Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Edith Wharton's view of the upholsterer and the architect

In the introduction of her book ‘The Decoration of Houses’ Edith Wharton sets out to sell the need for such a book. She goes back to the middle ages and explains interior decoration had to be portable because people lived in tents and castles.

When people became settled she explains architectural ornament (with what we now recognize as classical motifs, proportion and design) became part of the interior decoration of rooms. Unfortunately over the centuries architects have come to believe mouldings, architraves and cornices are insignificant detail.

At the time Edith was writing this book in the late 1890’s she argued architects now hurried over this detailing and had handed over the decoration and furnishing of rooms to the upholsterer.

The poor upholsterer is accused of being ignorant and using unscientific methods. With the result Edith states boldly home decoration is seen as a black art. There has been no study or publication on house decoration as a branch of architecture in England or America for over 50 years she states. 

Edith encourages home decorators to become skilled by studying the architects of old. She firmly states “…..  architectural proportion – incontradistinction to the modern view of house decoration was a part of architecture in all it’s values……”    

As I read this introduction I could feel her frustration. Edith had fallen in love with Italy and lived in France. During this writing project she consulted 25 French books, 20 English books, six Italian books and four German books. Wow she obviously thought research very important. I am finding the book ‘The Decoration of Houses’ fascinating.      

Monday, August 23, 2010

Design for Life: design prototypes, branding and design presentation tips

Enjoyed Starck’s Design for Life series of program so much. Philippe continued his search for a new generation of design talent. He states his aim as; ‘to encourage designers to design with the aim of helping their society to a better life’.

This week four designs were turned into prototypes. Before a product can be considered for this stage of the design process a company would need to really believe in the possibility of success. Creating a prototype is big investment in a design idea.

The company selected to create the prototypes have worked with Starck for twenty years. John Philippe has developed many of Starck’s famous designs. The students were sent off to improve their design ideas. Jess was instructed to find a material suitable for her self defense glove. She was instructed to make the glove look good/ fashionable.

Ilsa needs to turn her mobility aid idea into a workable design. Trevor’s child’s stool needs to be developed further to become less complicated. Mike’s dining setting for the visually impaired needs to be more stylish. The students are encouraged to find solutions to design problems. Ilsa works on the function and safety of the aid. She visits a group of ladies looking for the main points of function. 

Trevor must simplify his design to survive in the competition. He works on a mechanism with a pushdown clink in moving motion to be moved using the hand. Mike spends his time working on  creating a stylish design of his setting.

Think like designers, designers find solutions

Starck wants the last detail considered in each design. The students need to work and think like designers. Designers find solutions. Designers need to hold onto their design ideals. 

The students are required to create a brand. Great branding creates a promise, then an experience, then a memory. This is a brilliant way of explaining the ideals of branding a product or service.  

Aim of Branding

  • To creates a promise

  • Then an experience

  • Then a memory

Market research is a vital activity needed to develop a brand. Students need to find a name, logo and develop some graphic designs to promote their product. 

Presentation of Branding Ideas

Ilsa presents her ideas in a complicated fashion and takes too long. This means her ideas are not clearly expressed. Mike reveals his branding ideas quickly with little detail. His branding ideas are not positively received. Jess also gives a very short presentation the name she has selected considered no good. 

Trevor’s name for his product ‘Move Me’ is well received and his colour selections thought to be intelligent.
The way the students presented their ideas could have been greatly improved. At this stage Ilsa’s brilliant design could be scraped. If the competition was determined by this she could well lose her place. Trevor gets the most positive feedback. This indicates the importance of design presentation. 

Tips to help you present your design ideas

It is so important to be able to successful sell your design ideas. Listed below are some tips to help you present your ideas successfully.

  • Use short point form statements not long sentences

  • Do not use the words I, me or my. When you use the words I, me or my it tends to indicate a personal opinion. You are presenting a professional well thought out design solution not a personal preference.

  • Use clear uncomplicated visuals. Create visuals that can be viewed easily and interrupted without  needing to be explain. They need to be self explanatory.  

