. . . . and, turns out, 'tis just that. new day - a new beginning, perhaps.
I have just returned from my first trip to the United Kingdom (sounds so quaint when one actually says that, but that is what the UK is). Eleven days in a different land - nay a different universe in many respects. Given all the places in the world I've visited a visit to England was just never on my radar. Not sure why - must have something to do with the fact that my family, some generations back (in the late 1700's), were British. So perhaps I have taken it for granted. I have no ties to any part of the family in the UK......but I did hear of the family history when I was young. I did hear that a great grandfather, a Royal Surgeon, was one of the doctors who trained and worked with, Florence Nightingale. Another branch of the family were renowned as the inventors of silver-plating. The Elkingtons were famous for their silver. So much so that the Royal Family paid visit to one of their factories in Birmingham in the mid 1800's.
So much so that Elkington silver (chalices, dinnerware, candelabra, etc) are still offered for sale on eBay.
Of course, i have none myself. But when I was planning this trip to Cheltenham to attend the graduation ceremonies, to receive formally, my M.A. from University of Gloucestershire, I realized that Birmingham was only an hour train ride away to the north. And, so - like why not? When I discovered that there is actually a street in Birmingham named after my forbears, that sealed the deal. A visit to Elkington Street was added to the list. And then to find that the original Elkington factory building still exists on Newhall Street - well, done deal. Following are some of the images that relate to this little story. Had time permitted I would have loved to have popped into the Queens Arms next door and spent some time there.......next trip for sure.
The Elkington store, 1878
Moi, in front of the original Elkington factory building - now a historical site
The Queens Arms - next door to the Elkington factory
The next stop on our journey was London itself. Honestly, with only three days there, I know, that had I been at all smart 40+ years ago I would have moved to London - to live, to work - to participate in any small way in the wonder of that city. Simply stated, there is none like it in the world. The elegance, the charm, the design sensitivity - the design awareness - that is not found here in North America in my experience. And the sheer scale of it is mind boggling. To walk through Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London (which is a virtual city within a city) - the sense of awe of everyday occurrences over a thousand years ago......it is humbling, it is inspirational, it is - enervating!
From our very elegant condo/hotel (The Grand Residences by Marriott) we walked the adjacent streets, walked to and through Shepherd market - a rather Bohemian sector of Mayfair......we bus toured the inner city, getting off, getting on as a whim presented itself, to marvel at the range of architecture, old, and new. Some new, seems like being different simply for the sake of being different. London City Hall, by Sir Norman Foster, was always a structure I wanted to visit.....although the day was grey, misty, cold and rainy, I took some great photographs(IMHO). The juxtaposition of the City Hall and the Tower Bridge with the Shard peeking over the ancient rooflines.....wow!
In this issue there will be a certain amount of visuals from that trip - with additional photographs perhaps in future issues.
But, this journey was great for one other reason - an important one to me, and hopefully important and meaningful for you the reader. For DesignReview•International has found, finally, a sponsor.
The Design Trust, London, has stepped up to provide a degree of support - a welcome partner, if you will, in our attempts to sustain the publication of DR•I. This will be a trial run - we're going to re-evaluate after 6 months at the end of June. If all goes well, perhaps the publication will change hands entirely.
That may be the best for DR•I - we'll see what the next 6 months bring. This development however, does not change the need for subscription. Clearly, if DR•I is independent and not ad-supported (which may now need to change) the weight of monthly expenditures need be mitigated somehow. Up until now, all costs have come out of my pocket. I won't lie - they aren't numbing costs, so to speak - but the simple email distribution model runs into a significant sum each month.
Here, is the signature of our sponsor:
It will be readily visible throughout the publication from now on. The same goes for DesignPreviewInternational - which, by the way, will most definitely begin to show ads starting in the first release in January.
Brett Bentwood Chair
Brett bentwood chair is designed to impress and perform at an exepctional value. Constructed from solid European beech, it features a sturdy footrest.. The design draws the eye with traditional styling and soft, curved lines for an air of understated elegance. Handcrafted by skilled artisans in Europe, our bentwood chair fuses form, function and versatile style for commercial and public spaces.
Dimensions: 14.5" W x 15.7" D x 29.9" H
Seat Height: 17.7"
p e r s p e c t i v e
It's needed, certainly - these days more than days gone by. Alibaba is a juggernaut - a chinese juggernaut.
