your design portfolio: listen to the cool kids



Now that tech designers have become the cool kids, they have a thing or two to say about, well, everything design. And considering the way tech is booming, the rest of us who design pretty much anything should probably be listening. Whether you are looking for work at a tech start-up or an architectural firm, the cool kids have some great advice. Pretty pictures aren’t enough to get you through the door anymore.

Ben Blumenfeld put together a great list for Fast Company. Here’s a modified version for those of us in the architectural design community.

  1. Include quality over quantity: Include high quality projects and the context surrounding them. More projects isn’t necessarily better. The projects you include need to tell your story without sidetracking a potential employer (do you really want to explain why the lighting isn’t well done on that otherwise awesome project?)
  2. Include a LOT of information about the projects in your portfolio: project background and context, your role, the work itself and process, success metrics, what you would have done differently.
  3. More info about your PROCESS: how did you get from problem to solution?
  4. Don’t skimp on visuals.
  5. Side projects: what do you do (creatively) when you’re not working? Employers hire all of you, so show off the 5-9 as well as the 9-5.
  6. Create an online portfolio, but carry a hard copy as well. I was at a job site last week working with a tile contractor. He was trying to describe something and pulled out a bound book he’d created with detailed images of several completed projects. We looked through and were able to talk through a solution based on his photographs. Presuming his finished work impresses me as much as his problem solving, I’ll certainly recommend him again.

So my next project is to re-create my own online portfolio. Give me a couple of weeks then check it out. In the meantime, how is yours looking?

Keep in touch,

dear restaurateur….whine

Dear restaurateur, The good people at Consumer Reports surveyed 1003 people (I know, why 1003?), in March of this year to find out what customers gripe about when it comes to restaurants. And very few of the gripes are about the food….so listen up! Most of your customers’ complaints are very very fixable. Here they are in order, […]

summer food palettes

It’s summer, meaning I need to plan the menu for the hubby/daughter birthday barbecue. And I’m in the mood to build palettes ( as always), so this is me combining the two. If you click on the photo it will take you to the recipe. This menu features a few of my favorite go to recipes every summer….especially that creamsicle recipe!

Watermelon Daiquiri

drink image courtesy

drink image courtesy

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

food-bbq chick

bbq image courtesy

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Slaw

slaw image courtesy

slaw image courtesy

Nectarine Creamsicles with Rose Water


Seriously, the creamsicles. So easy and so delicious. You’re going to want to save some room for those…and maybe decorate your kitchen to match since you’ll be wanting to make them all the time!

I’m out tomorrow surveying a job, back next week. Have a great weekend!


water by design


water glass

Here in California we know all about water shortages. We are in the midst of the worst drought so far in my lifetime and while some of us have let our lawns go brown, others are still washing their cars at the curb and letting all of that precious liquid wash down the sewers. Water companies are begging us to cut usage by 20% under threat of raised rates. Even still, every time I turn on a tap the water flows, and we have two working toilets in my house. Not so for millions of people around the world who lack access to clean water. And according to, more people in the world own a cell phone than a toilet. Women worldwide spend more than 200 million hours per day collecting water. Organizations like are helping communities to build wells and sanitation facilities. UTEC in Peru created a billboard that pulls water from the atmosphere for consumption by the local community.

There are also designers working at a more human scale to solve some of the world’s daily water issues with lower tech solutions. Architects Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler of the Italian firm Architecture and Vision developed “warkawater 2′, a water tower for use in Ethiopia where water resources are often hours from home and frequently contaminated. The 30′ tower made of bamboo and netted fabric harvests water droplets from the air, collecting daily more than 25 gallons of potable water in the basin at the base. The structure can be built using mostly local materials and local labor in a matter of about a week and requires no complicated engineering to build or maintain. Images courtesy

Vestergaard, a ‘humanitarian entrepreneurship business’ that makes money while doing good developed LifeStraw, a straw that purifies water as it is drawn. These straws purify a minimum of 1000 litres of water removing bacteria and micro-organisms that result from dirt, animal feces and poor sanitation. The devices are useful when water is available but unclean. At Water is Life, a non-profit that survives on donations, they developed a straw that functions differently but with the same results. It is worn around the neck and purifies about 800 litres of water after which it clogs and ceases to function.

Newer than the straw solutions, Water is Life teamed with Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to produce a book that not only teaches users about water hygiene and safety, its pages also work as filters to provide clean water for up to 4 years. And the book costs only pennies to produce.

