I'll be GNOME for Christmas
This year - especially this year - we need humour - Lots+Lots+Lots of humour.
We also need, c o n t a c t ! Or, some form of contact/connection - right? It's probably the same deal wherever all you readers may be on Christmas Day - alone, solitary - isolated, lonely too, probably.
The 'air waves' are gonna be burning up - ZOOM, GoogleMeet, FaceTime - whatever video sharing platform there is will be over capacitized for sure. Yes! I know that's not a proper/proper word - does it matter? Although I normally schedule the mid-month DR•I issue for - well, mid-month, I decided to wait to release it as close to Christmas Day as possible - so, although late, perhaps in your downtime over the next 10 days you'll have the appropriate time to read/review it all.
From me, from the others who work hard to provide DR•I to you throughout the year, MERRY CHRISTMAS - HAPPPY HOLIDAYS - and sincerely, more than anything, wishes for a so much better next New Year.
b r i l l i a n t !
You all agree, right? And you're all probably asking yourself the same question, 'Why didn't I think about that?'
Be honest - of course you are.
Obviously capacity is an issue - but, if it really is there's nothing to prevent one from installing this along with a single or double dishwasher-in-a-drawer on the other side of the sink.
As this shows in a new kitchen I designed in 2014 -
This project was actually for a kosher kitchen so having two separate dishwashers was paramount.
This new innovation is the work of China's NINGBO FOTILE KITCHEN WARE CO and it first appeared in a recent issue of Core77 magazine.
With their Fotile 3-in-1 Sink Dishwasher, Chinese appliance company Ningbo Fotile Kitchen Ware Co embeds the unit right into the countertop, directly beside a complementary sink. Its name references the fact that the equipment doesn’t just wash dishes—it also safely cleans produce and seafood. One variation of the dishwasher features touch-sensitive controls on the lid, which were designed to respond to dry or wet hands. Read more about the unit, and why the form factor matters, at Core77.
Image courtesy of Ningbo Fotile Kitchen Ware Co
Like I was saying : : brilliant
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located in Grinding Factory Street, Qianmen, Beijing, which is a street with a great historical atmosphere. Grinding Factory Street was formed in the Ming Dynasty and flourished from the middle of the Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China. It was also known as the "four major commercial streets outside Qianmen " along with Xiheyan, Xianyukou, and Dashilan. After the liberation, most of the shops no longer exist, and the ancient buildings became large courtyards. However, from the remaining buildings, the prosperity of this street can still be seen in some parts. they are silently waiting to be awakened from history. Metalhands Coffee is committed to the exploration of local specialty coffee. Although it has been in operation for two years, its current state is exactly the best state of the space, operators, and users.
What a great, classical building!
The perspective of history
The building before the renovation was a traditional brick building, and the internal wooden staircase had lost its function due to the disrepair of the floor. During the renovation, we hope to preserve the original material and texture of the building as much as possible, so that the new is new and the old is old, to produce a contrast between the new and the old. This impactful contrast can make space arouse the dialogue between users and the history of space. The façade retains the original appearance of the building as much as possible. Entering the cafe through an open courtyard, it begins an encounter with the old days.
When you enter the coffee shop and look into the depth of the space from the bar, you will see three interlocking arch structures. The first arch is a stainless steel arch, which structurally supports the old wall with potential safety hazards. The second arch is a concrete arch, which is painted with cement paint based on the original building to maintain the texture of the old building. The third one is a brick arch as same as the original facade. The perspective structure of the three arch makes people seem to be immersed in an atmosphere wrapped in history, and all the old things are presented in a new way. Through the three layers of the arch, this geometric sense of perspective is strengthened, and space will focus on a place similar to a time and space tunnel, and the sunlight on the coffee cup can no longer tell whether it is the sunshine of the present or the sunshine of the past.
The only thing I find incongruous here -
or out of character -are these doors with the stained glass panels -
neither the colours or the tones resonate the same industrial chic flavour of the space. IMHO.
