M-RAD: Fresh Hills

While I was attending Dalhousie, getting my masters in Architorture, I had a partner in crime with whom I had an spectacular amount of fun; Matthew Rosenberg, founder of the LA based design office M-RAD. Getting into all the kinds of trouble one really should, and some that one shouldn't, we supported each others Scotch habits, and helped each other make it through the late night x-acto blade and super glue marathons that are so prevalent in architecture school. Sadly, our time together was cut short (perhaps for the best), when he moved on to pursue his masters of architecture at SCI-Arc, whereas I stayed on at Dal. Needless to say, we've stayed in touch over the years, and recently I was happily impressed with an outstanding achievement of his, when he received second place in the Fresh Kills Land Art Generator Competition

His project Fresh Hills for Fresh Kills was not only conceptually strong, but a beautiful, poetic response to the site, and so I felt the need to share it with you.

Inventive: Thread Wrapped Furniture

I came across the video below earlier today. I have seen the furniture by Anton Alvarez, but I had not previously seen the process by which it is made. It is by far one of the most interesting process driven designs I've seen in a while. 

With thread and glue replacing standard joints and screws, the process by which the furniture is built is fascinating and uses a custom-made machine designed by Alvarez. Aside from the really cool inventiveness of the machine to wrap the string while adding glue, the aspect that appeals to me is that the process of making this furniture is itself a craft; the craft of thread wrapping, and it's a seemingly new craft at that. 
Check it out...

Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez from Dezeen on Vimeo.

More description and images can be found from Dezeen HERE.

Video: Gloam

I came across this beautifully created short animation, and fell in love with the spooky yet gentle woodland creature Gloam. I can't wait to show my boys tonight, we've got plans to design/build a pint-sized haunted house out of cardboard boxes in order to begin prepping for Halloween. This movie will provide a great ending to the night, we'll sit in our newly created haunted house eating cookies while listening to the fire crackle in the background. Sounds like a perfect October night to me, good thing everything always goes according to plan when little children are involved...

Hhmmm, Better keep my fingers crossed.

Gloam from We Are The Forest on Vimeo.

Follow the link here to see the 'behind the scenes' shot breakdown. I'm always fascinated by process, and it was really interesting to see.

Life Moves Fast...

What an amazing week we've had. It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes by with the day to day, but when you're more busy that usual it just flies. This past week was definitely no exception to the rule for us. The start of October is a busy time for us here; Keiran's birthday, Thanksgiving, and Grammy's birthday, throw into that mix a John Fogerty concert and a head shave fundraiser and its a whirlwind!

The night everything really ramped up I received a last minute phone call from Carl, Loreen's brother, inviting me to see John Fogerty as Carl's wife wouldn't be able to make it. SWEET! (Sorry Nicole) What an amazing show! We were witness to almost every major hit he ever had, and he's still got a voice of gold, with skills on the guitar that would give Jimi Hendrix shivers.

The very next day was Keiran's birthday party. Talk about an awesome affair, with 15 pint sized party troopers being granted superhero status after graduating from a rigorous training program. As usual, Keiran's mother went a little 'overboard' on the prep work (a standard carried by Cahoon Ladies I've been told), she made an amazing cake (with a little Photoshop help from me, and a rice paper and edible ink printer), a buffet of food fit for a small wedding, custom capes and masks for all the little hero's, and goody bags packed with an assortment of superhero fuels. Fun. Exhausting. Memories were made.

Birthday Morning

How Old!?

VIDEO: Ai Weiwei: NEVER SORRY [Trailer]

This will be an amazing film.

Ai Weiwei, hero to millions, is China's most famous artist/political activist/designer. In the film he gives the inside story to his work and life while striving to make a positive change through his art and social media in China. Though Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, held him in secret detention, beat him, and most recently destroyed his new studio, he will not stop battling to speak out against the ongoing problems in China. Journalist Alison Klayman directs the film and provides unique insight into contemporary China, and the country's most outspoken critic.

I am very much looking forward to seeing this film! Enjoy the trailer...

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry OFFICIAL TRAILER from Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry on Vimeo.

