Thursday, January 16, 2020

CTEPEO '57, High Seating & Yusaku Kamekura

Weekly Update 2020-03: Music filled with 1950s space conspiracies from CTEPEO '57, the perils of high top table seating in restaurants and a look back at Osaka's EXPO 1970 branding from Yusaku Kamekura.

Music: CTEPEO '57
From the website for Tartelet Records:
The 1950s was a decade of mystery and hoaxes; the cold war, the space race and the establishment of NASA. CTEPEO ’57 insists the cold war isn’t over and claim that Russian astronauts landed on Mars in the late 90s to discover something truly amazing... It all seems far-fetched but who cares when they make music like this.
A little silly, a little serious. Germany's Max Graef and Muff Deep are CTEPEO '57. This is the deep house music I really love, with beats rhythmically moving along and transforming at a steady pace. The odd bout of a flute solo or otherwise weird sound effect will creep in and settle into a dusty corner of your brain for a minute, but don't worry. It'll soon vanish just as fast.

Best enjoyed with a cup of tea. Sadly, five tracks are all we get on Spotify.

Yes, the double-drumming weeks have begun again. I hearken back to the fall of 2016 when I was learning repique, the last time I attended both weekly Wednesday and Sunday practices. Now, we'll be heading to play Carnaval in only a few short weeks, I cannot believe it's really happening.

I also met up with an old BrainStation student last week to discuss her possible career change into UX design. I'm really excited to see a student make this transition (especially from such a different industry - finance, of all things).

When it rains, it pours. Alongside double-drumming, I'm starting a new BrainStation semester next week. This week I'll meet my new associate instructor Tamira before we head to the 2020 instructor kickoff session.

And, this weekend, I cannot contain my excitement because it's finally my favourite time of winter. No, certainly not Christmas time, my favourite wintertime tradition is Toronto's Design Week, specifically the DesignTO Festival. Window displays, studio tours, artist and designer talks, and various forms of soul-filling galavanting shall take place oner the next couple of weeks.

On Friday I'm heading to Gladstone Hotel to wander the halls and rooms of this year's Come Up To My Room, and then over to Artscape Youngplace for a smattering of DesignTO displays. Sunday is the big Queen West crawl, and then a really cool glassblowing seminar at Artscape Wychwood Barns. Monday will be the King East Design District Crawl, and Tuesday I get to choose between TWO talks happening in Liberty Village - truly one of the few cool things about working in Liberty.

Whysoever does DesignTO get me so excited to walk around in the cold and peek into windows of (often) closed storefronts in the dead of winter, you may ask? Nothing gives me a sense of joy like something that has been crafted with thought and care. To have made deliberate decisions to affect the outcome and experience that people will have when they interact with something one has made, that is the skill and art of design. Not only is that my vocation of course, but it also simply makes me happy to witness good design. It fills my soul in a way no other thing can. And now I get to celebrate it for two whole weeks with like-minded people! My dream.

Random Thought: High Seating
Imagine you're coming into a restaurant from the wintery Toronto streets, only to realize you didn't have the foresight to make a reservation. The place seems quite busy, and you ask the host sheepishly if they have room for two walk-ins. Your answer comes in the form of a question, "Is a high-top okay?" This question is usually accompanied with an apologetic look on the host's face, as if to say, "I'm sorry to even offer you this Sophie's choice of a high-top table or forcing you back out into the night."

Well, let's not get dramatic here. A high-top table is certainly not the end of the world (especially when there is no other option) but this host's not-so-hypothetical face only confirms that restaurant staff agree with me (and most likely you) that high-top tables do not make for a great dining experience. I suppose because I'm on the shorter side I experience this more acutely, but the high chairs are always awkward to get onto and off of, you can't scoot in your chair once you're sitting, the balance can be more challenging (it certainly isn't easier), and I haven't even mentioned their accessibility (or lack thereof) for people who use walkers or wheelchairs. They're a minor nuisance at best, and inaccessible at worst.

Here's the real kicker, though. I'd understand to some small extent that these would be the "last resort" for walk-ins such as in my earlier hypothetical, to make better use of spaces where normal height tables couldn't fit, except that in most restaurants these high top tables and chairs take up the exact same floorspace! Why not just put a normal darn table there and call it a day?

Inspiration: Yusaku Kamekura
Ever since my trip to Osaka in September, my excitement for the World Expo has been reignited. It was a bittersweet moment on a free walking tour through Dotombori when I found out that Toronto would not be hosting the expo in 2025 as we had dreamed back in 2015, but indeed Osaka itself had won the bid. Since around 2016 when John Tory pulled our bid out of the race that my dreams were initially dashed, so I definitely have room to be happy about Osaka. In fact, it was my favourite city of the trip and I am starting to formalize plans to visit again for the huge event.

Okay, so what does this have to do with my inspiration for the week? I was wondering if there had been any development on the branding for the event, especially since 2020's Dubai World Expo is already well underway. Nothing yet, but I did find something from the past...

This poster encapsulates everything I love about the World Expo. Abstract, but with a sense of unity, growth and dynamism. It's also a wonderful nod to the amazing graphic happenings of the 1960s when bold colours and lines dominated poster design. 

I can't wait to see what sort of branding emerges for the 2025 Expo, and whether the designer will tip their hat to the work of Kamekura. What a shame they didn't win the bid only one expo earlier - to return to Osaka exactly fifty years after the first time. Oh well, fifty-five years is just as good.

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