Friday, October 1, 2010

Corbu's Colors

Who doesn't love a fan deck of colors? Paint samples, Pantone swatches - you name it, I love them all. But I think this one just might take the cake. The architect and designer Le Corbusier created custom paints to compliment his modernist interior spaces. Generally speaking, mention of a modernist interior evokes images of white, black, stainless steel, clear glass and an overall minimalistic sleekness. But it turns out that Corbu, in fact, used lots of well-placed splashes of color that were designed around the materials specified for a given space. The paints are mineral-based which gives them a rich quality missing in most mass-produced paints of the present day and also makes them very eco-friendly. Sometimes is easy (and sheek) being green. The paints are distributed in the US through Aronson's in NYC. I am thinking a nice Yves Klein ultramarine blue would look great in the living room.

Friday, August 20, 2010

BK Pizza Burger Weighs in at a Whopping 2,500 Calories

And here I thought the Double Down was bad... Burger King has announced the new New York Pizza Burger to be sold exclusively at its Times Square Whopper Bar starting this September. The "burger" consists of four patties covered in pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and pesto mayonnaise all piled on a nine inch bun and adorably sliced like a traditional pizza pie. Thank you, BK, for giving overstuffed American tourists in NYC one more reason to eat at a national fast food chain while on vacation instead of enjoying one of the many other culinary options available (a good slice of NY pizza or a piled-high deli sandwich might not save a ton of calories, but at least they are authentic New York).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My New Favorite - My Scratch Map

AMAZING. It is like a lottery ticket for past and future travels - without the payoff, but still. Use a penny to expose places you have been or hope to go. I might need two, one for each. Already have one? Share your map - what color is Russia? Serbia? Italy? Bangladesh? Thanks Gizmodo - though I must admit I am not sure I share your sentiments about the sniff option... Crepes in Paris, yes. The Nile in a drought, not so much.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The World's Coolest Sport?

Ever been freediving? This video of Guillaume Nery's freedive in the Bahamas open my eyes to what might be the world's coolest sport. It combines my love of water and my desire for adventure. The video itself is a work of art. It reminds me of Julian Schnabel's film adaptation of "The Diving Bell & The Butterfly" - magical, haunting, inspiring.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cupcake Madness Gets Creative

Ever since the women of Sex and the City touted the deliciousness of the the cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery (I, personally, am a fan of the banana cream pie), a cupcake craze has swept the nation. DC is proving no exception. From Georgetown Cupcake (rumored to be the subject of a new reality show...) to Hello Cupcake, Red Velvet and others, small cupcakes shops have been popping up all over our Nation's capital for several years now. It was high time they made a good competition - and a whole lot of fun - of the tasty treats. And so I present to you Hello Cupcake's "Design Your DC" Contest, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

UPDATED: Its official. Georgetown Cupcake has it's own reality TV show on TLC!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My New Heaven

My relationship with jello has not always been stellar. My mother went through an ill-advised jello phase in the mid-nineties the brought the likes of jello eggs, jello USAs, jello Christmas trees and various other sundries to our home. Wretch. I now, however, have a new reason (beyond Millie & Al's $1 favorites) to love this strange substance and it is all thanks to My Jello Americans. I really can't find a favorite. Each time I think I do, I discover something else. The Bacon & Eggs ranks high on the list, as do the watermelon slices, and who can say no to a strawberry rhubarb margarita?! So I bid you, explore! It's really a magical place.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gehry's Green Gripes: A Good Trend Gone Wrong

City Center in Las Vegas - LEED Gold?

You will not often find me praising Frank Gehry, save perhaps in an occasional acknowledgment of his brilliance in the siting of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, but his recent, much-criticized commentary on the state of green building and the US industry's narrow focus on LEED has given me cause. Designing and building for a sustainable future require so much more than a checklist. In an open letter in defense of Gehry, Fred Bernstein, using the monstrous City Center development as a prime example, argues Gehry's point supremely well - "...the question is political. If there were robust public debate, Americans might decide that projects like City Center pose environmental costs that far outweigh their benefits. Zoning regulations, taxes, and other tools of government could then be used to stop such projects. LEED, by contrast, cannot stop wasteful projects from being built, nor does it attempt to." I hope Gehry's "Starchitect" status can help keep this very important issue fresh and encourage a continued and open debate on responsible, sustainable development.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Square Coke? I am all for it!

I love, love, love this design. And if that is not enough to win you over, just read about how wildly eco-friendly these stackable quadrate receptacles are. Thank you Packaging World.

"Designed by Andrew Kim, the Eco Coke Concept is made of 100% organic material (sugar cane byproducts to be more specific). One big feature about this design is that it is much more collapsible, making it more conducive to carrying to a recycling bin. Hopefully we’ll see this in the market sooner than later."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

KFC Doubles Down to Dispel Any Rumors That Their Food is Good for You

Bringing it back to the States and giving a nod to randomness, I present to you the latest creation from KFC's brain trust: The Double Down. For those Americans out there who are eating away their worries in these troubled times, KFC is here to help. And, of course, if you are watching your pseudo-depression era waistline, there is a grilled version. My love for bacon is no secret, but I must confess that I do hope one day soon The Double Down will make this illustrious list of genius fast food creations. Thanks to The Consumerist for keeping us informed of the marvels of modern American fast cuisine.

