The book[ing] desk

{ Information desk, via FFFFOUND!}

I’m not sure I’d trust information sourced from behind a desk made of books that clearly can’t be opened for information-sourcing purposes, but I would certainly trust the person who designed said desk.

It’s rather reminiscent of that favourite chromatically arranged bookshelf of mine:

{ from Periodic tables of everything, which is definitely a related post }

Loves: Books & Spiral staircases (all). Does Not Love: Eames (some).

I love books.

Love love love. Adore. Cherish. Worship. Covet & Lust after.

I also have a VERY strong aesthetic attraction to spiral staircases. [Aside: I once scared off a fellow theatre patron by waxing lyrical about the set design for Bell Shakespeare's Hamlet, and my "thing" for spiral staircases].

So to me, this image…

{ Casa Aquino by Augusto Fernandez Mas, on Freshome, via FFFFOUND! }

…is almost perfect.



I just can’t abide the Eames Lounge Chair (670) and Ottoman(671). Look at it. ‘Tis a boring blot on an otherwise heavenly room.

This aversion, I think, is borne of 5 years working for an architecture & interior design magazine — where I chance upon an image of ‘The Eames’ at least three times a day, usually as prop-furniture in project promo photo shoots — in addition to a lifelong general disaffection for Stuff What Everyone’s Already Got.

Some people (okay, LOTS of people) adore 670 & 671. And I’mma let them finish… but I’m sorry, I think it ruins everything. See, That Chair can even turn this really sweet and interesting poster (full of good intent and fine advice):

{ Graphic-ExchanGE via FFFFOUND! }

…into “Oh. Another pretentious design poster”:

{ image credit: ditto }

Even the ineffable cuteness of Polaroid can’t save this from the Eames Lounge Instant Cliché Effect (patent pending).

It’s just so thoroughly and undeniably… beige (in the figurative sense… unless you buy this one, in which case it is also literally beige, and therefore the definitive definition OF beige).

But to prove that I’ve no deep-seated [oh. Oh that was BAD. Sorry] prejudice against Eames’ designs in general, I’d like to introduce a beautiful new acquaintance I made just this past weekend:

{ via Take special note of the jaunty umbrella and hat. Very handsome; pure class. More chair-lust here. }

Everyone, I’d like you to meet the Eames Time-Life Executive Chair. Designed in 1960 for the Time-Life building in New York. The pair I had the pleasure of meeting — in a severely cool retro-antiques furniture store the quiet country streets of Milton, South Coast NSW — were upholstered in aqua-blue wool tweed, with the smoothest, buttery, faun-coloured suede back and armrests… I fawned over them. I thought they were truly lovely.

This fleeting encounter was an informative one. All this time I thought I was anti-Eames, yet all it took was 5 minutes with two darling retro chairs to prove that this dislike only applies to SOME Eames (Eameses? Eames’es?).

This is a happy discovery, for absolutist prejudice is never a pleasant thing.

Disclaimer: This does not change my feelings re: 670 & 671.

Screen vs. Paper ~ Bookworm vs. Social butterfly

{ Evelin Kasikov, via FFFFOUND! }

Now that I have broken free from the manacles of full-time study (and settled into full-time desk work, for the nonce) I am readily able to indulge my desire to read Readables Of My Own Ready Choosing. No more Textbooks Which I Cannot Afford To Purchase and Do Not Wish To Read Anyway. And, hopefully — depending on my willpower — more printed matter, fewer blogs. I want to touch what I read (and not just on the eyePhone* screen).

Exhibit A:

Hyde Park.

Eoin Colfer (who is NOT Douglas Adams, but is trying VERY hard).

2 minutes later, a ladybird landed on me.

Then I had a nap.


Exhibit B:


Dotingly aware of my studious predicament, (LECTURES! THESIS! ASSESSMENTS! EXAMS!) Father saved a 3-month cache of my favourite nerd magazines.

I took delivery last week.


Now, if only I could find the time to sit and read! [Not looking likely]

Maybe the outside world could stop being so remarkably interesting? [No thanks].

Oh, my library for a quantum life! Or alternatively, it may be time to start reading as a social activity. A bookworm with wings? Sounds nice.

* Secret tweeter‘s tip: Never tweet about “iPhone” lest you suffer an instant inundation of DMing, @-replying macspambots. Choose an appropriate pseudonym, and tweet away.

Periodic Tables of Everything

Periodically, the design world picks up on something and runs with it. Holding up a poster for the camera. Keep Calm & Carry On (and various parodies: Get Excited & Make Things, Now Panic & Freak Out, Ignore The British, Keep Spending & Stay In Debt).

Recently, I’ve noticed an upsurge of periodic tables.

