September 18, 2014

Wanderlust: Swan House, Atlanta

A majority of last week I spent curating information on local attractions to be presented to a large hotel corporation, using one of their Atlanta locations as a test study.    Having never visited Atlanta, nor having ever watched The Hunger Games series, I was not familiar with Swan House (President Snow's palace in Catching Fire).


Designed by architect Philip Trammell Shutze, and completed in 1928 for the Inman family, the Swan House is one of Atlanta's most photographed landmarks, and now on my list of must-see places.





Learn more in this short video by the Atlanta History Center.


All photos via Atlanta History Center.

August 11, 2014

The New Yorker in Paris

While visiting Paris last month, I stopped at Merci, a destination for design and fashion lovers alike. Located in the Marais, the store donates 100% of its proceeds, and the Fiat 500 -  parked out front - calls out to have its photo taken.
Inside the store, the thing that caught my eye was a series of posters from The Parisianer

Sipping wine in a Parisian cafe during the winter of 2013, artists Aurélie Pollet and Michael Prigent questioned what The New Yorker would look like if set in Paris.  With that, the imaginary magazine The Parisianer was created, and 100 artists were invited to create a cover illustrating their vision of Paris.

The first exhibition for The Parisianer took place in December 2013, and was even written up in The New Yorker.  The compilation book of the covers has sold out, but posters of the covers became available this summer through Merci.

Vincent Pianina
Aude Picault
Laurent Moreau
Rocco
François Maumont
Charles Berbérian
Thomas Baas

But, don't fret if you can't make it to Paris, the exhibition will soon be making its world tour, and a new edition of the book comes out at the end of the year.

August 8, 2014

Resources: Jiun Ho de Jia

Yesterday, I mentioned the venue for the American Craft Council Preview and Trunk Show, Jiun Ho de Jia.
The House of Jiun Ho in Mandarin, Jiun Ho de Jia, is the gallery, showroom, and design studio of San Francisco designer, Jiun Ho.  
The 11,000 square foot, converted warehouse showcases the Jiun Ho Collection, personal treasures from travels (97 countries as of 2012), a selection of work by other artists, as well as design offices. The space is also available to rent for special events.
I was morbidly fascinated by the French Skull, not part of the ACC Show, but on display during the event. Created of smaller bone and skull fragments by a French artist, this large skull does away with any need for a visit to the Catacombes de Paris.

More influences from France can be seen in the latest furniture collection, The French Collection, inspired by travels to the Loire Valley.  Francophile that I am, I absolutely adore it.
Chombord Tete-A-Tete, Louis XVI table, Montresor Desk

Strolling through the gallery resembles a trip around the world, and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Juin Ho de Jia is open Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or Saturday by appointment.

1180 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 437-2284

*All images via Jiun HoPinterest, and Dering Hall

August 7, 2014

American Craft Council Show: Not Your Momma's Craft Show

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the American Craft Council Preview and Trunk Show at Jiun Ho de Jia (more on the venue in a future post) for their 2014 San Francisco Show, taking place this weekend.

Growing up, my mother would take part in local craft shows featuring cutesy tole-painted snowmen, hand-sewn baby blankets, and painted figurines of ceramic bisque.  This, is not THAT type of craft show.


The American Craft Council (ACC) was founded in 1943 by Aileen Osborn Webb to "promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft."  To exhibit in one of the four shows - Baltimore, Atlanta, St.Paul and San Francisco - an artist's work must adhere to a strict set of standards, and have been approved by a panel of jurors, made up of local curators, practicing artists, and art scholars.

The crafts displayed are from a variety of disciplines, in a multitude of materials. 
Butterfly Blue by Ealish Wilson, and Mini Cubes by David Whippen

In addition to meeting the artists and viewing their work, demonstrations will be taking place, and six Bay Area designers will be exhibiting vignettes of an entertaining theme, using one or more works by the featured artists as their inspiration.  The work of Ealish Wilson : Design Bahn (seen above) influenced one such space. 

