Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wallpaper Love!

While browsing Marimekko's new Spring line of fabric's I came across a link to Ferm. Founded by Denmark textile designer Trine Andersen, Ferm specializes in one of a kind wallpaper designs but has also started using their textiles for diverse products such as bedding, kitchen accessories, and stationary. They even have their own line of wall decals which are a great option for renters, such as myself, who can't wallpaper their apartments. Am considering using the feather wallpaper below for an upcoming commercial design project I'm working on at school which you'll be hearing all about as the project progresses.




Polka Dots

Marimekko's Pelmanni Black fabric

P.S. I love how all of Ferm's wallpaper has the most literal names ever. I have a feeling if they had named Marimekko's print above it would have been called black squiggly lines.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gray Area Beacon

Here to report on the opening gala for Gray Area Beacon, a new multimedia gallery and the brainchild of my brilliant friend Josette (of Gray Area Gallery/Hear Gallery fame).  It was a fabulous show, and not just because of the strong showing of high-tech works by featured artist Aaron Koblin in his first San Francisco show.  Looking around and taking in the gallery, a freshly-converted SOMA garage still smelling of paint and sweat, there was a palpable feeling of collaborative accomplishment and (well-earned) pride shared by the bash's hosts as well as the intimate gathering of attendees.  Here is a perfect example of a small group of motivated people, dedicated to creating a forum to showcase something they believe in, and building it from scratch.  I was dazzled and inspired.  

Some standout works included The Sheep Market, a collaborative drawing project where Koblin collected digital drawings from countless participants after giving them only these terse instructions: Please draw a sheep facing to the left.  The result is a large scale, ever-changing projection of line drawings which is simple, yet totally hypnotic.  It was like counting sheep for the laziest insomniac.
Koblin also showed his reconstructed $100 bill, a project in which he broke down the C-note into thousands of pieces so small as to be unrecognizable as part of the original.  He sent these units out to participants who were to draw a likeness of what they saw and send it back.  An image of the bill, reconstructed from its new constituents, was on exhibition as part of the show.

Also showing was a breathtaking light show of a map, exploring Koblin's interest in technology and human systems.  The display simply tracked flight patterns across America throughout a day.  But the more I looked at it, the less it seemed like what it was.  The flashing lights and dynamic, organic rhythm could easily have been neurons firing in a baby's brain, or a fluorescent spiderweb being spun at hyper-speed.

As far as I know, Koblin's main focus with this piece was on the human level, but it's one more experience that reminds me that the same forces that operate on a micro level govern the macro as well. 

(While I'm on this tangent, check out the short film The Powers of Ten  made by Charles and Ray Eames.  I just watched it again and I still enjoy it as much as I did in the 4th grade when I first saw it!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not just for the boys anymore!

Barbecue-manning, grass-mowing, inability to ask directions... the growing of a fine arrangement of facial hair and the subsequent appreciation thereof used to be relegated to the territory of these other fine pastimes, a place known as Boys' Club.  But no longer!  Everything's coming up moustachoied as we seek out new ways for all people, regardless of testosterone level, to incorporate some whiskers into their lives...

Start 'em young!  Whitney's dad exhibiting proper moustache maintenance as his wee daughter looks on, probably making a mental note to dig up this pic in 25 years and use it on a blog...

Confining one's moustache to one's upper lip is so 1973...

We found this quirky little book on Dali by Dali (co-written in some part I'm sure by his moustache) at the Melrose Flea Market in LA.   He poses questions to himself and then answers them (perhaps foreshadowing David Byrne's hilarious self-interview circa Stop Making Sense?).  The back of the book reads "Warning! This book is preposterous"

But preposterousness is the spice of life, as they say, so go forth, and seek a moustache of your very own!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let them eat cake!

After a lovely cappuccino with my mother at CafĂ© Triste in North Beach I stumbled upon an awe inspiring cake store. Not your average bakery – I Dream of Cake specializes in custom made cakes that look like they belong in a museum rather then in your stomach. My favorite was the Napoleon Bonaparte bust but I must admit I was equally enamored with the polka dot cake!

It's a little tricky to see from this angle but the birds and flowers in the window display were made from marzipan!

Daily Door

Saturday, April 12, 2008

1.618, or Ain't it Hip to be a Square?

"Mathematics is the majestic structure conceived by man to grant him comprehension of the universe" --Le Corbusier

Since antiquity, artists, architects and math freaks alike have been transfixed by the Golden Ratio, known also as the Golden Mean or the Divine Proportion.  In a nutshell, the ratio is said to encompass those shapes found in nature as well as the world of geometry which are undeniably pleasing to behold.  This ratio, 1.618 to be specific, has been used to quantify the beauty of nature, as well as ensure the transcendency of man-made art.  

