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May 2016

May 2016

Our monthly overview of magaziness we couldn’t quite squeeze into our daily schedule hits a all-time high of 19, and includes mountainbiking, desire, Englishness, queer culture, architecture in a typically diverse selection of new and established titles.

Lobby #4
From London’s Barlett School of Architecture comes issue four of Lobby—the student-led architecture magazine that, similar to The Holborn, is structured by the rooms of a building. As the fantastically ornamental and decadent wraparound cover illustration by Johanna Noack suggests, the theme for the issue is ‘Abundance’. Inside there’s articles on austerity, interviews with Denise Scott Brown and Mosche Sadif, and a jubilant selection of illustrations that bring the whole magazine alive and give it its distinct aesthetic edge.


Where & When #1
From Les Jones, the man behind concept mag Elsie, this new publication shares the pluses and minuses of his other mag. On the plus side, it’s a neat idea – he announced he’d be in London for a week and asked for invitations to meet strangers and discover their stories. The resulting tales are satisfyingly random. We meet printmakers, gin distillers, a Muswell Hill women’s crafts collective... he’s discovered some great stories that would never have surfaced without his bold starting point. On the minus side is the design, which doesn’t rise to the ambition of the editorial idea.


Article #7
It’s always satisfying to sit down with a new issue of Article, and this one rings a few changes to further improve the look of the pages. As carefully produced and finished as ever, the design has been spruced up to be a little bolder, while the editorial ambition contiues to grow – a collaboration with Martin Parr portrays a slightly different view of Englishness to the stylish one we’ve come to expect from the mag.


The Design Society Journal #10
The tenth edition of this Singapore annual presents an overview of local design work. As a piece of design in its own right it does a good job of promoting the small city-state’s creative industry, but the special insert featuring work by local designer (‘the godfather of Singaore design’) Theseus Chan and the accompanying interview make the issue essential. Singaporeans love their print design and this is typically sumptuous.


Unbuilt #1
This new culture and lifestyle publication was conceived and designed by Tom Bejgrowicz, who partnered with D. Randall Blythe (vocalist of heavy metal band Lamb of God) and Alex Skolnick (Testament guitarist) to create an editorial team. Unbuilt is a platform for these three founders to share influences and ideas, everything from music and art to places and things. Issue one includes an interview with the artists behind the packaging for Metallica’s ‘…And Justice for All’, as well as with activist/ artist Sue Coe and architect Maddy Samaddar. It’s also worth noting that $1 from every Unbuilt sale goes to charity. It’s a world apart from Jamie Cullen’s magazine The 88, but yet another example of musicians turning their focus from recording studio to print production.


Loverboy #3
Here’s another new queer title to hit the shelves. Loverboy is celebrating its third issue so it’s released three very distinct, bright covers. Inside, there’s an interview with JD Samson, who dated Sia, worked with Pussy Riot and wrote for Gwen Stefani, and a feature on Rosalie’s legendary wig store in San Francisco.


Nang #0
Independent film critic and researcher Davide Cazzaro has just published the pilot issue of Asian cinema magazine Nang, which he’s released from his current home city of Seoul. The name of the title literally translates to ‘film’ in Thai, and its aim is to provide a holistic overview of Asian cinema today. Cazzaro has decided that there will only be 10 issues after this initial release, and each will look at a different country’s film culture via a collaboration with a different guest editor. Based on the beautiful binding, delicate design and long preparations Davide’s put into the project, Nang is worth keeping an eye on.


Pin-Up #20
Pin-Up is the pin-up magazine of architecture publications; I’ve never seen it set a foot wrong, and its last four issues have been especially flawless and on-point when it comes to design and content (I love the new use of rolling type that cascades playfully across spreads). To celebrate spring/ summer, new issue 20 is loosely themed gardens, and it contains interviews with contemporary landscape architects as well as vibrant artworks that imagine fantastic utopian hills and uncanny garden cities.