So as we in drought prone areas of the developed world work to minimize the vast water resources we consume, there are those who could use some of that water you let wash down the drain while you are brushing your teeth. Fortunately there are some brilliant design minds working on these problems. Bravo!

Keep in touch,


dear design school grad


The best career advice I ever got was from my first year design instructor. She told me to find another major because I wouldn’t make it in interior design. She didn’t think I was good enough. I don’t know if she actually intended this as good advice or if she was just an old be-atch, but if not for her advice, and the follow-up advice that I got from my senior seminar instructor a few years later, I would be waiting tables at some old coffee shop right now.

Over the course of the last twenty years, I’ve spent many hours with people considering interior design as a career or who have just graduated and want to know what to do next. So here are a few tips from the trenches (well at least the trench that I work from).

1. If design doesn’t feed your soul, don’t do it.

I had a degree in french and was a senior in the marketing program at my university when I switched to design. One day in my senior year when I was slogging through yet another marketing plan my sis suggested I check out interior design. Not wanting to choose colors and pick furniture as a career I shrugged the idea off at first, then finally interviewed some instructors in the department as well as working professionals. What I heard sparked a fire in me that I couldn’t articulate and hadn’t felt before. So based on my gut reaction, I added another two years to my college career and made the switch. I still can’t articulate the feeling, but I do know that if I am not creating, drawing and solving problems that create better lives for my clients, I don’t breathe as well. That old instructor who told me I wasn’t good enough clearly didn’t understand me (or design)…and her lack of faith pushed me to prove her wrong so that I could keep breathing.

2. There are no shortcuts.

When you graduate you won’t be designing the next cover project for Interior Design Magazine. You will be creating presentation boards (meaning you’ll be gluing pretty pictures and pieces of fabric to cardboard), putting amazing documents together that show other people’s designs to their best effect, putting together finish schedules, specifying furnishings that someone else chose, cleaning up the conference room, basically making other people’s jobs easier. This is the path. Study hard, learn the amazing computer programs that are available to you and offer these skills every chance you get, when you finish a task ask for another, expect to work long hours when a deadline is approaching and don’t make plans the evening before a presentation….you will have to cancel. I began my career in small design firms so that I was exposed to the full breadth of design projects. My projects weren’t spectacular (small office spaces, very basic tenant improvement work), but I learned how to run a project from start to finish. If you choose to begin your career for one of the larger firms, you may work on more prestigious projects, but you will do a smaller piece of them. You know your personality, so move in the direction that best fits who you are. And whatever you do, do it well. The devil truly is in the details…mess up the details and the senior designers in your firm won’t want you on their projects. During my senior seminar I had a conversation with my instructor that I’ve never forgotten. I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have the crazy out-there conceptualizing skills of one of my classmates. He told me that if he had to choose, he would hire me over her because I had skills that were marketable and that he could use. I could draw and write, my communication skills were excellent, and I enjoyed working down to the details. He counseled me to grow these concrete skills whenever I had the opportunity.

3. You are a problem solver first….never forget that.

Pretty isn’t the highest priority. Your first job is to solve your client’s problem, and before you can do that you must understand what the problem is. Every project begins with programming and if this isn’t done well, your design will fail. Before you even begin asking programming questions, you need to research your client and understand their business, how they work, what their employees do moment to moment and day to day, who their customers are. If this is a residential project you need to understand how your client family lives and what makes them feel comfortable, at home, happy. How they entertain and whether they love the outdoors or prefer a cozy fire inside. Then ask educated questions about the specific project and figure out how your design can fulfill their need and solve their problem. When I’m doing a restaurant project I need to understand my client’s business. If they are a full service restaurant, the operation will look very different from a fast casual lunch place. And if they are cooking three meals their kitchen will require more space than if they make sandwiches. Once you have solved the problem, then make it pretty…aesthetics are important, just not the first order of business.

4. Learn all you can before you begin and then learn some more.

There are certificate programs and short degree courses. Take the long course. Design is not just color theory and lighting science, it is a way of looking at the world. The only way to get there is to take the long course…and understand that there is no end. In order to create successful design you will need to understand the world as it grows and changes. Keep reading, talk to experts in other fields, pick the brains of the contractors and fabricators you work with, travel, take pictures. The world is an exciting place and everything you learn will make you a better designer.

