Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Restruckin’ NYC.

So my previous trip to NYC yielded a follow up visit and an opportunity to hit up some more design-centric locations. First on my list was the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. They had a great exhibit on the history and modern interpretations of the Rococo style. Recent examples included Joroen Verhoeven’s crazy Cinderella Table, the Materialized Sketch Chair by Front, and the unreal Seduction poster by Marian Bantjes.

Other stops along the way included a rice pudding snack attack at Rice to Riches, perusing the irregular rack at the American Apparel store ($30 bucks for an irregular t-shirt—whatever), and a stop by the Kidrobot store to pick up some Dunnies for the Kyality Kids. (Yeah, I got one for me too.)

Thanks to Snizzle and Jess/Jon in the City for an awesome NYC weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Okay, So Maybe I Overreacted.

A couple of months ago my favorite magazine, Dwell, underwent a complete redesign. I wasn’t impressed at all. In fact I was disappointed enough to write a letter to the editor exclaiming my distaste for their design decisions. Apparently it was published in the latest issue:

"I've been a loyal reader for 5 years. I've always looked forward to every issue. And over the past few months I've been anticipating a redesign of the magazine. And to be honest, I'm very surprised at the choices that were settled on. I applaud you for reducing your environmental footprint by decreasing page size and switching to recycled stock. Though I will miss the texture and weight of the former design.

"What's really confusing me are the new typography choices and your new grid. I'm not sure what font you've chosen for your tagline and body copy, but it may as well be Cooper Black. It's very difficult to read and seems incredibly dated. The grid you've chosen is blowing my mind and not in a good way. I've always enjoyed your stories—but I've loved soaking in your photos even more. For me, Dwell is all about the photography. On my first perusal, I only saw one full bleed photo! A vast majority of them were framed by a half inch boarder on all sides. So you've reduced your page size and you've smooshed your beautiful photos even smaller to fit into this needless frame! Not to mention your folios now feel utterly crammed in the corners. It seems like an amateurish mistake.

"It honestly doesn't make any sense. You may as well cut the page size down to the photos themselves and save even more trees, since a half inch on all sides is being wasted anyway. Please let those photos breathe and for heaven's sake give us our beautiful, all-caps tagline font back! Your masthead was great, if you want to bump up the size, fine—but there's no need to mess with typographic perfection.

"I have to admit, if the overall design of the new Dwell doesn't improve significantly over the next few issues, I hate to say it—but I may be looking for another modern-stuff resource."

Okay, so maybe I overreacted a little. But honestly the first couple of redesigned issues we’re straight up fugly. Maybe my letter helped. I still love the mag, the subsequent issues have improved design-wise and I don’t plan on ending my subscription. So if any Dwell folks are reading this post (doubt it), I appreciate you applying some of my suggestions—keep up the good work.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Beware Blogosphere. Deconstruckt 2.0 Lives.

For those of you who don’t know, along with my posts to Kyality, I’m also a frequent contributor to Stuck’s blog Deconstruckt. And we’ve just redesigned and relaunched it with an all new set of cutting edge features.

The new and improved Deconstruckt sports a variety of enhancements. The most apparent of these are the slew of custom backgrounds that load randomly upon refresh. These backgrounds are designed by multiple Struckers, on and off of the design teams. Other improvements include a state-of-the-art AJAX commenting system, author avatars, a Flickr stream, an RSS feed, and amazing downloadable Struck wallpapers.

The most important enhancement to the site is the inclusion of multiple channels. The new Deconstruckt is essentially three blogs in one. ‘Create’ is the channel where you will find the latest and greatest concepts, design, art, and techniques that flow from the minds of the Struckers. ‘Build’ is essentially a labs channel. Struck's interactives will be throwing down the hottest tips, trends and tech for the coder in you all. And ‘Play’ is a channel dedicated to the mischief and mayhem that continually plagues the studio. So check Deconstruckt often for next-gen blogcasting in triplicate.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mach GoGoGo in HD.

In the 1960’s Japanese animation pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida created the exciting animated series Mach GoGoGo. It was insanely successful and was re-dubbed for US television in 1967 under the name that we’ve grown to know and love: Speed Racer. Luckily, throughout my high school years the Cartoon Network re-released the series to an entirely new generation of anime-lovin’ gearheads.

About six months ago, I scored the first season of Speed Racer on DVD. Now the Kyality Kids enjoy the adventures of Speed, Trixie, Spritle, Chim-Chim, and of course the Mach 5. And they love to sing: Go! Speed Racer, Go! Speed Racer, Go! Speed Racer, Go-oh! Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

This summer, directing their first feature since the ridiculous Matrix sequels, Larry and Andy Wachowski are bringing Speed Racer to the big screen. And with rumors of an IMAX version, it may be hitting the really big screen as well. Even though the Matrix sequels were a joke, the Wachowski brothers did write and produce V for Vendetta last year—which was awesome—so I’m pretty excited for this. Not to mention, the trailers for this flick are off the hizzle.

I’m most impressed with the production design of the Mach 5 itself. It’s dead on. I really don’t mind the filmmakers taking liberties with the time and place of the storyline. But they had to stay true to the design of the Mach 5—and they did. This car looks amazing and a working version wrapped in a massive set of Yokohama’s is making the rounds on the Auto Show circuit. Road & Track even test-drove this hot rod. I'm pretty sure that Normality and crew caught the Mach 5 at the NYAS.

I have a feeling this is gonna be a pretty good summer for movies. Look forward to several Kyality movie reviews. And in the meantime, if you really want to get excited for Speed Racer, just follow these simple instructions to watch its trailers in QuickTime’s amazing H.264 high definition codec:

1) Turn down the lights.
2) Crank up the volume on the speakers.
3) Click this link.
4) Select the proper QuickTime HD resolution.
5) Hit “Command-F” for Full Screen, grab some popcorn and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Call Hot Chocolate.

While driving home last Friday, I got a call from my padre, Normality. He was calling from the New York Auto Show from driver seat of a Sedona Red BMW 135i. Normality, Snizzle, and Jon in the City went to the Auto Show and snapped a couple hundred pics including these. Click here to enlarge the pic below.

Since I was relatively jealous, Mrs. Kyality and I popped on over to our local BMW/MINI dealership to sneak a peek of the two rods that were apparently stealing the show: the 2008 BMW 135i Coupe and the 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman S. Seeing these two cars in the flesh was amazing. The 135i is gorgeous, muscular, and most importantly classic. It’s a small car but the massive 18-inch rims just give it a menacing stance. The 135i is the spiritual successor of the 2002. It’s got a killer tagline that says it all: Distilled Not Diluted.

Then we wandered over to the MINI side of the dealership and caught our first glimpse of the Clubman. This car is tighter than tight. It’s double rear doors are elegant, piston-cushioned devices. The stretched-look is groovy rather than goofy. And with the right accessories, the car is downright rugged. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful beast.

As a car guy, at any given time, you need know what your “next car” is going to be. The “next car” can change and even change frequently, but there can’t be a question mark as to what that car is. So this weekend, after experiencing these two vehicles—I was dumbfounded. What was my “next car” going to be—the Bavarian Burner or the British Beast?

Well, Mrs. Kyality had a great insight. The 1 Series will become BMW’s new bread and butter vehicle—it’s gonna be around for a while. The Clubman is most likely a one-of-a-kind, unique machine that may have a short-run at best. So I’d like to announce that officially (for today at least) my “next car” is the MINI Cooper Clubman S. It is the perfect combo of form, function, performance, and personality. The 135i can always come later. And by the way, I call Hot Chocolate!