Thursday, October 30, 2008
I have never posted about a book, but I love love love language and found this book and thought it was just amazing, so I wanted to share it. Eunoia is the shortest word in English containing all five vowels - and it means "beautiful thinking". It is also the title of Canadian poet Christian Bok's book of fiction in which each chapter uses only one vowel. Mr Bok believes his book proves that each vowel has its own personality, and demonstrates the flexibility of the English language. Below are extracts from each chapter.
Hassan Abd al-Hassad, an Agha Khan, basks at an ashram - a Taj Mahal that has grand parks and grass lawns, all as vast as parklands at Alhambra and Valhalla. Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal - a gala ball that has what pagan charm small galas lack. Hassan claps, and (tah-dah) an Arab lass at a swank spa can draw a man's bath and wash a man's back, as Arab lads fawn and hang, athwart an altar, amaranth garlands as fragrant as attar - a balm that calms all angst. A dwarf can flap a palm branch that fans a fat maharajah. A naphtha lamp can cast a calm warmth.
Westerners revere the Greek legends. Versemen retell the represented events, the resplendent scenes, where, hellbent, the Greek freemen seek revenge whenever Helen, the new-wed empress, weeps. Restless, she deserts her fleece bed where, detested, her wedded regent sleeps. When she remembers Greece, her seceded demesne, she feels wretched, left here, bereft, her needs never met. She needs rest; nevertheless, her demented fevers render her sleepless (her sleeplessness enfeebles her). She needs help; nevertheless her stressed nerves render her cheerless (her cheerlessness enfetters her).
Hiking in British districts, I picnic in virgin firths, grinning in mirth with misfit whims, smiling if I find birch twigs, smirking if I find mint sprigs.Midspring brings with it singing birds, six kinds, (finch, siskin, ibis, tit, pipit, swift), whistling shrill chirps, trilling chirr chirr in high pitch. Kingbirds flit in gliding flight, skimming limpid springs, dipping wingtips in rills which brim with living things: krill, shrimp, brill - fish with gilt fins, which swim in flitting zigs. Might Virgil find bliss implicit in this primitivism? Might I mimic him in print if I find his writings inspiring?
Loops on bold fonts now form lots of words for books. Books form cocoons of comfort - tombs to hold bookworms. Profs from Oxford show frosh who do post-docs how to gloss works of Wordsworth. Dons who work for proctors or provosts do not fob off school to work on crosswords, nor do dons go off to dorm rooms to loll on cots. Dons go crosstown to look for bookshops known to stock lots of top-notch goods: cookbooks, workbooks - room on room of how-to-books for jocks (how to jog, how to box), books on pro sports: golf or polo. Old colophons on schoolbooks from schoolrooms sport two sorts of logo: oblong whorls, rococo scrolls - both on worn morocco.
Gulls churr: ululu, ululu. Ducks cluck. Bulls plus bucks run thru buckbrush; thus dun burrs clutch fur tufts. Ursus cubs plus Lupuspups hunt skunks. Curs skulk (such mutts lurk: ruff, ruff). Gnus munch kudzu. Lush shrubs bud; thus church nuns pluck uncut mums. Bugs hum: buzz, buzz. Dull susurrus gusts murmur hushful, humdrum murmurs: hush, hush. Dusk suns blush. Surf lulls us. Such scuds hurl up cumulus suds (Sturm und Druck) - furls unfurl: rush, rush; curls uncurl: gush, gush. Such tumult upturns unsunk hulls; thus gulfs crush us, gulp, dunk us - burst lungs succumb.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So, I know that all my design history posts seem to be focused on the same period, but I can’t help that I am drawn to this period so much. I promise that I will be more thoughtful in my attempt to diversify, but if you read the November issue of Elle Décor’s article on Willy Rizzo, you will see that I am not alone in my obsession with the lead designers of the 70s and 80s.
Today’s pictures are of Gabriella Crespi’s furniture and accessory designs. Throughout her career as a designer she designed lamps, silverware and jewelry, in a huge range of materials, from metal, wood, marble and bamboo to seeds, shells and gemstones. Produced mainly in the 1960's and 70's, her creations graced some of the most elegant homes in the world. Elizabeth Arden ''fell in love with my designs, and wanted everything in the collection,'' Crespi said recently. Thomas Hoving, Princess Grace, Gunther Sachs and the Shah of Iran were other aficionados.
Today, her furniture and decorative objects are beginning to bring high prices, as the design world turns its focus from mid-century to late twentieth century.
The multifunctionality of her furniture is a Crespi trademark. She made coffee tables that rose to dining height, bookcases that became room dividers, seating that converted into beds. This is due, no doubt, to her architectural studies at the Politecnico Institute in
She was born in
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Magnificent in scale, exceptionally finely detailed, with precision mechanical movements where required, and incorporating deeply carved iconographic reliefs, these works are guild-like in their master craftsmanship, each taking approximately one year to complete.
