Month: May, 2010

Sydney, the Vivid City…

Think advertising, architecture, design, fashion and film, and you’ve barely scratched the surface of Creative Sydney.

Beneath this record breaking rainfall and in the midst of the current cold snap that has beseiged Sydney these past two weeks, there is so much going on in the world of art, creativity and design that the resilient Sydney creative scene cannot be driven indoors for long.  As we already covered, Beinnale 2010 launched last week and runs until August right across Sydney, but lastnight VIVID returned.

VIVID now in it’s second year, is a festival of light, music and ideas instigated by the NSW Government.

Within VIVID there plays out a plethora of summits, exhibitions, live performances and public art.  Our big picks for the VIVID programme are:

  • Creative Sydney : VIVID’s performance and discussion festival.  A unique nine-day celebration where inspiring events and performances meet thought-provoking discussions and stimulating creative industry members converse.  This festival highlight brings together local and global movers and shakers across a broad spectrum of industries to engage with their peers.  Taking place throughout June across Sydney.
  • Macquarie Visions:  A free public event that immerses you in light and history once the sun goes down.  The historic facades of Macquarie Street are bathed in light art that tells the story of Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth.  Accompanied by street performers and interactive light displays.
  • Lighting the Sails: Like it says on the packet!  Again the gleaming the sails of the incomparable Sydney Opera House each night are awash with colour and imagery by artist Laurie Anderson who has taken the reigns from Brian Eno who designed last years innaugural projections.

Sydney even in its coldest days exudes vivacity and life, if you get the opportunity get in amongst it and soak it up!

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A Brief, Brief…

“Design a chair and/or table.”  It’s that simple.

An easy brief?  Andreu World invite you to find out!

Celebrating it’s 10th Birthday in 2010, the annual Andreu World Design Competition is again open to all designers and design students… internationally.

The winner will walk away with €4000 whilst second place will rightfully collect the tidy sum of €3000.

Take a peek at what impressed the judges in 2008 and 2009.  In the past, Australian designers have been awarded for their entries so be sure to have your entries in by September 2010.

Also be sure to download the full details and project brief and take note of the official competition rules.

Andreu World since its establishment over 45 years ago in Valencia, Spain, the multi-award winning manufacturer has developed into a company capable of responding to the high standards and quality levels required to supply a rigorous international market for both the residential, hospitality and contract sectors.

Their success owes much to their ethos of applying technological advances to their traditional, well honed chair making skills resulting in quality products that respect and reinterpret the shapes and ideas of yesterday with original, ground breaking designs.

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Free and Easy: Sydney’s 17th Biennale

Image Copyright: Owen Lynch

From May 12th until August 1st, some of Sydney’s most hidden, evocative locations are being made publicly accessible for the 17th Biennale of Sydney.

Based on the curatorial theme THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, recent and new works by Australian artists will be showcased alongside international artists at Sydney’s leading cultural institutions, contemporary art spaces and heritage sites.

Alongside the Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art, NSW Art Gallery and Art Space the evocative Harbour foreshore heritage sites: Pier 2/3 and Cockatoo Island have thrown their doors open for free, for the two and a half month exhibition.

Thought provoking, challenging, haunting and awe inspiring, the sheer scale of this event and many of the works therein, hold so much that it is near impossible to walk away indifferent to the experience.

A breathtaking backdrop, Cockatoo Island in particular is to be recommended for the truly unique opportunity it provides; to absorb the 120 installations whilst immersing yourself in Sydney’s maritime and industrial heritage.

Not to be missed…

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Small Is The New Big…

That’s the word from renowned retail design guru and brand strategist:  Mark Landini from Landini Associates

On April 27th, KE-ZU played host to the Retail Design Institute as they presented Landini talking on the shifts and trends in current retail design practice.

The insightful presentation explored the social impact of brand awareness, how to maximise on brand loyalty and harnessing the consumer’s perception of a brand and how they convert this into a personal “ownership”.  In short, building an allegience through appealing to their social ideals.

Small is the new big” is a look at how many brands, in the face of globalization are learning from, and often mimicking their smaller more agile competitors. A look at how “large” is no longer that “compelling” to customers in search of something “real”.

The Retail Design Institue was founded in New York in the early 1960’s and now boasts over 1000 members across the globe with a Sydney and Melbourne chapter opening in 1992.  The Institute is proudly the only international professional body dedicated to developing and supporting retail design professionals in the design and planning of ‘selling’ environments.

