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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Abandoned Yugoslavia Monuments
These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinjača), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković...), conveying powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. In the 1980s, these monuments attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their "patriotic education." After the Republic dissolved in early 1990s, they were completely abandoned, and their symbolic meanings were forever lost.
From 2006 to 2009, Kempenaers toured around the ex-Yugoslavia region (now Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.) with the help of a 1975 map of memorials, bringing before our eyes a series of melancholy yet striking images. His photos raise a question: can these former monuments continue to exist as pure sculptures? On one hand, their physical dilapidated condition and institutional neglect reflect a more general social historical fracturing. And on the other hand, they are still of stunning beauty without any symbolic significances.
Thomas Cummins
"Society has always been seen in its buildings and constructions. Inevitably, we are situated within these spaces which compose all of our lives but which also divide and confine us to our own interiors. Utilizing the introspection inherent to self-portraiture and meta-fiction, I navigate these structures in order to map the psychology of space we all share and partake in. By framing the self within architecture, I ultimately explore how individuals begin to define themself throughout surrounding social structures. In the end, we choose only pathways established before us but, among concrete passages, art is also able to, subversively, manifest the soul."
Thomas Cummins was born in San Antonio, Texas, where he currently lives and works. His writing also appears in “Notes on Art.” More of his work can be seen at

Notes on Color 
by Nanette La Salle
Pantone Inc. is located in Carlstadt, New Jersey. They are best know for establishing the Pantone Matching System whose main purpose was to standardize the reproduction of color. Mostly used for print, they developed the CMYK process in which a color is created by combining specific quantities of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. These formulas provide a means for color communication, giving us a language which allows for exact reproduction of color.
Annually the Pantone group, along with a team of others, predicts seasonal palettes for the year driving business to update their products, prodding consumers to buy, making last years goods seem obsolete. This economic trend is embraced by the fashion industry where it is implied that you are “less than hip” if you don’t keep pace. Wanting to feel better, and not wanting to appear “behind the times,” some buy items they don’t need and can not afford. This behavior strains not only our finances and but the worlds resources.
Granted, color is fun and Paris runways must be exciting. For those in art, fashion and design, color is an essential part of our work, but maybe we could design more responsibly and encourage this with our clients. For example, French women have often been recognized for their great fashion sense yet they rarely fall victim to fads, choosing stylish, well tailored, well made basics. They focus on fit and what works for the individual, in general, they don’t pursue the latest trend.
Trends: 2010 - 2011 - The Economic Effect
Earlier this year, Pantone named Turquoise as the color of the year and it can now be found all throughout the fashion, interior, and graphic industries. The color was chosen because it “evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and an escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of well being.” Color trends for all areas of design are most often chosen based on our current economic and social trends. We have been living in a world economic crisis and it’s no wonder a color was picked to represent an escape from our everyday lives.
The current economy continues to haunt us and that translates into a desire for the better days of the past. We are saving money, and trying to go green by repurposing, recycling, and reusing the materials available around us. For 2011, with money on the back-burner, there will be a foreseen focus on family and preserving and exploring the past. What does this mean for design? Picture old, heirloom colors, distressed finished and earthy hues of brown, green and blue. We’ll seek styles that bring us comfort, reminiscent of our heritage and roots. Trend analysts are foreseeing a large interest in patterns, textures and colors that have a global influence. Renewed Aboriginal, Tribal and bold geometric patterns will be set off with amber tones, tomato reds, and sea blues, balanced by earthy neutrals like putty and sand.
To keep money in our wallets, we will also crave to keep things simple. Tones of gray and white will be the hottest neutrals and will be popped with warm butter yellows and taupes. To keep things sophisticated, understated washes of gold and champagne metallics will make their way into this upcoming 2011 season’s pallet. We should find all of these trends reflected in paint and fabric, and we will probably find overlapping in graphic design, by the use of simple and warm-colored hues, printed textures, and a mixture of patterns throughout collateral.

Design - Maezm
Cho Eun Whan and Shin Tai Ho are the founding members of the Korean Design Team Maezm. The Table Dish Cover in these photographs acts like a flexible, portable picnic blanket - you can spread it out anywhere, fill up each dish with food, and wash it when you're done. Fun! Made from a special, food-safe, injection-molded silicon it can be folded, rolled or crushed making dining and clean-up a simple process! 

Ai Weiwei still held by the Chinese government...
Weiwei speaks directly about his life and intenetions on this TED film.

US reprimands China over human rights
A top US official accused China of "backsliding" on human rights. But does China even care?
Kathleen E. McLaughlin, April 28, 2011

Villa Vals
The Villa Vals in Switzerland is a pair of dwellings built into a hillside with the intention of remaining concealed and unobtrusive to the natural beauty surrounding it. Set within walking distance to the famous thermal springs of Therme Vals; a hotel/spa complex that is built directly over the natural springs. Villa Vals is certainly one of the coolest and unique designs I’ve come across, a joint-venture between SeARCH and Christian Muller Architects.

Floorplans and Cross sections