On the Visual Design of Birnin Zana, Wakanda’s Capitol

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Movies & TV

All the “best of 2018” movie lists I’ve seen remind of how much I loved Black Panther. So, I’m stealing an early start to the Martin Luther King Day weekend and reading about the design of Wakanda’s capitol city.

It’s called Birnin Zana and nicknamed the Golden City, although neither name appears in the movie. The Birnin Zana we see on the screen is the creation of the movie’s production designer, Hannah Beachler.

In a CityLab interview with Nicole Flatow, Beachler recounts her starting point:

“You know what’s keeping us together: the connectivity of people, not the connectivity of users. We’re not users; we’re people, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re users,” she said. “So I took all of that, and I just chucked it out of Wakanda, because the people were the most important thing about it, and we’re forgetting it. And I think that’s why people responded to Wakanda on this massive level: people.”

CityLab Marvel Studios Wakandan Street View

Marvel Studios; via CityLab.

The first impression of Birnin Zana is of course the skyscrapers, but if you look closely, there is water and ample greenery, too. The skyscrapers don’t seem to block the light too badly either.

Wired Marvel Studios City from Above

Marvel Studios; via Wired.

And if you really look, you can see greenery both in and on the buildings.

fxguide Marvel Studios Royal Landing Pad

Marvel Studios; via fxguide.

Vanity Fair Marvel Studios City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Vanity Fair.

Ahh! Nice.

Many of the building shapes hark back to traditional African aesthetics; also the surface detailing is rich and striking. In an interview with Collider, Beachler talks about the influences for her work:

“I started poking around and looking at really modern architects who have designed in Africa, all over Africa, east and west Africa. And someone who I really fell in love with was Zaha Hadid, who has passed away, but she is one of the foremost architects. So I started looking at her. Her architecture is very voluptuous and very flowing, very organic. So I thought this would be good. And the more I started digging into Senegal and Nigeria and finding things, while not necessarily futuristic-looking, very modern in their sensibilities as far as the way they’re putting together their elements and the colors that they use. I was struck by that. So I took a lot of that in. And a lot of it does come from Nigeria. I think in Kenya, Uganda, Johannesburg was another one, where no matter where you go, you really do see that they’re always keeping in mind the tradition.”

Los Angeles Times Marvel Studios City Concept Low-Built Area

Film Frame / Marvel Studios; via Los Angeles Times.

Collider Marvel Studios Wakanda City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Collider.

Beachler also created a 500-page “Wakanda Bible” for the actors to study, including the history of Golden City and names for all the buildings. The records hall held special meaning for her:

“Because [Wakanda residents] know everything about their past”—a privilege that real-world African Americans don’t have—“and [that] will never go away again in this city.

“I felt that way because I never knew my history. I didn’t know my ancestry, I didn’t know how far back it went …That was truly the most important thing to me. I don’t have that, but I could give it here in this fantastical world.”

I wish we got to see it, but I don’t think we do. (If you’ve spotted the records hall, let me know!)

Anyway; gorgeous through and through, isn’t it?

Now, I’m a city girl and have been almost my entire life. However, my concept of a city is different: all urban areas back home are typically so roomily built I’ve heard that if we were to follow some particular EU directive the whole country of Finland wouldn’t have a single city. (No idea whether that’s true, though.) Add my introversion to the difference in our respective urban population densities, and I suspect I would need a lot of alonetime were it possible for me to visit the Golden City.

Other than that, I LOVE everything we see: Color! Fantastic public transit (maglev trains, streetcars), but with people and their needs (and not cars) clearly at the focus. Traditional crafts and art that live very comfortably next to high-tech. Street vendors of almost every stripe – especially the food vendors make my mouth water every time I see them.

I do wish we could have a real-world Wakanda, for many reasons, the fabulous design being just one.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: DIY Medicine Cabinet Hides Behind Wall Art

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Inspiration

What a gorgeous DIY medicine cabinet project! A photo frame functions as the door:

A Beautiful Mess Laura Gummerman Make-A-Hidden-Medicine-Cabinet

Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

So clever! And, of course, it’s highly adaptable to any taste.

However trite it may sound, the ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me. Now I kinda want to make a row of these in our front hall, bathroom, my workroom, etc. and store all sorts of little necessities right where they’re needed… 🙂

For the tutorial and more photos, visit Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Made of Sundays

Design & Designers

Made of Sundays is a new-to-me design studio focusing on creative wall graphics – decals, posters and stickers – based in Helsinki, Finland.

I have to confess their style isn’t quite to my liking in general; I’ve never been big on polka dots, sprinkles, or triangle or dot patterns, for example. However, this door hug decal is incredibly cute!

Made of Sundays Door Hug Decal Bathroom

Made of Sundays.

 

Ok, I confess that I like the green-to-blue rain drops, too. 🙂

Made of Sundays Gradient Rain Drops Blue Green

Made of Sundays.

