Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Design’

Reading year 2014: A graphic design book that everyone must read

April 29, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design 2 Comments →

Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd, Php749 at National Bookstores.

Because as Chip Kidd writes, you’re already a designer, whether you realize it or not.


Loaded with excellent examples. You know that you don’t have to use every font on your computer, right?

Replay: One of our favorite TED talks.

Every movie we see #42: Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel is a box of macarons

April 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design, Movies 2 Comments →

40. A Handful of Dust. The book is hilarious, the movie is not.
41. Homefront. It’s finally happened. We’re tired of Jason Statham.

* * * * *


Perhaps the word that best describes Wes Anderson movies is exquisite. They are beautiful, like well-curated museum exhibitions. The color palettes are carefully selected, as if the director had begun planning his movies not with notes but with fabric swatches.


The compositions are symmetrical.


The production design is elaborate (It makes you want to run home and redecorate).


The art direction is meticulous.


The filmmaking style is unapologetically mannered, that is, not particularly concerned with presenting life as it really is.

In short, the films of Wes Anderson are macarons. When the ingredients are fresh and mixed in the precise, perfect quantities, the result is delightful (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums). One miscalculation and the outcome can be precious, or cloyingly cute (We loathe Moonrise Kingdom with a passion. Granted, this is preferable to casual loathing). Balance must be achieved, or the audience goes home feeling slightly nauseous.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a lovely box of macarons, an affectionate look at a more civilized era where everyone could expect courtesy, decorum, discretion and consideration on the basis of shared humanity. The catch is that this more civilized era may not ever have existed, but the longing for it is universal (The same way people who have read a lot of Mitteleuropean literature are nostalgic for the Habsburg empire without ever having been part of it). The filmmaker acknowledges this by putting the story of The Grand Budapest Hotel in a frame within a frame within a frame: a girl in the recent past reads a book written by a former guest of the hotel, who recalls a conversation in the more distant past with a former hotel employee, who tells a story from an even earlier time.

Macaron is apt because while it may be argued that The Grand Budapest Hotel is no more than a confection, it is a wonderful confection. If we’re going to risk diabetes and heart disease by eating dessert, it had better be a sublime dessert. Otherwise we might as well spoon lard out of a vat.

Verdict: Enthusiastically recommended. We like the way Wes Anderson acknowledges the work of Stefan Zweig, whom we “met” through one of our all-time favorite movies, Max Ophuls’s Letter From An Unknown Woman.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is now showing at Ayala Cinemas.

What to do with all these spectacles

April 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Design 3 Comments →

Steampunk eyeglass frames by Sunny

We love spectacles. We have a lot of eyeglasses because we wear them all the time (If we had contact lenses we would end up poking our eyes out from sheer clumsiness). Everyone wonders how dumb the population of Metropolis has to be not to see that Clark Kent is Superman with eyeglasses, but having worn glasses since age 8, we know they make effective disguises. No one can recognize us minus our glasses. The disguise has become the person! Nyahahahaa (thunder, lightning)!

While relocating dust from one piece of furniture to the next (i.e. cleaning), we found a bag full of old spectacles we don’t use anymore. Not the vintage frames—we’ll use those forever—but fairly ordinary plastic glasses from the 90s, with plastic lenses in our old prescription (Our astigmatism has lessened since then). Fourteen in total, all of them from our optometrist Nella Sarabia at UP Shopping Center. What can we do with them?

Reading glasses we found at a flea market. They’re warped with age and no longer usable as glasses, but we’re keeping them to turn into a pendant or something.

We could donate them to charity. Better, we could sell them and donate the proceeds to charity (or have them auctioned for charity, assuming anyone would buy them).

We could give a pair to anyone who makes a donation in a specified amount (Say, Php2500) to CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals) or PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society).

We could give a pair of glasses to anyone who buys three sets of books in The Last Twisted Sale.


We could give the frames to Sunny Garcia who makes funky spectacles and sells them at Legazpi Market on Sundays (They’re closed this Sunday). Or give them to Leo Abaya to fuse onto a sculpture project.

That’s a handwoven abel table runner in python weave. Ask Rene Guatlo.

Ideas are welcome.

Pretty chicken tchotchkes exist for no reason

March 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Design No Comments →


We got these at the park last Sunday. They’re stuffed lacy chicken tchotchkes with tassels that you can attach to your bag for no reason whatsoever. They just are.

“You could turn them into earrings,” Rene suggested brightly.

“For when you want to be incognito,” Noel added.

“No one would ever look at those,” said Rene.

Our friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Things we saw at Art in the Park

March 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Design, Places 1 Comment →

There were cats.





There were teeth.



There was cotton candy.


There were pots,



Strange furniture,

odd furniture2

odd furniture

odd furniture3

And objects, eerie.




