Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Little Art Project

These fallen dried fruits can be easily found in the parks during my trip. The shape of the fruit looks like a cute lantern made by mother nature. I couldn't help bringing a bunch of them back to the hotel. I washed them first, and then microwaved for 2 min. Finally spray-painted two of them for experiment - felt like a cooking experience :)

The result was not bad. I'll get more colors when I go back to Columbus and make them into all kinds of fun stuff!

Spanish Moss

On my trip from South Carolina to Goergia, Spanish moss is INVASIVE. It is everywhere on the southern live oak, the swamp cypress, the brushes …

It is neither Spanish, nor Moss.

It needs HEIGHT, so it borrows the arms of trees to hang on.

But it is NOT a parasite.

It lives where humid air exists - It is the VISUAL MANIFESTATION of air.

It travels with wind and birds. Thus it is FLOATING and FLYING.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Modern X-mas Tree

Ready for a new look of X-mas tree? Here you go - a great modern design by a women industrial designer Sandra Lindner from Germany.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Antique Rule

My studio had a very hilarious White Elephant gift exchange today. I was lucky to get one of the hottests gifts - a slide rule! I became fascinated with this mysterious and cool-looking gadget, wondering how it works. Looks very complicated to me. It is the ancestor of today's electronic calculator.

I later found out it was from Fred, a principal of NBBJ, who sits next to me :) He used that in college, which was 40 years ago! The rule is still in good shape. To me, it is a very precious gift from an older generation, seeing how drastically architects' work style has changed due to the advancing technology.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Art of Stock Market

I just saw two interesting pieces based on stock data: the first one is the 3D visualization of New York stock exchange data, the second one is a light sculpture called plastic trade-off which visualizes the real-time data of global stock market data.

For more info -

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cats Enjoy Modern Design!

After looking at the Doggie bench, here is something for Cats - Leo cat scratching post by James Owen Design . Tired with the boring look of conventional cat scratching post, this sleek modern design really catches my eyes. The wood grain pattern also helps to disguise the cat's claw marks. I wonder how much it costs.

Doggie Bench

Found this fun design by a French firm Radi Design. It would be cool to put benches of different dog breeds together in a park :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Art of Food

My friend's fiancee Ming has a blog dedicated to food called Angry Asian Food Critic :) Her appreciation of food was wittily put in on her blog - no one should subject to crappy food and should take care of your taste bud just like a delicate flower. And once your taste bud is happy, your tummy is happy, and then it tells your brain to puts out happy chemicals throughout your body.

One of her blog is about her memorable experience at a unique restaurant Alinea in Chicago. In this restaurant, all the food is carefully designed, cooked and presented in front of the guests. The components of each dish is nothing exotic; they are EVERYDAY food such as tomato, potato and bacon. Just look at the photos I posted here - isn't that amazing? They look to me like architectural models: the composition of forms, colors, textures. And the smell of course, if you are there. It is a true enjoyment for all your senses. I just feel tempted to design food! I'm also tempted to make the assumption that artful and healthy food would make artful and healthy body and mind :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

All about SKIN

I saw some interesting works at this month's Architectural Record. All of them are about creating a skin with unique pattern, material and lighting, to reflect the identity of the building. Following the trend of patterning, architecture is getting FLAT (if not FAT). Abstracted or oversized graphics become the skin of the architectural body, either interior or exterior. Image is more concerned than the depth or volume of the space, perhaps as a result of the fast information exchange and the importance of advertizing in today's world.

Friday, December 15, 2006

KSA Lecture Series 2007

Just saw the poster at KSA webpage. Can't miss my favorite ones such as MVRDV and Morphosis!

FAT architecture

Mike Denison, my co-worker, presented his master thesis he did at OSU at today’s studio critic. I was quite impressed with his brilliant ideas as well as seductive graphics. The argument is that from Vitruvius’ ideal body to Le Corbusier’s Modulor body, architecture has always been related to human body. He then drew an analogy between popular culture and architecture: the fascination of a perfect build body without any fat v.s. modern architecture reduced to only skeleton and skin. Fast food, the desire of having more and speeding up v.s. fantasy places like Las Vegas or Disneyland, as a fast projection of desire, where the boundary between reality and dream gets blurred. While the real ‘Fat Architecture’ he talked about here is neither a ‘fit’ space following a disciplined diet, nor a ‘cheesy’ space as a result of gluttony, but a fun space with its unique taste and variety. The example he chose is MVRDV’s Dutch Pavilion – stacked layers of different space offering people defamiliarized experiences.

I think fatness is not about form-marking, but an ATTITUDE - The attitude of relaxing, experimenting, opening up to infinite possibilities, pursuing the richness in architecture…. FAT is the excess, the surplus beyond the symbolic order of architectural reality.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

free El Croquis!

El Croquis is one of my favorite arch magazines. But it is way too expensive. Today I learned from a co-worker that the books were scanned and shared on Emule. You can now download each book for free! Will try that soon :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I found this art glass studio Englerglass and fell in love with their 'Web bowls' & 'Splash bowls' - simple design based on familiar shapes, with perfect abstraction. The studio was started by flamework artist Dylan Engler and designer Amy Otto in 2003. It is located in Pittsburgh (should have known earlier!). Have to check it out next time I go back.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

M by Madonna

Just saw the news on Dexigner that H&M (my favorite clothing brand) has teamed up with Madonna (used to be my favorite singer) to work on a new fashion line which will come out March 2007. Seems it is a trend nowadays to have celebrity be not only the speak person but also part of the design team, such as the collaboration btw. Nike and Eminem on sneakers design.

The involvement of celebrities as cultural icons turns brands iconic; the same time, design also gets personalized. If fashion can be both iconic and personalized, what about architecture?