The staircase area leading to the second floor is not only a traffic space but also guides people into a more open area on the second floor in a form that is both enclosed and transparent. The design uses simple techniques, industrial concrete walls, and modern metal panels. The texture contrasts sharply with smoothness, roughness, and refinement. In this very small space, the impact of material contrast is fully utilized. The golden "floating" staircase and the cement texture of the original color form a strong impact. Comparison can not only highlight the relationship between the new and the old but also make a dialogue between the two materials so that people in the space can have a dialogue with space.
The dialogue of time
The open seating arrangement of the second-floor space, combined with the original structure exposed at the top and the light coming through the windows, allows time to precipitate in the space. The stained glass window decorated on the wall pulls people's thoughts back to history and hits a segment in the depths of memory, which makes people start thinking involuntarily
The coffee shop is not a calm place like the calm of the years, but a place with traces of time that can withstand wind and rain, just like every coffee bean, it has to be roasted to emit this rich aroma. This kind of transformation, which makes a strong contrast and conflict between the new and the old, is also like coffee, which can stand the test of time.
From ArchDaily: [click to go to original article]
Text description provided by the architects. The client, whom we have been fortunate to have worked with on many architectural ventures, has always had a keen eye for design and a passion for pursuing architectural projects that push the design envelope resulting in projects that are both award winning and find their way into an array of magazines and online publications.
The Pavilion is no exception, and is another chapter in a legacy of architectural endeavors. The addition of the Pavilion onto the client existing property with the main house that was recently completed by Greg Wright Architects, is in itself a striking building. The idea of a pavilion typology informed this boutique project where the structure is kept to the minimum, materiality is celebrated and spatial boundaries are blurred, characterizing this recent addition to the Cranberry family of buildings.
Striking in its dark color and angled composition the pavilion-like structure is situated above the original main house. The morphology of the cottage is characterized by two, thin floating planes stacked on top of each other, jutting out into the surrounding lush garden. The illusion of these floating planes is accentuated by levitating them from the perimeter stone walls by means of discreet steel columns, achieving the light and open structure characteristics of a pavilion structure.
The topography of the area is taken into account with focused and considered views ranging from the west facing façade which opens up to the Atlantic Ocean, to the first floor terrace that gazes upon the iconic Lions Head and the framed views through the clerestory windows of the 12 Apostle mountain range.
The choice of a dark palette in colour and materials is a reference to the main house with the earthy greys, black and bronze of the stone wall getting picked up throughout the building. The floor tiles subtly reinforce the geometries of the primary structural elements , whilst fragmenting the tiling pattern with the introduction of brass in-lays that extend vertically into the en-suite bathrooms that are accentuated by the late afternoon golden light.
In keeping with the idea of a Pavilion, the threshold between interior and exterior gets blurred by means of large sliding aluminum doors that, when opened up, provide the sense of expanse into the external landscaped areas. Interior furnishings, form and selection of materials and colour are carefully orchestrated to work harmoniously together with the architecture complimenting the experience
Why does this work? Para mi - it's simple - there is a beautifully balanced conversation at work here - the textures and the tones are in perfect harmony with one another - there is a dialogue of easy comfort in the feel of the interior spaces. Easy to imagine ones' self lounging in such a serene and comforting ambience. Details - it's all about the details of course.
An anomaly : : I suppose I can assume that all know - or have a pretty good idea - what anomaly means.
For the purposes of this review let' take its meaning as being, the unexpected. . . . . it's close enough.
What I'm trying to say, is, when one comes across this fabulous retreat in the high jungles of Costa Rica - with the wispy, airy form shapes - that look as if they had simply sprung from the rich earth - appearing as they had been assembled/constructed by a long-ago central american tribe of native craftsmen - then only to discover it is the work of a Czech design team - so far, far away (app 6000 miles apart), well, it was a startling discovery.
It's a beautiful piece of concept, fancifully woven into and through the verdant jungle forest. It also looks as if each villa or pod, is perhaps an extra-terrestrial spacecraft. Beautiful fluid lines that evoke both grace and tensile strength at the same time. My only complaint is that there needs to be about another half dozen of them. Wonderful concept, great execution. The following text is as it's been specifically supplied to me by Lucie Dlouhá, manager at FormaFatal, the architectural firm in the Czech Republic..
