JULY 30 & 31 – Yoko Furusho is a New York based illustrator from Tokyo who, in her short career has already designed for brands such as Keds and Maybelline, agencies Lowe and TBWA, and magazines as diverse as Amelia’s Magazine to Princeton Architectural Press. She has had group shows and solo shows and is now working on a children’s book / iPad app and a charity project to help victims of the Japan earthquake among a million other things.
She was invited to show her work at traditional Japanese store, Ikiru, located in the heart of the Born neighborhood of Barcelona. She offered to come in person to do a live painting in their window – to the utter delight of the store’s dynamic press officer and the owner. We followed Yoko’s progress over the course of the weekend interviewing her about her inspiration, mesmerizing color palette, and the meaning behind her dream-like fairytales.
Go to Show Love to see more gorgeous videos, part of a collaboration between WWM founder and partner videographer, Peter Crosby to bring social content of the highest order to the best organizations and businesses out there.2 Comments
Out my window I see these wonderful ovals that remind me of Cameos.
Like this Bottega Venetta Cameo necklace via shopstyle
Like a dress by by my favorite designer, Manoush from Paris
trop mignon! here’s another…
These Manoush earrings look very Barcelona, actually very Spain.
which reminds me of these girls in front of me at the Fleet Foxes show during Primavera Sound
Oh look! Mesh like hairnets around street lamps on Calle Ferran, Barcelona
like this NOOK chair by Henry Sgourakis via @Contemporist
or the filigree-like latticework of this one-off chair by Louise Campbell via @ bonluxat.com
Another street lamp seen on my bike ride today. I couldn’t find a design counterpart by the time of this posting.
Look at this painted wall outside an architect’s studio in barrio gotico,
a bit like a Jonathan Adler design
And reminiscent of the mad-men-esque designs of Se this past season, like this “I only have eyes for you” coffee table by James Hayon for Se in stainless steel
Look at this fantastic vignette:
reminds me of this Cumulus modular lamp by Sebastian Jansson
Part of the fabric of design in Barcelona are the markets. They are iconic and epic. A fish head, even a gigantic fish head, is not an uncommon site. (photo by visiting friend and photographer, Michael Sharkey)
Inspires me to find a much smaller fish – to put into this delicate aquarium by Amaury Poudray
And that’s what I spied with my little eye on one of the first hot, sunny, skirt-and-flip-flop days of the season here in Barcelona.
All Barcelona street photos by Chauncey Zalkin0 Comments
Henrietta Thompson is an exuberant visionary and thought leader in the design world. The former design editor of Wallpaper – now editor-at-large – is responsible for the chair arch at the London Design Festival (pictured here), the popular ReMake It: Home (2009) a DIY design guide employing good design for a resourceful waste-free lifestyle, and is a shepherd for a myriad of upcoming projects connecting designers with innovation companies, most if not all fueled by technology. Her mission is to make design more accessible in the next few years. “Design,” she says, “should not be an elitist proposition or an expensive style statement. Design has so much more to offer.”
In service of her hypothesis, she finds ways to work with designers to explore new conceptual products along trends and themes that show how far innovative thinking can make a difference. One such instance was the Hearwear exhibition where she worked with fifteen top designers to rethink the future of hearing. The results kickstarted a wave of innovation in mobile phone companies as well as audio and hearing aid manufacturers. In a similar vein, after observing that more people are opting to stay in and entertain at home, she challenged designers to create elements that turn a home into a great nightlife space, a feature that appeared in Wallpaper. One whimsical design (whose company Kiwi and Pom is directed by a woman, Emma Young) was a disco chair; when the lights go down the electroluminescent wires fire up. (pictured)
Now she’s working on two new projects, both of which are under wraps but I can hint that one involves an approach to architecture that I’ve never quite seen before – one that genuinely made my jaw drop when she told me about it – and the other is with a web-based business that encourages a more interactive approach to consuming design.
