I took a drive to Sauvie Island last weekend to check out Cistus Nursery. They have a really phenomenal collection of plants, the arrangement of which makes me feel like I am a Gabriel Garcia Márquez story (I’m thinking ‘Love in the time of cholera’ on this one). I kind of like the way some of the plants aren’t in perfect condition – they spill over themselves and have areas of brown – signs of growth and decay. Here are some shots I took while I was there.
The National Tourist Routes in Norway is a $400 million initiative by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to create a set of unique tourist experiences that combine the Nordic landscape with contemporary architecture and art along the main route in Norway. Some of the completed projects so far are just breathtaking. I love the set of stairs down the lava flow. The projects integrate the architecture into the landscape in a way that feels natural while not watering down the design or trying to blend it in. And it works — both entities seem more themselves by proximity. In many of these cases — the architecture reveals something about the landscape and our ideas of and relationships with nature and together create an interwoven experience of culture/nature.
And if those amazing photographs don’t get you – how about the thought of staying at this hotel?
The Juvet Landscape Hotel — perched along the NTR and close to one of the sites. Sure, I am a little intimated by the beautiful naked nordic woman who seems to wander the property occasionally striking a pose behind those incredible glass walls — the one who gazes with deep poetic concentration onto the landscape so amazingly showcased by the architecture of Jensen & Skodvin. And sure, at 300-500 a night it is a little bit pricey. However, I think it’s one of those experiences you would carry with you for the rest of your life and well worth it.
If it’s going to be a while before you make it out there — the ebook on the site is lovely. That’s where the above images came from and the photographers in order of appearance are: Miguel Diaz, Knute Bry, Vegar Moen, Asbjorn Nelson, and Hege Lysholm. All Juvet hotel images by Knut Slinning.
I’ve been captivated by the images of The Kingston Lounge. Such rich material – visually and culturally. And they really make one think about impermanence…
Just found this new rug collection from Gandia Blasco. Incredible! Another example for me of a home product that really makes the leap into art. I would love to have one of these babies in my home so I could set up a regular lux playdate with it rolling around on its colors.
Here’s wishing I was in New York so I could attend the sound installation/performance of ‘Threshold Magic’ in Brooklyn.
The show was curated and organized by Tristan Shepherd – a beautiful talent in the sound world (and one to watch out for – at 24 he’s already performed/translated a Christian Marclay piece at the Whitney. I’m also fortunate enough to say that not only is he one of my aesthetic heroes, he’s also family). Shepherd invited 11 sound artists and musicians to respond to and activate the space of an abandoned convent. He sent some images and it looks like an incredible space. I’m definitely on board with the idea of an architecture of the immaterial. To me, non-tangible things, such as relationships, movement, or memory have more influence on how we experience space/place than anything else. And sound is the perfect medium to builds structures out these abstractions.
If any of you are reading this blog from New York, I can’t recommend this show enough. And if you go, please let us know what you thought. If I’m lucky enough to get a hold of some documentation I will be sure to share it with you here. For now, check out more examples of this space.
What?!? Another piece I wish I made. This one by designer/performer Nelly Ben Hayoun. Those of you who know me – know my love for landscapes – and my love for playing with the relationships people can have with landscapes. I’m also mad about volcanoes. So much so that my dear friend Thomas dubbed my birthday – volcano day (and I do turn into a bit of a volcano on my birthday - which was just last monday – sorry LD). So of course I love the idea of a domesticated volcano – one that sits in your living room just waiting to erupt. (I have a sense that this is what living with me is like.) But let me embrace my volcania! Do you think they are still looking for volunteers to house one of these simmering beauties? Me, Me, Me!
I also love the series of questions they ask regarding your potential volcanic affair:
How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you try to destroy it? Would you just disconnect it from the mains? Would you be more popular because you share your life with a volcano? Would you invite people to see it, and switch it on at the end of the meal to create a ‘surprising’ effect? How will you feel when you will climb on top of it?
When I was working on my starting my first garden I came across the disappointing fact that there is such a small number of blogs that focus on gardening. Well – I am happy to say that Jessica Davis has noticed this lack and has turned her passion for things that grow into a lovely little blog – Another Garden Gawker. I love her mix of scientific enthusiasm with her sensual appreciation of the beauty and deliciousness of the garden. She reminds me how amazing the natural world is – check out these gorgeously textured mushrooms – like sea creatures!
Vanillawood debuted their online shop today. I learned this thanks to @IDNews, however, on my first visit to their site I never made it to the shop, instead I was sidetracked by their incredible portfolio. Talk about inspiring! I have a serious design crush and if you don’t see me for the next couple of weeks it’s because I’ve moved into their showroom to huddle under a Walnut Slab table in the hopes of absorbing their amazing aesthetic.
