Going Cashless

Most artists appreciate being able to make money from their art, not many make their art from money.
But if your country is in economic meltdown with a worthless currency and bags of printed cash laying around as rubbish, then you improvise.

Welcome to Venezuela, where artists are turning the worthless currency into woven products, selling items made of money for more than the value of the money they are made from. Crazy.

You can check out a full breakdown of the economics and the art by the BBC right HERE.

banknote craft weaving
banknote weaving close up
We Will Rock You

Reasons why this video is awesome:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody: Generally acknowledged as one of the greatest songs ever written. 

2. The Production: It's just really really good. From the idea to the filming, the editing, the acting, the whole thing is so well executed.
 
3. The "& Partners" in the new John Lewis & Waitrose branding: The previous brand was simply "John Lewis" and the "& Partners" is an addition to reflect their ownership model where all 85,000 permanent staff have a stake in the overall business. The model is a bit more complicated than that, but to people like us who design businesses, it's very very interesting.

You made what!?

This looks nothing like the LEGO cars we used to build as kids, but on the scale of things you can make out of LEGO it is right near the top.

Over 1 million LEGO Technic pieces were used to build the car, and it took the team about 13,400 hours to assemble.
It's not as fast as the actual Bugatti, topping out at about 18 miles per hour, but that power comes from 2,304 LEGO Power Functions motors, which were definitely not a thing when we were kids, but sound pretty impressive.

All hail the makers.

Concrete Carrots or Carrot Concrete?

Cement seems to be everywhere nowadays, from houses and plants pots to jewelry and phone cases. We love it because it's long-lasting, it invokes timelessness and not only in construction but in everyday usage.
There is a negative impact on the environment however, especially with concretes rise in production due to an ever higher demand.

So engineers at the Lancaster University started to work on a way of making concrete stronger and greener by adding root vegetables to the mix. By using another material that's greener and cheaper, this process becomes a lot more sustainable because the amount of cement mix decreases depending on how much vegetable-composite is added.

So let’s start saving our carrot/sugar root leftovers and make some concrete.

360 Degrees of Surfing

Now this is a brand experience!

Ever thought about heading to Tahiti to surf one of the worlds best and most dangerous waves?
Of course not, because unless you're a professional surfer, or at least a really really good one, then it would be incredibly risky.

The good news is that Samsung spent a chunk of their advertising budget to virtually take us inside a Tahitian tube, and it is a pretty impressive end result.

They still need to figure out how to spray salty water on you through the screen, or cut your back up when you wipe out and bounce off the reef, but until then this 360 experience is on point.

Brakes are Overrated
Team Kingdom Minet Crit

Slash isn't just a company, it's a little universe, and part of our universe is Kingdom, a bike and lifestyle company started from inside Slash.
Kingdom doesn't just make damn sexy bikes, it racers them as well. Here's Andre - designer at Slash & founder of Kingdom - running you through what it's like to lock your feet to the pedals of a bike with no brakes and hurtle around a track with 80 other people.

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My cleats are too tight, I’m gonna lose time on the start. Over-spun during qualifying; should I change gears? The bib-number was making a little noise in the wind, should I re-pin it? Because you know, aero… *Announcer* “Row 8, #44, Andre Abreu”.
Why are my hands shaking? Who cares, I don’t need them to ride anyway. Wait, I’m wearing gloves, it’s too hot for that. I’m taking them back to my backpack. Is this my starting grid spot? Should my pedal be a little higher? I feel like maybe I could put a little more power into it that way… Why did a dude just sneak into my left? I worked hard for this spot, can you please not cheat? Thank you.
I’m thirsty, should I have drank more water? I feel like my right shoe’s too tight. Is the GoPro on? Can’t see with these ridiculously dark sunglasses. Garmin on? Not making that mistake again, ‘cause if it’s not on Strava… didn’t happen. 10… 9… 8… 7… Tighten the left shoe a little bit to make it even! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Doesn’t matter now. *Announcer* “Go!”

