Saturday, January 23, 2010

I.M. Crazy for I.M. Pei

image

World Trade Center Building, Baltimore, Maryland

Many moons ago I worked in this building (19th floor).  Little did I know when I took the job (again…this was a long time ago and I was not well versed in architecture then), did I realize that this building was designed by the famous architect, Ieoh Ming Pei, or as many of us know him, I.M. Pei.

It was not until many years later, when I started following my passion for design and architecture that I learned about this incredible man and his incredible array of work.

 image

I.M. Pei: Complete Works'>I.M. Pei Complete Works

 image

Ieoh Ming Pei (currently 91 years young), commonly known by his initials I. M. Pei, is a Chinese-born American architect, known as the last master of high modernist architecture.  Pei is perhaps one of the most successful Asian architects of the 20th century, with his works all over the world.  If you don’t know who I.M. Pei is, I’m sure you will recognize a lot of his work.

Pei’s mentor was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  Not a bad role model, eh?  With an Architectural degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pei developed his architectural style through his peer influences.  In fact, in 1945, Pei received a position as assistant professor of design to Harvard  where he happened to work closely with two of the leaders of the Beaux-Arts movement, Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius (one of the founders of  Bauhaus in Germany).

image

Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School of Architecture in Germany.

Pei said of Breuer,  "He was my best friend and teacher at Harvard."   Pei remained a close friend until Breuer died in 1981.  Breuer was known at Harvard for his accommodation of emotion.   Gropius, on the other hand, was an avid rationalist.   He demanded reasoned argument from his associates but, according to Pei, was open to new ideas with sound logical explanations.  As Pei said later: "That symbiosis  Breuer and Gropius created a very exciting environment for young architects."

image

Marcel Breuer (May 21, 1902 – July 1, 1981) 

I.M. Pei developed his penchant for streamlined design, glass forms and he absorbed their ideas about designing unadorned  buildings in abstract shapes—buildings that exposed their systems of support and materials of construction.

I.M. has received many incredible accolades and prizes over his career including;

  • Pei graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1940 in MIT, winning the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal and the Alpha Rho Chi (the fraternity of architects).
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal in 1979.
  • In 1983 he won the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.
  • The first Praemium Imperiale award for Architecture in 1989.
  • Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan at the Statue of Liberty. To him, this honor was a symbol of acceptance and respect from the American people.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2003.

Below are some of the various structures that Pei created;

Louvre Pyramid – Paris, France

image

image

Bank of China Tower – Hong Kong

[image[11].png]

JP Morgan Chase Building – Houston, TX

image

This is the tallest building in Texas.  Many of its windows were blown out as a result of Hurricane Ike going through September 2008. 

 

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, Massachusetts

image

During a weekend visit to Boston on October 19, 1963, President Kennedy, along with John Carl Warnecke, the architect who would design the President’s tomb in Arlington, viewed several locations offered by Harvard as a site for the library and museum.  Kennedy was assassinated a month later, on November 22, 1963.

The I.M. Pei Building - Wilmington, Delaware

image

 

The East Wing of the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

image

(Pritzker Prize Photo).  Pei had to design this building on an irregular trapezoid shaped lot, while blending in with the existing buildings, including the West Building, which was a classical structure designed by John Russell.

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

image

 

image

 

 John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massachusetts.

image

Pei was considered a master of curtain glass construction.

 

Mile High Center in Denver, Colorado

image

This 294' tower was designed in the early 1950's and is considered to be Denver's first modern high-rise.  The white building on the left is Republic Plaza, Denver's tallest skyscraper.

 

The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center – Dallas, Texas


image

 

Fountain Place – Dallas, Texas  

image

 

Christian Science Center - Boston, Massachusetts

image

Designed in the 1960s by Pei’s architectural firm, the 14-acre Christian Science Plaza  includes a reflecting pool and fountain that make it one of Boston's most visually recognizable sites and a very popular tourist attraction.

Pei’s firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects LLP  can be found here.

When not designing buildings, Pei enjoys gardening around his home in Katonah, New York.   He has four children, two of whom work as architects in his busy office on Madison Avenue.

If you want to learn more about I.M. Pei, here is a book and a DVD that have both gotten great reviews for your perusal….

image

I.M. Pei: Complete Works'>I.M. Pei Complete Works

Covering 50 of his projects and includes over 300 illustrations.

and

image

I.M. Pei - First Person Singular/The Museum on the Mountain'>I.M. Pei - First Person Singular/The Museum on the Mountain

Pei himself is the main narrator.   In the first part of the DVD, "First Person Singular",  I.M. Pei talks about his career, from his boyhood until the present day.  He discusses his approach to architecture and talks about some of his major works.


The second part of the DVD, "Museum on the Mountain", follows Pei throughout his design, development, and construction of the Miho Museum in Japan.  The viewer gets to see how a master designer progresses through the design process and how he approaches problems in detail, continuously making changes and refinements up until the last minute.