  • Believe in your ideas

  • Present your ideas with confidence and passion

  • Be prepared for questions

  • Clear concise presentations can sell your design ideas 

The prototypes are revealed

What an exciting moment for these budding product designers. Ilsa’s mobility aid is stunning and very well received. She appears to be the clear winner. Jess and Trevor are criticised because they have not evolved as designers. Mike wins a place in the final. He achieves this on the basis of his helping people design idea not on his presentation or the prototype.   

Can’t wait to see who wins

Ralph Lauren said 

"I am not looking like Armani today 
and somebody else tomorrow.
I look like Ralph Lauren. 
And my goal is to constantly move in fashion 
and move in style without giving up what I am."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Designer Furniture & Wallpapers & Thomas Hardy

An Example of Florence Broadhurst Wallpaper

It is an exciting time for design in Australia there is a lot going on. An Australian/Japanese furniture designer’s brilliant work was featured on the Art Nation show. His work is just divine. Khai Liew has created seating for the Art Gallery of South Australia and he made some interesting comments into his philosphy of design.

Furniture designer Khai Liew’s work

You can be inspired by the wonderful work of Khai on this video. This lovely man also shares his philosophy on design. It is well worth a look.

Khai uses oriental joins to make elegant simple furniture

He uses historical ideas as a reference for his designs but used contemporary thinking. He often uses oriental joints to make elegant, timeless pieces. Liew thinks designers should go with their intuition and believes simplicity is a key of good design. He states we should use old methods of construction in new ways. The aim of design should be to enrich people’s lives. 

For a brilliant example of an oriental joint follow this link http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/page.asp?p=809

Wallpaper very much in vogue

Wallpaper continues to grow in popularity. During the 1980’s and 1990’s wallpaper went out of fashion. This was mainly due to open plan living. There was less wall space for wallpaper. The Historic Houses Trust of Australia has a reference library of wallpaper dating from the 1840’s. Flowers and botanic items have always been used for inspiration for patterns this influence goes back to ancient Greece.     

Australians had a love affair with wallpaper in 1800’s

In the 1800’s England was the largest producer of wallpaper in the world. Australians were the largest imports of the wallpaper. Wallpaper can tell the story of how Australians have lived.
Australia was a rich nation in the late 19th century. The Australians regularly re decorated their houses in order to; keep up with the Jones.   

Fabulous Florence Broadhurst wallpaper designs rule again

There has been an incredible resurgence of interest and use of the wallpapers of Florence Broadhurst. Her wallpapers are brilliant in colour and bold in design. There is still a huge archive of her work still being discovered. Her wallpapers have become a phenomena around the world.

Collections of famous designer wallpapers available

Porters Paints have an awesome collection of wallpaper designs by leading designers. Product and Costume Designer for film and theatre Catherine Martin, Fashion and Costume Designer Bowie Wong, and Julie Paterson from Cloth have created collections for Porters Paints. They certainly have the wow factor. Old English styles of wallpaper have also been re released.

If you follow this link you can see some of the wonderful wallpapers mentioned above

The great writer Thomas Hardy built his own house 

During the week I also read the biography of Thomas Hardy. As I have mentioned before I love reading about the lives of my favourite writers. I am amazed at how many have written pieces on decorating, design and architecture. Thomas’ first published work was ‘How I Built Myself a House’ published in 1865 in the Chamber’s Journal. He also wrote a note book on architecture. It was published as ‘The Architectural Notebook of Thomas Hardy’ in 1966 by C.J.P. Beatty.

Hardy's House Max Gate

Hardy started work his working life with an architect

I must admit I was a little disappointed with this his first work. He started work with an architect long before he began to write. I expected some gems of wisdom instead he appears to have gleaned little knowledge of the subject.

Thomas wants his new house to be of mysterious size and proportions

He wanted his new house to be right and proper of mysterious size and proportion (whatever that means). Hardy wanted his house to cost neither too little or too much. He wanted it situated in a healthy spot, on a subsoil of dry gravel, 90 feet above the springs with the trees to the north, a pretty view to the south and easily accessible to the rail.    

19th Century land developed viewed at railway stations

It is interesting to note coloured plans of ‘Land to be let for Building Purposes’ where available for viewing at railway stations and in agents’ windows. After viewing these plans he had to give up his desire for the trees, the 90 feet above the springs and the gravel subsoil.

