Entries from February 18th, 2014

Design Library: Pin-Up Interviews

Feb 18, 2014

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Design Library Volume 05: PIN-UP Interviews

Year: 2013

Category: Interviews, Architecture / Art / Design

Producer: PIN-UP Magazine, with text by Felix Burrichter (Editor/Creative Director)

Publisher: powerHouse Books

 

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PIN-UP is a biannual architecture magazine that gives readers a playful and informal look at the architecture industry. Self-proclaimed as “pure architectural entertainment,” the magazine is known for their candid and conversational interviews with architects, artists and designers from around the world.

 

This book – PIN-UP Interviews – is a collection of 57 of those interviews. No visuals. Just text. This may sound daunting, but we assure you it’s not. The book’s forward sets a casual and cheeky tone, and the designer briefs that preface each interview are equally entertaining. And as for the interviews themselves, they are thought-provoking, without being stuffy!

 

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We recommend checking out Shigeru Ban (Page 29), Martino Gamper (Page 131), Junya Ishigami (Page 172) and ROLU (Page 340).

 

Shigeru Ban, Architect, New York (Page 29 – 35)

Ban is well known for his use of cardboard and paper-tube structures, but what struck us most was how he balances high end projects with humanitarian relief efforts (Ban designs temporary structures for refugees).

 

Martino Gamper, Furniture Designer, London (Page 131 – 138)

Gamper has garnered much attention for his exhibition “100 Chairs in 100 Days,” where he transformed old chairs into new chairs, ones that were altogether different from their original form.

 

Junya Ishigami, Architect, London (Page 172 – 177)

Ishigami grew up in ‘Suberbia’ in a condominium outside of Tokyo. It’s not surprising then that his work focuses on the very thing he grew up without – a strong connection between architecture and landscape.

 

ROLU, Landscape + Furniture Designers, Minneapolis / New York (Page 340 – 348)

Matt Olson and Mike Brady are punk-rock musicians turned landscape architects and furniture designers (among other things) in Minneapolis! Olson blogs for ROLU (rolublog.com) and we enjoyed his commentary on the accessibility of images and ideas on the internet. Designers are often afraid to admit that they’re inspired by others work, but Olson’s excited to share his work and where it came from.

 

 

Visit the PIN-UP website to learn more about the book and the architects, artists and designers featured.

Phillip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing of 45 Kilo

Feb 13, 2014

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Get to know the guys behind EQ3′s new Mesa Dinette Table!

 

Phillip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing, the Berlin-based designers behind the 45 Kilo moniker, are self proclaimed “super normal people” who have an innate understanding of the type of furniture people want to live with. Folding together woods, metals, stone and copper into uncomplicated shapes, their aesthetic is striking but not flashy, current but not trendy, and is helping them make a name for themselves with their concise line of furniture and lighting. They cite functionality as their main inspiration and will often spend months re-building the same piece in their workshop until they strip away everything but the essentials.

 

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Portrait of Philip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing of 45 Kilo

 

This traditionally Modernist approach to design could stem back to their education at the Bauhaus University. The Modernist breeding ground, often described as the birthplace of Modernsim, was founded by Walter Gropius and later headed by Mies van der Rohe. Since its initial closure in 1933 the school has gone through a variety of incarnations and focuses. Today the school acts as an incubator for creativity, encouraging exploration beyond the confines of strict Modernism.

 

However, as the building itself is a relic of the pre-war Modernist heyday, it is impossible to ignore the schools founding principles ingrained into its architecture. According to Daniel, “studying at the Bauhaus-University forces you to regard your own body of work in the wider context of art and design history. Somehow being there motivates you to create things that will last longer than yourself and that will have a certain impact.” The two designers, who describe their process as “putting ideas together, frying them up and seeing what comes out” are inspiring. They design each product as though it is for themselves – meticulously researching every material and production technique, finessing every detail and living with their prototypes for months.

 

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Mesa Table

 

During our development of the Mesa Dinette Table, it was very interesting to see their process at work. Like many great designs, the table was inspired by a girl – Phillip’s girlfriend had requested a simple dining table that would allow for her to easily seat guests in her starved-for space flat. Taking her requirements and creating a simple, detail driven base that ships easily and assembles even easier, the final design is both functional and beautiful. We are excited to launch the Mesa table as the first of what we hope will be many 45 Kilo for EQ3 collaborations.

