By Anne Kingston - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
A Vancouver graphic designer wants you to judge the bottle by its label
Maclean’s tells the story of Canadian wine from coast to coast in words and pictures in Wine in Canada: A Tour of Wine Country. Look for it on newsstands now. Or download the app now. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek:
For more than a decade, Bernie Hadley-Beauregard has been rattling the fossilized cage of the Canadian wine establishment while cementing his name as the go-to guy for provocative and distinctive wine labels. His Vancouver-based consultancy, Brandever Strategy Inc., exploded on the scene, so to speak, in 2002, when Evelyn and Chris Campbell hired him to rebrand Prpich Hills, the difficult-to-pronounce Okanagan Valley winery they’d just purchased. Hadley-Beauregard had his “Eureka!” moment researching in a local museum when he came across a reference to the town’s “dynamite church,” so-called because explosives were used to loosen its nails before it was moved from another location in 1929.
Thus the Blasted Church brand was born, though not before labyrinthine regulatory hurdles gave the competition a peek at the whimsical, ecclesiastically themed labels—and a chance to tsk-tsk. “The powers-that-be forecast it was never going to happen,” Hadley-Beauregard says. “They didn’t like the name, or the aesthetics.”
By Elio iannacci - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM - 0 Comments
Off the runway and onto the road
On a breezy night during L.A.’s auto show in November, a group of mainly middle-aged execs were shuffling their feet inside Jim Henson’s Hollywood studio. Above them, a sparkly Smart car—conceived by Kansas-born fashion designer Jeremy Scott, and launching next month—sat dramatically unveiled on a stage. Faux laser beams hit the milk-hued vehicle’s wing-shaped taillights, and gun shots blasted through speakers as rapper M.I.A. performed Paper Planes, a song about globalization’s damaging effects. Then through the VIP doors, and into the uniformed mass of charcoal grey and navy jackets, came rapper A$AP Rocky, actress Liberty Ross and the rest of Scott’s guest list: 30 twentysomethings wearing a mix of punk, ska, skater and Goth-inspired drag. “My designs can make worlds collide,” said Scott, who was sporting PVC pants, a mesh top and a canary yellow coif for the occasion (“my version of business casual”).
Scott, named by Karl Lagerfeld as his possible successor at Chanel, is one of many style-focused eccentrics conscripted by an automaker. Mini asked Italian Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, to work with them on developing a one-off Roadster, which was uncloaked and auctioned off at the big-ticket Life Ball event in Vienna last year. Emerging designers such as the U.K.’s Louise Gray, James Small and Fred Butler have produced versions of a new Vauxhall car called Adam, which launched during London Fashion Week last month. Victoria Beckham has designed a Range Rover, and even Chrysler entered the fray, producing a 2013 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition model with Varvatos, a Detroit designer. It’s a “brute in a suit,” as Chrysler put it, painted in phantom black—a trendy hue snatched right from the fall-winter runways. And in perhaps the biggest news, fashion house Courrèges—which began designing electric cars in the ’60s—is getting back into the game. According to the Financial Times, the label’s new owners, Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, plan to roll out electric cars this year in a soon-to-be announced partnership with a European carmaker.
By Elizabeth MacCallum - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
‘Finnish eroticism’ comes home to Canada
It was an unprepossessing start in 1959. Karelia, which was to become the community centre for the Toronto design intelligentsia, made its debut squeezed into a hair salon on Bayview Avenue, next door to the Norwegian Ski Shop. Janis Kravis, a Latvian immigrant and newly graduated architect, had landed exclusive rights to import Marimekko textiles from Finland. In the ’60s, Karelia moved downtown to Front Street and became a mecca for young intellectuals and designers, and for young couples eschewing the traditional Birks tableware and Ridpath’s reproduction furniture for something very different in their modern international homes. Recently Kravis recalled the glory days. “On a Saturday morning in the ’60s, Karelia was crammed. The in-store coffee shop—that was a first—was so full people spilled out onto the stairs. I could look up and see Toronto’s major architects all sitting there talking.”
Despite the monotonous suburban postwar housing that dominated the Toronto landscape, there were hints of change. Eaton’s sold Danish modern teak furniture. A fashionable new crowd had come to town. When Kravis was a young University of Toronto architecture grad, he started working with the modernist architectural firm of John C. Parkin, where he met Finnish architect Viljo Revell and his colleagues, who had won the international design competition for the controversial new Toronto city hall. They told Kravis to visit Finland, where he was quickly enfolded in the arms and the world of Armi Ratia, a charismatic force. In 1951 she had turned her husband’s postwar oilcloth company into Marimekko. Continue…
By Julia De Laurentiis Johnson - Monday, July 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM - 0 Comments
Fancy a cube of crickets? Maybe a meal worm? Or a locust?