Rea Vidovic of Linka News sent us the source documents and high res photographs.
From the PressKit: Note: the text and descriptions, and the philosophy contained herein is rather extensive but we felt it important to convey, as fully as possible, the amazing background about this wonderful environment.
Description: Above Hermosa Beach, near the Costa Rican town Uvita, on a steep 2.5-hectare tropical jungle slope –there is hidden Art Villas resort.COCO forms a part of the complex and represents a unique example of playful, glamping, sustainable and modern tropical architecture.When the investor (Filip) approached the architects, he desired to create a place where the visitors merge with the surrounding nature, clear their mind and experience luxury and adventure at the same time.He wanted to create a place that digs deep into everyone ́s heart.
Architect’s note –ARCHWERK • Filip turned to us with an amazing challenge: to build with simple solutions and local materials a luxurious, but at the same time adventurous living,
bringing the experience of an immediate stay in theCosta Rican jungle.
According to his words, they should be "tree houses" placed on the hillside
of the Art Villas resort, but in the freshly established garden without
fully grown trees. And he asked for a design that no one had seen before.
We designed anest of several shelters located on a fall overlooking the
valley and named them Coco
In our design, we used our previous experience from the completion
of our experimental design and build projects on the border of architecture,
landscape architecture and urban design. The main construction
material is local tropical wood, complemented by a tent canvas and
metal elements. Rational construction is the basis of the design.
It creates the form and atmosphere by itself, without needing of
any added decoration. The construction principle allows flexibility in the size,
shape and composition of several similar objects in complicated terrain.
“The same creative principle is used by Nature for millions of years.
The Nature inspires us to create an environment that we love and feel safe in.
We follow on from to the principles of Natural Architecture,
as formulated by our friend and teacher, architect Martin Rajniš”, says Martin Kloda
Architect’s note –FormafatalStudio Formafatal followed up on the work of
architects from Archwerk and, together with client Filip Žák,
finished the layout of individual Coco buildings on the plot.
A set of five small buildings levitates a few meters above the
sloping terrain and is absorbed by lush tropical vegetation.
Studio Formafatal has sensitively connected the individual
buildings by footbridges and stairs made of wood and
expanded metal, which are mounted on steel columns.
The platforms serve as stopping points for views of the countryside,
or you can even jump on a trampoline on one of the landing.
The footbridges and landings have minimalist shape and we
intentionally designed them in clean lines, which are typical for
other buildings in the resort. Only the main terraces in the two height
levels are based on the form of the Coco houses themselves,
the shapes are soft and organic. These terraces are set very close to
the jungle and also offer views of the Pacific Ocean.
The interiors are minimalist and playful. You will not find anything
unnecessary there, but at the same time nothing is missing.
The focal point of each Coco bedroom is a bed that sits
on a raised part of the floor.
The layout in each cabin is designed to take advantage of the
most breathtaking views, where monkeys and toucans can be seen
directly from the bed. The mosquito net is kind of object in the object
respecting the shape of the building and is the dominantelement of every
bedroom. Back of the beds are designed from the welded wire mesh.
In each bedroom, a different color is chosen, which is further reflected
in the color scheme of the dressing rooms. The artistic design for the
woven headboards is not accidental.
"When I thought about a motif that would fit into Coco, it evoked in me
the canopy tours, which are very popular in Costa Rica.
These are trails and zip lines high above the ground in the treetops
and Coco are also scattered a few meters above the ground.
That's why I used the motif of a climbing rope in the form of straps and
colored cords, which also brings a color accent to Coco interiors”,
says Dagmar Štěpánová.In the largest Coco there is a shared kitchen with dining area.
The red cabinet wall in the color of “mamón chinos (tropical fruit)”
contains 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers and food cabinets.
The kitchen island serves for meal preparation and offers plenty of
storage space for all dishes. The dining table is a visual continuation
of the island, as if it just tore off. This longitudinal axis is the intention and aims at a
view of the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the interior of the Coco kitchen is
equipped with wicker furniture and lighting of local production
If you've read this far you realize what an unusual and unique accomplishment this project is.
