Sunday, December 05, 2004

My Favorite Things .....

Quality and a focus on craftsmanship. Hans Wegner's classic J16 rocker, has the danish refined influence with a distinct Shaker flavor. The J16 is manufacturered in Denmark by Fredericia Furniture and available in the US and Canada from Hightower.

Here is a great book on Danish Design, I recommend it.

Here is what the professionals have to say about it...

The New York Times
How has Danish design remained so dependably original over the last century? A new book, Danish Chairs, by Noritsugu Oda, shows how the simplest things can bare the soul of a whole culture. The book's preface explains how Danish designers have worked to simplify life by building comfortable, useful, beautiful and affordable items. The Danish chairs are photographed on four sides like pure sculpture, which will be enough to make Arne Jacobson fans swoon. The Metropolitan chair was conceived 40 years ago by two craftsman, Aksel Bender Madson and Ejner Larsen, but its complex curves are newly fashionable. Although many of the 200 designs in the book are no longer made, reproductions and descendants live on.

Modernism Magazine
The greatest revelation of Danish Chairs (Chronicle) by Noritsugu Oda is that Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner were only the tip of the iceberg.
Great Danes in chair design were many and this book includes unfamiliar names like Helge Vestergaard Jensen, designer of an extraordinary 1955 nylon-cord "racket" chair, and Edvard and Tove Kindt-Larsen, prolific in Denmark from the 1930's through '50's, but unknown in the U.S.; variants on familiar designs, like Poul Kjaerhom's esay chair of 1971, a wooden-legged version of this more common steel-and-leather designs; and rarely-seen pieces by well-known designers such as Finn Juhl's extravagantly shaped pelican chair of 1940.

A preface by Takako Murakami, elegantly translated from the Japanese, goes a long way toward explaining how the Japanese bring such a fresh and clear eye to the subject of chairs. Their fascination with the Western furniture form seem only natural when one considers that the chair made its appearance in Japan only forty years ago.

Oda, a professor of arts and crafts at Hokkaido University, documents the spare perfection of Danish chair design from the early twentieth century to the present decade in uniformly lit. 360-degree views of some 200 chairs, accompanied by the author's schematic line drawings.

Why the Danes? Denmark in the twentieth century possessed all the necessary conditions for the development of excellence in furniture design, argues Murakami: "a far-reaching understanding of traditional woodworking and modern engineering techniques, the presence of highly trained craftspeople...the unparalleled creativity of its designers and their recognition of consumer's needs and desires." On perusing Danish Chairs, we can only marvel at a small nation's consistency in producing cultural artifacts of such exceptional craftmanship, beauty, and utility.

Denmark has long led the way in twentieth-century furniture design, producing beautiful pieces distinguished by excellent craftsmanship. Danish innovations with the chair, in particular, represent many highly pleasing accords between function, comfort and style. The book Danish Chairs gathers together more than 200 premier examples of twentieth-century Danish chair design, offering along the way a wealth of inspiration for designers, decorators and architects. The featured designers include Arne Jacobsen, well known for his Ant and Egg Chairs; Hans J. Wegner, designer of some 200 chairs, including the Peacock and Ox; and Finn Juhl, best known for his Chieftain Chair.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"Poetic insight will remain fundamental to the exaltation of the individual." Jack Lenor Larsen.

From My Library....

Massive Change is a modern illustrated primer on the new inventions, technologies, and events that are affecting the human race worldwide. The book is a part of a broader research project by Bruce Mau Design and the Institute without Boundries is intended to provoke debate and discussion about the future of design culture, broadly defined as the "familiar objects and techniques that are transforming our lives."

In essays, interviews, and provocative imagery aimed at a broad audience, Massive Change explores the changing force of design in the contemporary world, and in doing so expands the definition of design to include the built environment, transportation technologies, revolutionary materials, energy and information systems, and living organisms.