We traveled west, and thanks to the Dubai - London mission my brain is a couple of hours ahead of local time. Once I got my race socks and slides at Rapha and got fed, falling asleep early was easy.
Breakfast at 7am, didn’t even need an alarm. It seems early but for some reason, the race’s organization is up and I know that because they messaged me on Instagram. Wait, why is the organization messaging me? Apparently, they saw our post last night and thought I was too fast for the group B qualifying based on that… I’m OK with that, it basically means I race the A qualifying and am automatically qualified for the final.
The nerves went down a bit, now the goals went from having to qualify and not getting lapped in the Final to staying safe in the qualification and not getting lapped in the Final. It’s still 7 hours away though.

Suddenly we’re at the race course. Qualifying is in less than an hour. So much for relaxing after the warm-up. Meh, Qualification is only 5 laps long anyway, that should take like 6-7 minutes, plenty of time to chill after that. I think I’m ready… Should I get pinned now or after warming up? You know what, why not just be ready to race now so I don’t have to worry about anything before the start? Good idea. It seems no one knows if we’re using the starting grid for qualifying or not. Honestly I hope not because I’m #44 which means I’d start last… We’re not! Cool, I’m starting first now, watch me. Now I have no reason to be nervous and I’m as fresh as it gets, this is going to be fun.

Kingdom Minet Crit start line
Tightening the cleats Minet Crit

I know there are no primes (mid-race prizes) but is it just me or are we going pretty slow?… *Taps a button on the Garmin (bicycle computer), looks at screen* “Average speed: 45km/h”. I guess training’s worked. But don’t get excited, this is not the main race, just focus on staying safe. How does one say safe? stay in the top 15-20 guys of the race. Easy, I’ll even take a couple of pulls. Nope, not gonna do that, plenty of full-roster teams out here to do the work and I still have a bunch of races to do, chill. 1, 2, 3, 4. I counted 4, next time though the finish line should be the end of it. I’m gonna move up because what the heck, might as well get a good starting position for the Final. Wow, I was definitely in the Top 5. Wait, why is everyone still going fast? Wasn’t it only 5 laps? *Bell is ringing in the back. That means one lap to go*
I guess we’re doing 6 laps now, oh well. Get back in the group, save energy. Try not to get dropped from the front on the finish straight.
8th. Solid. 
I didn’t expect this but it wasn’t super hard. Feeling good for the final.

the corner Minet Crit
up the hill Minet Crit

Oh my, there’s still 2 hours to go? I’m way too excited to wait! Ladies qualifying starts… B Final goes… Ladies Final starts. 15 laps? Well that’s gonna take a while, I need to warm up though! OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring a roller (thingie you can ride your bike on top of) on the airplane. They better let us warm up before the race. Am I ready though? I spun out a bunch of times during the Qualifying, assuming the Final is going to be faster, I could use a bigger gear. But then are the corners and hills going to be too hard? Huge decision to make. Let’s ask the people of Instagram what they think. It’s taking too long, I’m chaining gears. The people need the speed!! As soon as the first of these ladies finishes, I’m jumping on the course, I don’t care. I’m on the course. 1 lap, 2 laps, 3 laps… Well, we’re obviously not starting on time… Cool, I’ll keep warming up. 4 laps, 5 laps, 6 laps… are we ever starting this thing? I’m pretty warm now. Red flag. It’s on.

