Monthly Archives: March 2012

DECLINE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

2012-03-26_212321-crop
Nu de Amerikaanse big three (of in elk geval two daarvan) hun boekhouding weer enigszins op orde hebben en het depressiespook op zijn beurt Europa angst inboezemt, is het hoog tijd ons te beseffen wat voor moois wij allemaal te verliezen hebben.

Of zijn wij slimmer dan dat?

Als je ziet wat er van de parel van Michigan is geworden, realiseer je je opgelucht dat enig cultureel besef de Europeaan gelukkig niet vreemd is. Daarom wordt bij ons in elk geval het automobiele culturele erfgoed nog niet achteloos achtergelaten, maar op z'n minst op gehaaide wijze in klinkende munt omgezet. Hetzij als premium woningbouwlocatie, als bijzonder plekje voor een exclusief restaurant of -in het oprechtste geval- als tempel van een roemrucht verleden. Ook al past dat laatste opnieuw in een modern en handig uitgedacht marketingconcept.

Dat scenario blijft toch altijd wenselijker dan dat we deze -eens glorieuze- industriĆ«le hoogbouw als hedendaags Forum Romanum onder onze lede ogen af zien brokkelen. De Italianen hebben kennelijk hun lesje geleerd.

- Geert.

Brescia

Sometimes it just so happens that work and pleasure coincide (of course, being a designer, that happens all the time really). This is a little story about last weeks business trip to Italy, to be more specific: to Brescia, Italy. The true petrolheads amongst you just felt their heart leap in their chests, as did mine when I was invited to go there. Meeting schemes and flight schemes combined, a sweet spot opened itself on wednesday morning for us to go to the (relatively) new 'Museo Mille Miglia'. Housed in a former monastery it has a lovely historic feel about it. 3 x 3 Museo Mille Miglia
The exhibition follows a timeline in the monastery aisles, starting at the upper floor, finishing a floor below at ground level. With the first edition in 1927 and the last official race in 1957, the cars and parafernalia gave a comprehensive overview of 30 years of motorsport. Paticularly interesting (to me) is the post-war period, when the competition is more democratic than motorsport has ever been or ever will be. Everybody owning a car could compete. This is the era where FIAT Multipla's and BMW Isetta's were battling with the 'Usual Suspects'. The most interesting vehicles are the racecars based upon humble FIATs; these are the 'True Hero's'. There were Abarth, Bandini, Moretti, Stanga, Stanguelini to name a few, all featuring FIAT 750cc engines, incredible compact & imaginative design (look at that imaginative gearstick console with rev counter on the Moretti!) and true racing credibility. 3 x 3 Small FIATs
Of course there were Alfa's, Ferrari's, Cisistalia's and Maserati's as well, there was even a dedicated show of Mercedes-Benz contenders on loan from the museum in Stuttgart. We had the place virtually to ourselves (only had to share it with an English father & son and the staff): What a magnificent morning!

 3 x 3 The Usual Suspects

At the end of the timeline I met an old aquaintance, a car some of the carfreax encountered in Goodwood in 2004 (it proudly sported the FOS '04 sticker on its side), a car that has no business being in the museum because its birthday is in 1961. The car I'm referring to is the truly manic Maserati Birdcage. There's no other car in the world that depicts the madness of motorracing as much as this monster does. Its filigrain frame, its fuel tanks totally envelopping the driver, its in-your-face exhausts, its craftfully shaped plastic screens, its asymetric dash etc. etc. etc. 3 x 3 Non Mille Madness

 I'm praying for more business-trips like this.

DUST DRIVER

Close to the shining sides of Beijing are the normal streets that you perhaps expect from China. Here really used vehicles proof that still daily live is not a pink toyworld for everyone.

Beijingdustsmall
- Fab.

THE ARCHES

120215-Paris-Arc Triompfe

Traveling the line between the two arches, spanning a couple of hundred years of history. Triompfe and Defense, ancient and pseudo modern within sight of each other. A photographic journey in stone. Enjoy. 

 -Matt.

120215-Paris-La Defense-01

120215-Paris-La Defense-02

120215-Paris-La Defense-03

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

120215-Midnight in Paris-01

Midnight in Paris, the city sleeps as we take a late walk down town. Impressions of a metropole that is Smart, flexible, romantic and luxurious. Different means of transport in a warm glow. Enjoy.

-Matt.

120215-Midnight in Paris-02

PINK BEIJING ROCKS

Honestly, did you play with Barbies? Do you like the new Mini? Everbody agrees that the new Mini is a classical girls toy. Decide on your own if you like it in pink. I learned it is cool, not funny!

Minipinksmall

If you don't like to drive a pink Mini you still have plenty of possibilties to be unique. You can add some bling bling decoration, add a second number plate or paint your wheels the fixed gear way. One of the famous Changan brings rally spirit on the streets, small and very wide vehicles joining. Choose your style.

Beijingrockssmall
- Fab.