Art of the Menu

Even though I’m not a graphic designer, I still find Art of the Menu a source of inspiration. In addition to making me want to possess graphic design skills, it makes me want to travel around to visit all the restaurants whose menus are featured on the site. While a restaurant is, yes, about the food, service, and atmosphere, the smaller details are still appreciated. I always enjoy a menu that’s well designed — and goes well with the restaurant’s overall look/feel —  or something other than just text on a page. That’s not to say a cool-looking menu can make up for an otherwise bad dining experience, but if you can design a memorable menu, then I say, why not?

Designed by Drach P. Claude for Jeannette et les Cycleux in Strasbourg, France

Designed by Bex Brands for Gabardine in Point Loma, CA

Designed by Fixer Creative for Shuga’s in Colorado Springs, CO

See more under the cut! Continue reading

For the Wall

I have four or five prints/posters of various sizes sitting in my room, waiting to be hung at a later date. Some, I managed to hang up in college; others, I’ve ordered since then. If I had an unlimited budget, I’m sure I could find enough that, once hung up, there’d be no wall left. I’ve been collecting my favorites over on Pinterest, as well as discovering lots of new work. I like imagining what room I’d put them in, how I’d hang them (if I’d hang them — the framed-poster-on-the-floor trend still seems to be going strong). Below are some of my favorites. For a few of them, I’ll just say it: It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when (like that Max Wanger print, which I’ve had my eye on for months).

Clockwise from top left: “In Meadow” print by Anna Emilia Laitinen; “cat nap” print by Yelena Bryksenkova; “Blue Waves” print by Yao Cheng Design; “Cats” print by Amy Borrell/Cake with Giants; “New York” photo print by Max Wanger“Synchronized Swimmers Print” by Rifle Paper Co.; 2013 Birthstone Calendar by Oh My Deer Handmades; “Must Dash” archival art print by Emma Block

I also love this watercolor print by Malissa Rayder for LEIF, which is sadly sold out now, as are a few of the ones featured above. That will teach me to waver on purchasing (one-of-a-kind) prints! As a new (again) knitter, this one caught my eye. This poster made me laugh, and someday, I will have one of these on my wall.

I’m always looking for new art. Any favorites you’ve had your eye on for awhile or that you already have hanging in your home?

P.S. Happy March, and happy weekend! Spring is only three weeks away!

Esque Studio

When I first came across this bubblegum paperweight by Esque Studio, the first word that came to mind was “whimsical.” The designers behind Esque Studio, Andi Kovel and Justin Parker, have been working together for 15 years, since meeting at a glass studio in Brooklyn. The idea behind establishing their own studio — which is based in Portland, Oregon — was to “[create] modern, functional, concept-based glassware aimed at the design industry and away from the pedestal. Through the years the duo has lead the movement of trend in glass, by breaking the rules and outdated notions of craft and material associated with their medium.” Even the studio’s name highlights this, by “refer[ring] to the suffix meaning ‘in the manor of,’ and is an intentional nod to and acknowledgment of outside influences and inspiration.” Esque Studio’s unconventional approach to designing glass is obvious in their body of work, from the Venom Candlestick Set to the Honeybear Vase.

I’ve put together some of my favorite items.

1. Beaker-Esque | 2. Lucidare | 3. Slumped Vase | 4. Ripple Vase | 5. Waterdrop Jug 2012
6. Mid Century Coolade Set | 7. Wall Tears | 8. Wax Collector

I love the bright colors of vases and pitchers. Find more of Esque Studio’s work — all of it special and gift-worthy — in the shop. Which items are your favorites?

All products and images from Esque Studio and the Esque Studio shop

Down Below

First the Highline and now … the Lowline? Back at the beginning of October, I was browsing the website for Open House New York, when I came across the listing for the Lowline, a project that “aims to convert a historic trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street into an extraordinary subterranean public park.” While the OHNY event was booked by the time I discovered it, I knew I wanted to look into it and keep it in mind for the future. Here’s a (very) brief description of the project from the website:

The Lowline aims to build the world’s first underground park using innovative technology to bring sunlight underground. As part of the vision, “remote skylights” will concentrate natural sunlight at street level, and then channel it underground, generating enough light to support photosynthesis.

The video about the project, below, starts with a question (one that I’m sure a lot of people ask): “Where do you build a new green space in a crowded city like New York?”

I really wish I had found out about it earlier so that I might’ve been able to visit the exhibition this past September at the Essex Street Warehouse, “Imagining the Lowline: A First Glimpse of a Future Underground.” I guess this time-lapse video of the exhibition will have to do.

As for when we might be able to visit the Lowline? According to an article from The Architect’s Newspaper, “the earliest possible date of completion is 2016.” It sounds like it might be worth the wait, though.