 

We encourage you to learn more about the designers by visiting their website at: www.45kilo.com

 

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Base detail

 

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This article was written by Madi, EQ3′s Casegoods Product Developer, and originally published in the 2013-2014 EQ3 Catalogue. Browse an online version of the catalogue here, or pick up a printed copy at your local store.

Warming Huts 2014

Feb 11, 2014

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Every Winter, Winnipeg’s Red and Assiniboine Rivers freeze over, transforming them into the Red River Mutual Trail – the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world¹. Of course, in true Canadian fashion, locals have found more than one way to put this stretch of ice to good use. Events like ice bike races, curling bonspiels, Winter Bike to Work Day and RAW:almond all celebrate and capitalize on the city’s cold northern climate.

 

But, perhaps, the coolest event to take place on the river trail is Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture competition on ice. The international competition was first held in 2010, and has since become an annual tradition. Each year, the Manitoba Association of Architects invites architects from all over the world to submit a Warming Hut design proposal. Winning designers travel to Winnipeg to construct their Warming Huts right on the ice, and visitors of the trail are encouraged to use and interact with them.

 

We recently visited the trail to check out a few of this year’s designs. It was bitterly cold that day, so we really got a taste for their warming effect. Here’s a few of the Warming Huts that caught our attention, along with short interviews introducing you to the designers behind them!

 

 

Red Blanket 

 

Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Red-BlanketRed Blanket, Workshop Architecture Inc. (Toronto)

 

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Workshop Architecture (workshoparchitecture.ca) was established in 2010 out of a desire to create buildings and spaces for communities and with community input. “We work collaboratively with our clients and the people who use the buildings and have a particular focus on education spaces,” says Helena Grdadolnik, BES, M.Arch of Workshop Architecture.

 

 

EQ3  What’s the concept behind Red Blanket?

 

Helena Grdadolnik  The idea for Red Blanket was to make something that is visually exciting to skate towards from a distance (a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette), but that would also be warm and inviting when you arrived close to it. The wall of thick felt sways in the wind and will protect skaters from the gales. Each of the nine panels is sized to be the width and length of a single roll of bright red felted wool. The bottom ends of these monumental-scaled panels will act as a warm blanket for people to wrap themselves in, one or two at a time.

 

 

EQ3  What challenges did you encounter in designing a structure that works in Manitoba’s harsh climate conditions?

 

HG  We enlisted the help of a Winnipeg-based engineer, Roy McPhail, to ensure that the design of the structure would work in the climate, particularly the high winds. Another big challenge was to try to simplify the sequence of the outdoor construction. We designed the piece so that most of the finicky handwork for hanging the blankets could be completed indoors. Nonetheless, hanging the panels from the underside of the bridge was still a big feat, especially in the extreme cold and high winds we encountered that week. Our office worked with the building crew at the Forks Corporation, Dave and Colin, who were very skilled and amazing at working under Winnipeg winter conditions.

 

 

EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?

 

HG Our warming hut is hung from a pedestrian bridge near the Forks market. People skating and walking the trail can use the red blankets as a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette for miles in each direction. When people get closer, they can skate through the blankets and cocoon themselves in it from head to toe. There are two rows of blankets, so they create an outdoor “room” which will be a slightly warmer microclimate and an intimate space along the trail. People can snuggle up in the blankets one or two at a time or if it’s a larger group, they can pull the large blankets closer for warmth.

 

 

Nuzzles

 

Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Nuzzles-1Nuzzels, Raw Design Inc. (Toronto)

 

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RAW Design Inc. (rawdesign.ca) is a young architectural office based in Toronto. “We work in a variety of building types and scales, but like to participate in competitions like this one to challenge ourselves to think outside the box and experiment with new materials, scales, and types of structures than we normally encounter day-to-day,” says Aaron Hendershott of RAW Design.

 

 

EQ3  What’s the concept behind Nuzzles?

