Starting the week off right.

Considering how much I slept this weekend (which was a fair bit), I got a surprising amount done on my to-do list. Of course, there’s still plenty on it so it’s back to the usual frantic multitasking today.

In the meantime, Tori sent me a link to the site of Dutch designer Jonas Samson. Go go gadget industrial design! He has a lot of really nifty products over there that are certainly worth looking at, but what’s really caught my eye is this light-emitting wallpaper.

No, seriously, I meant that.

This would be the only wallpaper to catch my interest in years.  I have no idea how it works, so don’t ask me.  But unless it’s emitting high levels of radiation or something, that’s pretty damned cool.  I sure could get a lot of mileage out of something like that, I tell you what.

Go have a look at his site- there’s a variety of interesting things there. And thanks to Tori for the heads up!

Back to work for me…

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*ding*. Model’s done.

I’ve been working furiously for the past couple of days finishing up a 3d model for the project in Miami. It’s a basic model, looking to define space and function and making sure all programmatic needs are met. There’s a couple of small changes that I still need to make (discovered after the fact, of course) but they are minor, and I should be able to get them done tonight with little problem.

One would think it gets easier from here, but actually it only gets harder. The next thing I’m going to do is make a small PowerPoint presentation to go over all of those programmatic needs and where they’ve been met by design, and how the design concept fits into all of them. Actually, that part is also easy (just takes a little time.) Where it gets harder is once that’s done- which is making the project fit the budget. THAT’s hard. This part is easy.

But now that I’m done with the furious Miami model making at the moment (DGD is brought to you by the letter M today, apparently), I realize my house is a mess (well, I knew that the last time I tripped over something.), I need to do some work on budgetary planning for a project in Los Angeles (don’t get excited, LA people- I’m not coming out there.), do some knitting, do some software tutorials for some of the various programs I’m working on, and work on my submissions for the DesignBoom Swarovski Crystal contest.

Speaking of contests, the Designer of the Future 2008 awards were announced yesterday at Dezeen.

Though I didn’t win, I’d like to thank everyone who nominated me- that was very kind of you.

The comments over there (and there aren’t many) would indicate that most people aren’t thrilled with the results. It’s all so subjective, I can’t even begin to get myself involved in that. However, with no offense intended *in any way* towards Max Lamb(whom I don’t know, so this isn’t about him personally- Max, if you’re reading this, congratulations on your win), I have problems with that bronze chair in terms of the method of its creation (again, this isn’t an issue of aesthetics. ) I can absolutely guarantee that I have (significantly) more bronze casting experience than either the designer or the judges here (really, unless someone else has worked for a foundry for several years, they can just take a step back now.) I don’t care what it looks like- I care that the process used to make it was absolutely toxic(more so than regular casting), and there are ways to get that same effect that would have been less so.

(for the link phobic- this is the chair in question)

Bronze Poly chair, by Max Lamb

At a time when the industry is working so hard on issues of environmental concern and sustainability, it bothers me that this particular example is being shown as something that is given awards.

And now, I’m off with my camera. The Bus Stop Magnolia is blooming.

Interior vs. exterior.

Over the weekend, I’d gotten an IM from Jay (Maynard, not Reeder) linking me to a letter published in a Minneapolis paper following the announcement of this year’s Pritzker Prize award.

Although I’ve been to Minneapolis (at length, even. 9 weeks isn’t exactly an overnight stay), I’d never seen the original theater, designed by Ralph Rapson, who died just a week ago at the age of 93. The new one, if you haven’t connected the dots already was designed by this year’s PP recipient, Jean Nouvel.

I have no particular dog in this fight, as I find both designs, at least on the exterior, to be quite pleasant. They’re just very different.

Old:

New:

And whichever one you like is whichever one you like. Believe it or not, that’s actually not the question I want to ask with this post.  What I personally found to be more interesting in the letter to the paper was this excerpt:

“the proscenium theatre is uninspired with rows so close together that there is hardly room for your feet and entire rows must stand to allow anyone to enter. Even the parking is a disappointment, forcing patrons to cross the street in winter when Nouvel had the opportunity to include a skyway. Apparently Nouvel had not visited Minneapolis in winter or noticed all the tall northern European stock here.”

