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  • New Porcelanosa Showroom and Dwell Architects

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     chrome tile

    Porcelanosa's beautiful West Hollywood showroom opened last week and it was the perfect place to kick-off Dwell on Design and Meet the Architects. I spent the first hour or more wandering around the showroom drooling over the beautiful displays and the latest materials. As a designer I've been working with Porcelanosa for over 5 years and through these years they've never missed a beat. They are always introducing the most beautiful tiles with the most advanced technology, at reasonable prices. And the best part is that they almost always have everything in stock.

    The chrome plated Madison Plata porcelain tile (above)is sure to add drama to any space. It's elegant, sophisticated, and just jaw dropping. Pairing it with a porcelain wood floor is great way to mix the organic and the glitz. The bathtubs and sinks are made of Krion, a matte solid-surface material, and the simplicity is stunning.

     black bathroom

    This natural stone wall tile paired with Urbatek's Max Black Nature floor tile (above) is a great combination of porcelain and natural stone. Layering natural elements with glamorous elements is the perfect way to create depth and interest in any space.  Ornate and modern decorative mirrors will really define the style in your bathroom.

    patterned tile

    The subtle pattern on the mosaic tile behind the vanity gives you the look of wallpaper, but with the durability of porcelain.  

    calacatta gold tile

    Can you believe this Calacata Gold wall and floor tile is not the real thing? This is one of the best Calacata Porcelain tiles on the market! Wood and marble is always a classic comibination and the only thing that's missing here is the modern bathroom lighting.

    porcelain mosaic

    These porcelain mosaic tiles are brilliant! Choose a light or dark grout color and watch these mosaics change faces in an instant!

    meet the architects 

    After wandering around the showroom I did get a chance to listen to a few of the Architects speak about their projects in this year's Dwell Home Tour. Shawn Bleet of OKB Architects spoke about the all the huffing and puffing the city did in regards to the exterior color and finish selections of the Avon Residence addition in Pasadena. While one of my favorite architects, Whitney Sander of Sander Architects spoke about the Green House (below) and light-gauge metal building and it's effect on the environment and your pocket!  

    modern green architecture

    We'll tell you all about Dwell on Design and the Dwell Home Tours next week!  Hope you get a chance to enjoy both of them this weekend!  And if you don't, be sure to stay tuned for our full coverage of the events!


    Images: Annie May, Sander Architects

  • Urban Gatherings: L.A. Art Walk

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    black and white photography

    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.

    modern art using watercolors

    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.

    modern art using gouache

    Tenement / Gouache, pen on paper

    modern art using ink

    Invisible / Watercolor, ink, pencil on paper

    modern art using acrylic

    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

  • Chad Oppenheim Takes Sustainable Architecture to Wadi Rum

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    modern picture window

    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.  

    modern architecture

    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.  

    framed views

    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.

    infinity pool

    “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.

    underground house

    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.

    cliffside home

    Water conservation and harvesting will be completely integrated into the design.

    geometric architecture

    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

      

  • Mexican Architecture: From Ancient to Modern

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    Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    The Soumaya Museum

    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.

    The Soumaya Museum  main floor

    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 Soumaya Museum stairwell

    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 BuildingsThe Architect's Newspaper, Positive Magazine

  • Design Is Black + White

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    modern eclectic living room

    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.

    black and white art

    This kitchen is on trend with its clean white walls, industrial lighting and dark, black cabinets.

    black and white kitchen

    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

    modern white living room

    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, SkonahemSolid Blog

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