Strangeharvest is a collection of writing and projects about architecture and design. Strangeharvest is made by Sam Jacob.
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Favorite Things

I was asked by FX magazine to name my 4 favorite things. Here they are:

Polly Pocket: Plastic toys which open up, swivel and fold to reveal incredibly intricate, pastel pink and blue landscapes. They have the kind of beauty of Faberge eggs combined with the liberating democrasy of cheapness. If only all design could be so ingenously utopian!

The Crown Jewels: Mysterious, ancient, symbolic and very shiny. Dense with obscure meaning, they show design that is far beyond funtion: swords not for cutting peoples heads off, but representing ideas. And of course that is what design is really about. Functionalism is a refuge for designers who don’t understand either themselves or the world that surrounds them.

Tarmac: Invented by accident when a barrel of tar fell of the back of a wagon and was mopped up with ash. Tarmac is practical, mendable, and extendable in that reflects a world where everything breaks, is in the wrong place, and is the wrong size. But it also does other things too: it makes a kind of abstracted ground, like a new crust to the earth. Formed out of the left overs after refining crude oil, there is something cyclic about stuff that was once on the surface being sucked out of the ground and reapplied. The Situationists said that beneath the pavement was the beach. Reality is much more exotic.

Silk Cut Packaging:
In responce to the health warning that fag packets now carry, Silk Cut reworked their package design. The warning is printed on the lower portion of the packet. The size of the warning meant that the logo couldnt fit where it used to go. The proportions of the box left nowhere to go but up. Which leaves the logo sliced in two by the flip top lid. Right in the heart of the badge, a gaping hole opens up. Its dark and deviant, a kind of self mutilation, like Ritchie Manic carving 4 REAL into his arm.

This shift of the logo is one of the neatest, most beautiful, subtle and troubling pieces of 3D design. Its packaging design as cynically ruthless as Damien Hirsts chainsaw, and as clever and nimble as the surgeons scalpel which will one day slice open my chest open in an attempt to save my life.

Posted by sam at May 16, 2004 11:05 PM
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'I, Faker' chronicles the descent of trade journal hack-ism into satirical search for humanity in the deathly press release prose....
December 07, 2004

Whats so great about cab offices at christmas? Well, for starters, its the total lack of conscious design but its also the mystical prehistorical tin foil symbols too ...
November 25, 2004

A fanzine on wheels: The rear window plastered with fading pictures of Freddie, the boot covered with stick-on lettering. The Queen Mobile spotted brightening up a traffic jam around Shepherds Bush....
November 21, 2004

"The objectives of the Knork are: to provide a single utensil capable of providing the benefits of a knife and fork ... "...

They say the first step is to admit to your vice. OK, my name is Sam and I like postmodern architecture. My love for this universally reviled twentieth-century movement began in bargain bookshops. The architecture section was like a Battersea...
November 15, 2004

A Contribution to the Ethical Taxonomy of Political Signage...
November 04, 2004

The secret history of Ketchup...
October 21, 2004

Clova Estate, Aberdeenshire...
September 19, 2004

Imagine sitting at home when suddenly the sky goes white. Not that shadowless white-without-limit where cloud meets mist on a winter morning. But a whiteness with a grid of reinforcements and repeating logos which stops a few yards from...
August 24, 2004

A scrap of of something for Intersection magazine : My parents had a Morris Traveller in the early 1970s. I have vague dreamlike memories of sitting in the back driving through the English countryside with a large clay Cider jug...
June 16, 2004

What happens when London gets bigger and bigger? What happens when postcard London is further away than Reading? When the familiar landmarks that stand for London are far over the horizon. When London is only a tourist destination and a...
May 27, 2004

I was asked by FX magazine to name my 4 favorite things. Here they are: Polly Pocket: Plastic toys which open up, swivel and fold to reveal incredibly intricate, pastel pink and blue landscapes. They have the kind of beauty...
May 16, 2004

Carlton Terrace runs along the back of the Mall, and if you’re ever there on a weekend you might see actors dressed in 19th century costume looking bored and drinking Nescafe. That's because if you stand in the right...
January 28, 2004

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california dreamin'
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The Neverending Poem of the Internet
Souvenir Empire
Swimming Pools
Snack Sculptures