5. Pretty pictures aren’t built projects.

Part of any design job, a big part, is understanding the local jurisdiction’s rules and operating procedures as well as local codes. Anyone can draw pretty pictures (well almost anyone), but can these pretty pictures be built? Learn how to research this information and the senior designers in your firm will be begging to have you on their teams. Even if this never becomes your area of expertise, know enough to ask appropriate questions as a design begins to gel. It seems to get more difficult all the time to navigate the myriad rules and regulations that sometimes feel like roadblocks, so get used to finding ways around. I learned early on (thanks to my friend Ed), that the best way to complete a project is to meet with building officials before design has even begun. Explain the project goals and ask for guidance to avoid potential bumps in the road.

So that’s my unsolicited advice….if you’d like more, feel free to contact me! And welcome to the world of design. I hope it fills your soul and makes you as happy as it makes me!

small is the new big

small is big

Small living has been getting bigger and bigger the last few years. Between slim wallets and the growing interest…and let’s be honest, dire need…to build more sustainably, the mcmansions of the last century seem to be falling out of favor. Can we all say hallelujah? (Any excuse for a little Leonard). When designers and architects are faced with constraints, it allows opportunity for some pretty impressive creativity. Four of this year’s AIA award winners for small projects are featured in FineHomebuilding and include the Fall House, designed by Fougeron Architects, along my very favorite stretch of California coastline. The three bedroom vacation home sits on the land quietly, following the natural curves of the site, and is wrapped in glass to honor the beauty outside. And to add my own bit of love to the story, it is near enough to Esalen to run on over for a quick tub in their natural spring fed hot tubs (that is if you tire of that awesome built-in glass tub).

And for the rest of us, small is growing as well. There are ‘tiny house’ blogs and websites, and it seems that every couple of months there’s another news story about a family downsizing and simplifying. Karen Baumann and her two large dogs live in 460 square feet in Marin County, one of the country’s most expensive areas. She says that living small allows her to spend less time cleaning and organizing and affords her more time and money for the things she loves like entertaining and traveling. Micro-apartments are also becoming quite the rage, especially in the most expensive cities around the globe. Curbed has a column dedicated to micro-dwellings which seem to get smaller and smaller. The smallest they’ve listed so far in San Francisco is a mere 200 square feet (that rents for a whopping $1275 per month). And in Paris these micro-apartments get even smaller. Architect Julie Nabucet’s 129 square foot apartment includes an elevated kitchen above a bed/couch in a drawer, linens that tuck away and a tiny bathroom.

This is a bit too small for anyone with, say, clothes, but somewhere between the 129 square foot apartment and the 2600 square foot average home size, is the right house for most of us who are trying to simplify and live within the means of our limited ecosystem.

I’m off to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for their quarterly night out….have a great night and keep in touch,

my disruptive life

l design disrupted

You know that I’m an interior designer specializing in restaurant design. You’ve read my bio. But you read my posts daily and wonder how does all of this writing fit with your understanding of what I actually do for a living? The answer is I’m practicing my own version of disruption.

Disruptive thinking is the term of 2014. And it follows close on the heels of design thinking. According to Fast Company, design thinking is a ‘proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results’. Disruptive thinking takes this idea a step further and in a slightly different direction. To think disruptively you must look where you haven’t looked before to find first the problem that no one has yet discovered, then solve it creatively. Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business, published in 2010, was written by Luke Williams, fellow at frog design’s New York office and an Executive Director at the NYU Stern School of Business. (frog design, if you will recall, was instrumental in helping Apple Computer create its design edge.) Luke Williams contends that finding the problem, disrupting the status quo, is the first creative step in the process. Much like scrum has transformed the way problems are viewed and solved, disruptive thinking transforms the way processes are viewed then re-defined and executed. According to Williams, there are 5 steps to disruptive thinking:

  1. Craft a disruptive hypothesis: be wrong at the start to be right at the end
  2. Discover a disruptive opportunity: explore the least obvious
  3. Generate a disruptive idea: unexpected ideas have fewer competitors
  4. Shape a disruptive solution: novelty for novelty’s sake is a resource killer
  5. Make a disruptive pitch: under prepare the obvious, over prepare the unusual

In my case, I’m at number two: discovering my opportunity. I’ve designed space for over twenty years and loved it, except the part where design separated me from the research and writing that feeds me. So on weekends and during my scarce evening hours (I am raising two kids remember), I’ve taken classes and written fiction and essays. Fun, yes, and a nice distraction, but not fulfilling. So I’ve battled with how to be both a designer and a writer for years and finally had that ah ha moment a few months ago….just do both and see where it leads! That is my Disruptive Hypothesis. I’m doing this by reading and writing every day about things that are connected with design, architecture and food. The only three things that I know for sure are that I am a designer, I am a writer and one feeds the other. By researching and writing from the perspective of a designer I am finding ways to meld the two, making me better at both.