While working on her mission to make design accessible to a wider audience she also has the goal to make a wider audience more accessible to designers. She says that designers are often frustrated. They have incredible ideas and could supply innovation for so many avenues but too often they get stuck in the styling side of the business – “making furniture and home accessories that only a very small proportion of the world’s population buy into”, and, she adds, “very few actually need.” But due to increased awareness toward a social agenda, she says that priorities in the industry are definitely shifting. If you look at the way the music, film, and art worlds have been transformed by the Internet, it’s only natural that design should follow suit. Open source means sky’s the limit. She mentioned Nina Tolstrup whose project allows people in developing countries to download patterns to make chairs out of shipping pallets (a.k.a. wood crates for us Americans), and which is as popular with design collectors as it is in developing countries – where charities are using the blueprints to create new employment and economic opportunities. We also discussed made.com, a site that works similarly to print on demand in the book business. Designs are shown on the site and furniture is made as orders come in. The convergent innovation is endless and she acts as a connector of sorts between the different worlds.
I asked her how she envisioned the future of design and she said: “Form and function are pretty much standard these days, so I’d like to see designers put more emphasis on beauty: products that are a genuine pleasure to use. And on the other side of the coin, I’d like to see designers apply their considerable skills to solving real problems, taking more of an interest in social issues.” She also renounced the superfluousness of the luxury industry. “I really think people are bored with ‘design’ in that sense. There are so many problems in the world. I want the ‘problems in the world’ and the design industry to together.” She added that a lot of people just don’t get what design and architecture can be, and as a result can be very suspicious of it. “I want to engage people in the process a bit more.”
On a different note, though based in London, Henrietta has a second home here in Barcelona. She is absolutely mad about this city and sees a lot of potential for its design future even in the wake of the lingering economic crisis. She gave me a list of her favorite design firms. I sorted through them and ‘favorited’ my own within the list. Here’s that slideshow:
Henrietta’s Barcelona Designers You Should Know
My Barcelona Favorites Plucked From Henrietta’s Picks
- EMBT's Santa Caterina Market
This is the view from our window taken by my husband Peter Crosby. It's of a famous piece of Barcelona architecture, the Santa Caterina Market. EMBT (neighbor Benedetta Tagliabue & late husband Enric Miralles) have 10+ awards for buildings local and global incl. Spanish Pavilion (Shanghai) & Scottish Parliament.
- Ana Mir of Emiliana Design
Ana Mir of Emiliana Design's not-so-slightly sexual rocking chair "made of polypropyleen and galvanized steel...Rocking Chair has been adquired by Indianapolis Museum of Art and Museu d'Arts Decoratives de Barcelona."
I happen to want this writing desk. It reminds me of child's playhouse furniture - but it's not silly. In the literature of this Make It Better collection piece, they tout it as a "formally rich and attractive object" that is easy to assemble. I love that.
The company, run by textile designer Nani Marquina - the first to sell designer rugs, since 1987 - employs a host of designers. This collection of cotton and latex containers (which do hold water) are made by Dutch designer Renske Papavoine.
A few final questions
What are some of your interests outside design?
I travel a huge amount, if that counts as an interest. I like yoga. I also like rock climbing, fashion, art, dance – especially contemporary dance but I love ballet and Flamenco. I just bought a guitar but I can’t play it yet. I like cooking but I don’t do enough of it. And I like cocktails, particularly martinis.
What’s your writing routine?
I write after I’ve done absolutely everything else. I procrastinate massively but I’m a very productive procrastinator. It helps for me to talk to others about the thing I’m going to write about so when I do get to writing I’m clearer about what I’m trying to say.
Do you do any other kind of writing ?
I wrote a children’s book. It is about a penguin. It was for my nephew. I don’t know that I would ever do that professionally but it was fun.
Why are there so few female players in the design world.? After this interview, she pointed out an article in the New York Times that came out then reporting that 68% of the student body of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are female.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Scandinavia recently, and I’ve noticed that you do seem to find more women in Scandinavia designing than you do in London. I think this is true of the workplace in general in Scandinavia though – they have systems in place to make it easier when it comes to maternity leave, and generally attitudes to professional women are a lot healthier. It’s interesting – many of the talented women I can think of off the top of my head in London are part of a husband and wife team or part of a collective.