Notes from an Ancient Land: Philae & the Armed Guards

The Ancient Temple of Philae, dedicated to Isis and still attracting worshipers today, sits on a small island in the water between the two dams just south of Aswan. It was not built here originally by the ancient Egyptians, but rather on a small island slightly further south by the Ptolemies and dedicated by Cleopatra herself. That island is now completely under water, drowned by the rising waters after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The temple was dismantled and reassembled on its new home island. It is not easy to photograph the temple from afar as much of the surrounding land is secured and inaccessible, part of the very tough security that guards the entire High Dam area. With special permissions and clearance, access to the high rocks of Bega Island was granted and so the stake out for sunset and rising temple lights began.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Notes from a Strange Land: Building for the Future

In a land that is so focused on their monumental past, I find myself fascinated by the way in which they build for the future. As seen in a view from the pavilion surrounding the Colossus of Ramses II at Memphis, easily 95% of all new construction residential buildings are brick and cement and only completed as space is needed. The buildings, from Alexandria to Luxor, all share this unfinished top floor from which protrude concrete pillars encasing steel rebar. As the family grows, or the owner determines there is a need for more space, they add a floor, just as the one before it, with the same pillars and exposed rebar. This lack of commitment to the future, and the heavy involvement of the government in most construction, is a striking example of the seeming reluctance to plan communities, make organized neighborhoods and create a reliable, shared infrastructure. Fascinating.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Notes from a Strange Land: El Wililiy & the Great Pyramid

Cairo is a strange and interesting place, where many of the rules by which we live in the States are mere suggestions - among other things, lines on the road and any other traffic etiquette seem to have been lost completely, buried in the sands like so many of their treasures. The city sprawls on for miles and miles, with derelict suburbs meeting each other in a chaos of unplanned development. When they determined, in the late 1970's, that the city was "not developing well", they simply started building new cities further out. Here above is a view from the roof terrace of my driver's house in a village in Giza, just outside Cairo. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is illuminated by the sound and light show and seen above the satellite and goat covered roofs of the village. More observations and images to come...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eva Hesse and the Enduring Ephemeral

Photo by Andy Keate

Sometimes the yearning becomes an ache. It is fleeting, but poignant. This particular yearning-turned-ache is for a city, a city of rich history and embodied decorum, one with so many enduring charms, but a city principally, for me, and uniquely, in which art is at once both immaculately institutionalized and as fresh and raw as the meats in Smithfield Market. Born forth on winds from the whispers of the muses of passion and spontaneity, the ache encourages me to ride those winds straight into the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport.
But winds change.

This week the muses' whispers came courtesy of an article in the NY Times T Magazine about a show that recently closed at the Camden Arts Center - "Eva Hesse Studiowork". Shows of this intrigue almost never find their way to Washington, and even occasionally skip New York, but never miss London.

Having first fallen in love with Hesse's work at a 2002- 2003 retrospective at the Tate Modern, the article awoke in me that yearning which is, like her work, something ephemeral that endures.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flying Fox Commuters

Do you ever have those dreams where you can fly? And you wake up just wishing it were true so that suddenly that 30 minute (or maybe 2 hour) commute to work is but a mere quick, self-launched flight of all of 5 minutes. Well, in Colombia, that is how the kids are getting to school these days, or at least some of them.

As reported by the Daily Mail, members of this remote village travel via a system of flying foxes once made of hemp and now, thankfully, updated to steel cables. First outsider reports of this high-flying, high-speed transportation date back to 1804. In this photo "Daisy" carries her younger brother in a sack dangling below her as she uses a wooden fork to temper her speed. Photo Focus/Otto/Rex.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hello Friend! The mypressi TWIST Espresso Maker

For those of you at there that share my love of caffeinated beverages, this toy is for you. All the ease and simplicity of coffee from a French press, but the end result is a deliciously frothy shot of espresso. The TWIST is highly portable, requiring only ground coffee and hot water. Note to self: add Thermos and ground espresso to ever-expanding purse (where is Mary Poppins' purse maker when you need him?).

Or perhaps, if you're brave (or British), you'll experiment a bit - whiskey espresso? Two good things, but together?

Thank you, Oliver Strand, for introducing me to this cheeky new gadget.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

World's Most Famous Doll Meets World's Most Famous Lady du Jour

Just when I thought Lady Gaga mania couldn't get any better, designer Lu Wei Kang has gone and proved me wrong. For the aspiring artists (vocal, conceptual, Barbie, and other) and pop-crazed young'ns out there, I gave you Lady Gaga Barbie.

Check them all out here:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleep Talkin' Man Makes Me Chuckle

It's really almost impossible to pick a favorite among the many rants and rumbles of this somniloquent Brit, but the ones that invoke audible laughter deserve to be repeated, and repeated often (though I've skipped a few that were a tad raunchy).

"Tea bags, see? Better be careful with the tea bags. They're delicate creatures. Handle them with care."

"No puppy! Bad puppy! Make you into puppy slippers."

[chuckling throughout] "I'm trying not to laugh. But your face! Your face! Oh, please look away. Please?"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Super Bowl Bacon Cheese Turtleburger

The newcomer to the zoo that is bacon-centric food experiments - please give a round of applause for the Bacon Cheese Turtleburger. Created the day the Saints made their first appearance at the big dance, these little guys are sure to be a fan favorite. Who doesn't love a lot of meat on Super Bowl Sunday?

Handmade ground beef patties are topped with sharp cheddar cheese and then wrapped in a bacon weave before the Hebrew Nationals are inserted as the heads, legs and tails. Place them on a rack, cover loosely with foil and then put them into an oven heated to 400 degrees. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is done - cooked through and a little crispy, but not too crunchy.

And voila! Perfectly cooked Bacon Cheese Turtleburgers.

Recipe, experimentation and photos courtesy of
MRD, the Marquis de Meat.

'The Hijacking of 'Modern''

Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Designed by David M. Schwarz Architects

Photo by Hedrich Blessing

Writing for Traditional Building Magazine clearly indicates a certain bias, but this is a very interesting debate and one that really should be brought forward into the mainstream architectural media - into the very publications that have propagated said hijacking.