“Water is to me, I confess, a phenomenon which continually awakens new feelings of wonder as often as I view it.”
Electricity as art and minimalistic seascapes. Hiroshi Sugimoto, a talented all-round artist covers it all: Photography, architecture, theatre design, garment design (remember the Art Basel Scarfs for Hermes?). All of his works are in a very distinct style, something that whispers the unsaid principles of modern minimalism. I try to limit myself to his works of photography to give a small exerpt of what you can expect. My 2 favourite portfolios are with certainty ‘Seascapes’ and ‘Lightening Fields’. If you are fan of U2 you might recognize the first portfolio from U2’s album cover of ‘No Line on the Horizon’ (2009). All of the seascapes are fascinating.
For his 2009 ‘Lightening Fields’ Sugimoto abandoned the use of the camera and produced photographs using a 400,000 volt Van de Graaff generator to apply an electrical charge directly onto the film. He did not place an object on photo-sensitive paper, then exposing it to light, he rather produced the image by causing electrical sparks to erupt over the on surface of film laid on a large metal tabletop. The remarkably detailed results combine bristling textures and branching sparks into highly evocative images. This is probably my favourite piece of art made by electricity, i cannot stop looking at the clear, random structures. Best, Ea Birkkam
“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” Albert Camus
Visagist favourite and almost every good skincare brand offers one: micellar water. You have Rodial, L’Oreal, Taaj, YSL, Caudalie, Avène, Dior, Garnier, Vichy, La Roche-Posay etc… if you want to try them all, you better bring a big basket. Did you know Bioderma sells a bottle of their hyped Crealine H20 Water every 6(!) seconds? What are micelles and what is micellar water? Basically we have to take a look back at high school chemistry: a micelle takes shape when a variety of molecules including soaps and detergents (surfactants) are added to water, this is what we learned back then. So technically speaking regular soap water is already a micellar water. But a quick look at the ingredients of our micellar water cleanser tells us there is mysteriously more. Amateur research on the ingredients is hard for micellar water cleansers since possibly skin-irritating surfactants are not as harsh when they reach a certain concentration in water, they form ball-shaped structures, the micelles, instead.
You can basically breakdown the ingredients of micellar water cleansers to this: Water, a Glycol (e.g. Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol) – acting both as a humectant and hydotrope (improves solubulity of the the makeup in the surfactant), a Solubiliser (e.g. Polysorbate 20) – the surfactant that does the cleansing, a Preservative and Fairy Dust. All in all what you have is a product with make-up removing properties that doesn’t foam as much as traditional cleansers and looks and feels more like water (read more at the fabulous Beauty Brains). It is mild, easy to use (no washing off) and feels innovative. There might be a massive amount of micellar waters not claiming to be one, chances are high you have it already in your bath cabinet. Love, Ea Birkkam.
“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black” G. K. Chesterton
My grandmother once plucked a strawberry from our gardens and rubbed it on her teeth, back then she told me it ‘brightens the teeth’ and ‘was the only known treatment against teethstains before dentists offered In-office bleachings’. I was bewildered and i did not know why it worked, but it did and from that moment on i kept on immolating at least one strawberry of a batch for the sake of a whiter smile.
Later i heard about baking soda having the same effect on the colour of the teeth, strawberry and baking soda worked even better. 2 ingredients are the main reasons for its working properties: Malic acid of the Strawberries and Sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda. Malic acid, which ocurrs in apples, especially green ones, celery and carrot strip dark stains from the teeth and increase the saliva production, which is good for the gum. Sodium bicarbonate works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums and restores the acid balance in the mouth, it has antiseptic properties aswell to help prevent infections. Teeth hygiene can’t be more effective and minimalistic. Best, Ea Birkkam
today: trinity blanche/ the shirt dress, floral fragrance, eyeliner
-read more about it here
-like? order it here
“Each one of us must carry within the proof of immortality, it cannot be given from outside of us. To be sure, everything in nature is change but behind the change there is something eternal.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
What do Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Wheat Germ Oil and Sharks (yes) have in common? It is not the beginning of a bad joke, rather a connection to a 30-carbon organic compound (Squalene/see here) whose saturated form (Squalane/see picture above) acts both as a very good emollient and moisturizer in cosmetics. Squalene is a clear, scentless and low-viscous lipid that occurs with appr. 5-12 per cent in the skin’s own hydro-lipid layer. Squalane however is not as auto-oxidating prone and the fact that it is non-toxic and non-irritating makes it a cosmetic ingredient almost too good to be true.
Sadly there is a downside. A lot of sharks are being killed for having high amounts of Squalene in their body, especially the liver, because they lack of a swim bladder and this is nature’s solution to reduce their body density (read more here). To dissociate from the cruel slaughter but still benefit from a great ingredient like it manufacturers prefer the term Phytosqualan in their products which points out the vegetarian origin. I really cannot wait to involve this compound in my lab actions, it is said to have a super silky and smooth feeling on the skin. I really like the way the molecule looks too, someone please make a silver necklace in this pattern. Excited, Ea Birkkam
“As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.”
