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Saturday, October 29, 2011


Say Ooooh! to these glass beauties from Quebec based Thinkglass. They create glass that combines exceptional depth and repetitive textures with LED technology that will blow your mind!! The texture of the glass is so powerful that it reminds you of natural stratified rock. See these pics below:

Randomn Ice


Using a proprietary method of fusing glass in their custom made kilns, their unique glass slabs can go up to 4-inches thick and have a variety of edges, textures and underlayments. I haven't seen glass countertops like this before!
4 inch thick countertop
Reminiscent of Bora Bora's luminescent waters where I vacationed on my honeymoon, I fell in love with this gorgeous crystal colored thick slab of glass that glows from within. To get this radiant glow, Thinkglass embeds powerful LED's.

Backlit countertop
As we all know today's LED technology provides a variety of light colors and can create light shows via a remote control with special effects such as flashing and fading lights. Imagine entertaining guests in a dim-lit setting and all of a sudden your table transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors? How cool!

To top it all off, their glass is non-porous, scratch resistant and easy to clean. Perfectly chic and functional for a residential application! Pricing will range from depending on the size of your project.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fiberous Sculptures

Looped Textile

OMG, I have never seen anything like this, so powerful and soft to the touch!!

Shown at Ralph Pucci International, New York City, fashion designer and fiber artist Dana Barnes presents her latest work, UNSPUN:Tangled and Fused.

Hanging from walls, creeping down columns and lying on the floor are over-scaled textile art pieces. These sculptural organic wonders are an amazing manipulation of unspun felted wool executed by knotting, twisting, looping, tangling, twisting and braiding. They look so heavy, how does she weave them, dye them and get them out of the washing machines? 

Pulling inspiration from ancient fisherman techniques and nature, she references thick crop fields, nobby aged oak trees and interlocked Spanish moss that you would see down South. Oh, I believe she is from Atlanta, makes sense! Though interestingly enough, her unique and innovative felting process was originally developed as a practical solution to NYC loft living inorder to muffle the pitter-patter of her young daughters' feet. Can relate to that!!

See examples of this incredible craft:

In Knots Fiber Wall

Shorn Knotted Floor Cozy

Tangled Ceiling Installation

Felted Column

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Corning's Home of the Future

Ever wonder how we have internet, twitter, e-mail, pay at home TV or u-tube videos? It is because 40 years ago Corning invented the low-loss optical fiber that ignited the communications revolution that forever changed the world. These optical fibers are hair thin strands of pure glass containing mirrors inside the inner core of the fiber so it can transport data thru a tunnel of light. Corning's innovation has positioned itself as the leader in specialty glass, ceramics and optical fibers. The combination has enabled voice, data and video communication literally at the speed of light.

Currently the world is connected thru optical fiber technology. Whats next? Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Smart Mirror which questioned how will tomorrow’s software and technologies transform how we work, play, and communicate in our own homes.  Well, get this! A few years ago, Corning released the below video which had given us a sneek peek at the potential of what glass surfaces in our homes could do. What they reveal is as innovative as the magic mirror! Touch a glass appliance or a glass wall surface and you will be able to read up on the daily news or review your daily calendar, pick up email, enlarge or draw on digital photographs with your finger, chat or video conference with your friends. Optical fiber technologies will also enable walls to change into three dimensional movies transporting us into other worlds. Imagine if your kids are studying marine life, within a touch of button, your family could be amongst whales and coral.  The 1953 novel Farenheit 451 had described these wall televisions that take up three of the four walls in a room. But Ray Bradbury was not applauding technology but focusing on how television destroys societies interest in reading.  Perhaps tomorrow's designers, architects and contractors,who have not been exposed or challenged to incorporate these kinds of technologies yet, will have to figure out the right balance as we forge ahead into the 21st century.

