whats plenti

I am captivated by ‘The Secret Lives of Fruits and Vegetables’, a recent still life series by photographer Maciek Jasik. The thick exteriors of produce are punctured, allowing vibrant smoke to spill out and billow into mysterious clouds of colour. The juxtaposition of hue is beautiful and each photograph creates a surreal, magical little world where one can truly believe that an eggplant or a carnival squash has a secret life beyond the grocery store bin.

As Maciek puts it, “until only very recently, each held its own mystique, mythology, symbolism and connection to the culture and afterlife… this series aims to reintroduce these mystical, invisible qualities to fruits and vegetables that have been lost amidst the clamor of nutritional statistics.” I don’t think I will ever look at produce the same way again (while remaining forever hopeful a little turquoise mist may appear during cooking prep…)

POSTED ON October 26, 2015

Someone needs to start a blog devoted to school design ASAP. That corner of architecture embraces innovative materials, intriguing shapes and vibrant colour like no other. Perhaps the school element allows one to shed any fear of the very bold and very colourful? Case in point: this gorgeous origami-inspired canopy by architect Julio Barreno Gutiérrez for Principe de Asturias school in Algodonales, southern Spain. The angular structure is designed to shade the playground from the elements and connect its two split levels. Thin sheets of folded steel feature a turquoise roof and hot pink ceiling -— an origami/colour match made in heaven that is equally stunning in daylight and twilight hours. I imagine this school is going to raise a whole generation of little creatives (who never want to leave recess)…

(spotted on/images via dezeen)

POSTED ON August 11, 2015

Becoming fully immersed in one single colour? Now that would be a rather extraordinary, surreal experience. London-based artist Davide D’Elia brings the dream to life in his “Antivegetativa” installation at Ex Elettrofonica gallery in Rome. The gallery interior is transformed into a ship hull, dramatically immersed in Tiffany Blue. Davide used ‘anti-fouling’ paint, a specialized coating applied to the hull of ships to slow the growth of harmful organisms. I particularly love his use of old paintings. Vintage portraits, landscapes and sea scenes were found in Rome junkyards, flea markets and antique shops and then placed throughout the space. That detail, and the way the heavy turquoise cuts right across the canvas, really makes the experience feel deeply immersive. Hmm, I’m getting some home decor ideas…

POSTED ON March 12, 2015

Who said a bank must be a dour structure, all layers of muddy tones and mutual fund advertisements? Judging from the bright, welcoming ambience of Sugamo Shinkin Bank’s Nakaaoki Branch, architect Emmanuelle Moureaux certainly doesn’t feel that way. The fourth branch designed by Moureaux for Japan-based Sugamo Shinkin (I wrote about another branch here), the building features cubes of varying depths with bold dashes of resin-based paint meticulously placed on sides or front pieces. Moureaux feels this makes the building “change expression” when viewed from different vantage points as the “colours appear in and out from the rhythmical repetition of cubes, dancing like musical notes playing a rainbow melody”. Plants like marigolds, lavender and olive trees mingle with the modern cube structure, highlighting the changing seasons. Even the teller windows feel enthusiastic! Now this is a bank I would linger at…

(spotted on/photographs via dezeen)

POSTED ON January 30, 2015

The most disturbingly long absence in the history of Plenty of Colour! Well, to be honest, 2014 didn’t have the robust number of posts I was shooting for overall. Thank you to those who kindly emailed me. Sometimes life gets in the way and one ends up with a pile of half-done posts. But, I am still as colour-obsessed as ever so upward and onward in 2015! And perhaps a blog overhaul too? Regardless, I think a great way to start the new year is with some beautiful packaging. Project Charisma is a a promotion project for Polytrade Paper designed by design studio BLOW. The showcase includes striking, simple cosmetic packaging — blocks of colour, clean type and downright beautiful metallic foils. A happy and colour-filled 2015 to you all!

