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July 13, 2005

Freedom Tower Fiasco

It's been a week since the latest iteration of Manhattan's Freedom Tower was introduced, and reaction has ranged from rabid to polite acquiescing. Politicos like New York's Governor Pataki are saying they are thrilled, 3000 families are still distressed, while readers in the blogosphere are furious that perhaps the most important piece of architecture this millenium has been hijacked by the establishment.

Without doubt the design bar has been set perhaps as high as the magnificent towers once stood: the new building(s) must immortalize yet inspire, be somber yet exhiliarating, sacred yet open for business, inviting yet impenetrable -- while filling an aching void in the New York skyline and in hearts that lost loved ones. The further challenge is that we aren't over our love affair with the twin towers, and virtually anything in comparison -- well, gets compared ... and quite unfavorably.

According to Slate the new sketch is an improvement over the former two, while on the Archinect blog there is much handwringing and denunciation over David Childs' renderings. What are you thoughts? Is SOM the right group to rise to such a task? how do you reconcile public safety concerns (ala the 20-story high, explosive resistent cement base) with anything resembling aesthetics? have the politicians stifled the creative in their zeal to curry favor with victim's groups and public safety concerns, or are the iterations just part of the creative process?

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Category: ARCHITECTURE, NEWS & EVENTS | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Gather 'round the fire

Eva_solo_grill_1Modern folks no longer have to sacrifice their patios and backyards to the massively macho grilling machines. The small, sleek and versatile Stainless Steel BBQ from Eva Solo is 19.3" diameter and 27" high.

With accessories including a dome, tailored fabric lid and legs to convert the lid into a useful serving table, the round hot-bed easily converts into a fire pit for late night activities and smores.

When Larry Keeley, IDSA President, called the outdoor creation "simple, elegant, and gracious,' he couldn't have been more right - Solo will be bestowed with the Gold Industrial Design Excellence Award for the Barrel Grill in August.

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Serpentine Gallery Pavillion in London

Every year, for the past six years, 10design583
a unique and thought provoking new piece of architecture has been commissioned to stand alongside the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens in London. This year the pavillion was done by Portuguese architects Alvaro Sizra, winner of the 1992 Pritzker Prize, and Eduardo Souto de Moura, creator of Braga, Portugual's stadium carved out of a granite hillside.

From Pilar Viladas's July 10th New York Times Article, Park Place:

The Serpentine Gallery, according to its director, Julia Peyton-Jones, has only one requirement of its pavilion designers: ''Please be ambitious.'' As in past years, the pavilion is being used as a cafe and as a place for lectures and events before being sold and dismantled.

Unlike its predecessors (overtly Modernist designs by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Toyo Ito and Oscar Niemeyer), this year's pavilion looks both familiar and strange, a traditional garden pergola transformed by computer technology. Its curving, irregular wooden grid encloses a vaulted interior that measures about 4,000 square feet and is 18 feet tall at its highest point. Translucent polycarbonate panels protect the interior from sun and rain.

Siza compared the pavilion to an animal stalking the gallery: ''Tense with the desire to approach, but nevertheless restrained. . . . But will it eat the building one day?'' Plans to do pretty much that were the basis of last year's yet-to-be-realized pavilion, by the Dutch firm MVRDV, which would have enveloped the gallery in a small green mountain. So far, cost and technological issues have kept that scheme on the drawing board. But there's always next year.

Category: ARCHITECTURE | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Modular Home Giveaway from FLOR

You could win a Flatpack Modular Flatpak2
House Kit from FLOR, makers of modular rugs, and Deck House Architects, creators of the Flatpack. It's a housing system based on prefabricated components. Flatpak houses ship in flat panels and are bolted together on site, similar to FLOR’s doorstep delivery and peel–and–stick installation.

FLOR will give away the approximately 600 square foot studio house in August to one lucky pre–fab fanatic. Use it as a studio home, pool house, workshop, an impressive backyard playhouse...the options are extensive. The Flatpak house consists of multiple woods, concrete formulas, Kitchen Aid™ “Architect series” appliances, glass and bamboo.

Find out more at FLOR.

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July 12, 2005

Nature is Good Design

The Institute for Advanced Aacomp_home Architecture of Catalonia is sponsoring the first annual Advanced Architecture Contest under the following theory: We believe that housing - where human inhabitation takes place - should take its cues from the trees: it should be tied harmoniously to the surrounding environment, taking only the indispensable resources (energy, water, etc.) and generating recyclable waste that follows natural cycles.