As I continue to research and write, I learn daily about all of the possibilities out there and I get closer to disrupting the current system and finding a place we haven’t been before, a place where design and writing can work together that allows me to contribute meaningfully.

That is my very long winded answer to the many who have asked me….what do you do?

Have a great week,


thursday fun

In an effort to embrace Thursday as the new Friday, enjoy these two bits of fun. Yuma Kano is a young Tokyo designer who looks at the ordinary and makes it not so. He’s taken products as mundane as the picnic blanket, the common screw and screwdriver, the used incandescent bulb and recreated them in his own vision. Inspires me to start looking around at what could be instead of what is…..

Photos courtesy

So it’s a lovely Sunday afternoon and you have the option of going to the museum to see some really beautiful art or watching 360 people in duck suits and superman costumes slide down a huge soap covered hill on their bellies. English installation artist Luke Bellam thought that the soapy hill might prove more engaging for the Bristol community. Apparently he was right. Nearly 100,000 people signed up for the available sliding tickets. 65,000 people came to watch the sliders slide. When was the last time you saw that many people at a museum?

Luke will post instructions online for anyone to create their own urban slide…register interest on his website. Are you listening San Francisco? Sign me up to be part of the organizing committee!

Photos courtesy

See you tomorrow!

home: my prefab story

Welcome to my new garden office! Overall I’m very pleased to have such a sweet place to work, but the process was not what I expected when I ordered ‘prefab’. It’s been a long ‘5 day’ build getting the office completed and has been fraught with incorrect shipments, missing parts and not always quality workmanship. I did learn a lot and offer my newfound knowledge to anyone contemplating this process for themselves.

research your manufacturer

The photographs are great, but they won’t show you the details or explain the process. Interview people who have purchased from this manufacturer and look at several of their installations (if they are available locally…if this is a big project then travel to see installations). Talk with at least 3 previous customers and ask questions both about the quality of the finished product and about how the process went. Did everything arrive as expected and on time? Did installation take longer than expected and if so, why? What will be delivered from the manufacturer and what will be purchased locally? What parts of the building are built in the factory and what is built on site? How well did the installation team communicate with the customer? Was scheduling spelled out and adhered to? How were problems handled?


A large out-building or a residence will of course require a permit. If you are looking at a smaller out building, don’t be sold by the prefab company on a ‘permit free’ sized building. Talk to your local building department and tell them what you are planning….in detail. Find out whether a permit will be required, what type of permit(s) will be required, and what the submission requirements are in your jurisdiction. DO NOT rely on information you find on your building department’s website. Permitting could affect timing as well as the design of your building. If you are not versed in pulling building permits this may also require the help of a local designer or architect. This extra time and expense must be considered as part of your building cost. My 120′ outbuilding with electricity required a full submission (meaning I had to draw a full set of plans and drop them off at the building department for full review) and required several weeks and incurred significant permitting fees.


Understand the design of your building before you purchase. Ask for the manufacturer’s standard construction details and review them, or have someone you know who is versed in construction review them. If the manufacturer can’t provide construction details for walls, roof, millwork, etc. and specification sheets for doors, windows, lighting, hardware and other accessories, don’t make your down payment until they can provide these standard details and specifications. At this point in the process the manufacturer won’t be able to provide details specific to your project, but they can and should be able to provide you with whatever is standard. If you want something customized, discuss in detail the customization and find out how it will be handled. Is this something that will be done in the factory? Will it be customized in the field? Who will be responsible to oversee the customization and how is it communicated?


