Friday, May 28, 2010

Oh Phuc - Van Dang!

Phuc Van Dang grew up in the Eastern part of Jutland, Denmark. With Vietnamese culture as his origin and growing up in the Eastern part of Jutland have mixed ancient East Asian perception of aesthetics with the Western perception of good design. Phuc Van Dang has a background as Graphic Designer but also works with Concept Design and Product Development. His knowledge of commercial design and functionality gives him an edge on quality and innovation that appeals to the demanding design and art consumer of today. He frequently exhibits his skills in Concept Art and Design with Barcelona, as one city where his work is among new art in demand. Interested in all aspects of design and art he explores various different subjects and new ways of expressing his ideas which he translates into his work.

Phuc's inspiration comes from human nature, fashion, music and architecture. He works in and on several mediums, as well as performance installations.

With his series of hand panited cups, Phuc explains "A cup should not necessarily be for storage of liquid only – it can also store a design experience, which gives the coffee break that something extra". Phuc Van Dang has designed a strong impression with his simplistic black line towards the clean white porcelain. The designs are his trademark human-like figures in co-existence with organic creatures and lines spreading themselves from the outside to the inside of the cup, inviting the user to go on an exploration during the filling or emptying of the cup.

To find out more about Phuc and view his work please visit


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Make It Right 9 Duplexes & Dr. Hitoshi Abe

Brad Pitt´s Make It Right Foundation has been working with a numebr of international architects to redevelop the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina. The name of the foundation addresses the desire of Pitt, an architecture enthusiast, to design these houses the best way and not just as a temporary solution. All in a process that also includes working not only with these renowned firms, but also very closely with the community; with a focus on sustainable development.

Make It Right has recently unveiled a second phase with 14 duplex homes to accommodate up to 2 families, which include a site-specific sustainable strategy and flexible plans
 for future family growth. Families from the Lower 9th Ward, can now choose to
build a duplex in the Make It Right neighborhood, which until now, only single family homes were available and being built on the site devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Fourteen acclaimed local, national and international architects volunteered their time,
 met with the community and potential homeowners and applied their experience
 and creativity to come up with high quality designs that push the envelope.
All of the designs are referential and each client can pick a design, which is then
 adjusted by local firm to suite the client´s needs.
‘Before the storm, there were a number of duplexes and doubles in the neighborhood. Families who want to come back to the Lower 9th have been asking us to build them so extended families can live together. And duplexes are right in keeping with Make It Right’s mission: They allow more people to live together with less impact on the environment and are more cost-effective to build.’

While each of the 14 duplex designs is unique, the architects tackled some common problems and arrived at innovative solutions that could change the way multi-family homes are built:
Flexibility – A number of the designs feature interchangeable floor plans that allow the families to change the size and configuration of the two homes as their family size, needs or economic situations change.
Integration with the Street – Increasing the elevation of the homes made them safer from flooding, but interrupted the connectedness between the porch and life on the street –a relationship valued by the Lower 9th Ward community. A number of architects offered solutions to this problem, including creating landings or stoops in the stairways where the family can gather.
Landscaping as a design and energy element – Several architects incorporated landscaping into their design of these solar-powered, highly energy efficient homes to maximize exposure to sun and shade and cut heating and cooling costs. And because outdoor living is such a core part of living in the Lower 9th Ward, many of the designs include courtyards, interior gardens, and social use of the area under the elevated house.
Affordability —To cut the cost, but not the quality of these duplexes, several of the architects stacked the houses one on top of the other to reduce the ‘footprint’ of the home and simplify construction. One of the designs cuts construction costs dramatically by stacking the core of the home and aligning all of the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems in the center of the structure, much like an elevator shaft in the center of an office building.

‘To help us, we turned to some of the best architects in the business. They volunteered their time, met with the community and potential homeowners and applied their experience and creativity to come up with high quality designs that really advance the concept of the duplex,’ according to Make It Right Executive Director, Tom Darden. ‘All of these architects faced a daunting set of challenges. They were asked to base their work on a very traditional New Orleans home – the duplex. We also asked them to make the home green, affordable, and durable enough to weather the storms to come. In addition, they were expected to do it using materials inspired by William McDonough’s Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy and verified to be non-toxic and recycle-able. They cleared that high bar AND created homes of great and lasting beauty’, Darden explained.

One of the internationally known architects was Dr. Hitoshi Abe from Japan. Dr. Abe is Chair and Professor of UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Abe is known for architecture that is spatially complex and structurally innovative and the work of Atelier Hitoshi Abe, has been published internationally and received numerous awards, including most recently the 2009 Architectural Institute of Japan Award for SSM/Kanno Museum.

Principal of his own firm, he founded Atelier Hitoshi Abe in 1993 in Sendai, Japan and then opened a second office in Los Angeles. Some of his key projects located in Japan include the Aoba-tei restaurant, the Sasaki Office Factory for Prosthetics, F-town, which is an eat-and-drink building filled with bars and restaurants in Sendai, the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu, SSM/Kanno Museum in Shiogama, the 9-tsubo House “Tall” in Kanagawa, and the Reihoku Community Hall in Kumamoto. Abe’s work is also the subject of two monographs including Hitoshi Abe Flicker (TOTO) from his exhibition in 2005 at the Gallery Ma in Tokyo and Hitoshi Abe published by Phaidon in 2009.
Atelier Hitoshi Abe's duplex house for the new phase of the Make It Right project is a renovated version of a shotgun house, which offers several configurations depending on the client´s needs. Through the inherit flexibility of its organization, this house can accommodate many arrangements of single family, multiple family, renter and tenant and live/work arrangements.

