Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two for Tuesday

Current coastal obsessions...

West: PBR, shot of Beam and a white Buffalo head. Such is the recipe for San Diego's El Dorado Cocktail Lounge. The three members of local act Dirty Sweet have launched a welcome addition to the rather stale bar decor of Southern California.

East: Despite the somewhat annoying gentrification of New York's Bond Street (yes Mr. Schrager, I'm pointing at you), few can deny the raw style that bleeds from this small section of lower Manhattan. Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte (former marketing director for Earnest Sewn and Freeman's) are the latest to jump on board with the newest collaboration. The Smile, which is officially set to open March 8, is a "conceptual" mix of vintage boutique, Mediterranean Cafe and a tattoo parlor (headed by Scott Campbell). If you don't love this, you don't have a heartbeat. Now we can all get sleeved-out while nibbling on our morning croissant.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Berlin Museum of Letters

"Let me recite what history teaches. History teaches." These are the infamous last lines of the enigmatic Gertrude Stein in her elegant profile of Pablo Picasso. The lines are simple, approachable, and altogether electrifying with their truth and substance. And, as chance should have it, nothing could ring more true as I stumbled across the extraordinary collection of sign letters at Berlin's Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters). Maybe I'm obsessed with these letters because I'm a typographical junkie. Or it could just be the forgotten stories behind these rustic pieces that once lined the walls of German train station, cafes and beer halls. Then again, it might just be the humanizing effect of seeing such majestic pieces of once beaming signage reduced to piles of shapely (and rather abstract) letters, numbers and symbols. And what does this teach all teach us? Despite Ms. Stein's ego-maniacal tendencies, these letters would make fantastic additions to any home or restaurant. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thank you Rem

At some point in your life, you may have heard the following: "Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose." Yes, the French do indeed have a more elegant way of encapsulating today's burning of Rem Koolhaas' yet-to-be completed 44-story luxury hotel in Beijing. Throughout the exhaustive construction, many have questioned the fire risks of this "chimney-like" structure, as well as that of the neighboring CCTV monstrosity. Now, amidst the flashes of Die Hard and Blade Runner, the flames of Koolhaus' creation is an equal homage to the smoke-and-mirror patterns of our greatest architects - from Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry - as much as the fireworks of the Lantern Festival that started the blaze. Yes, things will indeed continue to change (for both good and bad) in architectural design...hopefully they won't continue to stay the same.