Most of the prefab manufacturers tout their ‘green’ products. Find out what they mean by green and how much they really know about building sustainably. Much of this process is hidden from the consumer so you must rely on the manufacturer’s disclosures. Although the manufacturer I went with bragged (mostly appropriately) about their ‘green’ product, I realized early on that their knowledge of sustainable construction was limited. I wanted my building sited to use to best advantage passive solar principles, something that confounded the manufacturer until the building was constructed and they saw the wisdom of the siting. In order to accomplish this I had to flip the design of the building and relocate the door to what they considered the back of the building. Don’t presume that the manufacturer knows a great deal about sustainability beyond the products that they integrate. If this is important to you, ask questions to determine how much the manufacturer knows. You may want the help of a local designer or architect who has specific knowledge in sustainable practices to be involved.

site preparation

If you are responsible to prepare the site, understand what options exist and the costs involved. Is a slab required? What size? Will your building be set on sleds? Hire a general contractor if necessary to get the work done. If a building permit is required, site preparation will be part of the building permit and details will be required of the manufacturer. This information will be required early in the process. Schedule the work to be done in time for delivery (I know….I probably don’t need to say this).

5/8/14 update:  Don’t you hate it when you wake in the middle of the night remembering something really important but too tired to do anything about it? Yup, last night. Power! Your outbuilding will likely require power, possibly a data line, maybe plumbing. It is critical that you understand what the building itself requires to function and also what you need to perform whatever tasks you plan for the interior (and exterior possibly). This information will go into your drawing set (if permitting is required), and at the very least will need to be communicated to your general contractor as part of site preparation.


Once your order is placed, ask for a schedule to include expected delivery and length of installation. Keep in touch with your factory or sales contact to verify that the project is progressing as expected through the factory and find out what is expected of you at the site. Get the installer’s name and contact information. Ask to be contacted by the installer and schedule a pre-meeting (by phone is fine) so that you understand the process.


Expect to spend more time than you expect to spend on the site during construction. There will be questions as with any construction project, but if all of the prior steps were followed they should be minimized. You will need to have an area cleared for storage of the un-built building. Plan for that ahead of time. The installers will need power to run their tools. Pets and children will need to be managed and kept safely away. Hopefully all the parts and pieces will be delivered correctly and on time. If not, your installer should be able to correct the problems. Just in case, make sure you have the name of the person that you can contact to follow up. If you are responsible to provide any finishes or accessories (I provided my own light fixtures and flooring), have it on site when the building arrives. Review the work that’s been done every evening and if you see something that doesn’t look right, say something immediately. Work should not continue until you are satisfied. Be very stubborn on this point! And hopefully, if they promise you a 5 day build, you will have a 5 day build (I’m past one month and still waiting for a few items to be finished). But better is should take longer and be done right than meet schedule and be poorly built.

I hope you find this information helpful.  Feel free to pass it on, ask questions, send me pictures of your prefab….,
LeslieOLightingOpad Sales

some of the fabulous ones

In its sixth year, the breadth of project types keeps growing in the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards out of the UK. Not only are projects categorized by geographic region (UK and international), but also by type of project: bar, restaurant, also type of bar or restaurant, style of service, location of bar or restaurant, and so on. Entry closed the end of April and the short list will be announced July 1. In the meantime there are some pretty amazing projects to peruse and inspire. Here are a few outside the US that I think I should visit….we can call it research. Check out the website for all of the entries. All photos courtesy and the designer/architect listed.

Dachgarten, Jouin Manku

Munich, Germany. Located in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.


The Liquor Station, KAI Design

Wembley, Middlesex, UK

Erlkonig, ATP Sphere

Innsbruck, Austria

Sansibar by Breuninger, Dittel Architekten

Dusseldorf, Germany in the Breuninger department store

Dalliance House, INK Architects

Athens, Greece

Fish & Fusion, Yod Design

Poltava, Ukraine

Hope this inspires you to create (and travel and eat…)! Happy Monday,

napkin sketches

It’s award season, I know. So all the Fabulous’ are entering their super fabulous projects in super fabulous contests and winning great acclaim and more clients. For the rest of us (and the Fabulous’ as well), there is my absolute favorite reachable contest of the year: the napkin sketch contest put on by Architectural Record. Go get a pack of 5×5 white napkins, set one in front of you with a pen and a second adjacent with your cocktail of choice, and sketch baby! All napkins must be submitted by June 30, so now’s the time. Here are a few sketches for inspiration from the 2013 contest. And even you don’t win, you could always make your sketch into a nice little notebook and start practicing for next year.

Happy drawing….


good houses

I don’t read the online magazines that feature opulent houses with overdone window treatments and too many pillows on the sofa. I read the online magazines that talk about the future of design and architecture. That includes building small, building sustainably, and building smart. Check out these three homes.

