The Bald Mermaid: A Conversation With Sheila Bridges

I had a brief but illuminating conversation with the amazing Sheila Bridges for Designers and Books. Her memoir The Bald Mermaid covers many bases with wit and warmth: her life as an interior designer, her struggles with alopecia (and very badly behaved men in her life and clients who expected her to come over and fix the clouds painted on their toddler's ceiling at 2 in the morning,) and the astonishing range of dumb comments aimed at a woman who didn't have a conventional appearance to start with—comments that only increased in frequency once she had lost all her hair. Throughout it all she's honest, clear-eyed and sharply funny. It's a great read.

Photo by Trevor Tondro.



David Bowie Is...Moving

The exhibit David Bowie Is... will be traveling from its initial installation at London's V&A Musuem to Toronto and then on to Sao Paulo, Chicago, Paris and the Netherlands. I was lucky enough to see it in London last spring and was blown away by the intelligence of the exhibit design—its immersive multimedia experience is entirely well-thought-out—as well as by the range of David Bowie's talents. If you have a chance to catch the show at some point? Don't hesitate. The catalog is fantastic too.

The image below shows several of the costume mannequins, heads removed, and packed for transit. Read more about the deinstallation of the show on the V&A's blog, here.

Table/Birdcage c'est Magnifique

Many people, I know, have issues with birds. They don't like the noise, the feathers, the abrupt flighty movements, the droppings, the beaks. They think about Tippi Hedren and shudder in sympathy. These people will definitely hate this table. As for myself, on the other hand, I love birds and I love this creation by Grégoire de Laforrest.  The artist used stuffed birds but I think live ones would be awesome.

Putting the NO in Nostalgia

Here's something I wrote for the excellent Designers & Books website, on our tenacious emotional attachment to physical souvenirs in the increasingly digitized world. My starting point was William L. Bird's new book from Princeton Architectural Press, Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Piece of Plymouth Rock, anyone?

Visualizing Pi

Canadian scientists Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski have utilized data visualization software to create beautiful and colorful visual representations of mathematical constants π (pi), φ (phi), and using transition probabilities and color-coded digits on Archimedean spirals. That's quite a mouthful. Just look, and enjoy. More here.

Via Joe Hansen's great blog, 

New York City Art and Design Tour for PocketGuide

Very pleased to say that an audio-guided New York City Art and Design walking tour I wrote and recorded for PocketGuide is now available here in the App Store, for iPhone and iPad! It's meant to provide an experience somewhat off the beaten track, a tour through downtown Manhattan's art, architecture and design related sights (Chuck Close and Jean Michel Basquiat's studios, the Cable Building, New York Central Art Supply, the final location of Andy Warhol's Factory). The tour is split into two parts: the first starts on the Bowery, heads north through SoHo, and ends at ABC Carpet and Home. The second picks up at the Flatiron Building, takes in the former department stores on the Ladie's Mile, heads west on 23rd Street past the Hotel Chelsea (fun fact: it is NOT the "Chelsea Hotel," which is what I've called it all my life—learning experience!!) then goes south via the High Line, and finishes up at the White Horse Tavern. I had a great time working on this project; it joined up my love of narrative history with my love of wandering around the city and just looking at stuff—something I often forget to make time for, these days.

Blog Launch!

Panikanova's work strikes the perfect balance between painting, collage, and installation art.

Panikanova's work strikes the perfect balance between painting, collage, and installation art.

I've had a couple of blogs in the past. Some were completed as grad school homework assignments (here's one example—once the homework was done, that blog was over!). Others were places for writing and general observations about design. Somehow they all fell by the wayside, except for this one...definitely an acquired taste, to put it kindly.  

I decided that I want to jump back in and post images and design news here on my site, and what better way to start than with this amazing work by Ekaterina Panikanova. Her gridded images painted on old books are just wonderful. See more of it on her site.

Via Colossal