links for 2007-05-31

What’s up with Lladró?

A week ago I got an email blast from The Future Perfect about “An exclusive launch of Lladró Re-Deco by Jaime Hayon. Today, the Colette newsletter says:

Lladró presents the Re-Deco collection, inspired by the classic figurines such as girls, flowers and animals, but designer Jaime Hayon’s imbuing them with novel finishes and tones and intertwining the pure white of the porcelain with a platinum touch. … And don’t miss the world premiere of the new Lladró candle collection available on the colette eshop.

Back in January, I noted with some surprise the presence of Lladró figurines in Golden Globes goodie bags, and a comment on that post confirmed my own basic assumption: “I don’t know anyone under 65 who collects Lladro.”

So, is Lladró reinvigorating the brand for a hipper, younger, customer who takes cues from tastemaker retail like Future Perfect & Colette? Is it working? Is this a new version of a sort of forward-thinking camp? Can it all be traced back to something Andrew Andrew did in 2004 (see penultimate item here)?

I’m not sure. Interested in hearing more about the new new Lladró, I replied to the Future Perfect’s (unsolicited) blast, twice, but never heard back.


The winner of the contest in the most recent installment of the Journal of Murketing email newsletter is: Shawn of Iridesco.

Possibly more interesting than the contest, and certainly more interesting than the fact that (with one exception) all of you failed to win it, are the details of the prize package. The explicit purpose of this contest was to draw praise and attention to Mr. Josh Neufeld, becauses he deserves praise and attention. Even if you didn’t win the contest, you can still enjoy his work by checking out his ongoing series A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge. Or by clicking links below that will lead you to places where you can buy things.

The prize package consisted of:

Issue Number Two of The Vagabonds. (Mr. Neufeld provided Murketing with several copies of the issue some time ago, perhaps thinking that I would keep one and could give the others to really cool people who would enjoy them. I did that with a few issues, but still had one left to give.

Titans of Finance. I have a bunch of these, for obvious reasons.

Drawn Bits, a collection of comix and writing related to comix.

A Titans of Finance postcard.

Pretty good, huh! I’m sorry that you didn’t win! Except for Shawn, I mean. Who did win.

links for 2007-05-30

Tips from a thoughtful unconsumer

Here’s an interesting, and maybe I can even say exciting, development:

Back in December I stumbled across your blog and was really taken by the concept embodied by the term “unconsumption”, since right about that time, this is exactly what I was trying to figure out how to do.

About a month later, I started my own blog, twigg hugger, which basically discusses my quest to “unconsume” in as environmentally and as personally satisfying way as I can.

Pretty cool! I bring his up not so much to prove (to myself at least) that people I don’t know personally have actually read things on this site, as to note that twig hugger turns out to be a pretty useful blog: In pursuing this quest to get rid of stuff in a responsible, and thus on some level rewarding, manner, the self-described packrat shares a tips and resources useful to even the most casual unconsumer.

Sestinaverde had earlier contributed several items to the Unconsumption resource page, but of course twigg hugger is now adding to that. This post offers a much more detailed account of using Bookins, a book-swap site, and this one has more on a broadly focused swap site called Throwplace.

The most recent entries have been about getting rid of items from twigg hugger’s somewhat elaborate collection of computer things — including several hundred 5.25″ floppies! Here’s the account of finding a way to get rid of those, through GreenDisk.

There are several more new resources in the blog, which is engagingly written, and which I’ll continue to follow. Meanwhile, I’ll update the Unconsumption page with twigg hugger‘s finds.

[Thanks again Sestinaverde!]

links for 2007-05-28

links for 2007-05-27

The Cover of Money

In Consumed: Credit Covers: Treating the credit card as an “edgy artwork” canvass.

The most recent figures from the Federal Reserve noted an uptick of more than 9 percent in “revolving credit” — that is, the debt carried by the millions of American consumers who don’t pay off their cards every month — putting the total at $888.2 billion as of March. Still, some consumers have come to see the credit card as an emblem of something other than an albatross of monies owed. A few months ago, a company called CreditCovers started selling “skins,” with special designs that consumers can stick over the fronts of their cards, theoretically transforming them from mere financial tools to emblems of identity and potential conversation starters….

Continue reading at the NYT Magazine site, or the Boston Globe site.

links for 2007-05-26

Icon Team-up

The Lucky Cat, wearing Nikes. Dave White painting. Via Freshness.

