Thursday, 31 July 2008
Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse (Unité d'habitation) in Marseille (1956-52) represents the architects vision for collective housing after the war.
Over the last few years the building has been rediscovered after a period of neglect. It's now very bobo and apartments are pricey. It's a collective and so apartments for sale are advertised on little cards on a notice board in the foyer or as I suspect is more often the case, are sold to friends.
The Hotel Le Corbusier is great for design and architectural nerds as it gives you the chance to stay in the original apartments. The rooms haven't been altered much and have most of the original fittings. The hotel has a restaurant with a small terrace for views of the sea and the city.
The feeling of collectivity seems to have returned to the building. The gym and kindergarden on the roof appear to be well used. There's a design book shop, small grocers and various businesses, mostly architects offices.
For those thinking of visiting Marseille or those in Paris thinking of taking the TGV down to Marseille for the weekend, this is the ideal opportunity to stay in a slice of architectural history.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
I've had this postcard of the artist Bridget Riley for ages and it's perhaps one of my favourite photographic portraits. It was taken in 1964 by Jorge Lewinski and is part of the National Portrait Gallery's collection in London. What I really like about this portrait is the way the image has been structured. Riley is placed in the background of the image in front of one of her paintings. At first you don't notice the t-square in the foreground but it cleverly leads the eye towards the artist and gives the impression of slight reticence, despite her confident gaze. It's a very graphic image which corresponds with Riley's 'op art' paintings.
Another favourite piece of graphic design is this Japanese pamphlet for Godard's 60s film Alphaville. A film still of Anna Karina has been beautifully enhanced by the introduction of a rectangle of blue to her face. The same colour is then used to highlight text further down.
I love the simple design of both these images and they are definitely a couple of my design benchmarks.
Monday, 14 July 2008
At the moment I'm reading the catalogue from the current retrospective of the artist Cy Twombly on at Tate Modern in London. I haven't read a catalogue so thoroughly for a long time. There are lots of interesting essays amongst images from the exhibition. At the back of the catalogue there's a chronolgy which is illustrated with fabulous portraits of the artist. The exhibition itself has been beautifully curated. The rooms of paintings are organised chronologically and are interspersed with Twombly's sculptures. This is a major retrospective of the American artist, who at 85 has spent most of his career living in Italy.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
I saw the French photographer JR's images for the first time last summer at the Arles photography festival, where his huge black and white portraits were displayed in an abandoned warehouse. His images are aimed at provoking stereotypes.
As he says.. "The photos have a lot of messages. But the main one is: 'Look at me, I exist, I'm larger than life.'"
The image above is currently on the facade of Tate Modern in London as part of an exhibition of Street Art. If you're in London go and take a look before it peels completely off the building..
Check out this video of it.