All the information you need to visit the American Crafts Council Show this weekend:

Show Dates and Times
Friday, Aug. 8: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. ($5.00 tickets after 5 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 9: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 10: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location
The Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion
1 Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA

Admission
$14 one-day pass
$30 three-day pass
Free for American Craft Council members and children 12 and under.

May 23, 2014

Design Find: Fuzzy Kollur


In 1972, Sigurður Már Helgason created the Fuzzy:
"A charming foot-stool with stubby screw-on-legs and a long-haired wool seat that evokes a traditional mainstay of the Icelandic economy, sheep. Helgason lobbied to sell fuzzy, which fit snugly into a portable hot-pink box, at the duty-free shop at Keflavik airport, his logic being that visitors taking home a bottle of Icelandic brennivin, a local schnapps, might add fuzzy to their collection of souvenirs. Fuzzy never made it to the duty-free shelf, becoming instead a popular local gift for confirmations and graduations. The story of this whimsical creation exemplifies a trait typical of contemporary Icelandic design: its pioneering spirit."                            
The Fuzzy Kollur (stool) can be found at three of the shops I mentioned in yesterday's post:  Kraum, Epal, and Mýrin.

Interior images via: Hús Og Híbýli

May 22, 2014

City Guide: Reykjavík, Iceland

Iceland is a fascinating place filled with a variety of natural phenomena - you can go from climbing a glacier to relaxing in a thermal pool in a matter of minutes.    It is also a place rich in design and innovation.  As a designer, I enjoyed exploring the sights and offerings of this amazing country, and share my favorites from its capital city with you, here.

SEE

Harpa: The Concert Hall and Convention Center, which opened in May 2011 and houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Opera, sparkles with reflections of the city and the harbor. The faceted glass exterior is reminiscent of basalt (lava that has cooled rapidly) columns seen throughout the island. Both the interior and exterior make for interesting photos of geometric shapes, and at night the windows twinkle, as alternating panels light with color to create the building's own light show.
Hallgrímskirkja:  Another building designed to resemble a basalt lava flow is the largest church and sixth tallest building in Iceland.  Rising 244 feet, the tower is used as a waypoint throughout the city, and provides sweeping 360 degree views of Reykjavík and beyond.  If you visit at just the right time, you might catch the church organist playing the pipe organ, made up of 5,275 pipes.
Perlan: The building known as 'the Pearl' serves a utilitarian function by housing six large water storage tanks, but has become one of Reykjavík's popular tourist destinations.  In 1991, the glass dome was added atop the tanks, and is home to a revolving restaurant, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area while dining.  If you aren't a patron at the restaurant, but would like to take advantage of the views, there is an observation deck on the fourth floor surrounding the dome.  

EXPERIENCE

Blue Lagoon:  The perfect way to recover from jet lag is with a soak in the mineral rich, warm waters (104 °F) sourced by the geothermal power plant, Svartsengi. The radiant blue waters get their color from blue green algae, silica, and other minerals, and are known to improve skin conditions. After submerging yourself for an hour or two - or as in my case, close to five - visit the steam cave (yes, cave) or sauna, stand under the waterfall, or slather yourself with a silica mask.  Although the water provides several health benefits, it wreaks complete havoc on hair.  Make sure to wear a bathing cap or coat your hair with loads of conditioner.
The Golden Circle:  A drive around this 186 mile loop is a lovely way to spend the day outside the city. The picturesque scenery includes Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, where Icelandic Parliment was established, and the North American and Eurasian Plates are ripping apart; Gullfoss, an amazing waterfall that was almost lost to a geothermal plant; and Strokkur, a geyser that erupts every 4 - 8 minutes.

