Latest Articles in Design

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Alex Garcia Exhibit

I met the artist Alex Garcia nearly a year ago (we were introduced by the architect Alejandro Sticotti, who like Garcia is a native Porteño), and since then I've stumbled onto his work in a variety of surprising spots. He makes wall assemblages out of wood—recycled, scrap, veneer, new—and thin strips of metal, creating striking graphic compositions. His work was on view at the San Francisco shop Propeller several months ago; now it's on view at Sticks & Stones Gallery in downtown Oakland through August 31. The other night I ate for the first time at Baby Blues BBQ, a local restaurant, and the lacquered scrap wood tables looked vaguely like Garcia's artwork... turns out he actually made those tables two years ago, as a special project for the restaurant owner. This guy is everywhere! Or maybe it just coincidentally feels that way...
August 19, 2011
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Stilted Living

Our September Japan Style issue celebrates design influenced or inpired by Japanese culture. In conjunction with the issue, guest writer Cathelijne Nuijsink will be covering residential projects by the core of young architects presently working in Japan. Week 2: Go Hasegawa & Associates.   33-year old Go Hasegawa is known for investigating the character of spaces that are partly inside and partly outside, accentuating the relationship between a building and its immediate surroundings. When an elderly couple residing in Tokyo asked him to design a weekend retreat in the dense forest of Agatsuma-gun, Hasegawa mimicked the surrounding tall, slender trees. The main living space floats 6.5 meters (roughly 21 feet) in midair and is supported by thin stilts, creating an outdoor patio beneath it. The design fulfills two requests: It provides the couple with a concrete deck on the ground floor that is spacious enough for the entire family to gather for a barbecue, as well as a rooftop platform high enough in the surrounding tree canopy to see Mount Asama during wintertime. The 6.5-meter elevation was the result of careful studies. Exactly at this height the residents are connected to nature without feeling alienated by distance, Hasegawa says. Since Japanese building regulations restricted the building height to a maximum of 9 meters (29.5 feet), the floating upper volume—containing the living room, the bedroom and a bathroom—had to give in on ceiling height. The space is only 1.80m on one side, with a slight increase on the other side because of the soft, sloping roof. For Hasegawa this “unfortunate occurrence” is nothing but an advantage. "The tiny space makes it look like a bird's nest. The residents feel the natural forest more brightly and freshly from here," he says.
August 14, 2011
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Methodology Highlights

We just announced the winner of our Methodology contest, but we received many more creative and innovative designs from readers eager to upcycle away. A special thanks to everyone who spent time thinking about how to transform a humble container into something useful, practucal, and beautiful! Click through our slideshow to see seven of our favorite ideas.
August 12, 2011
methodology winner

And the Methodology Winner Is...

Dwell and method, two arbiters of style that aim for pride of place on your shelves, dared you to defy us with your concepts for upcycling, recycling, rethinking, and deconstructing—beginning with your empty method bottles. We were looking for ideas that gave method product bottles and packages a sexy second lease on life and boy did you deliver. And the winner, chosen by popular vote, is...
August 11, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 23

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 23: A Maxon House Commission   Last week I talked about some of the challenges, obstacles and unexpected headaches of our project. On a brighter note,  I ended with the sentiment "shouldn't this be fun?" So, welcome to week 23. One of the joys of the journey is stepping away from the minutia of the day-to-day tasks and remembering that there is a fun side to the project. Easily one of my favorite parts of my design career and being a creative is collaborating and commissioning world-class artists, from photographers to illustrators, to help tell stories for brands and bring ideas and raw concepts to life. Just as an architect has his go-to craftsman or material palette, I too have my stable of favorites that I've collaborated with over the years.   One opportunity with our project was to think about ways to bring art and craftsmanship into our future home by collaborating with artists and craftsmen. One of my favorite artists has always been Gary Taxali, a Toronto, Canada-based artist (blurry photo below!). As part of our project we decided to commission Taxali to do a print that could eventually hang in the entrance to our house—something that would embody the creativity, art and craft of the project.
August 10, 2011
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Japan Relief: Designs to Inspire

One of the most devastating crises to hit Japan in over 60 years, the March earthquake and tsunami left the country shocked, traumatized and distressed. Though the disaster was horrific, camaraderie among those affected and remote blossomed. Responding through strikingly innovative efforts, bands of designers and architects are channeling their creativity into a tool for relief. And with our September issue focusing on Japanese design, we thought we’d take a peek at who’s helping out. Here, we outline five of our favorite causes.
August 9, 2011
A Visit to Sydney One

Touring Sydney, Part 1

Sydney really is everything people build it up to be: the Opera House, the Botanic Gardens, the beaches! I recently traveled Down Under to take in its sights and sounds. This slideshow, the first of two about touring Sydney, hits just the tip of what's to be discovered in Australia's most populous city.
August 2, 2011
All photographs by <a href="">Heriberto Ibarra</a>.

Light Lines Exhibition

We at Dwell know Jay Atherton and Cy Keener mostly as architects; we profiled them and their beautiful extreme-minimalist house in Phoenix in our December/January 2011 issue (story online here). But they also explore their concepts and interests through the medium of installation art, including a show that featured 1,200 pounds of slowly melting and dripping ice at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art last summer. So I was intrigued to hear about their latest project, an exhibition entitled "Light Lines" at the University of Texas at El Paso's Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, on view until September 21st. Using simple materials—wire, eye hooks, paper soaked with plaster, mirrors—the show has transformed the Rubin Gallery into a vessel of light. Sculpted walkways reflect and refract sunlight from mirrors that are strategically placed in the hills surrounding the Rubin Center. Here's a look at the exhibition, as well as a behind-the-scenes peek at the installation process. All photographs by Heriberto Ibarra.
August 2, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 21

During the process of planning, designing, and ultimately constructing our future home, we discovered inspiration, resources, and motivation in a plethora of places, both online and off. These range from individuals blogging (like us), to companies providing practical information, to brands (like Dwell) that connect those interested in modern architecture. There are plenty of other books and places you can go to find ideas and resources, and I encourage readers to share their favorites in the comments below. Our hope with sharing our story is to not only pass on the things we've found, but to inspire others to make the leap and go after their own dream project. The trek towards a finished house is a lengthy one and some days you think it will never end. On those days, these inspirations and resources kept us motivated. We hope you find that they provide the same for you, no matter where you are in the process.   In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 21: Inspiration and Resources.
July 27, 2011