The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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Muji awards, great ideas!!

That Muji shop in New York needs to open pronto. We talked about their ‘non branded, geniusly designed’ goods before but finally they are taking up roots stateside real soon. For those that don’t know much about Muji you gotta check out the results of their latest design competition they held. Every product that won some sort of prize is so smart and so right on. The industrial design profession is so cool because their bringing ideas to light. Its funny…these are just ideas that can really enhance your life and make the most mundane tasks, cool. As well these are pieces you could have in your place that everyone comments on. Ah…. the hallmark of a good purchase.

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A studio visit with Jim Phillips!!!

This feature on Jim Phillips, one of the most talented pioneers of skate art, starts out like this - “You know what’s great? People who “used to skate,” because that designation covers pretty much every American male from the ages of 18 to 40. Everyone relates.” Hmm. I’m an American male, almost 22, and I didn’t “used to skate”. Not even a little. I really wish I did… I just…didn’t. I played Uno and hung out with friends from my church on Sunday afternoons playing home run derby and watching VHS tapes of Michael Jordan highlights. And here I am, years later, trying to validate being a fan of Jim Phillips work, despite not having ever really skated in my life. But I think that’s what makes his stuff so cool…and what makes any artist good… is that everyone, not just a little niche of people, can enjoy his work. The era when his stuff was emerging and at its most popular is over, but to me, even though I didn’t live that lifestyle in that place or time, doesn’t matter. I can look at it today and totally appreciate it, get into it, and love it. That’s all kind of my intro to talking about this feature on Jim’s work and his studio, but I just had to get that out of the way and give him his proper respect for making universally appealing, timeless work. Ok. So anyways, now that I think about it, there’s not much to actually say besides just click the link and check out the feature, because it’s totally worth it and completely awesome, to be frank. If you’re an artist, you probably grew up doodling a lot in notebooks at school…and I guess my last thought here is that Jim Phillips took those doodles we all did and made them into something more, something complete… So anyways - get to it, and check this feature out…pictures of Jim showing original sketches, the first ever drawing of the Santa Cruz logo, his awesome board collection and garage…etc… CAN HAZ LINK!? YES! IZ BELOW!

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Not sure why we haven’t posted these guys up before…but they are seriously the best online shoe spot. Depending on what you are into – but for standard Vans, or Adidas or just ‘simple’ sneakers…nothing beats them. Customer service is nuts, this free overnight thing is crazy, their selection is huge, great price, etc. I love how they don’t try to be too-cool or over-designed…instead they focus on the service they offer. They have very little branding to speak of and their overall look-and-feel is pretty average – but their execution is seriously seamless every time. I probably order from them on a monthly basis – I think Chuck and Virgil do as well. Anyway, good stuff. A ‘really internet’ shoe store.

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Yahoo! Brickhouse!

Yikes…where have I been? No posts…in a long time. I’ve actually been a bit ‘heads down’ with a bunch of super cool projects…yes, super cool. But I’m jumping back into it…technology ‘stuff’ of course. So I’ve been hearing a bit more here-and-there about Yahoo’s new initiative called ‘Brickhouse’ – and while it hasn’t actually been announced yet they are starting to talk to the press and have even announced their first project – Yahoo Pipes. The skinny: Yahoo Brickhouse is a bit of a think-tank environment within their own walls that allows their employees to simply pursue cool/new ideas for web-based businesses and then Yahoo fosters them should they grow legs. The idea is that instead of losing their employee’s great ideas when they decide to jump-ship and start their own deal – to instead actually give them a job as a ‘thinker + sub-entrepreneur’ of sorts at Brickhouse where Yahoo can incubate their ideas and of course still own the final product should it be successful. It’s basically just like a full-time version of Google’s ‘one-day-a-week’ thing where you can pursue creative ideas you think might be hits. In all honesty its not really a terribly innovative idea, and any hard-core entrepreneur is still going to want ownership and not just a ‘bonus’ when whatever idea they may have had pops…but I do think it’s a sharp move by Yahoo, and something we will continue to see in other industries besides the net. So yeah, that’s that – I’m going to get my car washed, BRB, LOL, CYA L8R.

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I shoulda known…Dash Dogs x LTL!!!

Still on the architect side of things, it always great when you stumble upon great design, make a mental note, then months later realizes so-and-so did it. That’s the case for Dash Dogs, the best hot dog stand in the world and I am from Chicago a hot dog capitol. The design is so utilitarian and seems to reflect the streets of the Lower East side. Using the same palette materials found along the street steel and concrete it’s pretty slick and an exercise in awesome detailing. So yesterday when I was searching Dash Dogs on the net I realized that it’s a Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis project. Fitting…they have New York trendy restaurant design on lock. Just check out the rest of their portfolio. So next time your strolling Rivington, stop in and get the “Alife” hot dog on the way to Alife. It’s good. Avocados can do no wrong in my book.

