Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vince Carter's - Daytona Beach, Florida

After dining at one of her favorite restaurants, Darden Restaurants' Seasons 52, Michelle Carter-Scott, mother and business manager for Orlando Magic NBA star Vince Carter, knew she had found the design team for her son's namesake restaurant: Orlando architecture firm Cuhaci & Peterson and interior design firm Schmidt Design Studio. The design brief: a unique restaurant that Daytona Beach, Florida, had never seen before. Says principal interior designer Anna Schmidt: "I remember her saying, 'We want Vegas, baby!'"

But don't think Vince Carter's is packed with memorabilia a la Hard Rock Café. "Vince wanted his outstanding basketball career to only be represented by subtle touches," she says. The Highlight Zone, which is the high-end sports bar, dons a few pieces of basketball art; in the entry, there is a retail space that features some mementos of Carter; and custom painting of the star hangs on a high wall in the main dining room.

Elsewhere, throughout the 11,000-square-foot space, the designers used rich and contrasting dark wood stains, warm colors (raspberry, gold, metal hues), touches of metal (steel copper, and pewter), lots of textures, and clean lines. And there is motion and curves to the design—in the massive hanging features with undulating metal strips to curved details in the carpet pattern. "Our goal was to create a rich, high-class, yet comfortable and approachable atmosphere," Schmidt says. "While the color palette was different than you might expect, all the aspects came together to create a beautiful aesthetic. It really draws you into the space."

Schmidt's favorite room: the VIP dining room. Elliptical in shape, it features an oval ceiling cut out with staggered furrdowns, which guests can see on to the exterior 30-foot high windows, she explains. And the room has a warm glow, thanks to gold and pewter hues, custom blown glass pendants that hang from the ellipse, and a 25-foot custom glove glass chandelier that spirals from the ceiling.

"The restaurant features four inside dining and drinking environments, as well as three exterior patio areas. Each offers a unique guest experience for both traditional and private dining," Schmidt says.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Giacometti Sculpture Becomes Most Expensive Work Ever to Sell at Auction

A rare life-size and life-time bronze cast, from 1961, of Alberto Giacometti's L'Homme Qui Marche I, better known as "Walking Man," improbably became the most expensive work of art ever to sell at auction today, selling for £65,001,250 ($104,327,006).

The price barely edged out the previous record, set in 2004 by Pablo Picasso's Garcon a la Pipe, 1905, which went for $104.1 million (£58,052,830) at the time. But Giacometti's personal previous record, achieved when Grand Femme Debout II, 1959-60, earned $27,481,000 at Christie's New York in May 2008, was vanquished in seconds.

The £65,001,250 ($104,327,006) result also pulverized the previous record for any modern sculpture sold at auction, achieved last February at the Yves Saint Laurent sale in Paris when Constantin Brancusi's Madame L.R. (Portrait de Mme L.R.) from circa 1914-17 sold for $37.7 million.

Estimated to sell for £12-18 million, the much-talked-about Giacometti figure of a spindly man, who resembles a survivor of a cataclysmic event, frozen in mid-stride, took off like a Roman candle, with multiple bids erupting in the packed salesroom.

At least four phone bidders tangled for the prize, as did several seasoned dealers, including New York private dealer Nancy Whyte, who went up to £23 million before dropping out, connected via cell phone to her anonymous client.

"That was peanuts," said Whyte shortly afterwards, alluding to her bidding, and expressing surprise at just how much higher the bronze traveled.

Pre-sale buzz that the Giacometti might hit $50 million was greeted with considerable skepticism by even seasoned players. No one even fantasized it would exceed $100 million.

There are two versions of "Walking Man," I and II, each in an edition of six plus artist proofs. It is believed that example of the first walking man, which was consigned by the Frankfurt-based Commerzbank, is the only life-time cast still in private hands.

Sotheby's senior specialist Philip Hook, who took the winning phone bid at a hammer price of £58 million, said that one of the unidentified underbidders told him before the sale that he had been waiting 40 years for the sculpture to come on the market. It turned out to be that kind of generational event. Hook declined to divulge any information about his phone client.

The six-foot-high bronze has an American heritage as well. It was first acquired in December 1961 by legendary New York dealer Sidney Janis, who bought it from Galerie Maeght in Paris and debuted it in New York at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1968, according to the auction catalogue.

The catalogue also showed a vintage photograph of Giacometti covered in white plaster and working on the spindly legs of the figure in his Paris studio before it was cast in bronze. The image added to the iconic status of the astonishing sculpture, believed by some to be his greatest work. There's no question it's his most expensive

Monday, February 1, 2010

Architecture for Humanity Responds to Haiti Quake

Architecture for Humanity members haven’t slept a wink since Monday night. The San Francisco-based non-profit design services firm founded by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, is busy mobilizing an architecture army for reconstruction efforts in Haiti following Tuesday’s horrific earthquake.