The Background: Alibaba was founded in 1999 by former English teacher Jack Ma, who scraped together $80,000 from 80 investors to start an online marketplace for Chinese companies. He became the richest man in China and his estimated net worth has topped $47 billion. When Ma saw a need for an internet search engine partner, he connected with Yahoo! Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang. Yahoo paid $1 billion for a 40 percent stake in Alibaba in 2005. Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace, which links individual buyers and sellers, and Tmall.com, which connects retailers and consumers, offer everythingfrom Alaska salmon to Boeing 747s. The company makes money from commissions on sales, advertising and through fees for memberships and other services.
Alibaba has been an unparalleled success. To put that into p e r s p e c t i v e look at the following graphic from Statista
This is not intended as a political comment - it is, simply, a reality check. Any idea that the USA can compete on the same scale of commerce that China can, is simply delusionary. Pointe finale.
CLINTON CORNERS HOUSE
Overlooking Lake Upton in the Hudson Valley, the Clinton Corners House offers a bespoke retreat in prefab form. The dwelling is based on Lake|Flato's Porch House and utilizes prefabricated timber framing and super-insulated panels to complete the home in just eight months. Its three gabled volumes are clad in western red cedar and feature a metal roof to resemble the traditional barn vernacular. Divided between family, guests, and entertaining, the interior's rustic minimalism is defined by exposed white oak beams, vaulted ceilings, and concrete floors. A wall of glazing in the great room puts the focus on lake views while a series of porches are completely enveloped in the rural landscape.
Photos: Chris Cooper / Lake|Flato
LAKE | FLATO ARCHITECTS
San Antonio Office
311 Third Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
1224 East 12th Street, Suite 430
Austin, TX 78702
Lladró’s Nightbloom collection is the name of the most recent lighting line created by Marcel Wanders, one of the top interior designers in Europe. Recently he has been recognized for his achievements, specifically within this Lladró’s inspired collection that won the Lighting category award, on Home Interior Products section. This is a major accomplishment towards the design community, where outstanding works are able to prevail and stand out!
The European Product Design Award is an institution that aims to recognize, annually, the efforts of designers and design teams that aspire to improve our everyday lives with practical and beautiful creations. The contemporary shapes of the Nightbloom lamps, calling to mind the petals of a flower swaying in the breeze, earned Lladró this prestigious award recognized all over the world.
Nightbloom by Marcel Wanders stands on an authentic and out-of-the-ordinary collection that represents a set of exquisite lighting pieces that stand as simple items, yet enable the most luxurious ambiance you can imagine! This collection was presented at the last edition of Isaloni 2019, in Milan, within the Euroluce fair.
Bjarke Ingels Group has been working on the Mars Science City project after the United Arab Emirates announced the initiative in 2017. The $140 Million USD (AED 500 million) research city aims to serve as a “viable and realistic model” for the simulation of human occupation of the martian landscape. The project is designed with a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.
Utilizing one of the techniques currently considered for Mars habitat construction, the walls of the museum will be 3D printed using sand from the Emirati desert. Laboratory spaces will be outfitted with advanced technologies allowing researchers to test construction and living strategies under specific Martian heat and radiation levels. Plans for the city include an experimental living scenario in which a team will attempt to live within the constructed environment for a full year.
The 1.9 million-square-foot domed structure will become the largest space simulation city ever constructed. Mars Science City will house a variety of program pieces for both researchers and visitors, including laboratories for the study of food, energy and water; landscapes for agricultural testing and food security studies; and a museum celebrating humanity’s greatest space achievements and educating visitors on the city’s research.
Eric Baldwin Author
DANISH ARCHITECT DORTE MANDRUP’S THE WHALE VISITOR CENTER IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE
300 km North of the Arctic Circle, on the tip of the island Andøya lies Andenes. A small town located amid dramatic landscapes – both above and below the ocean’s surface. Just a few sea miles from shore a deep-sea valley unfolds. It is frequently visited by migrating whales, making Andenes one of the best places in the world to see this fabled animal up-close.
The new Arctic attraction, The Whale, tells the story of the big inhabitants of this underwater world, rising as a soft hill on the rocky shore– as if a giant had lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath.