I understand that this DVD is a must-have for anyone interested in architecture or thinking of a career in the architectural profession, but also for any design professional as well, as the design process in architecture can certainly cross-over to interior design complexities as well.

I do not have either one of these items, although they are on my list now of “must have” items to own.  If anyone has these items, please leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!

Have a good week everyone!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Organizational Overload

It’s January, which means that all the lifestyle and home magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping will be featuring organizational articles.  There are some wonderful posts out there in blogland as well showing how to do it!

I’m not going to create another post on how to organize, but I do want to direct you to some pretty great sites and blogs that have already done the work, plus some retail outlets where you can find some great products!

Let’s start with the magazines…

Better Homes and Gardens never misses a chance to help us improve our homes.   HERE is a great slideshow from BH&G that shows you how to have fantastic spaces that are organized and have that wow-factor.

selke mudroom: wine and napkins

BH&G even shows how to crate your wine bottles in drawers!  Nice!

selke mudroom-- cabinet

I’d love a mud-room like this!

Good Housekeeping has a quick organizational plan called “The Five Minutes or Five Things Plan” here.

 

image

Quick pick-ups for every part of your home.

 

image

Woman’s Day has a feature here on gadgets that will help to keep you organized like this handy keyboard organizer.

 

image

Oprah (whom I love), has a wonderful feature on her website entitled “Clean Your Messy House in 6 Months”.  That is definitely more my speed and a more realistic time frame to clean my garage.  Go here  for the goods.

And finally…

image

HGTV  has a wonderful article on keeping your house cleaning under control.  It separates the cleaning out in daily, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, quarterly and annual jobs.  Very handy.

Now onto some bloggers who have posted some pretty fabulous posts on organizing.

image

Over at Architect Design, a beautiful storage cabinet is featured here. 

image

Laura, over at Decor to Adore, posted one artist’s very unusual way to handle the clutter.  Hilarious!  

image

Janet, over at Jans Gems posted a few lovely pictures showing very organized rooms.  Keep up the organizing Janet!

image

Erin over at Perfect Sentiment has featured some lovely mudrooms.  If I had a mudroom, I would definitely use some of the inspiration from these photos to design it.

And if you want to really get serious and buy some new furniture to help you organize, here are some companies to get you started…

  image

ORG Home Organization Solutions is a wonderful place to shop if you want to solutions for your media equipment, closets and pantries.

image

Their products look high end and they offer many solutions for organization.

image

Closet Factory  offers three different levels of customizations.  The Essentials Series, The Design Series and the Collection Series.

And there are the smaller products that help us organize…

Reversible Organizer Fabric Bin...........Lime Green - Cream Elephants

Karen from Baffinbags on Etsy has the cutest handmade reversible storage totes.  She uses very current fabric!

Bicycle Key Rack

I love this bicycle key rack.   Knob Creek Metal Arts has the most creative pieces imaginable.  Rush over to his Etsy site and check out his work.  Great stuff!

image

These very cool stackable jewelry boxes are sold by Organize.com.  I like these because you can put them in a drawer separately or stack them on a shelf in a closet.  Very convenient, clean and functional.

Organize.com also has this great glass container…

image

called their Portico Medium Urn Dish with Lid in case you need a stylish way to store or display candies or decorative marbles.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Principles of Good Design: Movement

I’d like to present a new regular feature called “Principles of Good Design”.    For this first post and in reference to the new year, let’s talk about movement in design.  Not design movements, such as De Stijl or Bauhaus.  I’m talking about looking at a space and seeing the movement that occurs as an element in that space.

In everyday design, architecture, art and interior design, movement is an important force that creates excitement.  It keeps the eye roaming and provides interest and hopefully curiosity.  By arranging a room in a certain way, the designer forces the eye to move in a particular way, either on purpose or accidentally.  If a designer is good, it will be on purpose.  Graduation of sizes, shapes, color, light and dark can all have an effect on movement.

Repetition in a room can also create movement, as well as rhythm.   Similarity of elements or flowing, circular elements will give a more connected flowing rhythm to a room, while jagged or unrelated elements will create a more unsettling, dynamic scene.

Action is also another way to force movement in design.   Below I provide some photos of rooms that show all of these elements.  See if you agree that there is movement in these spaces.

 

image

In this living space, Designer Kelly Hoppen creates movement on many levels (no pun intended).  The repeating pattern of the wood and glass up the staircase and across the balcony draws your eye up along it.  The pattern of the ceiling is in itself a repeating pattern that commands attention.  Add to that the tornado inspired light fixtures, which are the epitome of movement.

image

In this living room, Designer Miles Redd used multiple colors and pattern that help  your eye weave through the space.  The blue lacquered walls (in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue) unify the space.  House Beautiful, July 2009.

 

image

The different levels of height in this space are what creates movement in this space.  From the chair, to the headboard, to the picture frames and up to the roman shade and chandelier, your eye keeps climbing.   Designer Amanda Nisbet.  House Beautiful, March 2008.

