Another year : : slipped away, slid by.
Turmoil, triumphs - turbulence. . . . . today, December 22nd we are watching the unravelling of the United States of America. leadership that seems to have lost its way - perhaps it never, in its present form, actually knew the way. By most accounts that seems to be painfully true. Does it not provoke in you the question to be asked, 'In what way should the selection process be improved for future senior elected officials? Should there not be some baseline credential of experience? Heck, if you or I, are applying for a job - any job - relevant - directly relevant, experience is a core criteria. How is it then that the current American President can occupy the pinnacle of power in the world, without absolutely any prior governmental experience (except for conflict issues involving defending lawsuits and/or bankrupted business entities) - and without any experience and absolutely no knowledge or understanding of diplomacy, of the accepted diplomatic process that has defined international relations for hundreds - yes, hundreds, of years. We are, now, in a scary time. Personally, it is my sincere hope, that our American neighbours can see their way through the miasma, the fog of uncertainty, the corrosion of corruption - to right their ship, to reset it on a course of constructive leadership. Ironically in the giddy and shocked surprise of key Republicans following the recognition that Donald Trump was to become the 45th President, when asked by a reporter as to the qualifications that Trump would bring to his Presidency, Steve Bannon stated that (to us)' Donald trump is simply a blunt instrument'. Fast forward two years and we now see how effective that instrument has proven to be. Blunt? Yes.....a constructive force in American politics? Hardly - destructive would be more apt. It may well be, that given Trump's predilection and pre-occupation with golf, and thereby with clubs, his SOP for conduct in most situations, social or political, is to wield such clubs to bludgeon, bully and beat down those who are not in agreement with his position/policies. A sad and scary testament to Unites States of America.
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What? Me worry?
So, on a more positive note, following is a very uplifting and interesting example of sensitive, intelligent and respectful design.
Steven Hu, our key contributor, has sought out three wonderful projects in China wherein derelict ancestral properties, beyond decay and almost beyond salvation, have in fact - with vision, investment and determination - been re-born. A true renaissance that retained the core architectural and heritage values and yet transformed them into inviting, comforting and gratifying spaces.
Steven sourced three such projects. Because they are so highly detailed we will feature one this month with the following ones in subsequent issues.
These are also contained in mandarin, on our Mandarin pages.
The project is situated in Beijing China.
This design preserves not only the appearance of the original farmhouse and courtyard enclosure but also their spatial relationship. Because of that, the farmhouse could be harmoniously integrated into the village veins and retain the rural memory. The designer planned a bamboo forest at the south side to ensure the privacy of the courtyard, which also provided a space for outdoor activities.
The original structural columns were designed as interior decorations. To solve the problem of small traditional building sloping roof, the new steel structure awning forms a space under the armpit of eaves and a wooden platform extending from inside so that the indoor activities can be naturally extended to the outdoors.
Because the house is long and narrow, the middle part of the house is designed as a public open area, including a living room, an open kitchen and a dining room. The two bedrooms are each placed on one side of the house to avoid interference with each other. The space of one of the bedrooms is separated to form a living space. The daybed in the living space can be used as a children's bed after the coffee table is removed. This courtyard can satisfy the live requirement of three generations at the same time.
The designer removed all the suspended ceilings in the public area to expose the texture of the wooden structure and the straw paving. They kept them at the original places after simple cleaning and maintenance. The bedrooms on both sides of the house are completely enclosed by a suspended ceiling. On one hand, it keeps the warmth in the bedroom during winter; on the other hand, it prevents insects from entering the house. The designer has chosen a modern and minimalist style for most furniture to incorporate both modernity and comfort.
These images show the project prior to the renovation:
This slideshow is the finished result.
The mandarin version is found here.
Wonderful job Steven!
8170 SQ FT : : 9 JAY STREET, NEW YORK : : 1 BEDROOM $35,000,000.00
Bring your imagination, architect or designer and explore the opportunity to purchase a peerless, distinctive piece of Tribeca History. The property is comprised of a 4-level corner loft building, 9 Jay Street, the connecting footbridge to an open floor plan condominium loft at 67 Hudson Street. Hidden from view and masked behind white washed tilt-and-turn windows is a magical open canvas waiting for a new creative vision. Once inside this canvas, the open windows reveal quintessential cobblestoned Tribeca with brilliant exposures south, west, north and east. The views include iconic streetscape of old New York to Duane Park and the new World Trade Center. The private residence begins when the elevator opens on the 3rd floor in 67 Hudson, a condominium building circa 1894, the former New York Hospital Building and crosses into 9 Jay Street, circa 1907, a/k/a as the ambulance annex for NYH, through the renowned Staple Street footbridge. 9 Jay Street is a 25’X53’ 4-level brick building with 2 curb cuts and air-rights possibilities. 67 Hudson is approx. 2300 SF corner loft. It boasts a large bedroom with en-suite bath, walk-in closet, open living/dining room and large eat-in kitchen. A door from the kitchen of 67 Hudson opens into a hallway that leads to the 3-story high historic Staple Street Skybridge with its French door glass-paneled windows and striking vantage point views of old Staple Street. The views from the bridge are enchanting. Purchase and enjoy as a palatial residence, colossal work space or develop and convert into your Tribeca dream mansion. The property presents enormous potential with ceilings that span over 11 feet, radiant light, views, 50 windows, garage, approx. 1,175 of outdoor living.
