Monday, December 10, 2007


Finally finished with drawing for the semester- here are some sketches of a small magnolia leaf that they had us do.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Foreign Magazines

PingMag was actually a cool Japanese design magazine, but it was different than what I expected. Not only is the majority of the magazine online, but it focused less on design and more on new products and how they are made. The issue I looked at was featuring a prototype convention. Everything in the magazine was very high-tech in its design, but the facade of the designs varied from traditional looking Japanese design and other was futuristic in its look. Very eclectic mix featured in this magazine, I am not sure if this indicates and eclectic mix of design in all of Japanese culture or whether this is an eclectic magazine. But the high-tech theme seems in line with the high-tech image that Japan has managed to build through years of innovation and invention.

Domus magazine is an Italian magazine which I found by someone else's suggestion. Everything that I flipped through the magazine and saw seemed very slick and cutting edge. A really nice thing about this magazine is that it is in both Italian and in English. It seems that, based on the designs, the up and coming companies and the innovative companies seem to be based in Italy. It also seemed that a lot of the design was furniture and the like, leading me to believe that Italy seems to be one of the leading modern furniture areas.

This issue of Interior Design Magazine focused on China- Some things that I noticed were that it focused on the urban areas mostly- leading me to believe that the current trend in the population is urbanization- the design in the magazine seems to indicate this same trend as everything seems very urban in its design- sleek and modern with a lot of clean lined metal and design. Interesting- similar to what I had imagined Japanese design would be like

Solar Power

Solar power, or energy from the sun, is becoming more and more commonly used in the world today. A close example is Guilford College, they have used solar power to provide complete energy for an entire dorm. Solar power can be used for anything from agriculture to cooking, to architecture. Solar power has little to no negative effect on the environment and is probably the best outlook for a future energy source to replace fossil fuel as the leading energy provider.

Geothermal Energy- Flash Steam

Flash Steam geothermal plants seem to be a future answer for our heating needs. Although the first geothermal plant was built in 1904, it still only accounts for 1% of energy provided. In a flash steam plant the water is held below ground at a temperature above boiling, though the additional pressure causes it to stay in a liquid form- when the water is pumped above ground the reduced pressure causes the water to turn or "flash" into steam and turn a turbine to generate electricity- the unused water is then flushed back for reuse later. This method does emit some gases into the atmosphere, though only 5% of the amount that fossil fuel burning does.

Media- Album Covers

I am sick of seeing Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of The Moon" cover- everywhere I look it seems to be. With that being said there is obviously something that is effective about it. While I don't personally like it I find that this is an effective cover because of the rainbow which emerges with the penetration of the prism- the color against the bland background is something which is very effective. The colors really pop against the black background. Not my favorite, but effective.

Miles Davis' "Tutu" is a simple cover which uses this large portrait of a face to make a large impact. The complexity of the shadows and the intricacies of the face ar highlighted in this album cover, which is unlike most other covers on the shelf. A simple design with a large impact- nice.

So this is the first out of three times that Jerry Garcia shows up on our list with the album "Cats Under the Stars", this cover is effective because of the simplicity of the black background, the contrast of the circular shape and the triangle, and the use of the sphinx figure to add an edge of the exotic and the unexpected. With Jerry Garcia the unexpected is always expected.

I had to include Frank Zappa's "We're Only In It For The Money" because of its blatantly hilarious spoof of the ultimate album cover "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles. The designer used comedy as a large attraction for this cover while also using the wild success of the original to help attract interest in this album. Pure Comic Genius.

The Rolling Stone's "Exile on Main Street" does well with its use of black and white photography, rather than using color to distract the viewer from the pictures, the designer used the black and white contrasts to create another depth of visual appeal without detracting from the photographs

The Beatles' self titled album is as simple as it comes- one of the hardest to pull off, yet most effective design strategies is stark simplicity on an album cover. This album stands out among other albums with more complicated covers- instead of the white plain on the cover of this album being boring it actually draws the viewer in, beckoning them to explore behind the cover

"American Beauty" is an album which is well organized geometrically- the circle in the center contrasts the square shape of the album, the words in the circle are equaly balanced on top and bottom, and the rose is at the center of the circle, drawing the attention in- The Grateful Dead did a great job with this simple, yet effective cover

A plethora of psychedelic colors hit the eye on Cream's "Disraeli Gears"- yet somehow an order and theme come out of this chaos- a great example of the graphics conveying the culture which surrounds the band and the time- this album grabs attention on the shelves and screams for further investigation- a great marketing strategy