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Dancing Shoes On… Anna Says So!

So You Think You Can Dance has seen recent success both here and abroad, though amongst the dance community opinion is divided on whether the platform is a true and positive reflection of the artform.  Whichever side of the rehearsal room you find yourself warming up on, it has become undeniable that the spotlight has definitely been thrown onto dance (from contemporary to classical ballet) of late.  Not least for the great number of people for whom there had never been any exposure to the diversity of the art.

On June  20th the  2010 Australian Dance Awards will see the best of the best in one theatre for one night at the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne, a gala event to recognise and applaud excellence in Australian Dance, tickets are available from Ausdance.  Showcased on the night will be pieces from the Australian Ballet, the unrivalled talents of The Bangarra Dance Theatre, hip hop, contemporary ballet and assorted indigenous contemporary routines.

Ke-Blog takes great pleasure in unearthing the delightful collisions between the spheres of design, fashion, science and the arts; whenever they occur.  This years dance awards we discover, are no exception. Ausdance are bringing the evening to life with support from the nearly 80 year old dance shoe manufacturer: Bloch.  Amusingly, it was only late last year that US Vogue Editor in Chief, the notorious, Anna Wintour, had ‘decreed‘ that heels were out and Bloch’s flats were well and truly in!  What with all the recent mainstream interest in dance brought about by nightly television exposure it seems this latest endorsement by the queen bee of the fashion world has squarely placed Bloch and their street smart ballet slipper inspired footwear firmly in the sites of comfort-chasing, fashion conscious, stylistas everywhere who are desperate to slip into something more comfy!

Aching arches and high-heeled hi-jinx it seems, are getting the boot… or perhaps they’ve just been given the slip?  Either way, we don’t think it could have been choreographed better for the well shod folk over at Bloch!

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SALON: Spanish Design Checks Into The Tribeca Grand

Design association RED in collaboration with ICEX, the Spanish Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Office in New York and Surface Magazine, is running an exhibition lounge in the Grand Hotel Tribeca, New York City, comprising entirely Spanish products

The event, which opened on the 13 May, coinciding with the ICFF fair, exhibits 16 Spanish companies:  including Bd BarcelonaLZF Lamps, Nanimarquina and  Sancal. The lounge will be in place for two years with the design of the space being led by the acclaimed designer Winka Dubbeldam.  Inspiration for the event was taken from the surrealist Spanish masters: Dali, Picasso and Caballero.

Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Ave of the Americas. New York, Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Worth a look… besides, it’s in place for two years, no excuses really!

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New York, New Work…

Milan has been and gone, the volcanic ash has (for now) shown signs of settling, and it’s already half way through May…

That means that it’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) time in New York!

In two days time, the curtain goes up on the 22nd ICFF exhibition showcasing 590 of the latest and most exciting names in contemporary furniture, lighting, interiors and accessory design.  Coming from over 40 countries (pending volcanic activity), offering a wealth of exhibitors showcasing new trends, challenging old conventions and boasting buckets of inspiration, the fair itself is expecting over 24,000 attendees in the short three days it is open.

This year we are particularly blown away by the sneak peek we have been given of the LZF Lamps display.

Two storey high illuminated timber butterfly made from Agatha and Totem Pendants? Yes please!

Music by Rithma (as heard in the KE-ZU showroom during Saturday InDesign 2009)? Don’t mind if we do!

Live graffiti art painted by Inocuo onto the booth throughout the show? Why not!?

For a look at the making of “butterfly” click here.

Can’t make it to New York for the 18th?   We feel your pain! Click here for a look at LZF’s lamps and screens that are being launched in New York.

Exciting stuff!  Keep an eye out for RS Barcelona and Kenneth Cobonpue also!

Check back here over the next week as we reveal the latest from ICFF, 2010!

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Cobonpue Speaks

In recent times, the name Kenneth Cobonpue has become synonymous locally with designer outdoor furniture for high end hospitality and residential environs.  As both an established brand and highly sought after designer, what is perhaps most intriguing about his meteoric rise to the forefront (of an already competitive market)  is that he has done so through bucking the trends Western manufacturers and designers have, for years, been promoting to a global market.

Kenneth Cobonpue is to us: relevant.

His style, his techniques and his design ethos are it seems, a good fit.

