modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
LBL Batons Satin Nickel Suspension Pendant Light
“When lighting looks like art, you know you have a winner!”
- D. Shultz, Interior Designer
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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
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Audrey Hepburn's little black Givenchy dress that was worn in the opening of Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of the most iconic clothing items in history. It has become such an integral part of every woman's wardrobe, such that you probably can't name any woman that doesn't own a little black dress. The perfect choice of accessories can turn this dress into an elegant evening gown, but the design of the dress is all about simple form.
How do you bring these features into your home? It can be as simple as adding a beautiful chandelier. The chandelier (below) has a very simple form but the sweeping strands of delicate chains drape to create a look that resembles the strands of pearls adorning Audrey Hepburn's neck.
Sweeping Chain 6-Light Black Chandelier
The gentle curves and shiny black marble of the accent table (below) would add elegance to any room. The simplicity of form and polished nickel details combine to create a striking side table that becomes timeless in any setting.
Arteriors Home Aries Polished Nickel & Marble Table
These pearls trace the form of the Hepburn's dress with perfection. A simple silhouette shows off her wonderful shoulders and defines her curves.
This stylish, bold dining chair (below) is delicate yet sturdy. It does a great job of showing off curves, much like the Givenchy dress. Modern dining chairs fit into any setting from the outdoors to in, upgrading even the side of a bed when used as a nightstand.
Set of 4 Zuo Anime Black Dining
Adding a decorative wall mirror into your space can add a touch of sophistication, much like a pearl or diamond necklace can add to a classic dress. The perfect finishing touches can transform your space from casual to elegant in an instant.
Silver Ice 34" High Wall Mirror
Let's all try to recreate a little bit of Audrey Hepburn's style and that little black dress in our homes! It's a simple elegance that will be loved for years!
Wishing you all a Happy 4th of July! Whatever it is you choose to do just remember to have fun, relax, and be safe!
Spending time with family and friends in the backyard is always one of my favorite ways to spend Independence Day and this outdoor cabana seems perfect for it!
Za Bor Architects developed this project for a popular TV show called, Dachniy Otvet, meaning The Village Talks. Unfortunately the TV show was not filmed at my home... I will have to find an equally cool backyard to celebrate Independence Day.
The concept behind this reality show intrigues me and this architecture definitely brings new meaning to outdoor cabana. The show invites designers and architects to re-design parts of a home for selected home-owners that agreed to participate in the show. These home-owners wanted somewhere to spend more quality time outdoors. The white tinted wood creates fourteen planes that are attached together, forming this nautical shape. The result is an outdoor structure, perfect for BBQ'ing.
Red lighting fixtures, or any color for that matter, bring so much dynamic energy into any dining area while modern white dining chairs keep the space very clean, allowing nature and colorful accents to stand out.
The second part to the structure houses the outdoor kitchen. The char-grill is made of brick and steel and is sure to cook up a killer BBQ!
BBQ until the sun goes down, then turn on the modern outdoor lighting. This sculpture is sure to turn into a artistic light installation after sundown...
The architect’s concept for the construction is "transparency and openness which inspires a contact between man and nature".
Hope you get to spend some time outside today... Happy Independence Day from the ESL team!
Images: Do You Love Where You Live
Today's modern chandelier often times double as an art installation. Is this good or bad? Well, how can art ever be bad? As long as you understand how to translate these designs to work in your own home, then you're able to enjoy them as the inspiration that they are.
This innovative creation (above), designed by Elisa Strozyk, is made out of small triangles of wood. Where you would normally see wood used only as a flat surface in product design, this chandelier can be bent and shaped however you like, far from a flat surface.
Innovative product design is similar to the fashion runway... Would you necessarily wear that? Similarly, would you ever put that in your home (above)? However, you can use the materials, colors and form as inspiration for selecting a modern chandelier. Also, the way it relates to the space can be a form of inspiration as well.
One very simple way to achieve these lighting-meets-art look is to go with an over sized fixtures (above two images), but keep the materials simple. Proportions can definitely be played with to make a statement in any room.
Another way to turn your modern lighting into art is to keep the furnishings and decor around it simple (above). Allow your modern chandelier, big or small to stand out.
Here's a few fun ideas for unconventional chandeliers that will surely make a statement in your home.
1. Fredrick Ramond Mondo Chandelier, 2. Maxim Chantilly Nickel Jewelry Chain Chandelier, 3. Possini Glass Orbs Pendant Chandelier, 4. Possini Corinthian Bronze Twist Chandelier, 5. Vienna Full Spectrum Chrome and Crystal Chandelier
Don't limit your sources for inspiration, just because certain products won't fit in your home (or budget), doesn't mean you can't pull ideas from them. Designing is about solving problems so there's always a way to achieve the look you want!
Images: Elisa Strozyk, Contemporist, Etsy
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