Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Yallingup Residence, Western Australia

It was love at first sight when I chanced upon this beautiful house designed by Wright Feldhusen Architects of Australia. This building, with its crisp, clean lines, is predominantly modernist in design. I love the stone wall that makes up the lower part of the structure. This wall gives such character to the house and forms an amazing feature element that connects the building with the land. The stoic solidity of this massive wall contrasts so well with the glazed upper structure that rests atop it. There is a beautiful balance of solidity and transparency in this house, with the living and dining areas forming part of a large glazed pavilion that captures the stunning valley views that the setting has to offer.

[Images courtesy Wright Feldhusen Architects]

Friday, 24 February 2012

Some of my favorite lamps

Here are some of my favorite lamp designs- some are iconic pieces that are instantly recognizable and others may be less well known, but still much loved by me.

1. Tolomeo Task Lamp by Michele De Lucchi for Artemide(1987)
The iconic Tolomeo task light is a perfect marriage of design and engineering.

2. Arco Lamp by Achille Castiglioni & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos (1962)
Beautiful, elegant,  functional and timeless- these words best describe the Acro lamp.

3. Signal Lamp by Jean-Louis Domecq, France (1950)
The Signal Lamp has a fun, quirky, vintage appeal and is one of my favorites.

4. Archimoon by Philippe Starck, for Flos, Italy (2000)
With it’s silver aluminum arm and fabric shade, the Archimoon exudes understated elegance.

5. Grasshopper Lamp by Greta Magnusson Grossman (1947)
This modern, functional lamp has a decidedly vintage appeal that would look quite trendy in a modern, minimal setting.

6. PH5 Pendant Lamp by Poul Henningsen (1958)
Made from spun aluminum and sand-blasted glass, the pendant was designed to hang low above a table. The best part of this design is that regardless of how the lamp is installed, it is completely glare-free.

7. Beat Light Fat by Tom Dixon
Made from brass with a black external lacquer, this modern, minimally designed lamp was inspired by the sculptural simplicity of brass cooking pots and traditional water vessels on the subcontinent.

8. Calimero Oversized Pendant Lamp by Cattelan Italia
This lamp is a little retro, a little modern and a lot sexy. I know it’s a bit shiny and reflective but it would look great in a contemporary, minimalist space.

9. Nizam Brass Lamp by Viya Home
These lamps scream opulence and luxury and are a contemporary twist on traditional Indian motifs.

10. Recycled Artichoke Paper Lamp by
Allison Patrick
Each of New York based architect, Allison Patrick’s hanging fixtures is hand-made, unique and made from scrap material- a cool idea and a really funky design.

11. Wood Lamp by Studio TAF
Honesty in design is the idea behind this lamp, designed by Swedish design & architectural studio TAF for Scandinavian design company Muuto.  Another one of my favorites- I love its minimal simplicity and almost toy like character.

12. Anglepoise Lamp by George Carwardine (1933)
Inspired by the constant tension principle of human limbs, this is a truly iconic lamp.

13. Akari 3A Lamp by Isamu Noguchi (1951)
This classic is a harmonious blend of Japanese handcraft and modernist form.

14. Artichoke Lamp by Poul Henningsen (1958)
PH Artichoke is a 360-degree glare free lamp created by 72 leaves. The PH Artichoke is considered to be a classical masterpiece even today.

15. David Trubridge Coral Pendant Lamp
Inspired from coral, this form is based on the structure of a geometric polyhedron made from delicate Pine plywood fastened together by aluminum or plastic rivets.  This lamp comes into its own when soft light shines through its skeletal frame casting surreal shadows on darkened walls.

Monday, 13 February 2012

A Modern Indian Master- F.N Souza

Image via Outlook India

"I seek Beauty more than knowledge. In fact, knowledge can be ugly."
Francis Newton Souza

There are some artists whose work resonates with you. For me, F.N Souza is one of those artists. I don't claim to be an expert in art, but here's why I love his work so much.

Although there is nothing pretty about his paintings- his works are often dark, terse and thought provoking, for me, they are beautiful in their raw ugliness; there is a certain tension and energy emanating from the canvases; they seem to speak to you, almost reach out and touch you.

Souza was born in 1924 in Goa. A rebel in the true sense, he attended St. Xavier's College in Bombay, but was expelled for drawing graffiti in the bathroom; although he claimed he was only correcting the original graffiti because it was so bad. He then studied in Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai but was expelled for participating in the Quit India Movement. In 1947 he founded the Progressive Artist's Movement along with S.H. Raza, M.F Husain and K.H. Ara, among others.

"Renaissance painters painted men and women making them look like angels. I paint for angels, to show them what men and women really look like."
Francis Newton Souza

Religious imagery was a powerful source of inspiration for him especially during the initial phase of his life as an artist. In fact the underlying theme in many of Souza's works revolves around his Roman Catholic background and his antagonism towards it.

Souza painted in an unrestrained and irreverent style and his works have reflected the influence of various schools of art- Goan folk art, the religious fervor of the Renaissance style as well as Modern abstractionist and Surrealist styles, however he was never really bound by any particular style.