Hardy and his wife made some sketches of a proposed floor plan and consulted with an architect. Mr. Penney the architect informed them of the sizes of the rooms that would be possible. He was even able to advise them on how many cases of wine to order to fit into the wine-cellar.

Building cost of sixpence a foot quoted

The couple seemed to be overwhelmed by the architect’s opinions and facts. They wanted to spend no more than eight thousand pounds. Mr. Penny quoted sixpence a foot. As they were leaving Mrs. Hardy reminded the architect she wanted a nice conservatory in the Chinese style.

When the Hardy’s visited the site to check on the foundations they thought the house looked too small. Oh how many people have thought the same? Mrs. Hardy had them change the dimensions of the drawing room to make it bigger. Hundreds of pounds worth of additions were added to the original plan. Hardy was unaware of the rising costs these changes would make.

Thomas Hardy’s first recorded published item

The couple seemed to have had the same experience most people have when building their own home. I suppose I expected more of Hardy. If you would like to read the article you can do so by visiting:  Thomas's first recorded published item at http://neal.oxborrow.net/Thomas_Hardy/Howibuiltmyhouse.htm

Thomas goes on to write brilliant novels and poems, becoming a legend in his own life time

Hardy went on to write a number of brilliant books, The Return of the Native, Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (my favourite) and Jude the Obscure among others. He was also a talented poet.       

“Good business leaders create a vision,
articulate the vision,
passionately own the vision, and
relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Thomas Hardy
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scottish Colourists and Anne Redpath

The poppy Field, circa 1963, Tate Gallery. A t...Image via Wikipedia

Problems can lead us to treasures. Our central heating decided to have a holiday this week right in the middle of winter. Staying warm was a problem. I was grateful for a coat my sister in law gave me. She purchased the coat in Northern Italy. I can only describe it as like wearing a feather doona. So I spent my time staying warm and I had a great time watching the ‘Palin on Art ‘ DVD and I also watched the brilliant Art Nation TV show on the ABC.

The Scottish Colourists

When I first started to paint my favourite subject was still-lifes. It was therefore no surprise my favourite paintings from the Palin DVD were the still-lifes. The wonderful work of the Scottish Colourists and Anne Redpath are featured on the DVD. The colourists were a group of artists who had an influence on and were influenced by the French Impressionist and Fauvists of the early 1900’s.

The used brilliant colour and wild brush strokes

John Ferguson, Lesley Hunter, F. C. B Cadell and Samuel John Peploe exhibited their work in Paris in 1907 and became known as The Modern Scottish Painters. They used vibrant colours and wild brush strokes. Their work was considered elegant and sophisticated in France. But the British found their work shocking. They spend a lot of time in France painting. When the First World War broke out they returned to Britain. John, Lesley, Frances and Beverly produced some of Britain’s greatest works. They have often been over looked and their influence underrated. Their paintings are now worth a lot of money. The images I have used here are from the Bridgeman Art on Demand website. The posters are available at www.bridgemanartondemand.com they have a range of works by this group of artists.

Some links to examples of the Scottish Colourists works

John Fergusson

F.C.B Cadell and more information on the Scottish Colourists http://www.exploreart.co.uk/artistic_styles_details.asp?ArtistID=11&ArtisticStyleID=4

Anne Redpath

Anne Redpath (1895 – 1965) was another Scottish artist who spent time in France. It is interesting to note she did very little painting during this time. Her time was taken up being a wife of an architect and a mother of three boys. When asked about this later in her life she said she never regretted doing so.

Anne was one of the most respected artists of her generation

She did create brief impressions and complied notes of the scenes she observed in France. When her children were older she launched herself into a life of painting. She became one of the most respected artists of her generation. My favourite painting of Anne’s is ‘The Poppy Field’ Peploe’s ‘Tulips’ and I love Cadell’s ‘The Vase of Water’

My favourite ‘The Field of Poppies’

Anne painted still-lifes, Scottish landscapes and Mediterranean scenes

Until the 1950’s Anne painted Still-Lifes and Scottish landscapes. After this time she painted scenes from Mediterranean life. Abstract painting has been the main focus of my art for over twenty years. But I feel an urge to go back to my first love and try some still-lifes.

