Bowie: The Stamps That Fell To Earth.

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(Click for full size.)

The Royal Mail has released a set of David Bowie themed stamps, which have been enlarged, attached to weather balloons and sent into space as part of a launch stunt.

The set of 10 stamps have been designed in-house by Royal Mail and use a template created by Studio Dempsey for the Classic Album Art stamps series, issued in 2010, which featured the Bowie album Ziggy Stardust. The same template was also used for the Pink Floyd stamps in 2016.

Die cut stamps with visible vinyl

Each of the new Bowie stamps has been die cut and features the arc of a vinyl record poking out of the sleeve.

Six of the stamps feature album covers, which together show Bowie’s transformation and include: Hunky Dory; Aladdin Sane; “Heroes”; Let’s Dance; Earthling and ★.

The other four stamps show Bowie performing live on tours including The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1972; The Stage Tour, 1978; The Serious Moonlight Tour, 1983; and A Reality Tour, 2004.

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You can see all the stamps, and more at Design Week 30.

Nimuno Loops!

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Lego fans can now build outwards from walls, chair legs, household objects or the backs of other toys using a new studded tape.

The Nimuno Loops tape is the creation of Cape Town-based designers Anine Kirsten and Max Basler. They launched the product on crowdfunding site Indiegogo three days ago, and have already amassed 12,107 per cent of their $8,000 (£6,470) target.

This looks like so much fun! You can see and read much more at Dezeen.

The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre.

Photography is by Ansis Starks.

Photography is by Ansis Starks.

This is one of those things you really wish you could see in person!

Monks perform levitation over a huge wind tunnel at this amphitheatre, which was designed by Latvian studio Mailītis Architects for a mountain range in central China. The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre stands on a slope covered in cypress trees on Songshan Mountain – a mountain range in Henan Province.

The mountains are home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shaolin Monastery, which is also considered to be the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu martial arts.

Tasked with creating an amphitheatre to host weekly shows where local monks as well as the general public can try flying, Riga-based Mailītis Architects wanted to create a building that respects its natural surroundings.

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Click all the images for full size! There’s much more at Dezeen.

Dressing for Dystopia: The Handmaid’s Tale.

Hulu.

Hulu.

Think Progress has an article about the challenges of costume design for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

What would you wear to the end of the world? What about the start of a brave new one?

If you’re prepping your end-of-days attire, the best person to consult would be Ane Crabtree, the costume designer for the highly anticipated Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel, first published in 1985, is now one of several dystopian classics to climb the bestseller charts in the wake of the 2016 election; the Hulu series premieres on April 16.

For the uninitiated, The Handmaid’s Tale imagines an America ruled by a puritanical patriarchy — the Constitution was suspended and ultimately discarded amid mass disease, infertility, and panic — in which women, all prisoners in their own way, are divided by caste. Handmaids are, in theory, the most valuable resource left: They’re the only women who can still bear children. After a violent initiation-slash-brainwashing period, each is assigned to Commanders with infertile wives, forced to conceive and bear children they must immediately give away, or be killed.

Atwood has said one of her rules in writing the novel was to “not put any events into the book that had not already happened in what James Joyce called the ‘nightmare’ of history, nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities.” The story continues to captivate because of how possible it all feels, how prescient and close.

Crabtree had the formidable task of outfitting the world of the novel, known as Gilead, one that readers had already imagined and that plenty of viewers have already seen in some format or another; The Handmaid’s Tale has been adapted many times over since its publication over 30 years ago on film, in theater, even as a ballet, and that doesn’t even include the movie each reader imagines as she experiences book for herself.

She spoke with ThinkProgress by phone about designing for the series, the thinking behind each uniform, and why she thinks men who attempt to control women will be “foiled at every turn.”

 Very interesting article! I was going to include more photos, but as my horribleshittygodsdamnfuckingverizon pos is barely connecting today, you’ll have to click over for more!

Dictator Chic.

Trump l’oeil: the atrium of Trump Towers.

Trump l’oeil: the atrium of Trump Towers.

Peter York has a fascinating essay over at Politico, about the shared aesthetics of dictators. Florid, overblown, excessive, and so on. Within this rather limited aesthetic, York identifies 10 defining dictator chic rules obeyed by most dictators, and he wrote a book about Dictator Chic. Just a bit here:

After my book Dictator Style came out, friends and editors would call me to alert me to the latest tranche of pictures to be released: unverified photos of Robert Mugabe’s plutocratic-looking house in Zimbabwe, the sacked Qadhafi compound in Tripoli and the Yanukovych palace in Kiev. Each time, I felt as if I could predict every last chair cover and golden heroic beast. Come on, I’d think, surprise me!