POSTED ON January 12, 2015

There are few things I love more than design/art showing up in unexpected places, especially if those places are rather grubby or seemingly regular corners of our urban landscape (remember those paper crystals or that sublime neon tennis net?) Walter Hugo & Zoniel placed a giant glowing tank of jellyfish in a derelict building in Liverpool and the results are mesmerizing. At exactly 10:00pm each night, a gate on the abandoned building would lift, revealing the installation of dazzling blue. This piece is just so beautiful. I also love that the creative duo did not want to advertise their work but rather, let passers-by in the quiet neighbourhood just come across it. Talk about finding a piece of magic in an otherwise forgotten urban corner…

(spotted on/photographs via designboom where you can read more on the project)

POSTED ON September 19, 2014

I love this branding by Build for TypeCon 2014, an annual typography-focused conference (and largest of its kind in the US). This year’s theme was ‘Capitolised’ and the resulting typography is bold and so very handsome. The event took place in Washington, DC and I love the deconstructed, modern take on the American flag and its layering palette of red, white and blue. Also, any branding design with an embroidered patch has my heart…

POSTED ON September 3, 2014

Yesterday, I saw this image by Eva O’Leary and was captivated by what I thought was a painting of abstract sparkling lights. Nope. Instead, it is probably one of the most enchanting photographs you will ever see of a parking lot. There is magic (and beautiful light) everywhere. Eva’s shot instantly reminded me of a quote I love:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” — Roald Dahl

POSTED ON August 15, 2014

I was recently commissioned by Wired Magazine and the final piece is in print! Digital design and technology — I love them both but there is just something special about tactile craftsmanship (with no ability to hit “undo”!) A well-known feature of their masthead is a Wired logo made by hand and I was lucky enough to be asked to make one. I placed 3,228 steel pins by hand and sporadically painted some tops in shades of periwinkle, turquoise, chartreuse and crimson. My index finger is still quite numb three months later but it was a fabulous opportunity to explore tactile (and sharp) typography…

(design by chloé douglas; photographs 1 and 3 by catriana van rijn; thank you to wired art director paul rider)

POSTED ON August 12, 2014

Cassandra Warner and Jeremy Floto of studio Floto+Warner have a true talent for bringing striking colour to natural landscapes. Their 2012 coloured smoke series is simply lovely. Floto+Warner have a new similarly compelling series named “Colourant” featuring vibrant water-based liquids photographed mid-air at a speed of 1/3,200th of a second. The bold splashes are frozen, becoming complex sculptures of colour and gloss. The best part? No Photoshop was used in the making of these bright beauties…

POSTED ON June 24, 2014

It always amazes me how colour can instantly make things clear. From a product on a grocery store shelf to a famous work of art, colour has a dominant role in translating the visuals the bombard us daily from “huh?” to “oh, I recognize that!” Such an ability is apparent in this clever “Lego Masters” advertising campaign created by designer Marco Sodano (along with agency Geometry Global and creative director Kenny Blumenschein). Using the ubiquitous Lego blocks like pixels, iconic works of art are recognizable simply through their iconic colours and compositions. The dreamy sea-hues of van Gogh or deep warm browns of Mona Lisa — this campaign is a brilliant showcase of powerful palettes…

(art above: “self portrait” by vincent van gogh, “mona lisa” by leonardo da vinci, “american gothic” by grant wood and “the son of man” by rene magritte)

POSTED ON June 3, 2014

Regularly diligent colour posting has returned. Really. I promise! Lately, whenever I see a flower petal, I think about this stunning recent advertisement for Sony’s new 4k TV (a collaboration between agency McCann, director Jaron Albertin and photographer Nick Meek). The ad features 8 million real petals dusted across a small town in Costa Rica (to symbolize the 8 million pixels utilized by the new tv’s screen). It took two weeks for the team to collect all of the botanical pieces and set up surreal scenes of petals exploding out of a volcano, sprinkling across rooftops, sweeping down streets and pooling in big blocks of colour. The goal was to highlight the sharp display and colour capabilities of the 4k TV. Mission accomplished. I just love the first shot of an everyday street enveloped in vibrant petals. No CGI or robots are needed with imagery like that. There is something simply beautiful about such a purely handmade installation being used to advertise such a technical product. The best work seems to feature dedication to both (and a deep love for colour too)…


whats plenti

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PLENTY MORE opens the window even further onto the ever-expanding world of vegetables, grains and legumes.

Yotam and Ramael Scully share the secrets behind their most adored NOPI menus

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An all time fav would have to be Barley and Pomegranate salad, Soba noodles with aubergine and mango, and Swiss chard, chickpea and tamarind stew. and then there's the Mushroom and herb polenta.

The caramelised garlic tart, green pancakes with lime butter, cucumber salad with garlic & ginger, and green couscous are the highlights for me.

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