Monday, February 28, 2011

Innovative Materials

I came across this incredible site, Inventibles, that offers all sorts of unique products that can be used for even more interesting projects.  Here are a few of my favorite ones.

First is translucent concrete.  According to the site, this material contains 5% optical fibers that allow light to pass through it, but it retains the strength of concrete and is virtually unbreakable.  There are so many applications I can think of for this!  Glowing stairs, walls, and my personal favorite - countertops!

Second is the illuminating polymer ribbon.  I can imagine some absolutely gorgeous chandeliers created from this material that doesn't require electricity but glows in the dark.  And to top it all off, it's even machine washable.

They also have bendable wood which you can greatly appreciate if you've ever tried bending wood yourself (flashbacks to several sleepless nights in my undergrad architecture studios!).  It's available in several species: maple, oak, and ash.  You could use this for all sorts of architectural installations or even unique jewelry.

They have even more incredible products, but these were a few of my favorites I had to share.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nuno Capa's Portuguese Salon

If you're looking for a spa-like escape for your next hairstyle experience, I suggest hopping on a plane to Braga, Portugal where you can sit in a truly tranquil white oasis. The ethereal space, No Room, was designed by architect, Nuno Capa for hairdresser Pedo Remy.

I think the softness of the sheer drapery is the perfect complement to the stark concrete, softening and gradually partitioning the space.  Allowing each salon chair to be encapsulated in its own cocoon, while offering sheer glimpses to other patrons is my ideal salon experience of relaxing in my own space while also taking in the ambient chatter of others around me.

All photographs by Rui Pires, and more photos can be found here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Greek Retreat

Suite at Vedema Resort

Restaurant at the Vedema

Balcony, the Mystique

Suite at the Mystique

The Mystique

Here are a few stunning photos of two must-see hotels in Greece.  The top two images are from the Vedema Resort in Santorini, Greece.  This hotel is part of the Starwood collection and contains 45 villas, all nestled around a winery.

The last three images are all from the contemporary resort, the Mystique, also in Santorini.  This exclusive retreat features 18 villas.  I love the stark contemporary design contrasted against the natural beauty of the Grecian sea.

You can find more photos of these resorts and many other exotic ones around the world here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Store that Piques Imagination

I would have loved having a place like this in my neighborhood as a child!  The Ministry of Stories was inspired by a TED talk (by Dave Eggers on the 826 Literacy Project) which led to the creation of a unique writing center (or centre, because this particular one is located in England) that enhances the creativity and skills of children who love writing stories.  Here's the concept: create an imaginative storefront, bring in talented authors and volunteers,  coach children in improving their writing abilities and using their imaginations.

This store has an interesting business model in that they sell imaginative products (very Harry Potter-ish kitsch) along with coaching children in the literary arts.  Imagine if we could bring more spaces like the Ministry of Stories and Hoxton Street Monster Supplies to cities across America to help encourage play, creativity, and learning; all while happening in a beautifully designed, imaginative space!  You can find more photos here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Color Splash, Valentines Day

A few of my favorite sleek pink things, in honor of Valentines Day.  1) A feminine take on the classic.  2)  The Karolina by Kate.  3) Bold pendants by Iacoli & McAllister.  4)  No handle-bar poms (admit it, you had them and loved them), but still the perfect touch of pink by Pashley.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The "Never Wasted" Bag

I haven't worn  a pair of Lee jeans since way back in the day (um, 1992 maybe?), but this caused them to catch my eye again.  In order to position themselves as an eco-minded and innovative brand (who knew?), they commissioned a uniquely designed bag.  Pushing the envelope from merely using recycled content, they created the "Never Wasted" bag which was designed to be broken down into many useful objects, so that you wouldn't have to throw any part into the recycling bin.  It includes a game, a ruler, a pencil cup, along with other fun stuff.  It's good to see a mainstream American brand thinking more sustainably.  Hopefully others will follow in their footsteps!  More images can be found here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Discovering Beauty in Ruin

Ruins of the United Artists Theater

The former ballroom of the American Hotel.

Decay from the East Methodist Church

Photo from a window at Packard Motors Plant

I was intrigued by the raw beauty of these dramatic photographs from the book by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre: The Ruins of Detroit.  More photos can be found here.  These photographs were taken to document the demise of Detroit.  It's a stark reminder that our actions have impacts that can outlast us and become burdens on those who follow.  Also a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlor

So apparently it's not just the select few contestants on Top Chef who are obsessed with nitrogen.  Chin Chin Labs is a new nitrogen ice cream parlor that recently opened in London (seriously, why do they get all the cool stuff!) and is getting lots of buzz.

The geeky chic design is genius what with everything being stored in beakers and test tubes.  You can find more photos here and here (including their adorable rope swings outside their shop).  I'm glad molecular gastronomy appears here to stay...let's just bring more of it Stateside!

Spring Fashion Trends from Italy

Need a little sunshine in the middle of dreary February?  I think the Spring/Summer 2011 collection from MSGM is the perfect punch to help you hang on until spring.

I love the bold geometric lines, the unusual color combinations and the incorporation of fringe and lace.  Such a unique look!