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    May 9, 2011

    for those of you may have just joined us and are wondering what it is the hell we do, it is always my goal to show if i don’t have to tell. hence, here is a portrait of one of our projects, new york’s own yelo spa, a wellness center in midtown manhattan, which was a 360degree project for us as we were responsible for all aspect of it, from naming to branding to architecture to marketing. and the synergies between them. filmed by the incomparable gary nadeau for dwell magazine. enjoy!

    April 18, 2011

    boxas the world’s most famous design week draws to a close and the prototypes go back inside boxes that will more than likely never open again and as the pressure mounts for every design blogger lining the walls from here to amsterdam to write an eloquent ode to the need for craft and consideration to take over, or at least equal, crass commercialism exhibited at the fair, i find myself invariably more attracted to those cardboard containers than even the promise of what lied inside, pun reassuringly intended.

    January 20, 2011

    as resolved to a painless end as the post below this one seems to point to, i am not ready to go. not yet. sure, i have often felt that a pointless existence such as mine only clings to life so as to bear out the inevitably fruitless hope of any misplaced notion of ego-importance or simply to wait for hank moody to find the perfect balance between his quest for love and the perfect pair of tits but still, i found, there are enough good news around to keep me from hutchensing. so imagine my surprise when, upon opening my email program this morning, i see a missive from my british isles lover containing the photo above and the words: “i found your coffin!” scribbled in the subject line. thank you?… the message contained therein “for when, you know, god forbid…” unfortunately did little to reassure me that my dear friend did not want me dead. it’s a strange thing, to be sent a really nice coffin, i guess i have to take it as a compliment. and perhaps the slight push i needed to examine this matter of “the death” on monday…

    November 22, 2010

    oped-new7wait, what?…

    i know, that title makes no sense but the reason that it is there and that i am leaving it be is the same reason i am dedicating this edition of the weekly column to old material: i am one lazy sum-bitch! spurred in no small part by twitterFRIEND markus reuter’s post entitled food chocolate and brainstorming… in which he professes his understandable appreciation of discussions that fatten both the brain and the gut, and the fact that i had a very busy weekend celebrating my first born’s eighth, and, who knows, perhaps final year on earth, and have, as a result, very little to say, i decided to re-publih the first episode in the apartment’s long-storied history of well-meaning intentions which, in the end, fall rather flat on their faces… you can google, there’s plenty. anyway, the idea, as markus points out by covering vancouver’s recent dinner with a side of design experiment as well, is that there is great hunger (ha!) for conversation about design that is rooted in the reality of people’s lives, not merely to adorn the admittedly well-justified pages of the design observer and there is no better way to produce authentic opining than when concurrently trying to make out the quail’s tail from its head. at least, that is what we thought hence why we invited twelve of our favorite people, from tronic studio’s own vivian rosenthal to filmmaker gary nadeau to yelo’s nicolas ronco to formavision curator sebastien agneessens among others and misguidedly imposed on ourselves a theme for the evening: talent. i say misguided because, in retrospect, i think i should have been a lot less organized about the whole thing, it would have made for a wider ranging and unencumbered exchange.

    but i love that the cameras, four in all (including one of a jib!) captured everything from the cooking to the various conversations happening at every end of the loft, showing in a few swift pans, tilts and dolly shots what i have always believed to be the truest reflection of good design: life. as i say at the beginning of the film, this really was a tradition we started with our friends, every wednesday night, based on the immutable belief that friendships have to be maintained and cannot solely sustain themselves on a drink here, a coffee there or even a cocktail party at kartell once a design week… to see the people you have chosen to love once a week is, i believe, the bare minimum you should invest in the understanding of those we call, ever-so ceremoniously, friends. friendship can be what you feel about the community of people that surround you, those acquaintance-ships who populate your world much like a chessboard, filled with those you know and use and who know and use you, which may sound sinister but i have not found it an unusual occurrence for some to allocate different functions to different people in their circle. in fact, however romantic a notion of friendship we may have been baited to pursue because of lawrence kasdan movies, most of us assign roles to all those around, in the company of whom time is purposefully qualitative. that said, supplemental years do tend to stretch away such casting concerns and help friendships turn into all-purpose relationships. i look at these bonds as matters of greater import because they have, for me, more than complemented blood ties but displaced them altogether. i need to trust by choice, not by default. when i moved away from home and could no longer count on my original support system, i had the opportunity to choose whom i was not able to at birth and in so doing fill the gaping void left by that lack of freedom to select those around me, who may even choose, perhaps, to select me right back.

