Susan Gregg Koger turned her fascination with vintage clothing collecting (as in, buying gorgeous, unique pieces from thrift stores in Florida, even if the clothes didn’t fit her personally) into an business known for its “vintage-inspired” designs made accessible to the masses, through an initial survey that showed them it was a need. Along the way, they crafted their own “democratic” social shopping experience that allows the customer to have a voice in the decision of the buyer and what actually becomes a piece for sale. She does name drop Threadless as a business model, but they are more private label oriented, from what I gather. She’s not a natural in front of an audience, which is endearing in its awkwardness, which is a good thing because it shows how genuine her idea and company are.
Here is a playlist of National Geographic’s “Megacities” series. I was poking around to find some architecture documentaries and ran across these. I grouped them first by cities and then by themes that they made episodes around. It starts out in North America with New York, checks in on Las Vegas (yeah, it’s basically a city in a desert… totally a lot of work to create a modern city there), pops down to South America, and then crosses the Atlantic to look at some European cities (London and Paris), and then jumps over to Asia, starting with Mumbai and then checking in on Hong Kong and Taipai. I’ve also found a Jakarta documentary, but the resolution is so low it would be an embarrassing addition to the playlist.
Josiah Wedgwood was a tireless innovator who introduced and employed many important components of what designers still do. Or SHOULD do. This is an overview of Josiah Wedgwood’s work, with a focus on how it shows evidence of early Industrial Design thinking and process. And the first Chia Pet!
This 80s-retro documentary is hosted by a socially awkward engineer who fumbles his cuecard-reading way through uncomfortable, scripted segues with props that illustrate the point being made. It’s a decent documentary on engineering, nonetheless.
I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking.
It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives (free and clickable, btw, through the Bartelby Project).
Here’s a video slideshow of some of Riis’ photos from New York City tenements (yeah, could not quickly find an online gallery with clickable thumbnails for those of us from the ADD generation *shrug*).
The second half–the “Splendor” bit– is about how London’s Italianesque architecture is a visual callback to the Renaissance Medici family, who so famously were both merchants and art patrons and basically shaped the architecture of Italy in doing so. Interestingly, London’s first futures markets rallied in pubs, which were razed to make way for London’s monuments to capitalistic wealth games and its financial center-ness.
In this BBC documentary called “The Hitmaker,” we learn that Nile Rodgers not only spearheaded Chic, but he is basically the Chuck Norris of pop production. He was classically trained and went on to provide the uber funkiness in the pop, disco and R&B songs of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. You’re going to le Freak when I start embedding some of the songs he produced, after the jump (below). Let’s see… David Bowie, Sister Sledge, Madonna, Duran Duran, and (yes, sadly) Daft Punk’s latest attempt at mining other people’s creative capital for their own good. He migrated the funk and disco aesthetic over to pop music, and you didn’t even see it coming. Here are some examples:
Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday.
In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped.