Design | A Continuous Lean.

Journeying to Space with Tom Sachs.

Jul 18th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Art, Design, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher


Helmet, 2007.

The visor looked like it had been coated in gold tin foil bought from a suburban supermarket. The helmet itself was oddly shaped and each crack was writ large upon the surface. The hardware was exposed. A red band adorned the bottom, one of the few actual references to a true NASA item.

This was Tom Sachs’ vision of a space helmet, a brilliant bricolage work that prioritized artistry rather than function. The scientists at NASA had their flight paths, but Sachs was on his own, navigating through visions of space that existed more in his own mind than in our physical galaxy. And Sachs was just getting started.

Helmet was part of a larger Tom Sachs exhibition titled “Space Program,” which made its debut at New York’s Gagosian Gallery back in the late summer of 2007. The press release that accompanied this show explained that Sachs, like many children of the sixties, was fascinated by the Apollo Space Program. Throughout his life, this interest blossomed into an obsession and in the late nineties Sachs began creating space inspired artworks using his recognizable bricolage technique.


Muji | The Modern General Store

May 27th, 2014 | Categories: Design, Jake Gallagher, Japan | by Jake Gallagher

The Muji House in Tokyo

The modern general store can’t be found in Brooklyn, or Portland, or any other quirked-out city where the general store label is now affixed to at least a quarter of all vintage stores. No, the true contemporary general store is actually located in Tokyo, or to be more specific right online at Few, if any, current stores are guided by the same catchall attitude of the classic general store, but Muji is a true one stop shop, peddling affordable housewares, kitchen tools, office supplies, furniture, travel gear, healthcare products, various nicknacks, and even a complete clothing collection.

The Muji House

The Muji House

Long Watch | Design by Peter Buchanan-Smith

May 24th, 2014 | Categories: Design, Video | by Michael Williams

There are few companies that do a better job with design than Best Made Co. From the packaging to the product to the company’s TriBeCa shop, everything is beautifully arranged. Much of the reason everything is so aesthetically on-point draws back to the company’s founder and chief creative Peter Buchanan-Smith. If you consider his work across the varied projects and organizations which he has contributed, you start to get a glimpse into the simplicity and beauty of his approach. I’ve met Peter on a few occasions before, and I’ve known him to be both extremely smart and exceedingly kind man. It seems that everything he does is appealing to me in one way or another. Even if it is a subject matter that I am not inherently interested in, Peter’s enthusiasm and his approach always seem to lure me in.

Woodwarding the Internets

May 31st, 2012 | Categories: Automobiles, Design | by Michael Williams

The site Chromeography is the best use of Tumblr that I have seen in a very long time. (Thanks are due to Zach T. in Chicagoland for the heads up.) The collection of imagery (with an emphasis on the beautiful auto badges) rolls ever so perfectly across a screen it proves that the true magic of the internets is rooted in the simplest things. The page isn’t all car parts — espresso makers, padlocks, Leicas and even a Walther PPK all make appearances — but it definitely scratches the automobile itch with the perfect mixture of chrome dipped font nerdery. Not to mention an extra helping of Americana. [Chromeography]

Rimowa | German Luggage for the Ages

Mar 31st, 2011 | Categories: Design, Germany, History, Travel | by Michael Williams

When most Americans think luggage, they picture soft sided wheelie bags made from ballistic nylon. Nothing challenges an American’s preference for soft nylon bags more than a trip through customs at NRT. It happens quickly, only takes one trip to Japan to make a yank jealous of the ubiquitous Rimowa hard-sided cases that are the travel norm in Japan and the symbol of enduring German design.

Founded in 1898, Rimowa transformed itself from classic trunk maker into a modern metal case company that has stood the test of time. In our normal fashion, we reached out to the people at Rimowa and asked to see exactly what hasn’t changed and we were delighted with all of the historical reference material the company sent back. Light and strong have been the order of the day at Rimowa since the beginning, a philosophy that has continued to this day. It started with wood, eventually became aluminum and when technologies were pushed the company introduced a polycarbonate case to the world.


Jun 23rd, 2010 | Categories: Design, Drinking | by Michael Williams

Over the past two and a half years I have tried like hell to get in touch with the people from Miller because I really love their flagship beer (old=flagship) — Miller High Life. I wanted to be involved, I wanted them to sponsor ACL, and well, shit, I wanted some free beer! In addition to obsessing over their super bubbly deliciousness, I have long been obsessed with the W+K produced / Errol Morris directed series of commercials. I think maybe the Errol Morris spots were ahead of their time. Especially when you consider the what is happening these days with this whole Americana thing. I also think that maybe the marketing folks at Miller don’t get it — just look at the “common sense” ads that the company has been running for the past few years. High Life is a gold mine of heritage, the best bottle shape in beer drinking and is a relatively unbiased product. When I say “unbiased” I mean — that while some people may view High Life as cheap and watery — they don’t attach the same connotations as the Bud Lights of the world.

The Santa Fe Super Chief

Dec 22nd, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Amtrak, Design | by Michael Williams


Starting in 1936, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway offered service from Chicago to Los Angeles on their luxurious new train the Super Chief. The line was the Southwestern-colored-art-deco-themed flagship service that became known as the “The Train of the Stars” because it was the preferred mode of transportation by celebrities traveling cross country. The Super Chief —which by 1937 was offering daily service — was the first ever all-Pullman sleeper car train in the United States and featured fine dining in the exclusive Turquoise Room.