Archive for February, 2009

The Las Vegas We Learned From.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009


Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

? 1968 / 2009: Robert Venture & Denise Scott Brown with Hilar Stadler & Martino Stierli, Editors

While Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Venturi’s 1966 manifesto challenging the austerity of Modernist orthodoxy, is undoubtedly his theoretical masterwork, it is Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form written in 1972 with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour that is most often read by architecture students today. The book summarizes studies of the Las Vegas Strip undertaken by Venturi and Scott Brown with students at the Yale School of Architecture in 1968. What the book failed to reproduce was the extensive photographic and filmed documentation of the Vegas Strip taken by the group as part of the study process. It is these seminal images, drawn for the Venturi / Scott Brown archives, that Las Vegas Studio makes available for the first time. This is a truly lovely little publication and a remarkable photographic record of Las Vegas in a formative period. (2009: University of Chicago Press; ISBN 9783858817174)

Las Vegas Studio: $62.95

Venturi / Scott Brown Study Group’s Las Vegas Helicopter footage 1968


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Is There Anything So Full of Promise as a Blank Sheet of Paper?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

While it’s something of a cliché to pose questions like “Is paper obsolete?” or “Is letter writing a dying art?”, friend of the store Sheree-Lee Olson does, to her credit, acknowledge in her column in this Saturday’s Globe and Mail that paper and electronic media serve different purposes and can co-exist peacefully. And, despite dire predictions, at Swipe at least, there is today more demand for high quality, workaday paper products than at any time in the past 20 years. Between Moleskine, Rhodia, Nava and Whitelines, we have scratchpads, steno pads, cahiers and notebooks to suit just about any need.


Rhodia Pads

? 1932: Henri & Robert Verilhac

Equally at home in a school bag or the breast pocket of an Armani jacket, Rhodia is the orange notebook from France with the cult following. In sizes ranging from 3″ x 4″ to full A4 (12″ x 8″) Rhodia pads feature quality paper printed with a 5 x 5 grid and an innovative scored front cover that folds neatly behind the pad while writing

Whitelines Pads and Notebooks

? 2006: Olof Hansson

An innovative and patented note paper system from Sweden, Whitelines, as the name implies, offers notebooks, pads and cahiers, in “A” sizes, with white lines instead of black or blue. The lines drop out of a very pale grey printed background such that text and drawings are not obscured by the lines on which they sit. The toned background also reduces eyestrain and allows for clear photocopies, with the faint lines fading out when scanned or faxed.

Rhodia Pads: $1.60 to $8.50
Whitelines Pads and Notebooks: $2.95 to $22.50

Moleskine Notebooks

? c.1890: Traditional / 2000: Moda & Moda

What haven’t you already heard about Moleskines? Blah blah Bruce Chatwin, blah blah Hemingway, blah blah Matisse. In truth, the last quality French manufacturer ceased production in 1986, with Italian stationer Moda & Moda reviving the product a decade later based solely on the description in Chatwin’s unaccountably influential Songlines. Overstated history aside, what is actually appealing about the line is the range of interior formats available, from blank, grid and lined note paper, to heavy sketch and watercolour paper, to musical staff, diaries and even storyboard layouts. As an illustration we’ve linked to Ross Lovegrove’s contribution to Moleskine’s Detour project in support of non-profit literacy foundation lettera27.

For most interior formats: small $15.95, large $23.95


Nava Notebooks: One Year Of White

? 2007: Alessandro Esteri

So typical of Nava (and, more broadly, of Italian design) this gorgeous little group of notebooks is as much a conceptual piece as a practical object. Which is not to say that it is not perfect for sketching, doodling, list-making, and jotting. A page a day, a book a month, and 12 books a year. If you’re into ordering your world sequentially, the punched holes on the fore-edge of each book will satisfy the urge: one hole, January; two holes, February; three, March; and so on through December. Oh, and the dots look cool even if you’ve got a less linear personality

Nava Notepad: Minerva

? 1984: Norbert Linke

In 1984 Norbert Linke created Minerva, a pretty little pocket notepad with a matchbook folded cover that quickly became a cult object in Europe and the UK

Nava Saffiano Minerva Notebook Holder

? 2008: Nava Design & Beat Box

Nava and Beat Box now offer a fine leather cover to luxe up the modest Minerva. It comes with a cute mini pen designed by the extremely talented but famously grumpy Enzo Mari (which is available separately for $14.95 as a ballpen or pencil).

