Shanna and Edie Langenbeck
Everything I do always goes back to these two. What an incredible year I’ve shared with my girls! I love them both more than I’m capable of writing. I’m looking forward to all of the experiences in the years ahead of us.
This June we rented a condo on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL for an entire week. It was a return of sorts to my own childhood because this is where we spent almost all of our summer vacations growing up. I feel so at home among the sun drenched Southerners along the Emerald Coast. We cooked great meals with local produce sourced at the Burris Farm Market in Loxley, read books on the beach, built sand castles, relaxed by the pool in afternoon, took long walks on the beach each evening, and enjoyed frosty margaritas & cervezas on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Can’t wait to go back next summer.
The Ace Hotel
I stayed at the Ace Hotel for the second time in January. It was a working trip that brought Standard Supply & Service Co. to life. The Ace is the perfect place for this kind of working trip. Between researching NYC’s various retail boutiques, trips to the (Capsule) men’s market, meals at amazing restaurants, and intensive ideation sessions on Standard I should have felt exhausted and homesick – as is usual for me on business trips. Instead I felt recharged and ready to write each night when I returned to my room. A singular experience from this trip was writing the beginning of the Standard business plan in the middle of a New York snowstorm, with a Breslin burger, and Broadcast blaring at my hotel room desk.
If you stay there don’t miss out on the unique experience of working / meeting in the lobby and enjoying either a caffeinated beverage from Stumptown Roasters or a cocktail from The Breslin.
Work: The National WWII Museum
This was a banner year for me at the Museum. In July I was named Director of Interactive Media – my first director title – which came attached with a full team, a new office and giant new set of responsibilities and goals. I stepped up to the challenge with a series of projects and successes that are helping the Museum build a new national audience at the same time as a large scale physical expansion is taking place on our campus.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
NWW2M Website Redesign
In July we launched a fully redesigned website, the result of a 2 year process which included phases of content strategy planning, information architecture, user experience design, visual design, content production, and web development. The result is a website that fully represents The National WWII Museum as a digital hub of information related to The War That Changed The World. One of the things I’m most proud of is how we’ve pulled the oral histories, artifacts, and archival photos & video from our collection out to the front of the site. We’re miles ahead of where we were in the last iteration.
Thank You For My Freedom
For Veterans Day our team launched a national initiative to say “Thank You” to all veterans of America’s armed forces. The campaign included a video calling for folks to say their own thanks in the form of a written message, photograph or video tribute through a microsite with links to share those thank yous through social media or our main website. The campaign was a huge success for the Museum and resulted in a strategic partnership with Boeing and national media coverage including MSNBC.com, the Associated Press, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The International Conference on WWII
Our team designed a single page microsite to promote the International Conference on WWII, a scholarly conference held at the Museum in December. We built a tightly designed digital brochure for the conference with some great embedded video content and a paid section of the site which streamed the proceedings of the entire conference live to viewers around the world.
Infamy, December 1941
For the special exhibit Infamy, December 1941 – which examines the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Wake Island and Guam in December 1941 - we built a microsite and interactive touchscreens for the physical exhibit. I’m particularly proud of this site which includes curatorial content, artifacts, oral histories, archival photos, archival videos and interactive maps. I think it’s our most compelling and total representation of a major event during the war to date.
Work: Standard Supply & Service Co.
SS&S Co. was officially formed in January. From our mission statement:
“Standard Supply & Service Co., founded in 2011 by Jac Currie and Jonah Langenbeck, is a creative services studio. SS&S Co. produces retail environments, apparel, products, and events, as well as branding, marketing, and interactive projects for select clients. The resulting spaces and objects are ephemeral expressions of the history, geography, seasonality, lifestyles, and cultures of New Orleans and the Gulf South.”
Here’s some of what we’ve done so far:
2011 Avant Garden Spring & Winter Commencements
We designed an aesthetically appropriate booth to display our curated assortment of fantastic new and vintage products for the 2011 Spring & Winter commencements of Avant Garden – Constance’s “curated shopping experience”.
Defend New Orleans Store
We designed, constructed, and opened the Defend New Orleans Store - a full retail shop on Magazine & First Street - in less than 8 weeks. Highlights include a very creative piece of signage, custom furnishings by Matthew Holdren, curated vintage decorations, books, and hard goods to complement the full DNO line of apparel and accessories.
The New Orleans Black Flag and the Leather Four Pack Carrier are two of the original prototypes generated so far. Curated objects include Who Dat plaques by Studio Caracol, vintage pocket knives, belt buckles, suiting, and a variety of out of print and essential New Orleans reading.
We’re working on a few interactive projects which will come online in 2012 and trying to figure out what comes next. If the first few projects we’ve done together are any indication it should be something special.
Not all of these were released this year but they were my favorites.
REAMDE - Neal Stephenson
A fun and utterly enthralling SF thriller about video games, terrorism, and virtual economies. I’m hoping for a sequel.
The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
One of my all time favorites. I read it again in anticipation of the release of REAMDE and was so glad I did. This book, about a nanotechnological future set in China, has many great ideas including cultural enclaves replacing nation states (which I’m obsessed with), and a computational book much like the tablets we use now. Amazon liked the idea so much they code named the Kindle “Fiona” while it was in development, after one of the central protagonists in the book.
The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
A peek into a dystopian post-oil, post-biotech future. Bacigalupi has created a new kind of SF. This is the freshest thing I’ve read in a number of years.
How To Be A Man – Glenn O’Brien
What could have been another routine book on dressing, etiquette, and behavior for the modern male is rendered into a political manifesto by Esquire writer and avant garde legend Glenn O’Brien. For instance:
“Gentlemanly behavior is the secret key to utopian society. Statelessness will be achieved not through armed struggle but through culturally enforced codes of manners. The true anarchist, the exponent of freedom and enemy of intrusive government (the state), must see good manners are the inevitable substitute for laws. A healthy society doesn’t need any laws because offensive behavior ‘just isn’t done’.”
I didn’t expect to read something like that in a book like this and it’s chocked full of similarly excellent quotes.
The New Capitalist Manifesto – Umair Haque
Economist Umair Haque lays out a vision of capitalism unencumbered by Smithian, Fordist, and Keynesian notions of value - what he terms “thin value” and instead focuses on creating “thick value” which takes into consideration environmental and human factors. His current writing on the pursuit of eudaimonia - a higher state of well-being or “human flourishing” - as the key mode of value creation in the 21st century is also worth seeking out.