The book is divided into 11 heavily illustrated sections covering major areas of change in contemporary society - such as urbanism and architecture, the military, health and living, and wealth and politics. Each section intersperses intriguing documentary images with a general introductory essay, extended captions, and interviews with leading thinkers, including engineers, designers, philosophers, scientists, architects, artists, and writers. Concluding the book is a graphic timeline of significant inventions and world events from 10,000 B.C. to the present.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

AIA Los Angeles - 2004 Presidential Honorees

My congratulations go out to:

AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal
Jon Jerde, FAIA The Jerde Partnership

The City Legacy Award
Deborah Sussmann & Paul Prejza Sussman/Prejza & Company, Inc.
Jon Jerde, FAIA The Jerde Partnership

Building Team of the Year
Ric Thorpe - MTA
Eric Olson - Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
Ki Suh Park, FAIA, FAICP - Gruen Associates
J.F. Finn III, AIA- Gensler
Leslie Elwood - Metro Gold Line
Foothill Extension Project
Doug Duplisea - Kiewit Washington Joint Venture
Robert Holmquist - Parsons USA
Wallace Bartelt - McLean & Schulz
Lauren Mélendrez, Assoc. AIA - Meléndrez

City Rebuilder
Wade Killefer, AIA & Barbara Flammang, AIA Killefer Flammang Architects

Building Coalitions Award
Thom Mayne, AIA - Morphosis
James A. McConnell - LAUSD
Roy Romer - LAUSD
Jeffrey Rudolph - California Science Center

Good Government Award
Craig Perkins, Susan Munves
City of Santa Monica, Environmental and Public Works

Honorary AIA/Los Angeles
Chris Tosdevin, Hon. AIA/LA bulthaup corporation
Danette Riddle, Hon. AIA/LA DMJM

Service to the Community Award
Arthur Golding - Arthur Golding & Associates
Lewis McAdams, President Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR)
Councilmember Ed Reyes - City of Los Angeles
Rob Kubomoto - LA County Dept. of Public Works

Service to the Community Award
Frances Anderton - KCRW

Educator of the Year
Los Angeles Forum for Architecture
and Urban Design

Kazys Varnelis
Craig Hodgetts, AIA
Ben Caffey, AIA

Public Open Space Award
Howard Troller - Troller - Mayer | Associates
Cynthia Burlingham - UCLA Hammer Museum

From My Library ...

Published on the occasion of a major international traveling exhibition organized by the U.S. Library of Congress and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany (holders of the two richest Eames collections in the world), this comprehensive volume is a testament to the Eameses' belief that good design could improve people's lives.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, the prolific husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames designed furniture, buildings, exhibitions, and interiors, and made films. They are perhaps best known for the form-fitting chairs that were mass-produced using the same techniques the Eameses developed in their first apartment.

Taking a multifaceted approach to their multifaceted careers, this comprehensive, clothbound volume with French folds includes a filmography, making clear the pair's profound influence on the visual vernacular of the 20th century.

AIA Awards Announced

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the recipients of the 2004 Business Week/Architectural Records (BW/AR) Awards. Given annually, the BW/AR Awards honor architects and clients who best utilize good design to achieve important objectives for organizations such as marketing products and services, attracting and maintaining a high-quality student body or workforce, improving the health and welfare of employees, and uplifting the immediate environment.

This year's recipients consist of three government facilities, five cultural/educational projects, and two aid organizations. They range from a community center in LA's Skid Row to an iron studio in rural North Carolina, from a martial arts facility in Japan to the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, but at the core they all share one attribute—they understand how good design can achieve important organizational objectives.

The projects were evaluated by a jury of ten consisting of prominent architects, design professionals, and business leaders. The members of the 2004 BW/AR jury are Moshe Safdie, FAIA, principal, Moshe Safdie and Associates; Betsy Z. Cohen, chairman and chief executive officer, Resource Asset Investment Trust; Rand Elliott, FAIA, principal, Elliott + Associates Architects; Douglas Gardner, former president, Urban Development Group, Catellus Development Corporation; Lee Green, director of Corporate Identity and Design, IBM Corporation; Paul Herzan, president, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Frances P. Huppert, FAIA, senior vice president, Design & Construction, Empire State Development Corporation; Marianne McKenna, FRAIC, principal, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects; Paula S. Wallace, president, Savannah College of Art and Design; and Allison G. Williams, FAIA, managing principal, Ai Architecture/San Francisco.