1: A marginally useful and seriously colour-coordinated Periodic Table of Adobe Creative Suite Shortcuts*:

{ Periodic Table of Adobe Creative Suite Shortcuts, Design By Vent via FFFFOUND! }

2: The joyously punilicious Periodic Table of the Elephants:

{ by Lauren Hill Academy/American Chemical Society. Click for full-size/detail }.
Note, for example, that the Helium elephant is flying, the Zinc elephant is sunbaking, the Aluminium elephant is a roll of tinfoil, and the Nickel elephant is, well, a nickel. Joy!

3: And, of course, the Periodic Table of Typefaces:

…where Helvetica (H) — like its elemental counterpart, hydrogen — is, of course, the most abundant typeface in the universe. { by via Lifehacker. Click thru for full-size/detail }.

* Speaking of colour-coordinated, see my bookshelf:

( And please excuse iPhone image quality. )

A rather paltry effort, inspired by this amazing display:

{ ADD OCD DIY? via Dornob Designs }


A very OED Christmas, with beautiful books

Yesterday’s yuletide OED Word of the Day was ‘manger‘. Today, for the ‘Feast of Stephen‘ (of ‘Good King Wenceslas’ fame), the WOTD was ‘left-over‘, proving once and for all that the fine people/bots at the OED also have a fine sense of humour.

Speaking of Christmas indulgence, I’ve been book-lusting after these for some time now:

Penguin Classics, Waterstone’s Hardback Set. Clothbound cover design by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Full Flickr gallery here.

Thanks for bringing them down my chimney, St. Nick (and never mind that I live in a mid-storey apartment, about as sans chimney as they come).

Namaste and festive felicitations to all!

PS. Here’s a fabulous Penguin blog interview with Coralie Bickford-Smith, the designer of said gorgeous book covers. The Q & A is a battle of Helvetica vs Futura, and Bickford-Smith answers in graphics as well as text. Online media publishing at its best.


I have just finished baking stars:

(Coffee shortbread with coffee/white chocolate ganache icing)

While baking, I listened to Stars:

And as they were cooling, I read a big book about stars:

{ Universe: Stunning satellite imagery from outer space by Heather Couper }

Most of the year, I generally don’t cook anything. I actually had to read the book on how to use my ‘new’ 6-month-old oven. Only the mania of Christmas has the power to send me into a frenzy of biscuit-baking. I am even quite happy to stand around colour-coding cachous. Madness!

Reading: books (and into this image)

{ via Inspire me, now!, via Dark Roasted Blend (original unknown) }

Have the words fallen, or are they still in the process of coalescing on the page?

This could be the carelessly-written tale: the story that falls apart in your lap*, completely devoid of structure and theme. Maybe it’s a truly irritating story, and the little imps are in fact beginning to swarm at the reader, like a plague of literary ants. Or maybe this is what happens if you dawdle when reading: the words get bored with your dilly-dallying, and go off in search of a more captive audience. Maybe the tale itself is so dull that the words have given up trying to sound interesting, and are heading off for tea and/or a new place to hang out (preferably a fresh grid-lined Moleskine, or maybe one of these pretty hand-printed ones by shoofly).
Contrariwise, maybe those little letters are coming to life and jumping off the page, so animated is the tale they tell.

This could be one of those exciting, unpredictable stories, where the next sentence only comes into being a split-second before you read it, until which time the words just sort of mull about at the bottom of the page, waiting to form the next line. It might also be a sly strategy to stop the overly-keen flipping to the back page to find out the ending: if the words aren’t there yet, what’s the point? Have patience, young grasshopper!

* Have you ever tried to read a cheap, glue-bound paperback while lying on your back under a summer sun, using the flimsy pages as a face-sized sunshade? The result is truly Yeatsian: “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”. Pages everywhere. Glue/wax doesn’t hold up under solar heating. Just ask Icarus.

That reminds me…

Storyboard by Jan Van Hoof - dezeen

Storyboard by Jan Van Hoof (via Dezeen) is a wall made out of books,
which reminds me of The Paper House
The Paper House - Carlos Maria Dominguez

by Carlos Maria Dominguez (wherein a man is so overcome by his obsession with books that he has a house made out of them)

… which I bought in Paris
Paris from l'Arc de Triomphe

… at Shakespeare & Co, which is clearly a booklover’s paradise,Shakespeare & Co - inside

… and also has fabulously punny bags.
Shakespeare & Co - bags

At right: “The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go — Dr Seuss”… Open from 10am – 11pm, every day… “Your bookstore loves paper — and the forests!” [ie: please recycle]

At left: “Born to be a Livre”.
Means: Born to be a book.
Sounds like: Born to be alive.
Says to me: Both of these things, and born to be Olivia!

I love train/chain of thought.

First published at tumblr Proof (v.)