    knowing your friends is an arduous journey because in friendship as in love, you are dealing with strangers you will never know as long as your family. and since duration often mistakenly takes precedence over understanding in matters of human interconnections, we tend to leave the process to intuition which does not yield as fulfilling a result as when complemented with casual but focused inquiry. that may sound cold and calculating on paper but the principle at play is the one all prospective lovers use when wondering if there is a future ahead for them, willing to fall yet computing. although delightful by-products, friendships are not about the occasional hangout, drink, or the getting together for the long-awaited pavement reunion in central park but journeys in and of themselves. you and your friends evolve separately but together you grow, contributing to each other’s lives, even if the hierarchy changes with time. that is why we cannot take the other person’s attention for granted and must care to regularly maintain it. if you fail to and it is still going, the other party is working double time to keep it alive, a discrepancy that must be addressed in order to see what is on the other side and one i wanted to prevent by hosting these wednesday night dinners.

    the result is yours to judge below…

    see? i think it would probably have been more fun had i not urged subject matter… what do you think? actually i answered my own question making our second dinner a silent one, at least on film, when michelin-starred chef michel bras came to visit…

    should we have more of these? you tell me. in the meantime, have a fattening week!

    October 26, 2010


    as we speak, 100% design has wrapped up in london with new york and helsinki behind it and valencia and guadaljara design weeks coming up. with design going mainstream, a lot of urban centers are hoping to attract a sophisticated demographic to their cities by organizing product-centric conferences like these that are a wonderful way to find new talent. but are they great for design?

    now, don’t get me wrong, i find nothing dishonorable in setting up a design wares market in every corner of the world where each and every individual with ideas, regardless of color, creed or liquor sponsorship can rightly present them to an audience in order to make a living. but that is rarely what happens. take it from someone who has consistently thrown one of the most attended events of the week in the past, and believed his own hype but been so violently repelled by it the last few years that he preferred to stay away. and by he, i mean me. every year evolves, in my not-so-humble opinion, in the wrong direction and keeps furthering no other agenda than that of increased consumption, something we have little reasonable excuse to engage in.

    i believe the ray of light at the end of this tunnel to be the increasing engagement of designers everywhere designing for solutions as opposed to themselves, for conversations to be had and not solely for effect. to wit, the work of fuseproject which focuses on the needs of others. the work of dieter rams which focuses on the needs of the appliance-minded. the work of ross lovegrove which follows function with form. i would be ecstatic if these global design weeks would, instead of product souks, be markets of ideas. imagine what we could solve by putting all these brilliant heads together and forgetting about another chair, another carafe, another clever update on the doily but rather focusing on the more pressing matter at hand, designing life for the better…

    there must be a rallying cry among those who turn bits into things to care enough to look around themselves, even in their own homes, and fix what doesn’t work. at the next convention center-sized exhibition, i need to see plungers and water jugs and pool alarms. stat.

    October 14, 2010

    about a year ago, we were contacted by the good people at american express to consult on and be part of an amazing project with the lofty goal to pair agencies with brands in need of help in order to demystify our industry. what indeed is branding? how does it differ from graphic design? why hire professionals when my nephew just started at pratt? all great questions asked by clients the world over and aimed to be answered by the series, the trailer for which i now offer to you above.

    our agency worked on reviving a great, yet mostly consumer-unknown, brand from the eighties, citrasolv and the journey is almost, if not as, exciting as the final product, i hope you stay and watch the series unfold in the next few weeks!

    October 13, 2010

    i went and attended the unveiling of theaptFRIEND yves béhar‘s new project for lauded herman miller last night at tadao ando’s morgan library addition and it was a winner. touted as the first unframed chair of its kind, the mesh supports one’s vertebras whoever one might be, from duplicitous manhattan ladder climber to hunted former nazi in argentina, you can be sure you lower back will be in safe in its hands, and in yves’. see for yourself in the very few pictures above which eventually take a turn for the leggy at the standard’s le bain rooftop bar…

    October 12, 2010


    still reeling after his expulsion from the shanghai expo,
    we roused divad q. nead from a deep autumnal eames
    coma to cover the seoul design fair 2010. heavy doses of bayer,
    ethiopian sidamo, a nova scotian blonde got him through
    two weekends of crack reporting and serious photojourno.


    design for all


    good morning. my two-day walkabout into all corners of design at the seoul design fair [9.17 to 10.7] had me neck deep in an overwhelming world of physical objects along with a bevy of real time inspirations fleshing-out in rapid succession. despite my brown belt in film festivals and conventional museum shows, this fair was a first for my eyes, as I’d never gone beyond the alessi or kartell showrooms in greater seoul. much of what i covered for the apartment were firsts, breaking an eggshell sense of the design world. it’s been over a year since i began to mull wallpaper* over lunch breaks, eating back issues that i found on sale in the subway stations. imagine a porn lover’s virgin foray into the avn awards and you get an idea of what i went through while swimming my salmon way through the crowds under the concrete corridors of the venue. there was something to be seen in 360 degrees, on both the x and y axis. it was a dizzying, sublime, and educational affair.

