Earlier this week, complaints regarding a J.C. Penney billboard in Culver City resulted in the removal of an expensive piece of signage. Apparently, it looked too much like an evil dictator; viewed from a certain angle, the ad for a Michael Graves-designed Bells and Whistles Stainless Steel Tea Kettle featured a handle that looked like a neatly parted mop of hair, a spout that resembled a saluting arm, and a lid knob that looked like Oliver Hardy’s adorable toothbrush mustache. … Read More
What remains of the Nazi Europe? Mostly reinforced concrete towers and bunkers, whose immense size and incredibly thick walls proved difficult, even impractical, to destroy. In the 70 years or so since their construction, the structures, usually scattered along the beach or stranded in fields, have cultivated an aesthetic aura that continues to intensify as the generational gap and cultural gulf between the war and contemporary life widens. In France, for example, families in coastal towns near the Atlantic Wall have integrated some of the local bunkers into opulent single family homes. Similarly, in Belgium, architects Bham Design Studio have rehabilitated another Nazi infrastructural relic for domestic life, in what we think is a much more successful, if spurious, effort.
Built between 1938 and 1941 near the village of Steenokkerzeel, the 30-meter tall structure functioned as a water tower – briefly used by the Nazis – up until the ’90s, when it was decommissioned and preserved as a war monument. The exterior was completely restored to its original condition, while the interior was completely gutted, save for the concrete ceilings, stairs, and other elements which were left intact, repainted, and repaired where needed. The windows on the top floor were widened to accommodate a “sculptural” kitchen, library, cat house, and general living space. A steel bridge connects this floor to a rooftop panoramic terrace that offers expansive views of the region. The house was designed for two permanent residents, while a guest room on the second level may be rented throughout the month. Click through to check out some images. … Read More
Two students from Hamburg photographed famous local nightlife hotspots early in the morning, after everyone has gone. You can almost smell the alcohol fumes lingering in the air, see the dust settling among scuff marks and spills. There are bits of trash strewn aside mid-activity, collecting like streams at the edges of the dance floor, along the abandoned DJ booths. There’s a stillness. There are no people. They’ve all retreated to darker corners, away from the harsh lights. Spotted by Visual News, these photos by Giesermann André and Daniel Schulz let you see these clubs as they really are. … Read More
Dreamed up by Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, and Richard Wilhelmer, the Fühlometer (aka “Feel-o-meter”) is an interactive public art installation located on top of a lighthouse in Lindau, Germany, that monitors the moods of passersby via a digital camera, and then adjusts its own illuminated expression accordingly to happy, sad, or indifferent. Click through to see a clip of the device in action, as well as some additional photos. … Read More
We may read about the French cabarets of the Belle Époque or the acid tests of ’60s San Francisco, but how often do we get to see photos of how regular people partied in the past? That (along with the beautiful, black-and-white composition and mid-century, Central European fashion) is what’s so fascinating about Anders Petersen’s Café Lehmitz series, which we discovered via How to Be a Retronaut. Taken in a Hamburg bar between 1967 and 1970, the photographs show regulars behaving naughtily — lovebirds making out in public, drunkards passing out at their tables, middle-aged gals flashing bra, elderly gentlemen removing their shirts to either fight or dance (we can’t tell). Witness the debauchery after the jump. … Read More
Offering a photographic view of an urban Swiss subculture, Karlheinz Weinberger’s Rebel Youth takes book lovers for a walk on Zurich’s wild side in the 1960s.
A warehouse worker by day, Weinberger led a double life documenting the unconventional street styles of juvenile delinquents, biker gangs, and gay youths. Influenced by the defiant personas of Elvis Presley and James Dean, the young subjects flaunt homegrown fashions and hipster hairdos to convey individualist attitudes, while still running with a pack. … Read More
Paul is a psychic octopus from Germany who makes World Cup predictions, and he says that Spain will win today’s semi-final match against his home country. Before you roll your eyes, Paul has an 80% success rate when it comes to predicting the outcome of Germany’s World Cup matches. It kind of makes Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions sound like amateur hour, right? Click through to watch Paul do his thing, and then find some sucker to place your bets with — the score is currently tied at zero. … Read More
Identity politics, architectural decorum, Neo-Nazis, and a bleak recent history: building a military history museum in Germany is just as complicated as you might expect. American architect Daniel Libeskind — most well-known for his Jewish Museum in Berlin — has designed a modified shell for an old arsenal building overlooking the city of Dresden, a town almost entirely decimated by Allied forces in 1945 at the end of World War II. George Packer covered the brouhaha in a recent issue of the New Yorker, and Libeskind has been defending his design to press in days surrounding the 65th anniversary of the Dresden bombing on February 13. Examine the issue and check out the project’s design after the… Read More
Michael Haneke’s gloomy Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) relates a series of disquieting blips in a small German village just before the shake-up of World War I.
Haneke masterfully evokes this authoritarian land and period by clocking a calendar year of suspicions, affairs, harvests, Sunday masses, and acts of community trauma — the latter being broad enough to include the mutilation of a cabbage field (as an act of revenge) and a fatal fall at the local sawmill. … Read More
On this day in 1934, an ugly duckling destined to quack through life fearlessly and pants-free flapped his wings for the first time. Yes, Mouseketeers, it is Donald Duck’s 75th birthday today, and Yahoo! News marks the occasion with a celebratory article, pointing us toward the improbable fact, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that Herr Donald is something of an icon in… Read More