F.N Souza was the first of India's modern painters to achieve high recognition in the West. He was also a prolific writer, cementing his literary reputation with his book, Words and Lines, in the year 1959. His paintings are displayed in several international museums such as the Tate  Gallery, London and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, to name a few.  In fact, Souza is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his paintings at Tate Britain. His painting, “Birth” sold for a record $2.5 million at a Christie’s auction in London on June 11, 2008.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Designer’s Life- Why We Do It

I knew that being an interior designer would be tough work, but five years of college failed to prepare me for the reality of it, which can be summed up in one word- FRUSTRATION!
No one warns you about the extra hours, the weekends lost, the frustration of slaving endlessly for a paranoid sadist with a giant ego who uses your ideas to further their own reputation. You aren’t really prepared for the jealousy and self-doubt you experience when you see your friends becoming successful while you are still a ‘struggling artist’.
And when you finally do branch out on your own, no one warns you about the crazy clients- you know the ones I’m talking about-the ones who expect you to perform miracles on a shoe-string budget, the ones who have you confused with a draftsman, the ones call you every 2 minutes because of an ‘emergency’ on site and the ones who disappear when it’s time to pay. Nothing can really prepare you for the times when chaos rules at your site or for that sense of trepidation you experience every time your phone rings because it’s probably news of another possible disaster on site.
And sometimes when it gets too much, when you’ve been yelling all day because you have been yelled at all day and you’re up at two in the morning trying meet a deadline, you ask yourself, ‘is it worth it?’ and ‘why?’ And you have no answers.
Then a few days later, you visit the site and you notice order emerging from the chaos; you see your vision taking shape, and you have your answer.
Why do we do what we do? Because we are the lucky ones that get to go to work every day and do something that we love. Because we get to translate an idea- something that may have started as a tiny doodle on a paper napkin- into a reality. Because what we design and see built is a monument to our creativity and vision- it’s there for everyone to see and has a lasting impact on the lives of its users. Because every once in a while you come across a rare, special client who shares your vision and you develop a relationship that makes the project a joy to work on. Because we are the lucky ones who can drive down a street and point out to a house or a building and say with a sense of pride that I did that. Because at the end of it, when you are through with a project and you have a chance to stand back, exhale and actually take stock, you are filled with an emotion that is a combination of joy, accomplishment, wonder and pride; it’s an amazing feeling that far outweighs all the other craziness we have to deal with.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Paraty House by Marcio Kogan

I stumbled upon this house the other day and have since added it to my favorites list. Although it was completed a few years ago, and I’m sure most of you have already come across it, it’s so stunning, that I thought it was worth sharing anyway.

Paraty House is located on a sun-kissed island beach between Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro. This magnificent structure consists of two sleek, streamlined concrete boxes that appear to float out of the mountainside and over the beach with an 8m cantilever.

Designed by Marcio Kogan Architects, this house is a concrete and stone masterpiece having an open-to-nature concept, so apt considering its incredible setting. This house celebrates the outdoors with its huge glass windows that provide stunning views of the beach and the ocean beyond.

You reach this house only by boat and after they arrive, visitors pass by a reflecting pool and ascend stairs that connect the lower part of the house with the upper living, kitchen and service areas. I particularly like the way this house celebrates the process of ‘arriving’ with its grand entry that creates a real ‘wow’ factor to engage and intrigue visitors.

Concrete, stone and wood have been used with great sensibility to create masses and volumes that are perfectly balanced. I love the way sunlight floods the living area and the way the textured surfaces of the concrete are enhanced by the ephemeral play of sunlight on them.  

Hope you enjoy the rest of the images as much as I did.

[All images by The Contemporist]

Monday, 6 February 2012

Nutty Apple Banana Muffins

I’ve been going through a muffin baking phase lately and so I’ve been trying out loads of different recipes. What I love about muffins is that they are incredibly easy to make and once you get the basics right, you can experiment with different ingredients. The other great thing about them is that you can bake a whole bunch of them in advance and freeze them- just pop them in the microwave to heat up and you have a great breakfast treat for the family.

This is a recipe for apple and banana muffins with nuts. It’s a great way to use up old, blackened bananas that no one wants to eat. The banana and apple also add moistness so there isn’t a whole lot of oil in this recipe. I added a chocolate glaze to the muffins just to ‘pretty’ them up a bit. I thought the banana and chocolate flavors combined really well.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup plain flour (maida)
1/4 cup daliya (bulgar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup soft butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup yogurt
1 large apple, chopped finely
1 overripe banana

Chocolate Glaze (optional)
2 tbsp chopped cooking chocolate
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
Roast daliya on a dry pan over medium heat till the daliya is fragrant. Remove from heat and cool. I know you are supposed to sift the flours but for muffins I don’t bother, so if you are like me, simply combine the flours in a bowl with the baking soda, baking powder, daliya, salt, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.

Mash the banana with a fork and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the egg and whisk once again until very pale. Add the vanilla extract, yogurt, apples and banana and mix with wooden spoon or spatula till combined. Add the dry mixture to this wet mixture and mix gently till all ingredients have combined. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the batter into your cupcake liners. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes. The tops should be golden brown. To test if they are done, insert a toothpick into the center of one muffin and if it comes out clean the muffins are ready.

Allow the  muffins to cool for about 15 minutes then remove from tray and cool on a wire rack until they have completely cooled.

For the glaze, place all the ingredients in a glass bowl over boiling water until chocolate melts. Stir the mixture till completely smooth. Drizzle over muffins and leave to set.Enjoy!

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...