The firm, which provides design, construction, and development for nations and cultures in need, is currently fundraising for long-term efforts in the crumbled city of Port au Prince. Additionally, Architecture for Humanity has issued a call to architects, interior designers, engineers, environmental scientists, agronomists, and landscape architects across the globe to donate their time and talent to aid in the long road ahead.

“While Haiti is currently in desperate need of relief and recovery services, very soon we will move to long-term reconstruction,” said Cameron Sinclair. “When the world’s attention turns away from this disaster, that is when the design and building community is needed most. Give now to build back better.”

Currently, Architecture for Humanity is fleshing out a comprehensive, two- to four-year plan (including transitional, temporary shelter, as well as permanent construction) for the devastated nation that begins with a site visit in approximately three week’s time. Ideally, the firm will have professionals in the field by month two. Sinclair and his team are urging dedicated, passionate members of the industry, especially those who are French-speaking, to sign up to volunteer at architectureforhumanity.org/getinvolved/offerdesign. Monetary donations can also be submitted via PayPal sans service fee at architectureforhumanity.org/donate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tropical Turquoise Top Color of 2010

Interior designer Debbie Sheaf of Orlando, Fla., is way ahead of the curve.
Last February, inspired by the blues and greens in her collection of antique majolica pottery, she painted the room that houses her collection a vibrant turquoise.

Turquoise was selected as the color of the year for 2010 by Pantone, a global color authority. The blue-green shade replaces mimosa, the sunny yellow that was Pantone's top pick for 2009.

Combining the "serene qualities of blue with the invigorating aspects of green," turquoise evokes thoughts of "soothing tropical waters and a languorous escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while restoring our sense of wellbeing," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in Carlstadt, N.J.

Just the kind of feel-good color we need in 2010, the year in which the depressed economy is expected to start recovering.

To determine color trends, the Color Institute's team of specialists travels the world, observing colors in many contexts and studying consumer psychology. Pantone then creates the standardized color palettes used in the design and fashion industries.

"In many cultures, turquoise occupies a special position in the world of color," Eiseman said. "It is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, and a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky.

Most people respond positively to turquoise, she said. Universally flattering, it appeals to men and women, can look elegant or casual, and because it has both warm and cool undertones, it pairs well with any other color in the spectrum. It adds a splash of excitement to neutrals and browns, complements reds and pinks, creates a classic maritime look with deep blues and is especially trend-setting with yellow-greens.

People who like turquoise tend to be complex, imaginative and original, said Ron Redding, vice president of design for York Wallcoverings in York, Pa.

Once seen mainly in resort decor and clothing, turquoise now is making its way into "everyday homes," said Gina Shaw, a designer with York Wallcoverings. In addition, "turquoise and other ocean-inspired blues are 'eco-colors' that reflect increasing consumer appreciation of the environment and nature."

In general, a high-voltage color such as turquoise is best confined to smaller areas, such as a single wall. But if you're not brave enough to splash the color of the year on your walls, at least use accessories to update your decor, said Sheaf.

"Pop in a turquoise lamp, picture frames, towels or a painted chair. The result will be magical."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

MoMA gives Modern a Makeover

The modern design section of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently received a facelift. Running from December 23, 2009 to July of 2010, the museum’s third floor Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries showcases “Shaping Modernity: Design 1880–1980.” The exhibit houses a selection of visionary objects, graphics, architectural fragments, and textiles from the Museum’s collection that reveal the attempts of successive generations to shape their experience of living in the modern world. Curator Juliet Kinchin and curatorial assistant Aidan O’Connor organized some 300 works into the following five sections:

The International New Art 1890–1914

The International New Art flourished in urban centers around the world taking on many localized forms and names (among them Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Arte Modernista, Sezession, and Glasgow Style). The pieces in this installation were used in the office of the MoMA’s founding director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Other examples in the exhibition include a side chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a side table by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, and a plaster cast of Antoni Gaudí’s original finial sculpture for the Church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

New Typography 1927–37

In the 1920s and 1930s, the movement known as the New Typography brought graphics and information design to the forefront of artistic avant-gardes in Europe. Rejecting traditional arrangement of type in symmetrical columns, modernist designers organized the printed page or poster as a blank field in which blocks of type and illustration (frequently photomontage) could be arranged in harmonious, strikingly asymmetrical compositions. Included in the exhibition are 14 works by Jan Tschichold, Ladislav Sutnar, Johannes Molzahn, Theo H. Ballmer, Herbert Bayer, Frantisek Kalivoda, Zdenek Rossmann, Joost Schmidt, and Aleksandr Rodchenko.

Mind, Body, Machine 1925–40
The tone of this section is set by a giant railroad-car spring and a boat propeller first shown in MoMA’s landmark Machine Art exhibition in 1934, which celebrated such items of anonymous industrial design as symbols of social improvement and technological progress. The theme is further explored in utilitarian objects such as a streamlined meat-slicer (given in memory of the Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman), and the Vipp trash can, designed for a Danish hair salon.

