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October 31, 2005

Arne Jacobsen Series 7 Butterfly Chair Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

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In 1955 Danish designer Arne Jacobsen introduced his now–iconic chair (above).

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It's made from nine layers of molded plywood veneer with two layers of cotton textile between the veneer layers.

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The frame and legs are made from mirror or satin–finished chrome steel tubing.

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Simple, elegant, and classic.

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Over six million have been sold.

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I have long since lost count of the number of photos I've seen over the years of beautiful women seated on this chair, usually straddling it and looking directly into the camera lens over the chair's back.

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In a tribute to the lasting popularity and influence of this deceptively simple design, Copenhagen–based Fritz Hansen,

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which manufactures the Series 7, commissioned 13 of the world's most renowned designers and companies to create one–off versions reflecting their personal takes on the chair.

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Nine of the 13 (the original is featured up top) are shown in this post;

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from Paul Smith's Union Jack–themed version, created with British postage stamps, on down they are, in order, from:

1. Paul Smith

2. Birger Christensen

3. Louis Vuitton

4. Bisazza

5. Hugo Boss

6. Camper

7. Georg Jensen

8. Royal Copenhagen

9. Hummel

All 13 chairs will be on display at ARAM, a London furniture store and showroom, from November 10–26.

They'll then tour the world, to be shown in Milan, New York and Tokyo before being sold at auction next spring to raise funds for AIDS research and treatment in Africa.

Nicole Swengley featured the chairs in a story appearing in this weekend's Financial Times.

October 31, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3M Dual Lock Low Profile Reclosable Fastener Tape — 'Velcro on steroids'

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I read about this stuff in the latest weekly edition of Kevin Kelly's "Cool Tools."

Contributor S. S. Flanders wrote:

    To me, as a commuter, one of the most impressive parts of the EZ Pass toll-paying system is the hardcore industrial "velcro" tape they give you to attach your transponder to your windshield.

    It's not really velcro, though -- instead of hooks and loops, both surfaces have these tiny hard plastic mushroom-shaped things that grab each other by the hundreds and don't let go.

    Both sides are the same, so there is only one tape (called self-mating).

    And unlike the loosy-fabricky velcro connection, the Dual Lock surfaces don't join until you've positioned them exactly, and then pressed them together with a satisfying "chunk."

    They're primarily used in industrial applications as a replacement for mechanical fasteners, but I use mine to attach my iPod to my dashboard, and tools to the wall in my workshop.

$11.37 for 10 feet of 5/8"W tape here.

If you prefer the convenience of Amazon you'll pay $13.44.

[via Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools]

October 31, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Improve your blog or website in 10 easy steps

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All you have to do is follow the guidelines laid down by Jakob Nielsen here.

But you won't.

It's too easy.

What I like is that major corporations spend millions creating their websites when simply adhering to Nielsen's tenets would enable a far better internet presence — free.

Here are Nielsen's "Top 10 Web Design Mistakes of 2005":

1) Legibility problems

2) Non–standard links

3) Flash

4) Content that's not written for the web

5) Bad search

6) Browser incompatibility

7) Cumbersome forms

8) No contact information

9) Frozen layouts with fixed page widths

10) Inadequate photo enlargement

Now go to Amazon and buy his book (top) and find out more.

Best $28.35 you'll ever spend.

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Trust me, I'm a — oh, you know.

October 31, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Musical Holiday Pen

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When you extend the pen's tip Christmas music plays (16 different tunes!) and red lights flash.

Trippy.

Choose either a plastic snowman or Santa up top.

20" pendant cord so you're never without it — and so it doesn't "walk away."

Not that anyone would want it: rather, it would happen just so you'd stop driving everyone else nuts.

$5.99 here.

