We’ve just discovered photographer Maria’s Robledo’s crazy-beautiful Instagram, a trove of images that will make you SEE the everyday differently and put you right in the moment. Only Maria could have come up with this simple, curiously moving arrangements of pussy willow blossoms (which people usually just throw away once they’ve been knocked off their stem). The image shouts SPRING. It seems the perfect accompaniment to this 4-line gem of a poem by Su Tung-p’o written over a thousand years ago:
Pear blossoms pale white, willows deep green – when willow fluff scatters, falling blossoms will fill the town. Snowy boughs by the eastern palisade set me pondering – in a lifetime how many springs do we see? read more…
Of the many imaginary inventions in my head, a pop-up guest room has had many iterations. Living in a moderate-sized New York City apartment with only one bedroom, I’d love a separate, somewhat private space to offer guests who come to sleep in my big open livingroom/kitchen/workspace. My latest inspiration comes Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center in Treviso, Ialy.’Next Cabane’ was a design exploration spurred by a foldable wooden structure found in a dark corner of an antique market in the south of Scotland. Fabrica’s designers viewed envisioned it as movable rooms that can be carried from place to place.
‘small, temporary spaces where we can set our boundaries, seek shelter or simply live a different life rediscovering the quality and simplicity of things. personal, intimate havens in harmony with their surroundings; they reflect on subjects like work, pop-up culture, loneliness, games. alternative settings were one can live in a better way with more awareness, where design is at the service of research into materials, forms and structures.’
All it would take to make the frame is a some drilled slats of hardwood, jointed with hex bolts and wing nuts* nut whose “wings” provide a grip for the thumb and finger. You tighten the wing nut to secure the form; untighten it to fold it up for storage. read more…
Speak of the devil! Christoph Niemann created this brilliant cover for the new New Yorker’s Innovator’s Issue. At the New Yorker blog, Niemann has again illustrated his process , which AGAIN involves nixxing an idea, only to have it come back at him in a completely unexpected way. We GET and love that the brilliant guy struggles a bit to create his wonderful stories and illustrations.
We are looking forward to diving into this issue, especially IMAGINED INVENTIONS by some notable folks —our own imagined inventions would fill a library— and Susan Orlean on the future of treadmill desks.
When we saw this cunning walnut doorknob from ModKnobs, we imagined it to be the perfect knob for our bathroom door. But when it finally arrived, the knob we thought so fab turned out to be huge and clunky, way out of scale for the space (see photo, below). We had neglected to take note of the knob’s actual dimensions and hold a template up in the space to see if it would work. Not only did we have to pay return shipping but a restocking fee as well, all because we had neglected a simple step.
It reminded us of other common mistakes we made when ordering hardware online during the Laboratory’s renovation. We learn our lessons the hard way! Like all lessons, some good came out of it; it lead us to create our 7-Step Guide to Buying Hardware Online so you can avoid our mistakes when you buy hardware:
When the wise, inventive, not-terribly-technological Christoph Niemann tried to create an app, it became pretty “interesting. He documented the process in the New Yorker recently and in doing so, a wonderful distillation of the creative process and struggle:
I explored countless (but crucial) dead ends, and it all came down to the most important struggle at the center of all creative pursuits: being the artist and the editor at the same time. read more…
(Video link here.) Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present is a stuning documentary portrait of artist Marina Abramovic. She explores themes we are always mulling: pushing one’s limits, the nature of will power AND being truly present in one’s life. Here we get to see them in action as Abramovic weaves them through her art and life.
The title of the film comes from her 2010 MOMA retrospecctive: whenever a visitor entered the museum, she was present. Six days a week, 7½ hours a day for 90 days, Abramovic sat without eating, drinking or moving from her position as a series of museum visitors lined up to sit opposite her, one by one, for often incredibly moving, wordless interactions. Six days a week, 7 1/2 hours a day being present…
It is extremely difficult to be like a mountain, to create stillness in the middle of hell. read more…
The headnote to Dorie Greenspan‘s crazy-simple, unbelievably good ‘M. Jacque’s Armagnac Chicken’ begins “This recipe, une petite merveille (a little marvel), as the French would say...”. The recipe IS une merveille, taking almost no work to make, with the most ordinary of ingredients, yielding spectacular results, as we discovered when cooking dinner for friends the other night. Chicken and vegetables cook at once so you only need serve a salad and a great dessert (We recommend Sally’s chocolate cake.) We only got as far as photographing “the before”, above. All thought taking an “after” fell by the wayside with the heavenly aroma of the finished dish, and very good wine. We found a picture of the finished dish at Bake Away With Me.
The recipe is, very simply, a life essential; have it in your head and you’re covered for life. read more…
(Video link here.) Apparently, some readers were turned off by Louis C.K.’s vulgar, and to our minds perspective-inducing reflections on “what comes with a basic life”. Susan Dworski sent us this brilliant few minutes of Steve Martin as the Great Flydini as “an antidote”. Like all great magic, it appears to just happen— an improvision in the moment— although it is, in reality, the result of brilliant calculation and mastery.
One of many things we love about artist/designer/craftsman/journeyman Max Lamb‘s work is that he ALWAYS has an unusual take on the practical AND he loves to reveal his process, offering in a powerful lesson in EMPOWERMENT. This video shows him making a wood stool out of huge chestnut tree log he hauled home from Springfield Park, London. It especially interests us because we lugged home several fallen tree hunks on our trusty Magna Cart after Hurricane Sandy, then wondered what to do with them, having no access or facility with a chain saw. Fallen trees are a readily available raw material for a lot of people.
The big revelation from Lamb: you can fashion rough-hewn slabs and furniture parts out of fat tree trunk by using Steel Splitting Wedges, axes, hammers, a drawknife and a good amount of muscle and gumption.
(Video link here.) When this very resourceful couple found that they didn’t have the money to build even the traditional brick envelope of their 20′x40′ lot in Brooklyn, they used 5 shipping containers and went from there. It’s a totally inspiring and charming story of perserverence and outside-the-box (!!!!!) thinking, as well as a swell house tour for us space voyeurs.
According to motivation scientist Heidi Grant Halvorson at at 99U“Making if-then plans to tackle your current projects, or reach your goals, is probably – without exaggerating – the most effective single thing you can do to ensure your success.”
Yikes! Sign us up! What do we have to do?
If-Then thinking works like this: You decide in advancewhen and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal and then create the statement: If X happens, then I will do Y.
“IF THIS” becomes the trigger that spurs the “THEN THAT” action.