What Was Good Design? MoMA’s Message 1944–56

This section,which opened in May of 2009, presents over 100 selections from the museum’s collection—ranging from domestic furnishings and appliances to textiles, sporting goods, and graphics—to illuminate the primary values of Good Design as promoted by MoMA within an international debate conducted by museums, design councils, and department stores.

Continuity and Critique 1960–80
The clean and elegant forms of classic modernism continued to appear in the domestic appliances of Dieter Rams for Braun, and the Vignelli Associates’ stacking plastic dinnerware. For many however, the emphasis on pop music, youth, and counterculture opened up new possibilities in materials, colors, and forms, as well as more humorous, expendable design.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The BMW Art Car was conceived in 1975, the year that French auctioneer and racecar driver Herve Poulain first entered 24 Hours of Le Mans. Searching for a link between art and motorsport, Poulain asked his friend, noted artist Alexander Calder, to commission a rolling canvas on the BMW 3.0 CSL that he would race. In the years that followed, this unique combination of motorsport and BMW design fascinated the famous artists of our time. Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol have all turned BMW racing cars into Art Cars.

Since 1975, outstanding artists from all over the world have been designing the BMW automobiles of their era. The BMW Art Car Collection include works by well-known artists such as Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, A.R. Penck, David Hockney and Jenny Holzer. The Art Cars reflect the developments in art history with regard to fine art, design and technology and are displayed worldwide in major museums such as the Paris Louvre, the Royal Academy in London, the New York Whitney Museum of Modern Art, Venice's Palazzo Grassi, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and the Guggenheim Museums of New York and Bilbao. In the future, too, Art Cars will document the fascinating link between art and technology in international exhibitions.

Chronological list of all BMW Art Cars.

Alexander Calder (USA) 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL

Frank Stella (USA) 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL

Roy Lichtenstein (USA) 1977 BMW 320i Group 5 Race Version

Andy Warhol (USA) 1979 BMW M1 Group 4 Race Version

Ernst Fuchs (Austria) 1982 BMW 635 CSi

Robert Rauschenberg (USA) 1986 BMW 635 CSi

Michael Jagamara Nelson (Australia) 1989 BMW 635 CSi

Ken Done (Australia) 1989 BMW M3 Group A Race Version

Matazo Kayama (Japan) 1990 BMW 535i

César Manrique (Spain) 1990 BMW 730i

A.R. Penck (Germany) 1991 BMW Z1

Esther Mahlangu (South Africa) 1991 BMW 525i

Sandro Chia (Italy) 1992 BMW 3 Series Racing Prototype

David Hockney (Great Britain) 1995 BMW 850CSi

Jenny Holzer (USA) 1999 BMW V12 LMR

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cornell Professor Launches Interior Design Naming Practice

In the late 1990’s, professor Jan Jennings struggled to talk with her interior design students about design practices that had been used throughout history and across cultures, such as a dramatic staircase in the lobby of a luxury hotel, two similar chairs situated side-by-side in a large space, or columns in a restaurant ornamented by decorative means. For decades—even centuries, in some cases—these reiterative examples have gone unnamed and undocumented.Today, Jennings, a professor in Design and Environmental Analysis, leads a multidisciplinary research team of faculty from the Colleges of Human Ecology, Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University in building a new knowledge base for the creative dimension of design. The project is the first of its kind to assemble contemporary design theory in a searchable, online database that includes imagery from real buildings.“We had to invent a naming practice, a vocabulary for students to use in talking about design,” Jennings said. “Interior design had borrowed language from architecture and visual arts, but when you came down to it, we didn’t have a typology for contemporary design practices that have been occurring across history, style, and culture.”Today, that original concept is a full-blown research and teaching project called Intypes, which is short for the Interior Archetypes Research and Teaching Project. The project officially launched this summer at the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago with partners Interior Design magazine and IIDA.

“This extraordinary undertaking, 13 years in the making, is sure to invigorate the educational process by creating a new vocabulary to define contemporary design,” said Cindy Allen, editor in chief of Interior Design."The project brings the field of interior design to a whole new level," said Cheryl Durst, executive vice president and CEO of IIDA. “The Intypes approach gives credence and relevance to the history and legacy of interior design as a profession, as a discipline and as a viable and vital contribution to society as a whole.”To date, the project has named nearly 70 interior archetypes. “Some of our alumni are using these words in the field,” Jennings said. “When they do that, they hear the word being used later by their colleagues. If the word is used without translation or definition, then it really has become a word that contributes to a design language.”In total, four faculty members and 16 interior design master’s students have actively participated in the project. Many of the students take on a market segment, such as health care, for their thesis projects, researching the history, cultural implications, and use. Their proposals go to the Intypes Research Group, which evaluates the research and considers the students’ proposed names.The Intypes workgroup is hoping their project inspires designers to think about these issues, and opens the door to more formal research in interior design. “Interior design is its own field and profession,” Jennings said. “We’re hoping the project provides a new way to talk about field and lends it the credibility it deserves.”

Images courtesy of Cornell University.