Nava Notebooks: One Year Of White: $47.95 the set
Nava Notepad: Minerva: $3.25
Nava Saffiano Minerva Notebook Holder in black or orange: $94.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

Children’s Books by Graphic Designers, part 1: Paul and Ann Rand

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The recent reissue of several classic children’s books by notable graphic designers ties together a number of threads in contemporary consumer culture. It speaks to a level public awareness and respect for design not seen, perhaps, since these books were originally published. It also demonstrates the power of various internet forums to bring forgotten or subcultural products to wider audiences. In this case e-bay, abebooks, and a variety of blogs conspired to raise awareness of several long out-of-print children’s titles by the likes of Paul Rand, Bob Gill, Bruno Munari and Tomi Ungerer. Finally, it highlights the expectation of parents that products for their children harmonize with the aesthetic standards they set for the products they buy for themselves.

Of the four children’s books on which Paul and Ann Rand’s collaborated, two were reprinted by Chronicle Books of San Francisco in 2006 and now a third, I Know a Lot of Things, will be released this month. As one might expect, Paul Rand’s graphics are masterful, however Ann Rand’s texts are a delightful surprise, full of whimsical ideas and pleasantly fractured poetics.

iknowalotofthingsspacerlittle1 spacer sparkleandspin

I Know a Lot of Things

? 1956: Paul & Ann Rand

The Rands’ first children’s book created for pioneering Harcourt Brace editor Margaret McEldery in 1956. Similar in concept to Ruth Krauss’ astounding Open House for Butterflys, Rand views consequential knowledge from a child’s perspective: “I know when I look in the mirror, what I see is me”. Winner of an AIGA Best Books award in 1957. (2009: Chronicle Books; ISBN 9780811866156)

Little 1

? 1962: Paul & Ann Rand

Ann Rand at her idiosyncratic best, Little 1 is simultaneously a number book and a story of alienation and friendship sure to resonate with kindergarden-aged children beginning to make their way in a larger social context. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 0811850048)

Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words

? 1957: Paul & Ann Rand

Again, a visually stunning Paul Rand design, in this case paired with Ann Rand’s engaging text exploring the rhythm and nuance of spoken language. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 081185003x)

I Know a Lot of Things: $21.95
Little 1: $20.95
Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words: $20.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

They Really Are the Best Juicers. But Juicers? At Swipe? What Was I Thinking?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

For a limited time (hopefully) at Swipe, all Breville Juicers are 40% off:


Breville Juice Fountain Juicers

?1996: Keith Hensel

As small appliance manufacturers in other markets have given in to the demands of price-point retailing (GE and Braun come to mind), Australia’s Breville, founded in 1932, continues to be relevant in the WalMart era through a combination of superior design, specialization and market isolation. Touted as the world’s fastest domestic juicer, the Fountain was the first to accept whole fruit and vegetables with no chopping or peeling. For ten years this has been the top-rate centrifugal juicer – check any raw-foodist / obsessive-complusive juicer blog as proof. All parts are dishwasher safe.

Breville Juice Fountain Elite (2 speed, 1000 watts): $354.95, now: $212.95 SOLD OUT
Breville Ikon Juice Fountain (5 speed, 900 watts): $229.95, now: $137.95 SOLD OUT
Breville Juice Fountain Compact (1 speed, 700 watts): $124.95, now: $74.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

Tschichold (and let’s not get into a long, boring discussion about how his name is pronounced).

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

One of the most influential European typographers this century, Jan Tschichold (1902-74) also made a remarkable contribution to English typography when he redesigned the entire output of Penguin Books between 1947 and 1949. Here we present a trio of new books (and a couple of classics, one rarely seen) which go a long way toward remedying the surprising lack of English-language commentary on his life and work.

Active Literature: Jan Tschichold and New Typography

? 2007: Christopher Burke

An in-depth, illustrated study of Jan Tschichold’s modernist period by Hypen press regular, Burke, based on extensive archival research drawing on Tschichold’s published books, articles and personal correspondence. (2007: Hyphen Press; ISBN 0907259324)

Jan Tschichold: Posters of the Avantgarde

? 2006: Martijn F. Le Coultre & Alston W. Purvis

This is the first book-length examination of Tschichold’s poster designs, which are, perhaps the clearest expression the ideas presented in Die Neue Typographie. In addition to showcasing the seventy of his posters designs, the book also includes a selection from Tschichold’s own collection, with works by Hans Arp, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer and others. (2006: Birkhäuser; ISBN 9783764376048)

Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer: His Life, Work and Legac

