Monday, August 27, 2007

Day 38 7/9/07

Cannot believe this trip is over! Today we leave London from Heathrow airport to head back to Philadelphia. I'm definitely excited to see my family and friends and get my summer started. This trip has undoubtedly brought some of us much closer together in VC, and I wouldnt trade this experience for the world. I know I'll be back to this side of the pond someday soon..

Day 37 7/8/07

Well, we leave London tomorrow, so today was the day to pack everything up and make sure the flat was fee-proof. I think we did a pretty fine job of keeping the place clean for the most part, minus the kitchen. Tomorrow we'll leave for the airport and head back to the states!

Day 36 7/7/07

Rather than go to Hyde Park, we decided to lay low at the flats and catch some rest after our long stay in Wimbledon. We're still a bit on edge, so we kept it safe today.

Day 35 7/6/07

At around 4am, a homeless man entered our tent to take shelter from the cold (that's how good our tent was), and while Laurel tried to wake me, I simply wasn't having it. All was well by 6am, when the stewards woke us and told us it was time to deconstruct our tent and begin to queue up once again to make our way to the courts. The process was formal and organized, and at 11am we had our Court 1 tickets. The happy campers were in, and we received the first 8 tickets, as well as the first 8 queue cards. Our seats were really great, and the NRK reporters found us in the stands to complete their interview. We were lucky enough to see two 5 game matches between Bagdadis and Djokovich, and Roddick and Gasquet. Wimbledon was really the best way to top off this stay in London, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Day 34 7/5/07

Today we queued up for Wimbledon. Typically, the VCUK group queues up together, but this year it was optional. Ten of us made it to Wimbledon by noon. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the rain had delayed all of the matches, and there was a good chance of us getting some great tickets. We were extremely early, and after a couple of hours we had our own steward giving us updates on the matches. Even though we lost two queuers, we became a Wimbledon phenomenon, known as the "happy campers." The rain and winds threatened us all day, and we pitched a world class tent on the sidewalk. The floors were made of cardboard, with a blue tarp for a roof. The walls were also cardboard, taped to a metal fance against the street. We even carefully constructed a rain trench. In the evening, two reporters from Norwegian news station, NRK, showed up to interview us. Throughout the evening, thin blankets and red wine kept us warm..or not warm. In fact, I've never been so cold in my life.

Day 33 7/4/07

Happy 4th of July! Today we had a farewell luncheon at a fantastic Greek restauran, Lemonia. This was the most delicious meal - all 5 courses. What a nice way to end the trip with everyone here. We toasted to everyone, thankful that the entire group made it back from their break safely. Thanks to Ashley and Bill for putting a great trip together. Jen was kind enough to supply the wine with our meals as well. Afterwards, we walked up to Strawberry Hill for a group photo with London in the distance.

Day 32 7/3/07

Free Day. Talking with the parents, letting them know that everything is alright over here. Seems as though we will not be leaving early, and we'll carry on as usual. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't.

Day 31 7/2/07

After some necessary relaxation, and some terror action in London and Scotland, we're back in the swing of things. Off to Studio Morag Myserscough. Morag is really hip. She's the designer of the RCA show. She let us hang out in her place for awhile, and showed us her apartment which has received accolades for its design. Her life is busy and completely caters to graphic design. This is not something I think I would be able to do, but seems necessary to reach her level of success. She's also a fine example of a strong female figure making her way in the design world, something that has always been a subject of much conversation.

Day 30 7/1/07

Not sure where to start on my Dublin trip. I'll say this: leaving London to go to any city will be a downgrade in some way. Now, I'm not being negative, but Dublin was a pretty rough city. The funny thing is, my photos make it look really nice, and I guess it does look pretty nice. The people were kind of the problem. It seems that Dublin is full of brawlers and drunks, really. I suppose the hostel we stayed in didn't help matters much, because it was more like a homeless shelter. We were stalked by a strange man named Mario. See Eric's video blogs. I have no regrets about going to Dublin. I'm not sure if I will be back, but I'm glad I went! Hands down, the coolest thing we did there was go to the Guinness factory at St. James' Gate. The Guinness in Dublin is unlike any Guinness I've ever had. It's delicious.

