Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LA Priest, Biomimicry & Tsumori Chisato

Weekly Update 2018-04: Strange and wonderful tunes from Late of the Pier's LA Priest, what we can learn from nature's design systems and the loud, bright fashions of Tsumori Chisato.

Music: LA Priest
I originally found LA Priest in my SoundCloud days of 2016/2017, but the project has made a resurgence after being featured in an episode of HBO's High Maintenance. As a solo project of Late of the Pier's lead singer Samuel Eastgate, LA Priest's solitary LP Inji packs quite a punch. It's a little disco, a little love song, and a little bit of something I can't really name. Mixing strange recordings into musical sounds that blend with hypnotic lyrics, Eastgate makes music that is unique and extremely ear-catching. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Favourite songs include Oino, Lorry Park and Learning to Love.
After what was probably a ten-year hiatus from skating, I somehow convinced myself (and three friends) to check out a free concert by Bahamas at the Harbourfront ice rink this weekend. The draw of good music lured me into a false sense that my skating lessons from fifteen years ago would come back to me, which they didn't. But thanks to the friend-based support, I managed to pick up my confidence and speed to become someone who actually might...enjoy skating?! I'm as surprised as you. I still haven't made it to the Bentway to skate yet, but that's definitely next up in my skating aspirations.

It's also officially been three months since I started my new job, which means I have the glorious super power of employer-provided benefits. In celebration, I booked an eye appointment at a new optometrist down the street from my work. We've been grooming a lot of user stories for a project at work which means being able to read small text on a screen at the other end of a boardroom, so I'm definitely overdue to have my prescription changed.

As promised last week, I attended no less than five events as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, each of which was better than the previous. It was definitely worthwhile to organize my schedule ahead of time, as I don't think I absorbed nearly as much culture in years previous. Highlights included the yearly stroll down Queen to see all the window displays (in the blustering snow, no less) and a studio tour of Geary Avenue that ended with a very cool chat with the architects of Partisans - a groundbreaking architectural firm making global waves.

Of course, the week would not be complete without a full rundown on my blog, so look out for a TODO post this week sometime.

In addition, I acquired a small dresser that I hope will continue my plight in life organization. The challenge is to figure out how to use it.

Random Thought:
It's no secret that I love 99% Invisible. Their collaboration with Vox Media to create teachable moment videos is really quite interesting. Especially the topic of biomimicry - the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems - is becoing increasingly important to grasp as we move into the 21st century. Check it out below:

~7 min long.

I found the idea of the food chain as nature's upcycling particularly inspiring. Designers truly have so much to learn from nature. Biomimicry tends to feel like good design because it's based on a system that is already attuned to human need (and of course the needs of the entire ecosystem beyond just needy humans). I like to think that the solutions to the world's wicked problems can be found in patterns and systems of nature. Whether it's basing the shape of a train car off that of the beak of a kingfisher or developing paint that, when dry on a wall, contains the same self-cleaning properties as lotus leaves, there's so much that nature has to offer us.

Inspiration: Tsumori Chisato
A native of Saitama, Japan, Tsumori Chisato found her fashion niche in pattern and whimsy after working for the legendary Issey Miyake. Her aesthetic focuses on prints and has a "healthy dose of manga/bohemian cuteness".

Cruise/Resort Collection 2013.

Fall 2016.

Spring 2013.

I love the bright colours and power clashing patterns of her work. 

The way I came across Chisato is almost as interesting a story as her designs themselves: I was sitting on the subway, and noticed a woman for her brightly coloured clothing. This drew me to see that she was reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, which I remember as being quite an intense and magnetic book. I resolved not to bother the woman to ask about her truly gorgeous and unique coat, so as not to ruin her read, but after about two stops of staring at the coat, I cracked. She told me that the original designer was, of course, our dear Chisato (she had to say it three times slowly for me to get it right), but also intimated to me that she purchased this counterfeit version of the coat on Japanese eBay. Fashion for the masses!

Check out Tsumori Chisato's website.

Chisato herself.

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