? 2008: Cees W. de Jong

In this exhaustive and beautifully illustrated study de Jong attempts to place Tschichold’s work in the broader context of contemporary culture. Unique in its coverage of Tschichold’s entire career, various contributors discuss the designer’s major influences and innovations, including his seminal poster design, his work with Penguin Books, and his later partial repudiation of modernist typography in favour of classical traditions. (2008: Thames & Hudson; ISBN 9780500513989)

Jan Tschichold, Designer: The Penguin Years

? 2006: Richard B. Doubleday

Though not at all well received, this is the only publication to fully document Tschichold’s years at Penguin and to examine the typographic conventions that he applied to mass produced books. Includes a bibliography and historical appendices including office memoranda. (2006: Oak Knoll; ISBN 1584561785)

The New Typography

? 1928: Jan Tschichold

Widely recognized as the definitive treatise on book and graphic design in the machine age, this long overdue English translation is published in a form that respects Tschichold’s original typography and design. (2006: California University Press; ISBN 0520250125)

Asymmetric Typography, 1st English Edition

? 1967: Jan Tschichold & Rauri McLean

The first (and only) English translation of Tschichold’s 1935 classic, the first of Tschichold’s works to be published in English translation. Designed by the author and typeset at Cooper & Beatty in Toronto. In his autobiography, True to Type, A Typographical Autobiography, translator and Tschichold’s collaborator at Penguin Books, Rauri McLean says of the project: “He asked me to translate his Typographische Gestaltung (Typographic Design) which had been published in Basle in 1935. It was a more measured and persuasive account of his views than his first and epoch-making Die neue Typographie of 1928. This proposed new translation was to be really a new edition: Jan wanted to omit some passages which he considered had been of interest only to Swiss and German readers, and he had also found several new and better illustrations. We called the new version Asymmetric Typography, and it was published, i.e. financed, not by a conventional publisher, but by a highly intelligent firm of typesetters in Toronto called Cooper & Beatty. The book was published in 1967, and we were eternally grateful to Cooper & Beatty. It was the first ever of Jan Tschichold’s books to be published in English, and the only one until the 1990s.” (1967: Cooper & Beatty / Reinhold Publishing Corporation)

Active Literature: Jan Tschichold and New Typography: $82.50
Jan Tschichold: Posters of the Avantgarde: $63.50
Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer: His Life, Work and Legacy $84.95
Jan Tschichold, Designer: The Penguin Years: $52.95
The New Typography; $39.95
Asymmetric Typography (1st English Edition 1967 as new): $199.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

thinkToronto? think Swipe!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Starting February 10th, Spacing Magazine will be displaying the winning entries to the urban design ideas competition ThinkTORONTO (a summary may be seen in the in the current issue of the magazine) in the Urbanspace Gallery directly adjacent to Swipe at 401 Richmond West. For those who haven’t seen the issue, Spacing invited Torontonians 35 years old or younger to submit creative ideas on how to improve the city’s public spaces. Even if you’ve studied the issue it’ll be worth a visit as the exhibit includes several entries that didn’t quite make it into the magazine.

Opening Reception:
When: Thursday, Feb. 12, 7-10pm
Where: Urban Space Gallery, 401 Richmond St. W. 1st floor
How Much: free
RSVP: Facebook listing

Personally, as a non-driver (Junction 40 bus to Dundas West station, subway to the Spadina streetcar and down – all with a two-year-old in tow), I loved the proposal for a smartphone driven social-network on the TTC . And I can’t think of a better place downtown for a public park than the parking lot at the corner of Queen and Soho. My first bookstore job (circa 1980) was at an antiquarian shop in the building that was torn down to create this open space in the first place. A couple of years later I was working for Marc Glassman at Pages who should be credited (along with 401 Richmond neighbour Martin Heath at CineCycle) with bringing outdoor cinema to Toronto, with shorts and features projected on the exterior wall of the rattan warehouse that later became the Bamboo (you cannot imagine what a feat it was to get away something like that in the era of the Ontario Censor Board). It’s a space resonant with history for me and for culture in this city. – David

And remember, always available at Swipe:

Spacing Subway Stations Buttons

?2005: Spacing Magazine cdnmapleleaf

If you love your ’hood, what better way to wear your heart on your sleeve than by wearing your station on your lapel.

Spacing Subway Stations Buttons, Singles: $2.00
Spacing Subway Stations Buttons Downtown Set: $15.00
Spacing Subway Stations Buttons Complete System Set: $48.00

Spacing Magazine

Celebrating its fifth year, Spacing Magazine is the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors ‘Magazine of the Year’, and is also possibly the best issues-oriented magazine ever published in Canada. Spacing Magazine Current Issue: $7.00


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

One Potato, Two Potato, etc.

