Art and Design

Quiet Storms by A Round Cube


Sometime ago, I was walking down my usual route and was captivated by a quaint store that stood out amongst the brick walls of Williamsburg. The storefront and its white exterior looked seemingly normal at first glance, inside with curtains draping on one end and a large potted plant on the other; glimmering under the afternoon sun, the name of the store “Quiet Storms” says otherwise. Upon entering, visitors are enveloped by silk curtains which are draped along the walls. In the center, an elongated table greets visitors while showcasing Quiet Storms' prized possessions – curated by shop owner Reshma Patel, each distinguished jewelry made by independent designers, tell a story. Geometric forms with a twist of German ingenuity. Delicate, yet bold, avant-garde designs from Copenhagen. Unique and quirky with a touch of surrealism from Madrid. I took my time looking at each piece, admiring its' subtle details and individuality – delicate, yet bold and unforgiving.

某日散步在Williamsburg街上,眼角瞄到一家以前沒見過的小店,白色絲綢配著紅絲絨抱枕,窗邊放著許多熱帶植物,抬頭看它的名字,金色的“Quiet Storms” 在午後太陽下在微微閃爍。走慣的街上新開了這個迷人的店,腳步不由自主著踏進去。白色絲綢環繞著店內的空間,俐落的擺設襯托著店裡的長桌,安靜的陳列著他們收藏的珠寶與飾品。走近看你會發現老闆Rashma Patel的用心,她挑選的珠寶都是來自世界各地的獨立珠寶設計師。來自德國,又圓又方的幾何搭配隱藏的結構。來自哥本哈根,精緻卻大方的前衛精神。來自馬德里,風趣中帶著超現實主義的自信。放慢腳步欣賞這些獨特的設計,你會逐項讀出每個不同的文化背景,購物的同時更有欣賞藝術作品一樣的樂趣。


Rashma's vision resonates with me whenever I see jewelry shops. As her passion for jewelry stems from her Indian heritage, she said that precious gems and metals are a significant part of her culture. Jewelry is timeless and deserves being given the appropriate stage to present itself. On the other hand, she wants Quality made approachable. The shop illustrates Rashma's vision perfectly – powerful yet tranquil, relaxed yet sophisticated, much like "Quiet Storms." To be honest, I have never been good with accessories. Bits just slip between my fingers (if not today then definitely tomorrow or the day after that); as such, its been a long time since I've kept jewelry. This time, however, I couldn't resist getting a pair of asymmetrical earrings and a ring, both of which I have never seen elsewhere. Quiet Storms brought back my affection in wearing jewelry; and as of now, the only place I'd go look for any.

現在每當我看見別家的珠寶陳列都會想到Rashma。從我們的聊天中發現對於出生印度背景的Rashma來說,珠寶不只是印度文化重要的一環,對他們而言更是傳承永恆的舞台。在珠寶被嚴肅的框住在奢華之中,她更希望透過獨到的擺設讓高品質珠寶更親名。這間屬於Rashma的角落完全詮釋了他的信念;力量中有平靜,輕鬆卻又嚴謹,在這樣的看似反差的信念卻又保持一種平衡,也就像他的名字一樣,“Quiet Storms — 寧靜的暴風雨”。

老實說我對於保管這種小精品非常的不在行,如果今天特別收好不讓它搞丟明天要戴時也還是會找不到,所以省得麻煩我不算是很愛戴飾品。這次很難得在Quiet Stroms買下ㄧ只戒指跟一對不等稱的耳環,都是我從未見過的設計。可以說Quiet Storms讓我拾起穿戴飾品的興趣,也是現在我可能唯一愛逛的飾品店。



Quiet Storms is pleased to introduce a limited edition ceramic and glass jewelry box in collaboration with design duo Keenan Polich. The jewelry box is about touching; the feeling of a round lid in hand, the smooth pocket inside, the sensory and sensual play between glass and ceramic. It is a reliquary designed around the daily ritual of wearing those most special pieces of jewelry.