I began to wonder if there was a connection between that and the strange disconnect in all the job ads that say they’re looking for designers, but then go on to say they want architects.  Last I checked, these words were not synonymous(also this particular thing pisses me off because it feels like a bait and switch.)  Over the weekend I had a talk with Jack (practicing architect, who teaches interior design at two different schools) about this and have come up with some questions that I want to throw out there to perhaps inspire dialogue.

1. Are interiors really within the scope of training and expertise of architects?  (From all accounts, the answer to this is no, but I’m more than happy to hear about other experiences.)

2. Why is this bait and switch thing going on when writing up job postings, especially if the answer to #1 is no?

3. Why aren’t the architectural and design communities coming together to make that clear?

4. Or (and this is my most cynical response, born of another thing that happened last week) are architects under the pervasive delusion that interior designers are decorators?

Don’t get me wrong. Some of my very favorite people on the whole planet are practicing architects.  I still have plans to go back under the academic rock and get my M*Arch myself, but I am not under the delusion that interior design and architecture have the same focus or do the same jobs equally.

I do know that any decent designer *I* know would have made sure the spacing between the rows in the theater were the appropriate distance apart, because we do that sort of research as part of a programmatic process.  I don’t fault (at all) any architect for not doing the same, because I just don’t think that’s their job.  I just want to know why they’re essentially being asked to do *my* job, and what can we do to change that.

When interests collide.

I had meant to post about this yesterday, but didn’t get to it before getting sucked back into the Miami Project. Those who read my personal journal already know this, but this week’s episode of South Park featured an appearance by Jay Maynard, The Tron Guy.

southparkthumb.jpg

This capped off a day which was already surreal for other, unrelated reasons but this was certainly the cherry on the sundae. First of all, I don’t usually watch South Park. As much as it’s true that cartoons are essentially *all* I watch, I will only watch SP if it just happens to be there. In this case it was because Futurama had ended and I was busy winding a ball of yarn, so my hands were full. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden Jay is on the show. I went running for my computer to IM him, screaming to turn on the television. As predicted, he had no idea this was coming (and Matt and Trey really screwed up his accent.) and both of us sat there watching while he was mauled by a panda of all things, which for other reasons completes some bizarre circle of life moment that would take too long to explain.

Now, Jay is a frequent commenter here and he’s a close friend(and was for years before all this Tronguy stuff.) But that’s not why I’m mentioning this here. It’s just that I helped Jay design the suit (yep. It’s true.) and out of all of the things I’ve ever helped design, this one has had a life *far* stranger than I could have ever possibly imagined. I know I never imagined this (and I am pretty sure Jay didn’t, either.)

Well, whaddya know.

One of the photos I took of that ugly fucking monstrosity they’re unwrapping in Columbus Circle the “improved” 2 Columbus Circle building has made Curbed. 

This is not an improvement, people.

Let us review.

Before….

before

After:

This is not an improvement.

For those who may not know, one of my degrees is in restoration. Though I am *by no means* anti-development in the City of New York, I do think that there are some buildings that should not be significantly altered. This was one of them, and I have been vocal about that for years now. All we have now is another not only ugly, (woo hoo. You can create a grid in autocad. Congratulations.) but *boring* building that looks like a weird throwback. It’s not interesting(save the shape of the building, which was there to begin with), it’s not iconic. It’s not anything except another ugly building.

I have never once stated that I thought the original was some marvelous thing of beauty. But it was absolutely iconic, unique and architecturally interesting. It could not be mistaken for any other building, in a city where all too many structures blend together into sameness. It deserved protection it never got, save as a token last ditch effort by Landmarks West, who jumped into the fray with too little, too late when they could (and IMO, should) have gotten into the battle ten years earlier.

This is not an improvement. It’s just fucking sad.

I’m just going to say this.

I’ve just come back from, amongst other things, having a look at the “new and improved” 2 Columbus Circle building.  The scaffolding is coming down and you can really see what’s been done to it.  So I had a look.
I’m just going to put this out there- It’s fucking ugly.  As in it’s significantly worse than what was there to begin with, and the original was well known for the controversy it created on that score.  If this is supposed to be considered an improvement, we have problems.

There. I’ve said it, and I stand by it.

Photos and more on the topic to follow, because this is pissing me off.