Archive for April, 2014

Resonate – or why Bucharest and Belgrade should become sister cities

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Resonate is a new media festival which has reached its 3rd edition this year. Resonate brings together a vast and heterogeneous crowd, from designers of all kinds to new media artists. The talks are held by top professionals, and their subjects are what you’d want to hear about in 2014: the most complex projects at the intersection of art, design and technology. And it’s in Belgrade.

Of all cities, Belgrade seems to be very similar in nature to ours. The center of the city is full of old architecture, majestic buildings and narrow walkways. There are blocks of communist flats around the city, but you can easily miss them if you stay near the center. A difference would be that Belgrade has lots of hills (we didn’t see any longboarders, but it would be an awesome city to do that). It’s also more pedestrian-friendly — they have lots of streets with only 2 lanes, flanked by trees on each side, plus a few pedestrian-only walkways (which Bucharest oddly seems to be missing).

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There’s lots of cool places to visit – most of which were presented in the festival guide – from organic restaurants in abandoned buildings (http://www.gnezdoorganic.rs/en/) to renovated multi-purpose art centers in old factories (http://www.mikser.rs/en/). The gem on the crown is the Danube, which goes through the city, and the river bank filled with nice cafes.

When we say similar, we must also take the people into consideration. All in all, the atmosphere gave you the feeling of pre-EU Bucharest. What’s interesting is that even if they’re not in the EU, the creative community seems to have benefited from funds to develop their projects – Mikser house- a center for Balkan arts, being the best example. They also seem to have a tradition in design (which we lack almost completely), one that partly explains why they have a new media festival going on in their city.

Now, let’s get to the actual festival. Filip Visnjic is the founder of CreativeApplications.net, a leading editorial platform for digital art. He seems like a really nice guy, mainly because he thought it was a good idea to bring the most talented and talked about practitioners in the world to Belgrade and gather them around a niched festival where they should talk about their work. In a 4-day tour de force they hosted 41 talks, 15 workshops (all of which would seem sci-fi to a general audience), 4 screenings, 10 performances, 3 projects done especially for Resonate and 5 panels.

You could see people from UK, the States, Japan, Germany & most of the countries with a tradition in related domains strolling around Belgrade, going from venue to venue. The schedule was tight and many talks overlapped (planned or unplanned, this is what got some people annoyed), but if you managed to plan ahead you could see industry legends like Daito Manabe, Karsten Schmidt, Andreas Muller, Elliot Woods, Kyle Macdonald, Aaron Koblin or Klaus Obermaier, to name few, give out great presentations.

 

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Key moments

Daito presenting his work, wearing a funny beanie, being translated by one of his japanese friends, Yuri Suzuki. He talked about experiments with myoelectric sensors on his face and limbs, which he could control using various input -see info here: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/hacking-the-human-body-meet-daito-manabe

There was a nice project for Honda which he also presented: http://www.daito.ws/en/work/sound_of_honda_senna.html

Aaron Koblin talking about his independent work and the work done as a Creative Director of the Data Arts at google. He also has a TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/aaron_koblin

Kyle McDonald, Klaus Obermaier and Daito Manabe collaborating on a performance called Transcranial – unfortunately, we’ve got no link since the work is not online yet, but we can tell you that they combined the best features in their work – http://resonate.io/2014/transcranial/ for more info.

Elliot Woods. That’s it. Guess you had to be there. Here’s a link to Kimchi and Chips, his art and design studio with Mimi Son, who unfortunately couldn’t be at Resonate: http://www.kimchiandchips.com/

Sunni Pavlovic, the studio manager and geeky genius at thatgamecompany, took us on an amazing Journey (see what we did here?) about their forward-looking approach to games. They shape interactions in a natural way and the emotional component in games is their bible. Flower, FlOw and Journey are the studio’s successful games and you can check more info about them here:http://thatgamecompany.com/

Joanie Lemercier talking about his work with video mapping: https://vimeo.com/76056173 while talking about his process, while talking about the ideas behind his work, while talking about the software he uses, while gesticulating frantically.

 

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A few conclusions

Getting to Belgrade by train is a pain in the ass. You first have to go to Timisoara, then get your ticket towards Vrsac, a small town where you change trains to Belgrade, where you arrive in a building that’s supposed to be the international train station but which looks more like a smuggling facility. By plane, it costs more than flights to other major european capitals (like Vienna for example) – mainly because not many people fly here – mainly because it’s too damn expensive.

Bucharest could learn a great many things for Belgrade. And Belgrade from Bucharest. There aren’t many ties between us and the serbs, when there should be, especially in the creative industries. If a city that didn’t benefit from being a EU capital can host a festival like this, why can’t we do it as well? What were the factors of the past that determined the present situation and can they be turned around in our favor? Those are some questions worth finding the answer for.

What we appreciated and what we’ll always respect is that a small group of people put together this whole thing and managed to bring some of the brightest talents together. Resonate is a great festival, and it’s even greater is that it’s right here, near our doorstep, in the dreaded Balkans that might hold a few surprises.

Be sure to check it out next year! http://resonate.io/

 

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The importance of craft

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//OLD website post

The design process is a holistic approach to its always restless function: solving a visual or physical problem. Because it’s also a state of mind, when you start designing things, besides your design principles, you basically craft the process.

Design means a never ending rich road of ways and techniques that offer new opportunities to solve the problem. The craft part of the graphic design process is mainly viewed as the print production process that involves preparing the image, the text and other elements needed for the publication. The way the image or the type is being prepared can be similar with the work of a wood carver or a shoemaker.¹ It embroils passion, conveying values and attention to small details to a lasting beautifully crafted artifact.

