Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year from all of us at PHI Design! Hope your night is fun, festive, and safe. We look forward to the coming year and all the exciting things it'll bring!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"In an age when other fantastically speedy, widespread media are triumphing and running the risk of flattening all communication onto a single, homogeneous surface, the function of literature is communication between things that are different simply because they are different, not blunting but even sharpening the differences between them, following the true bent of the written language." Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium.

Things to look forward to! Photos from today's project setup, comments from the peanut gallery, music, coffee talking, favorites. If you want to find us elsewhere, there's our twitter, which you can always follow, and our tumblr. Don't forget!


By now, you're coming to terms with the millions and millions of time you've encountered some form of hype for Nine, the star-studded project featuring the likes of Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Daniel Day Lewis, Dame Judi Dench, and more. In fact, Nine joins the ranks of overhyped and overstylized of 2009.

Why? Well, let's talk about what you don't know. Nine is actually a remake of the great Fellini classic 8 1/2. Shot in black and white, the film stars actor Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a famous director that is suffering from a creative block. (The film's title is actually a reference to Fellini's time as a director, eight and a half years at the time, 1963.) Guido, stalled on his new film, has lost interest amidst creative and martial differences. As he struggles, the film dives back into his memories and fantasies, each interwoven with reality. Also a fun fact? Kate Hudson's role was actually added to the film's remake. But 8 1/2 is the recipient of two Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language film.

So why should you see it?

There are a number of reasons, of course. It's a classic. It's a classic. It's a classic. It's a classic. With a Hollywood obsessed with sparkly vampires and remakes, overbudget adapations, and films that seem entirely too long for any sane human being.

But there's something completely unadulterated about 8 1/2, about how it's shot and produced; the charisma of the actors, the chemistry of time from scene to scene. It's a film that undoubtedly inspires and inspires in such a way that you remember how to appreciate romance: in life, in love, and in our everyday interactions. It's not a film for film's sake film, but a film that stands as the medium should be: stories of our lives.

So buy it. Rent it. Search high and low on the internet for it. 8 1/2 is a must-see for all film lovers.


Styl.in Rooms has convinced us that learning German might be a goal for the coming new year - they continue to post really fantastic things.

Consider this fireplace on the right. It's called Roll Fire and it's bio-ethanol fireplace that you, yourself, can easily move anywhere in the house. Simply put: it's pretty amazing and you can roll it around, especially with the coming winter weather.

And if that coming winter weather is anything like the weather in Boston, you're going to want to buy two.

Or put it on your wishlist for next year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Look familiar? Artist Dan Tobin Smith is probably most well-known for creating the cover art for Jay-Z's, the Blueprint 3. But before Jay-Z, Smith was busy getting critical acclaim for his highly-stylized work. From advertising, interiors, still life, to even landscaping, none of his work is built in a studio - Smith carefully selects a world of color and creates these chromatically-bisected works of art all by hand. Please, please check out his site!


Word to the wise - when hungry, do not surf the internet looking at food blogs especially when most of them haven't taken down their holiday baking recipes, tips, and tinsel-happy posts. It's like going to the dentist and then after, somebody puts a great piece of chocolate in front of you.

I know.

But if you're not hungry, and you've got a little of time, Orangette is a great site to visit for a recipe or two. Or three. Maybe four. Like the plum crumble. Something that looks delicious on screen (and you hope off screen too, of course, pending any kitchen meltdowns and fire alarms) and something that's sure to impress if you give yourself a little time and want to make the effort for friends. Good friends.

Another recipe that you might want to try? Chilled Peaches in White Wine.

Orangette, however, isn't the only food blog on the internet doing great things. There's Brownie Points and for those of you struggling to find delicious gluten-free recipes, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef is just a really wonderful, warm, and thoughtful blog - complete with recipes, stories, recommendations, and other links.

It's great to have a few places to start, a few more places to snoop around, and, you know, links to make you hungry on a day like today.


It's the last week of 2009! And while everybody else is talking resolutions and new trends, we want you to check a few of these links out:

Interior Design is counting back their top 10 articles of the year. From the House of Barbie in Shanghai to the modern day Blade Runner-esque city of Kuala Lumpur, check out all these great articles.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art opened a new academic building in downtown Manhattan. Designed by Morphosis, the project replaces the existing Hewitt Academic Building and it incorporates many of the demolished building materials, green-friendly and green-inspired. Inhabitat has a great photo tour of the building.

The Ball Nogues Studio, in collaboration with American Apparel, has a new installation in for the 2009 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale of Urbanism. The structure is comprised of 10,000 items of clothing manufactured by American Apparel – operator of the largest garment factory in the United States. Each garment serves the dual role of a building component and individual article of clothing. Now, here's the really cool part. The installation will be dismantled and the various shirts, tank tops, dresses, bikinis and g-strings comprising it will be dispersed to visitors. Definitely check it out!

Monday, December 28, 2009


ANDTIE. Necktie + scarf = best idea ever.
Interested? Email contact@andtie.dk for prices and availability.


The best part about Monday is when it's usually over. But it never hurts to have a few newsworthy links for browsing:

Rock and Roll Religion, owner of the English Laundry label, just signed a three-year license to market a men’s collection featuring the artwork and imagery of John Lennon.

Check out these cool skulls from the Japanese brand Shelterbanks. Imagine if Hamlet had a little color in his life.

Spanish architects Vallo Irigaray has designed a new building for Soria. It's covered by a unique soft, light and wavy skin, made in U-glass elements.

The Contemporist has photos of the recently recently opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona. Responsible for the interior design is Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola.

(photo found via FFFFOUND!)


Looking for a change of pace? Or trying to avoid neighbors? Located in the Swiss village of Vals, this underground house is a hidden jewel amongst the other mountain houses. Eco-friendly, with a gorgeous Alpine view. A really curious thing to see.

Sunday, December 27, 2009



There is no doubt that 2009 has seen a serious rise in blogging, both as a growing phenomena and a cultural tool.

The New York Times' Sunday Style section this week features an article on blogging and its rise to power within the fashion world - bloggers have now moved into the coveted first row at many of the shows.

Says Kelly Cutrone, a fashion show organizer since 1987, "There has been a complete change this year. Do I think, as a publicist, that I now have to have my eye on some kid who’s writing a blog in Oklahoma as much as I do on an editor from Vogue? Absolutely. Because once they write something on the Internet, it’s never coming down. And it’s the first thing a designer is going to see.” (NYTimes, Sunday Style, 11)

Of course, the rise of blogging popularity gives new and peculiar insight to just how quick and sudden the market and the fashion audience is adjusting to this change. Bloggers are able to give real time reviews of collections, posting imagines and comments even before shows end - this is much faster than a magazine, say Vogue, and the length of time it takes to put together an issue complete with their insights and trend views. Say the famous Fall issue. Another added perk to the rise of bloggers is that it offers a direct, if not functional connection to the customer. Not only are these bloggers able to quickly put together any sort of review or recommendation, readers of a particular blog are able to interact. It's the internet at its finest, a showcase of information sharing and passing.

Go here to read the Times article in full.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


FASTCOMPANY has a great interview with the new Design Within Reach CEO, John Edelman. He talks about knockoffs, DWR's desperate need for a better Web presence, and China.

The Mark Ballard exhibit, the All of Everything, features the artist's apocalyptic vision of art's history; it's an ambitious installation that covers London's The Arts Gallery from top to bottom. It's also something that you must see before The Arts Gallery faces demolition in 2010, another fallen victim to the ever-controversial Crossrail’s new railway project.

Two young designers are launching a new printing process that is capable of printing on all natural materials. Previously impossible prints can be made on leather, suede, wool, felt, wood, cotton, and more.


Christmas shopping is a curious thing; it can go either way, of course, as the stuff of nightmares and ... well, a headache. Then you have the after holiday sales that may serve better as a real life interpretation of a Jerry Springer show, complete with screaming children, over-caffeinated shoppers, and, if you're desperate enough to venture into a Target, shopping cart accidents - people will definitely aim for limbs with their shopping carts in there.

Needless to say, online browsing has lead us to a few strange corners of the internet. Paris Hilton, ultimately famous for branding herself into ... that's for another rainy day. But she has designed a tank for Forever21, that comes in gray or pink, as well as a complete display of her artistic talents, a drawing of herself and all her pets.

But it's for charity.

Which is really great - The Starlight Children's Foundation does a number of wonderful things for sick children and their families. It brings together experts of all fields that hope to educate and provide care for these families as well. You can make a direct donation here.

But would you wear it? And ultimately Forever21, who is geared towards girls from 13-22 - would they wear it?

It's always a bewildering aspect of our culture, watching the celebrity world mesh with everything else; of course, a charitable venture is a noble and great, great thing. And it begs to question as to who is really serious about giving back, whether or not giving back is a show of the sorts. How relevant is Paris Hilton as well? As woman who has marketed herself into a brand in this celebrity-obsessed culture, why a t-shirt and not the proceeds from the many perfumes that she comes out with every year? Or from her appearances?

This is today's food for thought.


Not feeling the post-holiday shopping? For those of you (sane) still feeling the holiday spirit, not martha has a wonderful tutorial on how to add a little something to your hot chocolate - a tiny gingerbread house. Adorable!

Friday, December 25, 2009


poppa hop & his orchestra - merry christmas,darling
PHI would like to wish you and your family a very, very Merry
Christmas. Be safe and have a wonderful day, everybody!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


'twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ... except, well, maybe, the present wrappers.

The art of present wrapping is the single most important craft you might learn in your life time. It's quite an accomplishment, for sure, as it tests the limitations of your patience and your desire to express how much you really love that special someone.

Of course, this is why there are people in the mall who do it.

But there's definitely something to present wrapping, and the most perfectly wrapped gift - that's the gift that you wake up on Christmas morning, walk down the stairs, and stare at it with growing anticipation. It's the present that you shift from foot to foot, that makes you start to pace (much to the dismay of the rest of your family, who worry whether or not it's a good idea to give you coffee); without a doubt, that's the present that your present wrapper, your Santa's elf, spent what felt like an eternity wrapping the night before.

Listen, nothing comes easy. You have to deal with an army of paper cuts, tape dispensers that disappear in fear or run out because they just can't hack it. A personal favorite is the long, long journey through out the house to look for a pair of scissors that your own mother swears exists, but it turns out they don't and you have to make an emergency drugstore run.

We do this because we love our family.

We do this because we love them very, very much.

So then the question is simply this: what do you do with a present, say well, you know, a suitcase and make it something spectacular?

Easy. You get creative.

The greats of the present wrappers, a small and foreign community, will often stare a suitcase with weariness and anxiety - especially when said suitcase does not come with a box. So they too will be surprised when we say that we accomplished this feat, this incredible feat of making a suitcase nothing less than amazing, with little paper to spare ... and two bags of two hundred small bows.

So we here at PHI Design would not only like to wish you and yours a happy, happy holiday, but would also like to extend several gold stars to those of you a part of the present wrapping community. Without a doubt, we salute you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A year ends, all of us move, and most of us move on
sometimes, it's into something unexpectedly magical
other times, it's a quick end and a little bit of a dance
but mostly, the year ends and when we fall in love
there's always a song or two.

and so now here are those songs: florence + the machine, swimming;
basia bulat, i'm forgetting everyone; girls, lust for life; el perro del
mar, l is for love; dirty projectors, knotty pine; girls hellhole
ratrace; beach house, lover of mine; charlotte gainsbourg, time
of the assassins; scene creamers, candidate; great northern, fingers.

(photo by peko-chan, visit gallery here)


Want to know what inspires us?
Check out the PHI tumblr!


This week, due to the coming Holiday, we're giving you a peek of a few of our favorite things. You know, the odds and ends and knickknacks of things that make us smile or want to play for hours on end. Enjoy checking these out!

1. CONTEMPORIST. Great architecture/design/interior blog that has a global perspective on new and upcoming trends as well as striking inspirations found in array of buildings and homes. A favorite post? The Turkish design studio Autoban and their nest armchairs that come in three different colors and bare a striking resemblance to a bird cage.

2. IAMNEUROTIC. A fun site where people can anonymously confession to a variety of neuroses; it's a really great example where you can see how tumblr translates into use for outside websites - IAMNEUROTIC also has their own tumblr, where readers are welcomed to submit their own contributions.

3. CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG, IRM. The new album from the French singer/songwriter, actress, and fashion icon, IRM is the perfect follow-up to Gainsbourg’s critically-acclaimed 5:55. IRM transforms you into a place that feels something like a Godard film, each song mixes with a bit of mystery and elegance. Singer Beck was also a contributor to the album. Recommended songs: "Master’s Hand", "In the End", "Heaven Can Wait", "Trick Pony", "Voyage", "Looking Glass Blues".

4. DESIGNMILK. An online magazine dedicated to art, architecture, & design that brings it’s readers into what’s fresh and new in art, architecture, interior design, furniture and decor, fashion, and technology.

5. FUCKYEAHFLORENCEWELCH. A tumblr dedicated to Florence Welch, the lead singer of Florence + the Machine, 2009’s breakout surprise in music. A breakout star in her own right, the tumblr posts various pictures of the musician and explores her very eclectic sense of style.

6. KATEDMACDOWELL. Very cool artist that works with mostly porcelain and hand builds all her pieces. Her canary series is fascinating. Check out: Canary 3 (porcelain, wooden wall pedestal, compact fluorescent lights, wiring, 9/2008)

7. 1DESIGNPERDAY. This a blog that features “one design” or product each day, with an emphasis on the cool and innovative. Check out the post, “Stuff you can do with Eggs”.

8. STYL.INROOMS. German blog that focuses on design, interiors, art, food and life; features innovative pieces from the global stage and offers a great array of links to different blogs and product sites.

9. CORE77. A very cool online design magazine and resource site that provides articles, discussion forums, an extensive event calendar, hosts portfolios, job listings, a database of design firms, schools, vendors and services. It's a great place for designers and design lovers alike to come together to explore various insights.

10. POLYVORE. Interactive site that allows its users to mix and match items from various brands and stores. POLYVORE also has an up to date blog that you can follow and watch for new trends and insights to what's hot right now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


There is just no way to decide whether or not this is utterly amazing or just incredibly cheesy. Either or the bookshelf was made by UK designer Ron Arad, who enjoys experimenting with various materials such as wood, steel, aluminium, and polyamid.
For more of his work, visit his site.


As a lover of all things leather, colorful, and inexplicably large, C walks into Neiman Marcus and is ready for her entire being to sing.

For all things handbags, of course.

It's a daunting task, stumbling into the accessories department on the weekend. Husbands gone rouge. Babbling, wide-eyed teenage girls with matching bags dipped into the iconic seasonal brand of choice. Screaming babies. Mothers attempting to evade putting their kids on leashes and completely frazzled while doing so. And of course, the sales associate that can be a variety of flavors: disinterested, unamused, ready for lunch, and if you're incredibly lucky, amazing.

It's a jungle out there, kids, and we haven't even touched the bag yet.

C is patient though. After being assaulted by an army of fragrances, C's mother is ready for battle with her own shopping bag locked and loaded and ready to be used as a proper weapon and, more importantly, her sensitive, Oprah-ready, friendly face in case a purchase cannot be made. A devastating thought, of course.

"You're a young woman."
"I know."
"You need something young and -"
"Really, mom?"

Mom grins her way into a lead, through sale tables and post-seasonal items to the front of the bag display with too much enthusiasm. C watches warily and hopes that this isn't some made for TV movie or an hour of Paradise Lost.

The assorted trends, colors, sizes, house names, multiples, and multiples of multiples is overwhelming. C paces in front of the shelves, circles smaller displays, and accidentally steps on her mother's foot several times, which results in this exchange:

"Good job."
"I didn't - I didn't mean to. Oh, look!"

C holds up a bag in her hands, multifunctional and vibrantly covered in a patent, leather pattern that is neither easy to describe but much more willing to burn C and her poor mother's eyes. We will not talk about where C found this bag. However if one were to use their imagination, the place of such a handbag would be not in the front with the other but behind seas and seas of colors and prices, covered and shelved away. Think Island of Lost Toys, only handbags with a Lifetime twist.

Of course, Mom sighs and wrinkles her nose in complete disgust.

"You need a boyfriend," she says seriously, and looks over at C with some worry. It's the kind of worry that all mothers have when the prospect of grand kids and white weddings are threatened by a single, glaring fashion faux pas. And while it very well could be a translation of an 'ugly, ugly, ugly, let's please move on' face, C's mother is onto something.

We define ourselves in many ways and expressing that definition often manifests in other ways, intentional or not. Top. Bottom. Shoes. Jacket. Hair up. Hair down. Gold and silver. Polish with color or not. The perfect bag is very much a part of the system. Big and small. Leather, fabric, or mixes. Just like words and gestures, a bag is another part of the statement, of you yourself, and possible memory of adding something new. The perfect bag doesn't completely define you, but definitely doesn't take away anything.

So the question is this: what did C really pick?

Monday, December 21, 2009


We Are The World - Foot Follows Foot
(Visit Marc Johns' flickr gallery.)


Director Anton Corbijn's 2007 critically-acclaimed biopic Control follows the life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division. Shot entirely in black and white, the film intimately details the band's quick and short rise to fame through Curtis' eyes, the weight of his young and troubled marriage, and frequent seizures, all of which led to his downward spiral and eventual suicide.

The screenplay itself is based on a book by Curtis' widow, Touching from a Distance, and stars actors Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, and Alexandra Maria Lara.

The film is an incredibly intimate portrayal that showcases the talents of then rising-star Riley as well as the ever amazing, talented Samantha Morton. Riley is incredibly haunting as Curtis, clumsy and self-deprecating, devoted to his music and unable to escape the responsibilities of his life and his illness. Morton is equally fierce and devastating as his wide-eyed sweetheart and wife Deborah, completely aware of how quickly she loses everything.

Director Corbijn stays faithful to the mood of the band and its music, using the black and white to capture the essence of that era. The film itself is bleak and often romantic, focusing on both the tragedy of Curtis' life as well as the impact he continues to have on music today. Without a doubt, this film is a definite must-have.

Listen to Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart, She's Lost Control


Design is where science and art break even.
- Robin Mathew

Design is the search for a magical balance between business and art; art and craft; intuition and reason; concept and detail; playfulness and formality; client and designer; designer and printer; and printer and public.
- Valerie Pettis

Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.
- David Lewis

Art is an idea that has found its perfect visual expression. And design is the vehicle by which this expression is made possible. Art is a noun, and design is a noun and also a verb. Art is a product and design is a process. Design is the foundation of all the arts.
- Paul Rand


Ran Hwang, Dreaming of Joy (2008)
Artist Ran Hwang creates large, room-size installations using only buttons and pins. Incredibly vivid and breathtaking, Hwang starts with pins to form the silhouette, then attaching the buttons to create both color and movement in her piece. The buttons are completely free form and no adhesive is used. For more, visit her site.


Look familiar? Keep Calm signs seem to be popping up everywhere, in different forms such as posters and even t-shirts to multiple variations such as this one Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On, a favorite for sure.

But it was back in 1939, when a nameless civil servant was put in charge of finding the right slogan to inspire a war-ridden, bleak population. There were several attempts, of course, from Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory to the second attempt, Freedom Is In Peril.

People never did get to see the third attempt: Keep Calm and Carry On which, ironically, is everywhere these days and a major, major favorite of the internet blogging community.

For further reading, the Guardian has an article about the origins of the slogan. But for purchasing, and in the case that you might need a little bit of reminder to keep yourself calm and in a good place during a frantic work week, definitely head over to this keep calm and carry on site for assorted slogan-wearing items.


- Thanks God It's Christmas

Mary Margaret O'Hara and Frank Loesser - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Monty, Dale & The 2 By 2's - The Lil' Endless Summer Boy

Diana Ross & The Supremes - Joy to the World

Pedro the Lion - I Heard the Bells on Christmas


So it's Monday! Take a few minutes to yourself and check out a few, fantastic newsworthy items:

the CHANEL mobile art exhibit
: A collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the exhibition is meant to be a complete sensory experience. Inspired by the iconic CHANEL quilted bag, the exhibit is an entire universe of original and eclectic point of views that only add to the legendary vibrancy of the CHANEL experience. Features the famed Russian artists, the Blue Noses, the Frenchman Daniel Buren, David Levinthal, and more.

Lavin's artistic director, Alber Elbaz has elevated the French house into a new kind of advertising with their spring-summer campaign. Shot by photographer Steven Meisel, it features model Jamie Bochert, flying down a corridor in a studio. "I thought maybe we need a bit of action," Elbaz says.

And of course if you're warily expecting some unwanted stocking stuffers, Gizmodo answers the most important questions about The Slanket, the Snuggie, the Freedroom Blanket, or the awesomely-named Blankoat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


She refused to be boring, chiefly because she wasn't boring.
Zelda Fitzgerald


Please, please check out Stéphane Massa-Bidal's work
on flickr. Without a doubt, something to investigate!


"And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said, "Be still" and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once. And they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things." Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

The most extraordinary thing about film as a medium is that it brings to life the completely unexpected. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) is Spike Jonze's adaptation of the Sendak's classic children's book, both an adventurous and daunting task.

Book adaptations (and the ever-popular remake) have been a recent trend in the last couple years, from Jane Austen novels to Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. But Sendak's novel and the subsequent film, a tale of growing up in its own right, belongs in a category of its own.

Without Spike Jonze, the world would never have the Beastie Boys' Sabotage or Being John Malkovich and his vision for the Wild Things film. His take on the book is a romantic, vivid mix of colors, dark and light, that line and move every sense of the film: how children see the world, how the grow up, and how often they understand more than we know.

This film is undoubtedly stunning. It stays faithful to the original premise of the book, of how it feels to be a child and a child in a world that has no patience for understanding. It's a world that's both very much alive and vibrant and very, very scary. From start to finish, you find yourself walking back into that place, when you're a kid, and everything is supposed to be terrifying real in a way that no one else is supposed to get or adults, themselves, grow up to forget. People forget how brave children are, and how they initially cope with change or new things that come into their lives. And with that in mind, the film is wonderfully apt at capturing that experience.

If there's any film to see during the holidays, Where the Wild Things are is a definite must.

(Also, check out the soundtrack written by the ever-stylish, amazing Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs! A sample Karen O and the Kids - Rumpus.)


Enjoy your snow, Boston & New York!
Jens Lekman, Run Away With Me


The Paris-based designer Hervé Van der Straeten is best known for his extraordinary work in the design world. Still an art student in Paris, he began making and then showing jewelry to some of the greatest fashion houses: Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Today a major powerhouse, he has expanded his mark not just in jewelery but into exquisitely-made, and often romantic, furniture pieces where he showcases his experience with materials such as bronze, parchment, marble, lacquer, and other luxe materials.

Van der Straeten is, without a doubt, designer whose work should definitely be shared and explored. For further reading: a recent, quirky Elle Décor article allows some personal insight to the extraordinary designer with his twelve favorite things. He is also featured in several wonderful New York Times articles, discussing his incredible contribution to both the fashion and interior design world.

For more samples of his work, check out this gallery.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Ever wonder who's responsible for the great SNL portraits?
New York based, photographer Mary Ellen Matthews is
responsible for all of these great, classic images.


Worried about a possible 2010 zombie invasion?
Balenciaga's Lego shoes, from their '07 collection and running $4,175 a pair, might be your best bet for being combat ready for the coming new year. Even Kanye West agrees.


The Pillow Wig!
Possible holiday stocking stuffer? Artist/Designer JooYoun Paek, based in New York, creates interactive objects and quirky installations that reflect on human behavior, technology, and social change. Check out her site.


'tis the season to be jolly!

Of course, Christmas music has been playing on the radio since early November - talking about how early is entirely different entry altogether. And as it's the radio, there's no such thing as playing a little variety even on the holidays.

Until that big day next week, here are a few Christmas songs that should be on your playlist:

Feist - Please Be Patient
Julian Casablancas - I Wish It Was Christmas Today
Banu Gibson and the New Orleans Hot Jazz - I'll Be Home for Christmas
Pete Rugglo Orchestra - Jingle Bells Mambo
Marvin Gaye - Purple Snowflakes

Friday, December 18, 2009


Who says you can't do extraordinary things with lights?
Check out artist Rune Guneriussen's gallery.


Keep calm and carry on. It's this week's saying for the end of the week. Whether it's been a long work week, or a long holiday shopping week, or you're simply having one of those days - it's a good thing to be reminded every so often that it's okay to breathe.

PHI Day was pushed to Friday due to a really productive and busy week. So hat is PHI Day? It's the day where we all come together to check in and get up to date on the latest and what's needed. Our Favorite Things is a great week-to-week discussion point as well, and always without a doubt something to really look forward to.

But this week, and to round up the rest of the week, the office wanted to say hello and make its grand PHI blog debut:


Television. The very bane of our existence, with the abundance of reality-based shows, to your grandma's stories, and the very few series that makeup the always changing primetime face.

Of course, we really don't think about commercials until the Superbowl, where it's about who has the funniest ad or the coolest, or the ever-favorite most expensive that leaves everybody talking for days - mostly with "What were they thinking?" as the first question on their minds.

So very rarely, we stumble upon an actual commercial that is both intelligent and sharp as the two spots running from the new Levi's ad campaign from Wieden & Kennedy.

Arguably, it might be too intelligent and too romantic for the masses. People are mostly uninterested in any commercial, too impatient and wanting very much to get back to their shows. But there's something about these two spots that have make you stop and watch, and with such a brilliant use of color and language and mood, the campaign is nothing short of being visually stunning. For sure, it embraces the iconic spirit of the Levi's brand.

And let's be honest. Sometimes it's just nice to stop and watch.


"In order to be irreplaceable one always must be different."
Coco Chanel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009



A documentary from award-winning director Tom DiCillo,
When You're Strange uncovers rare and previously unseen footage that offers insight into the iconic, illustrious band and their tremendous impact on music as we know it. The documentary is the first to tell the story of John Densmore, Robby Kreiger, Ray Manzarek, and the band's illustrious frontman, Jim Morrison.

The film takes its title from the Doors hit People Are Strange and chronicles the creation of their six landmark, studio albums in a span of five years and their live performances. Using original footage, DiCillo's film attempts to separate the truth from the myth, depicting all sides of the tour de force that was Morrison and showcase the rest of the band.

A definite must-watch.


It's true when they say that we live in an age of information, but what good is the information if we don't take the time to read? A few things worth a few minutes of your time:

That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work. Insightful, featured article in the New York Times' Fashion & Style section, discussing the growing popularity of the craft and vintage goods site Etsy.

Interior Design Magazine has put up a list of their winners of the Best of the Year Award, with various slideshows and information.

October 30, 2009–January 31, 2010 in Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, the Brooklyn Museum is hosting Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present, the first major exhibit to acknowledge the contribution of photographers and their work to the history of rock music.


With 2009 coming to a close, the end of the year becomes a quick and easy fix for variety in holiday conversations. But let's be honest here, why wait until the end of the year?

Every week, we're going to come together and bring our favorite things of the moment. From new and upcoming design trends to what's hot in the fashion world, the cool and innovative, and to a few books and albums that puts an extra spring to our step from day to day.

So worried about your upcoming holiday party? No problem. Worried about your
multiple holiday parties? We've got those covered too.

Here are some of our favorite things for this week.

WINES THAT ROCK. Winemaker Mark Beaman, inspired by some of his favorite albums has created a series of wines, all with familiar names: Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet, Forty Licks Merlot, Woodstock Chardonnay. Wines That Rock are both green-friendly and affordable: $16.95 a bottle. For further information, check out the site winesthatrock.com or even follow them on Twitter.

CASSETTE FROM MY EX. In Cassette from My Ex, sixty noted writers and musicians wax poetic about their own experiences with these charming artifacts and the relationships that inspired them. Includes contributions from: The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, This American LIfe’s Starlee Kine, The New Yorker’s Ben Greenman.

DAMIAN ORTEGA’S DO IT YOURSELF @ ICA Boston. The exhibition is the first-ever survey of Ortega’s work and will showcase a range of sculpture, installation, video, and photography. Exhibit runs until January 18th. Want more information? Check out the ICA for more the exhibit and quick slideshow of some of Ortega's work.

TUMBLR. The latest in the blogging crazy, tumblr offers a set way of sharing anything from photos that inspire you, to quotes and mp3s. Already on tumblr? Follow PHI at translateyourcreativedna.

5. WE HEART PRINTS. A blog that features a compilation of beautiful, interesting art prints at assorted prices and ranges.

6. WORK AND DESIGN. Features furniture and assorted, custom pieces manufactured from environmentally-friendly and recycled materials, pigmented natural concrete and metals, and custom sizes, material, and colors are available.

PEDRO ALMODOVAR’S BROKEN EMBRACES. A man writes, lives and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car crash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he didn’t lose only his sight, he also lost Lena, the love of his life. Really cool, colorful, and insightful film starring Oscar-winner Penélope Cruz. Watch the trailer.

BEACH HOUSE'S TEEN DREAM. A follow up to last year's Devotion, Beach House returns with a soft, dreamy tribute to lost loves and a falling adolescence. Reminiscent of the likes of Nico and Neil young, Teen Dream is a sure, future best of for 2010. Listen to off the album, Zebra.

9. NOTCOT.ORG. A cool mix of links from art and design, music and fun blog recommendations. Check out a link to Copenhagen’s RETHINK, an exhibit where climate change meets contemporary art and design or designyearbook’s entry on the redesign of Jane Austen’s classic novels and their covers.

10. STUDIO TOOGOOD. London-based event, interior, and exhibition design company. They also do styling and set design projects for fashion and interiors. Incredibly cool, inspiring, colorful and just all-around visually stunning. Check out their portfolio for a view of their work!

(Warhol-inspired Darth Vader by Rétrofuturs (Hulk4598) / Stéphane Massa-Bidal)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Phi Design Group is an innovative global design house led by two amazing women - Michelle Gubitosa and Nilda Martin. By translating our client's creative DNA, we deliver a transformative design experience. Inspired by the golden ratio or "phi", we believe that great design is inherent in nature and also unique to the individual. Through cutting-edge design and revealing our own creative DNA, we highlight that experiential design is what unifies us all. Great design transforms our spirits and our minds to celebrate and communicate what is special about us.

Welcome to a window into what PHI does and what we find interesting. Here we will post everything and nothing - events, obsessions, ideas, thoughts, etc. We hope you will enjoy getting to know us. We look forward to a perpetual conversation on all things that inspire us to reveal revolutionary design and amazing experiences.