The Las Vegas We Learned From.


Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

? 1968 / 2009: Robert Venture & Denise Scott Brown with Hilar Stadler & Martino Stierli, Editors

While Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Venturi’s 1966 manifesto challenging the austerity of Modernist orthodoxy, is undoubtedly his theoretical masterwork, it is Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form written in 1972 with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour that is most often read by architecture students today. The book summarizes studies of the Las Vegas Strip undertaken by Venturi and Scott Brown with students at the Yale School of Architecture in 1968. What the book failed to reproduce was the extensive photographic and filmed documentation of the Vegas Strip taken by the group as part of the study process. It is these seminal images, drawn for the Venturi / Scott Brown archives, that Las Vegas Studio makes available for the first time. This is a truly lovely little publication and a remarkable photographic record of Las Vegas in a formative period. (2009: University of Chicago Press; ISBN 9783858817174)

Las Vegas Studio: $62.95

Venturi / Scott Brown Study Group’s Las Vegas Helicopter footage 1968


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Is There Anything So Full of Promise as a Blank Sheet of Paper?

While it’s something of a cliché to pose questions like “Is paper obsolete?” or “Is letter writing a dying art?”, friend of the store Sheree-Lee Olson does, to her credit, acknowledge in her column in this Saturday’s Globe and Mail that paper and electronic media serve different purposes and can co-exist peacefully. And, despite dire predictions, at Swipe at least, there is today more demand for high quality, workaday paper products than at any time in the past 20 years. Between Moleskine, Rhodia, Nava and Whitelines, we have scratchpads, steno pads, cahiers and notebooks to suit just about any need.


Rhodia Pads

? 1932: Henri & Robert Verilhac

Equally at home in a school bag or the breast pocket of an Armani jacket, Rhodia is the orange notebook from France with the cult following. In sizes ranging from 3″ x 4″ to full A4 (12″ x 8″) Rhodia pads feature quality paper printed with a 5 x 5 grid and an innovative scored front cover that folds neatly behind the pad while writing

Whitelines Pads and Notebooks

? 2006: Olof Hansson

An innovative and patented note paper system from Sweden, Whitelines, as the name implies, offers notebooks, pads and cahiers, in “A” sizes, with white lines instead of black or blue. The lines drop out of a very pale grey printed background such that text and drawings are not obscured by the lines on which they sit. The toned background also reduces eyestrain and allows for clear photocopies, with the faint lines fading out when scanned or faxed.

Rhodia Pads: $1.60 to $8.50
Whitelines Pads and Notebooks: $2.95 to $22.50

Moleskine Notebooks

? c.1890: Traditional / 2000: Moda & Moda

What haven’t you already heard about Moleskines? Blah blah Bruce Chatwin, blah blah Hemingway, blah blah Matisse. In truth, the last quality French manufacturer ceased production in 1986, with Italian stationer Moda & Moda reviving the product a decade later based solely on the description in Chatwin’s unaccountably influential Songlines. Overstated history aside, what is actually appealing about the line is the range of interior formats available, from blank, grid and lined note paper, to heavy sketch and watercolour paper, to musical staff, diaries and even storyboard layouts. As an illustration we’ve linked to Ross Lovegrove’s contribution to Moleskine’s Detour project in support of non-profit literacy foundation lettera27.

For most interior formats: small $15.95, large $23.95


Nava Notebooks: One Year Of White

? 2007: Alessandro Esteri

So typical of Nava (and, more broadly, of Italian design) this gorgeous little group of notebooks is as much a conceptual piece as a practical object. Which is not to say that it is not perfect for sketching, doodling, list-making, and jotting. A page a day, a book a month, and 12 books a year. If you’re into ordering your world sequentially, the punched holes on the fore-edge of each book will satisfy the urge: one hole, January; two holes, February; three, March; and so on through December. Oh, and the dots look cool even if you’ve got a less linear personality

Nava Notepad: Minerva

? 1984: Norbert Linke

In 1984 Norbert Linke created Minerva, a pretty little pocket notepad with a matchbook folded cover that quickly became a cult object in Europe and the UK

Nava Saffiano Minerva Notebook Holder

? 2008: Nava Design & Beat Box

Nava and Beat Box now offer a fine leather cover to luxe up the modest Minerva. It comes with a cute mini pen designed by the extremely talented but famously grumpy Enzo Mari (which is available separately for $14.95 as a ballpen or pencil).

Nava Notebooks: One Year Of White: $47.95 the set
Nava Notepad: Minerva: $3.25
Nava Saffiano Minerva Notebook Holder in black or orange: $94.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

Children's Books by Graphic Designers, part 1: Paul and Ann Rand

The recent reissue of several classic children’s books by notable graphic designers ties together a number of threads in contemporary consumer culture. It speaks to a level public awareness and respect for design not seen, perhaps, since these books were originally published. It also demonstrates the power of various internet forums to bring forgotten or subcultural products to wider audiences. In this case e-bay, abebooks, and a variety of blogs conspired to raise awareness of several long out-of-print children’s titles by the likes of Paul Rand, Bob Gill, Bruno Munari and Tomi Ungerer. Finally, it highlights the expectation of parents that products for their children harmonize with the aesthetic standards they set for the products they buy for themselves.

Of the four children’s books on which Paul and Ann Rand’s collaborated, two were reprinted by Chronicle Books of San Francisco in 2006 and now a third, I Know a Lot of Things, will be released this month. As one might expect, Paul Rand’s graphics are masterful, however Ann Rand’s texts are a delightful surprise, full of whimsical ideas and pleasantly fractured poetics.

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I Know a Lot of Things

? 1956: Paul & Ann Rand

The Rands’ first children’s book created for pioneering Harcourt Brace editor Margaret McEldery in 1956. Similar in concept to Ruth Krauss’ astounding Open House for Butterflys, Rand views consequential knowledge from a child’s perspective: “I know when I look in the mirror, what I see is me”. Winner of an AIGA Best Books award in 1957. (2009: Chronicle Books; ISBN 9780811866156)

Little 1

? 1962: Paul & Ann Rand

Ann Rand at her idiosyncratic best, Little 1 is simultaneously a number book and a story of alienation and friendship sure to resonate with kindergarden-aged children beginning to make their way in a larger social context. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 0811850048)

Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words

? 1957: Paul & Ann Rand

Again, a visually stunning Paul Rand design, in this case paired with Ann Rand’s engaging text exploring the rhythm and nuance of spoken language. (2006: Chronicle Books; ISBN 081185003x)

I Know a Lot of Things: $21.95
Little 1: $20.95
Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words: $20.95


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They Really Are the Best Juicers. But Juicers? At Swipe? What Was I Thinking?

For a limited time (hopefully) at Swipe, all Breville Juicers are 40% off:


Breville Juice Fountain Juicers

?1996: Keith Hensel

As small appliance manufacturers in other markets have given in to the demands of price-point retailing (GE and Braun come to mind), Australia’s Breville, founded in 1932, continues to be relevant in the WalMart era through a combination of superior design, specialization and market isolation. Touted as the world’s fastest domestic juicer, the Fountain was the first to accept whole fruit and vegetables with no chopping or peeling. For ten years this has been the top-rate centrifugal juicer – check any raw-foodist / obsessive-complusive juicer blog as proof. All parts are dishwasher safe.

Breville Juice Fountain Elite (2 speed, 1000 watts): $354.95, now: $212.95 SOLD OUT
Breville Ikon Juice Fountain (5 speed, 900 watts): $229.95, now: $137.95 SOLD OUT
Breville Juice Fountain Compact (1 speed, 700 watts): $124.95, now: $74.95


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