CHINA, CHINA, CHINA

Origami roosters celebrating Year of a Rooster 2017

Everybody talks about China. How much do I know about China? What are the first associations I have with the country?

It is a big piece of land with an old history and a massive world population. They love their food and they live to work. The country had its cultural revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong where the traditional art, craft and literature had to be destroyed to create new, equal society. So far, for years anything that was ‘Made in China’ meant poor quality and mass production. It’s kind of still the case … Today everyone wants to trade with China, some even see the country as an economic and military threat.

I really wasn’t sure will I have enough to write about before I started my research on Chinese design. How wrong was I! Seems, I have found material for a string of posts.

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Ai WeiWei is Chinese most famous, provocative, contemporary, multidisciplinary artist and an activist. The guy is a living legend, went through a lot of hardship dealing with Chinese authorities. His work reflects on social issues with an emphasis on violations of human rights. He has a great compassion to most vulnerable people.

Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris
Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris

 

Le Bon Marche department store in Paris, featured in January 2016, Ai WeiWei exhibition called ‘Child’s Play’ a creation of mythological creatures using an old technique that involves stretching silk or paper over bamboo frames. The exhibition was inspired by Chinese antiquity legends and fairy tales, written by Shan Hai Jing.

Sadly, the artist could not read the stories as a child as it was totally forbidden at the time in China. During Mao Zedong ruling the intellectual property had to be destroyed with an idea of creating a different society. Society cut off from the past, roots, traditions, arts and crafts.

‘CHILD’S PLAY’ EXHIBITION

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‘LAUNDROMAT’ EXHIBITION

The exhibition features refugees clothes and shoes collected on the shore of Greece. Clothes are presented in a desirable way,  placed in a trendy store created by Ai WeiWie. Wall is covered with images of refugees gathered from social media.

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

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Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

 

     

 

All images and videos used in this post are linked to the original source. Click to find out more.

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NATURE THE GODDESS – WINTER

white frost on the trees in winter

WE MAY HAVE MANY GODS

But we should have one Goddess and it should be the nature. Inspiring and unique images full of shapes, scents, colours and sounds are like free gifts undervalued, invisible, unnecessary. Nature gives back what has received. It is either going to be a dull, destructed life, with no spirit and hope or the utopian version of it. Do take care of your Goddess, always where ever you are.

WINTER AND THE WHITE FROST

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

 

THE ARCHITECTURE OF DUBLIN

Dublin-architecture

LOOK UP AT THE ARCHITECTURE OF DUBLIN

Only recently I started to pay more attention to the Dublin’s architecture and the facades of the buildings even though I have been living here for many years now. It is hard to keep the head up when walking through Dublin’s streets as they are very active and busy most of the time. When in town we all have to pay more attention to what’s in front of us rather than what’s above us.

Heads up when in Dublin!

 

 

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

 

 

HISTORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF EUROPE AND AMERICA

  • THE FIRST AWARENESS OF SOPHISTICATED MARKETING TECHNIQUES, 1780
  • VICTORIAN STORE
  • Kansas, 1872
    Kansas, 1872
  • Soho, London, 1883
    Soho, London, 1883
  • LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    THE ARRIVAL OF DEPARTMENT STORES
  • TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DEPARTMENT STORES TO USE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS, MACY'S, NY, 1862
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
    EUGENE ATGET DOCUMENTS PARISIAN WINDOWS LATER INSPIRATION FOR SURREALIST ARTISTS
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
  • The customer is always right
    The customer is always right
    HARRY GORDON SELFRIDGE BRINGS RADICAL CHANGES TO THE MARKETING TECHNIQUES IN THE STORES, 1890
  • High Street, England, 1895
    High Street, England, 1895
  • Selfridges Store, 1909
    Selfridges Store, 1909
    REVOLUTIONARY METHODS OF DISPLAY AND MARKETING
  • Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    SELFRIDGE MARKETING METHODS ARE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE
  • Pierre Imans, 1920's
    Pierre Imans, 1920's
    LEADING MANNEQUINS MANUFACTURE
  • 1920's wedding dresses display
    1920's wedding dresses display
  • Berlin, 1925
    Berlin, 1925
    WERTHEIM DEPARTMENT STORE
  • WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WINDOW DISPLAY FOR ATWATER KENT RADIOS
  • MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
    MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
  • HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY,  1920-1930's
    HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY, 1920-1930's
  • 1930's
    1930's
    ELECTRICITY ALLOWED TO LIGHT UP WINDOWS AT NIGHT TIME
  • BONWIT TELLER COMMISSIONED SALVADOR DALI TO PRODUCE SERIES OF WINDOW DISPLAY, 1936
  • SALVADOR DALI WINDOW DESIGN, BONWIT TELLER, 1936
  • Berlin, Germany, 1933
    Berlin, Germany, 1933
    WWII - EUROPE IN CHAOS
  • 1950's Desirable Life Style
    1950's Desirable Life Style
    FUTURE HOMEMAKERS, STYLE EQUALS FUNCTION
  • New York, 1950's
    New York, 1950's
    AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN CREATES MASS CONSUMPTION
  • ANDY WARHOL BRINGS FRESH IDEAS TO WINDOW DISPLAY, BONWIT TELLER, NY, 1961
  • ARTIST JASPER JOHN'S WORKS AS WINDOW DRESSER, BONWIT TELLER, NY
  • NEW CONCEPT - LIVE MODELS IN WINDOW DISPLAYS, 1970's
  • Biba Store, London, 1973
    Biba Store, London, 1973
  • 1980's Funk
    1980's Funk
    POSTMODERNISM, WINDOW DISPLAYS INFLUENCED BY ELECTRONICS
  • Late 1980's
    Late 1980's
  • Hermes, 1993
    Hermes, 1993
  • Hermes, 1995
    Hermes, 1995
  • Hermes, 1996
    Hermes, 1996
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Joseph Fashion
    Joseph Fashion
  • Aishti Christmas window
  • Ivy Moda
    Ivy Moda

Images linked to the original source click to find out more

The most creative period in the history of Visual Merchandising seems to be the early 20th century until the 1960’s in America, in Europe until the 1940’s. WWII created so much chaos there was no room for creative ideas.

The time when the skill of window design was at its lowest creative point happened between 1970’s-1990’s which is odd considering it was a very creative period in music, fashion and cinematography.

Technology had an impact from the early stages, at first, it was plate glass window then electricity, then air conditioning. Today internet stimulates the shopping experience and it is the greatest competition for the traditional form of retail. Early 2000 is the start of e.commerce. The competition forced many retailers to be very creative – again!

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In my opinion, high street retail stores have not changed much since Mr Selfridge revolution. There has been nothing new added to make the experience more pleasurable or even adventures. Stores look the same, not even across the street but across the globe. No personality just globalised pure business in the same dated uniform.

Perfumery section at Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909

 

Even though I write about Visual Merchandising I personally do not really like traditional shopping (except Flea Markets) I find it a tiring and stressful experience. My reasons: some stores are just too big, there is too much to choose from (yes, that can be a problem), I do not like noise in general so I do not enjoy the loud music played. I have to walk up the stairs (when there is no escalator or lift) but I’m already walking through the streets from one store to another, so please do not make me walk even more.

I’m tired I want to rest on a nice soft couch that is not here!

Well, I am big time e.commerce because I can shop online in the middle of the night in my pyjamas, I can drink a coffee while browsing, I do not have to rush to make a decision, I do not have to queue or move around disoriented shoppers. I can read the customer review or search through categories all that while listening to my favourite music.

It will be interesting to see how the traditional retailers and e.commerce will evolve in the future. Both still have plenty to work on as online shopping is very practical it does lack the creative side. There is no big window display where a potential customer could go… ‘Ah Cool’!