The building rises as a soft hill on the rocky shore – as if a giant had lifted a thin layer of the crust of the earth and created a cavity underneath.
A single curved concrete shell makes up the roof of The Whale. This parabolic form effectively transmits the forces to three support points in the corners of the building, creating a large, inner column-free room.
We insist on clients that share our ambition and courage -
in the end, the extraordinary requires nerve.
Dorte Mandrup is a team of die-hard overachievers. Striving towards the ultimate synthesis, we combine our firm grasp on reality with a knack for
dreaming out loud – delivering the know-how to solidify ideas.
About the studio
With Founder and Creative Director Dorte Mandrup firmly at the wheel, our international team of 70 die-hard overachievers drive headfirst into complex architectural tasks armed with unconditional curiosity and an undying love for the process of finding an original take.
Driven by a devout belief in the possibilities of modern architecture and an experimental curiosity that insists on outstanding craftmanship – our team combines a firm grasp on reality with a knack for dreaming out loud.
Always striving to perfect the art of listening and understanding the bigger picture, we consider it our greatest responsibility to transform ideas into great, buildable design.
Where does d e s i g n live? Good question, no? Anyone have the answer? Thought not. 'Cause the only answer is, 'everywhere'. Next question - what language is design from? Answer : : None - why? 'cause design is a language.....design is a conversation, between conscious users/consumers and/or between plain, everyday observers. Design, living everywhere, is plastic - it takes every form, speaks softly, sometimes yells raucously. Or it murmurs seductively, it whispers comfortingly.
So design lives here, also in Moraga, CA.
Spectacular Remodel Featured on the 2010 Moraga Country Club Kitchen Tour - Wonderfully updated MCC home - totally remodeled and improved. Expanded kitchen w/ WoodMode cabs, CeasarStone counters, nice appliances. Great golf course + view location. Gracious Master with updated bath, walk-in closet, private deck. Includes access to Moraga Country Club!
This from the Zillow site : :
Situated between the Caspian Sea and Si Sangan forest, Iranian firm MADO Architects developed a private residential project dedicated to the clients' specific request of absolute privacy. The Sisangan Villa project focused on the site's layout, referral to typical vernacular architecture, and geometric manipulation to create a dynamic structure of intersecting concrete walls and glass facades.
The initial design started with a square with 4 walls, bounding the construction site from all sides.The team then detached the square’s sides from their intersection and rotated them, forming the project's interior space and allowing light to enter from all sides. This manipulation of geometric forms reinforced a connection between the architecture, landscape, and sunlight, blurring the boundaries between inside and out. The oblique walls were also implemented in the design to structurally support the roof, as well as create a sense of privacy and enclosure.
MADO Design : : firstname.lastname@example.org : : N.12, Anahita Street, Parkway, Tehran, Iran
L L EE OO + more Leo ++
These are some of the latest photographs from Leonardo Bechini, photographer extraordinaire, Milan, Italy - obviously a fashion shoot.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
This issue has no Christmas content
Should it have had?
I, think not
The form, contours and character of DR•I is likely
to change in the coming issues.
There is one little piece of information that I feel
is owing....given that the internet is so pervasive,
so powerful, so are the tolls available to guys like
me who strive to create interesting content.
One such tool that is built-in to our new formatting
is a tracking feature.....regular reports are generated
that reflect important data, important information.
One such is all recipients who actually click on, or open the
That's it, that's all - but it is quite enough for us to conduct
analytical statistical reviews. Therefore, as of January,
recipients who do not open DR•I will be removed from
the mailing list.
No big deal - no one should feel insulted if that happens.
After all, if you're not reading it we do not want to impose
a mailing on you.
If, however, you feel this may be incorrect, simply send an email to
with this in the subject line:
C'est tout - that's all
Oh - one other thing - there is a review/discussion curreently
between our sponsor and us, to increase the publication to twice monthly -
but with reduced volume of content.
Seems many of you would prefer the opportunity
to better digest what we find, send.
As a professional interior designer (45+ years) and as a Certified Graphic Designer (25 years) I have devoted my life to the pursuit of design excellence. Winner of numerous design awards I have also spent 25+ years teaching Interior Design.....the greatest quote regarding design is: the greatest faux pas in design is irrelevance