Blogging is hard, takes a long time, is not satisfying, and it’s super useless. That said, I’ll keep doing it because it helps my shitty memory, especially when I need to find a recipe or when I wonder what was I doing 2 3 or 4 years ago today. Life goes so fast, and only now do I start to realise it. Michele and I will be married 8 years next month! Now we’re starting a new phase, or should I say a new parenthesis? in any case, it’s so bloody exciting I can hardly grasp it, but it’s so good that not even my dissociation can handle it.
I will start my master’s degree in less than two months, Damiano and Santiago will start school in 3 weeks, and we have made quite a home of our rented house. After literally months without doing it, I poured the contents of my iphone so I have some photos to post. I guess they’re “cold” now, but who cares. The only question is, FIFO or LIFO? I think I will just shake things up a little and post randomly. YAYYY!
A good thing of our house in England is the garden: our neighbours were so nice as to give us their trampoline before moving out: the boys use it for jumping. I use it as a sun lounger. We bought a small BBQ and a picnic table. And now we eat alfresco all the time as long as it’s not raining, which by the way it hasn’t done at all.
A bad thing of our house in England? Well, besides the pink bathroom and the linoleum floors, there’s no dishwasher. WAHHH WAAAHHH.
Anyway, these two little people here seem to like it here, as you can see.
It’s been a year since our plans of going abroad for a year were made and then brutally crushed together with knee ligaments and life threatening health issues. But we persisted, and now it’s really happening. I’ll be doing a master’s degree at the University of Reading starting in October, but we’re leaving in July to settle in and enjoy the English summer. It’s going to be amazing and it’s also going to be crazy expensive, so we have decided to put our place up for rent on AirBnB.
It is no secret that I love My University, and how could I not? This time it took me to meet one of the most important graphistes of the past century (may I also say philosopher?) and I got to spend the whole day learning from him and his philosophy. It was one of the best experiences in my career so far.
Sooner than I had anticipated I managed to take my boys to Paris. Fed by an obsession with dubious pixar films and high speed trains I got them all excited and it totally paid off.
The TGV does go really fast.
The Eiffel Tower was explored, on foot, somebody’s acrophobia notwithstanding.
Le Jardin d’acclimatation. A lovely trap once the kids discover the rides and bumper cars.
The metropolitain was explored intensively, more than any landmark. We also got around by bus a lot, so the kids could grasp how big a city can be.
On our way to the Citè des Enfants, inside the Citè des Sciences.
After a few hours there the kids were so whacked that we even managed to make them sleep in the late afternoon and go out for dinner together. Thumbs up!
We stayed at someones apartment via airbnb and it was a great experience: not expensive, very flexible, and with a child’s bedroom full of toys.
The kids ate: Sushi, Thai, Lebanese and uncountable pains-au-chocolat. As did we.
I got there on Saturday. It was hot and crowded, as always. I went on the terrace of the Galleries Lafayette to take it all in. I walked and walked. And walked. I didn’t take many photos because I was carrying my iPhone as only camera and had flat batteries more often than not. Also, I was focusing on enjoying every second without thinking about blogging about things or having photos to reminisce over.
After much walking and, my favorite, going around the city by bus, I got to the hostel where I and the rest of my class were staying. It was seriously horrendous but at least I could have oysters a couple of times with the money saved in clean bedding and private bathrooms with soap and towels. When everyone finally arrived, we set out to grab a bite and have some fun. We went to Parc de la Villette. We ended up drinking cheap beers outside a popular club called Point Ephemere. I loved the name.
The next morning I woke up very early, too early. And if there’s something I positively hate is waiting around for people to be ready, so I just got dressed and set out to discover the city. I love walking in Paris because I have so fond memories of the place that it’s one madelaine after the other. I would have loved to have breakfast at Angelina, but I thought spending 30 euros on a coffee and some pastries was immoral. But I stole a picture of their lovely window and macarons. I walked along Rue de Rivoli all the way to Marais, where we had appointment to visit the Beaubourg. Learned that Sunday mornings in Paris are pretty quiet. Only many many runners in the streets.
At the beaubourg there was a cool Matisse exhibition that had me thinking a lot about design and the design process: you know how Matisse used to make several variations on a same painting and how when you design something you have to try little variations until you nail the right mix of details?
There was also a nice temporary exhibition about generative design. I love this stuff. And I love the possibilities we have nowadays. Also, Processing. There was a light installation similar to mine, though, modestly not as stunning.
After that, I walked everyone to the Falafel triangle. We wanted to go to L’as du falafel but it was closed, so we went to Chez Hanna and we loved it. Also, street musicians.
From there, we walked to Bastille and wandered around. We walked to the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, and from there to Notre Dame and finally to the Rive gauche. We walked from St. Michel to Odeon and then we ended up at the Jardins de Luxembourg to have beers and laughs. It was fun. And I’d never been to the Senate and the gardens and wow.
