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  • AIA SF Design Awards: Bar Agricole

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    Bar Agricole

    The winners of the 2012 AIA Design Awards are presented in the May/June issue of CA Home + Design Magazine. Winners are either located in San Francisco or designed by local firms. These Bay area architects are given the spotlight for their innovative designs ranging from parking spaces recast as parks to an office that balances work and life.

    Bar Agricole, designed by Aidlin Darling Design is located in San Francisco's industrial South of Market district. The design was inspired by the sustainable agricultural roots of the restaurant's artisanal food and cocktail menu. It's currently in the process of becoming LEED certified.

    Modern sky light design

    Track lighting is a great way to add an even distribution of light while creating a chic, urban aesthetic. It can be used in commercial settings or residential, scale being the largest difference. Check out this idea to get the look above.

    Two Rail Adjustable Ceiling Fixture

     

    The illustration below demonstrates the architect's sustainable strategies and the detailed planning involved from the ground up.

     

    Sustainable design

    For example, there is a wood "hull" made from whiskey-barrel oak, which sits above the guests, giving intimacy and scale to the space while also providing openings for the sculptural light scoops. Bar tops, table tops and banquette seating (below) was made from reclaimed barn-beams.

    Modern banquet seating

    Small pendant lighting is a great way to illuminate each table top without taking away from the gorgeous wooded surroundings. This mini pendant below is a great way to get this look.

    Piper Satin Nickel Tech Mini Pendant

     

    If you live in the Bay area, make sure to stop by and see this award-winning design. You can feast on some deliciously fresh food too!

    Images: AIA SF, Aidlin Darling Design

  • Debating Modern Architecture: Central Los Angeles High School

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    modern skylight

    Central Los Angeles High school features dramatic modern architecture designed by Wolf D. Prix and the Austrian firm Coop Himmelblau. There's no doubt this high school holds a place in debates over urbanism, planning, and architectural patronage in Los Angeles.

    Fifteen years ago, LAUSD launched a  $20 billion construction campaign, which included a new high school along Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, a neighborhood where existing schools had grown incredibly overcrowded. How important should architecture be to a city's urban development, and the design of schools specifically? Shouldn't campuses be both economical and appealing in design, rather than one or the other?

    modern commerical architecture

    Katherine Harrison, the school’s executive director puts it like this, “The striking character of the buildings attract a great deal of attention to the school which is alternately welcome and unwelcome. Either way, we run the risk of the building somehow defining the school’s mission rather than the educational needs of students and the community we serve.”

    Despite the continuing debates over design and budget, the beauty of both the interior and exterior architecure is hard to ignore.

    modern high school auditorium

    The auditorium (above) is a show stopper in itself. The 950-seat theater is state-of-the-art and features a tower rising from its iconic roof. Bold, colorful seating provides any modern space added character. Give this chair a try in your modern home for the same effect.

    Eclipse Red Vinyl Club Chair

    Minimal lighting, with just the use of downlights, allows for the interior architecture to have the main spotlight. Here is a suggestion for achieving this simple, yet effective lighting aesthetic.

    Juno 4" Low Voltage Chrome Adjustable Recessed Light Trim

    Prix’s decision to design the whole composition in concrete and aluminum panels no doubt makes the school stand out in Los Angeles.

    This image demonstrates its proximity to the downtown freeway system, the featured character in the story of Los Angeles should its urban development be turned into a script.

    urban design

    Despite the difficulty completing this project and the debates that continue to hover around it, there is no questioning the noteworthy appeal of the architecture and the impact it has on the city's overall design development.

    Images: Coop Himmelblau

    Quote: Metropolis Magazine

  • Linda Taalman's Dwell Magazine Cover: Purdy Devis House

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    modern architecture

    I hope you all enjoyed my Dwell On Design recap yesterday... Stay tuned for more Dwell fun from Annie and Brent! But first, I just had to show you a little more from the home featured on the Dwell July/August cover, designed by Linda Taalman. I feel like a bit of a design geek showing off my autographed copy of the issue, which you can see in my recap post.

    The A-frame mid-century home uses just enough mixed materials in a very simple way. The smart architecture paired with modern seating is enough for any design enthusiast to get excited.

    Zuo Draper White Lounge Chair

    The colorful walls are very uncomplicated, yet full of style. This image (below) is a great shot to illustrate the open floor plan and how the color of one wall coordinates so well with the other wall and together they reflect beautifully through the large window wall. The texture of these walls adds depth and interest. There's no need for a lot of artwork, furniture or accessories, the interior architecture owns all the personality in this home.

    mid century interior architecture

    I just love this open kitchen full of windows and clean counter space. The linear light fixture is a great contrast to the round table and curvy chairs, but works brilliantly with the booth seating and linear kitchen design.

    modern kitchen design

    This Possini light fixture is a great way to get this look.

    Possini Euro Parallel Chandelier

    While at the event, I chatted with one of Taalman's partners and learned that much of what they do is research in off-site fabricated building technologies. Apparently, this mid-century home was just an extremely successful departure....

