modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
Dart Modern Bronze 21-Inch-WPendant Light
“If you don’t include at least one geometric design in your home, shame on you!”
- P. Daniels, Photo Stylist
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Dwell on Design
My Modern Met
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People often complain that Los Angeles is so spread out and impersonal. Arguably, it might be and there is no denying it. However, there are certain events that occur throughout the city in an effort to distance itself from such an apathetic reputation. Rather than condemning the vastness of our overpopulated city, we should embrace its variety.
The Downtown Art Walk is a free, self-guided public community event bringing together art lovers and community friends. It takes place on the second Thursday of every month. Activities occur mostly in and around the galleries located on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets. However, there are several art related events and openings, activities, and special programming that take place all over downtown.
The small groups that form and the conversation that occurs outside each gallery, restaurant or bar, discussing a range of art and artists, is enough to make a large city seem small.
Road Trip / Watercolor, ink, gouache on paper
The art depicted above and below are from Ching Ching Cheng, a Taiwanese born, Los Angeles based artist who works mostly in sculptural mixed media and paintings. If you like what you see, you can find her work in the DAC Gallery, located on Main Street.
Tenement / Gouache, pen on paper
Invisible / Watercolor, ink, pencil on paper
Cell / Watercolor, ink, acrylic on paper
As Brent discussed recently in his post Commercial Design - Earmarking Public Art, art makes an impact not only on city urban planning and development, but it also makes a positive impact on the inhabitants of that city. Whether they're arriving at the airport and taking in the beauty of structural art or conversing with friends outside a gallery just before entering a local pub for more conversation over a drink....
Images: LAist, Ching Ching Cheng
I had the incredible opportunity to listen the magnificent architect Chad Oppenheim speak at Sustainability Stage at Dwell on Design this past weekend. I was completely blown away by him and could not get the images of his upcoming project in Wadi Rum out of my head so I had to share it with you! Is this not one of the most gorgeous experiences you could ever imagine? Chad Oppenheim's competition-winning plan for a new Desert Lodge in Wadi Rum Jordan uses sustainable architecture to give travelers the luxurious opportunity to really be at one with nature. Architecture merges with the pristine setting and sweeping views of the sandstone valley to create accommodations that are both luxurious and elemental.
The lodges are carved directly into the sandstone cliff face, using the existing geometry to create the form. The others structures are comprised of rammed earth and cement, mixed with red sand.
The architecture is powerful yet minimal and really creates a sense of harmony and balance as it frames the gorgeous views. The power of nature is evident no matter which way you look. Elements of natural stone incorporated into modern landscape lighting or home decor can bring balance and harmony into your home.
“We have trained and heightened our senses to see, smell, taste, hear, and touch the mystical beauty of Wadi Rum. We tapped the inherent power of the desert through primal and instinctual design moves, informed by the forces, rhythms and patterns of nature— past, present, and future,” says Oppenheim about his creative process for the project.
Due to the use of natural thermal mass, artificial heating and cooling should be minimized. Utilizing local materials is a key element in sustainable architecture as well as water conservation and harvesting. In this project both of these have been given very special attention.
Water conservation and harvesting will be completely integrated into the design.
Completion of the 47 Desert Lodges in Wadi Rum, Jordan is not scheduled until 2014. This project will forever enhance the natural beauty of the pristine landscape. Outdoor lighting is a key element in guiding you through these paths to luxurious harmony.
Dwell on Design was an incredible event. Listening to Chad Oppenheim speak was one of my highlights, but we will be sharing many more highlights with you throughout the week!
Images: Oppenheim Office
Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal
As I plan a trip to Mexico soon, somewhere I have been many times as a child, I can't help but do some research as I prepare for my trip as an adult. More specifically, an adult who loves design and architecture.
Mexico is a country built on tradition and history. As you tour its cities, you will see modern structures next to old, broken down buildings from ancient times. Rather than tear down and build new, much of the architectural philosophy is to build around and upward. Progress, but do not forget.
Maya civilization dominated southern Mesoamerica in the second half of the first millennium AD. Classic phase (600 to about 900) architecture (above) is characterized by an exquisite sense of proportion and design, seen in the structural refinement and subtle detailing.
The National Palace in Mexico City
Mexico's colonial history marked the collision of the European and Indigenous cultures, giving rise to a new form of art and architecture. Most colonial cities were planned around a plaza, which held the three main institutions: the cathedral, the administrative center (above) and the court.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
During the 19th and early 20th century Emperor Maximilian I brought a new set of urban design ideas to Mexico. Drawing from the mid-century Parisian redevelopment plan, he built a broad new diagonal avenue called Paseo de la Reforma. This elegant boulevard ran for miles from the downtown National Palace to the lush Chapultepec Park where the Austrian ruler lived. Neo-Gothic designs incorporated into the monumental public buildings, including its cultural center (above).
