Tag Archives: design

looking at marina city

8 Dec

Wilco's iconic album cover borrows from Bertrand Goldberg's iconic towers

Since becoming an editor at a building-and-design magazine, I’ve grown fond of architecture. It’s all around me. On my screen, in my hands, out my window. Hard to live in a place like Chicago and not appreciate things ornament, engineering, and bridge design. It’s one of our proudest exports, our architecture. And since my day deals in urban infill and LEED certification, I’ve grown especially aware of the built environment I move in and out of each day.

Earlier this week, I was walking along the Chicago River to give my eyes a rest from the monitor and eventually came to Marina City, the most iconic riverfront structure we have. If you don’t know it by name, you at least know it from the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The twin towers hover over the water, boats parked in their empty bellies.

In spite of feeling outdated, their repetition always mesmerizes me. This fall, two photographers exhibited a show called Inside Marina City and answered a question most Chicagoans have asked themselves at some point: what is it like up there?

Mostly terrible, seemed to be the answer. It wasn’t anything like what I imagined. From the inside, the building looked even older than it did from the outside. The rooms were washed out and faded, and so were the people in them. >

"Horns," from Inside Marina City by Andreas E.G. Larsson and Iker Gil

"Yellow Kitchen," Inside Marina City

"Lady in Red," Inside Marina City

On my walk, I thought about those photographs, about how I couldn’t decide if they unspooled the myth or added to it. I thought about writing this very post, but decided against it. Everyone knows Marina City. Everyone knows Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

But then today, Gapers Block linked to a short film called Covers by Luis Urcolo, and it was a wonderfully simple concept cleanly executed. Got me thinking about all this again, especially once it reached the four-minute mark. I’d say more, but it’s better if you just watch it. Everything should make sense soon enough.

doomtree on design

17 Nov

The Twin Cities are climbing my list of places to go, and Doomtree is a major factor. I’ve slowly become fascinated with this hip-hop collective and its Midwestern roots; Sims hooked me with the horns from “Burn It Down” and Dessa keeps popping up with her fierce prose.

In a recent Q&A, Sims discussed the group’s roots and upcoming releases, but what I really liked was when he stopped playing representative and talked about life outside the music.

I like to build things. I make things with wood, like tables and book cases and things like that. I bought a bit of a hoopdie house that needs a lot of care, so I spend time working on that. There is certainly an art in construction. I’m a big fan of design and architecture, and it’s exciting for me to get to implement my personal style.

You should grab Wildlife while it’s free. “Here I Stand” is killer, a dark anthem grown from gospel roots. 

look: cubist stage design

9 Nov

The 21st-century cubism of Amon Tobin @ the Congress Theater. Photo by Wallo Villacorta.

(See the rest of Villacorta’s photos. See the making-of video I posted a few weeks back.)


1 Nov

Designer and illustrator Matt Stevens:

“All experience is valuable experience. We, a lot of times, come out of school and get horrible jobs or jobs we’re not that excited about. I would encourage folks to be patient. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned have been at the worst jobs I’ve had.”

I think that will resonate with just about everybody.

via The Great Discontent.


26 Jul

Dyslexie is a typeface for dyslexics.

twitter = literature

20 Jun

Anyone who either a) lives in Chicago, or b) reads the news, knows about Dan Sinker, aka @MayorEmanuel. They may not have seen, however, the absolutely brilliant cover for his new book, The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel, illustrated by Paul Hornschemeier.

It’s a bit inexplicable as to why, but I find it hilarious. It may have something to do with the fact that Rahm looks a bit like Robert Downey Jr. But it’s also the duck, the mustache, the falconer’s glove, the foreword by Twitter’s founder, and the blurb from Rahm himself (whether the last is real or not).

Chaplin sketch

16 Apr

Google just keeps outdoing itself with these honorary homepage designs.


on the 50th anniversary of human space flight

12 Apr

Timothy Schuler to Derek, Sean

Subject: Love the Google homepage today


Derek Hamm to me

haha, me too. i’m trying to figure out how it only animates when you mouse over.


Derek Hamm to me

This is the code just for the banner. I like it even more.


Sean Conner to me, Derek


two ads

10 Apr




think quarterly

8 Apr

One of the best designed publications on the planet right now isn’t even for sale.

Photo 1: Cover of Think Quarterly.

Photo 2: Color-coded neuron map of mouse hippocampus.

Photo 3: Contributor page, with graphical representations.

Photo 4: Life expectancy / fertility rate by country.