How to build sandcastles – Happy hands, happy mind

My career started when I was a child and I built my first sandcastle on the beach in Genoa, where I grew up. Making things has always been a pleasure for me – happy hands, happy mind – and making sandcastles was my training in fantasy. Now, as an architect constructing buildings like the Shard, I have to think about the final result, but as a child making castles of sand I didn’t, they were ephemeral.
I have four children; the oldest is 50 and the youngest 16, so I have been making sandcastles for a long time. There is no age limit – you can enjoy making a sandcastle however old you are, although it helps to think like a child.

Then [when you’re done] put a little flag or anything else you can find on the sandcastle, just to make it visible to people running on the beach. Go home and don’t look back.

Renzo Piano, Tuesday 14 July 2015

How to build the perfect sandcastl - Son of Alan


Creature celesti (Immanuel K.)

Un giorno a Piccola S. spiegarono che il cielo è ovunque.

Lei, come la gran parte dei bambini alle prese con i primi disegni più o meno sensati e scarabocchi, tracciava linee colorate con pennarelli e pastelli per delineare cose – panorami, persone, scene, momenti, pensieri.
E i cieli.
Cielo in aria, erba in terra. Facile e lapalissiano. Auto-evidente.
Striscia blu per il cielo in aria con sotto, appesi al bianco del foglio non colorato, il sole e le nuvole – e uccelli, farfalle pure.
Sotto, in basso, sulla terra, linea verde per l’erba. O marrone per la terra pura, con ciuffi d’erbetta a volte, fiori infilzati o crescenti su quella stabile riga marrone. Alberi anche, chiaro – busto marrone, come la terra (se non c’era una sfumatura diversa a disposizione fra la palette di colori) e testa, cresta, folta chioma verdeggiante in cima. Verdeggiante come l’erba, anche quella (se non c’erano altre sfumature a disposizione fra la palette di colori).
Piccola S. disegnava il mondo così, come fanno la gran parte dei bambini. Forse anche, era così che lo vedeva: un contrasto definito, e chiaramente rassicurante di linee inequivocabilmente differenziate – cielo sopra, terra sotto, non ci si poteva sbagliare. Tutto era chiaro, il principio definito, nessuna invasione di spazio o di campo altrui.
Fino a quando, un giorno, le disse qualcuno che il cielo era ovunque in realtà – non solo lissù, in alto, sopra alle stelle o al sole appesi sul bianco del foglio sotto di lui, ma ovunque, dappertutto: in basso, in alto, dentro, davanti, dietro. Intorno, tutt’intorno, anche a noi.
Noi che teniamo i piedi in terra, e a volte ci buttiamo nell’acqua per nuotare, siamo pure sempre immersi e sommersi nell’alto del blu del cielo.
Come gli uccelli, o gli unicorni colorati che vivono oltre l’arcobaleno di Dorothy.
Creature celesti pure noi, come gli animali alati che invidiamo e invano inseguiamo. Sempre e comunque, anche se ce lo scordiamo.
Alto e basso non ci sono, e manco dietro o davanti o confini definiti. Ché sono invece solo nell’occhio dello spettatore – che guarda, stupito e attonito, lo spettacolo infinito dell’immenso cielo stellato intorno a noi (e non solo sopra, come Immanuel K. scriveva).

“Spero che tu riesca a trovare un po’ di pace e non preoccuparti, non potrai mai cambiare totalmente. Sarai sempre una creatura celeste”.

creature celesti


Two Kinds of People (surviving the modern age)

two types of sudokutwo types of headphonestwo types of chocolate eating

There are only 2 kinds of people in this world, those that find this blog hilarious and those that have no sense of humor whatsoever.

I was the creator of Kim Jong-Il looking at things, an Art Director by day and a heavy sleeper by night.
From Lisbon, Portugal with love.

2 kinds of people

(I’m definitely a “pic-on-the left” person. But when it comes to sudoku. In which case, I’d rather scribble. Or have a gelato)


How does it make you feel? Awkward? Embarrassed? Like you’d want to run from the room screaming if someone started talking about their monthly bleed? Now imagine how you’d be feeling if men had periods instead of women. We think it would be pretty different – in six significant ways. 1. The monthly bleed would be a sign of manliness 2. Coming on would be celebrated 3. Periods would be called… periods! 4. Sportsmen would take their periods seriously – very seriously 5. Sanitary items would be a human right 6. Tampon adverts would be turbo-charged

WaterAid – If men had periods

1.25 BILLION WOMEN do NOT have access to a toilet during their period. What if it wasn’t so?

Rosemary and mint

I did some gardening few days ago.
The mint is the main problem this year (in two-thousands-and-fourteen the snails were instead): that little, perfumed plant and its stubborn roots were taking over the whole garden. So I had to give it a cut.
It was all about trimming and pruning and cutting and uprooting for a couple of hours or so.
Until I got to the rosemary. This one plant is not little at all and, as most of all rosemary ones do, it looks way older than it possibly is (three years maybe, I’d estimate). And it’s placed right next to the mint. Both are growing green and strong, and my rosemary has also been blooming for the past five or six days. The mint though, had been playing the part of the annoying neighbour, as I said. Growing and surrounding and pushing strong, it had gradually left no space for the poor rosemary plant. So I had to be particularly harsh with it – and uproot a lot, on top of the standard cutting and trimming part.
“Rosemary! – I said to the old-looking plant – you have to be more careful, uh? You cannot let this one take over your space like this. You can’t make room for someone, if they don’t make enough room for you.”
I wonder if Rosemary has learnt the lesson now.
It’s a good one. Everybody, I think, should learn it too.

