Mica Warren’s fun illustrations use bloated forms and chunky outlines to create each hectic scene

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 17 Nov 2017

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With a stylised, almost Morph-like human form, Mica Warren‘s illustrations combine block colours and thick linework. Originally from Wicklow in Ireland but now based in London, there’s a sense of joy and energy in Mica’s work, creating almost cluttered scenes with so much absorb and take in. Show the rest of this post…

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Singer Vehicle Design give a vintage Porsche 964 the F1 treatment under the hood and on the surface

Posted in Cars
By Sam Bathe on 15 Nov 2017

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Approached by owner Scott Blattner to rejuvenate his stunning 1990 Porsche 964, Singer Vehicle Design worked with Williams Advanced Engineering to fine-tune the vintage car. Part of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering Group, Williams Advanced Engineering ran a Dynamics and Lightweighting Study “DLS” before Singer’s remarkable restoration and performance modification expertise did the rest. Show the rest of this post…

Fitting a new four-valve, four-camshaft, 500-horsepower flat-six engine, the underbody and surface aero performance was optimised by Williams Advanced Engineering, with improve suspension and weight reduction through the use of magnesium, titanium and carbon fibre to bring a vehicle weight of 990kg. In addition Michelin provide bespoke Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, there are lightweight 18” forged magnesium, monobloc, centre-lock wheels from BBS Motorsport and a Hewland magnesium 6-speed transmission. This custom Porsche 964 is undoubtedly one of Singer’s finest performance projects.

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Netflix channel Scandi murder mysteries with new supernatural detective series ‘Dark’

Posted in Trailers, TV
By Sam Bathe on 13 Nov 2017

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With all the overtones of a Scandi detective thriller, Dark is a tense new 10-parter from Netflix. Set in the small German town of Winden, Dark follows the investigation into the disappearance of two local children, only the series takes a supernatural twist when the question shifts to not whom kidnapped the children, but when. Shot on location in the beautiful yet thoroughly eerie German woodland, Netflix’s run of hit shows looks like its set to continue. Created by Baran bo Odar and co-written by Jantje Friese, all 10 episodes of Dark premiere Friday 1st December.

Arlo Skye team up with blog Sight Unseen to create the ultimate design-conscious traveller’s suitcase

Posted in Design, Products, Travel
By Sam Bathe on 10 Nov 2017

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In collaboration with design blog Sight Unseen, hip luggage company Arlo Skye are releasing their Carry-On and Check-In cases in a limited-edition Sage colourway. Founded by alums from Tumi and Louis Vuitton, Arlo Skye’s cases are made of a lightweight makrolon polycarbonate shell, with micro-textured surface, aluminum-alloy trim and a removable USB charger built-in. Remarkably the design actually involves no outer zippers, instead the cases are held shut by two TSA-approved combination locks and an interlocking seal along each edge. Inside you’ll find more of Sight Unseen’s influence, commissioning Finnish illustrator Antti Kekki to design a print for the lining and dividers. The Carry-On is $375, while the Check-In is just $20 more at $395, shipping at the end of November from Arlo Skye’s online store: www.arloskye.com/collections/arlo-skye-x-sight-unseen-edition

LA footwear label release their minimalist Bravo Trainer in a luxe, Autumn-friendly hue

Posted in Products, Style
By Sam Bathe on 8 Nov 2017

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A luxe and minimalist take on their Bravo Trainer, LA-based footwear label, No.One, is releasing the sleek Baby Bull Bravo to match the autumnal palette. Inspired by the classic tennis shoe design, No.One’s latest line is produced in collaboration with leather supplier Remy Carriat for the full grain, all-in-one upper. A utilitarian silhouette with refined details that elevate the design, the tongue is embossed Vachetta leather with a French plongé lambskin lining. The Baby Bull Bravo is $675, available through No.One’s online store: www.no-one.la

Design mainstays Muji reimagine micro-living with their remarkable, multipurpose one-room Hut

Posted in Architecture, Design
By Sam Bathe on 6 Nov 2017

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After wowing the design community back in 2015 with prototypes of their minimalist micro-home, the Muji Hut is now on sale in Japan. With a compact 9 square-metre interior, double-pane glass front and covered porch, the Hut is just about big enough for 3-4 people to relax in and sleeps a single. Using traditional materials to blend into its surroundings, the Hut is built from wood entirely sourced in Japan. The outer walls are constructed of burnt cedar for its enhanced antiseptic properties and treated with an oil stain, while the interior has a minimalist finish to let the owner stamp their own style. The Muji Hut is on sale now for ¥3,000,000 (£20,150) including materials and construction, though they are currently only available inside Japan, hopefully an international service is soon to follow: www.muji.com/jp/mujihut

Rodrigo Bravo’s Monolith Series showcases the extraordinary materials and production methods taken from Chilean geography

Posted in Art
By Sam Bathe on 30 Oct 2017

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All carved from single chunks of combarbalita, a stone native to northern Chile, Rodrigo Bravo‘s Monolith Series wanted to find a way to highlight the “production methods, technologies, and materials taken from Chilean geography.” Working with a local stone-turning craftsman, Bravo sketched countless designs for vessels, ultimately collaborating to create a collection of 80 pieces. Show the rest of this post…

From small bowls and vases, to lidded boxes and cups, no two objects in the series are the same, in no small part thanks to the remarkable combarbalita Made from volcanic processes, the material integrates diverse compositions of kaolinite, natroalunite, silica, and hemanite, plus some of the minerals represented in copper and silver oxides.