Located in the heart of TriBeCa and convenient to Whole Foods, Farmer’s Market, the Hudson River Park, Tribeca Film Center, Washington Market Park, Duane Park and transportation hubs. A piece of old New York City can be yours.
Is there anything, really - that needs to be said?
With the HP Sprocket Photo Printer, print photos from your smartphone or tablet as easily as you post them. Make time with friends more memorable with instantly sharable 2 x 3-inch (5 x 7.6 cm) snapshots or stickers of every fun-filled moment.
MG12 wants you to know about their electric low energy consumption (135 watt) towel warmer shelf.
It has multiple functions and is suitable for multiple needs.
It dries heats and hides until three shower towels or bathrobes, leaving the bathroom tider. Its shelves don't heat so are perfects to keep in order your personal belongings.
They are made by powder-coated aluminum and are available in matt white and black finishes.
The coordinated towel bar, roll holder, waste bin and hooks complete the collection.
Customizations can be made upon request.
Restaurant Lago Bellagio • Las Vegas • 7300 sq ft - overlooks Fountains of Belaggio X Julian Serrano
Personally I have been to Las Vegas only once - was being considered for a Senior Design position with the ownership of Bellagio......not being an aficionado, or even the slightest bit knowledgeable of the restaurant scene in Las Vegas, allows me to study and react, to this amazing work of art....like living, or being, inside a sculpture.
Glitzy? Yes, sort of - alive - most definitely - vibrant? Beyond words....simply from this exposé, to my critical eye, it would be like being inside an art piece......what crashes to the surface of one's consciousness here is the explosion of colour, texture, form and shape.
Designed by Studio Munge, the design firm of Italian designer Alessandro Munge, this is one example of the lat 20 years of his prolific output in interior design.
Fueled by a singular vision to create unforgettable design experiences, we have cultivated award-winning projects based on partnerships with the world’s preeminent hotel and restaurant groups, development companies, and top chefs.
“I built a studio where disciplines are free to think for themselves, driven by curiosity and passion.” ALESSANDRO MUNGE
With an ever-expanding scope of work which now includes hospitality programming, design architecture, FF&E design and procurement, Studio Munge is simultaneously defining a new era of luxury interiors while keeping a spirit grounded by the unending desire to tell authentic design stories. Our firm is perfectly situated at the intersection of maturity and evolution, and the long-lasting partnerships that we have established with a growing portfolio of iconic brands are founded on our unparalleled ability to bring business to life through emotive and exciting spaces.
Design may be what we do, but our real success comes from a passion to inspire—our clients, anyone who walks into one of our spaces, and our own team. We believe in empowering our people to explore, to push the envelope, and to have fun with design. Our practice is hospitality and residential –design driven, where success relies on a profound desire to craft how people feel in our spaces—not just simply what they see. That emotion and connection is what we chase, and by integrating talent from all over the world, we achieve it together
His principal North American studio is located in Toronto, Canada
This will be, in the not too distant future, the f u t u r e ......
You will drive home, to or from work - and you will park your vehicle beneath these solar capture shelters....sunlight will be routed through the system to provide 'always-on' sustainable and renewable energy to power your case, trucks, motorcycles. By Exxon.
Over the course of the last number of issues we have featured some pretty cool contemporary architecture.....particularly homes/houses. But, we are also sensitive to the traditional forms/shapes/styles of homes from around the world. What today is grew out of these kinds of yesterdays. This house, currently on the market in Kansas City for $250,000.00 caught our eye.....it is, unique in it's provenance. Check it out : :
And while we're on a traditional bent, either of these tables would be suitable for that house, don't you think?
An early Christmas present - to me!
Santa! You paying attention here?
: : C O N T E ST : :
Huge prizes....okay, maybe not so huge.....
Grand total of $20.00 in prize money......$10.00 if you identify where this is:
. . . .and another $10.00 if you identify where is this train going? From where to where? A further $1000.00 if you can identify who the train driver was.....lol! Well, the first two are legit - you must provide your proof with your submission. Fact is, it's just a right cool photograph....yes?