Architect: Bates Masi Architects

Today, I'm showing off the work of one of my favorite Architecture practices in the US. As with pretty well all of the architecture that I show on Design Dad, their work brings together an amazingly successful marriage of form and material. Bates Masi Architects is a small practice run out of Sag Harbour, NY. Each of their projects involves a uniquely targeted design approach to meet the clients needs/desires, including researching materials, craft, environment within an architectural scope. There are all kinds of subtle but highly innovative details they generate for each project. The firm approaches each project as an opportunity to enrich the lives of the client and all who interact with the architecture while enhancing the environment.

See for yourself why they rock.

Robbins Way
Amagansett, NY
Bates Masi Architects

Bates Masi Architects

Bates Masi Architects

Video: One-Point Perspective

I came across this awesome composition from Kogonada on Vimeo earlier. It's an incredible "flash-back" of some of the most important, and super cool, movies ever made. Entirely composed of Kubrick's original work, this piece offers an excellent argument for the power potential of a one-point perspective, while at the same time it fragments the scenes in such a way that multiplies the violent emotion and brings you quickly into that dreamlike world that exists only Kubrick's movies. Cool.


Wow, as parents well know, time speeds up faster than you ever thought possible once you have children. Of course that is aside from those moments where we expose the world to the full vocal capacity of our children during tantrums in the grocery store check-out, time has a happy way of slowing to a crawl for those special cases. I fully realized just how fast time is progressing today as we dropped off our little 4 year old (4.9 really) at his first day of Kindergarten. Wow. Sigh.

Boy Wonder

It all proceeded so fast! The walk to school was filled with smiles and laughter, both Keiran and Merrick were quite eager to get to school.  We were directed to the gymnasium where the teachers were introduced and Merrick was in AWE of the basketball nets. Following the quick introduction, childrens' names were called then ushered out to their prospective classrooms. When Keiran was called, he walked up and introduced himself to his teacher (he always has been the most gregarious of us all), who led us to his class where we said our sweet goodbyes, giving kissing hands to hold onto for later - he made sure we had some too. A few blocks away the tears fell  (poor Mama). With a happy-sad mix of emotions we realize that the Keiran is no longer fully in our hands. He is even now being molded by his peers and teachers. We can only hope that they understand how amazing he is, and how special he is to us. As Loreen pointed out, there is a great prayer that encapsulates our feelings. She wanted to print it out and pin it to his chest for his teachers to see.

Personally, I'm mostly just excited. School is exactly what Keiran needs. He is a social creature, and thrives when he's learning new things. The saddest thing to me is the fact that Merrick is loosing his day time play buddy, luckily it's just a few hours. I just can't wait to hear all about his first day of school tonight. I also wonder if Keiran's had his surprise treat yet, as we hid a tasty kissing hand (sugar cookie with a chocolate kiss) in his lunch to remind him we are thinking of him...

Kissing Hands

Architect: Lake Flato Architects

Lake Flato Architects is a great architecture firm located in San Antonio, Texas, where David Lake and Ted Flato lead a team of almost 50 people in a very diverse practice. The projects they take on range from gorgeous single family residences and ranches, to civic and cultural centers and state universities. While the project programs vary greatly, their designs are very consistent. The firm has developed a language that is easily identifiable across their projects; consistent use of natural and rustic materials, minimal and beautiful steel details, soaring roofs, and large open spatial volumes. I truly enjoy their work, and hope you do to.

Lake Austin House
Austin, TX
Lake Flato Architects

Lake Flato Architects

Lake Flato Architects

Lake Flato Architects

Lake Flato Architects


I came across this interesting video titled "Moments" by Everynone earlier today. I love the way it poetically discusses the idea by showing a collection of moments many people can swiftly related to. I felt it asked of me the question: "what is a moment?"

When asked to define a moment, I feel sensitive, almost nervous. It seems a private and personal thing.  Perhaps this is because, to me, a moment is an experience. It is something to be measured, not by a length of time, but by an emotion. To be described through ones eyes, lips, and gestures. Not words. In my life, not one has been duplicated, each is unique. The best ones are those that catch me off guard, they are the seeds of poetry. Seemingly infinite, I know they are not. They will run out. So I try to ensure that I feel all of my moments completely, good, bad, blissful, turbulent. I make a collection. Each moment, a feeling woven into the tapestry of my memories.

SO, what is a moment to you?