CLICK below video:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Architectural Light

This very cool looking light fixture by Canadian designer Lukas Peet caught my attention. It has an unique architectural shape and literally hangs from its electrical cord like a piece of jewelry would hang from a necklace. No surprise since he says he is inspired by his father Rudi Peet, a Goldsmith and Jewelry designer. This contemporary and innovative pendant uses energy efficient natural sunshine and dimmable T8 fluorescent bulbs. When illuminated the color of the pale textured yellow or 24 karat gold leaf adds to its surroundings. When it finally gets on the market, I think it would look fantastic in multiple rows over a contemporary table!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

'Smart' Mirror

What is innovation? I think Innovation = creativity + implementation. The ingredients of innovation are people, their needs, technology and business. You can have a great idea but how do you put it into action? The world is changing at a furious pace and today’s physicists, technologists and designers are empathetic to people’s needs and are looking for ways to integrate internet technologies into the home of the future. You will be surprised at what they are cooking up in their laboratories. For example, Microsoft and New York Times Research & Development Lab have both been working on the “Smart Mirror.” Like the fairytale, “mirror, mirror on the wall” can provide you with all kinds of information built from Kinect motion-sensing technology. The magic mirror turns into a screen of information by reading physical cues from its user and by using voice recognition. You can get the daily NY Times news, check email or calendar, use it to go shopping or check on your social networks. Below, the picture on the left shows how the screen recognizes prescriptions and off-the-shelf drugs and lists  directions for use.

The picture on the right shows how the mirror has the ability to track your body and overlay clothes if you can’t decide what to wear on that particular day. How cool is that? If the technology can mock up an outfit for its user, then can the technology make suggestions for your teeth or skin? Does your teeth need whitening? Can it detect the onset of tooth decay? Can it detect skin blemishes or suggest the right creams or makeup to conceal skin?  What about cancer of the skin? Not presently; however,"the field of photonics (use of the photon, cousin of the electron) can be used to advance these concepts using the colors of light scattered and emitted from people's skin or teeth says,"Robert Alfano, Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering at C.C.N.Y.  The future photonic screen has the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine by improving a persons healthcare and possibly offering communication with a health professional. FIOS has already started to enter the home using fiber optic cables which is one of the key elements of photonics where light travels into fibers similar to water flowing thru pipes. Are you listening Corning, GE,Texas Instruments, Phillips, IBM ,Olympus and Verizon?  I am sure there are endless possibilities for this technology in medi-photonics and its cross-over into the world of architecture. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pre -War apartment renovation

Hey MDG,

I follow your posts, and wonder if you'd be willing to answer a few questions. I'm just about to buy a new apartment in the city. It's a pre-war co-op on the UWS, and will require a lot of work -which I won't be able to afford to do all at once.. I'm trying to figure out "who" I need to help me. I need someone to knock down walls between kitchen,maids rm and living room, repair old wood floors, paint replace moldings, door frames, and window casements . I also want to bury wires, take care of electrical, etc. Do I need a general contractor? Do I need an architect? Do I need to meet with a kitchen designer? Will these people come to the apartment and consult? Should I expect to pay for consultations? Is there any way I'd want to hire the workers myself, to avoid paying a general contractor's premium? Any advice?
Best, Stacy


Thanks for following my blog and emailing the mailbag!
How exciting to renovate a New York City Prewar apartment! Looks extremely charming! Has great bones!! 

Pre- war apartments can have unusual floor plans and space limitations so I understand why you want to open up the kitchen, adjacent maids room and living room. This will definitely expand your space and make the apartment feel larger. Be aware, when you start to open up walls you may run into some pesky surprises like unwanted wiring, plumbing, or structural elements that may create design challenges. For this reason, I think it is important to hire a general contractor/architect team or design/build contractor to help solve these kinds of challenges. It’s a bad idea to hire different remodeling people and try to run the job yourself!!