I’ve just posted a New York design feature. What are your thoughts on design in the U.S. these days?
I think it is slowly picking up steam. There’s a new gallery in Chicago called Volume which is doing some impressive work. Design Miami is having an effect too. I went to ICFF for the first time last year, which I thought had potential There were a few interesting things going on around town. As for designers, I like Paul Loebach, Rich Brilliant and Willing (see the Julie Taraska feature slideshow for my favorite picks from both of those designers) and there are some talented designer-makers in Brooklyn. There’s definitely more of a scene than there has been but it needs to add something new to the mix, something that’s not going on anywhere else. It seems to still be in the catch up stages.3 Comments
Walking to open studio night in Hospitalet de Llobregat…
It was called Una Nita La Gloria. I came up the metro into twilight in an industrial neighborhood on the outskirts of Barcelona and then down winding crisscrossing streets and up an overpass.
South of Montjuic and west butting up against a railway yard lies the building, Gloria, home to the artist space known as La Nave and its downstairs studio neighbor a much more caliente vibe in comparison to the cool blues and shadows of La Nave. La Nave was founded by expat artists Paola Masi and Sophie-Elizabeth Thompson. I was invited by one of their recent additions, the ceramicist and a former head of knitwear at Benetton, Caroline Swift (who I later interviewed for MyDeco US. Check it out.)
Since Una Nita La Gloria, Caroline’s been over for a Ceviche and spiced chicken dinner party where we talked about life in Barcelona, London, her former life in fashion and whether I should make the studios my own office space in which to conduct What Women Make business. Here are my photos of a visually arresting night of thrown shadows and delicate art in southern Barcelona. (She later became my best friend in Barcelona and I even kept an office int he studio for 6 months of my stay here.)
Sophie-Elizabeth Thompson ‘Soforbis
Paola’s desk looking out on sun setting over Barcelona train tracks and industria
Caroline Swift’s bone china spoons
Caroline Swift – porcelain leaves4 Comments
One thing leads to another. When you are a designer in Barcelona, you usually have your hands in many pots — it’s a free-flowing creative place if there ever was one, and seemingly not dictated by the market. The feeling in the air is of childlike innocence. There are no restrictions and design is a virtue — so it’s not surprising to see Julia Pelletier’s site listing her projects as including everything from costumes for Madame Butterfly to the curation of an illustrated book festival at La Central bookshop in Raval. I’ve also been getting her email updates for months about craft workshops she puts on for children there.
But what I want to share with you today is her wallpaper and the wall coverings of other fashion designers at a Barcelona company called Tres Tintas .I’ve been interested in the European market for wall coverings for some time.
The first to burst onto the scene were wall decals that were sophisticated and minimalist which I brought back to New York from Paris in 2006 for friends. But as things go, they multiplied and degraded becoming ubiquitous in Paris and all over Europe. The statement was so bold that it got relegated to a cheap ‘trendy’ mass market decor solution pretty fast. Too many candelabras, flitting birds, bold flowers, borders of grass, and trompe l’oeil statues and bookshelves can put you off the style.
But innovative wall treatments as a category have endless possibilities. One of my favorite companies also has one of my favorite websites, Surface View out of the UK where you can see blinds, murals, and wall coverings behind various rooms but they rely on databank’s of images for the website offering and the more niche custom work is done offline. Also on Tres Tintas is the work of Catalan designer Mriam Ocariz whose flowers are truly remarkable.
I made a new friend from Mali here in Barcelona. Just around the corner from the church he has a store in bright yellow with:
- handmade watering cans of recycled tins
- plastic woven rugs in all sizes and colors
- a cloth patchwork map of Africa sewn on a pillowcase
- huge colorful straw baskets
- wire mobiles
- and best of all, these bracelets which are melted plastic shoes made into necklaces (made to layer) and these bracelets. In the store he has snapshots of women sitting on overturned buckets working over a flame.
- 3 € / 5
- 5 € / 10.
