some discoveries of 2007

{villa rotunda by palladio ~ photo by stephen wassell}

besides being a design & architecture geek i also get giddy over science & mathematics. when reflecting back on 2007, as one tends to do on the last day of a year, what sticks out most in my mind are the science-related break-thrus & discoveries that have occured this year.there are 100's of them, but what i want to focus on are some of those top science stories that are most connected to the design & architecture world ~ bringing together my geeky fascinations and hopefully giving you some new concepts to ponder for the future.....

~ first steps to wireless electricity
thanks to wireless technology, rechargers {and maybe even power lines} could become a thing of the past. in july, researchers at m.i.t. extended the wi-fi concept to allow the beaming of power to anything that uses electricity {now being dubbed "witricity"}. the m.i.t. wi-fi power demonstration, first published in the journal science, and more info on the details of how they did it can be found here.
certainly this will lead to architectural changes when we no longer need wires to connect us to power lines or cords for our electronics & appliances in order to power them. though the technology is still in its infancy, there is something truly amazing about a 60-watt bulb lighting up spontaneously 7’ from the nearest power source, without any wires marring the view. a completely wireless world is on its way people, and i can't wait!
{photos from emerging technologies blog}

~ math breakthrough in mosques
a study of patterns in 12th to 17th century mosaics in islamic mosques suggests the mulsim scholars made a geometric breakthrough 500 years before mathematicians in the west. grad students at harvard & princeton noticed a striking similarity betwen certain medieval mosque mosaics and a geometric pattern known as a quasi crystal {an infinite tiling pattern that doesn't regularly repeat itself and has symmetires not found in normal crystals}. a pattern found in the darb-i lmam shrine built in 1453 in isfahan iran not only never repeats when infinitely extended, its pattern maps onto penrose tiles {components for making quasi crystals discovered by oxford univ mathematician roger penrose in 1970s} in a way that is consistent with the quasi crystal pattern. i love the idea of using mathematics to calculate patterns in fabrics, flooring, wall tiles, and even furniture placement in a room.

~ a glass that bends
in march chinese researches announced that they had created glass that can be bent into right angles without shattering. but this isnt' glass as we know it: the new glass is opaque, twice as strong as window glass & made of metal. these bulk metallic glasses {bmg's} are superstrong and contain areas of high density surrounded by regions of low density. the result: very flexible glass. this could be used in a plethora of design & architecture projects eventually, but right now is mostly for mass-production high industrial projects currently due to prohibitive costs. i even have a project we're working on right now that we'd love to be able to use bmg's for. ahh someday.

{photo from wikimedia}

~ great ancient city unearthed in syria
in northeastern syria there is a 130 foot mound jutting above the northern fringe of the mesopotamian plain called tell brak. within it archeologists from univ of cambridge, univ of edinburgh and harvard univ have unearthed one of the earliest & largest cities in the region {& therefore the world} this past year. previously it was believed the most substantial cities arose in southern mesopotamia in today's iraq. close examinations have revealed the brak settlement extended over 136 acres in the preiod of 4200 to 3900 bc, larger than any other settlement fo the time.
i suppose this isn't adding to any modern design conveniences but i find archeology fascinating and it amazes me how much we continue to discover about how ancient civilizations once lived especially, of course, through their architecture and design.

{photos from archatlas}

many thanks to discover magazine for much of this information.


season's greetings from oregon

i hope you are having a magical holiday season with merriment, love, and good cheer!

{made in oregon sign ~ downtown portland}

{garden of lights ~ shore acres}
{tinsel tree on driftwood ~ waldport oregon beach}


the shortest day of the year

{full moon over albion bridge in mendocino, california taken by rita crane}
i'll be traveling all day tomorrow so i wanted to wish all my blogger friends happy winter solstice! the light keeps shining even on the longest nights during this season when nature is resting. we live in a miraculous world whose beauty is beyond imagining. nature's colors and moods are a kaleidoscope of jewels lighting our way.

festive table setting ideas

ahh, the holiday table setting ~ so many creative options to choose from. you can go all out and transform your dining area into a whole new scene, or leave it simple and plain so the guests are the sparkling treasures around the table. my family goes more towards the latter, but for some fun fantasizing i thought i'd share these really interesting {slightly over the top, some might say} table setting ideas:

{kelly keiser used a salvaged door to create a larger table setting. i really like the back-drop ~ reminiscent of snow flurries}

{winter solstice setting by gil mendez ~ the well lit white-painted bramble branches look great with a ring of white roses around them}

{barbara ashfield and dave hansen used flokati, normally used as an area rug, under settings with natural wood chargers & glass placemats. certainly this is just for show beacause red wine drips, cranberry sauce spills, and bread crumbs covered in butter would be death to this table covering. plus i personally think it might feel really weird to eat off an animal pelt. i'm not a vegetarian, but still.....}

{a table setting designed by walker zanger ~ that's their lovely tile work in the background too. i could do without the oddly placed ram's head on the wall, but i really like that they put all the utensils on the right side ~ a nice twist}

{lawanna cathleen desgined this table with mossy sod as the placemats....it looks good from afar but i don't think it would be all that pleasant to actually eat off of. this too is just for show, wouldn't you say?}

{simon pearce and liz ross used sheets of pebbles on mesh backings {actually for tiling floors & walls} for the table cloth in their nearly all white setting. and are those heath ceramics wares i spy? very nice.}

{lizette bruckstein and karen mcmullen designed this earthy elegance setting. it might not be all that comfy to sit on a stump through an entire meal, but it really looks nice none-the-less}

{all photos from sf gate}


eames films = eames essays

if i didn't already have plans tonight i'd definitely be heading to palo alto for this:
the films of ray & charles eames at the design within reach in palo alto.
for more details jump to here
almost everyone has seen or at least heard of the powers of ten ~ but it would be such a treat to also see the more obscure ones too.

