It's that time again... Archibald Prize fever!
For those who don't know, the Archibald Prize is an annual award given to the best portrait submitted by artists in Australia. All the finalists are put on show for the public in the Art Gallery of NSW. The Sydney Equator design team recently went to check it out.
This year the winner was a painting of Hugo Weaving entitled simply 'hugo' by Del Kathryn Barton. These days nothing is complete without a cat, the epitome of the 21st Century.
My personal favourite was a painting of the actress Asher Keddie titled 'love face' by Vincent Fantauzzo. When I first saw this in the gallery, I said to myself "since when are photos of people allowed to be submitted in the Archibald?" As I walked closer I saw the truth... incredible detail!
Another favourite was a self portrait of Michael Zaviros titled 'Bad dad'. It's one thing to paint something perfectly but to paint the water with such detail... that's on a whole other level.
The rest of the finalists can be viewed here.
Now we're on the topic, here are some other favourites from previous Archibald exhibitions we've been to.
In 2012, Tim Storrier won the Archibald Prize for his painting 'The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch)'. Not sure I understand it, but I'm sure there's a storrier behind it.
The rest of the 2012 finalists can be seen here.
Another great painting from 2012 is of the Australian musician Missy Higgins by Kate Tucker, titled 'Melody'. The artist really captures her style of music in this piece of work, it feels as though this painting is a song.
Ben Quilty won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his painting of Margaret Olley. It's amazing how something can look so detailed without much detail. It's not the first time a painting of Margaret Olley has won the Archibald Prize. In 1948, William Dobell won with this painting.
Another great painting of 2011 was of Australian chef Matt Moran by Vincent Fantauzzo. It's hard to believe this is a painting when it's challenging enough to get lighting right using photography.
John Andrionis, Australia office
No, we haven't accidently uploaded a blurry JPEG, this is in fact the Good Vibrations storage unit designed by Feruccio Laviani (represented by Milan's Fratelli Boffi Design House). The piece is intricately carved despite it appearing as if it is taken from a distorted digital photo.
More incredible work from Feruccio and the Frateli Boffi Design House can be found here.
Ben Lavender, UK office
Last year, tech-trend forecasting studio Envisioning Technology created a lovely infographic of where they felt tech was heading in the next 18 years and beyond. 'Augmented reality' and 'virtual currencies' are just a couple of technologies that are predicted to arrive in the next few years. The size of the white circles in the visualisation indicate importance, the size of the shaded outer circle/shape show how much consumer impact a technology would have and a jagged outline demonstrates a cluster of different technolgies that would be working together. As this graphic was created in 2012, it's interesting to reflect on how things have moved on a year later and see if any of their predictions have, or are becoming a reality. For 2013, Envisioning Technology felt that 'inductive chargers' would be the only step we would be making. These were actually already around in 2012 but are now becoming a part of the mainstream (my recently purchased Nokia Lumia smartphone charges itself in this way.) Most interestingly, a couple of predictions heading into 2014, such as 'Gesture recognition' and '4G' are already here ahead of schedule in the form of Xbox Kinect and telecommunicator EE respectively.
It's an incredibly exciting infographic with what seems like plenty to look forward to, with my particular favourite being 'Vertical farming' arriving in 2025.
Here's hoping for more science fact than fiction in the very near future!
The full infographic along with other visualisations can be found here.
Ben Lavender, UK office
UK agency TADO have unveiled their 'nose' designs for UK charity event Comic Relief. TADO are reknowned for creating a cheerful world of cute (and sometimes quite dark) characters. They have previously worked with the likes of Kidrobot, MTV, Nike and Star Wars.
Comic Relief's mission is to "..drive positive change through the power of entertainment." The charity encourages people to gain sponsorship for acts of entertainment or to purchase and wear a red nose on the day with all profits going to the charity. This year's Red Nose Day takes place on the 15th March.
Ben Lavender, UK office
Recent trend shows are all talking about busy patterns and textures – and on a trip to Barcelona last month, there seemed to be pattern and texture everywhere I looked, from the pavements to the trees!
Barcelona was the home of the great Catalonian architect Antonio Gaudi, who was a master of pattern, form and texture.
Casa Batlló (locally known as the "house of bones") with its dragon-esque roof.
Casa Mila with the witch-scarer chimneys covered with mosaics of broken tiles.
He was hugely inspired by nature, working the detail into the furniture, ceramics, murals, glass and the metalwork adorning his buildings.
Roof detail from the nave of the Sagrada Familia.
Vanessa Christian, Creative Director, UK office
On January 26 each year, we down under celebrate Australia Day. It commemorates the first fleet arriving from England in 1788. Australians usually celebrate this public holiday with bbq’s, a game or two of beach cricket, or simply relaxing with an extra day off work in the height of the southern hemisphere summer.
McDonalds have chosen to embrace their Aussie customers and their love of shortening names by changing its famous golden arches to read ‘Maccas’ across select restaurants around the country for a week to support an Aussie menu.
However people choose to celebrate or sell their products I know one thing, we all appreciate a holiday so close to Christmas!
Happy Australia Day!
Stephanie Potter, Sydney office
In the run up to the summer (in Australia) Equator Design's beer was a small production run of home brew style Pale Ale which we brewed ourselves in our Sydney Office to distribute to our clients.
The objective of the beer was to create a beer that not only encapsulated everything that we as an agency are about but to 'create an impression' with our current and prospect clients. We decided to do just that with the labels, deboss them to 'create an impression' on the thick stock through a local printing firm's letterpress machine.
The bottle cases were lovingly crafted by our very own Studio Manager (Master Brewer) Peter Bradley who is a genius when it comes to making anything from native Australian wood. He spent weeks producing a number of boxes which in turn created massive impact when they were distributed to our clients.
So many of our client briefs of recent are requiring us to engage the 'five senses' when defining our creative approach to the design briefs. Tactility or touch was key to this self initiated brief and the label demonstrates that the sense of touch is also vital when considering the path to purchase for consumers. Executed well tactility can add perceived value and indeed add to the overall brand experience.
The 5% Pale Ale is perfect for a late spring session anticipating the warm summer months just around the corner…
More recent drinks projects we have worked on are now available to view in the 'Our Work' section of our site or can be seen by clicking here.
Mark Grey, International
From this week until the end of February, Selfridges will be introducing a Quiet Shop as part of its No Noise retail initiative. No Noise celebrates the power of quiet in a society of information overload and finds calm amongst the crowds. Some of the world's most recognisable brands have worked with the initiative and have removed their logos to create a collection of de-branded products. Selfridges has also removed the logos from its yellow bags. See if you can recognise any of the products below without their logos, some are easier than others!
Selfridges will also be bringing their Silence Room back as part of the initiative to allow shoppers to "retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy". The room was first introduced by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909. The room has been redesigned by architect Alex Cochrane and has an insulated inner-sanctum that shields the noise from human traffic in-store.
Ben Lavender, UK office