Archive for February, 2011

Food Design

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Here at JB Chicago, we appreciate good design especially when it comes in the form of little desserts:

Rube Goldberg Machines!

Friday, February 18th, 2011

by Brenda Lee Intengan

Amongst the various oddities and artifacts contained in the Museum of Science and Industry, one of major museums in Chicago and the largest science museum in the Western hemisphere, one very significant piece stands alone in a corner of the lobby, commanding its own space. It’s a crowd pleaser for all ages- its one of those things that keeps the kids absolutely engaged and interested- who doesn’t like to see simple mechanics in motion? Every time I go there I go out of my way to make sure I see it.

The Jollyball is described by the MSI website as “a fascinating mechanical wonder stands more than 7 feet high, 15 feet wide and 5 feet deep. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records named it the largest flipper machine in the world in 1988.” Created by Charles Morgan, this was the first Rube Goldberg machine that I encountered as a child, sparking a lifelong interest in these gadgety, complex contraptions that bridge the line between art and engineering. If the most interesting part is watching the ball in motion, does this classify it as performance art?

From Wikipedia:

Reuben Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970) was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways—now known as Rube Goldberg machines.

His name is synonymous now with anything that is a “complex machine designed to perform simple tasks” based on his work creating illustrations such as this:

A year or so ago, I came across another spectacular Rube Goldberg machine, this time in the video for Ok Go’s “When the Morning Comes”:

I’m not sure why I find these machines more intriguing than simple machines that perform complex tasks.

Underground Swiss House

Friday, February 11th, 2011

by Brenda Lee Intengan

Speaking of awesome ways to live, I wanted to show you guys this house set into the ground, built to harmonize with it’s natural surroundings. Somehow the architect’s of SeArch and Christian Müller pull this off without sacrificing natural light. Located near the Vals thermal baths, it looks like the perfectmobile location to read books, work on design, and bliss out after a trip to the hot springs.

The Magnificent Visual World of Stanley Kubrick

Monday, February 7th, 2011

by Brenda Lee Intengan

A couple of months ago during the beginning of the holiday season, my friend forwarded a link to me of a clip from Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut because of the Christmas light theme throughout the film. I initially paid just half attention to the content of the video, until the masterful cinematography grabbed my eyes and held them with every scene. The style of this director is, to say the least, visually arresting.

From the first time I saw A Clockwork Orange as a teenager, I have always known that Kubrick had a remarkable eye. Managing to be stylistically classic and boundary-pushing throughout his films, he created visually timeless sets. His work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that was created in 1968, managed to be radically ahead of its time; it still looks like the future. I believe that the recently released Tron: Legacy took its visual cues from this film, over 40 years later.

I have spent the past few weeks studying Stanley Kubrick’s films and enjoying the work of a true, revolutionary cinematic genius. From Lolita to Barry Lyndon to Full Metal Jacket, everything that he worked on is a dream for the eyes. I’d like to live in a Kubrick universe – not the part about the weaknesses and struggles of the human condition that he so beautifully depicts, but one designed, lit, and decorated by him. Life in it would at least feel infinite, sumptuous, decadent and perfect, and I would be endlessly inspired.

The Kubrick universe is twisted, perverse, and haunted – deeply troubled, to put it mildly- for it’s inhabitants. But it is also visually stunning with unparalleled style and attention to detail. After watching the catastrophic attempt by the Black Eyed Peas to convey the future during the unwittingly farcical Super Bowl halftime last night, I appreciate Kubrick’s genius in set design more than ever.