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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Seinfeld emoji, fashion's World Cup team, an artist's secret swimming pool and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 12 July 2014

Architecture, Art, Emoji, Link About It, Seinfeld, Water Slides, World Cup, Opera

1. Redesign: 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium

The team at London-based Zaha Hadid Architects is no stranger to Olympic architecture or earning a few medals of their own. The award-winning firm's London Aquatics Centre played a central role in the capital's games. Following a successful bid for Tokyo's 2020 stadium, the group was forced to rethink their original concept following budget cuts and protests from local leading architects including Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma. Thought by many to overwhelm the surrounding area, the modified design presents a scaling back with emphasis on longterm usability and adaptability while maintaining an innovative design.

2. Fashion Fantasy Football

A series of illustrations by artist Olivia Domingos have mashed together World Cup fervor and fashion's finest. The clever imagery places renowned designers in field positions—and descriptions from Another Magazine outline why each is the perfect fit for the field. With Vivienne Westwood as coach, it's at least a guarantee that all players will be beautifully outfitted.

3. Seinfeld Emoji

The standard set of Emoji have become a second language of sorts and spiraled into a pop culture phenomenon, infiltrating fashion, music and art. If you've exhausted your wit with the standard collection, help is *praying hands* on the way, with a new set of Seinfeld-inspired Emoji. Created by the internet-fluent team behind Seinfeld2000, the icons incorporate classics like a marble rye, the Festivus pole, as well as "imagine what Seinfeld would be like in the present" via Jerry with GoogleGlass.

4. The V&A's Headline-Grabbing Collection

Spanning over 5,000 years of art, design and decor from around the world, London's V&A Museum boasts one of the largest and most esteemed permanent collections in the world. The latest addition is curated not by type of object or place of origin, but by its ability to create a public dialogue in politics, pop culture and current affairs. The aptly dubbed Rapid Response Collecting gallery places a major emphasis on recency, installing items immediately as their relevance rises. From the controversial 3D-printed handgun to an installation of the inexplicably viral and mysterious app Flappy Bird, the collection illustrates the museum's commitment to remaining relevant in a 24-hour digital society while emboldening fading headlines with material permanence.

5. Aldo Drudi on MotoGP Designs

Known for designing the bright, boldly colored helmets and leathers of some of MotoGP's most celebrated riders, Aldo Drudi has reached legend status in the motorsports world. To learn more about his unique approach to design, preference for "exciting color" and just what he would prefer to be called, Cycle World recently caught up with the Italian designer for an insightful interview.

6. Lights Up for the World Cup

The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue—the second largest of its kind—looms over the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a symbol of the region's religious beliefs, but on the day before the World Cup final, it will be representing which team has more vocal fans on Twitter—Argentina or Germany. By tweeting the hashtag #ArmsWideOpen followed by either #ARG or #GER, users can cast votes to see which team's colors will illuminate the statue from 7-9PM local time today, Saturday 12 July 2014. Unfortunately for the host country, there won't be any more yellow and green lights cast on the statue, as it had done every time the Brazilian team played.

7. The World's Tallest Water Slide

If you've ever wanted to know what it would be like to slide off of a 15-story building, a new attraction in Kansas City offers something quite similar. The Verrückt at Schlitterbahn park, dubbed the world's tallest waterside, stands 168 feet tall and allows people to reach a maximum speed just over 60mph while being strapped onto something closely resembling an air mattress. The opening of the ride has been delayed to the public but when it happens, those 264 steps upward will definitely lead to a memorable experience.

8. The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives

Organization software service Podio has compiled an interesting infographic that compares the daily routines of artists, writers and musicians, ranging from Charles Dickens and Pablo Picasso to more recent figures such as Maya Angelou and Haruki Murakami. View which great minds prefer working until the wee hours of the morning (Kafka, we're looking at you) and learn what each creative preferred to do during their leisure time.

9. The Swimming Pool Oasis

Situated deep in the Mojave desert, Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia has installed a contemporary take on an oasis, a piece titled the "Social Pool." It's a swimming pool of crystal clear water, as well as cleaning supplies so that those who manage to find it and use it can leave it pristine. In order to get to the pool, you'll need map details and coordinates from the sponsoring gallery and the desire to brave a scorching desert. Barsuglia's work joins the ranks of other great elusive artworks—where the adventure factors into the overall experience.

10. Fab Launches New Furniture Brand

The latest in a seemingly never-ending adjustment in strategy by the online retailer, Fab recently acquired two-year-old Scandinavian design brand One Nordic, and subsequently rolled out Hem, a new furniture venture. This September, Hem will launch in 30 countries with 300 exclusive products to be available online and through three brick-and-mortar showrooms in Germany.

11. Electric Art Objects

Believing one's art and surroundings should reflect their current state of mind and mood, designer Jake Levine recently launched Electric Objects on Kickstarter. The high-definition screen and integrated computer hangs on your wall, blending in with other framed artwork while bringing real-time art updates from galleries and museums around the world—via the internet—to your environment.

12. The Opera Machine

Westminster, England's Royal Opera House is hoping to change the societal misconceptions that surround opera with The Opera Machine. Offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at their production of Wagner's classic "Die Walküre," the online page shows that opera is much more than a couple of people singing on stage. Hear the deputy stage manager call cues, see a close-up of the horns in the orchestra, watch what happens underneath trapdoors or the technical crew (and two firemen) silently set up the stage to go on fire—or just enjoy the performance from the audience's perspective. No matter which of the 17 camera angles you select, your appreciation for opera—not to mention any musical or theatrical production in general—is guaranteed to grow.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.