 

Aaron Hendershott  The concept behind Nuzzles emerged from wanting to invert the prototypical hut. Moving away from the idea of an introverted enclosure, Nuzzles was designed for users to nestle into a structure encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages, all while remaining connected to the outside and its elements.

 

 

EQ3  It’s sort of cheeky and ironic that Nuzzles – a structure intended to be used during the winter – is constructed with pool noodles. What inspired this playful approach?

 

AH  It’s funny, there doesn’t appear to be anything more out of season than a pool noodle in the dead of winter. But they also happen to be perfect for what we wanted to achieve: they have insulating properties, come in bright colours that stand out in the snow, and they are flexible and soft. Perfect for nuzzling!

 

 

EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?

 

AH  Our goal was to provide an engaging experience by creating something playful and interactive for the visitors of the Forks. We hope that people of all ages will be delighted to play in and around them, climb them and jump into them. I’m sure people will find new ways to play with them that we hadn’t thought of.

 

 

Little Red Library

 

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Little Red Library, David Penner Architect (Winnipeg)

 

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David Penner Architect (www.davidpennerarchitect.ca) is a 4 person architectural office that works on custom residential, multi-unit residential, commercial, educational and cultural projects. “Of late, our work has explored areas of transparency, opaqueness and layering, social engagement and education, and minimalist constructions,” says David Penner, MAA, RAIC. of David Penner Architect.

 

Little Red Library is David Penner Architect’s second Warming Hut design. They did a ‘rogue’ hut called Corogami in the first year of competition, which received a lot of international attention and went on to win a Prairie Design Award of Excellence. This year’s design was not part of the competition, but rather it acts as a peripheral installation to the other Warming Huts.

 

 

EQ3  What’s the concept behind Little Red Library?

 

David Penner  We were searching for something iconic on the one hand, which is challenging with a budget of $1000. The concept was to develop a simple but powerful enclosure to house a conventional, semi-nostalgic and easily identifiable bookcase. We were very excited by the prospect of creating a miniature interior environment of the fantastical, of the surreal. We’re pretty happy with the results.

 

 

EQ3  Your design combines, what appear to be, two very distinct structures (ie. the ice fishing shack and the little free library). How did you make this connection?

 

DP  The traditional ice fishing shack can in fact be a reading room, the fisherman skimming outdoorsman magazines while waiting for that elusive tug on the line. I think it was only natural for us to consider the ice fishing shack when we first started thinking about a ‘hut’, reinforced by experiences we had on a frozen Lake Winnipeg. Upon reflection, the refinement of the shack into an archetypal model, an expression of the purist form of our design philosophies, was an opportunity we couldn’t resist.

 

 

EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?

 

DP  We’re hoping that one’s movement from outside to inside will be like travelling to another place, like what happens when reading the descriptions of place in a good book. We hope it will encourage people to read.

 

 

Thanks to all of the designers we interviewed! Visit WarmingHuts.com to see all of this year’s Warming Hut designs. You can also check out photo galleries from previous competitions here.

The RAW:almond Experience

Feb 8, 2014

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As promised, today we’re recapping last weekend’s experience at RAW:almond in Winnipeg.

 

The river pop up restaurant is a simple, ice-inspired structure constructed out of twisted scaffolding. From a distance, the restaurant looked quiet and unassuming – it’s white tented structure disappearing into the surrounding landscape of ice and snow – but as we approached the tent, we were greeted by a bright magenta lit corridor that hinted at the fun waiting for us inside.

 

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Chef Mandel Hitzer (Deer+Almond) with Chef Ben Kramer from (Diversity Food Services)

 

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We entered the tent bundled in several layers of winter wear, preparing ourselves for a cold night on the ice, but the interior of the tent was surprisingly warm. We’d like to think that it was the excitement and energetic buzz that kept the chill out that night.

 

Much like the restaurant’s exterior, the interior of the tent was designed to be simple and functional. The first section was set up for 30 diners (including EQ3′s own Thom, Madi and Tessa). A long, black communal table filled much of the space, and was surrounded by thirty wood stumps covered with sheepskin throws. A twisted metal sculpture and exposed bulbs were suspended above the table, doubling as ambient lighting and art. Chef Scott Bagshaw from Deseo Bistro was preparing the feast that night: five soul-warming courses with beer, wine and spirit pairings.

