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

Side Note: Design Thoughts...

Thursday thoughts...

Design is good design if it inspires a positive emotional response and remains functional. When the design of an object is pushed to the extent that it look fascinating or beautiful, but has otherwise had its functionality reduced, actually transfers the creation of that object out of the scope of design, and into art. This is an incredibly difficult line to balance, as not only is it a thin line, it is also curved, jagged and constantly shifting. This is the line that a designer walks.

The true top designers are so successful at what they do because they are able to navigate this line well. They are creating a mix of art and functionality that balances on the precipice of this line. That and they are usually excellent presenters and conveyors of information, and lets not forget - they have great marketing.

p.s. I just noticed that DesignDad has just reached over 3000 visitors since its start back on March 1st! Yay! 
I'll keep the info. coming, if you keep coming back!

Side Note: Quarantena Video

Found a thought provoking video on how to treat Environmental Criminals, love the idea of divorcing them from the earth. It showcases some really great Thesis drawings by Robert Gilson, an architecture student at SCI-Arc.

Product: As It Lays

OK, so not really a product in a traditional sense of the word, of a tangible good, but when you look at the definition of product; "An article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale" - thanks google, it does, sort of, as a long shot, make sense, though it definitely should more likely fall under Artist Wednesday... 

I just realized, again, that it's already Tuesday... I seem to recall knowing that earlier today, yet somehow I forgot it at some point. I was sick yesterday and over the weekend (as was Loreen, Merrick and Keiran - what a gong show household that was), and somehow I've only just now recalled that today is Tuesday, not Monday. OK. I just blew my own mind. Perhaps I'm not yet 100%, well, my whole post order may be screwed up this week... Probably not Fridays though.
Lets get on with it.

As It Lays is an artistic video-portrait web series of celebrity interviews of Los Angeles' celebrated icons by artist Alex Israel. He's interviewed quite the range of individuals, from Quincy Jones, James Caan, and Rick Rubin, to Michael Chow and Phyllis Diller. At times these are absolutely hysterical, occasionally insightful, and at other times deranged. Take what you will from them, but Alex is doing something different here, and I quite enjoyed most of it...

Wine Friday - or not so friday... Cupcake!

Well, I think I have a pretty valid excuse for missing out on my regular friday post, not that I missed out on the wine, heaven forbid... Loreen and I were up well into the night putting the final touches on Merrick's 2nd birthday party. It was an awesome joint affair, held together with a friends little boy who was also turning 2, a little handsome brown eyed stunner; Leo. The party had two amazing cakes (made and decorated by Loreen), an amazing spread of food by our friends family (who also hosed the affair at their stunning new house - Thanks Roya and Omid!), a bouncy castle (thanks Mark and Sheryl!), and an easter egg hunt. It was the stuffing of the easter eggs that kept us up too late - stickers, bracelets, glow in the dark snakes, rings, yo-yo's, tops, bouncy balls, and bubbles had to find their way into more than 150 eggs before we hit the hay. The result: no friday wine post, but an awesome (and exhausting) party. Thus the fact I had to get another bottle of wine, because I forgot all about yesterdays. 

Tonight's well deserved post party wine!? 
Cupcake, Cabernet Savignon. A cupcake after a party - quite fitting I think...

Designer: Nigel Coates

To put it simply, Nigel Coates is a creator. He runs a multidisciplinary studio reaching from architecture to furniture, brand development to art. He has a multitude of lights, buildings, interiors, installations, and furniture pieces in the portfolio, and I must admit, every piece is very unique. I can't say I love them all, but I love the originality. Something else I appreciate about the man, in every picture I've ever seen of him, he looks like he's having fun, with a mischievous edge. To understand this, all one need do is look at the Genie Stool he made back in 1988...