    360 degree video of the venue

    while operating under the guise of an educator for more than two years, life here on the korean peninsula is an odd arrangement of both homogenous apartment architecture and socket fucking gem discoveries like alvaro siza’s anyang pavilion. despite the impressive leaps in public and private design greatness here in korea in the last 10 years, life here still operates under the rapidity of industrialization and therefore, little consideration for nuance and detail. few notice the undercurrent of brilliant design that is growing in the wings while samsung designs their iphone killer or hyundai pours another denture of high rises. as a grade school teacher and daily witness to the nature of toy design, pencil utility, and anything on a micro scale, i have come to see the absolute necessity for design to reach into the mediocrity of our spaces, to touch the common consumer. during the fair, i spent more time in the seoul design market, where young korean students and some accomplished small business owners sold their wares, than at any other venue. the crowds would agree that there more eye-time was being spent on a single felt brooch or clever cup holding device than on any chair by poltrona frau. the truth is always in the traffic. i followed the deer paths.

    not to disparage the mighty italians or the other leagues of high-design characters, but once i hit the grassy pitch splayed out between venues and saw people, average citizens of the city, thumbing through a fantastic new notebook, trying out new pens, or just holding a simple rubber coaster, admiring the work that went into it’s manufacture, that is where i saw the fair’s motto, design for all, come into being. granted there were luxurious industrial and house ware pieces from taiwan to oslo that had me gawking, it was the congregation of citizens, coming and going, taking what they could, that represented the best of what the fair had to offer. without a price for admission, and an organizational model that allowed for fluid, discovery-based wandering, the fair [which actually spanned several city locations] was a chance for the laypeople to get a high on the best and a touch of the ordinary. nothing at the fair, for me, was lost in translation, that is, except for my subtle korean flirting at behest of some blissfully bored exhibit attendants. i just had to bother somebody.

    i milled and caroused, shot admiring smiles at the craftspeople lining the halls, collected business cards, and together enjoyed the rare opportunity to lie on cool grass amidst a congested city, sifting through our pictures, sharing the reflections on this chair and that table. the field of design may be daunting, but it can also be extraordinarily meditative. we are constantly and unknowingly evaluating the pieces of physical material that compose our domesticated existence. here are my considered reflections from my time within the corridors of the event. click through the links for further information, video, and links to more discovery.


    freshly pressed and packing new muji tools, i arrived under the auspicious eaves
    of kim swoo geun’s olympic stadium with sugarplum fairy dreams of injection
    molded plastics and norwegian furniture haunting my temporal lobes. the venue,
    modeled after a joseon dynasty porcelain vase stands as an imposing, yet elegant
    stage for a design symposium. guides were offered for the mission minded, but i chose
    to let my intuition do the walking, landing first on the stadium’s open playing field
    holding some of the best grass seoul has to offer with no drug pun intended.


    operating under the motto design for all, it appeared that there were as many curious citizens strolling
    with family as there were design enthusiasts hunting for inspiration. as one who considers design
    to be considerably social at its core, the stadium offered one a chance to approach and
    retreat from the exhibits, taking intermittent respite on one of the many lounging areas
    throughout the complex. the first piece to strike my fancy was a piece by byung-hoon choi in the korea-china-japan exhibition.


    a composition of wood and stone, the piece reflected the numerous totems i have seen scattered throughout the mountains, stones placed carefully on top of one another as a testament to balance, a welcome departure
    from scandinavian linear aesthetic that i have found myself digesting over the past year. dining ware by masahiro mori of japan, was a standout in this venue, namely a fine collection of rice bowls


    and tabletop sets meant to fit together in a larger geometric pattern. the joining of the plates was a touch that struck a novel nerve as i have never considered the arrangement of plates on a table as a matter of geometry.


    furthering my penchant for all things both organic and japanese, the suki by masayuki kurokawa
    represented the best example, along with products from karimokujp, of any traditional chair i saw during the fair.


    the 2010 living collection, featuring some of korea’s furniture potential caught a long look from yours truly, namely kim kyung lae’s couple bench and accompanying table. check out his outstanding lighting for a wow.


    moving on through the other venues, i spotted alessandro & francesco mendini’s “tronspired”
    ramun chandelier rocking 11,000 rgb led inside the seoul brands design exhibiton,
    along with lg hausys and their cutting-edge acrylic hi-macs materials, a future look at your thermoformed world. continuing into the cycle design festival, my pedal fetish had its attention gripped on the two italian wheels of an abici cycle, noting a leather saddle I couldn’t resist touching. abici also makes wooden handles for their models, which I find to cut right along with my resurgent organic interests in all things handheld.