Another one

Another riff on the MLB/NBA graphic, this time for Major League Gaming. Is there a gallery of these somewhere?

Do you like comix? Seriously?

It’s always good to see Murketing’s pal Josh Neufeld getting hype, even from an unlikely source such as the marketing blog Influx Insights: Here’s their Q&A with Mr. Neufeld, on the subject of his comix project for Smith Mag, titled A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge.

An earlier Influx Insights post said that because of this whole crazy info-soaked world we living in today, there is “a new role for the comic book,” which is to tackle serious subjects, for grownup audiences. I thought that issue had been settled at least 15 years ago, when Maus won a Pulitzer Prize. But I suppose it does still pass as an insight for a lot of people. I certainly think Influx Insights is right both in its broader point, and in singling out Mr. Neufeld — but I may be biased. Check out A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge anyway.

links for 2007-05-25

Rules, regulations, and the eco thing

I realize it’s lame of me to be several days late in noting an article in, of all venues, the New York Times Magazine. For whatever reason, I was a little slow to get to the “Eco-Tecture” issue from this past weekend, but was pretty interested in Nicolai Ouroussoff’s piece.

For one thing, I was glad to see that he specifically noted that there have been early waves of pop-culture eco-interest, but that (for whatever reason) it disappeared in the Reagan era:

In the late 1960s and ’70s, the Whole Earth Catalogue, with its D.I.Y. ethic and living-off-the-land know-how, encouraged a whole generation to dream of dropping off the grid. By the ’80s the green dream had faded somewhat.

More substantially, I was curious about his main point, which is that European architecture is far ahead of the U.S. in its “green”-ness. At least, he makes a pretty convincing case that this is so. And in explaining why, he basically says that European governments have imposed efficiency standards, and the U.S. government has not.

The United States has no federal regulations that would guarantee a minimal level of sustainability in new construction — or spur an ecologically attuned approach to new architecture. The LEED guidelines, which were drawn up by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit group founded in 1993, are a voluntary program that is now more than a decade old. Even when they are adhered to — they’ve been adopted by a number of government agencies, most notably the General Services Administration, which oversees the construction of federal buildings — they still have little effect on the majority of commercial or residential construction. In most cases, the decision to make an efficient building still rests with the client.

Nobody likes to hear about government regulations as the solution to anything these days, and I’m sure that the various libertarian thought leaders out there have all taken shots at this and assured their followers that the profit motive conquers all, and rules would come at the expense of aesthetics and innovation, etc.

Sometimes, however, rules can inspire innovation, especially in creative fields. And on the aesthetic side, Ouroussoff not only doesn’t seem to see any problems with what rule-bound European architects have created, but indicates that they’ve moved beyond buildings that overtly look “green;” they just happen to fold efficiency into the creator’s other goals and vision.

One of the problems with the idea of eco-ness as a kind of feature that attracts supposedly trend-setting consumers is that it tends to stay too much front and center. Consider Ouroussoff’s critique of LEED standards, which have always struck me as a kind of marketing talking-point.

The guidelines often lead to a constricted idea of what sustainability means. “In Europe the guidelines tend to have to do with broader organizational ideas,” Thom Mayne, the founder of the Los Angeles-based architectural firm Morphosis, told me. “Energy consumption, the organization of the workplace, urbanism — they’re all seen as interlinked. Here, the whole focus is on how to get these points. You just check them off: bike racks, high-efficiency air-conditioning units.”

I don’t know if that’s fully accurate or hyperbole, but I found it pretty compelling. Here in Savannah, there’s a pro-green contingent that’s always talking about LEED certification. It sort of reminds me of schemes to “certify” various food products in various ways, culinating in a bright certificatoin logo, as a kind of competitive advantage at the retail shelf. The problem is, this reinforces the notion of ethics as a luxury, and makes the certified product almost certain to become a niche: People who care are attracted to this certification, people who don’t, aren’t. Wholesale change may occur eventually. But it may not.

Last night I went to a presentation unveiling the proposed new master plan for downtown development. One suggestion was offering financial incentives to builders and developers who choose to get LEED certification. That’s nice for possibly inspiring some piecemeal efficiency improvements. But I’m not so sure that’s the goal we should be aiming for.

links for 2007-05-24