October 31, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glare — by A. R. Ammons

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hear me, O Lord, from the height of
the high place, where speaking is not

necessary to hearing and hearing is
in all languages: hear me, please,

have mercy, for I have hurt people,
though I think not much and where

much never intentionally and I have
accumulated a memory (and some heavy

fantasy) guilt–ridden and as a
nonreligious person, I have no way

to assuage, relieve, or forgive
myself: I work and work to try to

redeem old wrong with present good:
but I'm not even sure my good is good

or who it's really for: I figure I
can be forgiven, nearly, at least

by forgiving; that is, by understanding
that others, too, are caught up in

flurries of passion, of anger and
resentment and, my, my, jealousy and

that coincidences and unintentional
accidents of unwinding ways can't

be foreknown: what is started here,
say, cannot be told just where to

go and can't be halted midway and
can't, worst, be brought

back and started over: we are not,
O You, at the great height, whoever

you are or whatever, if anything, we
are not in charge, even though we

riddle localities with plans,
schemes, too, and devices, some of

them shameful or shameless: half–guilty
in most cases, sometimes in all, we

are half–guilty, and we live in
pain but may we suffer in your cool

presence, may we weep in your surround–
ing that already has understood:

we could not walk here without our
legs, and our feet kill, our

steps however careful: if you can
send no word silently healing, I

mean if it is not proper or realistic
to send word, actual lips saying

these broken sounds, why, may we be
allowed to suppose that we can work

this stuff out the best we can and
having felt out our sins to their

deepest definitions, may we walk with
you as along a line of trees, every

now and then your clarity and warmth
shattering across our shadowed way
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October 31, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Googhoul.com

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"Enter your zip code to find Halloween events in your neighborhood."

October 31, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Artnet v Artinfo: Two art websites enter — one site leaves

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Back in the mid–1990s Artnet appeared and for seemingly forever — 10 years in internet time seems a century or more in real life — it's had the web to itself.

Until this year, when Louise MacBain, a French–Canadian woman who with her former husband built up Trader, an international group of 200 classified–ad–based publications, entered the arena.

When she divorced in 2000 her share of the settlement was nearly $500 million.

Since that time she's been buying and dealing and on April 10 of this year she launched Artinfo.

She plans to crush Artnet.

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Anthony Haden–Guest, in his column in this past weekend's Financial Times, wrote about the upcoming battle to the virtual death.

His piece follows.

    War of Vision on the Web

    Artnet, the internet art resource, long seemed a coelacanth, a survivor from the primeval dotcom epoch.

    Launched in the mid-1990s, it survived the extinctions and floated through unfashionable cyberspace for eight unprofitable years.

    It persevered.

    Bill Fine, the president, formerly with Art in America, built up a database, cultivated galleries and set Artnet apart from other web databases by posting a lively online magazine.

    This was edited by one New Yorker, Walter Robinson, and carried a no-holds-barred column by another, Charlie Finch (who once described an admired art world figure as "a penis with shoes". They remain friends).

    The internet duly began bubbling again and two years ago Artnet moved into the black and into action.

    "Artnet is very focused," says Joe La Placa, who runs the London operation. "We have an auction database. And we have a gallery network with 1,100 galleries online. Including 150 London galleries. And top ones. From Jay Jopling on down."

    And the older galleries?

    "They are all starting to get it. In England we have 250,000 people coming on to broadband every month. The country will be wired up by 2007."

    So Artnet has it made.

    Right?

    No.

    Here comes competition.

    Hello, Artinfo.

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    Artinfo is taking on Artnet directly.

    Louise MacBain, who is backing it, is a French-Canadian.

    She and her former husband built up Trader, an international group of 200 classified ad-based publications.

    "I developed 60 internet sites myself over five years," she says.

    Her 2000 divorce left her worth £250m and that same year she backed and became chief executive of the auction house De Pury & Luxembourg.

    Her relationship with Simone de Pury cooled and she resigned in December 2002.

    LTB Holding, her company, went into overdrive.

    In 2003 she bought the American magazine, Art and Auction; the following year Somogy, France's leading publisher of art books and catalogues, Museums magazine, America's Gallery Guides and Britain's Modern Painters.

    So - into cyberspace.

    Artinfo first went online on April 10.

    A couple of weeks ago, MacBain announced that James Truman, former editorial director of Condé Nast, had been hired.

    "We opened softly just for the news," MacBain said.

    "In a few months it's going to be very important."

    They have acquired two databases, Art Sales Index and Gordon's, and have data on 3.3m items, going back almost 40 years.