    the world design industry exhibit contained a fine showing of a personal favorite, swiss poster typography, notably pieces by david carson, jiri oplatek, and armin hofmann.


    norway got the merit badge for hospitality with its fantastic collection of lumbar friendly furniture in their please take a seat exhibit, featuring the best chairs in the kingdom.


    such as classic pieces as the falcon by sigurd resell & fredrik a. kayser’s 711 had me more than once offering a longer-than-necessary pause, while the 2010 nor by steinar hindenes and petter knudsen was a contemporary favorite more for it’s mod classroom charm than it’s clean lines. germany made a nice showing at the dmy berlin showcase, featuring lighting by pluma cubic, makers of fine feathered shades for the swan fetishist in his parlor-come-aviary.


    abutting the industry exhibit was the world design collection, in which the lighting from foscarini, the wagashi wall lamp designed by massimo gardone and luca nichetto was an eye-level standout, affixed to the wall like floral lampshade eyes.


    marc sadler’s twiggy floor lamp, arching over francesco binfaré’s flap adjustable white leather lounge was a fine combination of two long curving lines intersecting on different axes. cube or pebble illuminated floor lighting was also very present in the exhibit, namely arik levy’s meteor pieces for straight out of superman’s fortress of solitude and michele de lucci’s dioscuri tavolo 350 for artemide.

    before departing the corridors of design’s best, i took one last gander at daddy eames and then made for the market for one more shop stop. we breezed past a flurry of industrial design plans for seoul. this year our fine city was named world design capital 2010 and it seems that there are major plans in the works to bring some much needed flair to the non-stop rock and roll of concrete and rebar that dots the skyline from any vantage point. back on the field before sundown, a calm had come over the last of the revelers and a light rain fell. cutting out, back into the parking lot, my company and i mused over our heavy bags of handmades, microdesigns, and flyers. the best score of the day was a comprehensive catalog from the best stop in the seoul design market


    bound in card stock with a manila envelope styled string closure, the book contains scores of small design products from design tag, a collection of some of my favorite artisans and it is already bent at the binding. if there’s one good lesson learned from this year’s seoul design fair it’s that good design on a small scale is always within reach, could be the cup holding your charcoal pencils or the binder enclosing your travel journal. either way, take the time to consider the objects that form the outlines of your material life, be a frequent patron to the budding designers who build your favorites, and buy their work while it’s hot. it’s good to be first.



    October 8, 2010

    theaptcreative twitter as you may have noticed, there hasn’t been a whole lot of design news on theaptBROADCAST lately… that is because i have been using most of my time writing my first will and testament, titled the considered life, of which i finished my final draft this week and hope will find a publisher in the new year (email me!) i do intend to return to form soon on the blog but i have to break back in slowly… that is why my first step has been to contribute to USA network’s character approved blog in which i wax poetic about all forms of shapes and shapes of forms; and my second step will be to split my twitters between my personal musings, which will continue to be filled with such necessary verve as it’s six o’clock, do you know where YOUR st. julien is? or the always popular amy fisher has really been making the most of her freedom and the newly-minted, launching today the apartment account which will happily relate all that i find truly revolting or spectacular in the world of design. i hope you join in the crusade, at least until the rapture. and don’t forget to #FF, as it were. have a sensational weekend!

    p.s. and on monday, be prepared for a seoul design week special report by theaptENVOY divad q. nead!

    June 21, 2010

    clockfor those of you who have ever wondered what it is we do for a living and never quite bothered to click on the creative agency link to the left there, i would like to extend a helping hand. fact is, even colleagues in our own industry sometimes ask “no but really, what do you guys do?…” and so, i figured that after exactly 10 years of practice (we opened our doors in the summer of 2000,) perhaps i should, for once, utilize this forum for something useful and answer that most pertinent of questions. to start this conversation right, please find below, for your perusal, a smattering of our favorite things… (it may take a little bit of time to load, but once it does, you will smooth sail your way to knowledge and understanding, so-called, theaptWORKS.)

    theaptARCHITECTURE shows how just another brick in the wall does not have to mean conformity.

    theaptBRANDING displays ideas for which a visual solution, graphic or otherwise, was needed to accomplish the stated goal.

    theaptEXPERIENTIAL details the projects for which we were asked, by a variety of clients, to invent and build experiences utilizing the tools of architecture, branding, marketing and event planning, all at once and never boring.

    theaptPRESS is a few pages of our favorite published compliments by some of the most cajoled names in the business.

    who is the apartment? we are a full-fledged agency that looks at problems with outdated solutions. there is a glut of old ways of looking at things, old ways to create meaning and old ways to create experiences. that’s where a company like ours comes in. since we don’t have the rules ingrained in us, we allow ourselves us to take risks where others may not dare. the apartment takes on all kinds of projects, from the branding and marketing for a broadway show to creative-directing the planning of a small eco-city in the ukraine. we tend to gravitate towards projects that make our lives more interesting, not ones that simply make our company profitable. it is a luxury afforded us by a life considered and a team of designers the world over for whom experiences will always trump design.

