Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The JOHN Collection: Summer 2011

Seventeen months after the last catalogue, the JOHN Collection's third installment is ready, and boy am I glad to get it done! With 106 new pieces (and others that didn't make it into the final layouts), 18 pages and 563 photos taken for it, it's a beast of a project and now it's a finished beast. I'm slowly uploading it to Flickr, but you lucky JOHNSPACE readers can see it in its entirety on Issuu:

On a more serious note, I must say I am sick to death of this damn catalogue. I originally planned for it to be finished in Summer 2010, then at Christmas (exactly a year after the last one), but I was too ambitious with the scenes I wanted to do and pictures I wanted to take for it, so I gave up on it, and its myriad scenes and photos just sat on my harddrive for five months. I knew I wanted to finish it at some point - I knew I needed to finish it, considering how much work I'd put into it - but I'd lost interest.

Luckily for you guys, a few weeks ago I was reading through my layouts for the pages (I'll upload them to Flickr at some point) and I was inspired to just finish the damn thing. I originally thought 'let's just finish it with what I have', but some things were really necessary and I shot three more scenes (front cover and kitchen, waiting, commercial furniture) and another bunch of photos against a white background (the fifth shoot of that kind), then set to work creating the pages in Illustrator.

A few weeks later - and several Illustrator crashes later - the catalogue is finished. The page layout has been fully redesigned since JC2, with a tasty new colour - aqua - for the majority of the graphics. There are 18 pages including the front and back covers, each one with a unique layout and - I hope - checked for errors. Though the sand-red stool does appear twice, I am aware thankyouverymuch.

Now I'll 'briefly' go through each of the pages in case you're interested in the scenes or the names of the pieces of furniture. Feel free to skim-read, I know not everything will be of interest to you.

Page 1: Contents
Not much to say for this page - only that it was the last page I designed. There's a small note from me at the top (yes, my name is really John Danishsurname), which is basically a summary of the above paragraphs, but without the 'sick to death of this catalogue' bit, I thought that would put off readers, heheh. There's also a massive aqua box and - I think - the only black text in the catalogue. Oh such interesting trivia!

Page 2: Home divider
This is the same set as on the Home Office page, which is next. So I'll explain it there.

Page 3: Home Office
The set you see here was the second one I did (the first being Office), and it's surprisingly traditional for me. I was quite proud of it so I posted it empty on Flickr at the time. There's a lovely large four-pane window, a large 'Sumo' desk that I never took a picture of on a white background (dammit) and two JB Task Chairs, which I love. They were inspired by the AJ Task Chairs that Arne Jacobsen designed for St Catherine's College, Cambridge - though they bear little resemblance. The other chair is just there to be a side chair - and one of many pieces that includes the 3-long bars, I love 'em.

Page 4: Bedroom
I don't really like making beds so that's why there are only three here, and two of them are boring (guess which two, and you won't be far off). I always thought I'd make more beds at some point but that dream was one of many that got cast aside in recent weeks, the 'fuck it, let's just get it finished' stage. Also notice several of the pieces on this page come from my LEGO architecture - specifically the Rødovre house. Not all the furniture I designed for Ishøj, Rødovre and Henne are in the catalogue, as I only think of them being functional in the building and not good on their own, but a couple of the best are in there. None from Kongsholmparken, but that's because it was a public building. And the furniture was shit. Too much brown.

Page 5: Modular Kitchen
The modular kitchen was, as many things were in this catalogue, something I liked the idea of but didn't have enough inspiration to do. So the modules you see here are pretty basic, and most of them come from my architecture (all of my residential houses have used this modular system, in different colours). Still, I am very proud of the set you see above the modules - it's part of the set used on the front cover, and was the final one I built. 'Build something small, John,' I said beforehand, 'get it done'. I did get it done, but I got it done well, and the 'glass' panels are something I've wanted to include in my architecture for a while now. They offer a really interesting divide through the room, splitting the higher dining area from the lower kitchen and utility area while letting through light and keeping the rooms together, in an interaction kind of way. The change of height increases the importance of this divider, and stops the glass from being purely aesthetic.

Page 6: Kitchen
Not much to say here, only that I was pretty annoyed when I came to put together this page and found I only had one dining table, the 'Grande'. I decided to throw in the dining tables from the Rødovre and Henne houses, which offer some much-needed varation. So it wasn't all bad. Other recent additions include the 'Dara' chair, which is called Dara for no real reason. I was going to say it's named after a friend of mine called Dara who is bottom-heavy like the chair, but that's a lie. It's just a shameless merge of the JB Task Chair and the Pinchair. Also on that page is the Jalkow stool, named after the awesome guy Jalkow who included it in his Jalkow collection - I named this and two tables after him because he's always so supportive of my furniture stuff. Thanks, mate.

Page 7: Living Room
A couple of great pieces in here, notably the 'centrepiece' pic at the top of the page including the Shell chair (hmmm Jacobsen) and the Jalkow table Sr. I really like both of them and I think they go well together. The Jalkow table and its junior buddy are merely named so after their similarity to the Jalkow stool, sadly they're not his own work. Speaking of chairs' namesakes, the 'Verner' chair is, of course, a homage to Verner Panton and his 'Amoeba' chair. Notice also the 'Lighting options' box which is there to fill up the empty space. It's a shame the Helix lamp (blue one) is revealed before the Lighting page, but ah well.

