08/03/2011 § 3 Comments
Designer Feature vol. 5
I love the work of Siza. His projects arise as natural reactions to the physical, cultural, and, I could almost say, spiritual environment which they inhabit. He masterfully blends *vernacular architecture with minimalism to create poetic references to place while exploring issues of form and space. When I think of Siza’s work I always imagine these large spans of white-washed walls or these intricate plans where every turn and edge has been thought out. That’s part of his genius – being able to work from the largest scale of the site plan to the minute details of where the concrete meets the wood.
The following are some of my favorites of his many projects…
*vernacular architecture uses methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs.
07/02/2011 § 3 Comments
Artist Feature, vol. 6
Though Weston is mostly known for his still lifes of inanimate objects such as peppers and cabbage leaves, his landscapes explored the same subject of form that guided most of his work. Here, in Clouds, Trees, Water Weston captured the flora and scenery at Point Lobos,CA and the desert landscape of Oceano,CA.
If you look closely through his images you’ll note why Edward was a part of the f/64 group (which included legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams). His images often employed the use of deep depth of field allowing for all planes of the images to be crisp and in focus (achieved through closing the aperture to f-stop 64). As in his still lifes, curves, cracks and shadows seem to bring the objects to life as Weston’s compositions create movement, contrast, and texture.
Perhaps intentionally, or not, you can start to see traces of human characteristics in these images. Limbs within clouds. Bodies within trunks. Faces within stones. You back up to recognize your imagination is playing with your sight but nonetheless clues suggesting anthropomorphism are in place. Now I wonder, did Weston see the same mirages and were they what drove him to take these photographs in the first place?
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06/25/2011 § Leave a comment
In post-war Southern California the residential housing boom inspired a group of prominent architects sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine to tackle what they saw as the current issues in the typical American home. Each architect was to deal with one of these problems and resolve it in the best way they saw fit using materials and methods that would be readily available and easily duplicated. The program that was to be known as the Case Study Houses ran from 1945 up until 1966.
The group of architects included many of the big names of Mid-Century Modern design. These included Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig, Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Rodney Walker, and JR Davidson. Many of the Houses (such as #22 on the left) were shot for the magazine by the now infamous photographer, Julias Shulman.
The Case Study Homes changed the way Americans lived and built their homes. These West Coast models were soon transported throughout the country. The Stahl residence (#22), probably the most well-known of the Case Study homes, became an icon of American design and the new optimistic “Modern” way of life.
The homes generally sought to blur the lines between inside and outside by using innovative curtain wall building technologies that would allow for wide spans of glass. By placing load-bearing steel columns on a grid on the interior of the home, the facades would be free of structural responsibilities. The floor plan of the American home was Modernized by opening up walls and blending functions into large spaces; thus the marriage of the living, dining and kitchen to create the Great Room. The architects also extended the living space to the exterior by incorporating elements such as pools, large overhangs and paved decks that would further encourage the use of the outdoor room.
03/16/2011 § Leave a comment
Designer Feature, vol. 4
When you think renaissance man in the world of design Gio Ponti is your guy. This man was a painter, an industrial and furniture designer, an architect and the editor and founder of the quintessential Domus (1928) and Stile magazines.Born and raised in Milan, Ponti was an advent propagandist for the love of architecture and design which he wrote of in his 1957 collection of essays Amate l’Architettura (published in english as In Praise of Architecture).
Ponti utilized Domus to openly explore diverse topics of his concern and express his personal views all the while maintaining a clever openness that established the magazine as Europe’s most influential architecture and design magazine.
Gio Ponti was in Milan around the same time as the avant garde Futurists and Group 7 were exploring their ideas for radical change. Though he was around the key figures of these movements Ponti remained focused on finding the “finite form” in design rather than revolutionizing existing dogmas. He had his own ideals of design that bloomed from Modernism but were more particularly concerned with context, comfort, function, lightness and elegance. He was an admirer of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus but was certainly not one of those “glass box boys”, as Frank Lloyd Wright once clarified.
His daughter summarized Ponti’s career with the following remarks, “Sixty years of work, buildings in thirteen countries, lectures in twenty-four, twenty-five years of teaching, fifty years of editing, articles in every one of the five hundred and sixty issues of his magazines, two thousand five hundred letters dictated, two thousand letters drawn, designs for a hundred and twenty enterprises, one thousand architectural sketches. It was a great deal, and all from one man”.
