Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Building

Talk about using a narrative material.....via cribcandy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Building Rocco

Its just funny to spend a week reading about Rocco revival in America and its technological importance in furniture design. Its the style that demanded paper maiche fruit and bent veneer rosewood chair backs. And here in the 21th century we struggle with the same formal language. This is Jasper Van Grootel's Voltarie chair made from a product called "soft skin" that is water resistant....think wet suit for a chair? And Jaime Hayon's "showtime" series of plastic furniture.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things we built.

My friend Kornell Bouman just e-mailed me that the new splash page from Cherner Chair Company is sporting a Coggan+ Crawford project. The space looks great!

an end to stuff....

As I have been blissfully reading away about 19th century design, the 21st century design world is really struggling. The New York Times reported yesterday that Domino, Oprah Home and Country Living have all folded. From my point of view as a design professor its great - I found students far too dependent of the media for visual inspiration. From a practitioners point of view- the pressure is off and that monthly phone call from a client telling me she had seen something great Domino and wanted to change the project will end. There was creativity in the styling and some democratic ideas about consuming..."anything was okay-just compose it nicely" But it is another sign that we will really have to rethink the world of design and its purpose.

Building Calm

After studying the home of Fredric Church I got thinking about artist's houses. In my musings about them, I realized that there is always an attempt to redefine working while bringing up a family. Church reworked the parlors to more casual spaces and Donald Judd reworked his buildings to accommodate working, his family and viewing his art.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Building the inbetween.....

While getting a lecture together on Neo-Classicism in Britain and the Southern US. I got to indulge in the work of Sir John Soane. Probably Britain's greatest architect. And the reason I fell in love with architecture. His house is an essay in the eccentric and compulsive. From his vast collection of Greek and Roman artifacts to his lovingly preserved grave of Fanny the family dog (evidently Mrs. Sloane did not fair so well). The use of "in between spaces" for light shafts and vestibules proves this is still the best townhouse Reno around.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Building Ghosts

This an image from Rodney, Mississippi population 0. This poetic ghost town has three churches that are still standing and hoping for repair. This exotic Baptist church, a Gothic Revival Catholic church and a Federal Presbyterian church. What went on here, so interesting. Made even more interesting by the fact that Haller Nutt the man behind Natchez Moorish Plantation Longwood. This is a mystery I would love to solve

Building families

The class is moving on from the splendors of Victorianism- but not before I got to talk about the beautiful building Olana in Upstate New York. The Hudson River valley painter Fredric Church collaborated with architect Calvert Vaux to realize this Persian fantasy. Initiated in 1860 and completed in 1891 the building is a history of the changing family of the 19th century. Where there should be a grand hall is a cosy central family parlor, where there should be a sitting room for tea is Church's epic studio. Church designed all the interior decor and all the furnishings are collected from the families trip to Asia.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Furniture myths

I came upon the work of artist Courtney Smith in New York this Christmas at the Museum of Art and Design. She had one of those-"ah man I wish I had thought of that" pieces. This vanity that has been taken apart and put back together again with piano hinges. All of these pieces are very clever commentaries on the DIY movement or is it just me?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Furniture Stories 2

I first came upon the work of Leon Marcotte in a small shop in Brooklyn, Erie Basin. the proprietor Russell Whitmore showed me a beautiful love seat that was attributed to Marcotte. Marcotte illustrates the Second Empire style that was the rage in the mid 19 th century. Marcotte seemed to wear several hats of master upholster, decorator and craftsman. He was able to facilitate the very chic French style for wealthy New Yorkers in the 1870's.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Furniture Stories

Studying the Renaissance Revival means I can indulge in more research about my obsession the 19th century Newark, NJ cabinetmaker, John Jellif. Information on him is limited but I am fascinated by the use of the image of the famous opera singer Jenni Lind whose face he carved into his more important pieces. I would love to know the story of why she ended up the muse for this man.

The Color of Hope

The color of Ms. Obama's dress will forever be in my mind when I think of this happy day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sleeping Space

A lot going on around here and I could not seem to settle down to reflect...oh well it happens. Our dear friend Serban Ionescu a extremely talented designer in Brooklyn sent the link to his Flickr page. Hidden deep inside is this image of a sleeping space he made for his apartment. Really great.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Building stories

I am having a lot of fun preparing for my 19th century history lectures. I am slightly familiar with the stylistic turns that occurred over the century but love finding out-more, more about the characters involved. One such gentleman is the premier 19th architect Alexander Jackson Davis. He designed some very important buildings in New York-notably the Custom House at the end of Wall Street. He was known for his design of the epic Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York and the beloved Litchfield Villa in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Building Clarity 2

My buddy Costas at Yatzer spotted this work of Kamen Tung. He is a Eindhovan graduate( I know-I am now a Eindhovan stalker...) But boy do I love this "form follows function" stuff. More clarity, more this political work?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Building Clarity

This next series that I will post must be a reaction to prepping for lectures on Victoriana.... This was spotted on beloved Bloesem (complete with a refreshed site!) This the work of Alex Hellum a British furniture designer that just work in a delightfully optimistic way-with an agenda of clarity...pretty good.

