Friday, 19 December 2008

Taking a break...

To be honest, 2008 has not been the greatest of years for me (I'm sure I'm not alone in that thought) so I'm going to be glad to see the back of it. I'm taking some much needed time away from blogging. I'm not sure when I'll be back, if at all. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this beautiful artwork by artist Nancy Lorenz. I hope next year is a better year for all of us!

Artwork above is "Cill Railaig" by Nancy Lorenz, via PDX Gallery.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Business of Design Week 2008

Well, Business of Design Week in Hong Kong is over for another year. I'm not sure I have the time to do a lengthy write up on all the speakers I saw like I did last year, but I will give you a bit of a re-cap. Holland was the partner country this year, so there was plenty of local and Dutch talent in the city this week. Amongst many others I saw Hella Jongerius, Michael Young, and Rem Koolhaas. Unfortunately I missed out on seeing Marcel Wanders and Renny Ramakers of Droog Design. Rem Koolhaas was incredible, and my writing talents can not do justice to his words. What I will say, is that anyone interested in architecture, town planning or the cities of the future should jump at an opportunity to hear him speak. He truly is a visionary.

Apart from Koolhaas, I found Hella Jongerius' talk interesting and a great insight into her working process - in particular, her explanation of how the Polder Sofa for Vitra came about. Jongerius background and specialisation is ceramics so she was a little confused to say the least when Vitra approached her to design a sofa. She almost turned down the commission! She told them she didn't want to to design a sofa because she didn't like them and actually didn't even own one herself (not sure what she sat on instead!). So Vitra turned around and told her she should design a sofa that she would want at home, and so the gauntlet was laid. This funky shape is the result of a 6 month long design and mock-up process.

The most distinguishing features of the "Polder" sofa is the use of fabrics that are 4 different tones of the same colour, and oddly miss-matched buttons. Jongerius explained the reason for choosing so many different colours on one piece was to make it easier for people to fit this within their home - that it would be easier to "match" the colours with items in their existing interior. As someone who spent the beginning of my career working in fabric showrooms helping clients select fabrics for their furniture - I can personally say that this is a genius idea. I'm just not sure why nobody thought of it sooner. I found myself nodding my head knowingly as she spoke about how it is impossible to carry colour in your memory, and how hard it is to find just the right shade of (whatever colour it is that you're looking for) green, red etc. to work with your (insert other decorative items here) carpet, curtains etc. Time and time again its such simple ideas that make the greatest innovations!

** Oops, I almost forgot to mention that the organisers of BODW announced the new partner country for 2009....FRANCE! Can you guess who is just a little bit excited???

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha night originated in Japan in 2003, conceived by the architects Astrid Klein & Mark Dytham as a place for young designers to meet, network and show their talents. The concept obviously worked well because Pecha Kucha night is now held in 158 cities all over the world.

The idea behind Pecha Kucha is to give each designer a microphone and a slide projector for a limited amount of time, which keeps it concise and allows more people to show their stuff. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, which gives you 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up!

The term Pecha Kucha is Japanese and translates roughly to "chit chat", but is more accurately an onomatopoeia for the sound of people talking.

I attended my first Pecha Kucha night in Hong Kong last night. Held in conjunction with our annual Business of Design Week, both local and dutch designers were featured. I did not present, in case any of you were wondering - I'm terrible at public speaking! It was definitely a fun night, and a great forum for designers, something that Hong Kong has been desperately lacking.

So, check out the website, and find out where your local Pecha Kucha night will be. Or, if your city doesn't already have one organised you can get in contact with them and maybe start one on your own!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Un rêve d'or

I'm loving this spread in the latest Architectural Digest (French edition). A stunning collection of objet d'or by some of the greatest contemporary designers of our day, I wouldn't mind getting any of these from Santa this year!

The even more stunnng backdrop is the Hôtel Arturo Lopez, just outside of Paris. Built in 1903 by Italian architect Paul Rodocanachi (a frequent collaborator of Jean-Michel Frank), the Hôtel was bought by the wealthy Chilean Arturo Lopez in 1930. Every room has a different theme including a miniature copy of the hall of mirrors from Versailles, and a room entirely covered with shells. At the moment, from what I can make out, this incredible home (which was purchased by the local municipality in 1971) is now being used as a museum. I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I did!

This is probably my favorite stunning is that marble! The bronze table is by Meret Oppenheim, and the two gold spheres - one resin, the other gold leaf - are by Pierre Giraudon.

The light fixture on the left is by Hubert Le Gall, and the bookshelf on the right is by Vicenzo de Cotiis.

In front of a Herve van der Straeton mirror is a chair by Philippe Hiquilly, on top of which sits a rock table prototype by Arik Levy.

Above a plexiglas and polished pink mirror table by Guy de Rougement is a mirror by Hubert Le Gall.

A small box by Elizabeth Garouste sits atop a piece by Herve van der Straeton.

From Architectural Digest (France) No. 80, December 2008 - January 2009. All photos by Philippe Garcia.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Sale time!

One of my favorite book retailers - William Stout - is having a sale. Between December 1st & 13th you can enjoy 25% off all books on Interior Design, Photography and Decorative Arts. I've never actually been to their San Francisco store, but they have a great website where you can purchase online - and they ship overseas, yay! Happy Shopping!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Art Sunday!

Starting this Sunday!

"Hong Kong’s art and cultural landscape has recently undergone a renaissance, from the art auction rooms to the international acclaim of local artists. Galleries are blossoming and a sense of excitement, long associated with just the hallowed streets of downtown New York, is gathering locally and internationally about Hong Kong’s potential as Asia’s art capital.Now, Hong Kong art galleries in Central have come together to bring a sense of community, education and easy accessibility back into art. Beginning Sunday 7th December, art galleries in Central will open from 11am – 5pm for Art Sunday. This free event will allow families, friends, neighbours and those out for a leisurely Sunday afternoon, to engage with art, chat to their local gallerists, and listen to talks about art and artwork. Children will be able to participate in creative workshops and learn about art in a fun and interactive environment. Local cafes and restaurants will join in sponsoring the event, providing brunch and drinks for local participating galleries. With over 20 galleries and a number of local restaurants participating, Art Sunday guarantees something for everyone and is a wonderful way to support Hong Kong’s art community."

Further dates for 2009 have already been set - February 8th, March 15th, and April 5th. See you there!