From the Past Print blog comes this account of how Marcello Morandini designed a colorful Constructivist alphabet for German ceramic company, Rosenthal, in the late 1980s. At the time, the renowned Italian industrial designer/ sculptor/ architect was engaged in designing Rosenthal’s new office building in Selb. Morandini’s decorative letters were not meant for publication, but to serve as a special-order monogram for Rosenthal’s studio line of dinnerware, three-sided vase and wall plate. Customers could have any two initials they wanted inscribed on these products. To promote this custom-order offering, Rosenthal created a fan-deck booklet displaying Morandini’s alphabet, one letter per page. But alas, if you want to buy a Rosenthal Morandini Alphabet plate now, you’re out of luck. The company apparently discontinued this product line.
On the hard-packed sands of California’s Mojave Desert stands a surreal sight. Hundreds of decommissioned commercial jets are lined up row after row, in the middle of nowhere. Their engines are taped shut with Mylar to keep out drifting sands. This is a graveyard for retired jets, many of which originally cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Now they only serve as awnings for rattle snakes and reptiles that take shelter from the unrelenting sun. Some planes may be stripped of useful parts that can be reconditioned. Others may be bought by a third-world country or short-hop commuter startup. And still others will simply languish there for years – a kind of “Stonehenge” of the 21st century.
Fast Company named this year’s Masters of Design: David Butler, vice president of global design for Coca-Cola; David Adjaye, architect and CEO of Adjaye Associates, David Rockwell, interior architect and head of Rockwell Group, Alberto Alessi, head of the famous Alessi Design Factory, and Lisa Strausfeld, new media design and partner of Pentagram in New York. This is a brief interview with three of the recipients. In future weeks, we hope to bring more indepth remarks by the 2009 Masters.
A grand palace it isn’t, but for down-on-their-luck laborers who gather informally on street corners and in parking lots hoping that an employer will drive up and offer them a job for the day doing clean-up chores, construction or agricultural work, the self-contained Day Labor Station is a joy to behold. Basically a semi-permanent open box with a canopy, the compact shelter houses a restroom, bleacher seating, a kitchen cubicle to make food or sell it, an education/training space, and a meeting area where employers can interview candidates privately. The entire structure is built to be environmentally sustainable, using solar power, a fresh and greywater system, and green and recycled materials.