Like always I have gotten carried way looking for and viewing examples of the work of this wonderful group of artists so I have run out of time and will talk about the gems found on the Art Nation show in the next blog.
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Starck's Design for Life Continues

Poul Henningsens PH-Lampe von 1925Image via Wikipedia
Famous product designer Starck continues his journey to find the best young creative talent in Britain. As I watched this episode I was amazed to discover I had missed an episode. The weeks go by so quickly. Apparently in the last episode Starck nearly eliminated all the contestants.

The budding product designers had badly underestimated the real design task set by Starck. He complained they presented vague notions and confused concepts. He wanted clearly defined ideas with technical drawings. All the students appeared upset and angry some making statements like ‘His is only one man’s opinion’ ‘He does not clearly explain what he wants’ ‘His feedback on our design proposals was in adequate’

I remember one of my first bosses being similar to Starck. I was sixteen and working in a big dental practice. I planned to work as a dental nurse until I was old enough to get into nursing at the age of eighteen. As a junior dental nurse I worked in surgery one with the head nurse. Unfortunately the senior nurse left a few weeks after I started work. This was not an unusual occurrence, in this dental practice nurses who worked in surgery one did not last long. I was left on my own with a nightmare of a boss.

Like Starck he had high expectations, yet did not clearly express his requirements. The nurse was expected to know what he wanted without him saying a word. I learnt a great deal from this experience. Each night I went home with the patient list with the each required treatment noted. Using the dental nurse’s handbook I worked out the instruments and materials required for each treatment. I also talked with his former nurses who explained how he liked things done. With fear and trembling I started each day early. I set up the surgery treatment trays got all the materials ready and had lists of each procedure written out ready to view.

Fear can be a great motivator. I had to learn to sink or swim and very quickly. To the amazement of the boss (and myself I might add) I swam very well. He ended up having great respect for me and would make comments like “I expect my nurses to be two steps ahead of me, but see this little thing she is ten steps ahead of me”

Hard work, showing initiative and going the extra mile will always bring positive results. Strack had the same effect on the student designers as my boss had on me. They rose to the challenge when they were given a second chance with the design brief.

Four designs have been selected to be created as proto types. Unfortunately four students were sent home.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Stylish 1950’s and Swinging 1960’s can be created using Sample Board Online supplier base

From the Article: How to interior design in a retro style: Stylish 1950’s or Swinging 1960’s
To design in a retro style is to remix aspects of a previous style.  Many styles of the past have successfully been reinvented time and time again. A popular retro style is the style created in the 1950’s rock ‘n’ rock era. The 1960’s became known as the swinging 60’s. Interior d├ęcor and clothing fashions can be intermingle to create bold trendy statements.

SAS Royal Hotel Denmark 1958

Designed by Arne Jacobsen 

Featuring his famous Egg Chair

Some 1950's Colours

Hot Pink
King Fisher Blue

If you would like to create a 1950’s look hot pink was the colour of the decade. Italian couture began to rival French couture. Pucci and Simonetta were influenced by the colours of the Renaissance. Fath used Honan silks in hot pink. Turquoise became a sensation after 1951. The Germany Company Bayer developed the first colour fast turquoise dye Alcian. Full skirts in bold colours were a hallmark of the rock ‘n’ roll era …. To read more….  http://www.articlesbase.com/interior-design-articles/how-to-interior-design-in-a-retro-style-stylish-50s-or-swinging-60s-2944719.html

If you have followed the link from the article you will find some images in this blog from these eras.

During the 50’s and 60’s the International Style also continued to have impact on the design scene. Many of the classic furniture designs created at this time are now available, being replicated or used as a source of inspiration for contemporary design.

SAS Royal Hotel Denmark 

Interior Design by Arne Jacobsen

Featuring his Egg Chair

Some 1960's Colours

Examples are the Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen, the Ant chair and the Eames chair and ottoman. You can find suppliers of these designer items on the Sample Board Online site.

Sample Boards Created on Sample Board Online

Featuring Classic Modern Furniture

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