Room Making

I am using this image to finish a lecture on the Industrial Revolution in History class tomorrow. It is the Moorish Smoking Room from John Rockefeller's 54th Street mansion. For the lectures purposes it illustrates the seriousness of the Victorian interior. But it seems that this room, a room that I loved to visit at the Museum of the City of New York is now happily at the Brooklyn Museum. It will join other parts of the house there and tell a full story of New York in the Gilded Age.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Building ideas 3

Another "designer instigated" project is the collaboration of Daniella Stallinger and Mark Naden (also designer of the Bean and Pouf chair mentioned last fall)-Room Studio. The idea was that a well designed full service photo studio would augment the work of Daniella photography work and Mark's design studio TODA. The result is a great space with a battery of artful props for professional use. In other words Mark and Daniella's skill sets are put to perfect use. They are also two of the most gracious people I know.....ah I miss dinner with you guys...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Building ideas 2

The best example of designers taking the reins of public projects is the brilliant New York City firm Avroko. On their web site the category "self-propelled" shows the work that they generate by themselves. The first successful project is the restaurant Public and is being followed by many more. A new "must see" for design junkies in NYC

Friday, January 9, 2009

Building ideas

I have been fishing around for examples of designers and architects becoming their own client. Its a very frequent condition with architect's own homes but the control does not happen so much in the public realm. This is possibly an example. Isle Crawford conceptualized, branded and designed (along with a team of architects) the re-working of the The Olde Bell Inn. From some press it seems that Ms. Crawford might be an owner.... But the clear direction of the project from food to interiors is better for her strong hand. Now that's what I am talking about.....Marvel at her web site, projects, books published, big ideas...this is definitely worth some hero worship.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Stair Space

While we are talking about business as public space let's just get a word in about a favorite project of mine; Rem Koolhas' Soho Prada store. Its old news now but it still is a masterful use of space and completely courageous considering the project was done at the height of the "I want" years in New York. He literally dumped at least 800 square feet by putting giant stairs down to the basement level. But the stairs are a great homage to NYC's most public stair cases and make the space a real experience every visit not just a place to throw down some cash.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Public Spaces

This week I will be thinking about something that I read on the Kiosk web site. Kiosk is the much blogged about store in lower Manhattan that I did not get to visit (closed for the week of Xmas) BUT they had this really intriguing comment that "small businesses are a public space". Certainly at LBC we feel that. One shop I would love to go to and I think would fill this bill is the Paris shop of Martin Margiela, for a few years I have seen images of ganged up sofas in linen and this morphing of mannequins.... I would love to just go and see the ideas and not consume.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


We cleaned the apartment up at LBC today to prepare for a tenant. I thought I would share some images. Its a nice feeling to complete a project.

Chair Shapes

I am doing research on upholstery pieces for my next project and I looked on 1st Dibs in the New Orleans section. Since houses are smaller down there most pieces are French in origin and a smaller scale. Not much to say other than I like them all together.....

Favorite Building 3

Madeline and I spent a lot of time in The Whitney Museum of American Art last week. We saw the Calder show (but was more impressed with Calder Jewelry show at the Met). After the visit we had lunch with a bunch of architects and we all agreed that the Whitney staircase is a great NYC public place. The detail on the handrail is beautiful, inlaid brass in Teak...and the space where the bench is just enough room for a lunch break in the light-well. The Entrance "rocks' as they say, we loved walking into this little animal and crossing over the "art moat". Re-visit this gem when you are there.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Building for real

This is a chair designed by the architecture firm SANAA-the collaboration of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. They are the designers for the New Museum in New York and its wonderful mute facade...I picked up their book about their houses and its a great old fashioned architecture book, wonderfully drawn projects, thoughtful floor plans and interior pictures of inhabitant's real stuff, not their photograph-able stuff....I would say this work is gloriously uncool.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chairs are everywhere....

Yesterday we all went out to Noxabee refuge and took a long walk along one of the trails. A very different vibe from walking down Broadway two days prior.. We found this tree stump chair. It was a good way to start the new year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Building revolution....

As I was wrapping up the aeries on fabric architecture, my friend Erin Wilson e-mailed to remind me of the work of Do Ho Suh-the Korean artist who first got noticed with the "Perfect House" project that was made from organza.... He continues to wow us with his ethereal spaces.