Photo from the Lowline


Over the weekend, I went to see Danish band Efterklang perform at the Met (Museum, not Opera) with the Wordless Music Orchestra as part of the Piramida Concerts (I’ll have a post about the concert later this week). When I think of Efterklang, I often think of the cover of their 2010 album, Magic Chairs, for which the band worked with Copenhagen-based art and design studio Hvass&Hannibal.

I don’t know what it is, I just really like those flying multi-colored ribbons. There’s a great behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Magic Chairs album cover on their blog that I highly recommend checking out.

When I was looking up Hvass&Hannibal, I came across their other work, and I wanted to share all of it here. Instead, I tried to narrow it down to some of my favorites.

Album cover design for Performing Parades, Efterklang & The Danish National Orchestra

Cover illustration and design for Danish book Legatbogen

Hvass&Hannibal had a show in London in 2010, Hvass&Hannibal: Losing the Plot. From the show’s description:

In short, the show consists of a series of graphic experiments that are all a sort of “visual word game” on the idea of collecting data. They are like distorted diagrams without context or information. Most of the pieces are made of painted wood, but there is also a series of eight posters (five hand benched screen prints and three off set prints) and a mobile consisting of 600 painted wooden sticks. Apart from being graphic interpretations of information graphics, many of the pieces are also inspired by textiles and woven grids, as well as 60’ies opart. Some of the pieces are also studies of light, colour-reflections and shadow.

‘Topographic Reflection’ (detail), wood and paint, 60×60 cm

Find a lot more of Hvass&Hannibal’s beautiful work here. I love that they provide details about their projects and the ideas behind them (while I’m no graphic designer, I still get a lot out of reading about the process behind a designer’s work). They even have a shop!

All images and designs from Hvass&Hannibal

Exhibiting Light

This past January, I made it just in time (the last weekend!) to see Carsten Höller’s Experience exhibition at the New Museum, after months of saying, “We have to go!” and never doing so (except for one earlier unsuccessful attempt where my friend and I couldn’t get in). There are a number of exhibitions, however, that I wasn’t able to get to, either due to my own laziness/business or being unable to get reservations. When I saw this Black*Eiffel post on solar spectrum art, I was reminded of artist James Turrell’s exhibition Bindu Shards. The exhibition was on display at the Gagosian when I was in London, but I found out about it too late to make a reservation (way too late, apparently, as the exhibition was fully booked a day after opening!).

James Turrell, Bindu Shards, 2010

It sounded like a unique experience and an overwhelming one at the same time. Those lucky enough to get a reservation would enter a “spherical chamber [where they were] deprived of sensory stimuli and witnesse[d] a 15 minute coloured light performance, allowing an experience of ‘behind the eye seeing’.” The rest of the description of the exhibition can be found here. The picture above is of the spherical chamber.

James Turrell, Dhātu, 2010

I was unfamiliar with James Turrell’s work (and still am — I had to Google gagosian +light exhibition +pods to find this exhibition!), but I am really intrigued by what he does with light and color and would love to see his work in person. This video (in German, with English subtitles) below gives a good overview of some of his past works. Turning a crater into an observatory? Wow.

Have you ever seen any of James Turrell’s works in person?

Bindu Shards and Dhātu photos from the Gagosian Gallery


A couple years ago, I bought on a whim a copy of Adam Jacot de Boinod’s I Never Knew There Was a Word for It, intrigued by the title and the book’s description. The book is a compilation of the author’s three earlier works on language and “strange” words — The Wonder of Whiffling, The Meaning of Tingo, and Toujours Tingo. To give you an idea of what the books are about, the cover of The Meaning of Tingo provides an example: In German, there is a word for “someone who pays without leaving the bill,” Zechpreller. In the intro to I Never Knew …, we learn that in Czech, nedovtipa is “one who finds it difficult to take a hint.” I’ve yet to really dive into the book, but it’s great to pick up and flip through, as I’m bound to learn a new word in a language I’m (likely) unfamiliar with.

With this in mind, I was excited to come across Fuschia Macaree’s collection of “untranslatable words” (available in a full A–Z print here!), via The Fox is Black. It’s nice to see the Swedish word fika on there (defined as a “relaxed social event with good friends involving coffee and pastries”), which I became quite a fan of when I studied abroad in Stockholm. I think it’s the somewhat roundabout/multi-word English translations that make these “untranslatable words” seem special. I particularly like komorebi, the Japanese word for “dappled sunlight through trees,” and mamihlapinatapai, the Yaghan word for “a shared look of desire which neither party are willing to initiate action upon.” Haven’t we all been there?

 Find more words here!

All images from Fuschia Macaree via The Fox is Black