Despite a year where every distraction is welcome, we arrive at the end of 2020's Christmas calendar. We hope you enjoyed this year's selection and found some new inspiration. Now enjoy your holidays with your family and friends. Merry Christmas to all of you!
Your GRUNDTNER & SöHNE Team
Musically the focus was rather on homelistening as most of the clubs were closed. The occasions for loud beats and big baselines were rare, but more subtle and comforting music was in high demand.
So it was the perfect timing that the amazing singer and artist Joanne Robertson released her beautiful album Painting Stupid Girls in March 2020. Initially she drew our attention through her collaborative work with musician and prankster Dean Blunt. A close friend of hers, she worked with him on his acclaimed albums like The Redeemer, Black Metal, Stone Island and Skin Fade.
These collaborations were that fruitful that it resulted in a joint album called Wahalla, which was released in 2017. Often her fragile voice stands in contrast to Dean Blunt's production and she states that he helped her find her style and avoid cliches. But she already made music before and released her first album The Lighter in 2008.
She also regularly works with her husband Jasper Baydala known as KOOL MUSIC. Next to music, she also paints, which stands in contrast to the sensitivity of her music, as it is for her rather a physical act, but she states that those two feed of each other and open new spaces.
Politics in art is a sensitive subject, but even more more so and rarer in the field of design. A master at it was the Italian designer Enzo Mari. Infused by his political views he saw Design having a social responsibility and was quite outspoken about it and said things others would not dare like calling Rem Koolhaas a "pornographic window dresser".
16 Animali for Danese, 1957
He was born in 1932 in Cerano in the Piedmont region. When he was two years his family moved to Milan, where he went to school. He dropped out in his early teens to support his mother as his father was unable to work after an illness. He took on many different, but labor intensive jobs that early informed his political views.
Box Chair for Castelli, 1971
Not having a high school diploma he was only able to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera, where he studied painting and sculpture, but also already gravitating towards design. After graduating, he opened his own studio in 1952 in Milan. First success was with his work for Danese called 16 animali, a wooden puzzle with 16 different animal shapes made from a single piece of wood. This led to fruitful collaboration with Bruno Danese and his wife Jacqueline Vodoz.
Through his studio he worked for different companies like Castelli and later Muji. In the early 60's started to teach at Scuola Umanitaria in Milan. Various teaching appointments would bring him also to other schools in cities like Carrara, Florence, Berlin and Vienna. His teachings fueled also his theoretical approach as he was a big design thinker and theorist. This is most visible in his project Proposta per un’Autoprogettazione originally from 1974, but later adapted for more projects like the Ecolo in 1995. Through proposal for self design he cemented his beliefs that design should be egalitarian, economic, but still beautiful.
Ecolo for Alessi, 1995
In his six decades long career he made over 2000 designs, which are on displays on museums all over the world like the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Swiss architect summarized his work by saying that he "thought creatively and built logically". Enzo Mari died this October from COVID-19.
An avid follower knows by now that Skateboarding always fascinated us. As said before, it is how we started but culturally skating is mostly associated with North America. If somebody talks about skating, regions like California or maybe a little bit East Coast come to mind, but not really Europe.
So it is fascinating to see that some crews put European skating on the map and one of major player is the British crew around the Atlantic Drift videos series. Hailing from the United Kingdom the group is loosely centered around filmer and editor Jacob Harris and mainly features skaters like Tom Knox, Casper Brooker, Mike Arnold, Sylvain Tognelli and more.
The series is convincingly different from other skate edits, which not only features high-class skating, but also creative lines, difficult spots, funny bits in-between and and long sequences. Together with great cinematography and editing Jacob Harris lends them rather an arthouse aesthetic. This is also underlined with great choice of music in each edit.
Their edits are mainly centered about places and so far next to their home turf London, they filmed in Paris, Athens, Moscow but also oversea in New York or San Francisco. Additionally they also started now a line of clothing, which is available in their online store.
Door number 20 means that it is time for the last Christmas Special of this year. Suiting for the Christmas Time, it is a second T-Shirt with some added idealism and self irony.
Again the basis is the well-loved Airbag Craftworks' T01 Shirt. It is made in Europe from a soft and light cotton fabric and features a regular fit and a slightly relaxed round neck.
The shirt features a digital print on the chest in a subtle yellow stating Intellectuals Barbarians. The print stems from an exhibition co-curated by Annebella Pollen and Nayia Yiakoumak in 2015 at Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibition was about The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift group, a counter movement to the military approach in scouting groups after the First World War.
Their main objective was world peace through mental strength, where unison with nature is one key part. So the title plays with the seemingly contradictory words as a conscious wish to be closer to a rudimentary life.
Photography by © Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott
Discovering new restaurants or generally dining out was difficult this year all over the world. The limitations of food delivery were soon reached, so many started to cook more at home as for example the google search for banana bread recipes skyrocketed.
So people who proclaimed homecooking before were in demand, especially so the cook and author Alison Roman, whom Zeit Magazin called, the Queen of Homecooking. Born in 1985 in Los Angeles, but now residing in Brooklyn, she worked as pastry chef before at various restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
She worked as senior food editor at the magazine Bon Appétit and then for Buzzfeed Food and had a bi-weekly column at The New York Times. Also she authored two cookbooks, the first released in 2017 called Dining In and then in 2019 Nothing Fancy, both books challenging easy and simple, but qualitative homecooking.