The recipients of the 2004 Business Week/Architectural Record Awards are:

Project: Humane Society/SPCA of San Antonio and Bexar County, San Antonio.
Architect: Billy A. Lawrence, AIA, Alamo Architects, Inc., San Antonio
Client: Humane Society/SPCA of San Antonio and Bexar County, San Antonio
Shelter Design Consultant: Connolly Architects, Inc., Austin, Texas

Whereas most shelters are dark, noisy, depressing, and located on the periphery of town, the San Antonio SPCA selected a prime retail area. The resulting facility is spacious, welcoming, and uplifting, encouraging repeat visits and volunteerism. Adoptions are up 95 percent and the return rate has dropped to 2.5 percent. Disease levels have fallen significantly due to quick turnover and communal accommodations. Best of all, because the older animals are placed in the front, three times as many adult dogs and cats are now being adopted.

Project: Limerick County Hall, Co. Limerick, Ireland
Architect: Karen McEvoy, Merritt Bucholz, Bucholz McEvoy Architects, Dublin
Client: Limerick County Council, Limerick, Ireland
This government facility was created with the objective of creating a new vision of local government. The building provides clear and efficient public access to the local government, consumes virtually no energy from non-renewable resources, reduces CO2 emissions and energy usage; bathes employees in abundant natural lighting; provides natural ventilation; and is a model for other governmental organizations.

Project: MoMA QNS, Long Island City, N.Y.
Architect: Scott D. Newman, AIA, Cooper, Robertson & Partners, New York City
Client: The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Associate Architect: Michael L. Maltzan, AIA, Michael Maltzan Architecture
The design of this project had to accomplish three goals: support preservation and research activities for 25 years; accommodate blockbuster exhibits without major structural changes; and provide a strong visual statement. MoMA QNS did all of that, plus it started the neighborhood’s evolution from industrial neighborhood to burgeoning arts community. The goal of 1-2,000 visitors per day is consistently exceeded, and during major exhibits visitors can reach 4,000. In addition, MoMA’s goals were achieved months within schedule and under budget.

Project: Israeli Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem
Architect: Jack Diamond, Hon. FAIA, Diamond and Schmitt Architects, Inc., Toronto, Canada with Kolker, Kolker Epstein Architects, Jerusalem
Client: Israeli Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem

The 430,000 square foot facility was designed to accommodate administrative and state ceremonial requirements services which were formerly scattered in a series of single-story huts. The Foreign Ministry wanted the building to exude a stately and ceremonial function, yet also be a symbol of secure office design in the Middle East. Despite the fundamental need for security, the building achieves a feeling of openness and transparency, while distinguishing itself as an elegant and dignified state building.

Project: Iron Studio, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C.Architect: Frank Harmon, FAIA, Frank Harmon Architect, Raleigh, N.C.
Client: Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C.

This rural school's popular iron program had outgrown its ramshackle studio. The new 5,500-square-foot studio is programmed for designing, fabricating, and finishing iron objects weighing three ounces to three tons. Within the first year of operation enrollment increased by 100 percent and future courses are fully-booked. Additionally, the Iron Studio has increased Penland's visibility and raised the level of expectation for other craft disciplines within the school. Sturdy, practical, and deceptively simple, the Iron Studio celebrates the craft of iron-making in a noble way.

Project: Finn Center, Community School of Music and Arts, Mountain View, CA
Architect: Mark Cavagnero Associates, San Francisco, Calif.
Client: Community School of Music and Arts

After 36 years in temporary facilities, the Community School of Music and Arts finally has a permanent facility that integrates its programs and spaces, providing 17 private music studios, several large art classrooms, ceramics studios, an exhibition gallery, exterior performance areas, and a 204-seat concert hall. Boasting inspiring light-filled classrooms and studios for art and acoustically exceptional practice and performance spaces for music, the building is a "blank canvas" for the school's creative programs. With a new building that has caught the attention of the surrounding community, the Community School has seen even greater interest in its programs. In the eyes of the client, the Finn Center, in function and presence, reflects the collaboration that has allowed it to further its mission of Arts for All.

