The Americas Cup trophy is the oldest perpetual sports prize in history, competition has traditionally occurred around every four years with the USA holding the cup for the majority of that time. We all know Australia were the first to snatch it away with Ben Lexcen’s winged keel, a win by design and the sciences. Bob Hawke famously said the day after “any boss who sacks anyone today for not turning up is a bum”. Good luck to New Zealand in their campaign and better luck next time to the UK team in becoming the challenger and hopefully taking the cup back home.
*UPDATE: Well done to the Kiwi’s for taking the cup home after winning 8 races to 1. I’m looking forward to visiting NZ soon to see the cup and possibly the next series of races. Sounds like there may be some huge design changes afoot.
I must admit that I like a bit of tech. This is the Bjarke Ingels designed Friday lock, a collaboration between Friday Labs and BIG Ideas. Basically it’s a battery operated automated lock that can be retrofitted to the inside of most doors. The external face remains as is with a key however the inside snib is swapped out for this unit. When you get close to the door with your mobile phone the door lock opens up providing access. When you leave; the door locks behind you and it can also provide temporary access to guests, cleaners, workmen etc remotely. If either your phone or lock battery die then you revert to using a key, simple. Many will say why bother but I say why not. Any of these things that modernise a home are a good thing. Its fine for our cars to be modernised so why not our homes.
This is the recent Netflix produced TV documentary series called Abstract that takes an in-depth look into a number of designers from around the globe. It got my attention with architect Bjarke Ingles of world renowned Danish firm BIG. Bjarke is an interesting cat who’s had a meteoric rise in the industry with some of the largest commissions granted to a relative new comer. He talks about this and one of the reasons he believes he is able do so… building cheaply. The show also follows the process of his expansion into New York City along with the coveted Serpentine Pavilion commission in London. Great viewing.
Some others include Tinker Hatfield, the head shoe designer for Nike who was the man behind the Back to the Future 2 concept boot which was recently developed into the automatic lace-up EARL, soon to be released. Ralph Giles, head designer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and parent company of Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Lancia & Masarati. Giles is a full-on rev head with a keen eye and loads of respect for the classics.
Excellent viewing and I’m looking forward to watching the rest: Interior Designer Isle Crawford, Stage Designer Es Devlin, Graphic Designer Paula Scher, Illustrator Christopher Niemann & Platon, Photographer.
Designed in 2003 by Tokyo based studio YOY, Naomi Ono & Yuki Yamamoto created something pretty special here. You can see how this works from the images below or if you can’t be bothered then read these instructions: Step 1. Buy the chair/artwork 2. Hang it on the wall 3. Take it down when needed and lean it against the wall 4. Sit. It is one of the most original pieces of design I have ever seen. Options come as typical chair, arm chair and a sofa all styled on the Louis XV chair, a classic theme that has stood the test of time. Elastic fabric over an aluminium frame, the armchair is 1500h x 1100w x 40mm deep… yep that is only 4cm deep. Distributed by Innermost in HK & London and available in Australia through ECC Lighting & Furniture. Links to all those sites are there. Images curtesy YOY and I’m pretty sure this was first posted on Dezeen a long time ago. More images below.
In renovation projects one of the first steps is to undertake a measured survey. We will not accept another architect’s measurements as they have no guarantee. We visit the site and draw some rough sketches of the floor plans, we will then add measurements to locate walls, openings, windows and doors, floor coverings and fixtures and ceiling heights. In parallel we generally need a land surveyor to provide an accurate site plan to locate the title boundary, slope of the land, building envelope, overall heights, distances to neighbours and locations of their windows, doors and features. We will then take all of these measurements and produce an accurate existing conditions floor plan and elevations which in-turn become the base from which we start designing. Ultimately these are a part of the documentation for the proposed works. A full knock down or greenfield site requires fewer of these steps but we always need to know what we’re dealing with.
Now lets look to the future for a moment… READ MORE >
I was talking to a friend recently and we both admitted that our sites had a lot of space posts, it’s just too interesting to ignore. The Mars Curiosity rover has been travelling for over a year now and it’s clocked up 3 miles on the red planet. Every now and then the operators do a bit of a selfie check to see how she is doing, pretty cool. This is also a little reference to my original website that had a Mars landscape as the background. It’s a little more sophisticated now.
