ROLU v Habitat, Counterform, Rubber Hosing, Automatic Martian, Shed Extrusions

Habitat's original (pre-Graphic Thought Facility-home-is-where-the-heart-is) logo—two chairs facing; a table in between; a lamp overhead; shoehorned into walls and a roof—embedded itself alongside David Pelham's 'A Clockwork Orange' bookjacket as my first early 70s unwitting foretaste of a 'graphic image'. I dither over distinctions but prefer to think of it as an ideogram, because it encapsulated my parents' move from Victorian terraced Liverpool childhoods to a early marriage teak unit(y). The catalogues had genuine power in offering an idea of a life. I remember thinking of it in the same way as an early sighting of 'Mr. and Mrs. Clarke and Percy'. Anyway, it's ripped for this drawing as I continue to work with and on ideas for ROLU's chairs– this one 'Neu Ulm'. Some formal commonality placed these chairs in this Habitat space, which is drawn from flawed memory.

An essential quality of the Habitat logo, is the equidistant hemisphere of negative space that houses the dining arrangement in its, well, habitat. Counterform is the riding factor in much of my thinking about image and pattern, coming out of typography of course. I'm creeping the chairs into these speedy drawings in order to stockpile formulae for print, appliqué and embroidery onto fabric. Other themes will come into play but here I just wanted to go for the woodgrain that Matt so carefully orientates on each facet, when in ply. Certain chairs are also available in OSB and this drawing is one of a stack of very fast fillings of an A4, looking at, then away from, the Weetabixy surface to get some sort of abstraction.

So I liked the idea of the house hugging the chair. Led by the chair. The lean-to nature of ROLU's '+' Chair made for an italic house. Interestingly, the lean is just over 12º, the angle Adrian Frutiger suggests as correct for an italic typeface variant, in my current reading of Signs, Symbols: Their Design and Meaning (did he really design the late-90s edition's edition's jacket?).

After a long time away from it, I've revisited automatic writing as an inspiration too; here, for another take on OSB.

This automatic transcription of 'Martian' by the psychic—and muse to André Breton—Hélène Smith, precludes a further post on the subject and also links to a very interesting short piece of radio listened to last night, which featured Ingebord Brun's early C20th handpainted globes of Mars.

On the comic, elastic thought. Just discovered that the period and style of animation I've discussed before, best represented by Max Fleischer, has a name: rubber hose. Brilliantly summed up by the term.

Stills from Walt Disney Studios' The Plow Boy (1929), via.

Back on the tight-fitting house. Allan Wexler's Vinyl Milford (1994), with extrusions to house each archetypal piece of furniture, with the possibility of an empty room as result.

1 comment:

silver said...

Inspiring post. I've been looking to Habitat catalogues of that era for years - as sources of inspiration, trying to decode what it is about them i find so meaningful, so poignant. Your sentence - 'The catalogues had genuine power in offering an idea of a life' - totally nails it. Thank you!