Topics: The Land Rover Defender, Zippo Lighters, Bossa Nova, Boba Tea
Illustrations by Greg Chinn at The Local Brand Co.
Function and Form
We at the Beat love well-designed things. The key to successful design is to solve a problem beautifully. When the aesthetic and practical come together to make something of real use — that’s great design. From art to autos and tunes to tea, great design belongs everywhere.
We chose to pay tribute to Milton Glaser’s humorous take on the “Unbreakable Comb” as our hero image this week. The design great winks at us with his broken “unbreakable,” and we tip our hat with this version caught with what might be one of our own graying hairs…
From the classic Land Rover to our favorite treat, this week we pay tribute to things designed well.
The Land Rover Defender
Land Rover is the quintessential British four-wheel drive. The Defender, stocky and tough as a bulldog, sexy enough for a super spy, is its most iconic model. Over the years, it evolved from gentry farm machine to luxury vehicle, but it never lost that tough silhouette that made it coveted by surfers, stars, explorers and soldiers. Whether you’re carving your way through the mountains or cruising down the PCH, the Defender is the epitome of style and substance.
That signature clink, click and whoosh. The smell of the lighter fluid. That trick where you snap it open and snap it lit that nobody but Mr. White in Reservoir Dogs seemed to be able to do. Cool, sleek, and the ultimate marriage of form and function. The classic silver (or brass) Zippo somehow feels more confident than any of the fussiest Ronsons or Dunhills. In an age where everything seems disposable or digital, the reassuring, solid heft of a Zippo in your pocket connects you to craftsmanship, style and design for the long haul.
Pretty sure if you drove your Defender to a party where you lit some beautiful someone’s cigarette, Bossa Nova would be the soundtrack. The sexy, slinky sound was born in Rio in the early 1950s and developed by greats like guitar virtuoso João Gilberto, drummer Milton Banana, singer Elizabeth Cardoso and composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and the great Laurindo Almeida (among many others). It became the sound of mid-60s tropical elegance, romantic cocktail parties and, once Astrud Gilberto’s divine interpretation of “The Girl From Ipanema” conquered the airwaves, the world.
Today it’s ubiquitous. Boba tea (or bubble tea), in all its flavors and colors and all its chewy, weird glory, has stolen our hearts. But its story goes back to the early 1980s, when a savvy Taiwanese gourmand (there are multiple reported originators) had the idea of combining three popular street treats: milk tea, shaved ice and tapioca balls. It became hugely popular throughout East and Southeast Asia before making its way across the Pacific to the States. If you don’t have a boba shop nearby, don’t fret. Hit your local asian market (or online version) for some classic 3:15 PM milk tea and some tapioca pearls, and find yourself a yummy recipe.