Next to her writing she is quite active on social media. She was one of the first to use stories for her cooking and her hashtags like #TheStew or #TheCookies went viral. Her easy-going approach makes cooking accessible for newcomers but still challenges experienced cooks.
In May 2020 inappropriate comments with a racial undertone towards Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo backfired at her and created a shitstorm. She later apologized and took a break from social media and her column.
Advent normally is one of the busiest times of the year, where everyone is stressed. This year already taught us a great deal about slowing down, but an even bigger lesson can be learned from the American photographer Saul Leiter.
Don't Walk, 1952
He was born in 1923 in Pittsburgh into an orthodox Jewish family. At the age of 12 his mother gave him his first camera. Following his father's footsteps he set out to become a Rabbi and studied theology in Cleveland. During this time his talent as an artist showed and exhibited locally, so his will to become an artist grew and he left the seminar at the age of 23 and moved to New York.
Taxi, 1957. Photography: Saul Leiter Foundation
There he met the Abstract Expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart, who together with the photographer W. Eugene Smith encouraged Leiter to pursue photography. From the beginning he was part of loose group of photographers later known as the New York School of Photography.
He was a respected photographer his time working for magazines like Show, Elle, British Vogue, Queen or Nova. As black and white photography was mainly in demand, he was also in the exhibition Always the Young Stranger at the Museum of Modern Art in 1953. Despite his initial reputation, he preferred to be under the radar, photographing around his block, where he lived for nearly 60 years. It was only in the last ten years of his life that his work got appreciated.
What made him stand out is, that he started taking color photography already in 1946 way before the New Color Photography of the 1970s, like William Eggleston or Stephen Shore, made color photography respectable. His use of out-of-date Kodachrome film gave his photos that characteristic faded tones. As he approached photography like paining his eye for composition and abstraction is undeniable, often with recurring themes and motifs like reflections, doors, windows, rain, snow or umbrellas.
That a certain push out of the comfort zone is often needed to learn something is known, but it is easier said than done. It comes in handy if you have someone that regularly pushes you. That was the case for composer and sound engineer Bo Harwood with the director John Cassavetes.
Born in 1950, he started out playing the guitar and 1966 was guitarist and lead singer in a rock band. In 1969 he scored his first film called The Bach Train, a trippy 16 mm feature. While working on Husbands, John Cassevetes saw the movie and took Harwood on board.
He never worked as a sound engineer before, but Cassevetes had a knack for pushing people and as Harwood said about Cassavetes that "he enjoyed putting you on ground that was completely unfamiliar". Harwood then became sound supervisor on his next film Minnie and Moskowitz, then sound designer and composer on A Woman Under the Influence.
A similar situation occurred while working on the movie A Woman Under The Influence, Harwood only played the guitar, but Cassavetes wanted him to play the piano. So they put a piano in the actor Peter Falk's room and Harwood autodidactly learned to play. Generally Cassevetes mainly preferred the scratch versions of the songs, not being orchestrated, which lent his films the rough characteristic.The duo also worked together on Cassavetes' last film Love Streams.
After his work with Cassevetes Harwood mainly worked as a sound engineer and mixer for series like Pee-wee's Playhouse, Felicity, Six Feet Under or Malcolm in the Middle. Recently he self-released all the unused material from the Cassaevetes movies, which are now available online.
At the beginning of the 20th century Marcel Duchamp shocked not only the art world with his ready-made pieces, consisting of pieces he found and then declaring them art. Now this shocks no one any more, but is still fairly new to the Design world, where the Italian designer Martino Gamper is known for re-assembling used and found pieces.
Chairs from Gamper's 100 Chairs in 100 Days series
He was born in 1971 in Meran. Showing an early interest to not follow his parents' fruit farming business, he started as an apprentice at a furniture maker in his hometown. After a short stint in Florence, he studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna, overseen by Michelangelo Pistoletto - a founding member of the Arte Povera movement. He also took courses at the University of Applied Arts in the ceramist master class of Matteo Thun, who then hired him briefly for his Milan studio.
In 1998 Martino Gamper moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art under Ron Arad and graduated in 2000, where he now teaches. His design is characterized by his interest in its social and psychological aspects. He describes it that "there is no perfect design and there is no über-design. Objects talk to us personally. Some might be more functional than others, and the emotional attachment is very individual. "
He is most known for his project 100 Chairs in 100 days in 100 ways, shown originally in 2007. The show consisted of reassembled, re-contextualized chairs and found pieces, which is an ongoing project for him. Next to that he does exhibition design, interior design, custom one-off pieces, or mass produced pieces for companies like Thonet, Moroso or Magis.
Also his work is characterized by a lot of collaborations like with his wife the artist Francis Upritchard or the jeweler Karl Fritsch. Next to his design he also curates shows like the 2014 show design is a state of mind at the Serpentine Gallery and co-founded the publishing company Dent-de-Leone.
After the easiest piece of clothing, a T-Shirt, comes a garment that is slightly more difficult to pull off as our next Christmas Special. A staple in nearly everybody's wardrobe, we are talking about a short sleeved white shirt. This ambiguity of such a shirt caught our attention and we wanted it to make it ours.
The shirt is made from an easy-to-iron Poplin fabric, consisten of 55% cotton and 45% polyester. The shirt has a relaxed fit and features regular collar, a single chest pocket, and a slightly curved hem.
In line with our previous Special the shirt also features the embroidered Untitled Monday slogan adding value and personality to the white shirt.