    an apartment is where you live. an apartment is where you do all the things in your life that matter, where you cook, read, sleep, listen to music, make sweet, sweet love, watch movies, talk, blog and get dressed, among other things. most importantly, it is the place that you shape so that it may function, look and feel like you. funny thing, that’s exactly what the apartment does! i co-dreamed of the apartment with my partner gina alvarez first in 1999 as an experiment in retail as theater which would offer an alternative to the design stores that operated (and still do) as art galleries. design always felt to us a part of daily life and needed to be shown that way! soon after we opened the doors to our public apartment, where everything curated, from toothpaste to sofas to sandwiches, was for sale, we realized we could do more than barter our lives an object at a time for money. we realized that people, whom we would shortly call clients, wanted complete experiences, for their homes, their offices, their brands. the creative agency was born. our new york-based office imagines and builds such experiences using the tools of architecture, design, branding, marketing and technology, fully integrated for the simple reason that it is how life is built. born from our need to consider our lives, bit by bit, little by little, thoroughly, absolutely, we tackle projects as wide-ranging in scope as the conceptualization of an 8-story museum and the redesign of a line of home-cleaning products. the apartment‘s and my goal stand the same: to tell a good story, with a beginning, middle and end, even if not necessarily in that order; to invent, always.

    but not just… fact is, and this is none the more apparent than in the news delivered hourly in our various inboxes, most creative people, be we architects, filmmakers or poets, keep adding to a world that we couldn’t be more vocally vehement about cleaning up. the often damning dichotomy of our innovative endeavors is that, as much as we want more beautiful things, songs and ideas to surround us and impress our friends with, we cannot deny that most new objects, new musical journeys and new reaches into the conceptual future will, eventually, find themselves sitting atop a garbage heap, abandoned and lonely. for our imagined expectations to not only be made real but also last, we must do better, we must subtract, we must look at systems, not just equipment, we must do what the word dictates: design, not merely decorate.

    at the apartment, every one of our creative partners around the world understands this superlatively-so, for they know that it is neither their skill with a mouse nor their ability to design beautifully nor even their sense of taste that got them hired here; they know they were chosen for who they are, not what they do. that they are talented goes without saying but, most importantly, they provide us with perspectives unknown. their lives nourish their work, not the other way around, which in turn nourish our clients by offering far-flung multiplicity, looking at problems from new points of reference, examining opportunities with eyes and minds unencumbered by yesterday’s methods, viewing every set of circumstances as a possibility for new and bespoke meaning. that is why we prize culture above all else.

    thing is, as i look at it, we evolved from ape to australopithecus to cro-magnon to modern man and, in all that time, haven’t significantly reconsidered most of our tools. even though there have been more advances in the last hundred years than in the last million, we still borrow the methods of those who have come before us and dare not rebel, dare not dream that there might be a different conversation worth having. we are so caught up in the results that we rarely ever pause to wonder if the process may hold a key to a different, more efficient door. and when we do, the procedure of habit-changing is so slow that it can span generations. the apartment believes that the way out of this conundrum is to begin with meaning, intention, passion, in a word, people, not decoration. then, support the development of systems that can allow the former to flourish without having to unlearn and learn again. we design from the meaningful up, not from the stylish down.

    ironically, curiosity, the very trait that often detours humans down the easier path, is what we need to get started again to find the just one. that which leads us to create, not re-create, invent, not re-invent. that which necessitates that we put ourselves in danger, perhaps feel uncomfortable and take leaps without knowing whether there is sure footing on the other side and see what comes out. that is how we tackle every new project, every new concept, every new moment, on your behalf. with such an approach, we are not afraid to deconstruct anything, the big or small problems at the root of which considered and willful design always guides us towards relevant solutions. design, it has probably been over-said, is how something works, not how it looks. and i tend to agree, but for this anecdotal caveat: about his juicy salif, somebody once challenged philippe starck, specifically about its apparent lack of usability. he responded, well, i designed it because, one day, it will probably be gifted by a son-in-law to his girlfriend’s mother who haven’t talked much in the past. she probably thinks of him as a slacker and he of her as an “adult.” she’ll open it in the kitchen and they’ll put it up on the counter. and she is going to say “wow, this is interesting. what is it?…” that juicer is going to make a conversation happen. about a juicer, granted, but they will have one nonetheless which may be the beginning of a relationship that wasn’t there before. if design must be ascribed a mission at all, that is one i can approve of: to start conversations that weren’t there before.

    that is what we propose to do for you, the clients, the people with ideas and the willingness to execute them, use all of the above principles to imagine the expression of said ideas, of who you have become and how you want to help. in order to do so, we must first immerse ourselves in your culture, understand your motivation, dig deep within your purpose in an approach perhaps more akin to that of a behavioral detective than that of an architect. then will come the application of the findings to the physical plane, the shape of which shall be as unique as you are.

    as you can see in the theaptWORKS above, thinking this way for the past 10 years has served our patrons well. from building homes, offices and restaurants, to launching automobiles and developing new brands, we look for the unusual and the unusual always finds us.

    for more of what life looks like at the apartment, come back here often and please visit:


    i hope this clears that up… and, as usual, have a wonderful week!

