A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

A Polite Gathering at Poster Offensive 5

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, events, local twin cities, posters | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Poster Offensive 5 opened last night with a show at the Rosalux (formerly Frank Stone Gallery). Many terrific posters taking on important social issues like sex, politics, religion, food safety… all the stuff you’re not supposed to talk about at family gatherings. This and the very reasonable prices make these posters ideal holiday gifts! The show was very well attended and Cindy and I bumped into a number of creative class stars including Zara and Quan Hoangzalez, Kyle Phillips, Judson Koehn and Peet Fetsch. Not to mention landscape architects Bret Wieseler and Erica Christenson with whom we enjoyed some fancy eats at The Sample Room prior to the show. More photos on PosterOffensive’s flickr photostream.

Temps est un Cadeau

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: illustration, input, video | Comments Off

Feeling swirled by the windy fall and rush of the pre-pre-holiday season, I was cursing the pace of life the other day. In my wishing for more time, I was reminded of a poignant and beautiful video we found a number of years ago. Thankfully the intergoogles worked and I found it again. Le Cadeau du Temps was created by illustrator, Corey Godbey, and set to a tune by Map. It needs no preamble; just watch, enjoy, and if your wish for more time comes true, I highly recommend you share it. <<click the image to see the video>>

The Office Stylist

Posted: October 15th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors | Tags: , | Comments Off

The Office Stylist, as you might expect, is a site devoted to office style. In addition to posts about furniture and a section devoted to office makeovers there is an archive of office profiles. They’re not on quite the same mission as we are, therefore many of the offices are of the large and spendy variety. These are certainly inspiring but the feature on Raw Design Studio caught our eye as being pretty achievable in a residential setting. It looks fun and functional without being lavish. Check out Raw Design Studio’s website to see the work they’ve produced from their space.

Micro Studios

Posted: October 15th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors, posters | Tags: , , | Comments Off

As you know we’ve been searching for “inspiring home offices” which has proven to be something of a contradiction in terms – yielding less than inspiring results. The kind of space we have in mind might better be called a “micro studio”. This isn’t a great search phrase either because no one else seems to use it. But, it conjures a better picture of an inspiring and functional creative space of the sort you can fit into your home. On this new tack we’ve discovered two places worth sharing.

While they are small design offices and not in a residence they suggest a format that could be achieved at home. First is this room at Mattson Creative in Irvine, California. It must work pretty well because Ty Mattson produces some gorgeous work in it including posters for the TV series Lost. See more of his studio space and work at his site and blog. The other office is Raw Design Studio which is featured in the next post.

Simple Desks

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

On our hunt for home studio inspirations BrainstormOverload affiliate Jeff Zerger recently shared this discovery: Simple Desk A collection of minimal work spaces. Granted we are really hoping to go beyond the idea that a desk alone constitutes a fully functional and inspirational home studio but there are some interesting ideas in this collection that can be used to help inform the larger space. The photo featured here for instance is pretty dang swell.

People For Bikes

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, Interactive, opinion | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Bikes Belong is a national bicycle advocacy group with an initiative called People For Bikes (developed locally by Colle+McVoy).

They’re not asking for your time or money and you are welcome regardless of the type and amount of riding you do. In fact all you need to do is hit this url http://www.peopleforbikes.org/page/s/pledge and pledge that you are for bikes. Whether you race regularly or only use your bike for fair weather grocery runs we will all benefit by uniting in a shared voice.

Minnesota is currently ranked 8th in pledges. It’s not a competition of course but this is an easy opportunity to demonstrate why MN is home to Bicycling Magazine’s top Bike-Friendly City. After you’ve pledged take a minute to share your story and spread the word using the links to Twitter and Facebook… or go nuts and post a blog entry. Then skip out of work early for a ride in the gorgeous fall color.

We can do better, Saint Paul

Posted: October 4th, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: bikes, landscape architecture, local twin cities, opinion, urban planning | Comments Off

Bike infrastructure is becoming more and more important in cities given the resurgence of cycling as a recreational opportunity and as a viable mode of transportation to work and other destinations. That said, investments that are sub-standard and piecemeal only hurt the effort to increase a city’s bike facilities. Bike infrastructure just for the sake of having bike infrastructure is can be a costly mistake. It negatively impacts peoples perception cycling, cyclists, and of future investments. More importantly, poorly designed projects are just plain unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

In May of this year we reported a step forward in Saint Paul bicycle infrastructure; the very first bike boulevard in Saint Paul slated to happen on Jefferson Avenue. We were darn excited, and watched for signs of implementation all summer long. We want to stay behind the Jefferson Bike Boulevard. Really, we do. It has the potential to become a solid connection in our vastly deficient and under-connected system. But, in its watered down version and substandard design, we’re afraid we’re going to end up with a serious backlash from some residents and major safety concerns. Case in point #1: the traffic diverter and refuge at the intersection of Jefferson and Cleveland.

While we fully support a true diverter and refuge (this is a test), it will not be safe without additional elements like signage, continental striping, or a change in pavement color through the entire intersection. Ideally, we’d like to see the diverter AND Jefferson Avenue raised and seal-coated with a different color. That would result in a tabletop along Cleveland. Bicyclists and pedestrians would have priority and people would have to slow down. Here’s a good example of what could be done as well as the refuge:

Case in point #2: Sharrows today, noarrows tomorrow. Sharrows (share the road arrows) were part of the original bike boulevard design, but in the section from Snelling to the Mississippi Road, the sharrows were too much for the opposition and the City conceded. But, come implementation time, sharrows appeared on the road between Snelling and the Mississippi River Road (42, to be exact). We were excited for about two days, and then we saw the asphalt version of whiteout because SOMEONE suggested the City couldn’t maintain them (read: people complained).

We wish we had a happy chapter two of the Jefferson Bike Boulevard, but damn if we’re not frustrated by this underwhelming turn of events. We’ve emailed public works and Councilmember Harris (that someone), and we suggest you do, too. Feel free to use this letter about the test diverter and submit it to Public Works (pw-testmedian@ci.stpaul.mn.us) and that someone (ward3@ci.stpaul.mn.us).

Dear Public Works,

I am one hundred percent behind your efforts to consider various modes of transportation in your projects, and I applaud the designation of Jefferson Avenue as a bike boulevard.  While I support the idea of traffic calming on Jefferson and I support the idea of making it easier and safer to cross Cleveland, I’m not sure that the median is the entire answer. Please implement the diverter, but do so with other design elements such as good road striping, a change in seal-coating color, and very visible signage. I suggest you consider some of the other of the various pedestrian crossing road safety devices and configurations well-documented as successful, safe investments. Here is a link with great ideas: thecityfix.com/zebras-puffins-pelicans-or-hawks-for-pedestrians/. A very, VERY visible intersection crossing is the only way to actually make people on foot, on bike, and in cars safer through this area.

Thank you for all your efforts for Saint Paul, I hope to see the Twin Cities region become the most bikable metro area in the U.S. We need you to do better to make this happen.


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Author’s Note: You do not have to be from Saint Paul to voice your opinion – this is a regional issue!