WINE/DINE


Mar:  Located in the Old Harbor, this restaurant is reminiscent of the sights seen in the area.  Having degrees in product, industrial and interior design, Hafsteinn Júlíusson founded Haf Studio in 2010, and along with his partner, Karitas Sveinsdóttir, designed Mar's modern rustic interior.  The perfect spot to grab a glass of wine, and take a break from strolling the Shoreline Sculpture Walk.  Mýrin (see under shop) shares the building, making two spots on my list covered with this one stop.
Steikhúsið: The deconstructed, industrial interiors of The Steak House are the perfect backdrop for gnawing on meat.  The food here was excellent.  In addition to traditional steak house fare, Icelandic options, including minke whale, guillemot (a seabird), and horse are available (minke was not something I would have again, the guillemot was good, but I didn't try the horse).  The innovative way that wine crates were repurposed as wine display caught my attention.
The Laundromat Cafe:  Although a chain restaurant, Laundromat Cafe seemed popular with the locals. Resembling an American '50s diner, the cafe sits above a launderette. A place to do laundry while having a hearty breakfast, reading one of the many books offered in the color-coded bookshelf, or surfing the internet.  Don't worry about what to do with the kids - bring them along and let them takeover the play area, or feel free to breastfeed, as the sandwich board outside says, "We love babies and boobs."

STAY

101 Hotel: This boutique hotel has a neutral palette, its own art gallery and is part of Design Hotels, a collection of 250 independent hotels featuring "thought-provoking design and architecture."  Owned and designed by Ingibjorg S. Palmadottir, a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York, the design of this hotel does not disappoint.  Enjoy a glass of champagne while perusing one of the many design books and magazines available in the public lounge.

Hotel Borg: This Art Deco beauty was built in 1930, but recently went through a restoration and was updated.  The design stays true to the period style, but puts a Scandinavian twist on it - a monochromatic palette of neutrals and clean lines, with color limited to the punch of green in the Borg Restaurant.  The restaurant is run by the Icelandic chef Volundur S. Volundarson, author of Delicious Iceland, and the television show by the same name (you can watch episodes on the plane).

SHOP

Kraum:  Focusing solely on products designed and made in Iceland, Kraum is located in the oldest house in Reykjavík.  Built in 1762, the house was renovated in 2006.  With its contemporary addition to the back of the house, Kraum is set up to perfectly represent both traditional and modern Icelandic design. Gourmet food, beauty supplies, clothing, housewares, and furniture are all available for admiring and purchasing. After working up an appetite while shopping, stop next door (the yellow building) to grab a bite to eat at Fiskmarkaðurinn.

Mýrin:  With locations in both the Kringlan shopping centre and the old harbor (adjacent to Mar - see above), Mýrin  focuses on Icelandic and Scandinavian design with a modern aesthetic.  Clothing, textiles, jewelry, ceramics and artwork are all available.  I became smitten with the selection by Finnsdottir Ceramics. Although based in Denmark, their pieces are designed and created by Icelander Thora Finnsdottir.

Epal:  Founded forty years ago, when Eyjolfur Palsson returned to Iceland upon completing his degree in furniture design, Epal now has three stores in Reykjavik.  You will find one easily in Harpa.  In addition to Icelandic designers, Epal features Scandinavian designs in furniture, giftware, textiles and toys.

Aurum: Aurum began as a jewellry store by goldsmith and designer, Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir in 1999, and in 2009 expanded to include the Aurum Concept Store, where Icelandic designs and gifts from around the world are featured.  This is where I first saw sketches by architecture student, Heiðdís Helgadóttir.  Drawn in ink on paper with exquisite detail.

I hope you've enjoyed this tour through some of my favorite places.  If you've been to Reykjavík, I would love to hear your recommendations for the design enthusiast.

Until next time, bless (goodbye in Icelandic).
Chanda

All images by Chanda Seymour Design

May 14, 2014

Design Trend: Beat Pendant

While having dinner at Fiskmarkaðurinn (Fish Market) in Reykjavik, I happened to take this photo of the neighboring tables.  It isn't a great photo (or even a good one), but I like taking photographs to help recall, and document where I've been. 
Since that dinner, it seems that I have been seeing the Tom Dixon Beat Pendant, specifically in black/brass, everywhere - usually in a cluster of differing styles and staggered lengths... you can't use just one, and you can't use the same one.  They're hanging in a kitchen featured in the newest (June) issue of Architectural Digest (it came in the mail on Tuesday), and here are some other images from around the web.
What do you think?  Do you like this look, or is the Tom Dixon Beat Pendant being overused?

images via: (1) Chanda Seymour Mattson | (2)(3)(4) | (5) | (6) | (7)