Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A + D

The Architecture and Design Museum is opening today! I see a trip to LA in the near future...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wind Turbines

There was a time when I was driving between LA and SF quite often, and one of the only bright spots in an otherwise monotonous and scene-less drive were the wind turbines off of interstate 580. 

Coming up into the Bay Area you see these giant alien-like creatures, giant flowers with petals spinning gracefully in the wind, like an army keeping watch over the valley. And you get a sense of the immense power of nature, the presence of something geater than yourself. 

While the simplicity and functionality of their design is partly what makes these turbines so beautiful, it could be interesting to mix it up a little. Architect Tonkin Liu designed these wind powered metallic flowers and I thought it would be pretty amazing to come across these in an open field, especially at night when the speed of the wind triggers LED lights to illuminate the petals.  It's these little things that make me happy, and it's comforting to think that there is a place for good design everywhere in this world.
photos via locks park farm and contemporist

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salon del Mobile

Unfortunately my broke ass couldn't afford to fly to Milan for the Salon del Mobile this year, but some of my favorite blogs did a stellar job of reporting back. After weeding through all the random and bizarre conceptual pieces I did come across some gems...
Kartell's dreamy Snowflake installation / Yoshioka's Invisible chair which would look perfect in my Modernist ice palace.
Blow High table by Konstantin Grcic for Established & Sons
Weird bird cage / fish tank combo by Constance Guisset...instead of housing a menagerie of strange animals, I think this would look pretty on a smaller scale hanging by itself, or perhaps as a light fixture?
Robi Renzi (RenziVivian) created this amazing series of patchwork cabinets made of salvaged materials.
J'adore the Melt bookcase by Thomas Sandell, but the OCD in me keeps freaking out over the dust I can imagine lurking behind there.
Rich Brilliant Willing created this table as part of  the Clinkers collection for Innermost

Gorgeous gold mesh lamps by Tom Dixon
Love the brilliant colors in the Stretch Collection chairs by Carnevale Studio
Dig the exposed ribcage look of the Struttura Due Table by Davide Vercelli
and of course, the genius that is Yves Behar, for Swarovski Crystal Palace..
photos from dezeen, contemporist, and sight unseen

Monday, April 19, 2010

Toyo Ito

DesignBoom: "On the news broadcast they said that Italians are afraid of
     unemployment, criminality and pollution. 
     What are you afraid of regarding the future?"

Ito: "The thing that worries me the most is that
everyone wears the same things,
eats the same things,
   lives in the same environments. 
   This is what worries me the most."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dream Job: Set Design

Royal Tenenbaums
Marie Antoinette

2001 A Space Odyssey

and of course...Mad Men. There is an interesting behind the scenes video on the set design of this brilliant show HERE

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hipstery Repeats Itself

My obsession with the Victorian/Edwardian eras does not end with design and architecture alone. I recently came upon this article in the Daily Mail UK about an act passed in 1902 allowing police to arrest anyone they felt was acting drunk and douchey in public. It's interesting to see how, over a century later, things haven't really changed that much. Doesn't 'Dirty Dick' look like he just stumbled out of Pop's bar on his way to spin records at the Knockout?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


When I heard Enproyecto Architects built a monument in Castilla, La Mancha in honor of one of my favorite film directors, I was excited and intrigued. How does one capture the essence of someone so visionary and passionate as Pedro Almodovar? I wasn't sure if they could pull it off...but the result is stellar. Layers of fiery red concrete serve as a frame to the Spanish landscape, as if you are looking onto a scene from one of his films...stunning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ayn Rand

I don't quite get the controversy over Ayn Rand. I thought the Fountainhead was brilliant. I don't necessarily subscribe to all of her theories on objectivism, however I thought the main themes throughout the book rang true and are still relevant. Any artist can relate to the character of Howard Roark...that feeling of isolation in your desire to create something different in a world of conformists.  And the inner conflict and self-loathing associated with selling out. I feel like this is especially true of architects. To create art in the face of public opinion and not let your work be dictated by the hands that feed you is a constant struggle that Rand so eloquently explains through her main character. There are so many amazing lines in this book, but i love this...

Austin Heller: "What in hell are you really made of, Howard? After all, it's only a building. It's not the combination of holy sacrament, Indian torture, and sexual ecstasy that you seem to make of it." 

Howard Roark: "Isn't it?" 

Rand and husband Frank O'Connor at their (Neutra-designed!) home in Chatsworth, CA

Monday, April 5, 2010

Upholstery Project #1

Last summer I thought it would be fun to start refinishing old furniture. So I enrolled in an upholstery class at CCA. Then I bought this lovely (40's-era?) chair at a thrift store for $20, covered in this amazingly hideous 70's fabric and screaming for me to rescue it. All I needed was fabric. I fell in love with a gorgeous mohair the color of the ocean on a foggy day. Was beyond excited to start working on it.

Five weeks of blood, sweat, and tears later, and being reminded repeatedly that i was a masochist for choosing such a difficult piece to work on, it was left unfinished and banished to my closet for 9 months. Recently I was able to resurrect and finish this baby thanks to my local upholsterer who was kind enough to let me use his workshop and teach me some skills. Here it is undergoing surgery...
After this experience I have a newfound appreciation for the art of furniture making. It takes an incredible amount of skill and patience to create something that is functional yet well designed and crafted. Those exquisite little details produce a feeling you certainly don't get from mass produced Ikea crap.
And here it is! finally finished and looking hot in my bedroom.. I still haven't sat in it. I just stare at its beauty and think about how well it ties the room together.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.    
-Louis Kahn

Friday, April 2, 2010