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True Rockstar Parking!!

You would think me being in architecture and all I would have my dream house all logged into my head. I am not even close, it’d be fun to do but it doesn’t even cross my mind. Little details and features pop into my head every once in a while. One of them being the “Mr. Me Too” idea of eating breakfast in the morning and looking across the table at my pristinely clean Bentley before I hop in to go work. Weird and lavish, yes….unrealistic, not at all. I’ll let this website do all the talkin’…

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Only Human – Web 2.Oh my bad…

So we get a decent amount of email here @ THE BRILLIANCE…suggestions, terrible t-shirt companies, shoe collaborations that couldn’t matter less…and tons of amazing stock tips, we are seriously rich from them, amazing. Ha, just kidding…long intro. Jason from Only Human, a fairly new internet start-up, emailed us this morning to let us know what he and his team are up to – quite an interesting new product they have. An email worth posting, ha. So here is the quick rundown: Only Human is ‘a community where people share stories about mistakes they’ve made in life and their advice to others’ Now…in all fairness, the last thing we need is another community site on the web right? Maybe not so. After chatting it up with Jason a bit and playing around the site – I can really see some traction here. The stories range from goofy, serious, funny, simple…but the amount of people posting ‘mistakes’ and interacting with them is impressive – a true show of human emotion on the web. Good stuff. So yeah…if you’ve done anything stupid, funny, or embarrassing lately you might want to post it on Only Human – the rest of the internet would love to know about it. This kind of stuff makes the internet fun…

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Some recent movies…the good and the bad…

There’s good news and bad news here. The bad news is that I actually paid money for Reno 911. The good news is that Zodiac was so good, it more than made up for the time and money I pretty much wasted on Reno. Pretty much. So, Reno 911. Not so good. Nothing memorable about it, except maybe when the guy runs right through the giant whale. That was pretty funny…few chuckles, but mostly just crude, lame humor in a movie that went on for too long. Eh. Zodiac on the other hand… I haven’t been so wrapped up in a movie in a long time. Honestly - it had me completely enthralled. The story is great, acting is great, and you do your absolute best to not get up and go to the bathroom during its almost 3 hour run-time. Really though, check it out if you haven’t already, or if you owe it to yourself after you wasted your $9.50 on Wild Hogs already. Hmm. Just watched Half Nelson last night. I know it got amazing reviews and Gosling certainly deserved the best actor nomination he got for it…but wow, was it depressing. Would have been nice to get a few more laughs throughout, it was just really taking a toll on me about 3/4 of the way through. Kind of like how Pursuit of Happyness did the same thing. It was like, alright, nice movie, but for God’s sake let’s move it along and enjoy ourselves and stop crying for a minute. Eh. I’ll just stick with my recent purchase of The Departed deluxe edition DVD.

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Weekend = Chicago, Clipse, Late Nights, too much fun!

All I want to do is ride around shining… Hell of a weekend. I headed down to Chicago last Thursday to catch up with my parents and hang with Virgil a bit. He already had the Clipse tickets hooked-up for Friday night…jeez…show was perfecto. And hey, that line at the Metro was as vicious as the whipping wind…nothing a little ‘social engineering’ can’t fix, ha. So anyway, yeah – the show was too fresh, they have a great stage presence. After that we hit ‘Undergound’ in the loop…many, many thanks to Curtis for the hook-up – that club was a Diddy video, whoa. Saturday called for some shopping, good stuff as always – one thing I miss living in Grand Rapids. And another great-night-late-night in Wikcer Park on Saturday to round things out…I needed a mental break and this past weekend was medicine…maybe it was all the vodka tonics. Thanks to all the crew, new and old, we met up with – too much fun.

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Fun Productivity!!

Before I got into the architecture game I didn’t put a ton of thought into what makes great space, nonetheless a great space that’s conducive to working. Good natural light and non-cubicle environment is no longer gonna cut it. Typically office space is either sufficient or BANANAS like this link my collogue sent me, Red Bull Headquarters in London. For all those corporate kids, imagine opting for a slide instead of taking the stairs down from level two in your vertical striped button up…ha. If this was my office I couldn’t imagine how different work would be…is it me or is Red Bull under-recognized as super cool company beyond of energy drinks…hmmm. They seem artistic inside and out…