Friday, June 25, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

It's summer without a doubt: HOT!!! There are other clues that it's summertime...endless bbq's, songs of the cicadas, a juicy watermelon, the list goes on and on. While I'm walking my dogs, here are a few favorites that leave no doubt in my mind that it is summer: 

#1  See

Towering Sunflowers
Reminds me of my summer in Cortona, Italy, where the sunflowers raised their faces to the sun, following it from east to west.

#2 Smell

The Sweet Smell of Clover
Always reminds me of my childhood and making wreaths and chains.
#3 Taste

The Taste of Succulent and Subtle Mulberries
If only I can get my fill before the birds!
#4 Touch
The CRUNCH of Sycamore Bark Beneath Your Feet
It's just busting off the swelling trunk!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Faites de la musique!

Quick...what day is today? Would you answer "the first day of summer" or "Fete de la Musique"? Both are correct answers! You could best celebrate the first day of summer at Stonehenge with 20,000 other stoners...

OR, you could spend the longest day of the year listening to or playing music.  Where else but France, where the quality of life is a political issue?  Since 1982, the French Ministry of Culture has ordained the Fete de la Musique as a national holiday.   Musicians of all sorts and all abilities play on the streets and courtyards, squares and gardens, stations and museums; everywhere you can imagine!

Well, I passed on Stonehenge, and the Concorde is not yet back in service...

So I had to create my own little musical day of celebration in St. Louis.  That included singing some Italian art songs and practicing some piano (Beethoven's Opus 31, No. 17).  THAT prepared me to attend the Alliance Francaise Fete de la Musique event at J.Robert Green's perfect party house promising wine, cheese and beautiful MUSIC.  All that in addition to a fabulous guest list that assured great camaraderie, not to mention conversation snippets in French.  Having a national holiday to play, listen to, and share music is an excellent idea, without a doubt. 

Heureaux fete de la musique!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Designer Mecca

Welcome to NeoCon, the annual event in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart where designers the world over come together! It's an exciting time to view new products, network, attend special events, seminars, and parties that never end! It's nice that ASID has hooked into it now, too! I enjoyed seeing many ASID colleagues from "back in the day".

The crush in the halls and waits for the elevator are all part of the experience. Generally, the stairs are the best bet for not having to wait in endless queues. All in all, the Merchandise Mart staff are always friendly, helpful, polite, and efficient in handling the masses.

I enjoy being inspired by innovative displays at NeoCon. DSG Custom Glass had a great display showing their digital printing directly on glass. Here you can have your cake and eat it too. If you like the clean lines of modern but can never quite give up the seduction of the Louis', here's your solution. The glass was epoxied to a sturdy steel frame.

Wilsonart had these cute red dresses hanging on a rack. The drawers are totally functional. With laminate, all that restricts you is your imagination.

These magnifying glasses, suspended from wire, were individually screwed into the ceiling. I like crazy ideas that make you want to see more, literally!

Here I am taking a break. I observed people in the hall wrapped in these pink straps, and come to find out, they are "chairs"! I was worried that if I sat down, I wouldn't be able to get up; I was so tired by the end of the day. Now THIS is a minimal chair. You can put it in your pocket and it's always ready when you are!

Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil

Here I am with Pipa Bradbury, interior designer and furniture designer, and Sybil van Dijs, ASID, interior designer and ASID national board member.

Friday, June 11, 2010

At Your Majesty's Service

While in London, I visited the Design Centre, numerous antique shops, fabulous markets, art galleries and museums. I also paid my respects at Sotheby's and Christie's, and then on to Steinway Hall. This rounds out my designer resources for future London clients!

I made it to Christie's in time for a contemporary art auction. Just my cup of tea!

I enjoyed a REAL tea at Sotheby's cafe prior to viewing their 19th and 20th century sculpture. It was the perfect pick-me-up for the energy required for studying museum-quality artwork.

Steinway Hall

While making the obligatory visit to Steinway Hall, I checked out the downstairs vault where the "D" model concert grands were stored. I was greeted with the haunting refrains of Schubert's Sonata in B Flat Major being played by an artist in preparation for a concert. It was difficult to break away from this unexpected aural delight, but then again, there I was in piano heaven!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Postcards from London

Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is with great pleasure that I visited my daughter in the great city of London, where she has been a student at University College London since January. I may as well have been on another planet; it is such a marvel of sights, sounds, and sensations, amidst a swarm of humanity. There is never enough time and too many things to do, not to mention one never has enough money! Fortunately, I have visited London before and experienced a good sampling of the various delights and diversions.

Yours truly and my daughter, Emily.
This is an excellent example of how cohesively London blends the old with the new. Beautifully! There is a sensitivity shown on the architect's part in terms of material, color, design and fenestration. I think the new architecture has a lot of individuality, but doesn't compete with its Siamese twin neighbor. What could be hvac, (or havoc) look like flying buttresses! There is a lot of glass, and there is a verticality to the design which echoes Gothic cathedrals.

The Tube: a civilized way for ladies and gentlemen to traverse the city.

Not for those inclined to claustrophobia, the tube is a great adventure into the bowels of London town. Clean, rapid, and economical, they are the most efficient mode of transportation. Now "Mind the gap" when you enter and exit a train, lest you lose a heel!

The pulse of the city is intense yet invigorating. Oh, the humanity! Pop into a pub, however, and be transported back into past centuries. Put back a Pimm's or cider with a plate of chips...oh, the simple pleasures of living in the moment! Time stops, or seems to, until you go back outside!

Time can stop again if you come across a park. The weather cooperated with downright balmy temperatures for several days while I was there. Londoners didn't miss a beat in plopping down in the many parks to read, nap, or lunch.

Night time: there are so many shows to see, so little time! Note the building heights...not a canyon of skyscrapers here and the sky is actually black, too. So much about London is about how a world class city respects its inhabitants by being infinitely livable and civilized. I am already planning my next trip back; one shouldn't stay away too long from the mother country!