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. 

Permission to sit.

So I’ve been working on this idea for some furniture lately. I know a lot of people get their ideas through sketching. Sometimes I do that, but a lot of the time I do it with photography, because I am more comfortable with my abilities with a camera than with a pen most of the time.

Last week I went to Harlem to shoot a series of photos of a friend of mine in order to get some ideas together for this project. I had seen an image of a chaise a few weeks ago that had me thinking about the positions people sit/lie down in, and how those could be abstracted in order to make furniture out of them.


We got to talking about how we’re gotten to a point where people almost fee like they need to give themselves permission to sit in a comfortable position, since we spend so much time sitting in ways that have been designated as “appropriate”. I’ve been thinking about that and wondering if it’s true. How many people are comfortable sitting the way you’re “supposed” to on seating furniture? Does the furniture influence how you sit, or do you sit that way while fighting your furniture?

I don’t know which it is. Maybe it’s both. I know that if I continue to abstract some of the positions, I get interesting furniture. So far, I have a loveseat, a corner piece, a chaise and a chair.

I think that’s a nice little collection. It may or may not go anywhere. I have a lot of things I’m working on right now, so I don’t feel a lot of pressure on this. But the exploration is important, and I feel good enough about the results to go on to the next step and start abstracting forms out of this by sketching over the images to get generalized shapes and concepts.

So the process moves along. Some ideas you keep, some you chuck. I’m going to keep with this one for now. But before I go back to it, I have some sketches for the Miami house to do, and to make a foam core model of the chair I’m planning to prototype. And there’s always more knitting to do.

So while I’m tapdancing- look! Shiny!

Late last night I had asked folks on my personal journal for suggestions on what I should talk about at DGD. Since I’m a designer, not a writer (nor do I aspire to be one, or play one on TV), and like it or not, blogging in public is well, blogging in public, it’s partially about who is reading as opposed to who is (grudgingly) writing.

I got a lot of suggestions, but the biggest problem I found with them is that they all tend to run into a roadblock somewhere along the way. Either they’re asking about things that I don’t have enough information about to speak on with any kind of firm knowledge, or they’re asking for in-depth things about past projects, which I don’t mind doing but I worry that it will get me further typecast into kinds of design I honestly am trying to break away from since that’s what people will see when they come here.

On the other mitten, I also worry about talking too much about projects I’m just starting to work on, or am conceptualizing. On the one hand, I am all for the free exchange of ideas and it is more about what kinds of design I’d like to be doing. What I worry about is more along the lines of intellectual theft.

And on the third mitten (just call me Kali…), I would like to do more here than just praise or criticize other things on the intertubes, because seriously, that gets old really fast, and I’m a designer, not a design critic, even if thoughtful critique is part of what we do. Granted, I can be a grumpy, critical bitch better than most, but still, I could probably rest on my laurels on that score *forever* at this point and still come out looking like a champ.

So any suggestions (though I am going to try to work my way around the slalom of suggestions I got last night) are welcome. Questions are, as well.

In the meantime, while I’m tapdancing, I wanted to go back to restaurant design for a moment. Okay, not for a moment, since that remains my favorite kind of design. But for now, a moment.

See, design photography is really difficult. It’s often hard to get a decent angle on a space. You’re using a wide angle lens in order to get the whole thing in, which creates a forced perspective and makes rooms look larger than they are. Most restaurants don’t have lighting suited to good photography. Even though it’s a room, and not a person (though sometimes there are people in the room) it’s hard to show what a restaurant really looks like without physically being there in a way that doesn’t “lie”, for good or bad. It occurred to me tonight that I hadn’t taken the opportunity to mention someone who I think does this better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

Noah Kalina(who, as far as I know, is of no relation to my dear departed friend Amy, and isn’t someone I know. I’ve just had his site bookmarked for ages and I think he takes amazing shots of restaurants.) By means of example (and hopefully a way to get everyone to go there and check his archives because they’re amazing), this is his photo of Bar Boulud:

Bar Bouloud, photographed by Noah Kalina

Since I know some of you are totally into restaurant design porn, that ought to keep you busy until I can figure out what I should be talking about here. I’ll be over here tapdancing (and knitting) in the meantime.

P.S. Tori, stop drooling on the keyboard.