For years, people have asked be about the calendar hanging above my desk. Here’s the story…
Designed by legendary graphic designer Massimo Vignelli in 1967, the Stendig Calendar is part of the Design Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Mr. Vignelli is the designer behind American Airlines’ iconic branding and, perhaps most famously, the designer of New York City’s subway signage system. (He loves Helvetica.)
The Stendig is a perfect example of a simple and timeless modern design that still works beautifully almost 50 years later. It measures 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall, and hangs above my desk. As an added bonus, I often use the discarded 4′ x 3′ month pages as gift wrapping.
Based on Brooklyn Cruiser’s Driggs 3 model, this new ride comes fully featured with a three-speed internal hub, a front hand brake and a rear pedal brake, full front and back fenders, a rear carry rack, a comfortable leather saddle, swept-back handlebars with leather grips, cream-colored tires, and a kickstand. It also has one of my favorite unsung features on smarter city utility bikes: a chain guard, which means no need to wrap your trouser cuffs or stuff them into your socks.
The frame, you will notice, is what is called a “step-through.” To many, this looks like what we’d consider a girl’s bike. It isn’t. In fact, the step-through frame is better for men because we don’t have to stress the seams in the crotch of our nice trousers when we mount and dismount the bike. It’s also easier at stoplights. We don’t have to hoist our leg over the saddle. We just step through.
The bike is available in signature black or a very hot MoMA-exclusive red. The price tag is $580 (or $522 for MoMA members).
The iconic work of designer and illustrator David Klein defined the Jet Set style. Though he created countless designs for numerous industries during his decades in the advertising industry, he is perhaps best known for his ad work in the 1950s and 1960s for Howard Hughes’ Trans World Airlines (TWA).
When people refer to a piece of visual media and say it “pops,” this is the kind of thing they’re talking about. Klein’s mix of fun, glamour, excitement and explosive color are intoxicating, with a color palette for each poster perfectly tailored to its respective destination. They sell a technicolor travel dream exquisitely.
Born in 1918 in El Paso, Texas, David Klein eventually settled in Brooklyn Heights, New York, which was his home for sixty years. (He died in 2005.) Before his famous work with TWA and other companies and industries, he created window cards and posters for many hit Broadway shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including Death of a Salesman, Brigadoon, The Most Happy Fella, The Music Man, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Alice In Wonderland.
Anyone who doesn’t love Pixar movies is either blind or irrevocably bitter. The stories, the humor, the emotion, the animation… I have been thoroughly charmed by every Pixar film I’ve ever seen (though I thought Cars was an anomalous misfire). My personal favorites are Toy Story (all of them), Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up and Wall-E.
Beyond the astounding technical achievement and gold standard of animation for which Pixar has become so well known, the movies excel on the tried and true component of a truly good movie: story. In fact, the story is so good in them that the animation almost seems incidental.
As for the art of the films and those of us who love it…
Charles and Ray Eames are probably my favorite designers of the mid-century movement. I am the proud owner of two Eames Plastic Armchairs, an Eames Round Table, an Eames Aluminum Management Chair and the Eames Hang-It-All. Overkill? Perhaps. I also have the Eames DVD set, including all of the films Charles and Ray made. It’s fair to say I’m a fan. Their creative drive, their work and their legacy never cease to inspire me.
First Run Features has just released “Eames: The Architect and The Painter,” a documentary film about the Eameses by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey. The film is narrated by James Franco. About the film:
The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.
- First Run Features
The movie opens today at the IFC Center, and is available on DVD on December 13.