    "There will 250,000 artists and their bios," she says.

    "We deal with about a thousand museums and galleries. We have access. What we're doing is consolidating what we've already got. And in the internet world, content is king."

    Artinfo is to be relaunched in November.

    Battle is joined.

    Here you might expect to read a round figure for what is at stake.

    The truth is I can't even come up with a sensible guess.

    But the global art market is super-sizing and the internet is more and more part of it so I'll just say: potentially a lot.

    Artnet and Artinfo have very different philosophies, or business models, which here means much the same thing.

    Ben Crawford, LTB's president, says that Artinfo will also carry information about museum shows, travel, art schools, job openings.

    "We're looking at a much broader group than just people who need art prices for their job or for their private collection," he notes, pointedly.

    As well as this, Artinfo plays a strategic part in Louise MacBain's grand designs.

    She bought a £12m house in Notting Hill for her Foundation Blouin MacBain (Blouin is her maiden name).

    "We are going to be working with the OECD in many countries," she says. "We will have information on our site about art and neurobiology. The foundation is working with Nobel Prize people and other thinkers, philosophers and artists. And that will be done in March. So we will be having a lot of editorial that other people don't have."

    The foundation already has projects at Columbia and Harvard.

    "What we're doing at Harvard is putting people in contact with different artists. Because the artists know things that they don't know," she says.

    She will shortly be endowing a chair at a major British university.

    "For me the internet platform is actually beautiful. Because it's infinite! We're going to be offering some services free for the poor people," she says. Free downloads. "The rest will be paying. At the end of the day, the enrichment of the human being, that's what it's all about."

    Artnet is more about the art world.

    Bill Fine says that since last Autumn, Sotheby's, New York, has been using Artnet sales histories in its catalogues.

    "If you wanted to appraise a Damien Hirst, you would find comparable works. If you've ever bought a used car in the United States, there's something called the Blue Book. We're the Blue Book of the art world!"

    Joe La Placa notes that, "Artnet is currently putting together a closed network for dealers to trade between each other. An online auction. It'll be sometime next year. This is a revolutionary idea. It's in direct opposition to the auction houses."

    Ben Crawford counters: "We have a whole series of products that are in development that will be ready in the months and years to come. There's no end point."

    There is sniping.

    MacBain's plans to improve the human condition have people at Artnet rolling their eyes.

    "The bottom line on all of the sabre-rattling over there is that none of these people are art people!" Bill Fine says.

    Artinfo counters that Artnet is a boutique operation that can't promote itself.

    "We're in China already," observes Ben Crawford.

    Capitalism loves a long-running mano a mano: Coke versus Pepsi, Time versus Newsweek.

    But a better comparison between sleek art world-friendly Artnet and ambitious, asset-gobbling Artinfo might be with a different twosome: Apple and Microsoft.

    That is, if one can imagine a spiritualised Bill Gates.

October 31, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glass Headstones — 'Ars longa, vita brevis'

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Greg Lundgren and his partner, Jim Nelsen, are stained glass artists in Seattle.

In the spring of 2002 they started making glass headstones.

Their grave markers, which cost between $10,000 and $20,000 apiece, are designed to last more than 500 years.

As if you'll care.

OK, OK, I know — don't be a hater.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, Lundgren Monuments.

From the website:

    Every human has a unique fingerprint, an original voice and a personality entirely their own.

    It seems so strange that the memorials crafted to honor these unique individuals are so uniform and pay little homage to the person remembered.

    With so many cultures and histories, individual quests and life pursuits, shouldn’t we have a diversity of options to remember our beloved?

    Lundgren Monuments creates handmade translucent cast glass memorials as an alternative to the traditional granite and bronze headstones.

    Luminescent, organic, rugged and incredibly beautiful, cast glass monuments actually glow with life and spirit, standing out as a beacon amongst a field of stones.

    Lundgren Monuments presents the original cast glass memorial.

    There is nothing like it in the world.

    Isn’t that the way you want to be remembered?

Order yours today.

FunFact: "Ars longa, vita brevis" is attributed to Hippocrates.

October 31, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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