30 July 2010

Dirty Work

No, Virginia, ovens were not always self-cleaning. And in 1965, this novel drawer-like device was the state of the art solution to the grimy chore. While it might have been an ergonomic improvement on the old way of doing things, I wonder [being a subscriber to the fewer-moving-parts-the-better school of thinking] what would happen if those ovens were jostled off their tracks or otherwise got stuck in the open position. Convenience turned into calamity!

29 July 2010

Clean Lines, Indeed

From the reliably outré Antonio Lupi, the Talamo tub is pleasantly responsive to a bather's needs. The tall, gently scooped backrest looks supportive and spacious, and I love how the shelf is well above the splash line [a term I just made up]. Part cradle, part cube, it's an elegant yet challenging design. antoniolupi.it

28 July 2010

Cooling Tower

For some reason—could it possibly have something to do with the record-setting July temperatures that continue to torment us?—I'm drawn to this snappy little fridge, which goes by the name Trio. The drawer between the cooler and freezer compartments is for deli items. It's on the market in Europe, where its 24-inch width and 80-inch height is more in keeping with kitchen dimensions. fagor.com

27 July 2010

In the Round

How wonderful it must be to amble through this bathroom, views changing from every vantage point. And I don't mean the outward-looking views—it's the varying sightlines of the interior landscape that make it such a dynamic space. What's particularly interesting is that despite the room's openness, there is near-complete privacy within its walls: standing at the sink, you can't see the tub; from the tub, the shower is deftly hidden. It's so much more effective than the artificial drama of just plunking a big tub down in the middle of the room.

26 July 2010

The Great Outdoors, Part 6

For the past few weeks, my enjoyment of the Great [Hot] Outdoors has been severely curtailed by global warming. Today the heat wave broke, if only for a short while. In gratitude, I offer this poetic lighting design for al fresco dining. The Halley 4150 fixture is a brilliant use of LED strip lights, perfect for nights when the moon and stars are hiding in the clouds. vibia.es

23 July 2010

Wash Out

For this Flashback Friday, we return to 1986 to see this funky collection of kitchen faucets inspired by Peter Max, who started out in the 70s as a graphic designer with a unique Pop-psychedelic style and ended up following in the cheesy footsteps of LeRoy Neiman, sporting-event lithographer. The faucet itself has some character, but the colors—red and yellow [white, black and almond really don't count]—are anything but imaginative. A missed opportunity.

22 July 2010

Surreal Space

No right angles, an odd foreshortening, a gnawing feeling that time passes a little slower in this space—this is Salvador Dalí's kitchen in Púbol, Spain. I like the smallness of the room; its rigidity is surprising. The furniture is deliberately placed in a way that is useful but not comfortable. Dalí remodeled [if that's the right word] the building in tribute to his wife and muse, Gala. salvador-dali.org

20 July 2010

Before Marfa

101 Spring Street, New York City. Donald Judd purchased this building in 1968, and used it as a testing ground for exploring the spatial relationships between art and architecture; I can see by how Judd opted to orient seating towards the wood stove versus the kitchen that an occasional pragmatic concern took precedence. Listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the property will reopen for public tours after this year's renovation. juddfoundation.org

19 July 2010

Round Up

If you've ever visited Richard Serra's 'Torqued Ellipses' installations, the Roll sink might seem familiar—although, of course, the scale is reversed. Greatly. I think that comparison makes a suitable kick-off to Art Week at KBCULTURE. [As you can see, our gallery isn't closed on Mondays.] I'll post a mix of artist's homes, projects and products that I hope you find as curious as I do. ceramicaflaminia.it

16 July 2010

Cold Feet

I certainly can appreciate the convenience offered by the 1920 Len-A-Dor. Many is the time I've been caught with platters of molded gelatin salad in both hands, and was completely flummoxed as to how to open the refrigerator door—but, unlike the unfortunate lass above, I at least have counters in my kitchen upon which to rest said jiggly dishes. I do envy her grace as she [in pumps, no less] angles her toe upon the pedal that will spring open the fridge. Let's hope the cabinets arrive soon.