Cranked #3
Cranked is a relatively new magazine about mountain biking from Somerset. The team behind the project have experience in the cycling magazine industry, editor Seb Rogers has contributed to most bike publications since he first started writing about bikes in 1996 for example. Minimal layout combined with detailed, expansive photography makes Cranked a kind of Cereal of the biking mag world.


treats! #10
Sitting in this gloomy London summer, this 178-page collosus opens up an alternative world of LA sun. It also transports the reader back to the eighties with its resolutely old-school approach to photographing the female body. The nipple count is phenomenal, even discounting a long report on Spencer Tunnick’s mass-nude art. An interview with LA gallery owner David Fahey sets the bar high – his gallery was a leading light of the eighties scene around Herb Ritts and other superstar photographers – but the contemporary work struggles to match those days.


The Laboratory Art Collective Magazine
Elsewhere in LA, The Laboratory Art Collective are producing more progressive material in film, events and print. The large format themed publication delights in being a printed object, with an extra ink colour and sewn up ‘private’ insert carrying the more extreme interpretations of the theme ‘Desire’. Various other inserts add to an engaging, tactile experience.


Limner Journal #4
Solid, sturdy, cloth-bound issue four of illustration magazine Limner is a beautiful example of what’s possible when Risograph is done right. Alongside its immaculate selection of contemporary illustration sits thoughtful essays and in-depth analysis, propelling Limner out of the realms of a platform magazine and into the world of critical journal instead. It’s beauty, elegance and intelligence makes it a firm favourite amongst illustrators.


Lazlo Reader #1
The Lazlo Reader is a hefty, impressive tome, with every one of its multitudes of pages covering a broad array of architecture, art and design topics. There’s also intriguing, in-depth magazine histories written up inside its elliptical sections, like a lengthy interview with the team behind The Exhibitionist. Somewhere between book, art catalogue, magazine and contemporary architecture textbook, The Lazlo Reader is an impressive feat. We’re looking forward to seeing where the next issue takes it.


Under Pressure #3
This slick, 88-paged ‘mag-zine’ is what would happen if a hip, contemporary fashion title like LAW collided with the energy and spirit of Dada. The editors describe their zine as a ‘collage’ without a clear sense of linearity: ‘It’s a series of impressions, a challenging portal that requires the engagement of the reader’s imagination’. Warped type and imagery by Larry Clark as well as contemporary image-makers like Alina Gutkina make issue three – elusively entitled ‘Divine Darkness’ – just as impressionistic and tantalising as the last.


Four Letter Word #1
Four Letter Word is a publication all about ‘contemporary human culture’. This topic seems vast and open, but that’s part of the point, as the magazine’s aim is to be as inclusive as possible. This means there are articles on why binaries don’t work any more, a piece on how to ‘connect with your inner cyborg’, and a feature on Edinburgh’s Dive Queer Party cabaret.


Judas #1
This new London-based fashion title ‘puts a well manicured finger up to contemporary consumer culture’. Edited by journalist and stylist Ana Brasil, Judas sets itself up as ‘the proud outcasts of the 21st Century’; it asserts that it doesn’t want to be ‘in Taylor Swift’ posse’ and has no interest it ‘Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie’. Instead of celebrity worship, Judas focuses on fashion as a vessel for ideas and not money or indulgence.


Chanced Arm #1
Published by London design studio Small Fury, this free magazine was created in 24 hours using content sourced via a Facebook submission appeal. The result is a folded A1 poster full of content provided by the known (ie Anthony Burrill) and unknown – a mixed bag but ambitious and fun as a freebie.


Boat #11 Havana
The nomadic magazine settles into the suddenly over-familiar Cuban capital. So many magazines seem to be visiting at the moment, and it’s slightly disappointhing to find Boat, often so brave in its locations, following the crowd. That said, there are plenty of good stories, written and photographic, in the issue, and a lovely piece about Cuban film posters.


Compass Quarterly
This Manhattan real estate magazine is a delightful piece of editorial design, thoroughly engaging in its use of contemporary design styles and devices. That it’s been created in the service of selling multi-million dollar apartments and six-figure monthly rentals in the Hamptons leaves me a little cold though.

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