Luxurious details and faux finishes that allude to a grander image do not hold up to the true material expression, whether it be organic elements taken straight from nature or even unfinished, manufactured building materials like plywood. Not to get all philosophical or however you may characterize this statement, but to me honest design and material expression displays a sense of confidence that I don’t often see in designs that view materials as ornament rather than as tools whose properties can aid in informing the final form.
Good design = saying it without saying it
Industrial designer Arnaud Lapierre came up with the ultimate ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. His concept doorknob uses a pulley system so that the knob outside can pulled in by twisting the knob inside. [via design-beats]
An ingenious detail.
Boat’s House at Millstätter Lake by MHM Architects [for article & more images]
Furniture that isn’t furniture. A raw, industrial aesthetic befitting of the resourcefulness.
A major criticism of dense urban centers is a lack of connection to nature. Although the ‘real thing’ can’t be substituted, there are man-made parks that create an experience of nature amongst the concrete jungle. Think Central Park in Manhattan - a contained green space designed to deliberately obscure sight lines to give the illusion of physical and mental escapism from the surrounding urban environment and the fast and sometimes overwhelming pace of city life. Its design intentionally mimics nature with lakes, ponds, and winding paths through trees that contrast the rigidity of Manhattan’s grid of streets. But with less and less sizable expanses of open space in cities for “authentic looking” nature oases, introducing natural elements into a city must be done in a more deliberate way. Unused or underused urban space is reclaimed and natural elements are used as a “building tool” to carefully create an experience of interaction with nature without masquerading as the real thing. Honest design expression in a time calling for resourceful and sustainable solutions to our human needs.
Security made beautiful. Upon seeing this, I immediately thought of the potential of a storefront on a dense city street utilizing a gate like this as an alternative to a generic garage style door. A security gate like this can add another layer to the facade (in regards to the design and, well, literally). Perforated metal comes in an infinite number of forms, so even when closed up and abandoned for the night a storefront can be visually lively. To go one step further, the gate can serve as a shading device when propped open. If the wall of glazing shown here wasn’t protected by an overhang, the gate could protect the interior space from harsh direct sunlight by filtering it through the perforated metal screen panels.
One downside I see right off the bat, however, is the lack of protection against graffiti and tagging as is seen on nearly every storefront security gate in a city.
I wrote this way back in August and lo and behold - I happen upon Andre Kikoski Architect’s Wyckoff Exchange in Brooklyn. (I guess I was onto something!) BIG fan of the corten steel used in their design. The oxidation process of the facade lends yet another layer to the life of the design.
Doors as delineators of spaces have greater design potential beyond their traditional role as objects that define this room versus that room, indoors versus outdoors, your space versus my space. (Ha, Myspace. Millennials will get it! But I digress.) Using materials that continue from the fixed wall to the door - in a sense almost disguising it, designing an entire plane to be a movable element (like the swiveling glass door above), using a screen to denote a transition between spaces while maintaining visual permeability; these are all ways of using a three-dimensional object to create a fourth dimensional element to a design, an experience that evokes or enhances the particular feeling for the space on the other side.
Think about the use of a single material from wall to door like the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia. (Stay with me here! I swear this comparison makes sense.) The visual downplaying of a door can evoke the sense that whatever is on the other side is mysterious, forbidden, (magical?), and only for those in the know. This can be especially powerful in dense urban settings where there’s simply not enough space to create a large physical barrier between the public and private realm, or for minimizing visual clutter in small spaces - apartments or a commercial office, for example – where visual and aural barriers may be desired.
“A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.”