Saturday, June 2, 2018

Are we not drawn onward to new era

Self described French “Visionary Architect” Luc Schuiten penned a series of groundbreaking and provocative graphic novellas in the early two thousands, which formed the “Hollow Grounds” trilogy.  The first in this science fiction series, “CARAPACES”, provides brief but potent snapshots of six different scenes, each with the underlying theme of desire and its devastating consequences.  The next chapter, “ZARA”, is set in a world with unusual physical properties, inhabited only by women. We watch as they encounter, and dispatch with, the first men to discover their world.  It is a fitting parable for today’s times.  Finally, “NOGEGON” follows one of the main characters from Zara into a new story, in a new and highly structured world.  Slowly, it becomes clear that this world is governed by pure symmetry, and events will ultimately resolve themselves just as they began.  Careful analysis of the novella’s structure reveals minute planning, with mirror images in the pages, artwork, text and plot.  The entire journey is a palindrome. It’s a remarkable a piece of artwork.
Silver City by Neokid

Which brings us to “Silver City”, another beautiful production from the French craftsman Cristophe Laronde, known as “Neokid”.   His signature piece, “Mecanigma”, features an explosion of moving parts and pieces which interlink in a steampunk fantasy brought to life.  He is a self taught woodworker and creates his visionary designs with modern technology, including laser cut wood parts and 3D printed pieces.  He was inspired by the stories of Luc Schuiten and created the work Silver City in homage to NOGEGON, the perfectly symmetrical, palindromic world.  This striking box, crafted from poplar wood, padouk, ash and aluminum, features black oak and mahogany marquetry which produces the perfectly symmetrical and lustrous pattern adorned on its surface.  

Marquetry veneer pattern in black oak and mahogany

The symmetry hardly ends there, as might be imagined by now from the description.  The nine moves required to open the box are satisfyingly predictable, once the initial moves are deduced.  This does not detract from the experience; rather, it feels like a well planned dance of movement, and understanding the source material is enlightening.  Finally, opening the box, which retains the perfect symmetry despite its complex and unexpected shape, reveals the Silver City in its full glory.  The box is also available as a kit which can be built from laser cut parts at home and is equally stunning, with post-modern aesthetics which recall an industrial city even more than the polished version.

The build-it-yourself kit contains everything you will need - and looks really cool, too

In honor of this brilliant design from the enigmatic Frenchman, and coinciding with the start of this year’s Negroni week, the annual international fundraiser featuring everyone’s favorite cocktail, I’ve created a perfectly symmetrical, French themed version.  The Negroni, as everyone now knows, is a classic Italian drink which originated sometime around 1919, when Count Camillo Luigi Manfredo Maria de Negroni asked for something stronger than his usual “Americano”, a vermouth and Campari sprtiz, at the Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy.   The bartender swapped the spritz for gin and the Negroni was born.  Negronis are incredibly versatile and stand up well to experimentation, with innumerable riffs using every base spirit imaginable to replace the gin. For this fanciful French variation, we are using French cognac, of course.  Aperol, the lighter, more floral cousin of Campari, compliments the cognac quite nicely here, and we have something very special for the sweet vermouth.  

NEGRORGEN (Silver City Negroni)

POE Wines in the Napa Valley was founded in 2009 by Samantha Sheehan and is run entirely by women.  Their bottles feature a raven’s feather, in homage to their Poetic namesake.  They have produced a limited edition of fruit forward sweet vermouth over the past few years as well, including the Vin D’Pampe Vermouth Rose, made from a base of their Pinot Noir rose.  It’s grapefruit tones play magically with the Aperol and it shines in this cocktail.  If you like grapefruit, this negroni was made for you.  Just don’t be alarmed if you find the glass full again at the end of the evening.  It’s all part of the symmetrical plan.  Cheers!

A most delicious reviver to keep on your radar

NEGRORGEN (Silver City Negroni)

½ oz cognac
½ oz Aperol
1 oz Vin D’Pampe(or other grapefruit forward sweet vermouth)
½ oz Aperol
½ oz cognac

Stir with ice for the perfect amount (never odd or even) and strain into a favorite glass.  Ensure the garnish is level and enjoy at noon (while listening to ABBA).

These two put up some nice stats

For more about Neokid:

For prior negroni variations:
Down for the Count
Fine Creations
Petit Four Your Thoughts

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