Learn more on the design
Quiet Storms [Williamsburg]
142 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

RIP Ren Hang, 任航 by minghsi chou


中國攝影師及詩人任航2017年2月24日晚上離世,29歲不是正該開始瀟灑的年紀,除了遺憾還有種忿忿不平的情緒。任航用攝影記錄的時期,仍是前衛藝術家在體制下難以奔馳的年代,但他說他並非想挑戰體制,而是相信裸的事物即是現實。他的攝影作品風格強烈,都像在挑戰觀者不願公開或是壓抑的面目,VICE 雜誌的專訪中也曾說: "人們是裸體地進入世界的,所以我認為裸體就是人類最基本的狀態與樣貌。我在裸露的肉體中可以感受到人們存在的重量。

任航對攝影上的情感依賴,對世俗的無所寄託,這樣百無聊賴的輕挑與鬱鬱慵懶的氣場在作品裡都看得見。他的影像包圍在美麗卻也銳利的氛圍裡,充斥著裸露的肉體卻讓你感覺不到一絲色情,大膽運用人體的排列和自然合而為一。無論是他寫的短篇詩或是裸體影像,在他過世的今天看起來,更像在呼應著情慾是一種掙扎,生命則是一種即逝,如果誠實是一種美德,那任航無疑是曾盛開的璀璨。日本攝影師荒木經惟說過“相機裡擁有兩種慾望,一種是想拍攝的欲求和慾望,另一種是想要公諸於世,把祕密分享出去的慾望。” 任航透過攝影與文字,坦承的紀錄他面對世界那真實存在的每一幕構圖與每一段思想,向我們揭示著因慾望而無畏,生命中的不可承受之輕也許就是生命本身,因為在任航選擇從世界逃跑後的現在,我們再一次觀賞著他留下的影像,看見他對美的堅持與才華更深深體會到他留下生命的重量。

The acclaimed Chinese photographer and poet, Ren Hang, took his life at the age of 29. For an age so young and full of life, he has left us with feelings of remorse and unease. Ren transformed photography by transforming the human body — no part was safe from his subversion. Testicles stretched, breasts morphed, disembodied heads floated in bathtubs. Though his models were always naked, often adorned with snakes, flowers, fish, peacocks, or fruit, I have never actually found Ren’s work to be all that illicit. Instead, each image was like a boiled down essence of creative joy and extreme intimacy — a playful rethinking of sex and the human form. 

Ren's active times is still an era in China where freedom of expressions are challenged, and provocative messages are condemned. His photos have caused him to be arrested and banned from showings. Ren continued to insist, his desire to capture such moments stemmed from a natural impulse, rather than an intention to shock; he believes that being naked brings him closer to reality. In an interview with VICE magazine, he stated, "nude is how we came into the world, so I believe nudity is the nature of our state and being. Within bare skin and flesh, it is as if he can feel the weight of each and one of us." Ren's photography and poetry express what is considered to him, authentic compositions of being and life. Looking through his lens, we are obliged to experience the breadth of living. 










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任航, Ren Hang

In Anxious anticipation by A Round Cube


Kinfolk is known for its minimal editorial spreads with a poetic twist, to me what's more behind these polished images is that it always trigger questions, engaging the reader in a dialogue and savors the subtleties of life. 

Ever accidentally cracked an egg? Or having to be super careful wearing white but always manages to get stained? For Kinfolk's Adrenaline Issue — In Anxious Anticipation, photographer Aaron Tilly and Director Kyle Bean were asked to recreate that moment of tension, right before something terrible is about to happen, making one's toes press and holds the breath. 

The project emphasizes the curious relationship between what the mind perceives and how the body reacts, and are we born with such awareness or is it adapted by learning from society standards. Overall, Aaron Tilly and Kyle Bean successfully created these moments of apprehension through simple set ups and bold colors, and “whether we’re readying ourselves for the start of an event or just imagining ourselves partaking in it, the buzz of nervous anticipation is sometimes as satisfying as the reward at the end.”

Kinfolk一直是我閒暇時就會想拿來翻一翻的獨立雜誌, 與其說他是一本極簡主義的漂亮雜誌, 它更像是會對讀者提問, 與讀者一同參與思考的慢生活交談紀錄。

有沒有過不小心打破雞蛋的經驗?或是每次穿白色衣服前都說要特別小心卻總是吃飯時會噴到醬汁?In Anxious Anticipation這一系列的攝影作品是由佈景設計師Kyle Bean與攝影師Aaron Tilley一起製作的。這些圖像都有一個共通點, 就是能讓你在看的時候會不自覺的屁股小小夾緊、拳頭稍稍用力。

不管是人類學家或是心理學家常常都會互相辯論, 到底我們一生下來就具備著感知能力, 還是後天環境與文化的累積使我們有了與外界互動的經驗?總之Kyle Bean與Aaron Tilley重現了幾個會讓你捏把冷汗的時刻, 透過簡單的擺設, 俐落大方的色塊背景, 讓讀者參與這些心跳加快的瞬間。

 “Often just the thought of what if? can be as potent as the act itself, and the thrill of the chase may occasionally be more powerful than
the real deal.”