Day 29 6/30/07

Return from Dublin.

Day 28 6/29/07


Day 27 6/28/07

In Dublin.

Day 26 6/27/07

Stanley Kubrick archive

This place looks like the Space Odyssey. Really incredible archive, encompassing his massive collection of material from his entire career. This man was really well organized, keeping everything labeled and in boxes. Currently everything is being researched for use in a documentary about his life.

Leaving for Dublin. Five day break begins.

Day 25 6/26/07

Letterpress workshop with Alex Cooper

Alex is a letterpress machine. We tested his godlike skills today. You see, we teamed up to make posters in their nice letterpress workshop. We would mark a bullseye on a piece of paper and challege Alex to hit it, and he did every time - dead on. Good thing we weren't placing bets. My group included Eric, Jesse, Anthony, and Martin. Our poster reads something like, "Fresh Meat ; Plastic" which is a combination of headlines cut out of local newspapers. We tried to replicate the texture of meat and plastic using different printing techniques, such as printing with wood type, plastic type, transparent and opaque inks. I think we were pretty successful in the end, and I learned a ton about letterpress. It's not the guessing game I once thought it was.

Day 24 6/25/07

London College of Communication

The LCC show. Another seriously impressive undergrad show. These shows really make you reflect on what you're doing back at school. There were a lot of exhibition projects, where an entire space was designed (on small scale) in every aspect. This included the way you walk through a space and the sounds you hear. This show was a lot about the designer controlling the full experience of something rather than just the way it looks. There's a lot of research in the projects they did. My favorite was the project on how to queue up for Fabric, a famous nightclub in London. They had free books at the show featuring the work, and that's something I'd like to bring to our year end show at Delaware. There's no reason our shows can't be as impressive as the ones here!

Day 23 6/24/07

No visits today.

Day 22 6/23/07

It's the weekend and Bill gave us money to go to the theater. We're unsure where we'll go, but for now there's a lot of London to see.

Day 21 6/22/07

Richard Kindersley

Today we visited the stonecarver we'd been hearing about for years. This seems like a dead craft, but it is very alive in Richard Kindersley's workshop. They meticulously carve massive stones, some very tall. It is incredible how they can so accurately carve type on these hard stones without making a mistake. Most of the letters are carved in a V cut, and the process changes depending on serif or sans-serif letterforms. It is good to know that there are still people keeping old crafts like this alive, because they look and feel so much better than anything machine made.

Day 20 6/21/07

Not much going on today so we explored the city a bit.

Day 19 6/20/07

Well we managed to get completely lost after a tube delay, so we missed the Satwinder Sehmi talk. Luckily, Sehmi visited Delaware last year and we got a chance to meet with him. Eye magazine was split into two groups, so that meant we screwed the whole day up. We will have to make sure we leave earlier from now on.

Day 18 6/19/07

Back at Marymount College, we met Kerry William Purcell. He's written for Baseline and authored a few books by Phaidon as well. Purcell spoke to us about Alexey Brodovich, and how he's researched his life and career. While he is not a graphic designer himself, Purcell spoke to us on how you don't have to actually design to be a credible writer on design. Like any other discipline, design can be researched and written about. Currently, he's working on a massive design history book for Phaidon, and I look forward to its release, although it may take awhile.

Day 17 6/18/07

Serpentine Galleries, RCA Show

Not a very large show, but the space there is really nice. There were some really nice projections there, and a nice little book shop out back. I picked up a great pop-up book for my sister here. It's called One Red Dot.

The RCA show was totally overwhelming, in a good way. This show was simply packed. It was mostly about industrial design. There was jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and even automotive design on display. Most impressive was their execution. The products looked like finished pieces. RCA students must have some wonderful facilities at their disposal.

