Thursday, October 30, 2008

Building a Body of Work in a Dark Time.

Life seems to be settling down to the end of the term and a regular rhythm with the cafe and other work. But my mind is working over time as to how to proceed as a designer in a weak economy. I look at the press and there is some acknowledgment-but not much. Maybe it is literally in the HANDS of the designers, maybe it is this DIY movement and real innovation will happen because of lack of funds-I know its lovely to be a marxist in Mississippi... But this project I found on my new blog buddy Costas Voyatzis' site talks about designers pushing an idea, a t-shirt that comes from a scan of your body and then is lazer cut into a pattern..This is some high tech DIY but I like it! The project is by Mashallah design and Linda Kostowski. Costas site is very cool check it out

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bear market chic.....

We are about to discuss upholstered pieces in the Furniture design class and my lazy scan of Cribcandy bought me to this piece. Made by Icelandic designer Sarah Engelke (yea, more Icelandic design!) This is a re-upholstered chair with pictures of its "inners" as the fabric. Pretty great. Now you know I can not help but think that the vibe of the piece is well-"bear market chic" right? Iceland is having a tougher time than the States. So interesting to me.

Building real buildings.....

This is a rendering of a Coggan + Crawford project that is going up in Brooklyn. It is aligned with the Little Building Cafe in that our client-Andrew Giancola is very commited to a minimal footprint building. This building will have a solar array and some very rigorous sustainable finishes. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Color of Space-Blue

In my research on rooms of one color I came about The Blue Room at the White house. The advent of the room is interesting George Washington re-worked the room with a bow front in order to make an elliptical shape room for receptions referred to as levees. The guest would circle around the president in a receiving line and therefore no one was pushed to a corner and all the guest were equal distance from the president-a most democratic shape. The blue color is a tradition and probably comes out of the simple fact that in a large home its easy to distinguish places by their colors, hence blue rooms and yellow parlors. I posted the blue room through the administrations because its an amazing walk through interior design history.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Building the Brand

Little Building Cafe got a very nice shout out from WCBI TV out of Columbus Ms. Correspondent Paulo Salazar really "got it". Its Ted and my first video foray so be kind.......

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Favorite Building 4

I have not gotten to this building but I hope to soon. The studio and home of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. I was reminded of it practical yet romantic premise when I watched the Julie Taymor Frida film. Designed by Mexico City Modernist architect Juan O'Gorman; a house for two artists, separate buildings for separate work and then a bridge of love.......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Smart Peoples Chairs...

The scan of the design blogs this week affirms my theory that we are readying ourselves for the recession visually. remodelista is showing kitchens from all salvaged materials and designsponge is getting more and more DIY everyday. Now this work is real revolution-found via cribcandy-its a make your own child's chair, with all the instructions. The author is Swiss designer, Nicola Enrico Stabubi and he really tells it like it is, "Mass culture is run by superficiality and ecological absurdity"..... I really appreciate this approach because rather than just whine that furniture design is a consumptive act this guy is solving a problem. He not only designed the stool he has a "downloadable" site that gives you step by step instructions; . So get your Martha on and change the world.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nice Peoples Chairs

This is the "chair" work of Icelandic artist Frida Gylfadottir. I love her direct yet non-ironic approach to the problem of the chair-almost giving another job...because it got bored of being a chair. I included her chairs in a shop because I love how they activate the space. Frida and I have been corresponding about the use of the word "upcycle" verses "recycle". Deeming upcycle fancier than recycle. See more chairs and work at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making Space

This has been kind of a crazy week with the cafe open, keeping students on track and Caleb traveling...I guess I forget that we have a "ground up" construction project in Brooklyn finishing the steel frame. This is the work of Ernesto Neto, a very well know Brazilian artist who is really making space or more importantly soft architecture. Very beautiful work and peaceful, I need that now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wall Furniture

I read this weekend that a huge Calder show went up at the Whitney this past week in New York. Mr Calder has a special place in this family's heart from the many children's books about him for kids and visiting the circus at the Whitney with Madeline as must during her years as a New York Kid. These "constellations" have always fascinated me-part mobile part spider web....what are they for what do they mean???? New York sounds like a hard place right now, I would recommend a visit. In the mean time- and

Building Fun 2

This is an image from the New York Times. Starkville made the big time with an article this morning about Rosanne Cash!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Building ........

Little Building Cafe is finally open. In reality it took under a year from getting the building to opening the doors but in a small town, people have been ready for it for awhile. Sorry about slacking on the building updates but I am not self-reflective and construction is a tough subject to stay happy about.... Next week I will start a Little Building blog that will give a daily update of what Ted is cooking and what we are getting from farmers. I will also talk about books we are reading on sustainability and food, the Local Food movement as well as pay homage to some culinary heroes......Stay tuned.

