Archive for October, 2008

Modern on the Inside at the A&D Building

By danielle


The staff of the hip San-Fran based magazine Dwell and our dear friend Linda Foa put together a fabulous event at New York’s A&D Building last week. Fittingly, MODERN, was the theme of the night. We got to listen to (and later meet) the one-and-only Sam Grawe, whose insightfulness is as impressive as his stature. Unfortunately, his seminar went up against one presented by Amber Bravo, Dwell’s Editor Emeritus. We ran up to her floor (she was speaking in the Smeg showroom) just as it was ending. We did stick around for a few words with Amber and learned that she is moving to the world of freelance, while still contributing to the magazine. She also gave us the low-down on the “101,” a popular section that appears periodically in Dwell and gives a tutorial on various subjects. Her piece on landscaping will be out in April. Finally, we also sat in on Paige Rien’s discussion on modern design for the long haul. She’s the designer from HGTV’s show “Hidden Potential.” And, if you have read our blog enough, you will know that we love swag. So we have to give a shout out to A.P.C for the great, oversized bags.

We’re already looking forward to our next trip to the A&D Building for the Taste of T – November 6, 2008 – with the New York Times.


Sorry for the blurry shot of Sam. Since the room was so packed, the extra zoom camera option was needed.

La Dolce Vita: Venice

By danielle


“La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “City of Water”, “City of Bridges” …. whatever you want to call it – I am sure we can all agree that Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We had the opportunity to spend a day (approx 6 hrs) in Venice and take in as much of this fabulous place as possible. We got lost in the narrow, windy streets, gazed at the amazing architecture as we rode the Vaporetto and sampled some of Italy’s best bellinis. For our loyal readers, we documented some of our must-see stops along the way:

Stop 1: Orsoni Foundry
This hidden gem is nestled behind high old walls and a large beautiful wooden door. We are lucky enough to know the lovely lady in charge of their PR (thanks JoAnn) and toured around this nineteenth-century glass furnace (aka the foundry of Angelo Orsoni) with the maestro himself, Lucio Orsoni. Although we were not able to take shots of the furnace, we did snap a few great ones of the unbelievable color library, which houses over 3,000 tones and shades. We met the talented workers and watched as they made each piece by hand. Lucio also gave us a peak into two of the five rooms that make up the Domus Orsoni (a magnificent B&B located on the premises. All of the rooms are enhanced with mosaic works by various Italian artists). We also met one of the students from the mosaic workshop (oh yes, the foundry has it all) who said it was the best experience of her life.


Stop 2: Arsenale
Curated by American-born Aaron Betsky, “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building” is getting mixed reviews from the A&D community. We, being the positive bloggers that we are, found a few of the Arsenale’s 23 installations that tickled our fancy including the captivating entrance designed by Rockwell Group, in collaboration with Jones + Kroloff. Called the “Hall of Fragments,” the display is intended to connect visitors to an alternative architectural world and is done through an immersive and interactive environment constructed from iconic films. A shout out to Asymptote, the Manhattan-based practice established by Hani Rashid and Lise Ann Couture, who created “Prototyping the Future: Three Houses for the Subconscious.” The installation, conceived digitally, is comprised of three large sculptural fiberglass objects (forms that are neither house nor furniture) that are meant to inspire and provide an idea for future dwellings. One of our favorite exhibits was “S1NGLETOWN,” designed by Droog Design. If you couldn’t guess it from the name, the installation focused on the world of contemporary singles and presented eight different individuals including: the independent widow, the recently divorced and the global opportunist. We didn’t get a picture of it, but our favorite product in the town was the velcro jacket (named the “Jacket for Lonely People”) which would help one stick to a potential mate.

Stop 3: Giardini
We couldn’t leave Venice without seeing the national pavilions at the Biennale Gardens – especially the American Pavilion co-curated by our friend William Menking of The Architect’s Newspaper; Aaron Levy, The Slought Foundation: and Andrew Sturm, PARC Foundation. The pavilion themed “Into the Open: Positioning Practice” features 16 practitioners whom actively engage communities in their work. It looks at how architects can positively shape a community and the built environment. And for us (strong advocates of designing for the greater good) it was right up our alley. The list of participants included: non-profit associations such as the Heidelberg Project and the Edible Schoolyard; as well as the art and design collective REBAR; Rural Studio, the design-build architecture studio which aims to teach students about the social responsibilities of the profession of architecture while also providing well-constructed homes and buildings for poor communities in rural west Alabama and more.

With the day winding down, we peeked into as many of the other pavilions as possible including the Italian, the Swiss, the Belgian and the German. Then it was back on the Vaporetto to the Ferrovia for a 2 hour train ride back to Bologna for the beginning of CERSAIE.


CityRacks Design Competition: NYC Working Towards a Greener Apple

By danielle


We all know that New York is not exactly a bike-friendly city. Ironic, considering it’s one of the biggest metropolitans in the world and rather eco-conscious to boot. However, Mayor Bloomberg along with the NYC Department of Transportation is finally looking to change all that. In line with the Mayor’s PlaNYC and the DOT’s Sustainable Streets plan to cut carbon emissions by 30%, the city called upon artists, architects, engineers and industrial designers to design a new CityRack to promote greener modes of transportation (namely, cycling) – in New York City.

After hundreds of entries from 26 countries poured into the CityRacks Design Competition, the top ten finalists were honored on Tuesday night at a reception at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. From the metallic and understated to the colorful and abstract, bike racks of all colors, shapes and sizes adorned the courtyard as judges and guests came together to review the final designs. Jeff Miller and Andrea Ruggiero as well as FADarch were just a few of the New York design teams that made the cut.


Photos courtesy of Monika Sosnowski.

For the next month, each prototype will be installed at two locations in the City to test their durability and functionality. Astor Place, PS1 and BAM are just a few of the locations where you can spot the final designs. The winning design will be announced October 24th and will be implemented as the new standard in bicycle parking throughout the City. It will also become the new icon for New York City cycling.

To read more about the competition and view ten finalists’ designs, visit the official CityRacks Design Competition site.