    June 4, 2010


    drawn back into the long asian arms of the chosun peninsula,
    divad q. nead solos a saturday into submission, visiting tokujin yoshioka’s spectrum show at the
    museum beyond museum in the heart of chungdam,
    seoul’s haute interior design district.

    straight from the likes of krypton come korea, i arrived
    at the theban entrance of the museum, itself a faux-esque
    limestone maw, nestled on a short corner in high/tight
    southeast seoul just an hour shy of spring rainfall. having
    already primed myself for the showing on a stroll through
    the interior design halles of gangnam and apgujeong, i
    steadied myself on the porch of an adjacent eatery, sipping
    cold local beer, mulling david lehman’s examination of the
    new york avant-garde, followed by udong noodles, pickled
    sorts. the femme behind the ticket booth glass, as many girls
    do when confined to tight spaces in this heralded land of tech,
    passed me my ticket through a slot whilst she nodded politely
    and returned to her tv on a mobile phone, 2.5 inch diameter
    screens are the metaphorical johnson, replacing the schvantz
    as the demi-attenton-getter for girls under 30.


    the exterior of seoul’s museum beyond museum stood out of place
    amongst modest-modish urban structures seemingly updated
    in a fierce whipping of style to match the now very radially-up
    gallery gate to heaven. ascending the stairs on a solid beer
    buzz/belly of noodle, for one never meets st. pete on empty,
    two magenta orchids threw my attention from the falling drops
    of pre-rain, to the massive diagonal of the staircase walls. it’s
    as if i’d entered the world’s greatest periodontist office, feeling as
    though i passed through two perfectly white anterior teeth, the gap
    between so lauren hutton, just enough to squeeze through ego
    intact. at the peak of the staircase, you feel that the sixties uss
    enterprise doors, split in rectangle, would open you into the bridge on
    the enterprise, and they do, as a motion sensor welcomes your presence.


    your collective design jaws [denmark, detox, décolletage] drop at the
    sight of the ‘rainbow church’, standing a mere twenty paces, seeming
    more at that, from your cut into the exhibit. not a soul to be seen
    between my vantage and the figure of prisms, the initial sight itself
    was akin to my first waterfall, or the arching plume of exploding light
    one receives from a clenched fist to the temple – stars. standing nine
    meters in a column of 500 prisms, the piece doesn’t so much daunt
    the onlooker as it does draw one into it, poltergeist t.v., hypnotists eyes.
    adjoining walls painted i-pod white reach to the same height as the
    piece and are canted to a trapezoid angle, further enhancing the strong
    magnetism of the prism monolith. struck second by the ambient music,
    coming from all directions, i took careful, wet steps into the structure,
    doing the best to owl-turn my head, catching the angles, straight white.


    an attendant chatted me as i read the plate of details, complimented by
    a crayola-come-matisse sketch of the ‘church’ itself drawn right onto the wall
    in primary colors by yoshioka. as this was late saturday, i was privy to the exhibit sans
    a body or two stepping from room to room. the bent straw tornadoes and
    whorls curled around support columns with torrential effect. jor’el’s crystal
    throne, or so i dubbed it immediately, rested in its case, a testament to
    crack rock chic if i ever. the attendant said it grew in an aquarium, while
    i thought of breaking bad, pop rocks, and the mexico’s vaunted treasure,
    cueva de los cristales. a man who dreams of seats made of crystal is both
    a: utterly japanese b: a natty geographic fanboy. not once did i find these pieces the
    work of a singular artist, as i would a de kooning or a newman,


    no – this exhibit runs more along the lines of science meets a milanese
    blonde in an osaka motel & made babies. the ‘waterfall’ pieces, themselves
    epic works of science meeting art, were culled using a platinum encased
    glassmaking process which probably requires the supervision of an entire
    wing of nasa’s hubble lens wrecking crew. yoshioka is no stranger to stellar
    lenses and clear constructions, having already blessed the facades of kartell
    and swarovski, along with a cartier bottle and hermés. of his advanced work
    with the clear, quick, and dead space he states, in an article feature on dezeen
    ‘i don’t set out to mimic nature; it happens unconsciously.’ in that, yoshioka cuts
    through to a question which held me throughout my quick, but long enough
    stop at the exhibit – how has wood persevered, and to that, concrete, as a go-to
    material for the world’s resting places? upon seeing my first kartell ghost over
    a year ago, instantly recalling norman mailer’s hatred for plastics, i began sifting
    the likes of my colonial pinch for seats and tables, opting always first for wood
    in the kitchen, concrete for the pillars. are the prisms and the clear lenses of
    yoshioka’s compositions something of a long awaited player in the wings,
    a homecoming for the house of the future, or are we simply struck by another
    advanced japanese mind determined to redefine the nature of our lazy baby blues?