Day 16 6/17/07

Didn't do much today. Hung out, walked around the city a little and bought some t-shirts in the market.

Day 15 6/16/07

It's our first free weekend. We boarded another train out of Victoria, and headed up to Kent. We made our way to Leeds Castle, another huge building on a gorgeous estate. It's even surrounded by a moat. There's an exotic bird collection there, which included a toucan. Laurel and I got lost in the hedge maze, while the rest of the group laughed at us from the watch tower. We stayed at Leeds until the last train left, and I wish we could have hung out in the countryside longer. It was nice to get out of the busy city for a few hours.

Day 14 6/15/07

We nearly missed the bus out of Victoria Station to head out to Baseline Magazine in East Mulling. The magazine is located on a sprawling estate, and Hans Dieter Reichert (founder) was more that welcoming. After enjoying a nice brunch in their dining room, they presented the magazine to us, and let our group explore the building. Baseline is a special magazine. It's not a throwaway by any means. The printing is very high quality, and on a few different kinds of paper. If you are a subscriber, you even get the jacket which also serves as a poster. Baseline is most known for their experimental type treatment. After the talk, we were able to purchase any of the backed issues, so we did.

Day 13 6/14/07

This morning we visited Abbey Road. I picked up some Beatles stamps (designed by Michael Johnson) for Dad. We hung out for awhile and the group snapped their crosswalk photos. I've always wanted to see Abbey Road. The wall against the street in front of the Abbey Road recording studio continues to be a tribute to the Beatles to this day. Some of the group went off to a Graham Fink talk. We decided to check out a Lotus dealership and also visit the Jeff Koonz gallery. That totally blew me away. He manages to capture digital artifacts in his paintings, and they look photoshopped.

Day 12 6/13/07

Today we viewed a show entitled, "Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years." I really enjoyed this show. It was not afraid to display the most controversial work of the time that was really pushing the envelope. I'm a fan of Robert Mapplethorpe, and some of his less well known photography, which isn't very graphic in nature, was actually very nice. I was most drawn to Basquiat's work however, which is closely linked to the emergence of graffiti art.

Later on, we listened to Ron Sheppard, the owner of Faulkner's, a book binding supplier.

Day 11 6/12/07

Johnson Banks, Pepper Tree

Note: Michael Johnson was playing Korn when we walked in the door. He has a really great studio there. I think the goal someday is to have a nice studio and work barefoot. Johnson presented some work for Save the Children, as well as the branding for the British Film Institute, a logo that I've seen all over London. So far this trip is defying ideas that I had about the use of certain imagery, such as lens flares. The rules are different here, and it goes to show that there is probably a good use for everything.

Day 10 6/11/07

The British Library blew me away. The Sacred Collection defies description. Listening to the Beatles while reading the original lyrics written on a napkin was an entirely new experience. They had the stamps that started the American Revolution, the Gutenburg Bible, the original Alice in Wonderland, Canterbury name a few.

Turns out, Central St. Martins is visible from the window in our flat. Catherine Dixon and Phil Baines gave us an interesting talk on some work they did for Penguin Books.

Peter Saville. Not sure where to start really. This has been the best talk so far, and I'd be hard pressed to say any others will top this. I think I'll save this part of the blog for my 2 page paper.

Day 9 6/10/07

Today's a free day, so we rode the London Eye - the really ferris wheel. I cringed at spending $50 to ride a ferris wheel, but it was worth it. Afterwards we crossed the Thames and walked around by the government buildings and Big Ben. This city is really starting to wear on me. It's so much nicer than New York in a lot of ways. It's cleaner, has better architecture, somewhat nicer people, and a lot of style.

Day 8 6/9/07

Design Museum, Borough Market, and the Tate Modern.

We were pleasantly surprised at the Design Museum. We arrived to see an exhibit on the famous designer, Collani. Of course the man sitting down with a cup of coffee, wearing all white (white leather shoes, pants, ridiculous shirt) was Collani himself. He graciously gave us a tour of his exhibit. I was drawn to the Testarossa he rebodied in the 80's to set some high speed records. Afterwards, I had a nice talk with him about his collaboration with John Lingenfelter to build a new Corvette based supercar. I'll be on the lookout for that one.

