Friday, January 30, 2009

The Golden Mean Truth of Accessorizing

Various sized frames, a pair of candlesticks, organic material, different textures, shapes and sizes gives my living room table interest and a sense of balance.

The proportions of my Foo Dogs with this large vase is a nice example of a Golden Mean. Notice the texture I added to the vase by hanging organic beads and an old chain from it.

My lamp in front of a map of Rome helps to create a story, and allows the framed map to be a part of the vignette on the credenza. Wall art and table top accessories should be grouped together.

The amount of space between my Chinese deities are another example of the Golden Mean, while the turquoise beads in a bowl are placed near one figurine, also note, the height of the figure to the bowl of stones.

So I've been wanting to post about home accessorizing for some time now, because I think it's a very important element that a lot of people forget or just are afraid of doing when decorating their home. Over the years while working as a designer, I've found that there are several reasons why people do not put the effort into accessorizing; Some are afraid of over cluttering, while others just don't know how to mix and match and how to place decorative objects within a living space, and I think some are just down right lazy and don't want to take the time to collect things, as others don't accessorize because it may be unaffordable for them, which is understandable since home accessories really should be a large bulk of your decorating budget. Accessories brings atmosphere and drama to the interior, and helps to warm the home, its also an expression of who you are, the same as the clothing you wear! Accessorizing is serious art people and here is the the Golden Mean truth of it!

As much of our knowledge came to us from ancient civilizations, modern architecture and design also have been influenced by those who came before us. The ancient Greeks devised a formula for placement of objects, lengths and heights of buildings and columns, proportions of sculpture, art, etc. - based on proportions of the human body and its locations of features. They felt neither a point half the length or height nor one at a third or two thirds were satisfying, but that point between one third and one half, or between one half and two thirds was satisfying. This point came to be knows as the "Golden Mean." OK. I hope your still with me here. I know! Who knew that accessorizing can be so difficult right?

The following is for all you technical thinkers.
So, to arrive at the location of the Gold Mean on a wall, table, frame or proportion of and object mathematically, multiply the length, height or width by .5833 for the point farthest, highest or uppermost on object, or .4166 for the point nearest or lowest on object.

The following is for all you non technical thinkers.
Just eyeball the damn thing!

My point is, don't be too afraid and too lazy to accessorize! Collect objects on your vacations such as bowls of seashells, pieces of gnarled wood, and bring fresh flowers into the home. Remember to mix textures and colors together, and combine various shapes and sizes to the installation.
If your still confused about this formula, find a nautilus shell, and study the shape and proportions of the curved organic shape, because this miracle of a shell is the perfect, scientific example of the Golden Mean...Happy Accessorizing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Organic Pattern with Graceful Lines

I love this Zebrawood Writing Chair by David Ebner. It's a newer chair, but the lines and the natural pattern of the wood grain is very striking. It could be yours for $9,500!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Comes Around Goes Around

The moment you step into this New York clothing boutique it feels as if you've been transported into the past where men wore bow ties pocket watches and top hats. I purchased an amazing silk scarf with a chrysanthemum print here! One can find everything vintage from Jeans, boots to hats and jewelery. What Comes Around Goes Around even has a 7,000 square foot archive appointment-only showroom that is home to one of the country’s largest vintage collections. Acquired from over a decade of global buying, the more than 100,000-piece inventory of vintage clothes, accessories, fashion collectibles and museum quality children’s wear dates from the 1860’s to the 1980’s. The collection encompasses all vintage genres including high-end designer, sportswear, military, denim, outerwear, western and period clothing. The boutique also carries their own label that is focusing on an art deco - art nuevo inspired line this season. This is where the past meets the now! And remember what comes around really does go around...eventually!

For my Los Angelinos, they have opened a boutique on 1520 N. Cahuenga blvd. Suite #4

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Calder...The Ring Master

Alexander Calder's crazy circus figures - some are motorized

A mobile.

Calder's caricature portraits.

Josephine Baker - Aztec.

Josephine Baker.

