Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Other peoples furniture...so cool

Zooming through the Blog Roll before I get Mad to bed I came upon this designers work; Ditte Hammerstrom. I found it on Emma's blog quiet randomly. This "loungescape" is wonderful-all new but it makes so much sense. Oh to be Danish........and clever.

Building Beauty

In anticipation of our trip to New York next week here is a list of things I will go visit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. John Singer Sargent' Madame X, Degas' Fourteen Year Old Dancer, Marie Antoinette's Mechanical Desk, and the Sagredo bedroom.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sneak Peak- Little Building Cafe

We are so close; in fact hope to open on Saturday! Here are the amazing tables that we designed and made for Lubna Chowdhary's tiles. All the quadrants are parts of the map of Starkville, Mississippi! So great. It's all coming together!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Other Peoples chairs-Mario Stadelmann

On the weekend I let myself scan the Designboom and cribcandy web sites. They are the ultimate "I want" web site but sometimes a good idea is found. These "paperchair" by swiss designer Mario Stadelmann. They were exhibited at the London Tent at the London Design Festival. They are made from cast recycled paper, like cast papier mache. Such pretty colors!

Favorite Building 3

We are gearing up for a student trip to NYC and I am deciding what small favorites I can get into their very board agenda. When I taught at Parsons I would always walk down to the Seaport and walk through The Seamen's Institute. Designed by James Stewart Polshek in the eighties, the chapel space is one of my favorite rooms. I always think of the space as all Prussian Blue but in reality the color is used sparingly. The chapel chairs are classic Alvar Aalto, the most comfortable straight back chairs in the world and the quality of light contributes to a very calming place in the city.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hand Making Space

I am writing an abstract on the presence of the "hand" in the interior design and how it is being translated into the D.I.Y culture that interior design students follow. The point of history that I am examining is the Bloomsbury group, Charleston and the Omega Workshop. This is a image of an exhibition of the Omega Workshop work and the living room of Charleston in England. I am essentially making the case that Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell of the Bloomsbury group were the first D.I.Y.er's and that this current movement is illustrating that the handmade should in more evidence in the interior design profession.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Color of Space 1

Another goal for weekly posts is to share some thinking that I have been doing for years about color. At Parsons I taught a class called the Color of Space which discussed the critical thinking behind the choice of color though out history. Each week I hope to bring forth a space that illustrates the concept that the color was a primary consideration to the architecture not an afterthought. The first example is George Washington's house Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is one of the most important historical color analysis in the country. The stories of Mr Washington's involvement are fascinating. The during first renovation to the house Washington requested the very current Prussian Blue. It was very fashionable but very few people could handle it with expertise and Washington was forever disappointed with the streaky, modeled results in his small dining room. Years later, during the next renovation he choose the verdigris green. He was obviously looking for a similar result as the Prussian Blue and look to the color green to "calm the eye". Its fascinating that almost all of the house has color themes of the verdigris green and Mr. Washington worked so hard to perfect it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Building Community

I am going to start to do one "why we live in a small town" post per week. It probably will not be for the obvious reasons.....So with this great picture of a Starkville Main Street storefront taken by Caleb Crawford(friend of mine) -I will tell you today's reason. Yesterday I got pulled over by one of Starkville's finest...I had no idea why but I had an expired license tag. When he realized I truly had not had a car for 12years and was not in the groove of constant car rigor, he sweetly told me how to get a new sticker. Well at 3:00 this afternoon I went to get the new sticker had no wait, had a charming and helpful license tag lady to help me-step one accomplished. Then I went to visit Officer Coleman to show him that I had gone and gotten my sticker. City hall is a block away. Officer Coleman "took care" of my ticket and I am back at the house by 3:45! That's why I love small towns the "knats " of life-traffic tickets,banking,etc. are really knats not all consuming....

The Secret Life of Furniture

Finding myself on the site cribcandy was surprising but these pieces certainly fit the theme of the furniture design work we are doing in the furniture design studio. The task is to make a Jewelry box that is made from material that has had another life. This work by Israeli designer Naty Moskovich is wonderful in all its awkwardness. My only thought is that Israeli milk cartons are way better than here in the states....lessons learned.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Soft Architecture...

Elodie Blanchard sent more images of a project I was particularly taken with. The exhibition Almost Something. The exhibition pieces now reminds me of Morandi objects and I want to hang out in a soft architecture space with my kid! See www.elasticco.com

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I have always loved Giorgio Morandi's work. The serial quality and work ethic appeal to me. As well as the feeling that he was totally comfortable doing his thing for years and years. Imagine my delight when I realized my next trip to New York will dovetail with the "sounds like' a very large show of Morandi's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the New Yorker this week is an excellent review of the show by Peter Schjeldahl. Wonderful writing on Schjeldahl's part. I'm excited to see it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heirlooms-Bloomsbury style

I am gearing up to work on more embroidery for decorative objects and I have been thinking about furniture and heirlooms. I have a goal that all the furniture that I leave behind for Madeline has been worked and re-thought by me. Here are images from Vanessa Bell and Clive Bells house Charleston in England. The Sofa was upholstered in contrasting fabrics by Vanessa Bell and the needlepoint seat on the ottoman was designed in a perfect pre-cubist fashion by Clive Bell. The Charleston trust web site is www.charleston.org.uk

