Saturday, November 28, 2009


During my last visit to New York, I lucked out big time with the chance to visit and experience Ernesto Neto's Anthropodino. It totally blew my mind! I highly encourage you to visit one of his installs if you ever have the chance, it's multi-sensory goodness. Researching, sourcing and reading are among my pastimes, so I sat down to learn more about Ernesto Neto and in doing so, I came across another incredible artist which I will be writing about in this posting. His name is Tomas Saraceno and he is a German based Argentinian artist who's work has shown worldwide… for those of you who know me, yes, I'm totally proud of him being from my motherland, mi Argentina querida.

Saraceno's mind is brilliant… I have been reading about him and his work and admiring the incredible architectural art he creates for far too many more hours than I should admit to. He is an architect by training and a completely visionary artist who's work merges art, science and technology, while also addressing many current issues of our times, relating to border disputes, xenophobia and the ecological problems we're facing. He often experiments with innovative and lightweight materials and with the help of physicists and engineers he's been able to bring initially thought to be utopian ideas to fruition.

He works with different mediums including photography, video, sculpture and drawing. I would love to one day watch the film and see more photos of his project in Uyuni, Bolivia - the largest salt flat on the Earth, which during rainy season gets covered by a thin layer of water, creating a mirror effect, reflecting the sky on the earth… The few photos I have seen are magical, powerful and ethereal.

Saraceno is fascinated by the topic of floating cities. In an article I read about him, he explains "his thing with balloons" as a need to elevate himself from the earth and detach himself from it as a double thought. On one hand the Earth isn't what is longed for, but at the same time it is, because only when you view it from a certain distance you get to know it better. He compares this to viewing the Nazca line drawings, which can't be perceived from the earth, but can be from a certain height, in which case the distance actually becomes closeness.

He thinks cities should be like clouds - flexible. Hi work has a very architectural aesthetic and often consists of spheres and clusters of Spheres. In his Flying Green House project, the centre spheres shelter green house plants and the ones around it insulate it, providing a constant temperature. Another project which involves green thinking is the work he did for the Walker Art Center, where real grass is growing from metallic spheres suspended in the air, becoming an ecosystem with the grass in the gallery is watered by sprinklers that are powered by a wind turbine that sits on the patio outside.

Airport City stems from the concept of a floating city in the sky, which is a re-occurring theme in his work, where among other concepts, borders are blurred... "The habitations would move like clouds, eliminating geographical and political boundaries, generating human and political communities in continuous transformation and re-definition. These airport-cities would be freely constituted in compliance with the international laws, challenging the political, social, cultural and military restrictions presently in effect around the world"

Tomas Saraceno's "Galaxies forming along filaments, like droplets of a spider's web" is part of the Making World exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale 09. Here, he explores how the black widow's gossamer filaments can hold heavy weight through the use of geometry.

Tomas quickly became another one of my latest favourites and in researching him I came across a number of great blogs and websites that have a slew of inspirational material, among them where:, and… the photos came from many sites including the above mentioned, I would love to credit all the photographers in these images, but I'm unable to.

Monday, November 9, 2009


One of the many things I really enjoy about my job is the vast number of amazing and talented people that I meet on a regular basis, clients and talents in my industry. As my blog progresses I will be writing about many local architects, designers, artists and trades I am lucky to call friends. To kick this off, I'd like to introduce you to Nigel Parish from Splyce. Parish's work is modern, light, comfortable and appeals to the senses. Natural woods, concrete, and other noble materials are combined through very well thought out, planned and executed details and designs. His spaces always make a great use of space, playing with volume and adding flexibility through multifunctional sliding doors and other such aiding architectural elements. Now that I've walked through a few of Nigel's projects, when I'm there I tend to find myself slaying "ah!" while I'm looking through unexpected peek windows in clever places, admiring perfectly thought out material joints and simple details that make the ceiling look like it's endless and may just be disappearing.

The photos in this posting are of a project Nigel recently completed in Shuswap Lake, BC. This project is exciting for me for different reasons, one being that I think it's great to see Vancouverites moving more and more towards modern life and architecture. This project and much of Nigel's other work is a perfect blend of modern design with a west coast personality. Kudos to Nigel's clients for committing to a modern lifestyle and taking this sensibility into their weekend retreat.

The project was designed for a couple who likes to entertain, but the house isn't planned solely for entertaining, it has a large sliding wall panel which allows them to divide the space if they feel so inclined during times when they want to enjoy it alone. The large oversized exterior sliding doors allow the space to open up almost completely into the views of the lake and natural surroundings. I really like the small covered area on the deck, which I find hard to distinguish if it's the deck that is encroaching into the interior floor plan or if the interior itself was carved out to add a refuged area to the deck. Just like in most of the other houses that I am drawn to, there is a harmonious and symbiotic relationship between the outdoors and the indoors.

The simplicity in the selection of interior finishes create a very peaceful atmosphere, grey, white and natural wood - no fuss goes a long way. The fireplace being a darker charcoal color and a monolithic full height form adds drama and interest to its peaceful surroundings. When it's dark out and the view disappears and all eyes can focus on the attention demanding fireplace surround, which in turn must seem to slighting disappear when the lights are dimmed and the fire is crackling. Not to go on and on about the fireplace, but there's one more thing that has me stoked about it… it's a unifying element within the space, stretching from the concrete hearth to the ceiling, It brings attention to the beautifully crafted exposed wood post, beam and joist roof structure.

I think it's wonderful that Nigel and his clients committed to this project and saw it through into completion, because modern designs aren't always the easiest to build. Modern design requires great attention to details followed by very, very precise construction. Vancouver is slowly becoming more modern, with builders and trades who understand the aesthetic and the level of involvement and commitment that it requires. For this particular project, the builder had never built a modern home before and Nigel had an ongoing challenge of coordinating and providing adequate documents and instructions to the builder who was 400 kilometres away. The magic and successful expected level of detail happened through strategically timed visits and thorough communication.

Model photos...