An artistic genius with whimsical creativity is how I would describe Alexander Calder, a man known by most, as the artist that created the mobile sculptures made from wire, wood and paint. I really only knew of his mobiles which I've always loved, but grew somewhat bored of them because they became so mainstream while replica's sprouted up everywhere. I now have a new found appreciation of Calder's work after visiting his exhibit at the Whitney Museum here in New York (on view through February 15). The charming collection contains his works from his time spent in Paris, 1926 to 1933. One of his first wire sculptures was of Josephine Baker, which I'm a huge fan of and never knew he sculpted her. It was a great surprise when I saw the wired figures bouncing and gyrating against a stark white wall in the museum. It created such a nice contrast. I was really thrown back when I entered the room that displayed his complete circus! The wire spectacle that is a permanent fixture at the Whitney is a playful but almost disturbing and creepy aerial play of circus figures. The old time music that has been recorded from a Victrola plays overhead while enthralled by the vision of such an enormous display. One can't help but to imagine Alexander working through the late nights in the city of lights perfecting his craft, twisting strands of metal, gluing wooden heads and leather garments onto his wiry creations. Ooh...all so creepy right? I love it! Upon the completion of his Circus's Alexander would invite audiences, most were his artist friends, Joan Miro, Piet Mondrian, Fernand Leger, and Marcel Duchamp to his atelier who would sit on a low bed or on crates, munching peanuts while Calder manipulated his characters with strings and wires so that trapezists flew through the air, cowboys lassoed horses, and acrobats catapulted across space. The ring master and his circus! The big top is at 945 Madison Ave. The Whitney Museum...Step right up folks!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hello Polaroid!

Who says we have to say goodbye to Polaroid camera's?! I just purchased a vintage SX-70 in perfect working condition, it even has a working remote shutter button! The only problem is that the film for this model is hard to come by, but can be purchased from a company in Vienna Austria, so the film is expensive, but I only use this camera for special shots. I love that the SX-70 has manual focus, and has a lighten/darken control. This little vintage image shooter is full of character; it collapses flat, and was the first motorized Polaroid camera ever made, also it was the first non-peel apart self contained, self developing film and was the first collapsible SLR. This little camera is sweet! Visit my We'll See... blog for SX-70 shots.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From J Crew to Wu!

OK, Some people may not have liked the gowns that Michelle wore for the Inauguration and ball, but as Anne Curry said this morning "She looked lovely", and she did! What really fascinates me is that Michelle could have chosen a big name designer such as Yves St. Lauren, or Ralph Lauren, but she didn't, she went out wearing young designers creations who most have never heard of. Isabel Todelo designed her wool lace gown and chose the lemon grass color because she felt it was fresh and new, and I love that Mrs. O decided to wear the green J Crew gloves with it. Jason Wu said he wanted to create a dress with a dreamlike quality for her evening attire, which I think he accomplished with white silk-chiffon embellished with organza and Swarovski rhinestones. Anyway, yeah her dresses might not appeal to the masses, but I respect the fact that she seems very comfortable with her OWN style. She also gets extra points for surprising these designers with wearing their gowns. I just feel her fashion choices go hand and hand of who The Obama's are - New and Refreshing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bronze Prostitute

Here is another Miguel Berrocal sculpture I found in a New York showroom. I just love his work. This one is called "La Totoche," Bronze puzzle sculpture of a nude female body on rectangular base. La Totoche is composed of 13 bronze elements and can be converted from standing mode to reclining mode by means of a button on the base. The sculpture is Berrocal's homage to Italian film maker Federico Fellini. The female nude represents the prostitute in the Fellini's movie, Amarcord. Signed and numbered, by Miguel Berrocal, Spanish, 1960's.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hall of Frame

I've been working on this project for a couple weeks now, and I like the way it turned out. I got a hold of old family photos and framed them in various sized frames and mattes. Matte's give the art or photograph importance and showcases them. All of the mattes are white, keeping that cluttered look to a minimal, and there are only 3 frame colors; white, black and beige. The white and beige keeps everything soft, while the black frames add drama. Hanging the frames in a non uniformed way as I did, also helps with adding interest. I then completed the installation by adding my collection of calligraphy brushes - some are sitting on top of the frames and the others, I unfortunately hung up after I took these photographs. We love walking through our hallway now!

