When you can't believe no one thought of that before...

Also in my Stellenbosch-inspiration search, I discovered architect Tom Kundig, and I am fascinated. I don't necessarily love everything he does, but I do love how absolutely outside the box he is. He comes up with such creative means of having his buildings respond to their surroundings, whether in protecting them from the elements or exploiting views.

Click the jump for more...


Call of the Wild

I've just started gathering visual inspiration for our next project, which is going to be in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and I thought I'd share some images of the amazing architecture I've come across. It is a smattering of different modern vernaculars, but I find all of them so interesting for the ways they interact with their surroundings.

Rather than a big house plopped on a plot of land, these seem to have a dialogue with the landscape. Don't get me wrong, I am an absolute lover of traditional architecture, but there is a level of engagement with the land achieved by these out-of-the-box modern styles that traditional architecture falls short on. Stellenbosch has incredible natural beauty, so we want to choose a style of architecture that leads you to notice the drama of the land.

Sometimes this can be achieved through a more subtle, minimal style of architecture, and sometimes, it seems, something that is just totally different from our everyday visual repertoire is able to make you stop and reconsider everything around you.

Wingardh Architects:
Love the huge sliding doors, the way the water comes right up to the building, and whatever those crazy vine door/shutter things are adjacent to the water!!

Widjedal Racki Bergerhoff Architects

Lake Flato Architects:

And my favorite of all... Turnbull Griffin Haesloop:

For more information and portfolio pictures, visit these architects' websites. They have interesting information with each project about how they chose the style of architecture and the layout of the building or buildings on the property given views, winds, sunlight, weather, etc... it's quite interesting!


Guerilla Gardening and More

Much of Toronto street artist Posterchild's work is right up my alley. Pun not intended, but incidentally much of his work does occur in alleys and other dark, underutilized, or ignored niches of his city. As he describes on his website, he began as a graffiti artist but never felt like he fit into that world. Gradually, he became engaged by the idea that "Authority over the visual landscapes of our cities has been placed out of reach to the very people who live in them," and his work aims to benevolently "involve himself in these shared public areas" in a way that "challenges the status quo."

I particularly like the fact that the ones below are planted in flyer bins that have graffiti on them... it makes the evolution of his work pretty ironic. In a good way!

I LOVE the idea of these "guerilla gardens" he has planted in flyer and newspaper boxes, which certainly qualify is Random Acts of Creativity. There is no heavy handed message whatsoever, and yet the effect of the unexpected burst of beauty physically integrated into a standard object of a gritty urban landscape, an object so seemingly intrinsic to the landscape that it merges into the subconscious and is no longer noticed, does serve as a catalyst for myriad reflections on the urban landscape, from issues of who creates it to how its constant stimuli affect us.

It also, to me, sends a subtle and hopeful message of empowerment. Not in any kind of revolutionary way, but just the idea that one person can make a street corner more beautiful, and that hundreds of people a day will notice it, is a happy one to me.

This little disco dance club scene inside of a newspaper stand is pretty clever as well... I may be speaking too broadly here in saying "we," but I personally think we never give up the idea of magic, and happening upon something like this at night would somehow make me feel like there really is magic in the world. Not in the Harry Potter sense, but in the sense that there is still wonder in the world. That you would see this thing, that has no apparent purpose, but that makes you smile and you may never know who did it or why.

I wrote my whole college thesis on the role of art and artists in the world, so I could go on and on about this, but for me, artists who create these kinds of Random Acts of Creativity are important to me for the sense of magic, or wonder, that they keep alive in our ever-increasingly cynical world.

Another example of his urban installations... a pretty fantastic use of a boarded up abandoned building.

As a final note, his work reminds me of one of Sophie Calle's pieces. She once chose a telephone booth in TriBeCa and cleaned it up and for a week stocked it with flowers, sodas, snacks, a notepad, pens, etc....

Love that.


Breakin it Down the Aisle

I think this definitely counts as a Random Act of Creativity.

We've all seen the surprise first-dance songs now, starting, I think, with the Baby Got Back version, but this is the first wedding surprise dance I've seen like this.

All I can say is that if my friends and I are all in the mood to dance like crazy fools on my wedding day, I'll be one happy lady.

Just a little fun fact for your afternoon...

"Moist" is the most hated word in the Engligh language! I had always suspected that I was correct in judging it the most disgusting word in our language, and now I feel justified by having the majority at my back. Some editor of the Visual Thesaurus or something said he suspects it is because of the "oi" sound, because other hated words include "ointment" and "goiters." HA!!

via "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," on NPR.

Art in the Workplace

We could use more of it, don't you think? I am loving all of these traditional offices with all of their different uses of art-- propped, hung gallery style, statement piece....

Don't you think the art in these offices is suggestive of a broader attitude towards the office itself for these people? It seems to imply such care, whereas usually I think the home office ends up sort of a barren afterthought. I'd be much more likely to sit down a pay bills if I had a space like this...

Peter Dunham.

Katie Leede.

Can't remember whose apartment this is, but I loved that she had put her office in her closet/dressing room. I might do that too, if I had a dressing room in my apartment. Or an office, for that matter. I LOVE the combination of unexpected elements in this room... chocolate lacquered wall, baroque desk, hot pink, leopard and zebra coexisting. It gives the room such personality b/c it really does look like she just kept buying things she loved and made them work together. If this is the fabulous treatment her office received, aren't you dying to see what treasures fill the rest of the house?
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