 

image

Designer Ginger Barber created literal movement with the striped floor covering, which coordinate with the steps in the foreground.   The camel colored check slipcovered chair coordinate with the organic shades in the window, which draw the eye around the room as well.  House Beautiful, July 2009.

 

image

Designer Robin Bell uses a unifying color of periwinkle blue and a smart stencil all along the crown molding to keep the eye moving in this master bedroom.  Featured in House Beautiful, November 2007.

 

image

Movement is created in this living space by the use of various patterns in the drapery, pillows and chair.  A vivid green vase draws dramatic attention as well.  Designer Eric Cohler.  House Beautiful, October 2008.

 

image

Movement doesn’t have to be loud and chaotic.  In this master bedroom, the movement is in the color trail that goes from the bed, to the roman shades and back down to the lap blanket covering the chaise lounge.  Designer Lynn Morgan.  House Beautiful, April 2009.

 

image

Designers Marshall Watson and Wendy Monette created a beachy Hampton’s feel with this living space.  Again, the use of patterns, various sofa styles and pattern (on the floor in stripes and on the light fixture above) create a movement in the room.  The  stairwell as well as the molding detail on the back wall also draw your eye to the rear of the room.  This space is visually stimulating, don’t you think?    House Beautiful, September 2008.

 

image

The artwork on the wall placed unevenly, as well as the patterns in the fabrics and carpet and the Moroccan headboard make this interesting.  Designer Stephen Shubel.  House Beautiful, January 2009.

 

image

This small living room features plants that help breath life into and around the room.  A sense of wild is incorporated into the room with the zebra striped pillows, bird on the mantle and elephant plant stand on the hearth creating added interest.  Designer by Moises Esquenazi .  House Beautiful.  July 2008.   

 

image

In this small bedroom, Designer John Willey created movement by putting two similar patterns together, in the carpet and bedding, so that the eye runs from wall to wall without distraction.  House Beautiful.  March 2009.

 

image

In this traditional and calm space, placement of the furniture, as well as the various heights of the furniture add interest.    Because the drapery, artwork and walls have similar color, the eye moves vertically as well.   Designer Ginger Barber.  House Beautiful.  November 2008.

 

image

Designer Jonathan Berger punched up this entry space with Benjamin Moore's Razzle Dazzle paint.  Coupled with the stark black and white stairs and wainscoting, it provides a visually interesting setting.  House Beautiful.  July 2009.

 

image

L.A. artist Jorge Rafael designed this living room fantastically.  The green color of the chairs stop the eye mid-point in the room, but then it is drawn to the back wall with the incredible floor to ceiling artwork of Lauren Bacall.  The eye also undulates on the right wall with the recessed fireplace and the beams that jut into the light colored wall.  House Beautiful.  June 2008 issue. 

 

image

The wood clock in the back room draws the eye all the way down the hall.  Add to that the wood elements and similar color that unify the space… the wood floor, the wood cabinet, chair and the brown patterned rug and you’ve got a space that is welcoming and inviting.  House Beautiful.  April 2007.

 

image

Kitchen spaces are hard places to create movement, because they are typically so sterile (even the homey ones).  But, here homeowner Jamie Gottschall created a kitchen that is visually stimulating, different and welcoming all at the same time.  Her inspiration was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  House Beautiful.  June 2006.

 

image

The chandelier with brown shades draws the eye upward.  The zebra stool draws the eye downward.  The lovely brown wall in between connect the two.  Designers David DeMattei and Patrick Wade.  House Beautiful.  March 2008. 

 

image

Another kitchen where you just want to keep looking from counter to backsplash to ceiling.  The tiles, made from 19th-century French concrete tiles really add punch to this kitchen.  The free-standing island is très magnifique!  Designer Shannon Bowers.  House Beautiful.  November 2007.

 

image

Fresh and clean describe this living space where pattern is the key player.  Solid furniture pieces like this pea green sofa and Arne Jacobsen Swan chair (Design Within Reach) anchor the space and allow the patterns to play off of one another nicely.   House Beautiful.  May 2009.

Some tips to create movement in your design:

  • Use eclectic pieces.  Combining styles, such as a modern metal coffee table with a French settee, a nickel-plated modern mirror with a rustic wood mantle or vintage and new furniture keeps the eye entertained and moving. 
  • Play with scale.  Rooms need various sized pieces to shake things up.  Try using very tall and very small items in a room to keep the eye going up and down.  Use large vases with branches on tables or a series of small framed pictures across a long wall to create visual significance.
  • Add textural pieces.  Rough and smooth or old and new finishes really surprise the palette.  Do the unexpected!
  • Add pops of strong color.  Original art, colored vases, bright pillows and flowers in season all count.
  • Be playful.  Find items with a sense of humor and display them in your home.  Flea markets, antique shops or even your local corner store might find just the object you are looking for.
  • Repetition is the easy way to create movement.

This may be just the thing you are looking for to make your rooms and spaces come alive.  Perhaps you require a space that is more calming?  That’s coming up in another post!  What else defines or creates movement in a room or space  for you?

Share It