Making the move Minet Crit
through the bushes Minet Crit

Both feet are in. Sweet! Look down and push! Push! Push! Push! Nice, Top 5 in the start. Now chill in here, you have no reason to do work for these guys, all of them have teammates. A couple of laps in and I find myself at the front. I pull aside. German guy starts yelling at me “10 second pulls!” I don’t like to be rude during races but the hell with that, I’m racing for myself, why the heck would I help you?? Whatever, I’m gonna hide mid-pack. *Riders start passing me* Well this is nice, we’re going 44km/h, it’s half way and I feel good! Wait. This pack is huge, I forgot we were almost 80 guys. How the heck am I going to go back to the front?? Great job you idiot, now you’re neither safe nor in a good place. Well I’m definitely not going to move up being in the middle of the group. *Moves left* hopefully a hole will open here. *A whole lap goes by* Nope.
*Moves right* We’re trying this side now, not much time left so this better work. *Lap is finishing* Everyone is moving left to get away from the wind, this is my window. Out of the saddle. Head down. Push! Push! Push!
Top5 again. 3 laps to go.
That was a big effort but there’s more where that came from. *Attack goes off* I just got here! Can you please chill for a minute?? I guess not. Well I’m not going after those guys, someone else better do the work… Getting pretty mad at these British teams now. They don’t have anyone in the break and aren’t doing any work. The solo Portuguese dude has to go there. Whatever.

Full group Minet Crit Kingdom

Alright, let’s break this down. There are just under 3 laps to go and we’re about to catch the attack that just went off. That means that there’s only the downhill part of the lap to go followed by two more laps. Because  a lot of people are under geared, attacks are going off on the downhill. I prepared for this but I just caught the break on an uphill, you SOBs better get in there. Nope, we’re letting a group of about 15 guys go. Great, I hate you all (but not really, it’s all love here). Anyway, next downhill comes around and I’m taking a few guys with me.
Done.
10 or so of us have the front group in sight with one lap to go. Alright, I’ll help. Good choice on the bigger gear. It’s downhill and I’m going for it.

There’s a dude on my wheel, there’s one corner left to the finish straight and we’re a couple of meters behind the last guy of the front group. You’re done, next! Oh, my little friend’s going for it! Well, I’m not staying behind either. Two guys down. Why are these idiots giving up before the finish line?? 3 guys down. That’s it, I’m sprinting now, every spot counts. 4 guys down and I stretchhhhhh! Photo finish to for the 11th place. Job done.

Got my 10 points towards the World Championship qualification, exceeded my expectations and we’re off to the Nederlands for Draai V/D Kaai in 2 days. The field’s going to be stronger but now I know what I’m capable of now.
It’s going down.

Andre Team Kingdom Minet Crit
The podium Minet Crit
the crowd Minet crit
This is Wall Craft

Is it street art, or advertising? Is it advertising street art or street art that advertises? Or a somewhere-in-between mix of it all? Shrugging emoji. 

You can come to your own conclusions, but either way theses hand-painted billboards are captivating in their own way and a step above their digitally printed, often ignored, friends.

In the age of digital printing and mass-produced material, these billboards at least show that quick and easy isn't always best. Yeah, you could digitally print a bunch of huge billboards but there is a little bit of magic in the craft and the process, and that magic counts for a lot.

collossal wall 2.jpg
collossal wall 1.jpg
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

This is what people did to go viral in 1986.
1.5 million balloons, 2500 volunteers, a world record that probably not many people care about breaking, and disaster.  

32 years later this random little documentary on the ill-fated Cleveland Balloonfest is a lesson on big ideas and the need to actually as the "what could possibly go wrong" question.

 

The Slash Guide to Bangkok

As the most visited city in the world, there must be a lot of reasons why so many people go to Bangkok, but we always just put it down to touristy...stuff. 
Serious designers go to Europe, not Thailand. 
And then we landed in Bangkok.
There's some serious design going on. 

Bangkok is bursting at the siams (that's not a spelling mistake, it's a really bad Thailand pun) with interesting design, fresh and well-executed concept stores, brands, spaces and ideas, some mid-century Japanese style architecture, and that whole cultural melting pot that global cities become.
We spent 6 days exploring as much of the creativity that Bangkok could throw at us and running them through our design & branding filters. There were way more hits than misses and by the end of our first of what will be many visits, we're certain that Bangkok is one of the most interesting and progressive cities as far as art, design, & branding goes.