There was Romeo Lee’s painting of mother with dead baby.

dead babies

“No one will buy that!” he exclaimed with glee.
(It’s got the same subject as the Pieta, actually.)

In Palawan, Day 3: Complete and utter vegetation

March 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Design, Food, Places, Traveling 4 Comments →

On Saturday Cookie was up at 0600 for the Island-Hopping Tour of Honda Bay. “You drive to the wharf and get on a boat. Then you go to an island and hang around the beach, swim and snorkel. Then you get back on the boat and visit another island. Then another island.”

“Sounds fascinating. Buh-bye,” we said, and went back to sleep. We were too lazy to go to the restaurant for breakfast or even to dial room service. A few hours later we got up and had an instant coffee. We had bought sachets at a sari-sari store because the hotel does not have complimentary coffee or tea in the rooms. (Or provide extra towels even if we need them for our hair because between us and sister we have enough to make wigs for a barangay of bald people. (They charge Php50 for an extra towel.) Or have a mini-bar so we can store snacks. Or have a tub or wifi at usable speeds. Otherwise it was fine.)

Then we went back to bed and spent the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep and channel-surfing on cable. We decided that we’re not missing anything by having no cable at home. Each station has maybe three programs on repeat the entire day. How much Walking Dead and American Idol can a person stand?

At 1500 it occurred to us that we had not seen any local handwoven fabrics (Binuatan doesn’t make textiles) so we texted our fabric guru Rene in Makati to ask for recommendations. He gave us the address and number of Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation, which operates a weaving center in Puerto Princesa.

Cookie returned a half-hour later and reported that she’d gone snorkeling. “But you do not swim,” we pointed out. Apparently the tour operator had a guy who could take non-swimmers snorkeling: you hung onto him and he went into the water, dragging three or four passengers. Like a human bathysphere.

“The tour was fun!” our sister recounted as we had a room service sandwich for lunch. “The beaches are unspoiled, and the sand is different on every island. You would have hated it.” We told her about the weaving center and she asked if they were open Sundays.

They weren’t. And they were closing at 5pm. We asked them not to close till we got there, then we shot out of the room and jumped into the nearest tricycle. The driver did not know where Rurungan Compound was, but he knew the way to Abanico Road. Thirty minutes later we were on a concrete road in a densely wooded area with few houses. It was like going into the woods, and if we’d been in Manila it would’ve been scary. Fortunately we were in Palawan, so this was normal. Twenty minutes later we saw a lady emerging from a compound and asked her for directions. She pointed to the next gate. We had reached our destination.

1. rurungan
According to Laida Lim’s essay in HABI, the guide to Philippine handwoven textiles, a “rurungan” is a group of women living and working in proximity and pooling their resources. The 15-year-old Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation (RTF) creates jobs for women on the island by training them to weave tepiña.

2. weaving center
Tepiña is pineapple cloth woven from raw silk and fiber from the Spanish Red pineapple. The weavers learn the textile production process from growing the pineapples to stripping the leaves and knotting the fibers.

3. shawls
Apart from tepiña, they make a heavier twill textile and a fabric that feels like corduroy. Filipino and French designers have used tepiña in their couture and home decor collections.

4. bags and wallets
We bought several of these pretty wallets and small clutches to give away (and then decided to keep them haha). Prices at the Palawan store range from Php90 to 160. Dammit we should’ve bought more. The large bags cost about Php800. We found baskets with fabric straps that make excellent tote/book bags—we’ll post the photos later.

5. tepina
They also have dresses, blouses, neckties, toys. If you’re in Palawan and wish to visit Rurungan Sa Tubod, call +639178514081 and ask for Beth or Janet. In Manila, you can arrange a private product viewing at their showroom by calling +639175532728.

We’re glad we got out of bed.

6. kalui entrance
Our main event for Saturday was dinner at KaLui, the most famous restaurant in Puerto Princesa, listed among the top restaurants in Asia by the Miele Guide. A reservation is required. As is taking your shoes off at the entrance, so your feet can enjoy the beautiful wooden floors.

7. menu
Making a choice seems like a lot of work when you’re in vacation mode, so we just pointed to the Special of the Day Set.

8. kalui2
Every table was taken. The place is charming—even the washrooms are tourist attractions. There’s a small art gallery and a gift shop selling jams and preserves, bags and wallets…from Rurungan. Same prices, but the weaving center has more merchandise.

10. salad
For starters there was “lato” seaweed salad,

11. tempura kakiage
and vegetables done tempura-style.

12. tuna steak
There was juicy tuna steak

13. tuna in coconut
and fish rolls in coconut cream.

For dessert there were slices of fruit, which was just as well because we didn’t have space left for sweets.

9. kalui1

A day well spent, despite extreme indolence.