Two shotgun houses are linked together and able to open, close or share the space between. In this way, much larger open spaces are created for private bedrooms or public living spaces. The flexible boundary between the residences can be soft and adapt the changing needs of a family throughout the years. The array of choices gives families freedom to adapt their living size to their economic situations with little cost. If an owner desired a single family house, they can choose from a three, four, five or six bedroom house. If an owner’s family required less space, they can split the residence into a duplex, granny-unit or a live-work unit to enable to growth of a small business.

Owners are able to re-create and customize their living situations as needed. The economic benefits of a flexible structure also translate into ecological benefits of a re-usable or re-purposed structure.The façade of the building has been developed following a strategy of flexibility as well. It can absorb different colors, sizes and quantities of siding depending on the availability of materials or economic conditions at a given time. Weaving different colors into one façade and taking advantage of this adaptability creates a new identity and residential fabric. Truly genius in it's thought process and presentation.

to view more of Hitoshi's work visit




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LA Architect Greg Lynn's Animate Forms

LA based architect Greg Lynn was born in 1964 in North Olmsted, Ohio. Greg is a busy man as the the leader and owner of the Greg Lynn FORM office. In addition, Greg is a tenured professor of architecture at University of Applied Arts Vienna and a studio professor at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Department of Architecture and Urban Design, and a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture and a director at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. (I'm exhausted already just thinking about it!)
Greg graduated cum laude from Miami University in Ohio, with degrees in Architecture and Philosophy, and Princeton University with a Master of Architecture. He is distinguished for his use of computer-aided design to produce irregular, biomorphic architectural forms, as he proposes that with the use of computers, calculus can be implemented into the generation of architectural expression. Greg has written extensively on these ideas, first publishing the book "Animate Form" in 1999, funded in part by the Graham Foundation. Lynn's New York Presbyterian Church in Queens, New York, with Douglas Garofalo and Michael McInturf is an early project which used vector-based animation software in its design conception.

He is credited with coining the term 'blob architecture'. He was profiled by Time Magazine in their projection of 21st century innovators in the field of architecture and design.
Lynn's latest works begin to explore how to integrate structure and form together as he discovered some biomorphic forms are inherently resistant to load. He is also one of the forerunners in exploring and integrating the tools of digital fabrication, into the process of design and construction. Greg has also taught at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and ETH Zurich.

This summer, the Hammer Museum will present a new sculptural work by Los Angeles-based architect Greg Lynn. A fantastical attraction for visitors of all ages, Fountain will be sited in the Museum’s outdoor courtyard. As the title suggests, the work is a functioning fountain made out of large plastic found children’s toys that have been cut and reassembled in multiple layers, with water spouting from its top and pooling at its base. Constructed with more than fifty-seven prefabricated plastic whale and shark teeter totters welded together and unified by the application of a white automotive paint, Fountain will be a gathering place for the warm summer months.

Greg's Fountain is the first architecture and design project guest-curated by architectural historian Sylvia Lavin. As part of Hammer Projects, Lavin will organize a new project approximately once a year over the next three years that will present new works by architects and designers. These projects will be sited in different locations around the Museum.
He received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Academy of Fine Arts
 & Design in Bratislava.L In 2001 Time magazine named him one
of its one hundred most innovative people in the world
for the twenty-first century, and in 2005 Forbes magazine
named him one of the ten most influential living architects.

to see more of his work or info on his books, please check out

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crywolf - Never say never

Crywolf is a wonderful little company based in Toronto, Canada that was started by Stephanie Drabik & Rose Chang. Crywolf is their brain child (aka their brand). The girls first met in high school and bonded over a mutual interest in art and other hobbies (music, fashion, etc).
As the years passed and both people and things changed,
their friendship remained and similarities grew.

The idea of printing designs onto shirts first came one fateful afternoon in September of 2005. With no prior business background beyond grade 11 economics and grade 10 accounting, the pair signed up for our first business venture, p0isson. P0isson, started out as more of a hobby since they were both wrapped up in their studies (Rose finishing up her Fine Arts program at University of Toronto and Steph finishing up her sophomore year at the Ontario College of Art and Design) and were equally busy with school and part-time jobs. P0isson was an experimental project in design, process and business. Through running around, hustling, bustling, pooling together their resources, trial and error, they were able to gain some much needed experience in the industry. By 2008 they had both graduated and were fresh meat, ready to take on the REAL world. With a strong desire to see where they could take p0isson and a belief that they could make something happen, they decided to quit their part-time jobs (risky) to pursue their venture full-time and thus, Crywolf was born.

The name Crywolf is open to interpretation, but undeniably references the famous fable of the boy who cried wolf just one too many times.
There could be a very compelling reason for why they chose this name (please insert here), or maybe it was mainly because they just plain
liked the name! In short, the Crywolf vision is a mishmash
of their strange, fantastic, quirky and whimsical ideas.

The main concept behind Crywolf is producing limited edition, collectable, wearable and affordable pieces of art. All of their designs are based on the girls drawings,  which they often collaborate on. Their clothing is hand-printed by them as well, making it extra special!
A strong DIY attitude has fueled their work ethic
and been their driving force.

Their inspiration comes from "artists and crafts people
who strive to do what they love, do it themselves,
and make a living out of it".

Since starting out in 2005, slinging 1" buttons out of boxes to random strangers on the street, Crywolf has come a long way to where it is today.They now produce, buttons, pins, bags/totes, hoodies, t's, tanks, mouse pads, plushies, zipper pulls and decals. Like any small company,they have had successess along the way, (with some bumps on the road), but with the help of family, friends, fans and supporters, they push on and commit to keep going and growing!

you can check oout more of their super cute stuff here at