Plus we got to tick off the Bangkok stores of two of our favourite brands - Freitag and Aesop.

Slash's top spots in Bangkok:


Landhaus Bakery. 
Fresh baked bread and pastries from an oven that was pre-heated for 1 whole month before opening day. We don't know much about bakery science but that sounds good right?

Salt.
The kind of stylish yet understated food & drink hangout that seems to just naturally bring out good conversations.

Al Mercado.
Capturing the Eurpoean market vibe and damn good food. 

Gedhawa.
The place Thai people take you to experience good Thai food. Enough said.

The Bunker.
Designed like an actual Bunker except unlike most bunkers this one has a bar and a restaurant. 

The Hive.
A five floor co-working universe with plenty of space + a cafe + a rooftop terrace + a mini spa & massages. You know a co-working space is good when it includes massages. 
 

Street food bangkok
candy floss bangkok
taxi taxi bangkok
Bangkok by night
Alley Way Walking Bangkok
The Hive Bangkok co working space
The Hive Co Working space Tonglor Bangkok
Organic Cafe Bangkok
High rise bangkok
Peach Gate Bangkok
The Impact of Plastic

At Slash we view every project as an opportunity for impact, whether it's impact on our clients, the audience/customers, or our own team.
Creating beautiful things for the sake of beauty is nice, but creating them to have impact and lead to change is really powerful. Maybe that's why projects like the above are so captivating. 

StudioKCA pulled 5 Tons of plastic waste out of the ocean along the coast of Hawaii in order to build the 4-story tall whale and call attention to the other 149,999,995 tons of plastic waste still floating out there in the deep blue sea. If you happen to be in Bruges before September the 16th you can go check out the giant plastic whale for yourself.
You can also check out StudioKCA and some of their other amazing work by clicking here.

And if you're not that into whales then this rad sneaker collaboration between Parley x Adidas might be your jam. Running shoes made from ocean waste. Good move. 

And the Winning Slogan is...
world cup retro montage

Whether or not you're into the games (have you created your fantasy team!?) you might at least appreciate some of the nonsense surrounding the spectacle, like the Fifa/Hyundai competition asking users to create the slogans for each of the 32 teams.

And better than that competition (and maybe the World Cup in general if it's not your thing) is This piece from Creative Review looking at every single winning team slogan and how it works as a call to action for each team. Hint: Most slogans don't work and the article is funny. 

Case in point - the winning entry for Poland - "Polska Dawaj!" which translates to "Go Poland."
Wow. 

On a serious note, it also says a lot about large scale corporate competitions like this that are adverse to taking any risk or leaping for anything remotely exciting, sacrificing some possibly very interesting picks for safety. 

Go Poland.
And go read the article.

Such Pretty Drones

Time Magazine may just have the most iconic cover of any magazine on the market, and now it can probably also boast the most technically challenging cover shot to create.
Built with 958 drones and a whole heap of advanced mathematics, the final picture ir quite impressive and was taken with....a drone.

Check out the making of the image below to see the technical side of getting 958 drones to form a gigantic magazine cover in the sky.

This is Mudfest

Telling random stories poorly is easy. Telling random stories well is an art form.

There are so many ways to make the story of cars and people plowing through big puddles of mud unwatchable but somehow these filmmakers took a very random story and told it in an incredibly captivating way.

They obviously have an abundance of skill in using their cameras, editing, and audio, but it's the storytelling and narration that make this. Skills.

And yanno... 'Merica.

Fire The Laser (cutter)!
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421

We are makers.
We love strategy, we love design, we love bringing brands to life, but underpinning all of that is our makers spirit.
It's the part of us that needs to prototype, to test, to get our hands dirty and to move beyond theory to the place where things either work or they don't.