    Images: Taalman Koch

  • Grace Santorini Hotel: Amazing Coastal Hotel Design

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    cliffside hotel

    The 20-room Grace Santorini Hotel, which is a member of the award winning Grace Hotels Group, is carved into the cliff-face 300m above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Athens-based studio Divercity Architects, in collaboration with MplusM, accomplished this amazing coastal hotel design. They created an environment with a luxurious combination of elegance and serenity.     

     modern hotel lobby

    From the first steps into the lobby (above) you know you're in for a treat. Oxidized steel, concrete, and stone combine to create a look that's modern and intriguing, making you want to reach out and touch everything, but not stay too long. A place where you won't sit and lounge forever, but that's going to get you excited about the comfort that awaits you within this beautiful resort.

    Black modern accent chairs add a bold detail to any space. If you want this look in your space, we believe this black leather weave chair can get you there!

    Zuo Prospect Park Black Leather Lounge Chair

    The guestrooms' all-white interiors & furnishings, combined with brushed concrete floors, personify the trademark whitewashed houses of the Cyclades.

     white interiors

    Bright pink accents provide an electrifying element to the decor while classic, modern design pieces such as the Eames Shell Chair add softness to the stark room. The soft curves play nicely off the sleek lines and concrete floors.

    bright pink interior accents

     We suggest this idea (below) for bringing this feeling into your home.

     

    Zuo Spire White Dining Chair

    This built-in daybed mimics the architecture of the Cyclades. Integrated side tables are a very clever solution and create a strong grounding element for the sleek coffee table. Minimal coffee tables are a great way to keep a space open while still functional.

    modern built-in daybed

    The lightweight white table lamp perched beautifully next to the rocking chair casts a subtle glow down onto the pure white surface. This modern table lamp (below) would work great in the space as well!

       

    Lights Up! Virgil White Linen Shade Table Lamp

    Outside, the magnificent infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that criss-cross Santorini’s sheer mountain cliff terrain.

     infinity pool

    Meanwhile, outdoor patios offer majestic views of the famous sunset cast across the Aegean sea and the Cyclades Islands, as well as a romantic atmosphere for visitors. You could sit here, relax, and just wait for that sunset all day.

     modern patio

    Can you imagine a more beautiful and romantic place that you would want to spend your vacation? The Restaurant in Santorini is out of this world as well! Time to start saving your pennies now!

    Images: Grace Santorini

  • Commercial Design - Earmarking Public Art

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    santa monica place public art

    Over the last three decades, a growing number of public "percent for art" programs have transformed commercial design projects into city cultural stewardship projects. How?

    The concept is simple: for major commercial design projects (capital improvement projects and new developments), an increasing number of major cities require funders to earmark a set percentage of the overall budget for the purchase and installation of public art. Effectively, property developers become the arts benefactors and beautifiers of the cities within which they build.

    While not all public art pieces are universally a hit, most would argue they certainly intrigue. Pictured above is Cradle, a 2010 installation by Ball-Nogues Studio for the Santa Monica Place shopping mall in Santa Monica, California. 

    One of the earliest adopters of the percent for art concept, Chicago began asking developers to earmark 1.33% of project costs back in 1978. Weighing in at 100 tons, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate (nicknamed "The Bean") is a favorite in Millennium Park. 

    The Bean sculpture in Chicago

    The "Percent for Art" idea traces back domestically to the early 1960s and then chairman of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Michael von Moschziskerhe. As von Moschziskerhe explained to TIME magazine in 1962, "I said to the other four members that maybe we could let it be known that we would look with favor on bidders who offered to spend 1% of construction costs on frescoes, murals, bas-reliefs, mosaics, stained-glass windows, and fountains with statuary in or around them...Psychologists and efficiency experts now find that beauty increases productivity. It necessarily follows that true functionalism in man-made edifices must include artistic expression." 

    Visitors to Los Angeles will recognize the "pylons" at LAX. This kinetic installation of multi-color lights by Paul Tzanetopoulos is the result of the city's 1% for art program.

    LAX pylon light sculpture

    The distinctive pylon look can be adapted to the home with torchiere floor lamps.

    modern floor lamp designs

    Possini Euro Design Hybrid Torchiere Accent Light Floor Lamp

    Public art can be seen as a talking point, an eyesore, or a design centerpiece, as with Eclipse, a  40 foot high, 12-sided dodecahedron by artist Charles O. Perry located in the atrium Hyatt Regency in San Francisco's Embarcadero. I love the string lights hanging from the ceiling in the background. They remind me of the droplets on some of my favorite crystal chandeliers.

    interesting geometric public sculpture

    In the case of some public art, it can be so formally driven that it verges on looking functional. Can you tell which of the below is sculpture and which is a chandelier?

    (Hint: One is the Bowling Ball Curtain sculpture by Eung Ho Park; the other is the Possini Euro Floating Bubble 6-Light Round Ceiling Fixture)

    sculpted ceiling lights

    Public art infuses public spaces with color and interesting forms which inevitably become the common social and cultural bonds of a city.  

    Images: Ball-Nogues Studio, Art Observed, Daily NewsHyatt Regency, DM Contemporary

June, 2012