After that we had dinner. I had oysters, one of my favorite treats in Paris. Then, since it was only midnight, we walked from Montparnasse to Champ du Mars and it may be trite but the tour Eiffel is always quite breathtaking, esp. at night when it’s lit.
The next morning was Grand Palais and Palais de Tokyo, and the weather couldn’t have been more amazing. Look at that sky.
The Palais de Tokyo is full of modern conceptual art, video installations, some very disturbing things and other very inspiring ones. I fully recommend it. I stayed there for something like 4 hours, and then I went nearby to my favourite Lebanese restaurant, Noura.
We had a free afternoon, so I walked and walked and walked, and I would have loved to go to a Hammam and spend 4 hours getting my skin scrubbed, but alas, the place I wanted to go to had a swimsuit policy and I didn’t feel like spending money for one when I have a dozen at home. So I got a haircut. It was nice to sit down for a while, have my hair washed and my scalp massaged and my iphone charged.
That last evening we all went for a customary climb Montmartre and here I am with my awesome new hair.
It was great and I can’t wait to be back in Paris, preferably with my husband this time.
After 7 years I managed to go back to Berlin, and I had a perfect excuse to do it. The Typo conference is one of those things that the cool kids go to, all the designers and typographic heroes, including those whose fault it is that I got into this mess in the first place. So I indulged in a long weekend of design talks and I’m really lucky I could do it—I blame my amazing husband. Ok, here are some pictures:
As I left Thursday morning from Innsbruck Airport. SNOW!
The house der Kulturen der Welt, where the conference took place.
One of the first talks I attended, from Yves Peters, Belgium’s finest dancer and typography writer. Open Type features + Scripts = type porn. Also, made me think I have to redesign this blog which has looked like this since 2007.
Ruedi Baur, you might remember when I went to Paris to shoot this video here. Well, he’s the one who made me fall in love with the universe of wayfinding systems. His stuff is astonishing.
“Less with the necessary needless. Less with the necessary imperfection. Less with the necessary complexity”.
This was a superposter designed by Michael Schirner to promote the use of condoms in the times of the HIV epidemic. His talk was about art and design in advertising. It was entertaining but I’m always a bit uneasy about the boundaries between design, art and advertising.
One of my favorite talks of the conference was by 2 of my typographic heroes, Paul van der Laan and Erik van Blockland and it was about the super fun TypeCooker. A random set of parameters to apply in drawing a font. Therapeutic and it really made the creative juices flow free. We were invited to hand in our drawings, which were then discussed on stage. I was so excited and I took a video of their critique of my monospaced-slab-serif-no-descenders-short-ascenders-flared-stems-one-ligature font. [I had *such* a great time drawing this, I will definitely develop it into something, perhaps my new uauage logo? yes, probably that]
I also won this jar of tipp ex and I was proud as a peacock.
The main theme of the conference was sustainability and there were some very inspiring things out there:
Ahhhh probably the best of the whole conference was this presentation by Andy Altman of Why Not Associates, about the Comedy Carpet Project in Blackpool (do yourself a favor and watch the video) which had the audience laughing hard and also clapping a lot. For me it was the whole new level of typesetting that was truly inspiring. And the saucy british humor.
[...] the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of British comedy on an extraordinary scale. The carpet gives visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases dating from the early days of variety to the present. Sited in front of Blackpool Tower, the 2,200m² work of art contains over 160,000 granite letters embedded into concrete, pushing the boundaries of public art and typography to their limits. Why Not Associates co-founder Andy Altmann will present the sometimes not so funny story of the five year journey that led to it’s creation.
type setting. Like, really.
Matthew Butterick aka Typography for Lawyers did a great talk, in true American TV-preacher style about web typography, and though it was slightly OTT it was inspiring because it was about life and one’s expectations and hard work as much as it was about web fonts. And now I really have to redesign this shoddy blog.
Lupi Asensio and Martin Lorenz of Twopoints.net showcased their work, and it was interesting to see how with potatoes, egg and onion you can either get tortilla de patata or kartoffelpuffer, all depending on the process you use, and how design is all about the process. I loved this design for the Helsinki Design Lab based on the idea of the common denominator (concept which, 6 years prior, Ruedi Baur used at the Beaubourg), and how they took inspiration for a visual identity of a somethingsomething in Jordan from the walls of common flatbed trucks in Amman.
I didn’t get to see much of berlin this time around and I have to say that DIN platz should’ve been Futura platz.
The closing talk of the conference was by Jessica Hische, who is a force of nature and in spite of her borderline annoying ultra american-ness, one cannot help but love her. And what she does is done with such passion and dedication it’s truly inspiring.