Architect: Fearon Hay Architects

Today I am bringing you to New Zealand, to see some of the work of Jeff Fearon and Tim Hay of Fearon Hay Architects, one of my favorite architectural practices. These guys are gifted when it come to appropriate use of materials and details, and are able to generate great impact through subtlety. Their practice was founded on delivering incredible private dwellings, but has begun to move to hospitality, interiors, and commercial projects. Their work speaks for itself, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Shark Alley House
Fearon Hay Architects

Fearon Hay Architects

Fearon Hay Architects

Fearon Hay Architects

Fearon Hay Architects

Fearon Hay Architects

Recap: Moss Street Paint-In

Wow, what a Day!

Keiran meeting a Wolf Fairy

The heat was turned on, not too high, but high enough to make people thirsty! Keiran sold out of all of his lemonade, twice! A big thanks to Tom for going out to pick up the second batch, cousin Tawn for getting us more glasses, and Nana for helping with the boys! Keiran made enough to pay off his big business loans and make a tidy profit. After deciding on a toy, he will even have a small amount to put into his RESP! (OK, not THAT much, but he is into the idea and that's what matters).  

Packed Street

The street was PACKED with art enthusiasts for most of the day, and the art was top notch. There we're 150 professional and emerging artists set up and showing their work on the street, some were even working on new pieces while passersby could watch. There was music, food, performance artists (Keiran met a Wolf Fairy - with a really great costume and airbrushed body painting!), and a few fun stations for the kids to make their own pieces as well - we have a new clay pot and wind chime courtesy of Keiran!

Musical Men
A few of my personal favorites at the show were Tylor McNeil, Birgit Piskor, Mitchell Villa, Tad Suzuki and Blyth, Sean and Shawn of the Wood Pile Collective. I know there were many more that should be on that list, but I was a little busy chasing Keiran and Merrick for most of the day. Art sales were happening though, someone even made me a cash offer on my painted Lemonade sign! I couldn't refuse, so the sale was made, contingent on waiting until Keiran finished selling the lemonade. They came back to have me sign it and took it away at the end of the day. What a way to finish!

Tad Suzuki

Tylor McNeil

Tylor McNeil

Tylor McNeil

Mitchell Villa

Wood Pile Collective

Wood Pile Collective

Wood Pile Collective

Brigit Piskor

Side Note: Moss Street Paint-In!

Well, today is the Moss Street Paint-In, and the boys are ready! Keiran is running a Lemonade and cupcake stand (such a budding entrepreneur), and we're taking advantage of the foot traffic as well by putting up a little garage sale. Things are already looking better than last year, anything will beat the torrential rain that almost washed us all away then! I have faith the sun will soon poke its nose out from behind the clouds, and give us a great day.

Should be a blast, I can't wait to see all the talent!


So, I've decided to make the move to DESIGNDAD.CA completely. Not really sure why I didn't do this earlier to be honest. I hope everything will be set up on the technical side to forward properly, but my apologies if things are not perfect. Everything should be transferred over within the next 24 hours. Please let me know if there are any 'hiccups', and don't forget to add our new location to your favorites!

The boys at our *country house (*wishful thinking)

Side Note: Within Two Worlds

I came across another beautiful video showing the wonder of the nature of our world and beyond, thought I must share. The video was shot in multiple locations; Tumalo Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Mount Shasta, Big Bend National Park, Mono Lake, Aurora Borealis over Crater Lake National Park, Texas, Painted Hills, the High Sierra, and the Aurora Borealis over Sparks Lake. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Video by Goldpaint Photography, music by Serge Essiambre 'Believe In Yourself'

Within Two Worlds from Goldpaint Photography on Vimeo.

Designer: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec have been designing together for about a decade, in that time they've developed quite the reputation for putting out consistently interesting and beautiful work.  They have had their work showcased in multiple museum exhibitions, have many designs available with some of the top manufacturers, and have quite a tidy collection of awards. 

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

I first came across their work while I was studying for my Masters in Architecture at Dalhousie, I was investigating 3dimentional geometric patterns and found their Clouds, a modular textile wall system. Gorgeous. Intrigued, I looked up more of their work, saw they were not just flash in the pan designers, and have been following their work ever since. Below you'll find a cross selection of several of my favorites of their projects. They have a fair bit of furniture out, which are rather nice, but being the 'architect' I'm more intrigued by their larger partition/screen systems which are beautiful. Enjoy!