Jordan Kushins 
(writer of Kinfolk's In Anxious Anticipation)

Waterscape by minghsi chou


If I were to live in an aquarium I think I'd be like Gill, the Moorish Idol from Finding Nemo who tries to escape every day. But not if I get to swim around in one of Haruka Misawa's reinvented fish bowl, it is a whole different story. I'd imagine the fish walking the land, asked an interior designer to customize a very own apartment, I could temporarily forget about the beauty of the ocean and enjoy being a metropolis fish.

如果我是隻被養在水族箱裡的魚,我可能會像Finding Nemo裡面的鐮魚吉哥Gill,每天想著要如何逃出水族箱。直到看到了日本設計師三澤遥設計的Waterscape,有種我是隻站在岸上的魚,請室內設計師量身打造一間現代公寓,可以暫時能忘記海洋的美好,做一隻都市金魚吧。


Haruka Misawa has unveiled an innovative new world for pet fish with Waterscape. The brilliance of these works from Misawa is his creative utilization of buoyancy versus gravity, and with 3D printed structures inspired by the natural environment, he houses both pet fish and aquatic plant life to thrive. Designing the "air bubbles" that floats in the middle of a filled tank or a "water dome" that is able to stay filled surrounded by air; creating layers within layers, space within space. 

Watching the curious little fish explore their new environments, we have to wonder if they are thanking Misawa for finally saving them from the tacky, kitsch fish bowls of the past as they are invited to swim into these newly renovated homes designed just for them.

Waterscape這一系列的作品裡,三澤遥利用3D列印成功的創造出極簡化的自然風景, 除了打破人們對於傳統水族箱已有的形態, 更是有技巧的利用了地心引力和浮力將空氣帶入水中之後製造的空間,讓藻類與魚群都能自由地在這空間裡穿梭。三澤遥在僅有的空間裡建構出另一個空間,在這小小的生態系統裡增添多樣化的層次。


Waterscape, 2015
Designed by Haruka MISAWA
All images courtesy of misawa design institute.

Studio Visit: Building Block by A Round Cube


For those who seek out innovative fashion accessories, Building Block's playful yet, conceptual approach towards design reshapes one's perception of what a product can offer. As basic geometric shapes are utilized architecturally, each Building Block product embodies the core of design -  one is prompt to consider subtle details which are integrated in each component of a piece. Curiously, wooden elements and leather tassels counterbalance the products sophistication, making them approachable and refreshing. Below are some of the brand's most seen collections, stocked throughout United States and popular in Japan.

這次西岸之旅其中最期待的就是參觀位於洛杉磯的Building Block設計工作室。如果平常喜歡閱覽雜誌或注意最近流行動態的話應該對於以下包包的款式風格並不陌生,掀起幾何圖形潮流,讓配件又方又正,又扁又圓等的風格,其中要歸功于Building Block。從他們的名字 (意思是"積木"或"堆積木") 名字就能了解到他們崇尚最基本的結構,不做多餘的點綴,凸顯最原始"堆積木"的道理利用正方體, 錐體, 圓柱體等型狀去做設計。搭配上他們署名的木/皮製流蘇吊飾,簡單個性又風趣,在生活中增添靈感。除了紅遍歐美在日本也相當受歡迎,以下是他們的經典款式。我個人也是購入了好幾款,走到哪詢問度最高的包包喔!

"Building Block is a multi-medium design studio based in Los Angeles, established in 2011. The intent of each product is to clear away conventional standards of luxury by magnifying what is essential and editing out excess. Through the exploration of utilitarian materials + forms, Building Block suggests a minimalist alternative to accessories, finding continual inspiration in returning to square one."

by the sisters behind Building Block, Kimberly and Nancy Wu.

IKO IKO  |  Building Block
3F, 1727 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012