The owner is working on opening a boutique hotel in Mali which I’m sure will be just as uniquely stylish and joy-inducing as his store
Of course my interest is in female artisans — he has assembled a team of fellow craftspeople of the female variety who work on projects for him for his store. He imports in huge canisters and lives a happy life with his Catalan girlfriend and young son. He’s come a long way through his years spent homeless in Paris after his papers ran out and his pride prevented him from crashing on friends couches for very long. He read, he worked on his craft, and was patient; making his way to dishwasher, then supplier to an African boutique (now closing) in my old Marais neighborhood, to a store of his own here in Barca.
Because of him, Mali is my first entry in What Women Make! Welcome!
By December 1st, my boyfriend and I will have transplanted ourselves from Paris (me) and London (he) to a cozy 45 square meter flat in Barcelona. I’ve had a tendency through the years to disclose my flights of fancy in ill-conceived rushes of enthusiasm only to later regret it. As we all know, sometimes visions of sugarplums do not materialize. That is not to say that I haven’t given each and every one of my dreams my all and had more than a couple come true. It’s just that dreams can get a little fuzzy toward the final frame. This time, the final frame is all I see. As 2008 stumbles toward the finish line, my dreams are once again before me. One dream completes, another waits to upload, and a third begins at the very beginning. And at the same time, I’m driven to distraction by events taking place back home.
Living in Paris has changed everything, the order of my priorities, the sharpness of my values. It’s finally flushed away the detritus, the lovingly worn but ripe for discarding parts of my life – glib, clever, soulless part time players, shopping sprees packaged to my cerebrum as errands, the all-too passionate conversations about vapid pop culture personalities plastered on tabloids, playing along with the deification of brands. I came here to get some distance from the demands of materialism, to flee the ad world, to stop subjecting myself to the daily charades of office politics, to put a distance between myself and my language, and to question the mindless comprehension that becomes a hum under the surface of everything so blindingly familiar.
I’ve been gone 22 months. Now a new newness is at hand. I’m swapping French for Spanish. I have no foothold in the new land. No job awaits. No program. No new book to start. It’s not a sabbatical. I can’t couch it in any of those terms. It’s a nose dive hopefully onto a bed of roses on a cloud of honey and spice. We’re hoping for a little harp action – and a little financial luck. Because we’re going for broke precisely as we enter the worst economic period since the Depression.
I have to say, I’ve been anxious. I know that in five short days we will know who the president will be and we will either be elated beyond imagination, dancing in the streets (well, I’ll have to do so figuratively and through youtube), or so utterly frightened we’ll be running from the theater of American life like the opening scene of The Blob.
I’ve been watching this campaign so closely that it would be fair to call it an obsession. It’s a comfort to me that America (and its myriad of dreams) is still at arms reach even with all its follies and absurdities. Nobody on this side of the pond can quite understand the thing that makes us American and love it the way we do. It’s been quite an embarrassment lately and not just because of George Bush’s administration, but because of our insouciance about how out-of-touch we truly are as a nation. But now, suddenly, we have this person, this clear-talking level headed, comforting presence that has brought out a lot of hope in all of us, a sign that we’re not just crazy when we compare truth to sensationalism, globalization to domestic arrogance. Finally, someone who everyone can get behind and at the same time will tell us we need to ramp up and pay attention to the innovation going on in the rest of the world. That we should solve problems, not rest on our crumbling laurels. As chain stores and billionaires take over New York, I see that perhaps all is not lost. From under the economic and cultural rubble, lo and behold, there is a voice of reason.
I’m using the disaster of the economy and Obama’s campaign as a guidepost in my own personal affairs – my business plans, my conflicts about subjecting my creative projects to scrutiny and criticism by a flailing paradigm (the publishing world). A renewed effort to participate in the world of culture making without big compromises to my integrity and passions. And to my love life, which is also in uncharted territory. Never mix love with business? Well, we’re mixing it alright, and with relish. Please stay tuned and take a ride with us on the new adventures and misadventures of Girl on the street. And let us all pray for our futures.
-Chauncey Zalkin1 Comment
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