Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crystals REDUX

So, Lady Gaga performed in NYC a couple nights ago and just look at what she was wearing! 

Oh man, I can't get over my crystal obsession, especially when fabulous people start WEARING them!

Bookworm: Eunoia

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

Crystal Chairs by Igor Solovyov & Tokuji Yoshioka

I have recently been very seduced by crystals. I have been toying with the idea of painting a mural in the living room of crystals. My sketches have multiplied but I continue to waver. This past weekend D.D. took me on a surpise trip to ABC Carpet on Broadway and we oogled all the furniture and especially the insanely priced crystals they had everywhere. I found these chairs by Igor Solovyov and aren't they amazing?! They make me very happy and I wish I could have one. I would love to own one in a very pale pink so that it looks like quartz. 

In a much more literal interpritation, I found this chair by Tokuji Yoshioka. The chair is actually grown slowly while submerged in a tank like the one seen below. 

Design History:
Gabriella Crespi: Architecture & Disco

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 D├ęcor’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 Milan. ''I was in love with Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright when I was young,'' she said. Le Corbusier, happens to be my second favorite all-time architect and his aesthetic has heavily influenced my eye, so it is no wonder that Crespi’s furniture is right up my alley.

She was born in Milan in 1922, and raised in Tuscany near Florence. She met her husband, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, at a tennis club in Milan. They were married in 1948. The Crespi family is one of the richest families in Italy. Gabriella Crespi is currently 86 and lives in the Himalayas where she studies with a spiritual guide and attempts to live in silence. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween DIY!

Halloween is almost here and I am so excited! This past weekend D.D. and I carved the above pumpkin and then roasted his guts. Very very yummy and pack full of protein. Two weekends ago, we also worked on our Halloween costumes. I made a sun crown, that i don't have pictures of, but D.D. made his really amazing bunny mask. Take a look at how it came out. The brown fleshy color adds a level of creepiness to the mask. 

Bedroom Mural Revealed

So I had lost the cord for my camera a while ago, but luckily I found it! Here is a shot of the finished mural in my bedroom. I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wonderful Lamp Suggested by D.D.

Robber Baron
Standing Lamp

Job Smeets
Nynke Tynagel

design year:

Studio Job, The Netherlands

polished and patinated cast bronze; glass; electrical components

A patinated bronze floor lamp in which three important icons of architecture - the Parthenon, the Empire State Building and Saint Peter’s Basilica - merge into one. The Zeppelin docked at the pinnacle symbolizes technological failure, and references the Empire State Building, whose top spire was originally intended as a mooring for Zeppelin airships. When illuminated, the hundreds of windows glow, diffused by a hand-blown frosted glass interior. The light bulbs can be changed by lifting the polished bronze ‘cloud’.

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

Design History:
Paul Evans - Cityscape Dreams

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 seriesSculpted 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

Architecture Inspiration: W. R. Grace Building

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. 

The use of white travertine marble also pleases me. It gives the building a sleek 1970s chicness that is undeniable. The black high gloss windows, arranged in their rigid grid, seem like slits that will soon open to uncover a bevy of laser guns that will shoot down intruders. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Design History:
Pierre Cardin - Design Genius & Empire Builder

Known for his bold designs, Pierre Cardin revolutionized the world of design. The first designer to embrace ready-to-wear clothes, he created an empire that spans the globe and seeped into every design field imaginable.

Pierre Cardin was born in Venice, Italy in 1922 to French parents, both wine merchants. When he was four, his family moved back to France and he grew up in the Loire Valley region. He moved to Paris to study architecture, but soon shifted his interest to fashion design. He obtained work as an assistant in the house of Paquin where he helped to design the costumes for Jean Cocteau’s (1946) film, Beauty and the Beast. He also worked for Elsa Schiaparelli and later joined Christian Dior as the head of his design studio.


Cardin left Dior in 1950 to open his own Haute Couture house and followed soon after with his first boutique on the Rue du Faubourg St. Honore. Pierre Cardin’s ready-to-wear line, the first of its kind, launched in 1959, scandalized the fashion powers in France who expelled him for attempting to make designer clothing more accessible. They later reinstated him, but he never showed his collections with them again.

Pierre Cardin is known for his “space suits” of the 60s, his metal body jewelry, 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 Soviet Union. The next year, he organized a trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China to produce Pierre Cardin clothes, one of the first western companies to do business in China. In 1983, he opened the first western-owned restaurant in China, Maxim’s. Take a look at the Maxim's Hotel in Paris here

Today, the Pierre Cardin empire employs over 180,000 workers in 70 countries. His fashion lines include menswear, eyewear, 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 Paris and collects furniture, parrots, and couture clothing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Organic Architecture

Take a look at these amazing houses. Make sure and check out the Nautilus House


I need this sconce...ASAP. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Un Cafecito Cubano

Coffee is an important part of any Cuban household. Growing up my mother, aunts and grandmothers would spend hours chatting away drinking coffee from their tiny fancy espresso cups.  As children, we knew that if we wanted to stay over at each others house a bit longer, we could just say "Why don't you have another coffee?" and our mothers would undoubtly cave in and sit down for another round. I also remember my mother giving me spoonfulls of coffee that had been heavily sweetened with lots of sugar to form a sort of coffee flavored simplek sugar that was used to sweeten the coffee. Even today, you will always be greeted with a cup of Cuban espresso when you come into my mother or grandmothers house, they seem to always have a percolator running. The only real difference between Cuban espresso and regular espresso is that Cubans give it to you pre-sweetened...usually with waaaay too much sugar. I guess when you live on an island with a surplus of sugar and coffee it tends to creep into the national diet - for better or for worse. 

I like to keep certain traditions alive. I still drink espresso every morning - though I now drink mine black. I have been looking everywhere for some adorable espresso cups and look at these! They are simply J'ADORABLE little cups by Sami Rinne Design. My vote goes for the white ones with pretty golden wings.