{first heard it on apartment therapy}

color of the new year

it's been officially announced ~ blue iris is the color that will carry trends in 2008. the color experts at pantone have selected pantone 18-3943 as the color that will push the market in the upcoming year.
"from a color forecasting perspective, we have chosen pantone 18-3943 blue iris as the color of the year, as it best represents color direction in the coming year for fashion, cosmetics and home products," says leatrice eiseman, executive director of the pantone color institute. eiseman added, “emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic.”

one of the more than 3,000 colors in the company's eco-friendly lineup, blue iris is billed as a combination of the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple.

{photos from the sartorialtist show blue iris on a stylish bicyclist in paris, a dapper gentleman in new york city and a lovely-legged lady in milan this month}

{several products showing the use of the iris color ~ it'll be interesting to see how many more come out in '08}

i happen to love this color {whether it's color of the year or not} but i'm curious what you all think?


concentric delicious

i just found the most fabulous looking icebox cookies ever {well, for my concentric circles loving self} these are now the official cookie of studio wellspring ~ ;o)
i'll be making my own version this coming weekend ~ wish me luck that i can get mine to look as perfectly fantastic as these do.

{found on none other than martha stewart's empire website}

art quest resolved!

the ever researching ms.90/10 rule sent me a link to the lekker home website where this exact vase is for sale. it says nothing about the artist, but it does say the vase is imported from amsterdam.
so i searched in the netherlands and found this:

a very similar coral vase in a high gloss steel-silver on the interesting site dutch by design. this vase was designed by norman trapman and is so similar to the larger white version i figured it must be the same designer.

i found norman trapman's work in several places:

{here is an even more similar vase being sold at design-ws}

{an interesting log stump vase found on it's-knot-wood}

{this 9-bottle vase found on a uk site compare-store-prices}

and finally it all came together on a netherlands based site called galeries ~ hark! i present to you the tulpenvaas by norman trapman:


art quest

there's a bit of an art mystery going on.... and i need your help.
these interesting coral-like vases keep showing up around me from different sources and now that i'm curious to find out who did them {simply because of the frequency with which they've been appearing} i can't find out a thing.
our office has acquired two {as a gift} and i've asked several people here about them, and even taken the liberty of picking them up and flipping them over to see if there was any info underneath. but i came up with nada.

{a side table in our conference room}

and of course i've searched the entire internet and still can't find out who the artist is or where these pieces come from.
{photo from decorno's blog}

{photo taken by steven randazzo}

so if you know the answer, or have any ideas on where i can get it, please share ~ my curiosity would be ever so grateful!

swell swap

the holiday ornament swap of 2007 was highly successful in spreading the joys of the season. i've already received 5 of the 9 ornaments from my group and i'm so impressed with everyone's creativity & skill. it's wonderful to get a little piece of holiday cheer from so many different places ~ south africa, canada, new zealand, texas, seattle, minnesotta. i made 8-point origami stars, gave them a dusting of gold shimmer, glued a rhinestone in the center, and strung a loop of silvery grey beads for the finishing touch. i hope my swap-mates enjoy what i sent them as much as i am delighted with what they've sent me.
tons of photos of everyone's contributions are here.


holly jolly crunch time

lots to do today away from blogland ~ hope you have a weekend filled with good cheer!


chance of showers

those who know me fairly well understand my crush for umbrellas {case in point, teri sending me this tip}. alas, last thursday i missed an incredible showing of umbrellas and a benefit for 826-seattle at the design commission in seattle. but luckily tons of photos of the beauties have been shared on flickr.
it featured over 25 decorated and artistically transformed umbrellas from artists, designers and architects across the country ~ the remaining umbrellas are still up for auction on ebay. all proceeds from the auction benefit 826-seattle {a wonderful non-profit dedicated to helping youth with writing skills of all types}.
please jump here to see a time lapse video of the opening night ~ it's the next best thing to being there!

{all photos with gratitude from the design commission flickr set}


modern gingerbread house

maybe this isn't your grandmother's gingerbread house ~ but it's arguably the coolest gingerbread house design i've seen. it arrives fully assembled, is 100% edible and can be personalized {found at redenvelope}. i might just have to come up with my own version sometime. i love model making {i get to do it for clients every once in a while ~ see some examples here} so it would be a fun challenge to make an edible version. that is, if i had 150 hours of free time to dedicate to such an undertaking. ;o)



i recently came across this talented denver colorado team called o interior design. three very talented ladies have joined forces to bring ecclectic vibrant interiors to colorado & beyond. i'm really loving their self-proclaimed mountain modern/colorado contemporary style. their website is full of gorgeous interiors, so i just chose a few of my favorites along the reds & asian-fusion themes to share with you today. but please do check out the rest of their portfolio sometime!