. So when it peters out, I'll feel good I only spent $159.

Runners up: Chronotrigger for DS; an iPhone, if I'd purchased one

2. Sponge Avocado Oil - This lovely little product literally smells like avocados, and when you put it on at night, you actually can FEEL vitamins pulsating in your pores at an alarming rate. Srsly.

Runners up: MAC Powder Blush; Malin + Goetz Mojito Soaps

3. My MOMA boots - Though I can't find them on Yoox anymore, I'm supplying another pair that are equally inspiring. These boots, though being worn pretty seriously for eight months, look brand new. And I get stopped on the street, by punks and stroller pushing moms, to hear how rad my boots are. Duh.

(the only photographic evidence I have of said boots)

Runners up: Vintage buckle-up cowboy boots; Alice + Oliva booties for Payless

4. Fresh Direct Membership - Well, I didn't actually buy this, but I sure used it. And I spent less money and ate better. The four-minute meals are seriously nom-ular, and I found that I really dug their soups. And I didn't have to haul around cat litter. So, pretty sick.

Runners up: Making friends with my dry-cleaner; discovering the joy of tailoring vintage dresses
5. Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover - Though I often fished it out of my bag and handed to people in lieu of a pen, this little baby saved me a few too many times in Ought Eight. Oh, and if you are invited to a birthday party but you forgot a gift and all thats left between you and the celebration is a Duane Reade, there ain't no shame in a pack of Tide to Go. It'd be appreciated, I promise.

Runners up: Bleach, in everything; Electrical tape for holding everything except electrical products together

6. Rapidshare account - Did you know you could find anything on Rapidshare? Tom and Jerry's Nutcracker movie? Nationwide 8th graders student reports? Also, incredibly obscure albums that you once already paid for but have been destroyed by time/humiliation/moving? All there, for 55 Euros a year.

Runners up: Flickr Pro Account

7. American Apparel 2x1 Rib Nylon Spandex Leggings in Black - There is a reason why American Apparel is beginning to rival Starbucks in its obvious positioning in NYC. Yes, its ad campaign makes me want to claw my eyes out (with cleverness!), and everyone I know owns 8 pairs of Slim Slacks, but there is nothing more basic than a basic. And I sit directly in the middle of the leggings-as-pants debate: if it looks good, do it. If I have to see your underwear line, don't. In black, they are best.

Runners up: Nylon Tricot Figure Skater Dress; Nylon Tricot Highwaisted Skirt

8. A subscription to the Economist - The most snotty of posh periodicals, the Economist ensured I had the (right) opinion on everything this year, from McCain's gracious concession speech to his not-so-gracious campaign, to the messy re-election of Robert Mugabe, to Mumbai not being India's 9/11. And really, I got to keep this cover, which is pretty frakkin' epic:

Runners Up: An increased addiction to Ben Tausig's crosswords in The Onion; Enjoying increased job security over Vogue-rs

So there is my year in investments. It's fairly lackluster (hey, we are in an economic slump and I make a pittance), but what's a year without making a couple intelligently absurd purchases.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jews and Design :: Hannukah version

While we often joke at Surface about doing a Jewish issue (no Zaha or Karim...but plenty of Dror!), the most basic way to look at the secular nature of design influencing a non-secular lifestyle is religious imagery. And since the cross is pretty much canon and the tree gets all the glory anyway (and the Kwanzaa Kinara is, you know, a lot like a menorah), leave it to the Heebs to come up with pretty fancy holiday decor. So here is my round up of the season's best (and most clever) menorahs, in no particular order:

Holiday Skyline Menorah by Jonathan Adler

The Man-Orah by Josh Korwin and Alyssa Zukas

The Hannu-kit at Reddish

Sahar Batsry's Flame Menorah

Last Match Menorah by Kathleen Walsh

Cube Modern Menorah by Modern Tribe

Menorah Glass Candleholder by Frabel

Rivington - at Maxwell Silver

From Leila "Not Quite A Jew...More, Just Jew...ish" Brillson

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Andrea Galvini = modern day Magritte

If Magritte took pictures, and those pictures had an intense preoccupation with the surreal and often threatening intersection between nature and modernity, they would look an awful lot like Andrea Galvini's works. The young Italian photographer lives part-time in Milan and New York, and his photo's are really, absurdly eerie and breathtaking.

