Friday, October 14, 2011

Tumbling into Tumblr

Although I still don't quite understand this Tumblr culture, I've given in and made one for myself.  I am always reading interesting articles and discovering awesome new products and projects but no where to conveniently archive them.  Now I do at  It's more sharing, less text; take a look.

Minimal feelings on minimalism

Not the sort of place that welcomes you in the morning for breakfast.
(Plastic House by Architecture Republic)
I'm not the biggest fan of modern architecture's stark white trend. I do like how designers attempt to keep looks clean and simple, especially in our busy and cluttered lives, but their language often ends up feeling

harsh and cold. The world is already too harsh as everyone rushes about their business without pause to just sit back and enjoy. Just because our lives are like that doesn't mean our environments have to be like that, making us feel boxed in, rigid, and alone.  My criticism here doesn't mean I'm demanding historical spaces, that we go back to colonnades and Gothic vaults, or that designers should never use white. I am just asking for some coziness, the ability for architecture to make us feel comfortable while our lifestyles push us to our limits.  Considering as well how we're becoming more and more detached from each other, communicating only through texts and emails, spaces should be more personal and more inviting to counteract this and encourage similar dispositions in us. We're already beating the functionality into everything; it's now time for form to follow feeling.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Architect is Barbie's "Career of the Year"

Every year Mattel gives Barbie a new job to inspire and educate girls about possible careers for women, and this year she's an architect. The American Institute for Architecture hosted a design competition for Barbie's Dream House to accompany the new doll. You can go here to vote for the winning design and learn more about Architect Barbie!

Here is good article on the matter, Architecture Is Tough! Will Architect Barbie Help More Women Become Designers?, with lots of the who, what, where, and why of the matter. (By the way, that was a pun, "good article", because it's from the site Haha.)

And I especially like this one. Here's what female architects think about their new colleague: Young Architects React to Architect Barbie.
Finally, my career choice has been justified by a doll!
She better not be my competition.
And while we're on the subject of Barbie: Barbie as buildings.

"Open House"

Open House is a show I've discovered on my local NBC New York channel. It features residences, usually around the New York area, with particular attention to style and design. Or tries to; it definitely leaves much to be desired for me. In general, I feel the program shows off excessive luxury more than it does for design.  The episode I saw today, for example, featured a $55 million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills. It was a strictly European, classical, Versaille-like palace that, while very opulent, was not particularly interesting. I recall another episode showing off a house whose designer went crazy with the marble and the master bedroom and bathroom were one. Now that was an interesting idea, but also a ridiculous, you-shouldn't-have-done-that-for-real idea. Maybe it's just me, but I think a toilet and bathtub sitting in the middle of the bedroom just doesn't quite appeal.

What I really dislike about the show, though, are the people who walk and talk to show off the homes. Sometimes they're the homeowners, sometimes they're real estate agents, but they always seem unenthusiastic and scripted, offering no emotion in their voices and overusing words like "magnificent" and "exquisite". I hear what you're saying, woman, but you don't sound like it's a "magnificent" space. Sometimes I think I even hear hesitation in their sentences, like they almost forgot what they were supposed to say next, but that could just be my TV, which occasionally freezes.

The program also has a portion where a design team of theirs renovates someone's home either by doing a "Day-keover" (like makeover) and simply redecorating, or "coming to the rescue" and entirely redoing the interiors.  I like this part of the show more because it feels much more real-life than the over-priced, kitschy homes they manage to find. These are real people who submit reasons for needing a rescue, such as a elementary school teacher who battled uterine cancer and had no time to fix her apartment.  Unfortunately it goes by really quickly, in the last five minutes of the half hour show, and it's difficult to catch all the changes they made. But they probably don't spotlight that section because there are already shows that do, such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

All in all, Open House isn't a very good show, but it's convenient for filling the hours of my relatively boring summer.

P.S.- I do enjoy the program that comes on after Open House, Talk Stoop. Host Cat Greenleaf talks with various famous people on a stoop in Brooklyn. The conversations are always fun and interesting, touching on atypical but still relevant interview topics.

Sunday, July 3, 2011