Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
TOBYhouse is primarily an interior and retail design consultancy, but they also produce a small number of lighting and housewares products. The Beach Ball and Balloon Lamps particularly stood out to me; the beach balls so much fun, happy bright and joyful, and the balloons are just such beautiful colours, they have a great depth and warmth to them. Apparently the products are available in boutiques in London and Milan, or you can find contact details on the TOBYhouse website.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A friend of mine forwarded me an email full of pictures of Japan's cherry blossom season today and I had to share it. The contrast of the softest soft pink and the bright orange here is beautiful. To see the cherry blossom has to be one of my dream trips.
The pictures seem to be watermarked from wusjp.com but I have no idea what that is as I can't read Japanese, and apparently neither can google translate to any useful extent. A quick search through Flickr finds plenty more great examples.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I went to see the Kuniyoshi exhibition at The Royal Academy last week and thoroughly recommend it. One of the most influential and prolific creators of Ukiyo-e, Kuniyoshi was not only a highly skilled craftsman but also an innovator, developing the use of tryptych. His work covered so many areas, from his famous Warrior series, to political satire (not easy to get away with at the time), narrative, landscape, portraits of actors and popular stage productions, and even his own line in pretty surrealistic shunga. If you can then go when there's a guide to take you round, we tagged onto the group a few times and the guide was really interesting. I hadn't realised that prints of this kind were very mass-market, costing not much more than a couple of bowls of noodles apparently, and were also copied by rival print-houses - there's even a counterfeit version of one of the prints on show for comparison.
Now I'm pretty clueless when it comes to manga and other comic books, but just looking at Kuniyoshi's warrior prints you can clearly see a forerunner to the modern graphic story-telling of Japan, so much so that some of the compositions are deceptively modern, only the slight fade of the ink and wear of the paper give away their age.
There's a (much better written) in depth review of the exhibition here, and more info here.