Tag Archives: Design

Too Good (inspired by Toogood)

Faye Toogood is a stylist who designs sets, interiors, and exhibitions.  I love the way she deals with space and objects in space and color. Everything’s tinged with notions of the past, yet generously modern and very very 2010.

Mind-bendingly brave color explosions combining complex large and small-scale color textile patterns.

Muted neutrals in vintage sepia and rose pinks, powder blues and soft grays are anything but old-fashioned.

Making magic out of simple materials such as foam and plywood blocks, corrugated cardboard and mirrors.

Modern, rational angles, lines, circles and shapes evoke Bauhaus movement.

Her awesome website is chock full of examples of her work. Once again Sight Unseen has unearthed another inspiration.

Designer Love

Eero Saarinen’s note to his wife Aline. A post from my new favorite blog, Sight Unseen.

Buenos Aires – Need a place to stay?

In 2004 I got an awesome birthday present: my friends Kerry and Ann traveled to Buenos Aires with me. We rented a beautiful apartment in Recoleta, and spent 10 days exploring the cosmopolitan city. Kerry literally fell in love with it, and decided to stay for a few extra days, so she could look into purchasing some property there. One thing led to another, and she not only bought a condo, she met her soul mate, Gonza. I was lucky enough to visit the city again for their wedding in 2006.

Between the wedding, and dealing with immigration, it took a while, but now their apartment has been lovingly remodeled and furnished. Kerry is a talented stylist who works with some of the top advertising photographers in NYC. Her unique sense of space and color and amazing taste is evident in every room of this light filled, charming condo.

While Kerry and Gonza spend a good portion of their time living in Brooklyn, NY, their BA apartment is available for weekly or monthly vacation rentals. The apartment is located in San Telmo, the most oldest and most romantic neighborhood in BA.

Whether on your way to an eco adventure in Patagonia, visiting the estancias for grass-fed beef , or just looking to shop and dine (on the cheap) in this world class city, do consider staying at Casa de Kerry and Gonza! If you are interested, please contact their agent.

The cinema design of You, the Living

It comes as no surprise that Swedish film director Roy Andersson spent 25 years directing TV commercials. You, the Living (2007), is comprised of 50 loosely connected short vignettes that could easily stand on their own.

The sets are living still-lifes, precisely choreographed and meticulously designed. At the bus stop, commuters  huddle gloomily in downpour, and cars slowly creep in city traffic as a lonely foghorn moans in the distance. Inside, the dull pastels are beautifully highlighted with a splash of orange hair, red cocktail, or shiny brass tuba. The characters are illuminated in “a light without mercy”, and we chuckle at the dark humor of our hero, “Mr. Nobody” in his natural, shadowless habitat. His truth is told in these rooms.

Shot in deep focus and wide angles, Andersson’s humans are composed neatly in a big world that leaves them vulnerable to their expectations, their dreams, and hope for satisfaction. Without any close ups, we can fully empathize with their confusion, irritation and loneliness.

This film held all sorts of associations for me: The plotless meanderings of Linklater’s Slacker, the quiet alienation in the paintings of Edward Hopper, Jacques Tati’s art direction and bumbling humor, and the deadpan comedy and minimalism of Jarmush’s Stranger than Paridise.

Time for Art

Changes to my personal living space, nature’s rainbow on the lawn of the Getty, and the urban fight against graffiti on city structures are simply stories about the passage of time as documented through my photographs. Because we all have access to digital media and the medium to display it, we can create endless stories to share with the world. I have recently come across some cool projects with a similar theme.

Urban Destruction and Renewal:

Invincible Cities is an interactive website created by sociologist and photographer Camilo José Vergara. It presents “A Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto.” Through this interface, we can see the same storefront as photographed in 1977, and in 2008. I would love to have something like this for some of the places I called home in my life – like the Lizard Lounge building in Chicago @ 1824 W. Augusta Blvd. Or maybe our first house at 96 Oak Drive, in New Jersey.

Humans Aging:

The photographer Nicolas Nixon, photographed his wife and her sisters each year starting in 1975. The name of the series is The Brown Sisters. The consistency of the project is inspiring – never missing a year, the women always arranged in the same order… seeing how they’ve aged year to year, is very humbling.

Nature Never Stopping

San Franciscians are fortunate to give a home to Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire in the Presidio.

“In 2006, artist Andy Goldsworthy visited the Presidio and was inspired by the history and character of the forest. He saw an opportunity to create a sculpture with the felled mature trees. Constructed in October 2008, The Spire tells the story of the forest, celebrates its history and natural rhythms, and welcomes the next generation of trees. It is a poetic reference to the forest’s past; as new young trees grow up to meet the sculpture, it will eventually disappear into the forest.”

Goldsworthy works almost exclusively in and with nature. From building long stone walls, to creating an icicle sculpture, to floating a delicate chain of flowers down the river, his works are ephemeral and temporal, not made last, never made to stay the same. This is true ‘sustainable’ art. There’s a very good documentary film about the artist called Rivers and Tides where you can see his art in action.
Andy Goldsworthy's Spire

Have a Nice Day

… on 10 Tools For Managing a Creative Environment

The Web 2.0 Expo keynote presented by Bryan Mason, COO and Sarah Nelson, Design Analyst from Adaptive Path, connected their experiences as professionals in the arts with their other role as experience designers for clients in an agency setting. Mason began his career in the stage arts and Nelson is a classically trained, lifelong violin player.

They gained insights from the processes and organizational structures of various creative entities such as the highly structured restaurant kitchen, and the theater experience, “Too Much Light makes the Baby go Blind” written and performed by Chicago’s Neo Futurists .

As a creative professional in a dynamic agency setting, it is thrilling to see a project go from initial seeds of an idea, to a fully formed product. However getting through the process can be intense, complex, and challenging. Ultimate success relies on a certain set of constantly changing rules, circumstances, and resources.

By dissecting other successful creation models, and applying the analysis to their current business model, Adaptive Path is saying: We don’t know it all. We can be better. We can be different. We’re always learning.

Adaptive Path’s work environment seems like one that supports and fosters creativity — and it’s not just about putting your people in a room and asking them to emerge at the end of the day with THE BIG IDEA. It’s about finding activities and processes that will allow that stuff to naturally and smartly emerge.

I want to work in an environment that subscribes to the following points Adaptive Path presented:

  • Cross train the team. Foster empathy – let people see what it’s like for others. Its about cross-pollination, more like a web, not nodes.
  • Rotate creative leadership. Don’t let people get burned out. Let leaders play a support role sometimes.
  • Actively turn the corner. Know when its time to stop brainstorming (where collaboration rules and roles are less important) and start making/producing (roles become more important people need to know what’s expected).
  • Know your roles. Hierarchy streamlines production. Clear sets of responsibility enables communication.
  • Practice as a team. When in execution mode, it’s not time to practice individual skills. The group needs to work things out and trust each other.
  • Make your mission explicit. What’s the creative project you are trying to solve? Develop strong process for making decision. Clarify communications. Increase constraints is counter-intuitive but helps decision making.
  • Kill your darlings softly. Don’t be afraid to let go of good ideas. Put it in Phase 2!
  • Leadership is a service. I love this one!! Its your job to enable others to do their job well.
  • Generate projects around creative interests. This will keep people engaged and give them a sense of ownership.
  • Remember your audience. How many times are decisions made to benefit business needs at the expense of user’s needs are forgotten.
  • Celebrate failure. It’s ok – only by taking risks, can we get to something great.

Adaptive Path – Sign me up!