15 July 2010

Recycling the Past

Creative but just a tad too eccentric for me, this idea of converting an old fridge into a closet. Making it all the more mystifying is the presence of a rather pricey range in the kitchen; this unorthodox move wasn't done for economical reasons. And it surely wouldn't qualify for the cash-for-clunker-appliances program.

I think I detect a show-house project. But I had to share this weirdness, nonetheless.

14 July 2010

One for All

In a short conversation with architect Patricia Urquiola, who designed a complete suite of bathroom fixtures and fittings for Axor [a sink faucet is shown above], she convinced me of her belief in the importance of the individual in design; in particular, the role of the ultimate user of an object or a space. Coming hard on the heels of a most materialistic era, it's a reassuringly humanistic stance. With a toothbrush cup—of all things!—growing out of the faucet in a most unexpected elegant and organic way, she makes her point. axor-design.com

13 July 2010

The Great Outdoors, Part 5

As a rule, I am annoyed by firepits: They don't serve any essential purpose like heating or cooking, as a campfire does, and seem like a poor excuse to smoke up the air. And of course they are usually squat, ugly looking things. So I was quite pleased [cranky-pants that I am] to come across the Fireplate, a well-crafted model with a grill attachment. Maybe there's hope for the firepit, after all. radius-design.com

12 July 2010

Off the Wall

Down in the basement, there's a box or two of Function Tiles, one of my favorite items ever produced by the always-inventive crew at Droog. Destined for our bathroom remodeling, I look forward to the lively exchange of ideas with our tile setter ['You want what?'] that they will likely provoke. Nota bene: The knowledgeable folks at Moss coordinated the special order process for the tiles; they are not an off-the-shelf item.

09 July 2010

Sweatin' to the Oldies

Three WHOLE cents? While we've been having a hamam-worthy heat wave this week [absolutely free, I might add], way back in 1899, the confident folks at Racine Bath Cabinet offered a Turkish-bath-in-a-box that comprised 'a tight, double-walled room, rubber coated inside and outside and fitted with a door...alcohol stove, vaporizer and face-steaming attachment included.'

Frankly, it sounds like a ride on the subway—only you could sit down.

08 July 2010

Stream of Consciousness

These interchangeable spray heads—the designer calls them 'mobile faucets'—intrigue me with their tactile qualities and dedicated functions. The large faceted sphere can be used for washing the torso; the others deliver targeted spray, mist and jet streams to other parts of the body. Of course, there are products on the market that combine similar functions in a single housing. But such convenience can lend itself to unthinking consumption; the mobile faucets force us to reflect on the water we use. feliperibon.com

07 July 2010

Cool It!

"Triple-digit temperatures."

It's a phrase I don't want to hear ever again—but one that's been on the [parched] lips of every meteorologist in the Northeast for several days, now. Here's my riposte: a triple-headed shower. While its agricultural appearance is actually rather appealing, it's the idea of being drenched by three refreshing sprays that makes it a winner with me. douches-de-jardins.com

06 July 2010

A Shore Thing

While you might glean from the last couple posts that I'm cooling off at the beach, down the coast, up the creek, et cetera, I'm not—it's all wishful thinking on my part. In reality, the closest body of water is the Hudson River.

That said, I'll continue my fantasy island hop with this now-classic bath. Slightly sentimental design, sure, but summer brings out the daydreamer in us all, yes?

05 July 2010

Kicking Back

The long weekend continues [in spirit, if not in practice] with this sun-washed space. The textures of the ceiling and cabinet doors are a funky contrast with the smooth, liquid-like floor. As we're not even at the half-way point of a searing, seven-day heat wave, I am happy—very happy!—imagining the barefoot coolness of that surface.

02 July 2010

Red, White and Blue

Should stormy weather spoil your plans for a Fourth of July barbecue—and I certainly hope it doesn't, dear readers—let's trust you have a suitably patriotic kitchen to which to retreat. To take shelter in this space, we'll need to go back to 1966, a time when colors were bold, the microwave oven had yet to be realized, and photo styling was a nascent art form. To that last point, it looks to me like the side panel of the fridge has been fudged; surely only the front of the appliance would have been given the royal-red treatment. And what of the dishwasher? An opportunity missed.