July 29, 2005
Enrique Norten a Rat Architect for the New Millennium
Slate magazine's architecture critic Witold Rybczynski put together an amazing photo essay of Enrique Norten's work entitled, A Rising Starchitect, Will Enrique Norten be the next Frank Gehry?
It begins by saying that there are two schools of architecture, the Rats (for Rationalism):Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, SOM; and the Anti-Rats (Anti-Rationalism): people like Thom Mayne, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and, who he calls the King Anti-Rat, Frank Gehry.
The Anti-Rats are the ones who've come to the attention of the average person through all the awards and high-profile commissions they get. But, says Rybczynski, Norten's been rising in the ranks, and was chosen as the architect for the Guggenheim's branch in Guadalajara, Mexico. Are the tides changing? Maybe we’re shifting to appreciate an architecture that makes sense when you look at it, buildings that look like buildings, with an even structure and clarity of form obvious from the outside rather than hidden by rows of shining, undulating curves.
Rybczynski says some of Norten's work reads like a diagram of what's inside and is more architectural than sculptural. And that's true, but sometimes sculpture is all straight lines.
July 28, 2005
Modern Curtain Tie Backs
Curtains have long been the dreaded element for a contemporary room. Sometimes they just feel so well, traditional. But they offer privacy and softness and, in today's market of millions of choices, it's become much easier to find a style that fits your style.
But once you do, how to tie them back and let the sunlight in? Those shiny ropes are a thing of the past, and some other more modern options like metal tiebacks have come to take their place, but the world of tiebacks has been largely barren and uninspiring territory. That is until Remy Lemoine invigorated it with Murano glass, plexi-glass, mirrors, straw, raffia, wicker, wood, leather, brass, tin, bronze, and iron, shiny or oxidized.
His tiebacks stand on their own as works of art. The Horn shaped version he calls Hold Backs are made of Murano glass and hand-blown in Italy. A masterful blending of colour and transparency, heightened by silver and gold in-lay, make them unique. Then there's “Luciole,” a handmade tieback made from Murano and optical fibers that let light run through and illuminate the glass.
Remy calls the French and Italian craftsmen who bring his designs to life the partners of his creations. The pieces are customizable and available from his website––in French, but he speaks English fluently and responds promptly to serious inquiries.
Before Scraping and Priming, Just Point and Click
When Pure Contemporary began to see consumer interest in interior painting and color rise, we took action and brought on Devine Color founder, Gretchen Schauffler, to answer readers' questions and lend insight to their color dilemmas. It was only a matter of time before others caught on to the magnificence of Devine Color... Congratulations!
Devine Color, a boutique paint maker, offers only 128 colors - not the thousands offered by major paint companies. But Devine's selection was plenty for Nora Berwick, a marine biologist. Ms. Berwick recently had the white walls of her home in Hillsboro, Ore., repainted in Devine's Cayenne Red and Organza, a sand color, with some touches of Tempest, a gray-lavender.
She did not bother to investigate other paint brands, she said, acknowledging that "I didn't even ask the price." The reason, she said, was that she "was so enthralled with their palette of colors after I saw them at a friend's house."
Continue reading Elizabeth Olson's Before Scraping and Priming, Just Point and Click from the July 24, 2005 edition of The New York Times.
July 27, 2005
Bleach for Clean Design & Modern Accessories
Once you have the big things done––that’s the paint colors, furniture, rugs––it’s time to look for the accessories that will tie the room together and give it that personal flair everyone’s looking for. But with so many retail chains selling modern and contemporary accessories, it’s become hard to find pieces that are truly unique or witty or just plain beautiful.
But with their line of modern home accessories, Bleach Design has solved that problem. Based in Portugal with ability to sell directly anywhere in the world, Bleach embraces design as a quest to make a difference in everyday life, and, with prices for its entire collection ranging from about $45 to about $505, for everyday people.
We’re hard pressed to pick favorites, but contenders include the Wallpaper lamps, which integrate a lamp with a wallpaper-like background; As Flores Estao Na Mesa (The Flowers are on the Table), a glass urn-like vase with a ceramic top that has holes in it to make flower arranging simple (although it looks as good with or without them); and My Grass, a perfect habitat for indoor plants.
See these designs and the rest of the collection at Bleach.
July 26, 2005
You Design Your Dinnerware at pfz, Pfaltzgraff
The Pfaltzgraff Co., branding itself as "America's leading manufacturer of casual dinnerware and accessories for the home" this Spring launched a new, more casual company that's just as creative as its consumers are. It's called pfz and it’s perfect for the person who knows what they want in their dinnerware, within limits.