Cobonpue even from his earliest designs was inadvertantly laying the ground work that saw him become the accidental hero of the anti-teak/anti-alloy luxury outdoor furnishings movement.  Later would come interiors, lights, beds and homewares (we even hear rumours a bamboo car is also in the works!)

What has become apparent through the expanding appreciation of Cobonpue here in Australia, is that good, modern, Asian design is emerging as far more pertinent to the Australian climate, our lifestyle and where we are placed geographically.  Historically the way we use furniture (in and out) and the environmental demands our climate places on our furniture has seen a long term battle between ongoing maintainance, restrictions in style and interference with comfort.

In the Philippines recently, during his first public talk in his homeland, Cobonpue described what it was after years working and studying abroad that finally made him return home and begin producing his own pieces, under his own brand:

“I began to ask myself early on: Do we, as a people, have anything unique to contribute to the design world? Do we have what it takes to be globally relevant?”

Kenneth’s epiphany, if you will, came in returning to his mother’s traditional furniture manufacturing facility in Cebu and with his European and US design training, appropriating age old Filipino techniques and methods for boat building, rope making and furniture and home building into modern ideas and new forms,  ultimately giving way to: Yin & Yang.

“I knew I found it, I finally fused a form associated with Le Corbusier or Hoffman to something that was Asian.”

Perhaps what stands Cobonpue apart from his Western outdoor furniture counterparts, is his awareness and respect for the importance of light.

His use of light is sympathetic in letting it into his works rather than allowing the forms to block site lines and create overbearing shadows.  Achieved through careful and deliberate material selections and unapologetic references to the environment that immediately surrounds him on a daily basis in nature and at home.

This is not to suggest all his designs purvey a visual weightlessness, rather they evoke a fluidity, a tranquil air of relaxation and calm – squarely placing him in the sites of top end resorts, restaurants and day spas the world over!  On the back of this, Cobonpue has become the darling of Hollywood with commissions by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Brad Pitt, Janet Jackson, Warner Brothers Pictures, no end of hotel chains and private buyers to bring his unmistakable flavour to their neck of the woods.  To infuse their spaces with more than just a nod toward Asian aesthetics, but designs that achieve a winning balance between between being sculpturally dramatic, functional and comfortable.  In his words:

“When I create a design, every part has a purpose.  Nothing is decorative; everything is structural, for me, a design is finished when there is nothing left to take away.”

In an era where the discerning consumer is again demanding quality and craftsmanship, we find the importance of Cobonpue’s work all the more significant.   Designed and made by hand in Cebu where Kenneth’s journey started, we see the beginnings of a new dawn for modern design, one that in our favour, sees the shift coming closer to home.

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Swarovksi and BD present ‘Narcissist’

The Milan 2010 Triennali heralded the arrival of the new:  Swarovski Elements at Work program.  An initiative that celebrates leading industrial designers by teaming them with acclaimed manufacturers and suppliers to produce product lines that incorporate Swarovski Elements in exciting, previously unused ways.

The results are astounding.

We are most excited about the collaboration between Neri & Hu, bd Barcelona and Swarovski.  The result is  Narcissist.  A vanity like no other.

KE-ZU is proud to be representing this line in Australia in as soon as stock is available!  As this announcement is direct from bd we will keep you posted on details as they come to hand.

Already well established as retailers and designers, the Shanghai based Neri&Hu are a production powerhouse that we expect to hear a lot more from in coming years.  Already having designed for Mooi and collaborated with US postmodern design “demi-god” Michael Graves, this forward thinking couple have big things on the horizon!

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Wannabe a Frock Star?

Today marks the opening of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week 2010 (RAFW),  a week of photographers, front row free loaders and fabulous frocks.  To coincide with the whole circus arriving in town the Powerhouse Museum have  also thrown the doors open on an exhibition called Frock Stars.  Taking you backstage, behind the scenes and down to the coveted front row!  2010 marks the event’s 15th anniversary, so the Powerhouse have teamed up with IMG, the people behind RAFW which has resulted in unprecedented access to the places, the people and the parties that have marked the evolution of Australian Fashion and it’s leap onto the World stage.

RAFW serves not only to sell clothes but brings to the limelight a creative and dynamic industry, all the while nurturing and bringing to the fore: the talents of emerging designers.

FROCK STAR runs from April 22 – August 29 2010.

$25 family, $10 adult, $6 concession, $5 child / student

Free for Powerhouse members

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