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Potato peelers are so inherently utilitarian that their inclusion in a design shop is almost a cliché of anti-elitism. Yet while the “humble masterpiece of design” concept is well-worn, the most common alternative, that of expensive ‘design products’ where the designer’s principal contribution is to add prestige, seems to us an ethical and aesthetic dead-end. So potato peelers it is.

Zena Star Classic Peeler

?1947: Alfred Neweczeral

Honoured with a postal stamp in Switzerland in 2003, the ubiquitous Zena peeler combines simplicity of manufacture with near perfect functionality. Thus the item can be manufactured in Switzerland and still be competitively priced. Watch the Food Network™ and you’ll generally be able to tell the professional chef from the celebrity by keeping a eye out for this tool.

Good Grips: Peeler

?1994: Tucker Wiemeister & Smart Design

The result of extensive research and testing by Smart Design’s Wiemeister, the Good Grips handle was among the very first of the new ergonomic / accessible designs of the 1990s. A wide handle reduces grip strength requirement and flexible fins protect the hand and won’t slip even when wet. Made of Santoprene and stainless steel, all Good Grips tools are dishwasher safe. Winner of numerous awards including the Tylenol / Arthritis Foundation Award and Industrial Design Magazine Excellence Award.

Zena Star Classic Peeler: $12.95
Good Grips: Peeler: $9.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

Global Design from Replogle

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The largest globe manufacturer in the world, Replogle Globes of Chicago has recently shown an interest in applying design principles to an otherwise very conservative product category. These lines, while far from revolutionary, are both admirable for their understanding of contemporary aesthetics and their attention to detail.

Mikado 12″Globe & Spectrum 6″Globe

? 2004: Claus Jensen & Henrik Holbæk

Mikado, with its slate gray oceans, high-contrast metallic silver map, and unique angular brushed stainless steel base is a truly striking globe. Designed exclusively for Replogle Globes by Copenhagen based Tools Design, Mikado won a Advancing Design and Innovation Award in 2005. The 6″ Spectrum features the same slate-colored oceans and high-contrast metallic silver map as the award-winning Mikado, set on a circular stainless steel axis base.

Replogle Mikado 12″ Globe: $189.95
Replogle Spectrum 6″ Globe: $39.95

The Frank Lloyd Wright Collection

Licensed from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation these globes adapt some of Wright’s most famous architectural details and furniture designs as bases for premium quality globes.

Frank Lloyd Wright Barrel 16″Globe

This globe stand is an adaptation of one of Frank Lloyd Wright most universally recognized furniture designs. It is a modified version of the famous Barrel Chair originally designed in 1903 and modified for Wright’s personal use at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin and for Herbert F. Johnson’s home, Wingspread, in Racine, Wisconsin in 1937.

Frank Lloyd Wright San Marcos 12″Globe

This 12” antique ocean globe features a stand adapted from a small hexagonal accent table designed by Wright for the Dining Pavilion of the San Marcos in the Desert Hotel in 1928.

Replogle Frank Lloyd Wright Barrel 16″ Globe: $849.95
Replogle Frank Lloyd Wright San Marcos 12″ Globe: $399.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

The Return of a Venerable Annual

Friday, February 6th, 2009

365 AIGA Year in Design 29

? 2009: Richard Grefé, Susan Apfelbaum & Paula Scher

After a brief and ill-considered flirtation with electronic publishing the AIGA has resumed publication of their book-format annual. While this is offically numbered issue 29 the Institute has publish an annual survey of member’s work off-and-on since 1927. This year’s entry is a 368 page paperback designed by Paula Scher and Pentagram New York and published under the Chronicle Books imprint which thankfully avoids some of the excesses of years past – for example the work is shown at a size that can be viewed without the aid of an electron microscope. Glad to have you back AIGA. (2009: Chronicle Books; ISBN 9780811869164)



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Occupational Therapy for Out-of-work Birthday Clowns

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Umbra Balloona Confetti Stool

? 2006: Natalie Kruch cdnmapleleaf

22-year-old Natalie Kruch designed this colourful, whimsical stool composed of 500 deflated balloons hand-tied over a wooden frame in 2006 while studying industrial design at the University of Alberta. Umbra approached the young designer about a production version but, although the product was featured in Metropolitan Home magazine in the summer of 2008, it quickly dropped out of production due to unsupportable manufacturing costs. Now Umbra has reintroduced the piece having found a sufficiently undervalued labour pool in Indonesia.



To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: