Author Archives: Reuben

Speaking of necks, and other body parts

This is an old one, but I’d like to share a wonderful 1967 short film by Danish director Jørgen Leth.

Not a lot to say really, except that I found it beautiful and strangely touching. And inspiring in a retro kind of way. And of course, I thought some of you may like the boots…

:: Reuben ::


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Filed under Not so new



“Not more minä perhonen” I hear you cry. “Didn’t you blog enough on that guy already?”

Well, yes, perhaps I did.


But this is not what you think.

For, despite all appearances,  these beautiful patterns are not Japanese textile designs. Not textile designs at all in fact.


No, what we have here are details of book covers, by the wonderful American graphic designer Alvin Lustig.


Oh, I should also mention that these designs are from the 1940s.


The 1940s! Oh how I wish I could come up with such beautiful designs today. These covers are taken from the new directions  : new classics series from 1944 to 1953, yet I wouldn’t have even questioned it if someone told me they were designed last week by Penguin UK’s latest hot young thing.


Much has been written about the incredibly influential Lustig (though he was unknown to me until very recently), far more (are far more eloquently ) than I can re-blog here. If you’d like to know more this website is a great start.

:: Reuben ::

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Filed under Books, Not so new

My Favourite Textile Designer Ever In The Entire Universe

When I was living in Japan last year I picked up a little book simply titled “minä perhonen 3 print”, a blue book, a black mark across the cover, some typically minimal Japanese typography. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. 


I opened it up and within seconds had that “I absolutely have to buy this book right this second! Right now!” feeling. Those of you who know me will know how rare this is. Now, I’ve always found Japanese textile design inspiring, but this was something else – clever, whimsical, soft, gentle, and absolutely beautiful. Kind somehow. Colour combinations I could never dream of, patterns that made me smile, just enough complexity to remain minimal and yet somehow always surprising.


{ "pen" by Akira Minagawa }


{ "cup" / "basket" by Akira Minagawa }

The designer is Akira Minagawa, minä perhonen the brand.


{ "seafowl" (detail) by Akira Minagawa }


{ "forest gate" (detail) by Akira Minagawa }

If I had to choose a favourite page it would be the following one – I can’t tell you why, it just makes me extremely happy for some reason.


{ "fuwa fuwa" / "sunny rain" by Akira Minagawa }

I’ve since discovered that the Minagawa’s work is in fact very well regarded worldwide, with an extensive back catalogue of textiles, prints, clothing and even furniture (!) available for your perusal online.


{ "particle" / "circle" by Akira Minagawa }

Apparently, minä perhonen clothing is now available at Belinda – – which has a store in the GPO in Melbourne, I haven’t checked it out but I’m sure it’s out of my price range (and certainly not designed to fit me, being male and all), so for now I’ll make do with my lovely blue book.

:: Reuben ::

all images ©  minä perhonen / Akira Minagawa


Filed under Creators, fabric, Fashion

Coolsie heart attack


The other night Lee, Arwen and I (and many other non-members of this lovely blog) headed down south of the river – a rare occurrence for me these days – to Toorak Road and an opening at Penthouse Mouse – part retail space, part art gallery. Lots of well dressed young-fashion-mafia folk, lots of expensive beer (Asahi, of course), people looking at each other and not at the works on display.

This is fashion after all. I found myself doing the same, and camera in hand, began my very best paparazzi impersonation. 


To my surprise, I found that I was actually dressed almost the same as many of the fashionistas at the show – tight black jeans, white(ish) t-shirt, black leather jacket, denim cap. I took some comfort in the fact that my denim cap was purchased for $1 in India last year, not $100 at Fat4. Even still, it did get me wondering – why exactly did it bother me that I was dressed similarly to all these “cool” people? What kind of snob am I exactly?


I guess I should stop ranting and post something about the work – there was in fact some lovely stuff. Here’s a few pics, head down and check it out, some of the jewellery work is especially good.




I was far too distracted by all the beautiful people to write down the names of any of the designers but perhaps some of you can help me out – Arwen, Lee?


Penthouse Mouse
The Capitol, 243 Toorak Road South Yarra
Open 10am-9pm (except Monday) until March 22 (I think)

:: Reuben ::


Filed under Creators, Fashion, New

good price, here you get

There has been a trend for a while now in cafes, restaurants, apartments around Melbourne (and I imagine, many other cities in the world) towards a certain kind vintage-sign nostalgia. Old Coca-Cola advertisements, hand-painted signs advertising long-forgotten cleaning products, metallic menu boards. Hand painted is the key factor here. I must admit that I am a bit of a victim of this myself – my new apartment boasts a large painted metal “4” which I “borrowed” from the local service station back when I was 17.

You can only imagine my excitement last month trekking through the Himalayas and discovering a plethora of absolutely beautiful, old, hand-painted signs scattered through the mountain villages of Nepal. 



There were clear thematic similarities here – brightly coloured metal, high contrast, large lettering. Punctuation, spelling and grammar corrections added at later dates. Occasional animals and mountain references. And of course, lovely, unique, hand-drawn typography. Each one by a different artist (or artist), each with its own creative flourishes.




Of course, any nostalgia imbued in the signage here is entirely mine. These signs are not nostalgic, or ironic, they are intensely practical. This is essential international communication, this is art and commerce together at work.



Lacking the ability to take any of these beautiful signs home, I decided photographs would have to do, and began obsessively photographing every one that I saw – I have posted here a small collection that I hope is representative. One day soon a few of my favourites will be printed life size and will take pride of place beside my old service-station “4”.


:: Reuben ::

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Filed under Not so new, Uncategorized

there’s a world going on underground

I may be a little late to the game on this one (and late to the blog too – that’s another story), but for my first post here (thanks Arwen!) I thought I’d post some pictures I took at the recent opening of Arab Telephone by Tape Projects in Melbourne, the latest from Platform artists group .

Platform has been active in Melbourne for quite a long time now. It’s an odd exhibition space, consisting of window boxes lining the dank, underground thoroughfare that runs between Degraves Street and the north entrance to Flinders St Station. It is full of rapid foot traffic for several hours each day, and empty at all other times, save the odd busker (great acoustics with all those tiled walls). I’m often disappointed with the work I see down there, not least because of its less than ideal viewing environment.

Perhaps this surrounding is suitable for Arab Telephone though – “an experiment in time delay collaboration”. I did enjoy looking, but I honestly couldn’t understand the narrative that is meant to connect the work by the various artists involved. There are hanging phones, keyholes to peep though, a (beautiful) photo of a carpark, piles of videotape. Most of the work is sculptural or installation based, some is interactive, all is very well executed – certainly worth slowing down for if you are passing through on your way to work.

:: Reuben ::


Filed under Exhibitions