Let me back up, Vanillawood is a “Design, Build, Live” studio in Portland, Ore run by husband and wife team James and Kricken Yaker. They offer full service architectural and interior design solutions and have an eye towards keeping things green. Their work is clean and warm. I especially would love to steal some ideas for my kitchen.
I’m fascinated by the idea that rooms can be read, almost like a story. In this little collection I am seeing some similarities in the way the inhabitants (real or imagined) mix and combine objects. It feels to me like each object has some kind of totemic power. And the way they all mix together, it’s like they conjure a whole other environment or world that comes down to live in the space. (Also – the theme I’m getting from these is “hobo-genius.”) What do you think? What stories are you getting and how do you play with objects in your rooms? Do your objects remind you of other places? Other lands? How much of your space is real and how much is daydreamed?
After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison; This large-scale staged-photograph is by Jeff Wall. His work has inspired me since I first saw this image at Whitney Biennial in 1996.
The man who flew into space from his apartment; another installation by Ilya Kabakov (yes, a favorite). I believe he first created this installation in his own apartment in 1968 – in his words, “I built the installation The Man Who Flew into Space in the corner, I glued Soviet posters from inside of it and I would take it down after each showing for fear that they would drop in, understand, and that would be ‘the end of everything.’ “. The installation is a false document, and a subtle (and risky) commentary on soviet policy that conjures up a dreamer who wants to fly into outer space on his own.
The above two photos show the real life studio of Portland artist Evan B. Harris (via My love for you is a stampede of horses). You can easily see that the world he creates in his illustrations has also descended upon his attic retreat.
And finally, the work by an artist near and dear to my heart, David Hilliard. I think this is one of the first of the multi-paneled photographs that he did and if I remember the story right, he showed it to his Professor at Yale who commented on what a great job he did ‘staging’ this scene. (I think the professor was Gregory Crewdson known for his staged work – and also for being the guy who influenced the art direction of Six Feet Under). But it wasn’t staged at all, just a candid shot of part of Hilliard’s family hanging out in his room. If you are not already familiar with Hilliard’s lush photographs, I would recommend checking them out. He is a master at using space to reveal the poignant details of his subjects inner lives.
In 2000 I saw an exhibition by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at the New York Armory called The Palace of Projects. It consisted of a large light-filled structure filled with 65 projects created by fictional characters and divided into three categories. 1) How to improve oneself. 2) How to improve the world. and 3) How to stimulate the appearance of projects. The piece I’m writing about today one was in category No. 1 and it’s stayed with me for the last 10 years, nestling in and subtly affecting how I think about spaces. Jen’s lovely post about the bizarre situation that unfolded in her living room reminded me of just how influential this piece was to me.
This piece, called “A room taking off in flight” outlines how our rooms, houses or apartments with their weighty stability can keep our thoughts from having the freedom and elevation that they might have. The problem, the Kabakovs say, lie with “those things which you bump into without noticing it – the couch, tables, closets – but primarily about the very box of the room, where all of this is located, about the constant ‘atmosphere’ reigning in the space surrounding you.”
And he talks about his worries of this gravity-laden room saying that “with its daily presence it forces the very same thoughts to go round in your head, and with its weighty, material immobility the same thoughts and feel- ings press toward the ‘earth,’ remain within the confines of the low, ‘room’ horizon.”
“In one on the parts of the room, best of all in the center, you should remove the parquet, uncover the beams which hold up the floor, and saw out some of them so that a deep hole downward opens up. You will see that everything around you has suddenly become transformed. In the presence of a bottomless pit, the roof which until now seemed to be sturdy, will acquire qualities of the inside of a balloon or a rocket rushing upward. Everything around you will become light and transparent and even heavy things which seem completely immobile will become your close and light friends in flight. Living in this room, this sensation of taking off, will not abandon you again”
I love the playful way he deals with space and the idea of boundaries. When he describes the awkward problem and its even more awkward solution I can visualize our slow heavy thoughts thoughts bumping into the walls and then the vertiginous freedom they must feel when faced with a large opening.
And even without creating a large hole in your house – I believe there are ways to bring feeling of expansion and flight into your house. Do you believe me? Do you have ideas? I am challenging myself now to think about this in my own process of home-creation.
As a side note. I really would explore some of these other projects. They are really charming and many have to do with how we experience domestic spaces. Such as:
And one of my favorites, though it has more to do with how horses experience our domestic spaces. I haven’t tried it yet but it could helpful when you are stuck on a project.
Project Horse On The Stairs