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infrastructure impact on social landscapes

From Torrent to Current

In her book Du Torrent au Courant, des Barrages et des Hommes en Savoie (From Torrent to Current: Dam and Man in Savoy), photographer Céline Clanet documents the infrastructure of hydropower in the Beaufortain region of southeastern France: four dams and ten power plants. Set in the midst of bucolic hillsides and snowcapped peaks, these structural behemoths have had profound impacts on the surrounding terrain. With a documentarian eye, Clanet captures all facets of these dams and power plants—from their monumental exterior scales, to labyrinthine interior spaces, to caretakers—focusing on how infrastructure has merged with the natural and social landscape.
September 26, 2011
london design festival aram gallery thumb

Geenen + Hoon at Aram Gallery

Curated by Héloise Park at the Aram Gallery, the Geenen & Hoon exhibition brings together two young furniture makers who approach design through structure—but from opposite ends of the nature-nurture spectrum. It is a good-looking show filled with the artifacts capable of depicting the design process succinctly: sketches, models, maquettes, prototypes and even machine-like molds. “I’m not just making up shapes. I’m letting the shapes be defined by natural forces,” explains Bram Geenen, a graduate of Utrecht’s HKU who is now based in Amsterdam. Geenen often works in collaboration with tech companies and begins by repurposing their cutting-edge production techniques or materials, but winds up with organic forms derived from physics and the properties of his materials and “better, stronger, lighter, more sustainable products,” he says. “Today any shape you can imagine, you can build. It forces me to be very careful and honest in choosing my forms.” London-based Il Hoon Roh, trained at the Architectural Association and as a product designer at the Royal College of Art, works from the point-of-view of nature and ends up with extraordinary machines that produce elastically oozing forms. His table on show has aesthetic qualities but its form actually illustrates how forces flow from the table top to the ground, he says. “The forms of nature are not accidental at all. The organic beauty is there for a reason.”
September 26, 2011
wolverine thumb

Made in America: Wolverine Boots

Inspired by our "Made in the U.S.A"-themed October issue, which is chockablock with awesome American designs, I've been looking out for great-looking heritage products that are domestically produced. My recent online rambles have turned up Wolverine Boots, made in the US for the past 125 years. Last year they introduced a new limited-edition cordovan boot, the dapper 1000 Mile 721LTD.
September 26, 2011
The facade of the Leiniche Navitsky residence.

An Epic Plot

Architect Steve Bull designed a high-impact, low-maintenance home for a pair of intrepid clients in Alaska, but that was only the beginning of the adventure.
September 25, 2011
design week london

London's 100% Design

Albeit with more drizzle and more crowded aisles, 100% Design in Earls Court, London, resembles New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair in that it is small and easily digested. 100% Design has its share of big-booth brands and practical tools, materials and production processes for the foot soldiers of the interior design industry but this year, it also featured interesting international contingents from Chile, Norway, Korea and the UK, and a couple of strong examples of booth design, one by Dutchman Ben van Berkel’s UN Studio and the other by Paris-born, New York-based designer and musician Sebastien Agneessens for, of all things, a Turkish real estate developer-cum-design lab called Nef.
September 24, 2011
London Scin

London Design Festival: Day 3

My third day traipsing about London for the Design Festival had me venturing east again, starting my day in Clerkenwell (that's pronounced CLARK-en-well, I learned) and then, as ever, heading back over to Shoreditch for the press preview of the much-hyped Tramshed show. I'll tell you now, it was worth it. Here's what I saw.
September 23, 2011
Photo by Kelly Barrie.

Prefab Jazz

Jazz has a history of being recorded in intimate spaces. And I don't mean the small after-hours clubs or closet-cum-studios plenty of the greats suffered through. Take legendary Blue Note engineer Rudy Van Gelder, he recorded some of his masterpieces in his parents' Hackensack living room because of its particular acoustics. Leap forward a half century and trade New Jersey for the hills overlooking Pasadena and you'll find pianist Greg Reitan, whose most recent album Daybreak on Sunnyside Records was cut in the 1968 prefab house by architect J. Lamont Langworthy he's called home for 13 years. Langworthy's design is part of the Ford Motor Company-sponsored Concept Houses line, which eventually petered out after around 100 were built across California. I talked with Greg about life in a Langworthy and recording at home, and he offered us the chance to stream three tracks from Daybreak. Turns out the house sounds as groovy as it looks. Enjoy the music and the architecture.
September 23, 2011
dwell reports counter arguments

Dwell Investigates 7 Eco-friendly Countertops

We used and abused seven eco-friendly countertops to investigate if they could stand the heat of Dwell’s kitchen.
September 21, 2011
London Rocket Risom

London Design Festival: Day 2

I spent my second day at the London Design Festival in the Shoreditch Design Triangle in East London. The neighborhood is a good deal scrappier than where I was in the west yesterday, but the place was positively abuzz with energy. I adored the small show I saw called "Living Room" in the shop Luna and Curious, and had a fine time wandering around the handful of blocks bounded by Old Street, Great Eastern Road, and the Shoreditch High Street. Here are the highlights.
September 21, 2011
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