Origami House

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TSC Architects designed this home in what looks like a Japanese suburb. The website is in Japanese, which unfortunately I don’t speak, so I have no background on the house. But what strikes me is the opportunity that a design like this provides for using passive solar techniques to minimize power needs. Siting the home so that the main exposure is to the south, (if you live in California…check your location for best practice ;)) and protecting the windows with extended eaves accomplishes several things:

  • it minimizes summer cooling needs because the hot summer sun is high in the sky and does not reach the protected windows,
  • it increases winter heating when the sun is low in the sky and shines through the wide expanses of glass, therefore decreasing the need for artificial heating,
  • it allows light to penetrate into the house through the many protected windows reducing the need for artificial light.

All images courtesy TSC Architects.

A Recipe to Live

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Another project in Japan, Materia found this one which is built at Waseda University. The home is self heating as a  result of walls that continually compost, keeping the home at an even temperature year round. And the house is continually making black gold for the garden!

All images courtesy

Tower House

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Built on a small, steep, tree covered lot in Portland, Benjamin Waechter designed this home to go up rather than out to minimize environmental impact. The home is also wrapped in corrugated steel with rounded corners to minimize the additional need for trim at square corners. A beautiful light filled home on a difficult lot…proof that constraints can encourage greater creativity.

All images courtesy Architectural Record/Benjamin Waechter/Lara Swimmer

Happy May Day!

image packer: awesome photo tool

Images courtesy,,,,,,,,, listdose,com,,

Images courtesy,,,,,,,,, listdose,com,,

The architecture and design worlds rely heavily on images to both inspire design and communicate design. When I began my design career we collected thousands of magazines that we would page through in search of images. At my last firm we spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours researching and testing software to allow us to collect and tag images for our in house image library. Since I began my own petite firm three years ago, Pinterest has been my image collection system of choice. It is an amazing resource for collecting and using images digitally, but is still a bit of work to create presentation materials from those images.

Reddit user thoriumoakenshield created a tool  called Image Packer that makes downloading multiple full size images a single click process (along with all source credits….copyright laws do apply). I created the compiled image above in about 3 minutes while drinking my not nearly as pretty cup of coffee. Awesome. Check it.

Enjoy your morning coffee and have a really productive week!

8-3-16 edit: Image Packer seems to be gone.

mid-century modern: the jewish connection

Anni Albers

Before I begin, let me first say that I grew up in an Eichler, I love Eichler style homes and the modernism that they represent, and I’m Jewish. So when the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco put on their latest show ‘Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism’, I was in. Steve and I went to the opening last night and the show is truly fabulous. It never occurred to me that mid-century style had a Jewish connection, but of course it does. Jewish designers, architects and patrons such as Anni Albers, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra helped to create the ‘Mad Men’ style that still infatuates us today.

Here’s a bit of background:  the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Europe sent many Jews fleeing for safer shores. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Germany’s Bauhaus School closed under Nazi pressure claiming that the school was a center of communist intellectualism and Jewish modernism. With the school’s closure, staff emigrated throughout the world and spread their modern ideals. The influx of modern design and designers from Europe sparked America’s appreciation and embrace of what we have come to call ‘mid-century modern’, a spare style that relates form to function and relies on bold pattern and color for decoration.

Check out the photos that I took last night, and visit the show if you have a chance. It is a must see for lovers of this style (and who isn’t?)

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Enjoy the show!

biomimicry…the beginning of the story




noun: the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.

Our planet and its organisms have been growing, creating and evolving efficient life systems for over 3.8 billion years. The science of biomimicry studies and models man-made processes after these biological systems. The term biomimicry seems to have been coined sometime in the 1970s (perhaps around the time of the first oil shortages when I remember sitting in long lines of cars with my dad on our designated day waiting for our turn to get gasoline) and has rapidly grown in usage since 1997 when Janine Benyus published her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In the last decade the study and use of biomimicry principles has grown exponentially and architects and designers are learning to look first to nature for solutions.

In the desert of Lima, Peru an engineering company, Utec, developed a billboard that pulls water from the atmosphere and purifies it for consumption by the locals. Kind of sounds like a beetle in the Sahara (you have to watch the video above to get the connection). Click on the photo for the story.


photo courtesy

Nature knows….we just need to pay attention. I’ll keep you posted on projects that I find inspired by nature. In the meantime, check out asknature. It’s an awesome creative resource and a lot of fun too.