    stepping out of the exhibit after shaking hands with the attendant, who actually
    gave me a secret solo smoke show in front of the prism wall, saved for larger
    crowds i gather, the rain came down in force, each drop itself a prism, itself a
    semblance of formlessness encased in the gloves of gravity – puddles on
    the sidewalk, water in my eyes. i waved to the ticket girl, and made my way
    out into a semi-wet seoul saturday night, out for drinks.



    May 17, 2010

    oped-new7last friday started in new york city the yearly procession of those with little to say and ample stage time to proclaim it. that’s right, the international contemporary furniture fair is back within the grasp of those looking for cheap swill and rotation moulding to spill it over. now, don’t get me wrong, i find nothing dishonorable in setting up a design wares market in every corner of the world where each and every individual with ideas, regardless of color, creed or liquor sponsorship can rightly present them to an over-enthusiastic and willful audience in order to make a living. but that is rarely what happens at these things… take it from someone who has consistently thrown one of the most attended events of the week in the past, believed his own hype but been so repelled by it so violently in the past 2 years that he preferred to stay away. and he, i mean me. our last attempt was, in my opinion, the clearest, and certainly most disgusting, of all in trying to articulate our distaste for all things ephemeral and unneeded presented at the fair. also, for all itinerant sponsor-drinking people who do nothing but interni party hop and notice none of the displayed efforts. every year evolves, in my not-so-humble opinion, in the wrong direction and keeps furthering no other agenda than that of increased consumption, something we are given little reasonable excuse to engage in. other than pure weakness for all that is beautiful, cool as defined by others and status-enhancing that is. so as hard as you may be looking for my expanding gut within the folds of overcrowded “design spaces” in the hopes of punching me in the face, no such opportunity will come your way i’m afraid as i am neither throwing a bash nor attending others’. my apologies in advance for your loss…

    inasmuch as you’ve already gotten my acerbic point of view on, ahem, the state of design last year at this opportune time and since said state has not changed an iota, i won’t repeat myself and instead apply my award-winning wit to another aspect of what is happening this and every such week: the coverage.

    let me start by appointing myself and as a lowly limb in the body i am about to flagellate because i am as much as fault as any design commentator of the day… i want to address the pundits, the fans, the observers, the assigned anchormen and women who crowd the air and microwaves with unconsidered banter, misplaced adoration and borrowed vocabulary. this is my plea to you, and it is a rather simple one:

    please do a better job…

    whoever you are, blog writer with a million hits a month or magazine columnist with an international readership, please do not feel obliged to report, hashtag, post or over-sensationalize that cactus chair just because it is there. please don’t tumbl, flickr, yfrog or twitpic that accordion lamp just because everybody else tagged it as “favorite” yesterday. please don’t tell me, again tonight, that you can’t wait for the vitra, kartell, moss or designboom party just because your name’s on a list of some sort and you’re totally meeting everybody there. fact is, most of what you’re blurrycaming today will be on top of tomorrow’s pile of the forgotten, unfit for your house, or mine. and you know it. but just because technology has made it so easy to document, and easy for us to feel important doing so since we hence believe ourselves “part of something,” we are unable to edit. which i understand, just follow me on twitter and marvel at my absolute inability to apply my own advice. but i feel stronger about my industry that i do about my lifecasting, and that is because, the less we edit our vision of it, the less it serves the world of taste it is, i suppose, our full intention to better. the more we use vocabulary whose consequences we do not care about, the more harmful the result. when you leave the hallowed yet deformed halls of the jacob javitz center, please don’t tell me you are inspired… by what? whom? how?! educate me! i have marathoned through those aisles for 10 years now and never found anything inspiring! unless we disagree on the definition. unless it inspires not to do. i may be able to understand one’s ability to find interest in a designer’s slightly new way of crafting a supposedly ironic ceramic milk carton but come on, inspiring? i think not.