Building Form

During the Sunday morning ritual of reading the New York Times, but on line-in order to save on paper recycling... I found a really brilliant artist in the T magazine section. Not Vital is a Swiss conceptual artist who adheres to strict minimalism and says quite aptly, "A Home is almost like a sculpture you go inside" That is a phrase to clean your house to.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Way Better Waterfall

Now that the economy is in the dumper, we should feel lucky that we got to see the New York Waterfalls this summer but I kept feeling dissatisfied with the whole experience...maybe you noticed. I was doing my lazy browsing on design boom and what did I find-the project I was looking for-a huge waterfall that embraces the site. Ah thank you Seoul Design Olympiad 2008. You satisfied my imagination.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This is a little homage to great interior design. When I was little I liked nothing better than staying at Hotel/Motel on the way to Savannah for summer family vacation. Today here in Starkville, they are dedicating the room where Johnny Cash stayed, Room 22 at the University Hotel on Highway 82, prior to getting arrested for picking flowers. I am so sorry I missed it. Well, lots of music tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Building light.......

This is not a great image but I wanted to share a cool resource. Lighting can be a very expensive part of any project and I recently came across ReadyMade Magazine Project section. The two lighting projects on the web are actually very sharp and this one which is out of the most recent issue is amazing. Coat Hanger chic! Check is out for some very useful DYI projects.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Color of Space 2

No conversation about the power of color in interior design goes without mentioning Diana Vreeland's Red Garden Room. Her hope for this space was that "I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell."
And in researching this room I found out that Dorothy Parker also had a room in her apartment that was nine different shades of red.... I got to find a picture of that room.......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Building Longevity

I think I am seeing a trend, blogs like designboom and cribcandy are showing more like 40% eye candy for the " I wants" and 60% projects, objects and design work that comes from an "Economy of Means" mentality. This image is a giant curtain made every kind of plastic bottle put up in the bays of the Seoul Korea Olympic stadium. It was fabricated for the Designboom Mart. Very cool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Building Fun

This is a big weekend here in Starkville. The Pardon Johnny Cash Festival. Evidently, early in Mr. Cash's career he got caught picking flowers illegally in the Starkville city limits and spent the night in jail here. It would have been long forgotten had he not mentioned it in a song...... So here in Northern Mississippi we like to celebrate well- getting out of jail successfully- so we have a music festival! This year Rosanne Cash is playing right at the top of my street! I am really fired up. For events calender see

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Tomorrow I set the program for the next three weeks for the furniture class. The task is an Armoire-a piece of furniture that has many definitions. This piece by Takeshi Miyakawa in Brooklyn is entitled affordable housing...only someone who lived in NYC might recognize that the form of this cabinet is the same as the housing projects along the river.....Form and narrative,form and narrative.

Other peoples innovation

In my attempts to survey "down turn style" I came across the work on Max Lamb another young British designer. Reading his bio, he is interested in exploring local industries capabilities and the their relationship to high tech industries. Interesting stuff comes out-granite quarried benches and this folded metal chair made like an origami project. See his work at

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Complete Vision

Zoe Murphy's work has all the virtuous hallmarks of sustainable design, re-use and re-purpose, learning to love what you have, and all part of a handmade world BUT she has a distinctive sensibility. Based in Margate U.K. her look seems to come from happy days by the sea and the variants in nature. Look for more work by her at

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Building a Library

Ah,back from a big tour of NYC with students which included St. Patrick's on Sunday morning, a tour through the new renovation at the Plaza (the best) and lots of walking the city. I, of course indulged in my great love of design books an the bookstores in NYC. I got the House of Concepts at the Cooper-Hewitt Bookstore and the long awaited Marie Antionette book and the new Christian Liagre book at Potterton Books in the D&D Building-a real jewel...check out their new web site

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Market Crash Chic???

Hey wait a minute, these recent images from Bloesem, remodelista and The New York Times style section are maybe disturbing? Sleeping on cardboard,old letters on walls and are we readying ourselves visually? Very interesting.

Wall Stories

I do read design blogs. And they do help when working with clients. They do amuse me sometimes. This second image is from remodelista
and talks about the newpapers as wallpaper, sort of "Market Crash Chic" But this next image is one of my favorite places in the world, William Faulkner's study and the outline of a novel paper that papers the wall. That is using architecture in a poetic way.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Building /New Ideas

One new building that I will get to see in New York is the new Museum of Art and Design by Brad Cloepfill. The show that seems interesting is Second Lives. I seems like its furniture made from materials that have had another life. This idea may sound familiar to my students. This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture by Droog design. It will be nice to visit it.