Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, there were some big developments in that art and design world in 2015 that we believed left their mark on our readers regardless of their personal taste. From Banksy's signature ability to poke a finger in the eye of modern culture, to Google and Apple's continued evolution, and the ever-present innovation in sneaker-inspired art. Heck, we even have a modernist shell chair with more style than half your block. Take a look below to revisit some of 2015's best art and design pieces and be on the lookout for our other year-end wrap-ups in technology, sneakers, entertainment, style, and collaborations in the days to come.
As Apple's reach expanded in 2015, so did their footprint in the Silicon Valley with the news that the world's most valuable brand would be building a third corporate campus in Silicon Valley. After sitting on the most cash as any other brand in the world, Apple decided to put a downpayment on another curvaceous spaceship-like building in Sunnyvale, California. Expected to measure up at 777,000 sq/ft and large enough for 3,000 staff, the third location will almost match their first headquarters and their first "spaceship" campus' 2.8 million sq/ft. No word yet on the timeline for move-in, but the sketches are a LEED-designer's dream come true.
Although 2015 was a turning point for many financially, Bansky - with his signature style and uncanny ability - reminded us all that the world isn't all roses and rainbows. An art installation that functioned as a life-sized satire of Disney, "Dismaland" was a "bemusement park" conceived by the British artist that presented a surreal inversion on the "happiest place on earth." While a tour through the park resulted in few smiles, Bansky's decision to turn the work's material into support for Syrian refugees was a clever move.
Just as there was no way to avoid talking about Apple in this piece, we'd be remiss not to mention Google and the fact that 2015 saw the reveal of a new take on their iconic logo. Following their corporate restructuring that saw the introduction of Alphabet as the larger holding company, Google did away with their old serif font for a custom streamlined typeface called Product Sans. Developed by Google itself, the new font streamlines the shape of the letters and matches the brand's continued evolution, while still retaining its multi-colored playfulness (with just a splash of extra vibrancy), its ability to transform into creative images, and be one of the most recognizable brand marks on the planet. Learn more about their design process at the Google blog.
While American sculptor Michael Murphy has worked with the Jordan Brand and Nike to create works of art for many of their retail spaces, it wasn't until he took on the creation of a 3D Michael Jordan sculpture for the Nike Harajuku store in Tokyo that he truly outdid himself. As with his other pieces, the Ohio native leaned on classic Jordan imagery for the sculpture that hangs above a second floor of the shop. If you can't make it to Nike Harajuku, also look for Murphy's work at the Trump Tower and Nike's shop near Madison Square Garden.
To say that 2015 was a big year for LEGO fans would be an understatement. With recreations now out for The Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Star Wars, you'd think we'd be satisfied, but there's still nothing as great as home-grown creativity the likes of Tom Yoo. 2015 saw Yoo release a LEGO sculpture after sculpture of some of the sneaker game's most popular and influential models. The year began with the Air Jordan XI "Concord," and continued with the Air Jordan 5 "Grape", Nike Air Yeezy 2 "Red October", Air Jordan 1 High, and finished with the Air Jordan 9, Nike Mag, and the launch of his own LEGO Sneaker Art Collectables. Long story, short: watch out for Tom Yoo to take on 2016 with even more furor.
No matter the theme, there's practically no way we could get away without noting something related to the year's biggest film - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." In the lead up to the December release of the seventh installment of the film, BAPE founder NIGO partnered with famed auction house Sotheby's to put up for bid a vast array of his "Star Wars" collectibles. Numbering over 600 action figures - including a rare double-telescoping Skywalker figure worth at least $12,000 - Darth Vader helmets, vintage posters, Stormtrooper blasters, and autographed lightsabers. NIGO even had a Jabba the Hutt cookie jar. That man did have it all.
FUTURA 2000 may have turned 60 in 2015, but the famed street artist didn't let up one ounce, working with Converse, New Era, and taking on the famous Bowery walls in Manhattan. Yet, taking a moment to honor the man and the medium, ACRONYM x MONTANA partnered with BEINGHUNTED to reveal a limited edition spraycan inspired by FUTURA's signature style, released alongside gear giveaways and art at the birthday event held at their Berlin-based space.
It was hard to pick one thing from this year's Art Basel Miami that stood out, but soccer blog Kicks to the Pitch's custom adidas Yeezy Ace took the top prize for many. Created by Red Ribbon Recon, the adidas Yeezy Boost Pirate Black 350 joined an adidas Ace 15.1 mash-up, creating true one-of-a-kind boots that honored Kanye's impact on the sneaker game and the retired USMNT and MLS players that starred at the reveal event.
If already didn't know, the Air Jordan celebrated its 30th anniversary and the brand went all-out this year to celebrate the occasion. A centerpiece of that effort was a range of installations at the Jordan House of Flight in Shanghai, which joined fan expressions with professional works like Michael Lau's large murals that coated the space. Somehow the Hong Kong-based artist was able to simultaneously pull of pieces with the ease and energy of a child with the finish of a world-renowned artist at his caliber. Check out the images again before we turn the page on 2015.
Chairs. We sit in them everyday. Often way too much. So what makes this one special? First off, two powerhouse Los Angeles-based brands, UNDFTD and Modernica, teamed up to create a special, limited edition version of the latter's Case Study Fiberglass Shell Chair, which took over Herman Miller's place as the signature, luxury fiberglass design shop. The chair, limited to only 100 pieces, featured a laser-etched number marking its place and was coated in UNDFTD's own military green colorway. Some of these still may be out given their launch December 18 exclusively via UNDFTD.
How could we not include Brooklyn's own creative studio Snarkitecture and their 10,000 sq/ft ball pit that took over Washington, D.C.'s National Building Museum? Where do we even start with this one? Hosted in the museum's colossal Great Hall - a room supported by eight gigantic Corinthian columns rising to 159 feet - the nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic orbs turned the space into an interactive, multi-sensory summertime experience. Dubbed, "The Beach," the installation even featured its own bar, beach chairs, umbrellas, and a sponge-like material underfoot that felt like sand.
12. FRESH + CREATIVE Interviews Eric Haze
This past year also saw Fresh & Creative grab an exclusive interview with one of New York's most prolific and lauded artists, Eric Haze. Throughout the deep and winding interview, Haze opened up on his roots, his journey to fame in a crowded, yet fluid graffiti scene, and what inspires his work today. As we note in the piece, clicking through the interview is not just a look into the world of Eric Haze, but into the history of the New York City street scene itself.
So how'd we do, Freshness fans? Did we hit the mark or did we leave off something blatantly obvious? Let us know below what you think.