design


The Next Little Thing? – NYTimes.com

This is an interesting article on a new trend in housing – houses that are less than 1000 square feet down to under 100 square feet. Gives the concept of “downsizing” a whole new viewpoint. I live in a small house (just over 1000 Sq Ft) but it’s definitely on the large side of small.

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Jan. 24, 1984: Birth of the Cool (Computer, That Is)

I can hardly believe that the Mac is 24 years old! I missed seeing the groundbreaking ad during the Super Bowl but I already knew it was coming. I was one of the few who were already working with the pre-Mac Lisa computer that Apple tentatively introduced the year before. Little did I know then that the Mac would change my career and my life.

I am a graphic designer today because of the Mac. The computer was not the green screened machine that used DOS. It did not intimidate me – it welcomed play and work. I remember using the first release of Pagemaker on my Mac SE with it’s dual disc drives and 20MB hard drive. I was constantly popping out the discs to save or use other features. I also remember playing the first version of SimCity on the 9-inch grey screen – often going on until 3am!

I know the iPod has done wonders for Apple – it really brought Apple products to a different audience – but it’s the computer that is the staple of my world. From my G5 at home to my G5 at work (dual displays on both), the Mac will always be a part of my life.

Thanks, Apple!

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There are two official Christmas trees in Washington DC: the US Capital tree and the National tree at the White House. Here they are:

US Capitol tree National Christmas tree

Capital Tree is on the left; National (White House) tree on the right.

Which do you think is nicer? I like the Capitol tree – and not just because it’s from Vermont. It looks like a real tree not a fake tree like the White House tree. They both use LED lights to save energy but the Capitol tree is decorated with ornaments from Vermont and it has the right shape – one made from nature. And what’s with all the bows on the White House tree? It looks like a big glow stick.

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San Francisco sprouts a “Chia” nightclub | Crave : The gadget blog

A San Francisco nightclub installed on Monday what it’s promoting as the city’s first vertical garden. Several plant-filled boxes turned on their sides and bolted outside near the entrance are the first step in the Zen Compound‘s plans to cover the facade of the building in greenery.
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For now, the Zen Compound serves organic spirits with corn-based cups and straws that get composted rather than trashed. Club marketing is moving away from using paper fliers, even if recycled, to online-only promotions with Flash animation.

This story comes via crave.cnet.com. I do think it’s a great idea even if it’s just a gimmick. The more green space in any city is a good thing.

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Seeing the Light at Last – washingtonpost.com

This weekend saw the opening of the courtyard at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (aka the Old Patent Office Building and home of the National Portrait Gallery). So far the reviews have been good. The link above is for the Washington Post article. I won’t post one for the Washington Times – they hated it.

Staff were given a coupon for a free “non-alcoholic” beverage from the new cafe so I went over and got a hot chocolate and sprang for a chocolate brownie, too. It was good hot chocolate but could have been a touch richer in flavor. The brownie was thickly iced and very fudgey – and expensive at $3.85.

The courtyard is quite stunning and I’m certain it will be the place that parents will bring their kids to run and burn off energy. I just hope they don’t wipe their grimy fingers on the cases in the galleries – just another thing to clean in the morning.

If you are in DC, I recommend dropping by to see the courtyard but please stay to see the collection, too.

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Museum Math: Their Number Is Multiplying – washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post ran a special section on museums in today’s (Sunday) paper. The National Portrait Gallery got a lovely plug about the reopening of our courtyard with it’s new roof (see artist’s conception drawing above). I had completely forgotten that it’s supposed to open next month. (How did I miss that one? Oh right – I’m completely over worked these days.) I have been watching the progress from the windows of the galleries. The two below are from official pictures of a ficus tree being lowered into the courtyard through the last remaining opening.


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MacKeyboard1 MacKeyboard2

I mentioned this little beauty earlier this month and it arrived to today. I plugged it in immediately and it’s exactly what I hoped for. It’s quiet, has a great touch; it’s very slim and sleek. I’m very hopeful that it will remain crumb free and will be much easier to clean than the old one.

Keyboard closeup

NPR : How Do Washington’s Monuments Measure Up?

Another NPR “Story of the Day” that caught my ear. I live just minutes from the Air Force Memorial pictured above. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against the memorial in principle. I just don’t think it’s a very good one design-wise. It reminds me of elephant tusks.

The podcast also mentions the World War II Memorial on the Mall and the Goddess of Democracy nearby. I must say that the WWII memorial looks like it would be at home in Rome (or in Berlin had the Germans won the war). I would have preferred something that reflected an American (or at least a more modern) perspective.

The World War II Memorial

I also prefer Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – it’s one of the most moving, truly awesome memorials on the Mall. It’s simplicity is startling and the viewer becomes part of the memorial through their reflection.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Liz Claiborne, Designer, Dies at 78 – New York Times

I wore a lot of Liz Claiborne clothes when I first started my professional career. More sepcifically, I wore the Elisabeth line since it was one of the best women’s (large size) lines available at that time. The clothes were classically tailored with fresh colors – no muumuu’s or tent dresses. I wore them until they wore out but they rarely went out of style. She respected the working woman.

Reading the obit, I didn’t realize that her company also owns Dana Buchman, Juicy Couture, Ellen Tracy and Lucky Brand jeans. Good for her.

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Portraiture That Paints Engaging Images – washingtonpost.com

Here is the third exhibition to open at the National Portrait Gallery in recent months.

This one is the second installment of the Portraiture Now exhibition space that focuses on contemporary portraiture and loaned art. To quote from the article:

Known primarily as a history museum — where the selection of pictures on the wall is based more on the sitter’s accomplishments than on the artist’s message or merits — the National Portrait Gallery has, since its reopening last summer, devoted a small corner of the building to just the opposite. “Framing Memory,” the second installment in its long-overdue “Portraiture Now” series, presents five contemporary artists, each given a small room (and in one case, a hallway) devoted to work whose engagement with portraiture is less didactic and more lively than we have come to expect from the museum.

It’s an interesting show. I had my doubts while prepping for it but you really have to see the pieces in person to truly appreciate them. I really love the quilts of Faith Ringgold but I’ve been familiar with her work for years. I think what initially put me off was the color of the rooms – very intense, almost fluorescent, greens and oranges. It’s hard to work in rooms painted entirely in these colors, especially on the eyes. However, once the artwork was hung, I understood the choice. The color does draw in the visitors, too.

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