 

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Thom (EQ3′s Creative Director) and Madi (EQ3′s Casegoods Product Developer) were seated at the main table.

 

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Chef Mandel Hitzer assists the Head Chef of the night, Scott Bagshaw of Deseo Bistro.

 

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Daniel from local blog Charcoal Collaborative was our server at the Tasting Bar.

 

Charles and I (Amy) joined a smaller group of 10 at the back of the restaurant, where a lighter tasting bar was set-up. We instantly loved the cozy and casual atmosphere of this space, which was outfitted with a wooden table and bench-style seating. The table and surrounding walls were covered with handwritten notes and other graffiti. There was excitement among the group and lots of chatter the entire night. Each meal brought on more oohs and aahs. More conversation. It was our first time meeting the other guests, but there was an immediate sense of camaraderie…one that can only be forged by food and the communal table.

 

And, speaking of food! Chef Ben Kramer from Diversity Food Services was cooking tapas that evening. His restaurant and catering business focus on local, fresh and natural fare, so we knew we were in for a treat. The tapas meal included three special snacks and a boozy accompaniment for each. We were already feeling happily stuffed when Chef Kramer surprised us with a fourth course to satisfy our sweet tooth. Here’s a breakdown of the menu…

 

 

THE MENU

 

Course 1: Manitoba Pho

Stonewood elk, soba noodles, edamame, chili, scallion, pickled mushrooms.

 

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Course 2: Sustainable Seafood

Seared hand-caught scallop, braised kale, vegetable chutney, white anchovies, chickpea crisp.

 

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Course 3: Pork N Beans

Smoked pinto beans, pork belly, grilled bread, housemade horseradish mustard, pickled apple.

 

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Course 4: Fair Trade Organic Pot du Crème

Coconut Ice Cream, dried cookie/hazelnut crumble, pomegranate seeds.

 

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Chef Mandel Hitzer and Chef Ben Kramer wrapped up the night by collecting donations for the Great Canadian Sleepout.

It was in that moment that we could fully understand what RAW:almond is all about. So much more than a place to get good food, RAW:almond is about coming together…about celebrating northern culture through the things Winnipeggers can relate to best: food, art, community and design.

 

Check out this press listing for more great features on the event. Or check out this interview with RAW:almond co-visionary Joe Kalturnyk.

Music Library: Digital Mixtape

Feb 7, 2014

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We’re thrilled to have Christopher Samms guest mixing for us this month.

 

Christopher is a Freelance Graphic Designer living and working in Winnipeg. His designs are minimalist and striking, and impossible not to love! In just a few short year’s, Christopher has built up an impressive portfolio. He’s particularly sought after in the music industry, designing album art for bands such as Royal Canoe and posters for clients like local concert venue Union Sound Hall. Most notably, while working at Clark+Huot/Cocoon, Christopher was part of a small group that developed the creative concept and tagline ‘We Speak Music‘ for the 2014 Juno Awards, which will be held here in Winnipeg next month. The tagline so perfectly sums up the significance of music in our city’s culture.

 

Today’s playlist features lively rock and indie pop music. All with a strong beat. All pulled from Christopher’s personal record collection. He also designed this gorgeous cover art for us, so while you’re listening to this playlist, do yourself a favour and check out his online portfolio at www.christophersamms.com.

 

You can also follow Christopher on Tumblr at christophersamms.tumblr.com and on Instagram @christophersamms.

 

 

PLAYLIST 02.07.2014

 

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01. Tonight | Iggy Pop

02. Farewell American Primitive | Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

03. Graham Green | John Cale

04. Gruesome Castle | The Wake

05. Ask | The Smiths

06. Scandinavian Crush | Craft Spells

07. Look at Me | Mirrors

08. Berlin Lovers | Still Corners

09. A Certain Person | Light Asylum

10. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) | Kate Bush

11. We Become | Austra

12. Maria | John Wizards

13. Always Let U Down | Blood Orange

14. Arm Around You | Arthur Russell

15. Inspiration | Section 25

16. Isolation | Joy Division

17. Believer | John Maus

18. Souvenir | Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

 

Album cover art by Christopher Samms, Freelance Graphic Designer.

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