Okay, I promise this will be the last boat entry in my Journal for a while however I could not resist this one for a couple of reasons: the Aqua Riva by Marc Newson is just so cool and also because last week we lost Carl Riva at age 95; the designer of the original Riva.
Designed in 2010, these remakes were a very limited edition of only 20 units. Based very closely to the original with the styling, shape, colours and the interior spaces. The boat is 10m long, fits 6 people and no surface was left untouched, both the original and the remake are equally desirable. If you browse Marc’s website or if you’ve followed his design work; he takes a pretty special item, does a work over, adds the words ‘by Marc Newson’ and they become iconic and increase in value considerably. In 2017 a second hand model of this Aqua Riva by Marc Newson was available in Monaco for $635K, let assume the new ones were over $1M. More images below.
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This is the mega or giga-yacht called WHY, designed in 2009 by Luca Bassani of Wally in collaboration with Hermes, the fashion house. Inventive in many ways but most notably in it’s shape, it is almost as wide as it is long. This unique form provides a massive volume and added stability, I found some articles online showing scale model water testing as well as a 1:1 mock up for volume and interior studies. The entire roof was designed with integrated solar panelling to reduce fuel consumption, keep in mind these types of boats can cost between $20 – 200K to fill their diesel tanks. There were 2 sizes being explored including the WHY 58 x 38 (meaning length in meters by width) pictured here along with an alternative size WHY 37 x 24. There is something amazing about Luca’s design work on such a large yacht like WHY in that he manages to make these things look beautifully simple despite their complexity. The project was scuttled but it’s still worth a look.
Harry Seidler AC OBE (1923 – 2006) was one of Australia’s most successful, prolific and avant-guard architects. He studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and worked with Alvar Aalto & Josef Albers. Siedler and his projects were awarded dozens of accolades in both Australia and abroad including the AIA Gold Medal in 1976 and RIBA Gold medal in 1996. Harry was also one of the founding members of the Australian Architecture Association. His wife Penelope Seidler AM currently heads up the firm Harry Seidler and Associates that is still going strong.
Harry was a great businessman and would, apparently, regularly take apartments in his buildings as payment. Harry and Penelope lived in one of the apartments in Ithaca Gardens until they built the Harry and Penelope Seidler House in Killara (1967), another architectural gem. It is considered that Harry brought apartment living to Australia and also helped instigate the strata title ownership model as opposed to company title which is still most common in the US. Company title is something the Nightingale apartments are reintroducing today.
Some of Seidler’s most memorable buildings include Australia Square, Grosvenor Place, the Aquarius Apartments, Milson’s Point apartments and their current offices, Blues Point Tower apartments, Rose Seidler House and the Shell Building in Melbourne.
This is the entry canopy to the ‘Ithaca Gardens’ apartment building in Elizabeth Bay (1960). I lived here until 2002 and it was a beautiful modernist building to inhabit, located in the heart of Sydney commanding spectacular views of the harbour it didn’t get much better. The roof top is common property for laundry facilities and clothes drying so the concept of penthouse apartments hogging the top floors was avoided. The design of this canopy is also replicated at the rear of the building for the parking areas with the most extraordinary piece of engineering to create a column free run of cantilevered and folded roofs that is well worth a look.
Barry Mcgee: The Stars Were Aligned 2004, Kaldor Public Art Projects No 14 held at the Metropolitan Meat Market Gallery space, Melbourne.
The entry to this exhibition was a total mind bend, by all appearances you enter through the facade or a normal old Victorian building into the foyer of the gallery, a standard looking door off to the right provides access to the exhibition space and all seems normal. Once in the main space you look back and you’ve just walked out of the top of an upturned truck. The chaos has begun and you’re a part of it. Anarchy all around, it appears as though you’ve stumbled upon the remains of a riot with a few sketchy anatomic graffiti artists still lingering, the space filled with the art, sounds and smoke of street artist Barry Mcgee aka Twist. Probably the best graffiti show that i’ve ever seen in a gallery space, if it ever comes around again go and see it. Rhys Lee’s donut mountain show at Helen Gory Gallery in Prahran was also way up there.
I am surprised by how many public arts projects have affected me over the years and I’m only just noticing recently they were all commissioned by John Kaldor and his Kaldor Public Art Projects. Some previous posts in my Journal include Our Magic Hour by Uno Rondinone + Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Coast.