Building Order-Rick Owens

The hipster fashion guru would die if he knew a matronly blogger from Mississippi was writing about him-but I find him interesting. I searched the web for images of his townhouse in Paris but the only place to view it is a issue of Pin-up magazine from 2006 and the Tashen New Paris Interiors book. Here are images of some of his furniture pieces. He has a full range to outfit his shops and apartment. All are disarming and naive but at least he is control his world... I like that fact that he is not consuming but making things from his imagination in order to set his fashion work in play.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Soft Architecture 2

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Elodie Blanchard in Brooklyn asking if my projects ever required wildly inventive drapery work. I e-mailed back no but may I spread the word about her work? Just from her web site you can tell she is part of the "soft architecture" revolution. Look at her web site www.elasticco.com. It looks like she has the prowess of Petra Blaisse yet that Brooklyn warmth that a lot of my work needs. Can not wait to figure out a project with her!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Building Virtue 2

This is very beautiful piece by a young artist designer Olivia Lee. I saw it on emmas blogg this weekend and was taken with the point of view as well as the poetic title Stream of Light. The piece seemed to be part of my thinking about the newest round of hurricanes and what is going to happen to the community of Galveston. I sent some money on Sunday to Architecture for Humanity, an amazing agency that will be first to access the housing needs of the city. But what if housing is not the answer to a community that has to pack up routinely for a two month period every year? This image seems to suggest a nomadic approach to furniture. So it occurred to me- is housing the answer to housing or is furniture?????

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Building Virtue

Teaching is interesting when it surprises you. I designed the new furniture assignment to appeal to my "all girl band + art boy" class demographic while assigning a jewelry box..... When I put together a slide show that discussed the use of re-used materials in architecture-well I had no idea there would be such a huge connection. I showed them the work of the Rural Studio and they were off finding a series of bulk materials that can be used for their work....I am excited about class tomorrow.

Building Ideas

Roy Mcmakin is a blog darling. I actually try NOT to look at him because our work is so similar. But sometimes he just hits it. This image is amazing, this really talks about rethinking the ordinary, how craft can drive an idea and it just plan gets your mind racing as what the rest of the place looks like. He is an artist first, designer second, ie making his own problems not solving other peoples.....Way to go.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Favorite Building 2

My all time favorite building is Le Corbusier's Unite Marseille. It's one of the buildings he got a bad rap for...But with this building, when you go inside you understand that Corb for all his faults was a very sensitive designer OR had enough sense to let his sensitive designers go for it. The interior apartments are double height units with wonderful details like giant teak doors that open out to the ocean, black board slate sliding partitions for the children's rooms and small hyper efficient kitchens plotted and planned by Corbs best designer Charlotte Perriand. The building itself houses a hotel, kindergarten and grocery store. This building was very well made and its owners and tenants love their homes, therefore it is very well maintained and has a ten year wait list. www.marseille-citeradieuse.org

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Growing furniture

A student had the beginnings of a project that reminded me of the work of Diego Giacometti the Italian Swiss designer and sculpture. He worked under the shadow of his more famous brother Alberto but has a solid body of work. I have been very attracted to the potential of brass furniture. One of my favorite memories of a trip to Paris long ago is seeing the Giacometti furniture posed in various resting places in the Picasso Museum.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

White Rooms

This Esther Stocker installation has got me thinking about all white rooms. I added a Louise Nevelson wall and this room from Douglas Copeland's Canada Project.

Building Imagination

One of the reasons we moved to a small town in Mississippi was because I felt our family needed some "imagination maintainence". I am happy to report that Madeline's reading continues at that 11 year old over- drive level...remember when you were in the the book almost? Ah reading.. her current jag is the Sisters Grimm, By Micheal Buckley. I of course have not read it, but from what I gather its about a regular family -mostly girl siblings-who live in a fairy tale and problems arise. One being that Puck from a Mid-Summers Night's Dream lives in their spare bedroom. www.sistersgrimm.com

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Favorite Building 1

I got my secret grocery store copy of Martha Stewart today and felt it was worth my while when there was a article about the Gropius House in Lincoln Mass. I love this building. Mostly because of the stories about the Gropius family living there and how it affected the architecture. The dining room was designed only to accommodate four people -after running the Bauhaus and Harvard School of Design-he had had enough of hosting parties for masses of architects. And notice the staircase on the outside of the master/library suite-one always needs a quick get away from great architecture.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Little Building Update

Many months of two days forward and two steps back but very soon Little Building Cafe will be a reality. I will update with photos through the weekend and maybe a glamour shot of the interior by the end of the week....Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Roomaking II

Tomorrow I am going to discuss with my design class "rule-making in room-making". I think of room as three layers, the architectural layer-walls ceiling, floors, openings. The furniture layer which is a built-in condition as well as a piece of furniture and than the object layer. I like to make rules with color. In this brownstone project that we did a number of years ago, we painted the interior of the library this very special calming blue-than used the blue as in the furniture layer of the next room and than the object layer were a series of grays and browns from the early american furniture to the Maine rock collection displayed on the cabinet. The base of the architectural layer in the main parlor was a color called mayonaisse.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

building furniture/furniture building

Some visual food for thought as the furniture class starts on cabinets and armoirs.....Respectively, A medieval chair, a Fornasetti secretary and a cupboard by Piet Hiek.