My family went out for sushi most Friday nights when I was growing up. Though my six-year-old palate was not sophisticated enough for nigiri (it was always chicken yakitori for me), my yuppie parents wielded chopsticks frequently. In the late ’70s, sushi in North America was rare and eaten only by the very open-minded (because raw fish = ick) but by the ’80s, celebrities and city-slickers made sushi synonymous with being chic and healthy. That’s quite a branding leap.
The sushi of the future is insects. By 2050, 9 billion people will inhabit the planet and meat will be like caviar; expensive and hard to get. With a protein gap on the horizon, insects are being touted as a realistic and sustainable food choice. It’s been on the menu around the world for centuries but Westerners have never warmed to the thought of a creepy-crawly on the tongue. Sure, we’re willing to chomp on lobsters and shrimp (the insects of the ocean) but ask someone if they’d eat a bug and most will make the ick face. So what’s the secret to getting Westerners to eat insects? Like sushi, it’ll be good branding and good design.
Ento is a self-described roadmap for introducing edible insects to the western diet. Created by four London-based design students, they plan to move bugs from the fork of the adventurous foodie to the suburban dinner table in less than 10 years, aiming to hit UK grocery stores by 2020. But to get started they tried out a range of recipes on their fellow students and noted that the most popular dishes were those where bugs were least conspicuous. The locust pâté went quickly but there were plenty of leftover whole fried crickets.
“That was an important lesson,” says Jacky Chung, one of Ento’s principals, “We understood that knowing one was eating insects wasn’t a problem. It was the visual.”
Much like Jessica Seinfeld’s allegedly plagiarized cookbook, Ento opts to purée crickets, locusts and meal worms and sneak them into your lunch. Pairing with a Cordon Bleu culinary student, they’ve created a range of prototype recipes, including the Ento box, where insects are blended with complimentary flavours and shaped into cubes. The end product, packaged like a Japanese Bento Box (complete with dipping sauce and chopsticks), has a futuristic, clean look: an important aspect in the hard sell of bug-eating.
“A lot of people think insects are unclean,” says Chung. “ But they’re very safe to eat. Their genetic makeup is so different from our own that it’s unlikely we could contract any diseases they might have, unlike the way we could with the mammals we eat now: think of swine flu. But consumers needs a visual signifier,” he says, adding that like ground beef at the grocery store, the cube shape shows that the “meat” has been processed and this human intervention suggests the product is safe to eat.
Ento’s slick design and potential positive environmental impact recently won them an award at Amsterdam’s Green Design Competition and they plan on plugging the €15,000 prize money into their project to help turn it into a company.
If Ento’s minimalist design appeals to the neo-yuppie market, then Chapul bars are hoping to attract hippie hipsters and their insatiable quest for a fusion of organic ingredients and old-timey reverence. Inspired by Marcel Dicke’s TED Talk, these all-natural bars from Salt Lake City have flavours like peanut butter and chocolate, and coconut, ginger and lime. They’re dairy-free and include plenty of organic ingredients (like nuts and agave nectar) – and cricket flour, inspired by the Aztecs who used it in a lot of their cooking.
A quick taste-test around the Maclean’s office revealed that most were willing to give the bars a try: an assistant editor said, “Sweet…and gritty. Is that because of the crickets?” Another editor thought they were OK, but “if it was between these and a normal bar, I’d pick the normal bar. Not because the cricket ones taste badly, only because I know there’s crickets in them.” Three staff members compared the bar’s taste to Larabars and one intern said, “I’ll eat anything.”
The reality is that steak and pork chops as primary protein sources are on the way out for most of the next generation. And although there are many that may still make the ick face at the thought of eating bugs, starting to at least consider incorporating insects in our diet is a good start–good design will make that easier to swallow.
Here’s a video documenting Ento’s project:
By John Geddes - Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM - 0 Comments
The spherical Nexus Q, the new Google device Jesse Brown writes about with critical insight here, is meant to connect your TV, stereo speakers and the movies you’ve rented online. It’s interesting as a bid by Google to grab a technological edge, but the lack of edges on the thing itself is also worth noting.
Roundness is the obvious antidote to the persistent linearity of modern design. Your phone is a rectangle. So is your iPod. The mid-century modern look that defines mainstream cool now more than ever is dominated by corners and cubes and clean lines. Think of the Mad Men offices (or read about the show’s look here). When we talk about the way we’re connected to the world, we use a metaphor of infinite right angles: the grid.