Following is a map of the west coast of Costa Rica
Client : : Filip Žák
Client's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Client's website : : www.artvillas.com www.instagram.com/artvillascostarica
Photographer : : BoysPlayNice, email@example.com,www.boysplaynice.com
CollaboratorLandscape architect -greenery and garden elements: atelier Flera, www.flera.cz
Seemingly, I am, in the minority.
Why is that?
Over the last number of years we have witnessed and applauded some great architecture - and some daring architectural innovation.
Significant efforts have been made by notable famous architectural geniuses to see exactly how far the bend can bend.
I may be wrong, but Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered the whole concept of elastic organic architecture with the Guggenheim Museum - without the aid of CAD tools.
Next, Frank Gehry innovated his titanium Bilabao architectural series, and initiated the development of a new variant of design language. David Foster, with the London City Hall tested the envelope, literally and figuratively. And then Zaha Hadid took it all a step further.
All - mostly all - great innovations. Daring, certainly. Awe inspiring for sure. But then that good old competitive urge seemed to have kicked in amongst the architectural think tanks and it seems as if a challenge of, 'whatever you can bend I can bend better - and further'.
To the point of ridiculous architecture. Restraint in all aspects of design is nothing more than intelligent discipline - and the discipline of intelligent balance.
Frankly, I've grown weary of the derring-do. So what if you can now curl a building so it looks like a Slinky toy. What's the point? Is there one? There may be, but not one that makes particularly good sense.
And the cost of indulgence. Over-the-top. When we hear, in political circles, talk of responsible management of resources and of the future, how is it that the architectural community seems to feel they are above such discourse? Are they? I think not.
All this to say that when an example of reason and balance comes along - an example that both incorporates the new fluidity of form and the practical presentation of responsible results, well - I sit up and take notice.
Thus - this astonishly beautiful formShape building - this library/museum - JIASHAN - delivers all the good of innovative and daring design while still creating something that actually works. Took the best of both worlds - form and function - and with a deft hand we see the result.
The following is drawn from a recent issue of that great online magazine, ArchDaily.
Text description provided by the architects.
Jiashan is an eco-friendly and green development demonstration area in the Yangtze River Delta, a Top 100 Chinese county, as well as the only county-level scientific development demonstration area in China. Jiashan Museum & Library is a cultural complex, which is intended to offer local citizens a public cultural activity venue and to greatly enhance the cultural vitality of the county.
With a limited plot area, the project lacks space to accommodate a large-capacity outdoor public activity venue. The site is adjacent to an open urban landscape space, which is under planning but the construction has been postponed. Therefore, the architects had to explore and conceive architectural spaces within the plot. Based on site conditions, the architects took the open void at the middle as the core, and combined three architectural volumes around it to enclose a square for the crowd, which is also an outdoor extension of the foyers of the library and museum.
The square provides resting space for citizens, while also connecting the museum and library. Moreover, it serves diversified public activities such as outdoor exhibition, pop-up book market, etc., fully embodying the functions and image of an urban "knowledge hall and cultural living room". The three building volumes are arranged at appropriate positions according to their respective functions. The museum is set at the southeast corner and near an intersection. It has a closed facade, which shows a clean, neat and iconic image.
The library sits on the north side and faces the river. It boasts ample daylighting on north and sides, and the museum isolates it from the noisy urban road. The building volume at southwest corner and close to the open urban landscape area accommodates shared ancillary facilities for the museum and library, including lecture hall, casual dining area, etc.
The design draws inspiration from local cultural context. Jiashan is located in the north of Zhejiang Province, and adjoins Shanghai and Jiangsu. It features a dense water network and developed shipping industry. In Ming and Qing dynasties, Jiashan was known as the "Country of a Thousand Kilns", because the kiln industry in the county back then was prosperous and most of its bricks were produced for imperial palaces. The form of the square takes design cues from local brick kilns. It's an abstract yet modern "brick kiln" space, which reflects a meaningful attempt to extend building boundaries. Meanwhile, it blurs the boundary between interior and outside, openness and privacy.