Friday, January 16, 2009

In High Fashion

One of my favorite places in New York , The International Center of Photography opened an exhibition of the legendary Edward Steichen's photographs today. The collection is showcasing his works from the Conde Nast years, 1923 to 1937. Most may recognize his famous black & whites, since he was known for shooting the most glamorous Hollywood starlets and stars of his time. His Fashion Photography was and still is stunning works of Art. I loved the way he manipulated his lighting, the way it caught his subjects facial features, the eye lids, the cheek bones, the chin. I also loved some of his quotes such as this one "Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper, the photographer begins with the finished product." In my opinion he knew exactly where and how to begin...

The exhibition is running from January 16th to May 3rd at The International Center of Photography.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Glamour Queen's East Coast Debut

The oh so chic Kelly Wearstler has once again designed another glamorous old Hollywood inspired eatery - this time in the east coast, right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the fur wrapped old ladies, the stiletto wearing youngsters, and the t-shirt/fanny pack wearing tourists
(what a combo right?) Well, that's the place...5th Ave! Wearstler teamed up with Bergdorf Goodman for the creation of BG Restaurant. With the cool blues and green walls, and black accents, this Hollywood interior designer who is known for her Chinoiserie, lacquered, eighteenth century style, has put the yesteryear into this lunch eatery on the seventh floor of the famous department store overlooking Central Park. Last year she also launched her collection in Bergdorf (seen above in the second photo). I have not been to BG restaurant yet, but of course It's on my list. I just hope the menu is as good as the decor, but if not, at least I'll have the free entertainment...the people watching of the eclectic crowds... That's a whole other post!
Good times!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Structural Glamour

Detail, structure, and sophistication - This represents Julia Lintern's coat line. Just launched this winter, her coats are custom made. She does not believe in the sizing small, medium and large...she wants her high end coat's to fit the way they are suppose to on the body (like a glove), this is why the custom fitting is absolutely free. What really made me fall in love with this New York fashion genius, (and I don't use the word "genius" lightly here) is she began her career as a structural aerospace engineer! Hello! This is no wonder her couture looks the way it does. The Fashion house's jackets are very affordable considering the custom detailing that goes into each cashmere, wool and piped trimmed shroud. Julia currently works for Jet Blue as an engineer and is also finding the time to produce innovative design for the fashionable woman. Go to the site for more information and to view her elegant collection.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The History of Penn Station

Some of these concrete eagles can still be found around the city, being used as art for offices and parks

Most people who have commuted into New York City from New Jersey or Long Island, or perhaps taken the train from other parts of the country like Washington, Boston, or Chicago, have thought of Penn Station as the basement under the Felt Forum on 33rd Street. A large basement, with shops, newsstands and ticket booths, but still a basement.

Between 1910 and 1964, though, a great monument to travel existed on this site. The largest building ever erected for rail travel, Pennsylvania Station, commissioned by Pennsylvania Railroad President Alexander Cassatt and built by architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, stood between 31st and 33rd Streets and 7th and 8th Avenues - over eight acres. It was truly a temple of transportation.

With the 277-foot long waiting room designed to resemble the Roman Baths of Caracalla and the Basilica of Constantine, the grand edifice used 500,000 cubic feet of granite; was supported on 650 steel columns; required the digging of tunnels over 6,600 feet long under the Hudson River; required the demolition of over 500 buildings and the removal of over 3,000,000 cubic yards of soil and bedrock. It had a 150-foot ceiling.

After 53 years of New York bound travelers being welcomed like gods in the grand structure, it all came tumbling down under the management of Robert Moses, the New York City Parks Commissioner. During his time Moses gained a very large amount of control over the NYC's construction of buildings, bridges and freeways. At one point he wanted to run a freeway through the entire island of Manhattan, but it failed with the help of the amazing Jane Jacobs - urbanist, writer and activist. The original Penn Station was demolished due to several reasons; The invention of the vehicle and airplanes - travelers began to drive and fly instead of commuting by tube, people began to move out into the suburbs, and the building maintenance was lacking, causing dirt and grime build up on the structure, and then there was Robert Moses... who wanted new modern structures.