Marble looks so delicate and persistent at the same time, it is easy to understand there is still a hype around marble printed garments. Silk blouses, pillows and bedding that look like anicent Carrara Marble, i like the subtle irony. Concrete however epitomizes progression, urban caducity and growth. I wish there were more garments inspired by this familiar building material. I found some in the vast showcases of the Internet, my favourite is the concrete clutch bag from Ivanka. So pretty, as well as the whole concrete outfit.
Humming Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Ea Birkkam
“While symmetry is a way of seeing things, I think minimalism is more of a way of thinking” Kevin Saint Grey, Interview with Slices of Silence
Clarity and symmetries. Los Angeles based Kevin Kwok (aka Kevin Saint Grey) is one of my all-time favorite monochromatic photographers. You find minimalistic architectural, landscape, and abstract images in his portfolios and it was hard to narrow my selection for this post to five photographies. With attention to both architectural and biological symmetry he captivates me with his pictures in a harmonic and free-of-distraction kind of world. In a great interview with Slices of Silence he points out on his studies regarding symmetry and how it affects the ambience of his work. You can find the Interview here, you might want to read the whole thing.
I sometimes wish to enter his photographies for serenity. In state of harmony, Ea Birkkam.
“Receiving a new truth is like adding a new sense.”
Justus von Liebig
It is both fun and detailed work to finally limit my assortment of ingredients to a small final range. There is this vision of a high quality, ecologically worthwhile but very minimalistic and futuristic line of cosmetic products and, as i am used from synthesizing lab chemicals, things do not always work perfectly with the first try, to put it mildly. Maybe this is the first time my given endurance pays out.
Anyways, i have already a compiled selection of ingredients that i want to share, interesting in their skin properties, ecologically and beautiful in their chemical structure. I feel attracted by beautiful symmetries and molecules in interesting shapes and angles. Above you see 3 of the prettiest molecules that naturally occur in oils and fats i found. I am sure even the most fashion crazed blog reader will see scientific beauty in them. They would make a spectacular repeating pattern on a T-Shirt. Best, Ea Birkkam
“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Creation can sometimes be a hard piece of work and there are many different things that help me being in some sort of a work flow, white tea, a walk or minimalistic ambience music (see right bar). Next week a few DIY minimalistic cosmetics projects are planned to be posted, so i keep my baby blog growing and interesting for likeminded people. I really work hard on the perfect formulations for the etsy shop and with my previous knowledge and passion for great cosmetics compounds i fastidiously look for quality oils and a good compositions to live up to my own requirements, which i also have for bought products btw. I just think it is nice to keep track of the exhausting moments, so one day i can look back and see it was worth the struggle. So this is me, now, having an all-nighter researching cosmetics compounds and ecologically reasonable packaging. Love, Ea Birkkam
“Geometry is the foundation of all painting.”
From minimalistic to bold, this is the year of extraordinary eyeliner experiments (see pic above | source). The hosts of this year’s eyeliner looks are of an extravagant species, their natural habitat is both front row fashionshow seat and probably the next Björk MoMa Exhibition. Are you in for this year’s eyeliner experiments? Beautiful, geometric details and fancy eyeshape-changing lines. Thanks to Sephora, Benefit and Dior, we are extra excited to try new innovations and highly anticipated mechanics. I already ordered a version of the funky, rubber blade eyeliner of Benefit. Just couldn’t resist to try it out, expect a blogpost of my look. Love, Ea Birkkam
Standing in the lab it is not so common to wear high heels, so most of the scientists stick to their all time favorite: The sneaker. Syntheses can take quite a while and it is inevitable to stand and walk alot. So why not embrace your progressive work with some progressive footwear? My curiosity about it probably started way back with the Back to the Future trilogy, fascinating how Marty McFly’s shoes tie themselves. Nike just paid tribute to the movie’s shoes 2011 with the launch of the Limited Edition ‘Nike Mag’, just like the ones in the movie. Margiela followed with the Mirror Sneakers 2012, which were blogger favorites both in silver (yes!) and gold. My most adored futuristic sneaker of 2013 clearly are the Adidas Y-3 Qasa.
So for 2014 I have high hopes for the refreshing looks of Rick Owens sneaker (photos above: Adidas), for example the Adidas x Rick Owens -as in the picture above- and Giuliano Fujiwara sneakers of milan-based designer Yoshiaki Fujiwara. I really think one has seen enough Nike Air, Nike Roshe and Isabel Marant Hidden Plateau Sneakers. You think so, too? Love, Ea Birkkam