La Torre Latinoamericana
As modern times began to impact the urban design of Mexico, functionalism, expressionism, and other schools would leave their imprint, combining techniques and stylistic elements of Europe and North American techniques.
It's quite interesting to see modern Mexico develop and how it seems to be coming around full circle. I can't help but notice the similarities between The Soumaya Museum (above), completed in 2011, and The Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal (top).
This stunningly modern structure houses one of the most important art collections in Latin America with over 6,200 artworks and 60,000 square feet of exhibition space. It also includes an auditorium for 350 people, library, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop and a multi-purpose gathering lounge.
This stunning structure is located in a former industrial zone dating from the 1940’s, providing the opportunity to play a key role in the reconversion of the area as a cultural center and defining a new model for Mexican and international architecture.
Structurally, this organic and asymmetrical design is constructed with twenty eight steel curved columns of different diameters, offering a soft non-linear circulation all through the building. Located at each floor level, seven ring beams provide a system that braces the structure and guarantees its stability. It widens at the top, where a roof suspended from a cantilever allows natural daylight onto the top floor gallery. The windowless facade is composed of hexagonal aluminium tiles. Strategic track lighting is great for complimenting natural light. The lack of any modern furniture, such as benches, keeps the space clean and leaving the spotlight on the art.
The study of modern design and architecture would be endlessly entertaining, but understanding it's history provides inspiration at an entirely new level. The develpment of entire cities goes hand-in-hand with the culture of that particular civilization, giving the architecture that emerges immesurable personality.
Images: MVTPRD, Wikipedia, Open Buildings, The Architect's Newspaper, Positive Magazine
Of course we all know, nothing in life is black and white, clear and simple, but sometimes it looks really good when you're talking about interiors! The bold, stark contrast provides a modern element and leaves room for more casual furnishings, like seen above. That sofa is a little worn, arguably vintage, as well as the table, but the color palette of the space screams modern.
But, no matter the style, whether a room is modern, traditional, black and white, or colorful, any decor benefits from the use of mixed materials. The iron chair, leather sofa and rustic wood table make a perfect trio. These Zuo accent chairs below are a great way to get this look. Their leaf inspired pattern gives them an organic aesthetic.
Whitworth Chrome Accent Chair
Art is a great way to bring in color, but it's also a cool way to bring in the bold! This black and white art collage leaning against the wall creates a laid back environment that is highly stylish.
This kitchen is on trend with its clean white walls, industrial lighting and dark, black cabinets.
Want to get this simple, yet chic look? Here's an idea for getting modern industrial pendant lighting for your own home.
LBL Isla Mini Pendant
While designing using the modern black and white combo, this living room also brings in a natural element by using lots of wood finishes. There is a lot of furniture in this space, but it's grouped efficiently and doesn't look cluttered. The use of multiple small accent tables instead of a coffee table is a popular trend right now. It provides versatility and a more eclectic look.
Don't be scared to go bold, there's lots of ways to use this cool color palette!
Images: Japan Trash blog, Pretty Peach Peonies, Skonahem, Solid Blog
You've probably seen the artwork. Clean, stainless steel boxes, stacked one atop the other, lined across the floor or cantilevered from the museum wall. The first time you saw them you asked what they meant. The second time you asked why? The third time you probably just smiled and accepted it.
That's a common reaction to the work of American artist Donald Judd (1928-1994).
Not everyone gets him. Not everyone loves him. Yet his contribution to international Minimalism is second to none.
Judd aspired to create work devoid of compositional hirearchy. More simply put, he created art in which no one single thing catches your eye. It's strikingly egalitarian, and while his artwork has clearly influenced modern art, the principles of his work can also be felt in buildings, desk lamps and furniture designs. Notice the simply stacked squares of this lamp:
Amarillo Silver Accent Table Lamp
It is this beautiful, understated quality of line that defines Judd's work, and it creeps up time and again, whether in his ink-on-paper prints or his site specific installations.
What Judd's art lacks in color or pizzazz is made up for in elegant simplicity. It's this conceptual basis that informs much of today's most celebrated products, from the iPhone to modern furniture designs like these glass nesting tables.
Silhouette Set of 3 Glass and Chrome Nesting Accent Tables
And this is the true beauty of Minimalism - the ability for an object or image to convey more by saying less. What holds true for artwork also holds true for a piece of modern furniture or contemporary architecture.
Donald Judd didn't just master this concept as an artist. He helped define it through his life's work.
Images: The Gorgeous Daily, June Joon Jaxx, Printed Editions, Waymarking
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