Their mirror finish reflecting the outrageous excesses of America's 19th century tycoons and Russia's new oligarchs, these surreal, highly-expressive furnishings, each a complex composition of multiple visual elements, represent an interior belonging to a powerful industrial leader, or their heirs. With clouds of pollution belching from towering smoke stacks, missiles and falcons and gas masks, warplanes and wrenches adorning golden surfaces, Robber Baron celebrates and shames both Art and Industry.
The collection will be an edition of five. This piece is No. 4 of 5.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Paul Evans began in the 1950s making copper chests and followed with sculpted steel-front cabinets. The different uses of metal and sculptural forms are motifs that would persist throughout the majority of his furniture designs. Evans had a two-man show in 1961 at America House, an exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York (now named the Museum of Arts & Design, to which D.D. took me to for the first time two weeks ago). This exhibition in turn opened doors for him to become the designer for furniture manufacturer Directional Furniture in 1964. With Directional Furniture, Paul Evans introduced several series of furniture lines; such as Argente series, Sculpted Bronze series, and my personal favorite and his most refined, the Cityscape series.
The Cityscape series was released in the early 70s and is a line of furniture that speaks to me immensely. I love the reflective surface countered with the sculptural forms that convey a sense of mass so well. This combination allows for a large piece of furniture like a buffet, credenza or sofa to take up a large amount of space without fully overpowering the space. Not to mention, as all of you know by now, that I am particularly inclined to this sort of disco high glamour that each piece exudes. Again, an entire set would be overkill but a few, critically selected pieces from this series will bring back a touch of that 70s nightclub witchery to any contemporary design.
Evan's pieces were almost always signed, and all of the custom items have a signature and a date. So when searching through second hand shops and garage sales make sure and look for the signature. Paul Evans' combination of handcraft and technology anticipated the limited edition art furniture of today. The artist's relationship with Directional Furniture set a unique standard for creative manufacture by insisting every piece is made by hand, finished by hand, supervised by the artist at each step of production, one piece at a time. So even if this series looks manufactures and modern, every piece has been made entirely by hand, which adds so much to their value.
Evans is a designer that nowadays could be seen as dated and outmoded. We need to embrace these designers and learn to understand their vision and how we can relate it our current world. On the plus side, most people not up to par on their design history would consider his things to be too garish and are therefore willing to let them go for a trifle. Yay for me! So enjoy these beautiful pictures and imagine yourself sitting on the wonderful tufted couch drinking milk in an English mod home from “A Clockwork Orange” or sipping a Seven and Seven with Faye Dunaway in a penthouse apartment from “The Towering Inferno.”
Friday, October 17, 2008
Built in 1974 and designed by Gordon Bunshaft who was an architect at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the W.R. Grace building has always been one of my favorite New York City structures. It should not be confused with the Solow Building which is also one of Bunshafts creations. I seem to have a penchant for buildings that could easily be transformed into evil doer headquarters and I feel that the Grace building falls into this category. I love the sense of mass and weight that the building brings, while the slight slope upwards lifts its strictly regimented facade higher into the sky. When standing at the base of the building and looking up, you get a strong feeling of vertigo - as if you are about to begin falling up.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Known for his bold designs, Pierre Cardin revolutionized world of design. The first designer to embrace ready-to-wear , he created an empire that spans the globe and seeped into every design field imaginable.
Pierre Cardin was born in
Cardin left Dior in 1950 to open his own Haute Couture house and followed soon after with his first boutique on the
Pierre Cardin is known for his “space suits” of the 60s, his metal , and as the inventor of the “bubble dress.” His early designs were dramatic, bold, and often irregular in cut. His unisex fashions were often more experimental than practical. Honestly, I don't care much for his fashion sense, but when he decided to move into interiors is when I think he found a truely unique and qonderful voice and spoke to the times.
His furniture designs are sleek and elegant. I would never want to live in an entire space designed by Cardin, but certain pops of his designs are crucial for a luxuriously chic feel.
With his goals of building the first global empire, Pierre Cardin was the first couturier designer to target the Japanese market when he visited there in 1959. In 1978, he signed production agreements with the
Today, the Pierre Cardin empire employs over 180,000 workers in 70 countries. His fashion lines include menswear, , fragrance, women’s fashion, and lingerie. His name appears on products from fashion to wine, bicycles to furniture. Pierre Cardin licenses over 840 products in 98 countries. He owns the Maxim’s hotel and restaurant chain that includes restaurants in five countries and a product line of gourmet foods. A tireless businessman, he boasts that he has never borrowed a franc from the bank. He has become the world’s richest Haute Couture designer, but despite his success, he shuns advertising.
Pierre Cardin lives in