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Film Review: Revolution: New Art for a New World

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 23 Oct 2017

Margy Kinmonth’s documentary Revolution: New Art for a New World aims to elucidate the connection between political events in Russia in the early 20th century and the art that its citizens produced in response, much of which is little known in the wider world.
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The documentary focuses primarily on the October Revolution in 1917, during which the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government of the country, which itself had been installed not long before as the result of another political upheaval. Kinmonth’s film, which she also wrote and narrates, attempts to paint the connections between a tumultuous time period and the art that it spawned.

For art enthusiasts, the greatest draw of the film will be the revealing of many significant works that have, to date, been little seen outside of Russia. Even for an art novice like me, the film did a good job of explaining the significance of these pieces and, crucially, how they relate to the events that, at least in part, inspired their creation. There are also some interesting interviews with contemporaries of the artists discussed, in some cases with their actual descendants, and seeing the physical similarities between them and the old photos is a treat in itself.

The film is ultimately a little televisual and perhaps did not require a cinematic release, but even so there is an interesting discourse in here not just how this art related to its period, but how any art can do so, and the importance of that relationship. The music is a little distracting at times, and some of the dramatic voiceovers – recreating speeches from historical figures such as Lenin (Matthew Macfadyen), for  example – don’t really add much, but for those with an interest in the period, or indeed in the relationship between art and politics more generally, it’s an interesting watch.

3/5

Film Review: The Death of StalinFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Martin Roberts on 18 Oct 2017

As anyone who has seen The Thick of It, its feature length spin off In the Loop, or the US series Veep, will know, writer Armando Iannucci has a certain unique flair for political satire. Show the rest of this post…

The thought of him tackling La Mort de Staline, a graphic novel by Fabien Nury dealing with the aftermath of the death of Joseph Stalin, was a promising one.

When Stalin died in 1953, he left behind a power vacuum at the head of the Soviet Union. Iannucci’s film depicts the ensuing struggle for power among the political elite, from Stalin’s son to his heads of state, choosing to approach what in real life was a tremendously fraught and dangerous era with his usual lightness of touch.

It’s not perhaps an obvious period to play for laughs, but the result, for the most part, lives up to the billing. Iannucci extracts humour from potential darkness, and at times plays wonderfully on the idea of political paranoia and infighting.

The film boasts a large and talented ensemble cast playing a roster of real life characters, most of whom Iannucci depicts as either bumbling, bickering fools or, in the case of Simon Russell Beale’s secret police chief Beria, in particular, tyrants desperate for power. Their interactions are the heart of the film, indeed the very point of the film, and there is much enjoyment to be had therein. If there’s a criticism to be levelled at the casting, it’s simply that there are too many talented performers here to feel that we’re getting the most out of them. As a result, some of the supporting characters feel a little undersold, and unable to leave the impression they might have done.

Alongside Beria, the chief conspirators are Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) and Nikita Kruschchev (Steve Buscemi), names which will be familiar to anyone with a vague knowledge of Russian history. Malenkov, upon whom the responsibility of stepping into Stalin’s shoes initially falls, is played by Tambor as a man desperately wanting to appear stately and responsible, but in fact displaying neither of these traits, and perennially trapped under the imposing Beria’s finger.

Lingering around behind them is an amusingly pitched performance from Michael Palin as Vyascheslav Molotov, who over the years has been so indoctrinated into Stalin’s regime that he has trouble remembering who he is meant to be fawning over, and what his opinions actually are. There’s also an amusing introduction featuring Paddy Considine that gets things off to a strong start, and a scene-stealing turn from a belligerent Jason Isaacs. Andrea Riseborough, meanwhile, brings an all-too-brief feminine presence to what is otherwise very much a boys club.

Although there’s some great stuff in here poking fun at the inner workings of the government,the film coasts a little towards its final act, which, though still funny, is a bit rushed and dramatically uneven. It feels as if the film is enjoying itself much more when its ensemble is bickering and fighting than when it has to tell the story, which isn’t a criticism as such, but leaves the narrative element of the film feeling a little lukewarm.

Generally, though, The Death of Stalin is an entertaining and often funny film, the  tone of which will be familiar, if not wholly so, to fans of Iannucci’s excellent previous work. It’s not as consistently funny as some of his best output, but well worth a look.

4/5

Graduate artist Morgan Ward shows a talent for colour, space and form that belies his relative youth

Posted in Art, Illustration
By Sam Bathe on 12 Oct 2017

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Graduating this year from the University of Chichester, artist Morgan Ward has an eye well beyond his years. Inspired by a phrase from one of his lecturers that always stuck; ‘Don’t create work that gives answers, create work that asks questions,’ Ward’s work is the product of a continual battle into his personal development. Mixing hard lines with rough brush strokes, Morgan’s pieces are collision of bright, neon colour that pulls your eye back and forth. Show the rest of this post…

“My work has seen drastic change over the three years at university but I have always kept to a constant theme of research into how a canvas can be filled as an object of illusion, as after all a painting is a 2 dimensional plane depicting a tree dimensional space,” Morgan explains, to see where he could go over the next three years will be a very exciting wait.

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Check out more of Morgan’s work on his site: www.morganwardartist.com

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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