Clouds 2008:
Thermo compressed foam and fabric attached with a coinjected rubber band

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Side Note: O (Omicron) Video

What do you get when you mix an amazing laser light show, an electronic contemporary orchestral music piece, an a 99 year old concrete dome structure? 

O (Omicron). An amazingly modern supernatural experience.
(Or at the very least, a really impressive video for those that can't get there - such as myself.)

The permanent installation, by Romain Tardy and Thomas Vaquié, was created in Hala Stulecia (The Centennial Hall), an incredible concrete dome structure located in Wroclaw, Poland. Designed by the German Architect Max Berg, Hala Stulecia was, at the time of construction (1913), the largest reinforced concrete structure on earth, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 

The show:

O (Omicron) from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

The making of:

O (Omicron) / Making of from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Architect: Atelier Tekuto

Atelier Tekuto is an architectural practice with focus on architectural explorations and investigations. They have a strong academic mindset and while some of their work is not always 'in tune' with my own personal design styles, (mine being much more grounded in natural and raw materiality), their work is always very intriguing, thought provoking and quite successful. I truly appreciate that each of their projects is very unique, and created as part of an deeper exploration of something, be it a building material, or concept, and it's always done in concert with the owners needs.

Atelier Tekuto

Lucky Drops House, 2005
Skin House Project No. 7
Tokyo, Japan

This is the house that first caught my attention for Atelier Tekuto. Built on an incredibly constraining site of a long, narrow trapezoid with 3.2m frontage, 29.3m depth, and 0.7m at the end of the site, couple this with the 0.5 meter setback for external walls from adjacent land and you've got some serious constraints!

To create a house on such conditions the team stretched the building out, used a playful and light steel structure, created a transparent skin to allow ample sunlight in, and took advantage of underground space, as it was not limited to the 0.5 meter setback rule. To further expand underground, instead of a thick concrete foundation wall, they used 8mm thick steel plates with anticorrosive, heat insulation and waterproof treatments.

Talk about innovative solutions, and an incredible structure. Though at 660 sq.ft. perhaps a little tight for the four in my family…

Lucky Drops House - Atelier Tekuto

Canada Day!

We had an AMAZING Canada Day celebration. It was a busy, fun filled day complete with a range of emotions that ran a full spectrum. I suppose the last part is kind of standard around here, our little guys know how to go from surprised, to crying, to happy and laughing in a total of 0.03 milliseconds. We know, we've timed it. With a "little" preparation the night before that included Loreen baking and decorating a gorgeous cake, and some T's by yours truly (granted, the idea was researched by Loreen), we managed quite a successful day. The basic rundown of our super Canadian Celebration went a little like this:

Architect: Rick Joy

Rick Joy has been producing stunning buildings from his office in Arizona for close to two decades now. Much of his work exists in the desert, which he considers a "…dreamlike fantasy of a landscape…", I agree, and his projects work to compliment it. His architecture has a remarkably strong presence, it is linked so closely with the landscape that it seems almost as if the land or earth has put forth the buildings itself. He is able to invoke powerful sensory experiences and harnesses the strength of craftsmanship and powerful material use throughout his projects. Enjoy the eye candy!

Rick Joy Studio & Residence

Desert Nomad House
Outside of Tuscon Arizona

Desert Nomad House

Side Note: The Third & The Seventh

I came across this video about a year ago, and just revisited it the other day. It is still just as striking as the first time I saw it. It visits some of the most important Architectural works of our time, from Satoshi Okada's Mt. Fuji House, to Exeter Library by Louis Kahn. Alex Roman did everything from the direction, to CGI, to sound production. Wow. He made the video 2 years ago, I'd be really curious to see what he's been up to since then. 

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Side Note: Golden Gate History

I came across this interesting video on the making of the Golden Gate Bridge from Archdaily and found out that it just turned 75 years old in May, 2012! Happy birthday my International Orange friend! (That is the official color of the bridge). I thought it was a really unique look into the past, and reminded me that 'creatives', or 'dreamers' always have, and always will be met with 'nay-sayers' and public challenge, but with perseverance in pursuit of their ideals, these dreamers has the power to change the world.

Artist: Michael Shapcott

Michael Shapcott is an incredibly talented portrait artist from Connecticut. He is known for creating these emotional charged portraits usually consisting of a graphite base, with oils and acrylic paints over to bring them to life in a contemporary and beautiful way. I first came across his works as his prints can be purchased from society6, an online print shop for artists.