FURNITURE & INDUSTRIAL DESIGN:
09/12/2010 § Leave a comment
1ST DIBS is a website that consolidates the listings of the best antique dealers all around the States. I don’t mean just the Baroque or Neo-classical pieces that come straight to mind when hearing “antiques”. Though 1st dibs does carry beautiful pre-20th Century designs, I’m mostly excited by the Art Deco, Hollywood Glam, and Mid century – Modern finds.
Each object on 1st dibs is a design relic – they’re the real deal. I love to browse through the listings simply to observe the beauty of the details and finishes of each piece. This has brought me better familiarization with the elements of each era of furniture design (such as materials, forms, colors, ornamentation, etc) and has totally changed the way I look at contemporary design.
Now when I peruse the pages of catalogs I have the “classics” in mind so I know where the recent designs are evolving from!
[Images above from top left: Florence Knoll credenza $8,500, Swedish gondola arm chair 1940, Art Deco iron door and transom,"Gerosa" by Joe Richards realist oil painting, Continental brass lamp 1970, Geometric brass wall sculpture from 1970's $750, Dorothy Draper chest from 1950's, Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner $14,500, Angelo Donghia low table from 1970's, Org table by Fabio Novembre 2001, Mark Shaw portrait of Coco Chanel #7, Paris, 1957 $800]
[Images above from top left: French 1950s metal chairs, Modeline 1960's white table lamp, Italian 1950's white ceramic & gilt jars $550, Nude sculpture from 1960's $1,800, John Vesey's Maximilian chair 1959, Convex mirror wall sculpture 1972 $8,500, Jackie Carson "Desert Dawn" acrylic on canvas, Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte 16 light pendant, Tiffany & Co. antique 18K gold letter opener, WWII US naval telescope, Dining table by J. C. Moreux, Beijing bedside chest, Vintage nickel chair by Warren Platner for Knoll 1980, Plexiglass vase fish tank by Nicola L. $2,800]
To preview these designs and so many more, VISIT: www.1stdibs.com
P.S. Don’t miss Introspective Magazine (the online mag on designers, their inspirations, styles and favorites) !!!
08/08/2010 § 2 Comments
TOY CAMERAS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Toy cameras, as they are lovingly referred, were first discovered by North Americans in the 1960’s. Originally fabricated in China, these inexpensive cameras contain the most rudimentary elements necessary for photography resulting in images full of distortions.
So why are they still being produced and why are people like me interested in them?
In this day and age of ever-escalating Megapixels low-tech cameras, such as the Holga and the Diana, are utilized specifically for the unpredictable kinks inherent in these cameras.
Camera technologies continue to become more complex with every passing moment . It is apparently (for those of us trying to keep up) an effort so furious and urgent that it closely ties only the race to cure cancer or the release of the next iphone (8g – do you have a 4g? I’m sorry you’re way behind already. I know, I know, you got yours today.)
Toy cameras are exactly on the other end of this spectrum where aesthetic effects such as vignetting, blur, and light leakage produced from these “imperfections” are embraced and essentially take total prominence over the technological reliability and precision offered by digital photography. Since these cameras also allow its users to explore medium format film using really affordable gear (Holga 120N on Amazon.com $21.50) many amateurs and artists alike have been playing with these “toys”. The results are remarkable and have inspired me to purchase my very own.
FYI: Medium format film (typically 6 x 4.5 cm or 6 x 6 cm) is larger than regular film (24 x 36mm) though smaller than large format film (4″x5″). The larger the film/negative, the bigger you can enlarge the print (similar to Megapixels in digital cameras).
TO GET YOUR OWN TOY CAM:
Amazon.com – for a vintage find
Urban Outfitters – for a new baby as seen below
08/03/2010 § 2 Comments
Designer Feature vol. 3
This Italian architect based out of Venice, Italy drew me in with his use of materials and his meticulate attention to detail. In his work every corner, every connection is resolved with the utmost sensibility. This of course means Scarpa did not leave behind an encyclopedia of works. However, the ones he did complete were true jewels.
In his works he would blend brass with limestone and stucco and brick. He would play with precedents of geometry such as circular Chinese openings in garden walls and corbeled pyramids in a sanctuary’s ceiling. He was doing innovative conservation of historical buildings way before Herzog and de Meuron’s Caixa Forum in Madrid.
He would play with the historical through a sophisticated and poetic understanding of materials.
It was love at first sight.
OLIVETTI SHOWROOM, VENICE
FONDAZIONE QUIRINI-STAMPALIA, VENICE
MUSEO DI CASTELVECCHIO, VERONA
MUSEO CANOVIANO, POSSAGNO
BANCO POPOLARE DI VERONA
LA TOMBA BRION, SAN VITO