Pfz allows consumers to customize plates, serving pieces, mugs and bowls through its website’s very intuitive interface. But ease of use doesn’t necessarily mean you can create the dinnerware of your dreams. Options are limited and some designs will not be available with colors other than "coconut cream."
Even with its limitations, the customization allows for plenty of stripes, patterns, images—something like the Clip Art choices in Microsoft Word--even words and enough combinations to make almost anyone happy.
As for the timing, it couldn't have been better. Pfz has a monogramming option. For those of you who've noticed monograms popping up on everything from totes to toe-rings, pfz monograms are a big plus. In fashion, initials go in and out of style, in house wares, they've always been apropos.
July 25, 2005
Ogus Design Modern Lamps
The glass "shade" can be set in the base either vertically or horizontally and the lamp comes in three sizes, Floor, Large Floor and Table-top.
Find out more at OgusDesign.
July 21, 2005
Vernor Panton Exhibit at AXA Gallery New York City
Through October 1, 2005, the AXA Gallery, sponsored by AXA Financial, and the Vitra Design Museum, will present a major exhibition on the work of Danish designer and architect Verner Panton (1926-1998). True to the character of its featured designer, the exhibition creates a highly sensory atmosphere, presenting Panton's boldly patterned fabric designs, futuristic furniture, colorful light fixtures, and trademark molded plastic chairs. The Vitra Design Museum has assembled this large-scale retrospective as a compliment to Verner Panton's extraordinarily extensive and diverse body of work.
Atrium Lobby of Equitable Tower .
787 Seventh Avenue at 51st St.
New York, NY 10019
Closed Sundays, public holidays.
Wheelchair accessible entry.
July 19, 2005
'Innovative is best'
Supporting the motto of 'Fresh is the test. Innovative is best,' the California Gift Show aims at quenching consumer desire for new and creative products.
With products ranging from jewelry and artwork to lighting and furniture, attendees can explore and purchase creations from H. Studio and test Stereoluz's touch-activated lighted tables. Showcasing 1,900 exhibitors and 31,000 retailers inside the L.A. Convention Center from July 22 - July 25, the eclectic and independent mood of this show is definitely capable of sparking your creative side.
For more information visit www.californiagiftshow.com
Paul Klee Art & Math Movement
The new $86 million Paul Klee Center in Bern, Switzerland that opened in July will be admired for Renzo Piano's skill in allowing the landscape and surroundings to dictate the form of the building. In the land of the Alps, it was fitting that this new cultural center, designed as an homage to Klee, would be rolling bands of stainless and glass, whose roofs taper into hilly grasses.
And experts will note that the work of poet and artist Klee was centered on capturing the beauty of being -- how a butterfly unfolds, how a bud opens. In his lectures and his diaries, Klee was concerned not with just form and design, but with ways to study and to interact with nature. To a teacher of young art students he offered this advice: "When they are ready to move on to higher things, guide your pupils towards nature--into nature." The glass promenades that connect the spheres will encourage many a nature walk -- regardless of weather.
The poetry, the water colors, the expressionism aside, this Swiss son (with German nationality due to finicky patrilineal laws), who was a student of music and nature, was also enraptured with movement. In his diaries he wrote of the spiral, "It is the direction that decides whether we are being released from the center in a movement that is ever freer or whether we are becoming more and more attached to a center that will ultimately destroy us: the question means nothing less than life and death."
So perhaps it is most fitting that this arts learning center,
inspire a love for music, poetry, painting and nature, and which rests yards from where Klee finally rests, is also a mathematical marvel. One could imagine Klee who loved the meandering line to appreciate the symmetry and creativity of the parabolic curve -- which is really the art of drawing curves -- from lines! "Three different parabolic curves, each unique in height and length (for the three hills) and two different curves for each valley, are situated so that there are no kinks in the connection points between the curves," explained Volker Schmid, Phd. and project manager for Arup, the firm who handled all the structural engineering and design.
Ironically, or not so, sounds of music, nature and even Klee's inner voice seem to resonate and amplify through these parabolic chambers.
July 15, 2005
Fusion of Light & Art
Looking to add ambience, drama and soft lighting to a room? Look no further than Fusion Studios and the artful designs of mixed media artist Richard Altman. Blending contemporary art with functionality, Fusion creates masterpieces in the form of floor lamps, sculptures, wall art and suspended lighting -- creating at once an illuminating focal point.
By integrating glass into contemporary spaces, Fusion's work creates unique and inspired spaces without having to sacrifice for the sake of function.
Pictured at right: Grace