Then, in late 2015, I came across a set of pictures with no identifying text. They appeared to show a gigantic apartment in what looked, from the windows, very much like New York. But I know Manhattan and its sophisticated style pretty well, and at first glance, you would think the place didn’t belong to an American but to a Russian oligarch, or possibly a Saudi prince with a second home in the United States. There were overscaled rooms, and obviously incorrect-looking historical detailing and proportions. The home had lots of gilded French furniture and the strange impersonal look of a hotel lobby, with chairs and sofas placed uncomfortably far from one another. There were masses of gold; there were the usual huge chandeliers, branded relics of famous sportsmen like Muhammad Ali, and mushroom-colored marble floors. There was relatively little in the way of paintings, but otherwise, the place reeked of dictator chic.

As it turned out, this familiar yet unfamiliar apartment—a familiar style to me by then, but in an unlikely location—belonged to Donald Trump, who by then was running for president. This was the penthouse of the potential leader of the free world. The design work, I have since learned, was started by the late Angelo Donghia, a decorator better known for a chic Manhattan look. But the substantive current design had been done by one Henry Conversano, who designed extensively—and perhaps unsurprisingly—for casinos. No matter how you looked at it, the main thing this apartment said was, “I am tremendously rich and unthinkably powerful.” This was the visual language of public, not private, space. It was the language of the Eastern European and Middle Eastern nouveau riche.

Why does all of this matter? Domestic interiors reveal how people want to be seen. But they also reveal something about the owners’ inner lives, their cultural reference points and how they relate to other people.

Head over to Politico for the full article, recommended!

Cool Stuff Friday.

At some point between the age when you were accidentally sticking them up your nose and the first time you heard your hip crack, Legos went from being a kids toy to a real tool for creative expression. Today, Legos range from ultra basic to extremely high-tech, and if you’re looking for an excellent example of the latter, look no further than a build commissioned by aerospace and defense contractor Arrow. Arrow’s ad team hired Brazilian designer and Lego genius Arthur Sacek to construct a jaw-dropping Lego robot capable of turning a single sheet of paper into an airplane, and then launching it — a metaphor for Arrow’s own business — and the result is just awesome.

Now to the really neat stuff – building the machine!

Via BGR.

Voting is now open for the Smithsonian Finalists! Go look, and vote, too!

© Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved.

© Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved.

Load Bearing Felt.

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I find all of this to be wildly attractive, it’s so Geigeresque.

A group of MAarch students from the Bartlett School of Architecture have devised a method of turning felt into load-bearing structures that they hope to build into an fabric pavilion.
The Flextiles project focused on developing a design system using a composite of felt fibres and expandable foam for reinforcement.

Students Noura Mheid, Hameda Janahi, Minzi Jin, Zoukai Huo found inspiration in the traditional craft of felt-making as well as the differential growth patterns found in nature – which is what gives their finished structures their distinctive, seaweed-like curls.

After exploring the load-bearing potential of these structures by crafting them into chairs they could sit on, they finished the project by presenting a fabric wall unit. The unit forms one side of what they hope they can one day extend into a full pavilion.

Their process stands in contrast to most current fabric architecture, which usually features soft fabric attached to a support structure. The Flextiles structures can be soft in some places and hard in others, transitioning smoothly from one to the other.

“Unlike traditional uses of fabric in construction, this technology introduces a new perspective on how to integrate structure into a soft material such as fabric and go beyond the typical disintegration between the draping of fabric onto a completely segregated support,” Mheid told Dezeen.

You can read and see more at Dezeen.

Moisés Hernández.

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© Moisés Hernández.

Mexican designer Moisés Hernández’ dipped his Immersed Birds collection in dye to emulate the plumage of tropical fauna. The wooden birds are based on the form and colouring of toucans, hummingbirds and Mexican quetzals – chosen for their bright, contrasting feathers.Hernández used computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) technology to mill soft, continuous wooden shapes that replicate the structure of the birds’ bodies. Exaggerated tubes form tails, while slender spikes make for beaks.

The designer then developed an experimental painting technique that immersed sections of the wood in coloured water. This allowed Hernández to create overlapping and contrasting layers of colour, and play with transparency – leaving the grain of the wood visible beneath the dye.

“This way, the birds acquire a duality where handmade and machine-made complement each other, resulting in three decorative figures,” said the designer, who has exhibited his work around the world.

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© Moisés Hernández.

Via Dezeen. Moisés Hernández’ site is full of wonders, oh, have a visit!

Not Quite A Babelfish…

A science-fiction staple has inched closer to reality with the reveal of a prototype in-ear wearable that translates languages almost instantly.

Acting in a similar manner to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s babelfish or Star Trek’s Universal Translator, startup company Waverly Labs‘ Pilot earpiece sits in the ear to translate spoken foreign languages to the wearer.

This is pretty exciting! You can read much more at Dezeen.

Oh. So. Cool.

I want one!

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Made for Ikea’s Space10, this is the Growroom, specifically made for cities, it can grow a communities worth of food and herbs. I’m not urban, but I still want one. The best news? Space10 and architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum have open sourced this, so anyone can make one.

You can see the specs at two places: one, two.