Hand-painted skate decks inspired by surfing's transition to the streets for London's Pick Me Up graphic arts festival
by Hans Aschim in Design on 23 April 2014
London's Brixton neighborhood is fast becoming a bastion of creativity and artisan craftwork south of the river. Leading the charge is Joe Lauder of Satta, a woodworker and artist specializing in handmade skate decks that call to mind the early days of sidewalk surfing. In anticipation of Pick Me Up—the UK's contemporary graphic arts festival—Lauder collaborated with fellow Londoner Stevie Gee (an illustrator who's worked with the likes of Vans, Deus Ex Machina and Beams Japan) for the "Be Love Now" project. The duo teamed up with London gallery Beach to bring their artwork from the streets to the gallery. In both shape and art direction, the boards hark back to the sport's roots: having fun and exploring new ways of self-expression. The series of four one-off decks was produced in Lauder's Brixton studio and hand-painted by Gee. While they're functional for skateboarding, these decks might just be most at home on gallery walls.
"Be Love Now" is on display at Pick Me Up beginning today, 23 April 2014 through 5 May at Somerset House.
Images courtesy of Satta
Fluid mechanics meets haute horlogerie in the Swiss company's innovative architectural masterpieces
by David Graver in Design on 23 April 2014
It was 2012 when Swiss watchmaker HYT (short for Hydro Technology) shocked the industry with its H1 wristwatch, but the initial design for the first watch to indicate time with liquid began almost a decade prior. That's when company founder Lucien Vouillamoz, a former nuclear engineer, began obsessing over a concept that integrates the gravitational energy used in clepsydras (ancient Greek water clocks that use air pressure for movement) within a wearable, mechanical timepiece. The technology did not yet exist, though, to bring Vouillamoz's liquid-engineered vision to life. And yet, at this year's Baselworld, not only did we see the magnificent H1, the result of a decade's worth of design and innovation, we also learned where the exceptionally innovative brand has gone since.
The HYT H1 was the first of its kind: a mechanical watch without an hour hand that indicates the hour with a colored liquid. A traditional hand tracks minutes, and all functionality is controlled by a single crown. The breakthrough in the design came when Vouillamoz thought to utilize two flexible bellows, which are attached to each end of the same indicator capillary. After a year of initial research and development, a prototype was produced. Vouillamoz then enlisted the help of Vincent Perriard, a master within the Nouvelle Horologerie scene who also happened to be dreaming of fluidic watchmaking. Soon, the technical components behind the watch movement were underway. Once Perriard invited the Switzerland-based Etude de Style design lab to refine the details, HYT was formed.
The mechanics of the H1, which date back to ancient Greece, are such: a small capillary circumnavigating the dial fills with a green water-based liquid that contains a fluorescein (a dye normally used as a tracer in chemistry), to indicate the hour. As time progresses, the movement changes pressure on a piston, altering two internal reservoirs, allowing the colored fluid to press against an oil-based (and transparent) counteractive liquid. Thanks to developments made by Vouillamoz, the two liquids never blend, but rather are always in opposition. The vibrant green liquid is pushed from its reserve and forces the oil into its own. When the clock reaches 12, a retrograde function allows reentry for all of the water-based liquid into its bellow. The entire process takes roughly 60 seconds, and then it begins again.
Building off that liquid-based mechanical platform, HYT launched their H2 last year. The second iteration is architecturally different, placing the bellows centrally, as opposed to beneath the mechanical movement as seen in the H1. Sat at three o'clock is a "H-N-R" crown position indicator, evoking a gear stick in a race car. Another hand presents an additional HYT exclusive: a temperature indicator. In the center of it all, a minute hand ticks away, designed to fit within the structure of the fluidic system, meaning that it jumps after 30 minutes to avoid the bellows.
At this year's Baselworld 2014, HYT showcased an extension to their H1 and H2 lines, both including a new range of materials and colors. The new brilliant blue fluid took 18 months of development to insure it would not mix with its oil-based opponent. Additionally, HYT changed their case materials, allowing for an aluminum met with different alloys—including titanium and magnesium. The resulting composition makes the watch not only lighter but more durable. As the series continues to expand, HYT presses on with meticulous tweaks and changes, constantly bettering the watches' design and functionality. Yes, the H1 was the first of its kind. But for HYT, that doesn't seem to be enough. They want to keep imagination at the forefront.
First two photos by David Graver, video and final image courtesy of HYT
A stylish modernization of classic designs for men, and a women's line debut
by David Graver in Style on 23 April 2014
In the world of swimwear, patterns can be polarizing and acceptable sizes, shapes and styles vary per season. Fortunately, Solid & Striped—a brand whose offerings we included when planning for last year's summer season—shies away from all that; producing classic, elegant attire that works in the water and beside it. The brand was conceived in the Hamptons, inspired by an old pair of trunks from St. Tropez's Club 55. While the design inspirations are noticeable, of equal importance is their execution from the finest quick-drying fabrics woven in either France, Spain and Italy. This season, they've released plenty of beautiful additions to their top-of-the-line trunks and they've also introduced their first ever women's line—and both are the perfect mix of modern and classic.
Founder Isaac Ross grew tired with the ostentatious and flashy bathing suits he was seeing on men everywhere—something he jokingly refers to as being "uniformed in ridiculousness" with "eight color patterns." When visiting Water Mill, NY, his friend's father happened to be wearing a vintage pair of striped trunks. Ross found them flattering and versatile, and after much searching to no avail, he realized that if he wanted his own pair he would need to make them for himself. While his background was in business and not design, Ross knew there was a market for such a suit. He made a sample and tested it with friends. What began as a crusade to make a suit he liked for himself turned into an effort to fill a gap in the entire market and in November 2012, Solid & Striped was launched.
New York City's high-end department store Fivestory was one of the first to pick up the brand—opening further doors and initiating a devout audience. Hotels, however, would greatly impact the brand next. Recognizing the quality of Ross' offerings, The Four Seasons commissioned custom monogrammed bathing suits from Solid & Striped. An extension of their shop services, these swim suits were a take-home reflection of the hotel brand, its well-respected identity and a new, intelligent marketplace for swimwear. Quickly selling out, Ross explored other hotels options, all met with great success. It was a hotel, ultimately, that would lead Ross to consider a women's line.
When the Beverly Hills Hotel approached the founder, he began to consider trying his hand at women's suits. Solid & Striped teamed up with designer Morgan Curtis of lingerie line Morgan Lane—a friend of Ross for over 10 years—to create the label's first women’s collection, released for this season. Once again, Ross called upon his classic, tailored aesthetics, which paired well with Curtis’ experience crafting silhouettes that highlight women’s bodies. "We noticed the women's market was filled with crazy embellishments. We wanted to simplify it, tone it down," Ross says. And he did exactly that. Across both women's and men's swimwear, Solid & Striped delivers timeless pieces, accented with modern colors and perfect cuts—and they're as reliable as they are stylish.
Solid & Striped's latest men's swimwear is available online with prices ranging between $130 and $160. Their women's line is also online, with prices ranging between $70 and $80 for tops and bottoms separately, and one-pieces between $140 and $150.
Images courtesy of Solid & Striped