Why is this important and why is it often overlooked? Well, there’s no definite answer. Maybe it’s the ‘digital age’ or whatever its name is, that makes us rush to the result without giving time to a more laborious solution. Maybe it’s the tool we use in our practice. Maybe it’s mass production, looming over our heads, screaming that maximum financial profit must be gained from all of our efforts. Or maybe it’s just because the client’s business won’t die if it has a bad logo and awful brochures, it will just look like like crap, but be profitable anyway.

Crafting your materials is significant in the way that it involves a close relationship between you and your client, in order to get the simplest and smartest solutions to the design challenge. A playful and cherished approach involving crafting up experiments, materials, prototypes of work can facilitate and enrich the process of design thinking.

Although the notion of craft has changed its meaning over time, there are still organisms that emphasize its noble role in today’s culture and society. Crafts Magazine is the publication of the Crafts Council England and celebrates contemporary craft around the world. On its latest issue, Crafts features ‘LURE’, a major solo exhibition from sculptor Kate MccGwire.

Why did we stumble on Kate’s amazing work? Might be the fact that it makes us think of how much did the Craft evolve in terms of materials, methods and process? Or nostalgia for the pre-industrial culture and goods which we often fantasize in our modern-day life? We will try to find the answer and dig deeper into the ‘designer as craftsman’ topic in our next posts.

Until next time, tood-dah loot!

LURE exhition photo link: http://www.allvisualarts.org/exhibitions/LURE/Images.aspx
References: ¹ The Fundamentals of Graphic Design, Gavin Ambrose; Paul Harris, AVA Publishing, September 1, 2008

 

This section doesn’t contain any articles yet

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All of our articles are written in order to fit in categories that are developed after each point of our manifesto.

We are developing articles for each of the sections, which will appear under their corresponding category as soon as they’re published.

To suggest a subject send an e-mail at hello [at] weareloot.com

Thanks for your patience.

26 CHARACTERS

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The Type Collective organised a local exhibition at which we’ve been invited to participate.

The task was to interpret letters of the alphabet and our commision was for X & Y.

The two chromosomial inspired pieces go together to form two different perspectives: one that is engineered, man-made and tech-powered, and one that is organic, fleshy and intertwined. Both had a relation to one another, if the two prints were put side by side the liason between the designs would be visible.

Bespoke cards

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After a couple of series of self-made business cards, the stationery we offer our prospects was upgraded by a new set of letterpressed business cards, printed on duplexed 240 GSM Pop’Set Apricot paper.

The cards are 8.5×5.5 cm, with graphics pressed in black ink and data written using a monospaced typeface.

The business cards we’re made under the supervision of Fabrik, a local print shop specialised in creating objects from paper.

 

ALT festival

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The project came a bit by surprise, meaning that all the materials had to be developed just one month prior to the festival.

We worked on everything from the identity of the festival to the posters and flyers handed out at events. Since the festival had a radical nature, the identity and supporting visuals were made in that spirit, positioning it as one of the most forward-looking events in a city where festivals are mostly traditional.

IdeasLab

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As stated in their own description, IdeasLab is an editorial project that promotes the latest global trends and thoughts that have the power to redefine the limits of creative expression.

Their efforts had to be cristalised in an identity that reflected their innovative nature, their inclination towards tech and the paradigm changes they encourage. The project had both digital and printed applications and the identity also produced a typeface derived from Univers.

Visit ideaslab here
project developed in collaboration with Pierre Fournier

Băcănie

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The service is based on a simple problem: small and sometimes illegal merchants losing to big supermarkets. We outlined a few actors involved in the production-distribution process: the producers, the distributors, the boutique and the supermarket. Next, we tried to define the current connections between them, to see where we needed to intervene in the process.

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We found several potential problems. First, the producers often sold their goods underpriced, pressured by the distributors who had to sell their goods on in-city markets. There was also the case of producers not being able to sell in supermarkets unless they coalesced in unions, which were in turn pressured to keep their prices low, similar to imported oversea goods (mostly applicable to raw food products). A small portion of producers resorted to selling their goods illegally, on city streets, as an effect of not being able to access in-city markets or supermarket chains. This lead to an informal market of goods sold directly in the streets, which didn’t benefit from any kind of infrastructure and producers which were always on the run from communitary police.

The fix was creating a platform which would make the connection between producer, distributor and end consumer. The platform would have an online interface, but also a strong refraction in real life, in order to reach out to producers who mostly have no idea about the internet. The platform would also act as a food market, as you would be able to see the priced at which other similar producers sell their goods.

 

Egoist

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The hairdressing and beauty market is a competitive segment in Bucharest, yet you would be surprised to find out there’s a small number of salons that offer qualitative services and products packed in an honest and representative image.

Egoist is a beautycare salon located in the center of the most fashionable area of Bucharest. They’ve been around for quite some time and their image was beginning to be stale. In an area such as this one that can easily pose business threats, so they decided to rethink their brand and position it as more youth-oriented and radical.

Post Industrial Stories

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Ioana and Marin are two excellent photographers who, at the end of 2012, set out on a journey across the country to the abandoned communist industrial sites.

They stay in each place and integrate in the local life, which they document thoroughly. Since they began, they’ve been featured in It’s Nice That, Anti-Utopias, Vice USA and other important online platforms. Our studio is responsible for the identity of the project and subsequent printed and online branded materials.

We’ve very proud to see the project grow and become one of the most authentic local endeavours.

View their website here

 

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