Bob Marley's "Catch a Fire" is effective not only for its obvious play on words with the zippo lighter design- but because of its simplicity- this is a recurring theme with effective album covers

The Grateful Dead's "Aoxomoxoa" is a great album cover- the vibrant colors grab the eyes attention and the psychedelic feel of the graphics hint at the culture surrounding the band. Aan example of a very effective use of graphics on this cover are the green plants towards the bottom which point upward, directing the eye back into the center of the picture.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


So I decided to try and add a little color to some of my gesture drawings- It was a pretty bold step for me- having obviously never worked with color before, but here it is- more coming soon


Ellips has designed a shelf called Big Jim which took me awhile to decide if I liked. I finally decided that I did- I like the way that it appears to be a ball coming out of the wall- my main draw back was the size of the shelves- I understand, though, that you do not need to fill the shelves up, and there are alot of varying sizes, allowing quite a variety of objects to be stored on it

I think Uhuru Designs missed the mark with this table- the base looks dangerous to be near- mimicking a barber wire fence- I don't understand how something so cold and threatening could find a place for itself in someone's home or office- both of which are usually supposed to be inviting or impressive- never threatening

I came across a table in Interior Design Magazine called Sevn, it was produced by a company out of Raleigh, NC and is called Meld USA. I really like this table- it gives the illusion that the table is held up by three fingers, or tendrils- but they are thick enough to ground the table- I really like the deisgn- and some of the colors sound like alot of fun

I really hate these pieces done by Straight Line Designs- I don't get the point of having this spider-like piece sitting in the corner of your room just waiting and, obviously, serving no real purpose as they range in height from 48 to 84 inches tall- talk about anemic design

Niedermaier has put out this table that I find amazingly attractive- its sensuous curved body hinting at an hourglass shape and capped off by a thin and clean glass plane- I really like this- and I like the fact that it is available in some wild colors, not just the black

Knoll has put out a desk which I must say that I hate, but I don't know why- it might be its anemic look, it might be its childish colors, or it might be the fact that the wood grain on the drawer doesn't match anything else about the desk- or it might be all of those things- who knows?

Hartcorn Furniture + Design have put out this desk inspired by the dragonfly- while I was first attracted to this desk because of its clean lines and curved legs- my friend suggested that it looks like an interpretation of Noah's ark- an idea which I cannot get out of my head everytime that I look at this now

This coffee table from Roche-Bobois isn't unattractive- but I have to wonder what its intent is- It looks like a good place for chips and salsa during your next party to me- I would love to know the designer's intent in this cocktail table

This is a table that bothers me- while I like bringing in the outdoors as much as anybody, I can't understand how this table could be practical- it could no longer serve its original function as a table- thus ceasing to truly be a table and becoming a planter box- No thanks Nondesign

I like these tables from Chista, most notably the organic textures and holes- but the thing that makes me like them the most might also be the thing that makes me dislike them the most- that being the function of having tables with holes in them- I think a piece of glass may solve alot of problems where these tables are concerned

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Lloyd's of London- I love this building- I consider it to be the epitome of sexy urban design and is bold- containing the "wow" factor. I like circular tubes which run along the exterior of the building- they add a dynamic design feature which really is attractive to the eye

Roanoke Art Museum- a bold design for downtown Roanoke- I found this by coming across a discussion of what type of architecture should Greensboro look to move toward- I really like the geometric planes which seem to stick out at interesting angles and the very reflective surface of the glass-I find this building very appealing

Dancing House- This is one of the more tolerable of Gehry's works to me- I can see the representation of the dancing couple within it, but I feel like it is out of place and I am not sure how well the space functions inside the "Ginger Rogers" tower- more of a sculpture than a building

London City Hall- I like this design alot- I find this much more appealing than its phallic counterpart (the Swiss Re Tower) I like the curve of the building, it seems graceful against the stark straight lines that seem to loom over much of today's architecture

Furniturland South- I wanted to do a local building so I chose the Furnitureland South building- I hate it. With that being said its because I hate themed architecture/design. This is just hideous- I do think, however, that it serves its purpose. Nobody driving by the building can debate what industry resides there- since its main attraction is that it is the world's largest showroom and it needs to attract as much attention as possible, then I have to say it is effective- effective, but ugly

Sheth Tower I really like this design- I feel like the building is precariously balanced, and I also feel like the building is perched or positioned to be on display- The half-egg shape is nice contrasting the rounded side with the flat side- I enjoy this building quite a bit and think that it is a great example of modern architecture