Joseph Fashion Christmas window in collaboration with Harlequin-Design 

 

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

 

     

 

Additional note:

While doing my research I have noticed how much better the images were archived up till 1960’s. Most of the images from that period have a date and place provided. Between 1960’s up till 2000 was hard to find well-archived images. It does get better after 2000 … A lesson learned – I will try to organise my images better too.

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MALE ACCESSORIES

one man army

HANDMADE MALE ACCESSORIES

One of my projects during the Visual Merchandising course I was doing in DIT College, Dublin was to create accessories following the micro-trends of the time S/S 2014.

We were given a piece of mannequin each, it was either just a head or an upper body or a head with an upper body. I can not remember today what styles we could choose from except the one I have chosen to follow called One Woman Army. Because I was given un upper body of a male I slightly changed the trend to One Man Army.

All our mannequins were in a pretty bad state covered in an artwork by previous year students. I had to give mine shiny spray treatment.

ONE MAN ARMY

The main materials for making the piece was pasta penne and a feather. Also strings, gold acrylic paint, bits of fabric, elastic band.

One Man Army accessories made of pasta penne
One Man Army accessories made of pasta penne

 

 

pasta penne
pasta penne

 

 

Inspiration Military&Tribal Culture

The inspiration for my pasta jewellery piece came from military-style uniform and Maasai tribal accessories. I wanted to mix more of a formal style with something that is considered more of a primitive style, yet very passionate and courageous.

maasai-warrior
Maasai warrior
Kenya Masai People
Kenya Masai People
Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte

View the rest of work created by students of Visual Merchandising, DIT College, Dublin, 2014

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

 

      
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ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS

pine cones chain

Few weeks before Christmas this year I have been checking Christmas markets here in Dublin. What I believe is one of the nicest activity before festive period and then shortly after the sale period. Yes, sale – I know exactly where to buy porcelain candle holder.

Of course one of the nicest parts of this time of the year is the preparation for Christmas. We all would love to see snow flakes falling down slowly out the window while our Christmas tree blinks with lights and decorations.

Then later on one of the saddest moment of the post-Christmas time is the image of what it use to be a beautiful Christmas tree, now is just a half dry bits of wood thrown out at the front garden waiting to be collected – hopefully with the organic waste. Even though the trees are planted especially for the purpose I use to think it is really unfair on our planet. Some sellers sell the trees planted in pots, the tree stays fresh and when done with Christmas we can plant it into our garden. My friend back in Poland does it every year, she has a personal miniature forest in her garden now. They could also be planted into the wild, what nature gave should receive back.

Christmas tree waste
Disposable and sad Christmas tree waste

But there is nothing worst then very toxic plastic Christmas tree. The toxins disable me to speak when I had to unwrap and fold good few of them. So, my guess would be it ain’t good for asthmatics.

There is plenty of alternative Christmas tree decorations to explore, handmade natural gifts of nature.  They last a lifetime and when their life is over they will not do any damage to any living creature. Why not focus on those?

Driftwood Wall Hanger in Wicklow, Ireland.
Driftwood Decs
Driftwood Christmas tree
Driftwood Decs

Driftwood Decs sells beautiful Christmas trees made from driftwood in Wicklow town and in Dublin flea markets where I met the maker and designer Tom – to find out more click on the link which will bring you to Tom’s Facebook page.

Eco friendly Christmas tree
Eco friendly Christmas tree
Toilet paper roll reindeer
Toilet paper roll reindeer
Ladder as a christmas tree
Ladder as a christmas tree
willow branches wreath
willow branches wreath
felt christmas decoration
felt christmas decoration
popcorn cranberry chain
popcorn cranberry chain
pine cones chain
pine cones chain
old paper decoration
old paper decoration
old paper christmas tree
old paper christmas tree

LET’S TRY NOT TO ADD MORE WASTE DURING THIS CHRISTMAS

Ocean waste
Ocean waste

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Author: Walkowska Aleksndra