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Westland Distillery's American Single Malt Whiskey

A flavorful, refined expression hailing from Seattle

by David Graver in Food + Drink on 11 July 2014

Whisky, Whiskey, Spirits, Single Malts, Seattle, Food + Drink


If you're looking to venture away from Scotland for a reliable, rich, single malt, you might not think of America's Pacific Northwest as the go-to source. And yet Westland Distillery, housed in Seattle, has produced a truly tasty expression distilled entirely from barley grown in Washington state. This offering is quite reminiscent of an un-peated Scotch—with a grain bill composed of five different roasted and kilned malts. However, additional Belgian brewer's yeast, lends an extra edge during the development (traditionally, distiller's yeast is used), as well as specialty malts, before aging in new American Oak casks. The region has made a name for itself in the craft-brewing world, from beer to coffee. Westland Distillery is well on its way to making whiskey an equally important presence—especially with a wider distribution partnership from SF's celebrated Anchor Distilling Company.

"We looked at it with a fresh point of view," explains Master Distiller, Matt Hofmann. "We were looking at the different types of malts you can use—these speciality malts that nobody has really explored yet. It's the same thing with the yeast. We use brewer's yeast instead of distiller's yeast for the flavor it offers." As for process, he begins by examining the flavor profiles of all potential components and builds a final product in his mind. "We want to take these things and push them in a new direction," he continues. "We're playing by the same rules as those in Scotland—it's the same three ingredients—but there's so much that's untapped. We do not want to replicate. We want to make an American single malt." Hofmann has crafted a very creamy spirit—an almost custard-like extension of vanilla. Coupled with nuttiness and even a little bit of coffee, it's a complex tipple, but very easy to imbibe.

Westland Distillery's American Single Malt Whiskey is available for purchase online in the state of Washington, and it will be rolling out to liquor stores nationally this month for the suggested price of $79.

Photos by David Graver

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Grand Banks Floating Oyster Bar

The historic Sherman Zwicker schooner finds extended life on Manhattan's Hudson River waterfront

by Graham Hiemstra in Culture on 11 July 2014

Ace, Boats, Design, Exhibitions, Handmade, History, Interior Design, Sailing


As of this week, Manhattan has a new maritime attraction in the form of the Grand Banks, a working historic schooner turned seasonal oyster bar. Though the brief may be appetizing enough as is, the allure of the 72-year-old Sherman Zwicker extends far beyond its culinary offerings, as it stands to host art exhibitions and an onboard lecture series on topics from seafaring culture to aquatic sustainability.

The project itself is an impressive collaboration between the Maritime Foundation—which currently oversees the continued preservation of the Sherman Zwicker—and a handful of maritime enthusiasts, most notably Atlantic Yachting founders Alexander and Miles Pincus, revered restauranteur Mark Firth (co-founder of Brooklyn's Diner and Marlow & Sons) and architect and interior designer Eric Cheong, who also happens to be the current studio director of Atelier Ace and former design studio manager of Roman and Williams. Needless to say, Grand Banks is no corny tourist trap; each and every detail of the project has been considered many times over.


"This project is like a merger of everything perfect that I love: working with friends, supporting a project that brings more awareness of maritime history and fishery conservations, and also just creating a great destination in Manhattan that is unique, but has a very pragmatically educational component to it too," says Cheong, who lead the project's design.

The Sherman Zwicker itself was built by hand of timber from the Pacific Northwest in 1942 in Lenenburg, Nova Scotia, and remains the last surviving saltbank fishing vessel in existence. Recently restored, the schooner itself is a museum-quality example of traditional boat-building, and the largest wooden vessel in NYC. Add in the current "Zwicker History" art installation exhibit in the ship's original fish hold below deck, and the Sherman Zwicker becomes in essence an inanimate ambassador for maritime history and preservation of national treasures.

Grand-Banks-bar-3.jpg Grand-Banks-Oysters-2.jpg

Though each notable name involved brings plenty of anecdotal experience—from being sailors and experts in their respective fields—turning the 142-foot vessel into a viable commercial enterprise proved a novel undertaking altogether. Cheong saw the vessel's unique needs as an opportunity to explore, and problem-solve: "Constrained context is the best way to push the boundaries in design." Everything from the way the structure and materials interact with the sun, water, wind and movement had to be considered. The main cocktail and beer bar was finished in tropical hardwoods with refined brass detailing, whereas the oyster bar was constructed entirely of zinc, a nautical material that's rarely seen in such a context.

Much of the design detailing was meant to both respect and match the vessel's original aesthetic, and reset any unflattering preconceived notions of what people may think of when they hear floating oyster bar. "You've seen boats that've been converted into restaurants and they just look like someone took a restaurant and put it on a boat," says Cheong, "And we want it to feel like this boat could, and will, sail and move with these bars—they're part of the functional architecture of the boat."

Grand-Banks-bar-4.jpg Grand-Banks-mermaid-6.jpg

By quenching both a literal and educational public appetite, Cheong and the Grand Banks partners hope to prove the concept of using commercial activity to preserve and bolster culturally relevant relics and historical landmarks as not only feasible but one that could and should be explored more in the future. "There are so many historical assets that are parts of ancient culture (to our society now) that are not used but still important. And the exciting part is there are so many opportunities like this to respect and keep these pieces alive," says Cheong.

The Sherman Zwicker will remain moored on the southwest edge of Hudson River Park's Pier 25 in Tribeca through October 2014, at which point it will sail south to an unannounced warmer climate for the winter. To learn more about the history of the vessel, and see about hours of operation visit Grand Banks online.

Lead and oyster image courtesy of Grand Banks, all others by Graham Hiemstra

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