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March 28, 2008

Sitting on modern gold?

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Much of the architecture and urban planning of Chandigarh, India, was designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s (Corbusier’s Assembly Building is pictured above). As the New York Times reported last week, they also contributed a slew of furniture which, until recently, was being snatched up by international dealers who found these pieces of modernist history in city junkyards. Happily the city has now realized what was happening and taken measures to keep Chandigarh’s heritage intact.

March 26, 2008

La Fonda del Flor.

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I received an email from Flor last week about the soon-to-launch Alexander Girard collection and in the commotion that was our Semiannual Sale, I forgot to post something here. (Bad.) Then I happened upon Dwell’s site today and saw the above image and I’m mightily impressed. (Good.) The La Fonda del Sol squares are picture-perfect and Dwell blogger Christopher Bright explains that "Girard wrote a letter to Herman Miller president D.J. Depree back in 1953 expressing interest in creating a modular carpet tile system.” That time has finally come for Mr. Girard.

March 25, 2008

Kithaus on the coast.

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The DWR team is extremely proud (and, admittedly, a little jealous) of this photo. It is a shot of the Kithaus K3, DWR’s exclusive prefab structure, being installed in beautiful Big Sur, California. Now if only I can figure out a way to get invited over for cocktails at sunset...

March 20, 2008

A national Storefront.

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Founded in 1982, the Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization “committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design…Celebrating this year its 25th anniversary, Storefront remains one of New York’s only alternative platforms focusing primarily on architecture and the built environment.”

This year, Storefront is bringing the gallery beyond the confines of New York – a series of new Storefronts, described as Pop Ups, will host events and exhibitions in cities around the world, and then disappear. The first Pop Up opens April 11 in Los Angeles with Frédéric Chaubin’s CCCP-Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed exhibit in a partially disused printworks space at 7176 Sunset Boulevard. The space is near our Studio on Beverly Boulevard. CCCP opened to critical acclaim in April, 2007, in Storefront New York, and will be on view in the Pop-up Storefront L.A. for five weeks.

Posted by Susie Cordes, Proprietor, Beverly Boulevard Studio

A design edukation.

This month's Design Notes is written by James Victore, who is a graphic designer, illustrator, animator and product designer. He also teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Victore is fortunate to be doing exactly what he loves to do, but as he shares with us this month, there's no "right" way to get there.

My professional bio reads, "self-taught." This is both right and wrong. It's right in that I have no formal education and never learned the right way to do ... anything. But it is wrong because throughout my career – hell, throughout my life – I have been able to seek out and find great mentors, teachers and influencers. One of my mentors, the great poster designer Henryk Tomaszewski, once told me, "You can only teach what you know." So I teach what I know. I teach how to play. I teach how to invent. For a while, the title for the class I teach was "Knowing Your Butt from a Hole in the Ground." This is much more accurate than "Class GDD3015E." As a teacher, I use assignments that come from Tomaszewski's method of teaching abstracts: words and phrases designed to put students in a dark room and make them fumble around for the door. I sometimes feel like an evil, mustached tormentor when I give out an assignment. One exmple would be "Always the Other," or "A Big Nothing, A Little Nothing." On the surface, they mean nothing. No visual clichés or rote responses are embedded in them. But when the students really put their minds to it, they arrive at unexpected places. Places that are often personal, intuitive and meaningful.

My own education was flecked with failure. As a university freshman, I ended the first semester with a 0.04 GPA. I was asked to leave. I was sure that things would be different in New York City, and I transferred to the School of Visual Arts (SVA). I made it to the second year before I was asked to leave. It wasn't that I didn't like design, but I just couldn't find the excitement in it. Never being one to say "uncle," I pressed-on.

Today, I teach at SVA, my "almost mater," where I try to be the teacher that I needed: less a teacher, more a fire starter. I discourage my students from becoming designers. Designers tend to think alike. They even dress alike. I want my students to become good, strong citizens, independent thinkers and entrepreneurs. I try to get them to look inside themselves for answers, and not to follow trends or fashion. I try to get them to be open, and to expand their ideas of what design is and could be. I encourage them to see possibilities everywhere, love the process and read Rilke. Only when students question everything can they find ways to surprise themselves and, ultimately, their audience. But I think one of the most important things I do with my students is allow them the freedom to fail. This is important to me because when you are free to fail, you stop searching for the "right" answer. I teach design, not math. There is no right answer. No right typeface or right color. My own work is a continuous search for illogical ideas, the beautiful ugly and the confidence to put it on a page.

Being a teacher has led me to surround myself with even more hotheads, anarchists and geniuses. I will be starting a new experiment this summer with my designer/teacher pals Paul Sahre and Jan Wilker. "SahreVictoreWilker" is a weeklong design workshop in NYC. This will be the first time we all teach together and we have no idea what to expect. It will probably be a glorious mess. If it's not, we will have to try harder next year.

Victor

James Victore


March 19, 2008

A “green” light gets a Red Dot.

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Yves Béhar’s innovative and eco-friendly Leaf® Light has been awarded a 2008 Red Dot Award for Product Design. This LED light was chosen from thousands of entries in the lighting category for its functionality, ergonomics, durability and energy-saving capabilities. Based in Germany, the Red Dot Award originated in 1955 and ranks among the largest and most renowned design competitions in the world. Congratulations to Béhar and Herman Miller® for receiving this coveted award.

March 17, 2008

Phillip Lloyd Powell.

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Designer and craftsman Phillip Lloyd Powell passed away on Sunday at the age of 88. Known primarily for his handcrafted wood furniture and cabinets, Powell also incorporated found objects and materials like stone and metal into his sculptural work. The New York Times has a complete obituary here.

March 12, 2008

Julius Shulman at DWR.

Shot_of_the_nightThe DWR Los Angeles Studio was thrilled to welcome photographer Julius Shulman on February 29th. The legendary architecture photographer was in the Studio for a book signing and retrospective of his prolific work behind the lens. Shulman is responsible for some of the most sought-after architectural photography to date, with an emphasis on images of Southern California modernism. He was joined by authors Michael Stern and Alan Hess who discussed their recently penned Julius Shulman: Palm Springs. Inside, you'll find striking images of many celebrated Palm Springs addresses, from Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House to the Raymond Loewy House to John Lautner’s design for Bob Hope. About 225 fans stood patiently in line, waiting their turn to have the legendary Shulman sign a copy of his latest publication. What a rare treat.
Posted by Susie Cordes, Proprietor, Beverly Boulevard Studio

March 01, 2008

Kick it.

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The only thing that I love more than well-designed furniture, is shoes. The crazier the better. While looking to see what’s new in the sneaker market, I stumbled across these sneakers designed by DC Shoes and Commonwealth. The sneaker comes in two Maharam fabric color ways (red/black and black/white) in a fabric that was designed by Ray Eames in 1947 called “Dot Pattern.” They were released last week at Commonwealth.

Posted by David Goltl, Proprietor, Southlake Studio