The painter and architect Le Corbusier was so enamored with this figure and its relationship with the proportions of the human body that he extrapolated it into an entire manifesto, The Modulor.  He envisioned it being used to design the world of the future, in which all structures would mirror the proportions of this Golden number, and thus our human grandeur would be reflected all around us.

Le Corbusier consciously used these relationships in many of his latter-day architectural and furniture designs as a way to strengthen their visual appeal.   Many of these works are now considered archetypal and classic.  The concept of the Golden Ratio can also be spotted in the work of some of his contemporaries, such as Mondrian, Mies Van der Rohe, and composer Bela Bartok.

It's amazing to think that there are formulaic reasons behind our conception of something so seemingly mysterious as beauty.  But who's to say that the underlying relationships that hold it all together aren't just as beautiful?


Friday, April 11, 2008

My city home

Just arrived home from Peter Light's birthday celebration atop his rooftop terrace overlooking Dolores Park...  as the sun was setting on this warm evening, I just admired my enviable 360 degree view of SF-- the Mission, Noe Valley, Dolores Park, the Safeway at Church and Market, vintage font aglow in red neon , downtown, the Bay Bridge, little houses tucked into the hillsides, all nestled in the warm pillow of pastel dusk.  I just have to say, what an amazingly beautiful city we live in.  Really.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doing our part to fortify the economy

In celebration of her newly acquired tax refund, Whitney decided to take us girlies out to Amelie, a wine bar in my hood we'd been meaning to patronize for ages.

I've walked by it millions of times and what always caught my eye were the vintage movie theater seats lining the walls in the front of the place.  It had a very warm and cheerful ambience, and was quite crowded for early on a Thursday evening-- next time I'd definitely like to go a bit earlier still and grab, I dunno, a seat, and maybe some munchables; there was a cheese platter I was eyeing that looked mighty scrumptious.
Worth noting was the wire mobile hanging from the ceiling over the bar, which displayed well-wishes and what I took to be inspirational quotes from patrons handwritten on pieces of paper.  Also not to be missed (and I almost did) was a passage from Victor Hugo's "The Legend of the Centuries" printed on the ceiling over the dining room.  The passage, printed in the original French, alludes to alcohol as a universal emotional soother (and by soother, Hugo surely meant cure-all).  Please enjoy my Star Wars-like photo, above.


Daily Door

Monday, April 7, 2008

John James Audubon

One of my new favorite websites features the work of John James Audubon. It's estimated that Audubon painted nearly 500 of the 700 Northern American bird species which existed during his lifetime. Nearly two centuries later his works are still often cited as inspiration for modern artists. Below are a few of my current favorites.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Civic Center Farmers Market

Visual inspiration from the Civic Center Farmers Market....

Daily Door back in SF

Fragrance Lab LA

One of the favorite surprises we stumbled upon on 3rd street was Le Labo fragrance lab -- a newly excavated nook of olfactory splendor.  The interior is airy and spacious, especially with respect to its modest dimensions, and the decor evokes a sort of French/Industrial apothecary with a leaning toward botanical minimalism.  The shop features ten signature perfume blends and offers visitors the opportunity to custom-blend their own fragrances from all-natural essences.  I would have happily hung out all afternoon pretending to pore over the infinite nuances of vetiver and iris just to spend a couple hours among the storied-seeming antiquated steel fixtures and reclaimed wood flooring.. can't wait to visit again when we've got more time to stop and smell the Fleur d'Oranger.


LA Food Court

After a long morning of shopping, a couple of hungry-eyed girlies were hungry for something else-- namely, lunch.  We stopped in at the swanky and mod Food Court LA. Despite being knee-deep in setup for a private event taking place that evening, as well as being closed for lunch service, we were seated by its most gracious and amiable, if not charmingly disorganized, proprietor, Richard Jhin.  We shared a delicious lunch of contemporary, Asian-inspired California cuisine, punctuated by the best worst service either of us had ever experienced.  Between overseeing setup for a tasting party thrown by the sultanas of saline supremacy, collectively known as Saltistry, and messing up and then over-correcting our order countless times, Jhin still managed to hold down the fort, whip up some kind of Bacardi milkshake to sip on, and keep us in stitches until the bill came (on which we were, for the record, overcharged by about 30 dollars, but that was just another excuse for more hilarious interaction with Jhin).


p.s. Check out the amazing gourmet salts from the ladies of Saltistry-- from Smoked Chili to Genmaicha-- mmm....