But...what a beauty it was while it lasted.

Above are some shots of the way Penn Station use to look. The bottom two photos are current shots.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Photography blog, We'll See...

Hello everyone! My other blog We'll now up and running. The blog will be dedicated to photography, both my own shots and others. You can connect to We'll See... by clicking on my profile on the right hand side and then click on the blog "We'll See..." or you can just visit directly at Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trust Fund Baby

Great shop in Nolita for children, specializing in hand knit creations. I really loved the window display and the name of the store.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Walk Away

Found this France circa 1960 cocktail table at one of the design showrooms I shop at. I like that it has multiple brass curving legs with the ball shaped feet. One of the reasons why I like this one so much is because it looks as though it's going to walk away! It's still so elegant at the same time because of the open design work. Adding such furniture to spaces creates character and drama- a nice conversational piece as well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Fork in the Road.

I've enjoyed blogging for the past few months now, and have been thinking about managing another blog. My thoughts are to create a photography blog. I take photographs as a hobby and have a blast doing it. Keeping a photographic record of my life, and things that fascinate me brings me great pleasure, and I would like to share my photo's with everyone. I've also been playing around with the idea of taking some photography classes. I need to take full advantage of what NY has to offer...I've researched, and some of the best classes are in my neighborhood. So I've reached a fork in the road. The decision I need to make is managing of the two blogs. Concrete Commentary is strictly about NYC, and my adventures in this fascinating place. I would rather keep the photography thing separate from this blog. So I think the right thing to do is create another blog. The other decision is photography classes...Well, I'll keep you all posted on both. That's my fork in the road everyone, and my photograph above is my fork tree I found in Central Park on a dark and dreary day this weekend.

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World

I've always loved this Quote from Gandhi. This is ABC Home's mission statement in action.

ABC Home is an amazing multi floor shopping experience that sells high-end housewares and furniture to the public here in NYC. While shopping there for a dining table the other day I learned that they have created a charity foundation, ABC Home & Planet. These photos are of their current exhibition/displays of handmade clothing/art from indigenous groups in Africa and Native American Indians. I've always loved these baskets that you see in the second photo. African and Native American Indian art has always struck me because of it's textures, colors, and detail. That's also why I love this store so much...the first level of ABC stocks tons of ethnic art and functional merchandise. While the other levels contain danish, modern, traditional, and vintage trinkets and furnishings.

ABC has collaborated with dozens of non profit charities to help bring change in our community and world. Their mission is to support global change by offering opportunities to align our spending choices with our personal values. Honor friends, loved ones, and colleagues with gifts that provide targeted services to heal our planet and its people. Each gift is represented with a personalized certificate in a vintage silk sari envelope.

Check out their websites and be sure to check out the store if ever in NYC!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hands on my Family Jewels!

I found this glove mold a couple days ago, and thought It would make for a good jewelery storage/display. The other two are not molds, but just decorative pieces, but three of something is better than one, and three different sizes of something is even better! It makes for a good design statement. I'll have to post on the art of home accessorizing one day, because there's a formula to it. Also accessories can serve as both a function and an aesthetic, such as these hands!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Someone looks Sleepy...

Sleepy Steve waiting for subway

Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY 2009!

I'm not going to post much today, because I'm suffering from a slight hang-over! But I wanted to tell you all about a great restaurant that we had dinner at last night called Perilla in Greenwich Village. It's a cozy 18 table with a warm atmosphere and food that is pleasing to the palette. The ricotta heirloom beet & goat cheese gnocchi with brown butter, hazelnuts & sage was exceptional, as was the poached Maine lobster with sunchokes, cauliflower, and coconut milk froth. I know! The froth was a little strange, but that is the new thing that a lot of chefs are doing now, especially the ones from Top Chef! I guess it's fitting for Harold Dieterle, Chef and owner of Perilla and winner of Top Chef. Just showing off his gastronomy skills I guess. Anyhow, we ended the night at a friends house party, which was just perfect! We didn't want to get stuck in that nasty Time Square crowd. I did drink just a tad too much, I can barely type this post, so in ending...HAPPY NEW YEAR! May this year bring you all everything you wish for.