It's a good theory and one that should be on the minds of not only architects, but us regular folk, who may find ourselves searching for new ways to live within the bounds of nature, sure, but also within the realm of good taste and high design.

For more information on the contest and where to follow up on all the great ideas that are sure to come from it, go to

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Bosch Cooktop

At KBIS in Las Vegas, Bosch, Pglboschthe home appliance company known especially for its award winning line of dishwashers, introduced a new cooktop, the PGL to its range of gas and electric countertop models.

The PGL features five burners with a center wok element large enough to accommodate a 14” skillet. The generous size allows for maximized pan spacing and increased cooking flexibility. The stove comes in at a powerful 15,500 BTU output, which, says Bosch, puts the PGL ahead of competitors in its category for price. The controls are simple and stay cool during cooking. A dual-flame power burner provides excellent heat distribution for even cooking results and safety features, like the thermocouple flame safety system, provide peace of mind. The thermocouple is a feature that automatically shuts off gas flow should the flame blow out, even in the event of a power failure, and it's a feature exclusive to the PGL.

In a sleek, modern-looking stainless steel, the 36” PGL will be available beginning in July/August 2005.

Category: MODERN KITCHEN | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Would anyone care for a drink?

Clodagh_color_1 A while back Pure Contemporary asked if brown was on its way out? At a panel discussion for the Color Association of the United States (CAUS), an organization that has forecasted color trends for interiors and environments for more than 85 years, designer Clodagh predicted a very spirited array for 2007 - 2008.

Bringing with her seven illustrated boards, Clodagh drew inspiration from food, drink, art, film and travel. Among her picks - Pinot Noir for its warm wine, red and magenta tones, and Mint from Mojitos and Mint Juleps. Expect to see splashes of vibrant oranges and reds - Clodagh's Sienna board was up for discussion amongst the panel.

Pictured: Clodagh's Water board.

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July 11, 2005

Hats Off to Kohler

Kohler's Purist Hatbox Toilet Kohler
has caused more excitement in the design world than any toilet ever should, but I have to admit, it’s pretty amazing. With this design Kohler has effectively changed the rules for toilet design, no small task for something so common and generally standardized. For starters, toilets no longer need a high back holding the tank. The Purist Hatbox is tankless. It doesn’t have exposed, grime attracting hinges or a visible flush handle either. In fact, as the name suggests, it looks more like a big porcelain hatbox than it does a toilet.

For Kohler, the design is a win, it just earned the company the prestigious Gold Industrial Design Award, to be conferred in August. It’s not that uncommon for designers in an avant-garde tradition to rethink something as mundane as toilets by trying to break all the rules. But Kohler broke the rules in a way that was striking by being totally different without making people think, "But do I want that in my house?" Sometimes great design is a simple change. Sometimes it's making a splash. This is both.

Category: BATH & SPA | Permalink | Add Your Comment (1) | TrackBack

Anima Causa & Design From the Heart

Sarit Attias and Amit Axelrod Feel
call their design firm Anima Causa, meaning From the Heart. It's a great name for the Isreali company that takes design well into the realm of feelings. One of their most popular designs, a mushy blanket of attached squishy balls, even takes the name Feel. Feel can be twisted, turned and set up in almost any way and can be seen across the globe from Issey Miyake's Haat and Aoyama shops in Tokyo to the museum of art in Los Angeles County. More info at

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July 09, 2005

Design of the Future

What will they think of next? The Sci-Fi Channel and GrafScifit, the award winning architectural firm based in LA with offices in Berlin and Beijing, will display its booth of the future at the Comic-Con International 2005. The 19-foot high, 30 x 60 portable booth is equipped with spaces for meeting, lounging and viewing.

Designed to illustrate the future of architecture and examine the "what ifs," the structure was created to support the culture of imagination.

Within the Fiberglas and steel odyssey lie individual offices, built in seating and video and audio projection systems. Perhaps the most impressive is the innovated "intelligent" lighting systems -- allowing the building to change its signage and imagery both inside and outside. Allowing images to be projected onto downward-facing surfaces keeps this Jetson-style masterpiece in constant animation.

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