And that means having a space to facilitate that making process, to put theory into practice, to try and fail, and to experiment. Now we have that space - the new Nagwa Workshop at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi.
The workshop is an extension of one of our biggest works in progress - Nagwa, a collaborative brand focused on contemporary designs that are inspired by the people, places and stories of the United Arab Emirates. Nagwa is an ongoing project, meaning that the research, discovery, design, creation and making process is as important now as it was before the first line of products was launched at Abu Dhabi Art in 2017.

The space itself currently holds a laser cutter, two 3D printers, a plotter and a dreamland of tools, with more being added all the time. 
There's some firepower, and it is all being put to use for future collaborations and exploration of contemporary Emirati inspired design.

Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 designing
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 concept

One of the key functions of the space beyond prototyping is hosting workshops.
Being able to share the making knowledge with like-minded people, and gather some knowledge ourselves is a huge part of this journey, which is why we launched the Nagwa space with an intense 4 session workshop series exploring our process of taking Nagwa from concept to creation.

Our biggest learning from the workshop? That we need to do more.
The creative landscape of the UAE is sparking right now, institutions like Warehouse421 are helping facilitate a creative movement, and there are so many creators who have solid ideas and the drive to make them happen. Excited face.


If you're in Abu Dhabi pop into Warehouse421 and check out the Nagwa space. There's plenty of room to work (of course there is free wifi), and the prototyping room has some very rad machinery that is free to use (supervised - we don't want anybody shooting their eyes out with lasers). 
See you there.

nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 Prototyping
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 hands
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 making
Mermaids and Coffee

With the amount of coffee we drink you'd think the backstory of the Starbucks name & logo would be well known, but despite the sea lady staring at us daily, the Starbucks history was a bit of a mystery (good rhyme!).

Enjoy this little tale from Bloomberg of where the name and the logo came from and its evolution over time, and click through to their Youtube channel for a whole lot of other interesting back stories.

The Ancient Roman Subway

Here's a new addition to the list of things that aren't useful but are really awesome. 

Statistics student Sasha Trubetskoy spent a whole lot of time and a huge amount of research skill to create this stylised and historically accurate subway map of the ancient Roman roading system as it appeared in about 125AD.
It's not going to be useful anytime soon but it does give a fascinating insight into how massive and well connected the Roman Empire was. 

You can check out Sasha's full breakdown of his process and some of the creative liberties he had to take RIGHT HERE.

And if you the statistics or research element of all this fascinates you then you can jump right over to the two main resources used to build the map:
Stanford’s ORBIS model
The Pelagios Project

Roman Roads 125AD
36 hours in India
Ahmedebad india

Every so often a project comes along that gives us the opportunity to truly practice the part of Slash we value the most - having impact.

This particular opportunity popped up in Ahmedabad, India and we went from hearing the project founder speak, to having her into the office, to a small crew hopping over to India for 36 hours to see the project for ourselves, and eventually 4 weeks later, to a planning session with IDEO in San Francisco.
Deep breath.

So what's the project in India?
It's a school. 

Sounds pretty standard right? 
It is, until you meet the students, get taken on a tour of the school by 5 year olds, chat to the graduates and realise that there is a whole new way of learning going on here. 

Riverside School India
Riverside School book

The curriculum is the same maths, english science jam that all other schools are based on, but the way it's taught is where this becomes special. The teaching methodology and the school itself is based on the principles of design thinking, meaning that the whole experience of teaching and being taught is focused on how the kids learn, how they interact, how they are empowered, and how they express themselves.

Riverside Jump for Joy
Riverside-15.jpg
Riverside property

The opportunity and the chance for impact, is in figuring out how we take this education concept to the world, how we package it, how we position it next to centuries of established educational practice, what it looks like in other cultures, and how it remains a movement led by kids. 
Tackling something as massive as education, realising the impact it will have on the future of schooling and teaching, and being part of the thinking around it all is HUGE, and it's exactly the kind of  challenge we chase.

We've got way more questions than answers at the moment, but that's one of our favourite spaces to be in and this is a journey we're excited to be a part of. 

Riverside graduates 2018
Graduates of 2018 Riverside