I'll be back to Borough Market for sure. It's an outdoor food market made of stands set up by people from around the world. They bring their fresh foods to sell just two days a week, and all of it was delicious. For lunch, we tried boar sausage sandwiches, and it was surprisingly good.

The Tate Modern is my favorite museum so far. Modern art from this era is really my favorite. They featured a lot of pop-art, obviously Warhol and many others. It was really overwhelming, so we decided to come back another time to try to absorb all of it. The problem with a museum this good is that it's hard to appreciate all of the amazing art.

Day 7 6/8/07

Stonehenge. If you ask Busty, he'll tell you the stones were dropped there by aliens. I like to think they're big soccer (football) goals. Whatever they are, they're awe inspiring. We missed the sunset because of the clouds, but it didn't matter much. Stonehenge was totally amazing to see and stand inside of. Definitely an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Day 6 6/7/07

The British Museum. The Rosetta Stone, the Magna Carta, a statue from Easter Island..I could go on. Everyone should see this museum. Definitely have a nice fever going this week.

Like an idiot, I missed the talk at Greyworld. I heard this was the best talk so far. Cool.

Day 5 6/6/07

Pentagram. Where do I begin. Well, this is really the place to be. Pentagram is the biggest and the best. They've really got it together. If I ever own a business, it will be based on their business model - Pentagram partners. They had some really nice solutions for high profile clients like Saks, Nike, and my favorite, Eat.. Pentagram has a great reputation, and as a result, clients trust them with their business. Their solutions are simple, make a lot of sense, and seem like the only way to solve that problem.

Saatchi & Saatchi. I can only compare this visit to the large agencies I've visited in New York. Most noticeable is the difference between tv ads in different parts of the world. The spots here are generally shorter, and more lenient in their content. I'm beginning to think I don't want to pursue advertising, however. Kate Stanners is a fox.

Day 4 6/5/07

Great learning experience today. We attended a lecture by Phillip Fimmano from Studio Edelkoort in Paris. It's part of Trend Union, the dictator of everything that's really "in" this season. I hope Bill didn't get the wrong impression today, but we were really unimpressed with what Trend Union does. By the end of the talk, the things Phillip had to say combined with his ridiculous slide show had us laughing uncontrollably. Trend Union may be an evil empire, but I value this talk because I now know to be cautious of what company I work for some day.

Day 3 6/4/07

Today we met at Marymount College's student center in London. This will be our new home base if we need anything. We met with Bill and Ashley for some London briefing, and a police officer scared us a bit. I'll carry my wallet in my front pocket for the remainder of this trip.

The V&A museum was really impressive. The surrealism exhibit was incredibly extensive. I'd say I was most interested in the Dali paintings, especially this one very large triptych that I got lost in for a few minutes. I tried to take photos there, but I was warned that I'd lose my camera if I tried again.

Day 2 6/3/07

We landed, and arrived at the flats by 11am. They're pretty amazing - wood floors, 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen, living/dining room, like 3 bathrooms, and a great view of the city. As Eric put it, point to the center of the map, and point to the center of that. That's 31 Southampton Row, and we're in Flat C on the top floor. So far, we ate at a shady chicken place that wasn't too welcoming of us Americans. I'm sure we'll figure it out soon enough. Car sightings this first day include: Mclaren SLR 722, many F430's, F360's, Vantages and DB7's, GranSports, Bentleys, a few Rolls Phantoms, Porsches, Murci's...good day.

Day 1 6/2/07

Our plane left Philadelphia Int'l Airport at 8:55pm. For the first time I was a little nervous to fly overseas given political tensions, but all is well. British Airways is a great airline. I listened to the Beatles (how appropo) on the monitor in the seat in front of me, and drank some altitude assisted Carlsberg. This entry ends on the flight.