Often using animals and stark, foggy backgrounds, it appears that he has a preoccupation with both smoke and balloons, and using both to obscure any sort of defining characteristics. Anytime he shows eyes, it seems to belong to an animal, which are depicted in (creepily funny) multitudes. Apparently he is currently doing a residency at Location One, which is about a five minute walk away from Surface, so I might stalk him for a print.

Wait. I WILL stalk him for a print.

‘la morte di un’immagine #6’, 2006

‘la morte di un’immagine #5’, 2005

‘N-1 #1’, 2007

‘l’intelligenza del male #5’, 2007

‘la morte di un’immagine #7’, 2006

via Designboom

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I have to give some love to my two little friends, the charming Kegan Fisher and Liz Kinnmark, the totally irreverent and completely talented duo that make up Design Glut. Not only are they both adorable (by the looks of it, they just got themselves a shmancy photoshoot - but in real life the girls are less glam but equally cute), but they have a fledgling little Brooklyn design firm that focuses on cheeky, DIY projects.

Also, and not to make me biased, they attend Surface events like it's their job. They come to parties, to speaking events - they are like the smart, interesting kids that you always meant to be friends with in high school - but for the New York indie design scene.

Of course, they just launched a sale on their site, which is impeccably designed and very visually appealing. A couple of their products are pretty rad, like the globally inspired world links necklace:

Which is only $60, but at their sale price is less than $50.

I also like their newly introduced world currencies money clip...:


I recently got emailed about this small DIY project the two girls conceived of (with a $100 prize!) involving a Christmas tree ornament and following some cutting-and-folding instructions. Commenting on the current economic situation, the girls are encouraging people to cut out their money-tree-topper, assemble it and send them a picture of the project for prizes and general sense of community. Take a looksee here and see what you can come up with. Can you beat these two? Send me a copy if you dare to submit.

Happy fucking holidays, indeed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

All I Need Are Some Lights On A String

This weekend, in a fit of passion, I pushed all of my furniture to the center of the room, pulled my clothes out of the drawers and knocked books off of shelves. It wasn't a temper tantrum - I just decided that I needed to freshen things up before winter really sets in. What has appeared, apparently, is a blank spot around my bed that needs some type of lighting apparatus.

While I'd prefer not to channel the 14-year-old girl in me, I think I might be best off with string lights. You can find them in the weird Chinese import shops around Canal, you can find them at Oriental Trading and, apparently, while is not registered, IS.

While I don't want jalepenos or rubber ducks or something like that, I'm not quite willing to succumb to Christmas lights. I DO work at a design mag. I COULD possibly think of something more creative than the lighting that you put around a pine tree.

So, easy first stop:
It's the no-duh of design shopping, and I query string lights, and BAM, they got 'em. Of course, they happen to be the string lights from the previous post, which are certainly not worth the $100 dollar price tag and aren't exactly mood creating.

String Ten Light

And while they look awesome in a set of three, one lonely one in my room would be pathetic.

Then I head over to one of my favorite blogs, Design Boom, which does a nice job of covering the conceptual and the practical. I search "string lights" because I don't know a better term, and the only hit are the damn Brilliant Lights installation I saw at the Seoul Design Olympiad. Seriously.

And I definitely think I would creep myself out with those above my bed.

So I head over to the old trustworthy Ikea page. And Ikea has some affordable lighting options that an adult might use - not all hearts, butterflies, weird lanterns and stars. Like the (bear with me)


Or the kind of awesome spidery Minnen.

But no, look at the lighting page found here:
Not one, not one of those lighting options are available for shipping. And if you think I'm going to waste a Saturday trekking to Red Hook for some string don't work as hard as I do.

In desperation, I hit up Target, hoping to find SOMETHING, maybe some Jonathan Saunders designed lighting, or at least Isaac Mizrahi...But have you ever shopped at Target online? It's like shopping the store - rows and rows of hits come up with decreasing relevancy. Wrong size, weird color, you think you saw it cheaper in another department. And the tags are labeled:

But what's the difference between novelty, string and string and hanging? I cannot possibly cope, even though I found a semi tolerable mesh-bronze string lights, which I am not purchasing because I'm not spending $50 on something that could, upon further review, look like a bug zapper.

The moral is: who needs shopping savvy and design blogs when you have good ole DIY-ingenuity. So I'm going to do what any good Brooklyn-dweller would do...I'm going to march down to a hardware store, get some sturdy wire and christmas lights, and mold and shape my own damn lamp, thankyouverymuch.