A recent photograph from Leonardo Bechini
. . . . .and this wonderful image from Adriana Garcia, Ottawa
As reflected n the opening commentary, in these frightening, unsure and uncertain times, we are again at a crossroads perhaps, not visited since the mid 1950's - when talk of fallout shelters, hiding under desks - atomic attack, was more commonplace. But, here we are - 2018-2019.......at least one generation onward - and we find ourselves concerned with, once again, s h e l t e r . In fact, 1n 2010 I undertook a significant renovation/addition to a lovely house here in Montreal (NDG area) - the client, a rather youngish family, retained me to design and oversee a 2 story + basement addition to the rear of the house. At a certain point, very early on, he announced that he needed the plans modified....that we needed to add an additional floor. We pointed out to him that by-laws precluded any greater height to the structure. He replied, 'No - we go down one more level.' 'Whaaaaa?', was our response. 'Why?'
'Because', he replied, 'I, and my family, are extremely concerned about the fragility of the state of the world and we have decided to create a blast-proof subterranean shelter - complete with the appropriate air filtration systems, blast door protection, independent power source. I can afford it - get it done.'
'Wow!', was our reaction. Back to the drawing board - back to the City for approval of revised plans.....they had never seen such a thing - but there was no law that said it couldn't be done. And so, it was done.....for me, for my team - it was an interesting and sobering exercise. There is no evidence from ground level that such a survival capsule rests there, 12 feet below grade.
And so, the company that designs/manufactures the following 'products' is, maybe at the right place, at the right time, now. As much as the thought is terrifying. Take a look - think about whether you could 'manage' living in such a manner.
VIVOS : : XPOINT Survival Bunker $35,000.00USD
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota — a location chosen for the fact that it’s a non-seismic area, far from major metropolitan areas, and outside the range of tsunami submersion zones — this 18-square-mile plot of land is one of the safest places in North America. And while that’s the primary selling point, the prospect is not without its creature comforts, as each unit boasts 2,200 square feet of space, arched ceilings, customizable floor plans, and LED simulations of natural outdoor lighting. There are even amenities similar to normal gated communities, including onsite 24/7 security, a members-only restaurant and bar, a gym — there’s even a medical center. Units start at $35,000 — but there is a stringent application process. For more information, and to order your very own, go here.
There are videos - I've watched the - they are, s o b e r i n g . And, frightening......and not at all, Christmassy......but neither are the current events taking place in Washington.
This, then, is the antidote : :
This, then - is how we counteract and promote that which is so badly needed, now.
Click on the text to hear Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson sing 'O Holy Night' - and pass the courage.
Originally launched in 1922 as Fruit, Garden & Home, Better Homes & Garden magazine became one of - if not the - 'go to' magazine of homestyle and shelter - for decades. Certainly in the western world it was a beacon of good taste, how-to's, classy elegance.
Just this week it has released '2019 Interior Design Forecast: 8 Decorating Trends Predicted to be Huge'
Generally, I always wonder how it is that such forecasts are taken seriously......especially in today's world wherein individuality, as a life force and lifestyle, is so much more the focus. But, hey - why not.....
so some of those 8 are shown here.
The original publication was written by Julianne Holmes Bartlett and the article in full can be found here.
While we're at it - attempting to 'light up your life', here's something that will help in the most elegant of manner: :
From Roman & Williams GUILD, New York - this lustrous retro style desk lamp.
From their web-site:
Meant to last for generations, LAB DESK LAMP is our version of a library light, like what would have been used by scientists at an early MIT laboratory. Shade is directional, and swivels. Construction is bent and folded – no welding – and the base is cast.
Pictured here in brass, which darkens beautifully with age. LAB DESK LAMP is available in all of our metals – from gilded rose gold to burnished nickel, pewter and silver.
Also available as a standing floor lamp.
. . . .and lastly, keeping true to my plan in regards to a continuing retrospective, following are a series of freehand renderings I completed over the course of my career.....many/most done in pen and ink and most done 'by feel'- in other words without the use of perspective grids, aids. Clearly, hours - and hours and hours - were spent on many of these.....clients then wouldn't - nor would they today - underwrite the kind of time/effort that went into producing these works. And frankly, I never thought they were particularly terrific - good, yes.......outstanding? Not a chance - they did their job, fulfilled the function - but, I loved doing every last one of them. The first series are 'quick sketches' for a series of Model Homes - visualizations to assist the client in 'seeing' the idea
Today, of course, all is done digitally - AutoCAD 3d, Sketchup, VRAY, Podium, 3D MAX. Some of that work will be featured in a future issue.
And so - there you have it. There is always so much more - I 'stockpile' hundreds of articles, extracts, finds - to be used in our issues. There's never enough room, never enough time. I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue - given that it is holiday season I figured you all probably had more time to browse, to read, to discover.
One last word : : I thought long and hard about including/excluding the thoughts I expressed at the beginning of this issue. But, it is my heartfelt feeling that focus must be drawn to the wrongs, the misdeeds - the abuses of our diplomatic world - our survival as a people, as human people, depend on the collective opposition to those things, those principles that would chip away at those principles, for which blood has been spilled - for which people of all races, all colours - all backgrounds have invested of themselves, of their futures and their children's future. Thank you for your indulgence.
Happy Holiday Season to all.
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