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Horace Gifford: Fire Island Architect, New Book

16 Apr

There is a new book, “Fire Island Modernist” that will be released in June about the architect Horace Gifford and his contribution to the homes of Fire Island.

 “Gifford’s serene 1960s pavilions provided refuge from a hostile world, while his exuberant post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS masterpieces orchestrated bacchanals of liberation. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift once spurned Hollywood limos for the rustic charm of Fire Island’s boardwalks. Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s here. Diane von Furstenburg showed off her latest wrap dresses to an audience that included Halston, Giorgio Sant’ Angelo, Calvin Klein and Geoffrey Beene.”

With a foreward by Alistair Gordon and text by Christopher Rawlins, you simply must put this in your must have list, and don’t forget to get yourself a copy.  Horace Gifford is an overlooked major contributor to the modernist movement.  With 70 homes in Fire Island, his contribution cannot go overlooked any more.


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Making it Right: Brad Pitt

19 Mar

In 2007, Brad Pitt started the organization Make it Right.  Two years after hurricane Katrina, there were still many people who were displaced, and living in FEMA trailers. Make it Right is dedicated to building comfortable, sustainable homes for people in need.  Mr. Pitt rallied together some of the world’s best architects to come up with designs that could be easily replicated in New Orleans, and around the world.where-we-workIn 2005, Make it Right started with the “Pink Project,” where pink structures were set up in an area in the Lower 9th ward where all the houses and the entire community was devastated.  The structures will be removed as real buildings are put up in their place.F Brad Pitt pink2203REX_800x530 pink-darden-700x240 Now, the first ever home built by Frank Gehry in Louisiana has been finished.  The home actually looks similar to Mr. Gehry’s own home in California.  Luckily, the residents of this home will not have to live in something as ugly as Gehry’s own home.  The design of this house features two dwellings, a 3-bedroom in the front, and a single bedroom in the back.  The platinum LEED certified home is powered by solar panels on the top floor which also serves as shade from the hot New Orleans summers.Frank Gehry Home New OrleansFrank Gehry House New Orleans

Retail Design: Studio MatterMade

27 Feb

Matter is a design shop in Manhattan (formerly in Brooklyn) that features beautiful furniture and objects that MatterMade has created and selected. This time around, they have designed some unique pop-up retail structures for Capsule the Men’s trade show.  The simple machined benches are designed by Jonah Takagi.MatterMade MatterMade MatterMade

Recession Art: Rooms To Let, Columbus Ohio

26 Feb

Rooms to Let is an organizer of temporary exhibitions in abandoned buildings in Columbus, Ohio.  They take proposals from artists and find empty homes to set up the exhibitions.  I absolutely love this concept, and spent many hours thinking and writing about it in Graduate School at Pratt.  My thesis was called “Temporary Museum,” with the concept of using abandoned spaces, or vacant retail to mount exhibitions proposed by artists.  This concept has never been more important as museums and art institutions continue to lose money and spread their budgets thin.  The other great thing about this concept is that it brings art to areas that may not have galleries or museums.  Check out the upcoming exhibitions they have planned, and if you’re an artist, propose something.Rooms-to-let-art-gallery-abandoned-house-exterior-art Rooms-to-let-art-gallery-abandoned-house 1400x720-LvUx38ALeh4xsr8W  My good friend and artist Mirelle Zacharias (see article) had artists take over her house in Minneapolis before the bank foreclosed the property and knocked it down. “I would like people to come in and be immersed in sort of an experience within a home, and it is a foreclosed home, and find different ideas happening,” -Mirelle Zacharias.Mirelle Zacharias House 44929_440365189406_4644583_n

Barney’s New York: A Brief History

23 Feb

Barney Pressman opened the first store in 1923 at 17th Street and Seventh Ave. He pawned his wife’s engagement ring for the $500 he needed to lease the space. His philosophy was to offer the lowest possible price for the most popular brands.  He purchased showroom samples, retail overstocks, and manufacturers’ closeouts at auctions and bankruptcy sales.  His son, Fred Pressman took over the company in the 70s, and changed the direction of the company from bargain store, to boutique. barneysmatchad2
band_of_outsiders_hol09_5 4300862781_deba35ef4a_zbarneysmatchad1The Barney’s store on 7th ave now houses the Rubin Museum of Art, but still contains the original spiral staircase.33

Berkshire Mountains: Rustic Modern

23 Feb

I have always loved the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. The area is so vivd with color, and the landscape is rolling.  When I am there, I feel like a fairy and I never want to leave. Berkshire Mountains CP--Berkshires_Mountain-and-Valley-566x369 berkshire-mountains

I came across images of a house designed by Ritch Holben of RhDesign in Southfield, MA.   I love the use of the old beams, and all of the modern touches. berkshires-Framing-rich-holben-globe berkshire-lr-rich-holben berkshires-rich-holben-stairs-dog berkshires-dr-stairs-rich-holben ritch-holben-Kitchen-stylecarrot-globe

Monika Sosnowska: Fir Tree, ending February 17

6 Feb

Public Art Fund is one of my favorite NYC institutions. Without the work they do, New York wouldn’t be as fun.  You must check out “Fir Tree,” an installation by the Polish artist Monika Sosnowska.  New York as a public setting for this piece couldn’t be more perfect. Go to the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue, where midtown meets central park. The 40 foot high steel spiral staircase has been manipulated using cranes and pulleys to resemble a tree.Sosnowska Fir TreeSosnowska Fir Tree

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