Page 8: Bathroom Planning
Bathroom planning = I couldn't get inspiration to make enough pieces for the bathroom department. However, it did result in a really nice set, and my first experiments with the LEGO Power Functions lights. There are four of them in the set - two either side of the sink, one in the ceiling of the shower cubicle and one above the door.

Page 9: Garage
The garage set was massive, a real beast to photograph, especially because I wanted to keep both the garage door (left) and raised part (right) in the frame. The raised part contains a door (Gambort-style), two Mono recliners, a JC2 table in white that we'll have to keep hush-hush, a glass table unit and - below it, hidden in shadow, a Trio unit. It's packed, it's dark, it's got light-up hanging lamps (thanks fibre optics!) and it's all light grey if you can ever see a photo of it in the light. Sure, no garage is as big or as complex, but I really wanted to show the luxurious side of the garage, for your 'man den' - a place to watch football on TV and drink beer and get away from it all. Apart from modernist furniture, of course! There's no escape from that! Ahahahahaha!

Page 10: Office & Other Divider
This page isn't uploaded to Flickr because, sadly, it isn't interesting enough. It is, however, a set that I spent considerable time on. Details you can't see here include a silhouetted skyline beyond the windows, a staircase coming down from a hole in the ceiling, and a dark turquoise wall. It's amazing how much work I put into these fully lit scenes and yet how little of the details you see in the final picture. I'd say it isn't worth it, but perhaps it is to get that perfect shot.

Page 11: Office
The set you see here was the first one I built, way back in April last year. It's not the greatest - it's square and the furniture is kinda strewn around the room, not connected to walls or anything logical, but it does the job. It also has an awesome ceiling, made to look like the modular lights and ceiling panels of many offices and schools, but - as aforementioned - sometimes the best bits just have to be left out.

Page 12: Office cont'd
More office on this page because it is the largest department of the catalogue. You may recognise the Clippon tables from this post last year, and now they're arranged all fancy and with other colour combos! Also on this page is the Charles table, my homage to the design and chair legs of Charles and Ray Eames back in the 50s. The Professional Table also has something of Eames in it, it's quite similar to the Charles but not as neat.

Page 13: Lighting and decoration
This page should probably appear a little later in the catalogue - after Outdoors, certainly - but here it is anyway. Including floor lamps in various styles, including the one with the drawstring from the Ishøj House (remember that?) and some strange 'Leanpost' thing that fell together and I thought looked nice. The bottom photo shows the five assorted desk lamps posed stylishly on the Professional Table from the Office department - this 'several pieces together' idea was something I wanted to implement across the catalogue, but I ran out of time and ability to give a shit so most of the pieces are in their own individual photographs.

Page 14: Waiting
For some reason I accumulated many of these Waiting pieces, and quite quickly too (the last ones, the circle bench, was made last October) - it's just a style of furniture that I enjoyed creating. My favourite is the Jeames seating, another homage to Charles and Ray Eames, this time their public seating (as explained in this post). The set, quite a small one, was put together last week because I was originally going to have my modular public seating pieces at the top of the page, but I ran out of effort to photograph it. One day I'll show it to you all. One day.

Page 15: Outdoors
The penultimate page is for the various outdoor pieces I've created over the past 17 months. Originally I hoped to create an outdoors scene, with a large tree lit up by fairy lights and people enjoying an evening summer barbeque on the decking, but I ran out of time to make it and as a result this page is very... spacious. Note the Hope and Glory camping seat, which comes from Hope and Glory Towers. I wanted to chuck it in there, it's an outdoors piece. Also on this page are other pieces from previous MOCs: the Ishøj BBQ, and the lounger and two-sprout box from the Rødovre Townhouse.

Page 16: Commerical Furniture
We finish the catalogue with a relatively boring page, one that would have been spruced up with a large scene of a cargo ship's mess hall but - you guessed it - I ran out of time to make it. As a result we have a little scene that is meant to be part of a cargo ship, hence the Maersk furniture. It has a functional staircase and a strange light grid thing in the wall - a concept that I've wanted to put in a MOC for a while now, it's probably more appropriate for a spaceship (it was inspired by the light wall by Sam's bed in Moon), but here it is on a high-tech Maersk ship. A very old LEGO plate, if you're interested.

And that's it, folks! 106 pieces, 18 pages, 8 fully-lit scenes, 17 months of work and one catalogue. The JOHN Collection 3. Wow.

As a final note, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who's appreciated past JOHN Collections and this one too. Without praise, I am nothing. If anyone's crazily thinking about a JOHN Collection 4, you can crazily unthink that - for now, this is it in terms of LEGO furniture catalogues. I'll still make furniture, but for my architecture only. JC3 is my final 'tada!' of furniture, I foresee. I hope you all appreciate it, because it's taken a lot of work to get it finished how it is. Enjoy.



abrickwall said...

Wow indeed. Very clean and professional, I like it a lot. One question though, for the 'sumo'desk, was photoshopping out the grey not an option?

Anonymous said...

this is going to make your uni/foundation course application portfolio or whatever very impressive.

John said...

ABW: Nah I can't, if I took out the background it would be on white but there'd be no shadow. Good idea though.

Harry: You bet, it's going straight in there :)