Project: Ehime Prefectural Budokan, Matsuyama City, Ehime, Japan
Architect: Michio Sugawara, Hon. FAIA, Ishimoto Architectural & Engineering Firm, Inc., Tokyo
Client: Ehime Prefecture, Ehime, Japan

The goals for this martial arts facility was to increase visitors, improve international appeal, boost the local economy, and create a landmark facility that would be a monument to culture, friendship, and local traditions. The number of annual visitors, previously registered at 21,745, has increased to 146,546. By contracting with local vendors, the project generated nearly $13 million for the community. In addition, in the four months following completion, 20 large events were held in the facility, including one international-level sport game and one national-level convention.

Project: James M. Wood Community Center, Los Angeles
Architect: Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA, Lehrer Architects LA, Los Angeles
Client: SRO Housing Corporation, Los Angeles

This project, a repeat collaboration between architect, builder, and client, is the sole community space for the social, recreational, and nutritional needs of LA's Skid Row residents. The project uses natural light and color to engage the user and transform the tough urban context. The architecture serves to honor the homeless population, honor the street, and explore both the humane and the monumental.

Project: Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Seattle
Architect: Robert Hull, FAIA and Ron Rochon, AIA, The Miller/Hull Partnership, LLP
Client: City of Seattle, Seattle Center

The primary function of this new exhibition hall is to promote community and a sense of place for nearly one million visitors per year. The previous building and plaza sat isolated along the southern edge of the green and blocked the view of a nearby theatre. The desire to open up the view and increase available space led to a "subterranean" design which pushed the building into the ground and created a public rooftop pavilion. The environmentally-sensitive design was built for a LEED Certified rating reducing its impact on the community's water and energy resources, and has provided a rich open space for community events and festivals.

Project: Britomart Transport Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Architects: Greg Boyden, JASMAX Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand and
Mario Madayag, Mario Madayag Architecture Ltd. (MMA), Auckland, New Zealand
Client: Auckland City Council Britomart Project Group, Auckland, New Zealand
Preservation Architect: Salmond Reed Architects, Auckland, New Zealand

The City Council wanted to create a central underground transport station; increase the desirability and image of public transportation; upgrade harbor and gulf ferries and buses; and redesign terminals near the new train station. Recognizing that downtown Auckland urgently needed revitalization and the original central train station was inconveniently located, the City Council decided to remedy both ailments simultaneously. The resulting design successfully integrates an existing heritage building, the world's only underground diesel train station, a "glasshouse" that links the two projects, and a spirited redevelopment of surrounding streetscapes and public spaces.

SFMOMA hosts 10th Anniversary celebration:

January 18, 2005 marks the tenth anniversary of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's (SFMOMA)'s Mario Botta designed building on Third Street.

An instant architectural landmark from its opening in 1995, the building has dramatically enhanced the San Francisco skyline and anchors the South of Market neighborhood as a burgeoning arts center. Its grand scale has allowed the Museum to mount more exhibitions, hold more education programs, host more visitors, and welcome more members than previously possible in the old location on Van Ness Avenue.

The Botta building also allows the Museum to highlight its own collection that has been growing over the past decade, a collection that is equally as extraordinary as the building itself. "The grandeur of our new building inspired the institution to acquire extensively and impressively over the past decade," commented SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. "Since the opening we've developed one of the nation's leading collections of modern and contemporary art. We've acquired several landmark works such as Robert Rauschenberg's Erased De Kooning Drawing, 1953; Les Valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952, by Rene Magritte; Louise Bourgeois's The Nest, 1994; and Splitting: Four Corners, 1974, by Gordon Matta-Clark, among many others."

SFMOMA opens its doors to the public to celebrate the tenth anniversary with a special community day on Saturday, January 22.