Life suspended over the abyss – Six invisible cities


Anastasia – Joe Kuth

“At the end of three days, moving southward, you come upon Anastasia, a city with concentric canals watering it and kites flying over it.
Such is the power, sometimes called malignant, sometimes benign, that Anastasia, the treacherous city, possesses; if for eight hours a day you work as a cutter of agate, onyx, chrysoprase, your labor which gives form to desire takes from desire its form; and you believe you are enjoying Anastasia wholly when you are only its slave.”


BaucisBaucis – Matt Kish

“After a seven days’ march through woodland, the traveler directed toward Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived. The slender stilts that rise from the ground at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds support the city. You climb them with ladders. On the ground the inhabitants rarely show themselves: having already everything they need up there, they prefer not to come down. Nothing of the city touches the earth except those long flamingo legs on which it rests and, when the days are sunny, a pierced, angular shadow that falls on the foliage.”


LeandraLeandra – Joe Kuth

“Gods of two species protect the city of Leandra. Both are too tiny to be seen and too numerous to be counted. One species stands at the doors of the houses, inside, next to the coatrack and the umbrella stand… The others stay in the kitchen, hiding by preference under pots or in the chimney flue or broom closet, they belong to the house…
If you listen carefully, especially at night, you can hear them in the houses of Leandra, murmuring steadily, interrupting one another, huffing, bantering, amid ironic, stifled laughter.”


OctaviaOctavia – Joe Kuth

“Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks…Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm’s bed…
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia’s inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will last only so long.”


ValdradaValdrada – Joe Kuth

“The ancients built Valdrada on the shores of a lake, with houses all verandas one above the other, and high streets whose railed parapets
look out over the water. Thus the traveler, arriving, sees two cities: one erect above the lake, and the other reflected, upside down…
Every face and gesture is answered, from the mirror, by a face and gesture inverted, point by point…The two Valdradas live for each other, their eyes interlocked; but there is no love between them.”


ZobeideZobeide – Matt Kish

“From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive’s trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.”

Seeing Calvino is an attempt by the artists Leighton Connor, Matt Kish, and Joe Kuth, to “see,” through the creation of illustrations responding to and exploring the ideas in the texts, the work of writer Italo Calvino. The tumblr began in April 2014 with illustrations of Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Una tazza di menta e camomilla infuse

“Perché mi mandi questa parola (che amo e che per altro uso spesso)?”
Perché a Piccola S. piacciono le parole. Lei pensa, continua a pensare, che a furia di parlare, oltre a curare isteria e malanni mentali, si possa pure sistemare il mondo.
Come con le piccole azioni. Quelle che in tanti posti, fatte da tante piccole persone, alla fine danno al pianeta una faccia nuova.
Si spera, almeno – lei lo spera, lo crede ancora.

Viele Kleine Leute Berliner Mauer“Che poi lo sai come so’ io, no? Parlo pure coi serci” diceva giorni fa Piccola S. alla madre – un minuto dialogo notturno, mormorato in cucina davanti a una tazza di menta e camomilla infuse.
“Sì – ha detto la madre – io invece parlo sempre di meno. Forse un giorno smetterò del tutto di parlare. E’ che io ho bisogno di silenzio…”.
Il silenzio di Alice e le sue hooka bubbles, probabilmente.
Un silenzio anòdino – oppure quello d’un autentico deserto dei tartari che t’avanza dentro. E che aspetta che le parole av-vengano. Quelle giuste, non certo parole qualsiasi, ma esattamente quelle che stanno alla fine del deserto. E che lo cancellano e annullano. E annacquano.
Il silenzio che protegge la scatola con dentro il cuore di Pandòra. Ché è meglio non aprirla, sennò poi chissà cosa accadrebbe.

some sort of bokeh - Joel MuellerLa Madre ha anche detto a Piccola S. di continuare a scrivere. Di non smettere. Si è stupita, pure, dell’uso del blog per raccontare, pubblicare, condividere (sbattere in faccia magari) sensazioni, a volte, totalmente private e personali.

E’ che – Piccola S. risponderebbe – come la lingua nasce e vive del suo uso, così pure le parole scritte e parlate vivono della loro condivisione. Per lei, se nessuno (anche solo in potenza) può leggere quello che, nero (virtuale), lei mette su bianco-carta (online), allora la messa in parola stessa perde significato assieme al proprio fine – la primaria ragion d’essere viene meno, persa nel deserto tartarico dell’attesa senza fine.
Quella della parola giusta.
E della persona adatta che, eventualmente (nel senso inglese del termine), quella parola la sappia pigliare
(e accogliere d’abbracci pure).

Hug me - M.G.Kafkas

Enantiodromia, Scripturient & Zugzwang

Enantiodromia: The conversion of something into its opposite.

Bold graphics and visual wit are used to interpret and represent a collection of strange, unusual and lost words. These images explore the meaning behind the words, which are sometimes even more strange or unusual.
This series of work has been exhibited during Design Week Dublin 2011

A-Z of Unusual WordsThe Project Twins

Biblioclasm_905Biblioclasm: The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media.

Gorgonize_905Gorgonize: To have a paralysing or mesmerising effect on: Stupefy or Petrify.

Infandous_905Infandous: Unspeakable or too odious to be expressed or mentioned.

Scripturient_905Scripturient: Possessing a violent desire to write.

Vernalagnia_905Vernalagnia: A romantic mood brought on by Spring.

xenization_905Xenization: The act of traveling as a stranger.

zugzwang_905Zugzwang: A position in which any decision or move will result in problem.