Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ice, Ice, Buildings

'Tis the season ... to check out all things snowy!
I've been trolling around the internets to see what people have accomplished using frozen water as a building material thus far -

I've checked out the Ice Hotels a few hundred times already as references for school projects;

there's one in JukkasjÀrvi, Sweden, for example:

and in Chena, Alaska:

and even Canadia:

It seems that most of the hotels/structures consider the building to be a plank slate, a clean palate, which is ripe for dressing up with colored lights.  While there's some play with opacity and translucence based on the texture of the ice, I would have expected it to be pumped up even more.  Nevertheless, they've gotta be amazing spaces to experience!

The Box is Set

Annnnd finally, the result of the little 'make a box' project from my dinky bit of a woodshop class. 
This is *just the beginning* for me and woodshop projects, I'm sure.  I loved it!

(I wound up laser cutting some sexy plexiglass inserts for the corner joinery details ...)

Before sanding down the plexi:

After sanding & buffing:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Boxing Day

I'm still wrapping up finals' week at Pratt, and fortunately the last remaining project is one I really enjoy.

I took Woodworking this semester (I'd posted a little about it earlier this year), which is run like a high school tech class.  We had a bunch of small semi-random projects all intended to teach us the basics of how to get around in the shop ... interspersed with old shop injury horror stories.

In any case, I'm working on making a box right now.  It's super simple; just some 45 degree angle connections, a sliced off lid, and some decorative joinery for the corners.  I originally had some high-falutin' ideas for dressing it up, but the more I work on it the more I realize I'd better leave well enough alone.  After all, I've always suspected that I was a minimalist trapped in a pack-rat's body.

Here's the progress!

The edge connections are looking clean, IMO, and I have a cool idea for the joinery.  I'm off to the shop today to see how it pans out ...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Art

In honor of our December birthdays, my Dad recently brought me to a new - to me - art gallery space in Williamsburg, BK:

The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, on Broadway (in Brooklyn).  The gallery exists within the  Kings County Savings Bank building, built in 1867, which is beautiful but somewhat in need of a touch up.  The founder and curator is Yuko Nii, with whom I was able to speak briefly - as it turns out she is a graduate of Pratt as well, and was extremely gracious and interested in making a connection.

Ironically, the topic of the main gallery space was book art.  This tied in beautifully with my already piqued interest in that new realm of art/design.  In fact I'd posted about it in August and even in July.  The show, of course, pushed the boundaries far past the fairly utilitarian or vaguely decorative examples I'd discussed back then.  The works are intricate and complex, and certainly set my creative wheels in motion.  Perhaps over this winter break I will be able to explore this area a bit more aggressively. 

In the meantime, images from the collection:

These images are taken directly from the gallery's website ...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

X Rays: Choosing Your Level of Transparency

As a result of the new TSA XRay capabilities, we all know that there has been a major backlash of public discomfort regarding our privacy and its relationship with our security. 

In reaction, a few new products have sprung up which both poke fun at the controversy and bring further attention to the tension at its root:  Where does our 4th Amendment right come into play within this new realm of intrusive technology?

One company, Flying Pasties, offers adhesive body stickers which block the machines from visual access to a person's private parts while sending messages which range from benign tongue in cheek ("Private" or "Only My Husband Sees Me Naked") to anti-establishment (depicting the middle finger, etc):

Another company, 4th Amendment Wear, has put out products with more demure graphics, but a similar message.  They have a line of underwear for men, women and children, all emblazoned with simple text - either a transcription of the 4th Amendment itself or an admonishment to any 'perverts' who would scan the wearer:

The issue is, of course, a highly charged one.

But even so, I can't help but be inspired by the potential it brings to the design world.  The role of art and design as the champions of human rights seems well rooted in history, and I believe that at least some of this conflict will be played within those fields.

All 'issues' aside, XRay images are just plain cool, and I'm nearly as excited about this new branch of design as I was a few years ago, when black light tattoos began to spring up ...

Invisible in the day but luminescent under black light, the new medium has already been applied in some very cool ways:

There's a transient, privileged nature to both the XRay and black light mediums. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mr. Roboto

Well, I'm deep into finals period now and should not be doing anything else ...

But I took my first leap into Adobe After Effects today to get my feet wet with some movie editing, and it's something I really enjoy!

Here's the little clip I contributed to a group project for Ferda Kolatan's 'Design and Nature' seminar at Pratt:

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Oslo Opera House

I was going through my sketchbook and realized I'd never scanned in the sketches I did of the Oslo Opera House way back in August ... So here goes ...

It was designed by a Norwegian firm called Snohetta in 2004. It's a very cool building. Actually I'm enamored of the shell more than the insides, which don't seem to correlate much. There's a Guggenheim thing happening on the interior - in wood - and a floaty, white marble-y thing happening on the exterior.

In all, it's a lovely place to wander around, and to then sit and drink coffee while sketching.

(All images & photos are my own)


The money shot

Actually, the approach isn't that lovely ...

View from the top


Inside looking out

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Brain Wave Headset

I have a new life goal: to be asked to speak at TED someday.

(TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It's a nonprofit that gives people who are working on ingenius projects a platform from which to discuss them; no matter what subject. The website showcases an amazing collection of brief videos, searchable by 'jaw-dropping'-ness, 'inspiring'-ness, etc.)

I came upon this video, from July 2010. It's a headset that allows for hands-free manipulation of technology. It actually reads brainwaves.

Tan Le presents the headset on TED in this video.
You set it up by thinking of what you want to happen while the sensors read and record the activity of your brain.  Thereafter whenever you think about that action and your brain reacts accordingly, the system recognizes it and performs the related function.

All I can think about at the moment is how much easier 3D modeling would be ...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We Feel Fine

Recently I discovered this astonishing online animated data project called We Feel Fine.

We Feel Fine is a research project by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar. They automated a system that searches blogs globally for the phrase "I feel ..." and then categorizes the emotions or moods represented in that sentence. You can refine the search by gender, age, geography, date, mood -- even by the weather at the time the post was written. Many include images.

It's a jaw-dropping emotional thermometer on a global scale. I find it moving, and often quite funny.

On the We Feel Fine website, you can actually click on the phrases, and it will lead you directly to the poster's blog. It's a wonderful concept in terms of connecting across the world, but it kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies ...

Some of my favorite finds:


Friday, November 5, 2010

Bright Ideas

Oooook, so that was quite the hiatus.
I'm back in school (final year of my Master's in Architecture program!) and rather busy.

But one of the classes I'm taking now is WoodWorking, which I love love love.

That said, I'm attaching some progress shots of one of those projects (with imaginary-person commentary):

"Why, look. An unassuming little cube which has been cut in two and has a hole in it. Ho-hum."

"Ok, so this weird cube also has funny cuts on one side. Whatever."

"What?? It's a light! Oh my gosh, that's the best WoodWorking project I've ever seen!"

Actually right now it reminds me of an egg slicer:

But I'm not done with it yet ...