Monday, January 26, 2009

Design Cravings

As my roommate situation has finally evened out, with my new roommate comfortably inhabiting the spacious dining room that constitutes the second bedroom of my apartment, I find myself jonesing for interior design in an entirely new way. Up until relatively recently, I've been satisfied with tacking photos and posters up on my bedroom walls and tossing some blankets over the well-loved couch. But glancing through design blogs like and SF Art & Design Lover makes me want to decorate, decorate, decorate.

For starters, the Jo-8 colorful nesting coffee tables by London designer Timothy Schreiber make me want to have more dinner parties just so everyone can have their own table. Apparently based on Joseph Albers' 1927 Bauhaus design and made from aluminum, these lightweight (and colorful! COLORFUL!) tables would be perfect. I do have to admit, I like the color acrylic version that Notcot posted about much better than the aluminum model - frankly, it's prettier!

To continue the nesting theme, Generate Design, specifically the designer "morph," has produced nesting plastic kitchen implements! Far from the commonplace tablespoon/teaspoon measures, the set of 8 comes with not only tea- and table-spoons but large and small mixing bowls, a sieve, a colander, and measuring cups! Love the colors too. This also comes in a smaller size, a set of 5, which includes a juicer.

I'm starting to feel like the world of household design is splitting into different spheres; there's the everyday stuff you buy for its utility and its no-frills functionalism, like a blender or a refrigerator. But household design (specifically of consumer items) is also spinning off in a whole new direction: much like couture fashion, the consumable product is turning into something that is more about the construction than the function, something the average consumer might be intrigued by but is less than likely to buy. I find things like six-dimensional couches and light installations to be unbelievably, well, cool, but I'm not about to blow a whole bunch of cash on something that, let's face it, isn't so useful. The thing I like about the two products I listed above is not just their pretty colors and eye-catching symmetry; it's the efficiency of construction designed to increase functionality that really catches me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I've never actually taken anything but modern/contemporary or survey courses in the Cal Art History department, which I'm hoping to change this semester at least.

I'm waitlisted for HistArt 170, which focuses on Italian Baroque (i.e. post-Renaissance) art, including painting, architecture, and sculpture. The work at the left is Bernini's St. Theresa of Avila in Ecstasy (1647-1652), sculpted for the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. I'm desperately hoping to get into the course; I'm high on the wait list but graduating seniors apparently have priority.

I'm particularly fascinated by the evolution of sculpture over the past 500 or so years; examining Bernini's work should be interesting.

The other course I'm actually enrolled in for this semester promises to be difficult, simply because of the density and relative obscurity of the reading; we're using Lives of the Artists (1550/1568) by the fellow pictured at the right (Giorgio Vasari) as a central text. I must admit, I do enjoy reading works that I may not have picked up otherwise, and of course expanding my knowledge base - that's why I'm in school, after all! But skimming even the introduction and the first one or two artists discussed has proven to be a somewhat yawn-inducing task.

That said, the professor teaching the course is particularly charismatic (although he speaks very slowly), and I feel privileged to take his course as this is his last semester teaching before he retires.

This course also discusses sculpture and architecture in addition to painting, which I find particularly relevant and interesting. Apparently, the five different types of classical columns (Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite) are designed according to a sort of Vitruvian Man principle; their diameter is proportional to their height based on the proportions in differently gendered human bodies. For example, the more slender columns, such as the Corinthian and Composite structures, are based on the more extreme (1 to 9 or 10) ratios of a woman's body, while the stockier columns such as the Doric or Ionic models are based on the broader construction of the male body.

I'm actually looking forward to this semester now, which I certainly wasn't before; modern and contemporary subjects, such as the study of new media or foreign propaganda, are usually what float my boat. But hearing the first few lectures and being presented with the opportunity of learning about something I've never even considered - well, how could I not be excited?

January Art Murmur

Oakland, CA
02 Jan 2009.

Sleepy Kitty is Sleepy

Click Me!

Happy (Very Belated) New Year!

Nicole is ready to party:
Me, I'm ready to recline in a corner with a cigarette and a glass of champagne:

Don't worry, he's ok :)


?? Weird.
Albany, CA

Lucky 13 - Alameda is an excellent website, working to catalog pretty much everything about the lost art of the film photobooth. News, locations, pretty much if you can think of it, they've got it. In the words of creators Brian and Tim, is "the most comprehensive photobooth resource on the internet."

Recently, my friend Caitlin and I found ourselves stuck in a bar in Alameda called Lucky 13 one Friday night. Lured by the promise of a girls' night out and trapped by our dependence on our one friend for a ride, we ended up tired around midnight with no reliable way to get home to Berkeley quite yet. So we ducked into the film photobooth they've got stashed away in the corner and snapped away! Eventually our ride got bored with talking to every guy in the bar and acquiesced to our pitiful pleas to go home, but the night was not totally wasted, not at all.

I generally troll, because I'm addicted both to the Internet and to photobooths, and I realized that the Lucky 13 photobooth was miraculously undocumented! Thankfully I had taken a picture of the photobooth itself, and I sent it in to the site. You can see it posted here.

Also click on the photo strip to see a close-up of all the ridiculous faces we made :)