Space Needle- I think this is a great landmark- built for the 1962 world's fair it provides a great viewing deck from around 520 feet. I think the most effective part of this skyscraper's contsruction was what it added to the Seattle skyline. It is now a trademark of the Pacific Northwest- Its slender legs holding up a saucer (complete with restaurant). I think that the positiong of this building is as masterful as its architecture

Louvre Pyramids- I enjoy these more than most- I can understand that they don't exactly fit in with their surroundings(a recurring theme with IM Pei) but I believe that and argument could be made otherwise- there is something pristine about the glass and how the light and fountains reflect off of them- they allow one to look through to the classic architecture while embracing this newer modern design- almost in a meeting of ages- Their simnplicity against the detailed fronts of the original buildings are another nice contrast- I do not believe that they are ill designed at all- I think they fit very nicely

Guggenheim- I think this is a very effective building in its own right- while serving its purpose the neat thing about this building is how it differs from much of what Frank Lloyd Wright did throughout most of his career with that being said- it is still very strongly a Frank Lloyd Wright piece- I believe that this is the mark of a master- the ability to do anything, yet still have it resonate your name- while its curved and graceful walls and walkways seem to be different than what he normally would design, the building's cylindrical shape and extruding square platform are steeped heavily in the geometry that dominated his work and the mission-style

The Beijing Airport- I can only imagine the awed impression that this airport must strike when flown over- I first thought of it as a wild banjo or guitar, but I love the design- the circular end and the rectangular "extension" are nice contrasts to one another, yet they do not seem to be merely stuck together, somehow the designer has managed to marry the two different shapes together into one overall effective design


Robert Siegel- Here is an architect who I am on the fence about- I like some of his work but none of it really "wows" me I feel its success is often in its understated design- spatial movement and lighting for example. I think his designs of a lounge at the JFK airport are a good example of this

Richard Rogers- I love Rogers' work- it is modern and bold. He is one of my favorites! His Headquarters for Lloyd's of London is really awesome and he doesn't hesitate to make a statement- he just seems to go for the WOW factor. I really like his modern, urban design.

Michael Graves- I like Michael Graves' architecture, but I find his product design the most interesting-I love his ability to take normal, everyday objects and overhaul them into something sleek, modern, sophisticated, and sexy. The nice thing is that the majority of his stuff is very affordable

Sir Norman Foster- I did not used to like much of Norman Foster's work (probably a fallout from the Swiss Re Tower) but I have grown to like it (even the Swiss Re Tower) I like the modern, urban feel rooted in his work- my favorite by him would be his design of the City Hall for London

Alvar Aalto- here is a guy I did not know much about but whom I think I am starting to like- the picture included is of a church he designed and is actually quite interesting, I like the geometry of it- reminds me alot of FLW but sleeker and more modern

Frank Gehry- here is a famous designer who I do not like- I feel like he is more of an abstract sculptor than an architect- he doesn't take much in to account when designing buildings, function seems to be completely lost- he is being sued over a building at MIT (image below) which he designed because it has problems with rain and snow buildup, leaks, mold and mildew, etc. I really think this guy is overrated-the difference between bold and stupid

IM Pei- Pei holds a unique place for me- I really enjoy alot of his designs, but I am not sure that they are appropriate for their surroundings/purpose- take for instance the rock and roll hall of fame- I love the design of this building, however, for a building dedicated to the gods of guitar I am not sure that it was the most appropriate design- the same can be said of the Louvre (though I actually like this design and don't din it as inappropriate as some do)- how the glass pyramids fit in with the classic French architecture, I am not too sure.

Le Corbusier- The jury is still out for me on Le Corbusier- I really like some of its work, but I tend to grapple with the intent of some of the things that he does- for example, I have included a picture of the Ronchamp- I like this building, but I can't help but wonder why does he angle the corner of the roof, etc. I belive that everything he did has a purpose, I just don't know what it is.
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Santiago Calatrava- Calatrava really impresses me because of how bold he is in his design without sacrificing function- I have included a picture of his design for the rotating torso- I think that this is the epitome of his design- bold and practical- probably one of the best modern designers and my personal favorite designer

Frank Lloyd Wright- I really like the geometric feel that is a huge part of Frank Lloyd wright's work- it is timeless and classic- I have included images of Falling Water- because it is one of my favorites- and of the Guggenheim- to show a piece of his work that worked away from his usual angular style but took to his geometric ideals