Designed by Maarten Baas in 2002 for his degree show, reading about the chair on Dezeen; Moooi picked up Baas at this show and started production immediately, how is that for hitting the ground running. The chairs are literally burnt in the factory, an interesting fact about the structural capacity of timber; it can withstand fire better then steel as timber will char it’s outer layers and holds its strength internally whereas steel melts, bends and generally fails in high heat.
So back to Baas and the Smoke chair. These are classically styled chairs based on the Louis XV chairs, they are charred then coated with a hi-gloss epoxy resin which protects the burns and also creates a stunning finish. The upholstery is then installed in matte black to round out the product, check out below to see some detail shots. I’ve been fascinated with Maarten Baas’ designs including his clock series, refer to a previous post here, also check out Moooi here or Maarten Baas’ website here. Baas currently has a show exhibiting at the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands that is also coinciding with a book launch as a retrospective of his work. The book is called Hide & Seek.
Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was one of Europe’s most well remembered and greatest architects. He built homes, apartment buildings, churches, town halls and community buildings across Finland. The Experimental House (1953) is pretty self explanatory, it was designed and constructed by Aalto as a summer retreat on a island in Finland. A courtyard house with very controlled views of the lake around it. The courtyard itself has over 53 different type of bricks and patterning, his experimentations were done to see how they appeared in different light and also to see how they aged in this harsh environment.
Aalto was also well know for his sculptural Aalto or Savoy Vases, produced to this day by Iittala Finland. Another icon is the Aalto Stool the classic three legged solid timber stool also produced to this day by Artek. It has since been appropriated by IKEA and produced en-masse with total disregard. The original graces many Apple Stores.
He also built a timer boat for himself call the ‘Nemo Propheta in Patria’ a latin phrase that translates, no man is a prophet in his own land. Since his death the boat was left decaying in a yard until the Aalto Museum held a world wide competition in 1996 to design a boat shed on the Island near the home. This was won by two Denmark students and since constructed, i’ll look through my old files and find my submission and post it here soon.
Check out a couple more images of the courtyard below.
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The Melbourne International Design Week is coming up and runs from 16 – 26 March. Get into the NGV to see a myriad of exhibitions, talks and shows. As Donny lil’ hands would say; it’s going to be great, great, just the greatest ever. The NGV is a big driver along with Open House Melbourne, the Robin Boyd Foundation, the AIA’s Emerging Practices group, RMIT, Melbourne Uni, Monash & Parlour. Art galleries around town will also be hosting events, the image above is a work by Adam Goodrum that won the Rigg Design Prize in 2015 and will be exhibiting at Sophie Gannon Gallery along with a bunch of others for the Designwork 01 show.
This is a little bit art, a little architecture, a little lighting and mostly just explosion. I am not sure who produced this or who posted it first but I see this stuff around on the interwebs and save them just out of interest. I titled the image as Jocshi & Kaehr so they may be the designer but a search found nothing so I may be wrong. Anyway I think this image is amazing for its short lived beauty, as far as I know these are real and the photo is a split second capture before the lamp and shade are totally destroyed along with some of the room. I love good lighting and I love thinking when its outside of the box.
This is the Phillip Island House by DCM. I like to post buildings that influence our work and I usually stick to international players but this one is pretty special. DCM have been one of the most important architecture firms in Australia and also internationally with some of their more recent gems including the new Australian Pavilion in Venice and the Stonehenge Visitors Centre in the UK.
Closer to home is the Phillip Island House, designed as a monastic holiday retreat it is a simple structure that packs a big punch with a sunken bunker like courtyard. The location is awe inspiring, on approach the building is mostly invisible with some very ordered planning. Minimalism to an extreme, the house looks like a dream space for quite contemplation.
If you want to see more on this, buy the Houses book by DCM. Also in 2016 the ABC released a brilliant documenaty titled The Diplomat, the Artist & the Suit, well worth a search and view.
While its still summer I thought I add one more boat. This is the Tinnie 10 Side by Side by J Ruiter. I love this guys work, check his website and you’ll see more on this stunning little dinghy, also a dune buggy, a snowmobile, motorbike and a bunch of other very cool items. He is a product designer with a bent for motor vehicles and he tackles all his projects by taking the original idea, paring them back to see what is necessary. Design at it’s best. See more at his website here. via Uncrate. More images below after the jump.