MiMo Design Inspiration

A new project for a young family in Miami Beach has me drawing from 1950’s MiMo (“Miami Modern”) architecture for inspiration. Last Friday I dined at the Fontainebleau (and spent a solid 15 min admiring the lobby with it’s winding staircase to nowhere and bow-tie floors while my husband got the car) and coincidently had breakfast in the North Biscayne MiMo District on Sunday (near my favorite car wash in town, Karma). Both outings had me appreciating the surrounding architecture in their 20th and 21st century versions. I realized the MiMo spirit lives on in Miami as architects and designers continue to draw from…

The Magical Alhambra in Granada

Precedents, vol.1 It was first year, first week of studio, when my professor suggested I research the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Off I went to the silent Richter stacks to begin an exercise that would lead me, four years later, to the actual orange courtyards of Andalusia. I didn’t know then, but I was to soon fall in love with the romanticism of this place and the past it represented. Of course, the illustrations I found from numerous 19th century Orientalists didn’t help at all! These artists depicted exotic (and at times erotic) notions of what life would have been…

ALVARO SIZA: Iberian minimalism

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…

The Case Study Houses

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…

GIO PONTI: The 20th Century’s Renaissance Man

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…

CARLO SCARPA

Designer Feature vol. 3 (Venice 1906 – 1978 Japan) Carlo Scarpa is the architect that made me want to be an interior designer. The Italian master draws me in (every time) with his use of materials and a truly meticulous attention to detail. Every corner, every connection is resolved with the utmost sensibility. This of course means Scarpa did not leave behind an encyclopedia of projects. The ones he did however, are true jewels. In his work 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…