From his Kickstarter Project

I came across a kickstarter project that he put together a few months ago, and it's been in the back of my mind for quite a while, I just revisited it the other day to see how he's doing and I found out his project has been funded, which is awesome. He was hoping to get $10,000 and was funded a total of $62,736! Way to surpass the expectations! 
Una © Michael Shapcott

Side Note: Climbing Back on the Wagon

Now that my birthday month is well and truly over (I was taking a break to just bask in the glory of design-fatherhood life without the recording of it over the month of May, and I somehow let it creep a bit into June). Well, as my excuse of the 'birthday month' is gone, it's high time I to get back into the swing of things here at Design Dad.

I've decided to break away from my previously restrictive schedule of posts, as I was finding it not only daunting, but restricting me from posting some of my neat/random finds, or other miscellany. I see many more SIDE NOTES happening in the future! I will still try to cover essentially the same topics, and in a similar manner, just going to throw a little monkeymoo in the gears. 

Now where am I...

Keiran will help me piece it together.

Side Note: The Manhattan Project

Found a beautiful video of New York by Cameron Michael, set to an awesome song by Blackmill. It brought me back to many of the place I visited on my trip there. Now I want to go back even more than I did before!


The Manhattan Project HD1080P from Cameron Michael on Vimeo.

Side Note: Venice in a Day

Little video by Joerg Niggli to start your Tuesday.
Makes me want to go to Venice and watch the world go by...

Side Note: LA Light

Been caught up in the chaos of life lately, busy, busy, busy, not to complain, the busier I am, the happier I am (usually). Time to get back in the swing of things...

Starting with a great video I found up on Archdaily by Colin Rich. Great music pairing with the beauty of LA at night. Thought it was a nice and easy way to start the week. Enjoy.

Wine Friday: Neck of the Woods

Well, tonight I picked Neck of the Woods for wine friday. I didn't pick it up because it was a recommendation, I didn't pick it up because it was inspiring in it's design (even though it does have a pine cone on it, got to love that - what does it have to do with wine? Nothing). I didn't pick it up because I was particularly drawn to it in any way. It was a simple matter of fate. I picked it up because I thought it had a grunge paintbrush technique, quickly realized it wasn't (was a whole bunch of maple leafs, apparently it's Canadian - yay), but before I could put it back on the shelf, Merrick threw down his very first arm-swinging public tantrum since turning two last weekend. I guess it was only a matter of time. Well, I knew the wine was in at least close proximity of the budget range, and with Merrick flinging his arms about I thought it best not to get to close to the rest of the wines on the rack again. It would have to do, all I had to do was navigate quickly to the till, stand a little too close to the other people in line so they would let me go first, and pay. The neck of the woods got lucky tonight!

I must admit, it's not a bad wine either. It's light, and not overly aromatic, but I have most definitely had many worse. I guess that's not really counting it's blessings, but it says a fair bit. It is the kind of easy drinking summer red that can stand to be a little cooled (not chilled mind you), a wine that would easily give Barbera Da Vine a run for her money, one with better taste, but not nearly as cute a bottle... 

Architect/Designer/Artist: Ron Arad

Between being sick and just down right tired this week, I seem to have sort of neglected my usual array of posts. My apologies, but seeing as I kind of fell off the wagon, I'm going to try to hop back on in strong form, by bringing to your attention the work of Ron Arad. He is a creator born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, trained in art and design at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, and in architecture at the the Architectural Association of London.

Ron Arad is one of the most prolific designers working today. His work spans the disciplines of Architecture, Art and Design. I am always impressed with his work, and his whole studio approach fascinates, inspires and gives me hope. I often diverge from architecture into the disciplines of art and design, as I find that working solely within architecture to be restrictive on my own creativity. (Thus the importance of my home studio!)

This post is actually quite difficult for me as it's going to force me to make a selection of 'the best' of his work. The difficulty lies not only in that he has produced a lot of work, but that it's all really interesting! His work is frequently playful and free and somehow always innovative and unique. He often harnesses the power of advanced technology to produce iconic designs - from an opera house, to an armchair. I hope you enjoy...

Design Museum Holon - Holon, Israel