The architecture has a smooth and simple appearance, which is complemented by large areas of flat and light-hued stone curtain walls and characterized by texture contrast. Inner facades draw on the stacked structures of brick kilns, and form brick-red curved surfaces. The strong contrast of external and inner facades implies the idea that the unexpected and spectacular is hidden in a plain shell. The whole architecture is like a natural jade that reveals brilliance after being cut open. It's also like a city that collects culture and treasure, which echoes the design theme "Book Repository and Treasure Kiln".
Toronto inventor develops 'smart' gloves to keep hands warm during winter months
OTTAWA -- A young Toronto inventor has developed a line of “smart” gloves and socks that can keep us warm in the harshest Canadian winters.
Adrien Beyk created Quanta Vici, a line of gloves and socks that are connected to the user’s smartphone and can be electronically heated at the touch of a button.
Using what the company calls “smart sense apparel control,” the gloves can maintain the user’s preferred temperature for up to 6.5 hours, which they say is significantly longer than other heated gloves on the market.
“I would say the biggest thing about this is that they're smart,” Beyk told CTV News. "We actually spent three years working on this.”
Beyk, originally from Iran, came up with the idea while studying engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto and dealing with Canadian winters.
"It's like a three-minute walk, but my hands and feet would freeze,” he said.
The gloves are also thin enough to play musical instruments, another advantage Beyk says his product has over some of the bulkier competitors.
To help get the project off the ground, Beyk turned to the crowdfunding sites IndieGoGoand Kickstarter, where he has been able to raise nearly $700,000 combined.
This isn’t Beyk’s only successful venture either. As a teenager, he developed a photo editing software called Pixel Degrees, which has been downloaded millions of times.
Beyk said it’s his passion for computer engineering and fashion that made him interested in starting Quanta Vici.
“This seemed like a great opportunity to mix creativity in fashion design, in hardware design, in software design,” he said.
The gloves are scheduled to be available in the New Year at an initial cost of around $250, though he expects the price to come down.
From a report by:
John Vennavally-RaoToronto Correspondent,
CTV National News @jvrCTV Contact
This, is a ginger jar. Originally a vessel for storing precious spices in ancient China, the beloved ginger jar long ago shrugged off its utilitarian purpose. In todays' world they have become extremely popular as examples of graceful beauty, with lovely proportions.
Following is a link to a nice feature done byHouse Beautiful in June 2015.
Shown to the left is a bespoke ginger jar, lid removed.
Lovely, isn't it?
It's the work of a friend of mine, Tracey Padmore - a Montreal Abstract Artist.
Fait à la main par Tracey, the one shown above and the beautiful gold one shown following, are glass decoupage pieces. Since the tops/lids are removable they an be used as flower vase as they can hold water, but should not be submerged in water. Ginger jars also make for a gorgeous lamp base.
As all her work is bespoke - no two are alike, so if you acquire one you have a one-of-a-kind.
Moreover, she is perfectly willing to discuss custom pieces with you. For example, Valentine's Day is not all that far away - for your loved one you might have Tracey incorporate photographs - perhaps of yourself, children, parents, pets - whatever. And the text composition can be anything you like - in any language! So very cool!
And most reasonable - prices start at $80.00 (which is the price for the two featured ginger jars you see here).
Dimensions noted are the basic ones. For more detailed information and dimensions contact Tracey.
Ginger jar: Height: 8" (with lid) 6"without lid Diameter at base: 17 ½"
Vase: Height: 10" Diameter at base: 16"
The flared vase above ($100.00) is a double sided Glass decoupage, measuring 10" H .
Tracey is in the midst of finishing her web-site.
However we have provided an internal pageLink here for her work.
Click on tracey's decoupage in the side bar and you will have access to her page with additional details and dimensions.
Or you can contact her via
So - here's a little Christmas present for y'all - as I spend so much (too much) time looking for, digging out neat and novel design ideas, I also spend a great amount of time looking for hi-tech tools, apps, software goodies, etc.
This was posted in Flipboard one day this week - it's a really neat collection of great things for the computer user.
And from DesignMilk comes this little treat:
So - that's it for this year - Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas. Joyeux Noel
Next year at this time we'll be in a better place.
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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
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