The architectural portion of your renovation doesn’t sound like it really requires a GC/architect which separates design and construction and can get costly. Since you have a tight budget, you may be better off with a Design/build contractor. Design-build ties the architect contractually with the contractor and holds the contractor responsible for the entire project. They can provide the whole package: design, construction, installation, finishing flooring, moldings, etc. and coordinate all aspects of your project. It’s advisable if your contractor can give you a fixed price, a written job description, a contract and a completion date in writing (maybe impossible but you can try). When contractors get busy, they tend to disappear from construction sites. Also you should know your contractor should also be lead paint certified. The EPA now requires contractors to follow safe work practices around lead paint in buildings built before1970. So you know, this new regulation increases your demolition costs. Annoying, right!

Living in a cooperative, you need to consult your coop board. Most coop boards will not allow alterations that change building main systems (mechanical, electrical, structural). But your renovation doesn’t sound like it would. Once the board gives you its blessing, your GC will know what permits are required for the job. Some guidelines to follow: The DOB does require permits to take down walls, move electrical and relocate plumbing. All the other cosmetic work you plan to do doesn't require a permit: re-finishing your wood floors, replacing casement windows, replace moldings, replace doors and painting.

To find a reputable contractor, start off by asking the coop board for recommendations of people in the building who have done renovations and were happy with the quality of work. Then you will also have a contractor that is familiar with the building and its rules. I will see if I can get some recommendations for you as well. The contractors I typically deal with are not in New York City. You should get 3 contractor bids and know that their consultation time to bid your project is at no cost to you!

If you hire a design-build contractor, they can also take care of the kitchen design and cabinetry design. I would recommend you work with your contractor on an early kitchen design layout while you are in the design development phase. Are you moving appliances around? If so you may want to reconsider doing the kitchen earlier than planned. Moving appliances to new locations affects plumbing and electrical. You will want this done while you are knocking down walls. If you do not plan to move around appliances, then you can pull in the kitchen designer (whoever you choose) later after the construction is done.

I hope I have been helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me again.

Good luck,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Transparent concrete

My Scientist Dad is an innovator and a pioneer in the application of light and photonics technology, a forward thinker. He instilled in me to do more than what is expected, and to push the envelope. Not surprisingly over the weekend we were discussing new technologies for architecture and he asked me, “Can light transmit thru concrete? “ I thought to myself-how ridiculous. But he was already on Google ready to prove me wrong. He typed in Transparent Concrete. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In 2001, a Hungarian architect named Aron Losonczi already invented a light transmitting concrete. The translucent concrete block is now being manufactured by a Hungarian company named LiTracon.

What does this mean for the future of buildings? Cement can light up a room? You will be able to see images and objects behind concrete blocks? A concrete wall can essentially disappear? YES, as seen in these pictures! I am very excited about this!  This is just the beginning of endless possibilities for interior and exterior applications!!!

Litracon concrete blocks basically is a blend of optical glass fibers with concrete. The fibers become a component of the concrete since they act like small pieces of aggregate. These blocks are suitable for floors, pavements and load bearing walls.  See pic below with shadows of trees behind:

And Get this, earlier this week architect Aron Losonczi gave a public lecture at the National Building Museum concerning his revolutionary product. If I had known about the lecture, I would have loved to have met him and peruse the current exhibition at the musuem entitled Liquid Stone: New architecture in concrete which features a five foot tall Litracon wall.

Not only does LiTracon concrete have the capabilites to transmit light and revolutionize the building and design industry, but it will help save energy and better our planet!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Netherlands repurposed plane hotel

FAVE of the week:

How would you like to experience a weekend away at a converted 1960 German airplane in Teuge Airport, Netherlands? The Cold war-era repurposed plane hotel hosts modern amenities like 24/7 hostess, sauna and jucuzzi, and 3 flat screens and who knows what else?

Cudos to the Dutch company Hotelsuites for one more step towards saving the environment as this plane would have been kicked to the curbside for dumping.

The untouched cockpit takes you back into the Cold war era.

The Installation is modern and chic.

This is a one of kind hotel!!