 

I guess I’m more of a fan of their style than I thought! 😀

Visit Made of Sundays for more!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Happy Halloween!

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Inspiration

I’m impressed – and cheered! – by the DIY rainbow pumpkins by Brittany W. Jepsen at The House that Lars Built:

House that Lars Built Rainbow-Pumpkin-Porch-0102

The House that Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

Isn’t the array simply stunning?!

Happy (Rainbow) Halloween!

P.S. An honorable mention goes to Brittany DeMauro at Costume Supercenter for sharing Avengers pumpkin-carving stencils. Avengers assemble!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Red Quilt Wallcovering

Colors, Room of Awesome

This photo in the June 2017 edition of Country Living magazine caught my eye:

Country Living June 2017 p27 Quilted Wallcovering

Country Living magazine June 2017, p. 27.

“Quilted wallcovering. Create a warm welcome with this unique spin on an accent wall.”

It seems to be from a bathroom or a half bath with a red wooden dresser repurposed as a vanity, plus a red and dark brown wood-frame mirror set against a coordinating red, black and white quilt. By all appearances, the quilt is permanently attached to the wall.

Wow, what a wonderful look. The mirror on top of the pieced multicolor quilt is too busy for my taste, but I really like how striking the wall is and how well the space is pulled together.

A comparable look would be relatively easy to achieve with paint and a stencil, if you don’t want to use a quilt or are worried about the longevity of textiles as a wallcovering.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Colorful, Geometric Paper Jewellery

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, DIY

This amazing geometric paper jewellery pings the same receptors in my brain as the geometric quilting patterns I found earlier.

The House That Lars Built Paper Earrings Necklace

The House That Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

They come from a set (tiara, earrings and necklace) inspired by the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Britain.

How inventive – kudos! Visit The House That Lars Built for the tutorial.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Food for Thought: Smartphones and Creativity

Inspiration

On Open Culture, Ayun Halliday writes about smartphones and creativity, extensively quoting cartoonist and educator Lynda Barry.

Flickr Nicolas Nova Smartphone Rituals

Smartphone Rituals by Nicolas Nova on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Here’s one of Barry’s thoughts that especially struck me:

“The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from.”

– Lynda Barry

I’m still mulling over the quote, but I seem to be leaning towards disagreeing. People who are inclined to doodle, people-watch, nap, let their thoughts wander, knit, read or whatnot will continue to do so even with smartphones. Not to mention that it’s perfectly possible to be bored with your smartphone and all the access it gives. Boredom, I find, isn’t dependent on having access to x, y or z; it’s more a matter of what doesn’t inspire you at any given moment. Nor are smartphones a cure-all against loneliness or uncertainty.

Smartphones are undoubtedly a tool, and equally unboubtedly they can be a distraction. My tentative hypothesis is that as the newest and perhaps most exciting devices in the history of human tool use, we haven’t collectively learned to balance their benefits and disadvantages yet.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for those struggling to resist the siren song of instant and interminable access.

Discoveries: Geeky Rendering on Blue & White China

Design & Designers, Stunt Double

The Things Could Be Worse mugs by Calamityware are an interesting take on traditional blue and white ceramics:

Calamityware Mugs Things Could Be Worse

Things Could Be Worse mugs by Calamityware.

Robots, pterodactyls, giant animals and hairy humanoids aplenty. LOL! 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Discoveries: Shadow Doodles by Vincent Bal

Arts & Crafts, Thumbs Up

Vincent Bal looks at shadows from a different perspective. His drawings turn the shadows of everyday items into something quite different. Below are just a few of my favorites.

An apple core becomes an owl:

Instagram Vincent Bal Apple Core

Vincent Bal at Instagram.

A glass of merlot turns into a UFO abduction scene:

Instagram Vincent Bal UFO

Vincent Bal at Instagram.

And a bulb of garlic bears an uncanny resemblance to E.T.:

Instagram Vincent Bal Garlic ET

Vincent Bal at Instagram.

Visit Bal’s Instagram or Etsy shop for more!

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Discoveries: FUJITAMIHO Lace Accessories

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials, Stunt Double

Miho Fujita creates delicate jewelry and accessories out of crocheted lace under the label fujitamiho. If that sounds hopelessly old-fashioned, you’re in for a treat: the end result is about as far as you can get.

Fujitamiho Instagram Blues

Fujitamiho on Instragram.

The accessories are made to look like leaves, berries, clusters of mushrooms and other natural elements.

Fujitamiho Instagram Fern Earrings

Fujitamiho on Instragram.

Fujitamiho Instagram Young Bracken

Fujitamiho on Instragram.

The crochet is incredibly tiny and delicate, and the shapes are as marvellous as only a close attention to detail can produce. Some of the jewelry looks almost modern and minimalistic. The pale, natural colors certainly speak to my Nordic sensibilities. 🙂

Found via Colossal. If you read Japanese, you can browse her online shop.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.