Photographer: © Sophie Laslett

Here are a few of my favorite pieces…
Aviator Mirror:
© Nigel Coates

Artist: Paul Davies

Australian artist Paul Davies caught my attention about a year ago, because I have a good friend, and fellow Intern Architect, who shares his name. My immediate thought was "Wow, Paul, you've been holding out on me", but then quickly realized my friend is not Australian.

Paul Davies work appeals to me on several layers. First, it almost always shows a of modern architecture and nature - nice. Second it's a throw back to pop art color schemes, usually bold, bright, and highly contrasted - nice. Third, he uses interesting techniques to produce these non-existent scenes - nice. The process of his work often begins through photography. He'll take pictures of a famous modern house, which is often difficult in it's own right as many of the properties he shows are privately owned famous houses - some designed by the architect Harry Seidler, then collages them with landscape photographs by Ansel Adams. After the scene is created, he paints them using multiple methods including brushes and stencils. His current works focus on creating truly isolated spaces, devoid of human form, often incorporating empty swimming pools to help dislocate the viewer from the space.

© Paul Davies

Architect: Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma... where do I start...

Takayanagi Community Center - © Kengo Kuma

The scope and body of his work is amazing. One of the true masters working today. I mean not to forget to include the associates and staff at his offices, you just can't pull of successful large scale architecture without them. 

Warning I digress for a minute here, feel free to skip this to see stuff about Kuma below.
This is likely a point for it's own discussion (I'm definitely not intending to associate Kengo Kuma with it, I have no concept of the style of practice he runs), but there is a situation within the industry I want to mention; the 'heroizing' the firm head, or the creation of the STARchitect. Sure, the 'one' individual may have started the firm and in most instances has both design savvy (or a real capacity to leverage other peoples talents) and, almost always,  a major capacity for business, but once they reach a staff of 50-100 people, with 20-50+ major projects occurring at various stages simultaneously, how involved is that firm head? In many instances today, this leader is not the one coming up with new design ideas, or even coming into the office for more than a few hours in any given week. This is not to say they are not working hard, just not in the office doing the design work they are "known" for. Frequently in these major offices it falls to the junior staff to come up with the ideas, which then are approved or rejected by the design principal in charge, or on rare occasion, the firm head. As a former employee of an organization run in a similar fashion, and a friend of many junior architects working at companies like this, I'm taking this moment to appreciate them... We should all take a minute to appreciate the insanely hard work these ladies and gentlemen are doing, they are really working towards a betterment of the built environment, and thus society. Frequently their own understanding of this is the only kudos they get. That and the ability to say "I worked on that". 

As an office leader and designer, Kengo Kuma is consistently pushing new ideas, frequently blending tradition with contemporary and modern concepts. An aspect of his work that really appeals out to me is the intense use of pattern and textures, sometimes augmenting traditional forms, sometimes more contemporary, but often with natural materials.

Product: Balance by Propellerhead

As anyone who knows me may be able to tell you, I have a fascination and love affair with music composition and production, and specifically the program Reason by Propellerheads. I've been making music of my own since about 2000 and every 6 months or so I'll get the itch, abandon all other projects, sneak off to the garage every day after the boys are in bed for a week or more and pump out a new track or two to satiate my Music Lust. 

It is that specific breed of lust that brings you today's designer item; Balance. First off, Reason, for those who are not aware, is an intuitive music software for people who write and produce music. Perhaps not of the same sound quality as Steinbergs' Cubase, it's a totally different machine of sorts as it is pretty comprehensive in it's own, while Cubase you really need to have many more components (and it's much more complex)... But I digress. Reason has the ability to produce pretty awesome sounds if you have some patience (something I don't usually have when writing a new song unfortunately) and if you're plugging in synthesizers etc, the sounds only get better.  

Side Note: Studio Zimoun Video

Came across this really interesting video of "Sound Architectures, Sculptures, and Installations" by Studio Zimoun. I would love to see some of this work in a gallery space, really interesting concept of "architecturally minded sound". You may have to see it to understand.

I hope it helps ease you into the week...