“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.” –Paul Rand

On growing up in South Carolina and his first job:

I had job opportunities when I was ten and thirteen...even if it [was] shelling beans. Even when I did that, I noticed that the store was busy. I remember the first phone call I made on a brand new phone we just got. It was back to that store. I said, "May I speak to the owner? I'm Lou. I'm one of the kids outside that helps you. I noticed you're very busy inside the store. Do you need some help? Can I work in the store?" He says, "What's your name again? If you are coming here tomorrow, come in and see me."

Right away, I was working in the store. I remember taking over the vegetable area and the stock was selling out like crazy. He said, "What are you doing? Giving this stuff away?" I said, "No! I'm giving them a good deal, which they think they're getting." It's not the way I sell design services. It's just being at the right place at the right time and getting the opportunity and seizing the moment. I think that that's key.

(Above: St. John’s University – 101 Astor Place, designed by The Switzer Group)
On moving from mail clerk to draftsman at an architecture firm:

When I arrived here [New York City] in 1966, right out of high school, I started looking for a job in the architectural profession. The first three months, I worked in a supermarket. Every Monday I could go to the employment office to see what jobs were available. I got a job opportunity: "call Elizabeth Hambright at Sherburn Associates." They were looking for a mail room clerk. I said, "Perfect!"

I took that job and within three months I got a tap on my shoulder. "I've [been] told you have a portfolio. Can you bring it in?" So I brought the work in, showed the guy who was the office manager. "These are your drawings?" he said. "Yeah." "You're sure these are your drawings?" he asked. "Of course they're my drawings!" "You did these drawings?!" he asked again. "Yes!" "Where?" he said. "High School". "They were teaching you this in High School?!" he said. "Yeah." "I'm promoting you to a draftsman. You're a draftsman now. Get someone to fill your spot."

(Above: St. John’s University – 101 Astor Place, designed by The Switzer Group)
This round table is made from solid white oak and hard maple.
How to Talk to Contractors: Don’t get lost in building jargon when planning your latest project. Illustration by Blanca Gómez
Handmade Corian butterfly keys were used to join the two kinds of wood.
Flavin created minimalist sculptures using commercially available flourescent lights, like the 1977 piece seen here, called (In memory of Sandy Calder)V. Placed side by side, the two primary-colored compositions that comprise it recall the work of Alexander Calder. The bed at the end of the space, Single Bed #32 (Daybed), is one of Judd's furniture designs. 

Image © Judd Foundation; Photo credit: Maris Hutchinson, EPW Studio; Judd Foundation Archive; Flavin artwork © 2015 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London; Licensed by VAGA
Dow designed the Dow 101 House in the 1930s and it's made largely of homasote board. When Dow Chemical was avidly courting a potential new hire, they'd put them and their spouse up in the 101 House in hopes of luring them to Midland.
Fine Finnish

In the kitchen of this tightly-packed apartment in Helsinki, Finland, Susanna and Jussi tore down the ceiling and wall cabinets with the help of Jussi’s father, a skilled craftsman. “Behind the cabinets we found lovely little nooks that work perfectly as shelves for things like salt and pepper mills. When you strip everything to its original state, you are able to see what the house is truly about.”

Photo by: Petra Bindel
Here's another instance of a bit of bright color (on the countertops) giving an appealing accent to what is an otherwise pretty sedate palette. And if affordability is the name of the game, often a splash of color is more achievable than a spendy material.
Japanese showers are usually set low down so the bather can sit on a stool and scrub, then pour cedar buckets of hot water over their heads for a refreshing rinse. This homeowner in Venice, California mounted a handheld shower head on the wall for added flexibility. The drain is under the removable cedar floor slats, keeping the room design uncluttered. Wood tubs are cleaned with a simple rinse and last for decades, as the antiseptic properties of cedar guard against mold and rot.

This ofuro was designed by Santiago Ortiz and fabricated by Bartok Design.
Because the house is narrow and long (16 by 68 feet), the design team decided to create a huge open-air space to light the interior naturally. Two retractable motor-driven 

canvas canopies shelter the space during Singapore’s frequent rains.
Pieces like untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm) from 1969 were designed to interact directly with the architecture around them. Placed in the corner, some of the flourescent tubes shine light into the room, while others bounce it off the walls.  

Image © Judd Foundation; Photo credit: Sol Hashemi; Judd Foundation Archive; Flavin artwork © 2015 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London;Licensed by VAGA
Mami and Goo the Kishu dog return from a frolic in the forest, which the couple, along with Hideaki, has thinned and trimmed back over many weekends. It’s an idyllic escape and a world away from the concrete expanse of Tokyo.
This "local prefab" home on the Isle of Skye is made mostly from materials sourced in northern Scotland. The timber-framed model, meant to evoke the simple agrarian barns of the area, can be constructed on-site in as little as a day and is designed for affordability.

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