    all i am asking is for said narrators to mind their words and reports. i would like to see critical eyes looking at this and other fairs without any of the obvious cheerleading which dumbs down conversation to insignificant admiration of whatever has made it to the booths. we owe it to ourselves not to applaud the merely there but the extraordinary, whatever that may mean for us. it is all too seemingly clear that many, under the cozy protection of “reportage,” use their power and audience to fill digital and paper columns with shrill assertions as to an object’s worth to simply make an act of presence on whatever medium they have chosen. our opinions are louder when few and far between. our words hit stronger when labored over patiently. our readers are thankful when we deliver on our promises of artful judgment. which cannot be fulfilled when i see 10 tweets about this shit! not that our industry, as every one, couldn’t use the support of its pundits but i fear that we might create a monster, based merely on unremarkable yet loud achievements, control over which will quickly be lost forever. i don’t want to name names here but you know who you are karim rashid. don’t do it for me, do it for the kids who will eventually ask you why their house is so full of crap perhaps only worthy of junk shooting into a spewing underwater oil leak precipitated by greedy corporations and their under-zealous regulators in a naive attempt to stop the very raw material used to manufacture said crap. i, for one, want to stop complaining about how filled with shit my house is, based in large part to my unflinching obedience to you curators of design. you, we, have a responsibility to our audience to do a better job of now considering our field mature enough for some more stringent editing. it’s ok, it will only encourage the unchosen to do better themselves. it’s ok, especially if we are deserving of the hits, the RTs, the interviews. it’s ok not to give whatever this might be, any publicity. these are objects of mass consumption, not golden idols to worship; let’s put them, and ourselves, in their place.

    i do not think it too much or arrogant to be asked to do the job we are so lucky to have created out of thin air, precisely. as we do not answer to anyone, so must we to ourselves. i will attempt to live by my own words and i would love to hear from you, my dear colleagues, about how this request shall be answered. have a less-than-designed week!

    April 12, 2010

    oped-new7it was on this date 10 years ago that i first packed my bags to fly away to the famed salone internazionale del mobile, an event of gargantuan proportions in the club i had just feigned membership into with the opening of the apartment design store. i was told that i could not miss milan’s design fair if i wanted to be significant at all within the ranks of said elite community. these were good times, like the ones i’d heard about from france, during which entrepreneurs like myself granted ourselves permission to “invest in our growth” as we called it so as not to alarm the accountants. and so on we went, from first class alitalia, and discovering it was no better that coach delta, to our first taste of melt-in-your-mouth bufala, the trip became much more than a matter of mere trade show attendance, but rather a pilgrimage to a land where quality of life was not a pursuit, just the way. from lunching and shopping at 10 corso como to nighttime debauchery at plastic, the journey soon became a blur. supposed to focus on designers and their wares, our time was rather quickly filled with the golden triangle and the myriad restaurants and other places of capitalistic sin previously listed in this here column from last year.

    but you know what? it would probably be much better to actually see it happening instead of reading me telling you how amazing it used to be. well, as luck would have, it, i just unearthed my very first travelogue, heretofore never seen by anyone but its participants. it was only our second year in the italian design capital and it was quite a treat. it would be my first foray in committing audiovisual to digital memory so the pace is slow, the editing tentative (in iMovie 1!) and the storyline is approximate at best but here it is…

    we were so young all of us, gina, sébastien, martin, manoune and the usual cast of characters of the yearly fuckfest. good times… not had for a few years now. the thing is that this video could very well have been captured at the show this year as nothing ever changes in design; the people still drink free swill at another chair’s launch party and the actual fair, unless you’re there to publicize yourself, has nothing to offer that you can’t find a few minutes later on MoCoLoCo. apart from the bufala-to-go of course…

    good times indeed. have a wonderful week!

    March 12, 2010

    wallpaper-firsti remember this issue! remember?… that’s the day my life changed. and i’m neither being facetious nor exaggerating. when in october 1996, i picked the first wallpaper magazine, founded by the always accented tyler brulé, i felt so many parts of what i believed to be my vision of existence come together. superficial? perhaps, but certainly useful to a kid in film school whose love of, and extreme interest in, global culture, could not met by any person, place or media at the time. enter this bound-to-fail publication that seemingly looked at design, fashion and travel but actually was a declaration of principles for a demographic yet to be determined. since then, we have identified ourselves as world-hungry sophisticates for whom one magazine certainly is not enough anymore but there it was, first in a long and rich history which has taught us about beauty but, and perhaps more importantly, about its meaning in our lives. relish all the covers from day 1 on the web or come visit, i still have every single issue…

    March 11, 2010

    landscapes-of-quarantineas you may knoe, i am a bit of a bldgblog fanboy. i feel like the man makes me smarter with every new publish. which is why i urge you to check his landscapes of quarantine exhibit at theaptFRIENDS storefront for art and architecture. much like the post that inspired it, i guarantee an epically clostrogoodtime. and you can’t trademark that, i already did. go!