Saturday, April 16, 2016

DESTINATIONS: NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab releases psychedelic travel posters

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, NASA/JPL recently released a series of 14 posters that imagine space as the premier travel destination of the future. Promoting tours of "historic sites" on Mars, the luminous "mighty auroras" of Jupiter, and numerous fascinating sights to be seen on recently discovered planets, the posters merge the promotional style and look of vintage travel posters -- cited as an inspiration -- with the visual style of the psychedelic 60s.


Above: Relax on Kepler-16b, the Land of Two Suns,
    Where Your Shadow Always Has Company

Kepler-16b is a recently discovered planet that orbits two stars. NASA scientists say that "prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice." But this discovery demonstrates that the iconic double sunset seen from Star Wars' fantasy planet Tatooine is not just science fiction. 

The three posters below advertise more familiar celestial bodies: Mars, Jupiter and Europa.
NASA projects that a flight to Europa, Jupiter's ice-covered moon, will be attempted in the 2020s.

Below: Mars: Multiple Tours Available
Experience the Mighty Auras of Jupiter

Europa: Discover Life Under the Ice

I confess -- I had never heard of Super Earth, AKA HD 40307g, until I saw these posters.                           Planet CV: discovered in 2012, 42 light years away, famed for its heavy-duty gravitational pull. 
(Could the poster below have been inspired by the opening credits of Mad Men?)

 At eight times the Earth's mass, HD 40307g straddles the line between 
"Super-Earth" and "mini-Neptune". Scientists aren't 
certain if it has a rocky surface or if it's
buried beneath thick layers of gas and ice. 

And my favorite, below: 
Night life on romantic "rogue planet" PSO J318.5-22 !

 PSO J318.5-22:
Visit the Planet with No Star,
Where the Nightlife Never Ends

Discovered in October 2013, PSO J318.5-22 belongs to a special class of planets called rogue, or free-floating, planets, which do not orbit a parent star. 
Their origin is as yet unknown, but these rogue planets glow 
faintly for a while, from the heat of their formation. 
Once they cool down, they remain dark -- the perfect spot for a 24/7 night club! 

For more information, and to download free posters, link here. 




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

OPENINGS: Eileen Gray's E1027 house at long last welcomes the public

In June of 2015, after decades of decay and abandonment followed by sixteen years of restoration, Eileen Gray's Modernist villa E1027 opened to visitors for the first time. The iconic house, built in the mid-1920s, is set on on a steep seaside cliff facing the azure waters of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French Riviera. It was designed to be a romantic retreat for Gray and her lover, architecture writer Jean Badovici. 

Photo: © Manuel Bougot
The E1027 moniker, humorously made to sound technical and avant garde, was a clever code for the intertwining of Gray and her lover’s names: E for Eileen, 
10 (the tenth letter of the alphabet ) for Jean, 2 for B and 7 for G.


Living room of E1027 
Eileen Gray designed all the furniture and rugs. 
The mural on the far wall was Le Corbusier’s creation. 
Photograph: © Manuel Bougot 


The E-1027 was a three-year project, and a supreme embodiment of the principles of Modernism. The L-shaped house — white, flat-roofed, with both fixed and freestanding walls, built of reinforced concrete and steel, with horizontals dominating — was set into a naturally-terraced landscape. Its expansive windows faced the Mediterranean; a tidy spiral stairway led to the guest room, and terminated in a glass-enclosure on the roof. It was an elegant maison minimum — open yet compact, minimal yet functional. As a capper, Gray created for the house her now-ubiquitous circular steel-and-glass adjustable E-1027 table — inspired, she said, by her sister’s love of breakfast in bed.
                                                                                                       The classic E1027 table

E.G. Blue Marine rug -- my favorite of her designs


To read a full-length article about Eileen Gray's fascinating life and work, you can 
link to my Spring 2011 Modernism magazine article
From Shadow to Light here.


Originally posted on  
10/25/15

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

EXHIBITION UPDATE #2: Phryne Fisher continues her cavalcade of fabulousness

~ oOo~

Definitely not your parents’ Miss Marple, Phryne Fisher is a fashionably beautiful investigator with a penchant for murder cases that take her through back alleys, jazz clubs and shady neighborhoods all with a twinkle in her eye that fits right in to the risque world of 1920’s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is equally at home solving murders with her pearl-handled Smith & Wesson as she is with a cocktail in hand, charming paramours in her full-length white silk coat. - See more at: http://tellyspotting.kera.org/2013/07/08/qa-with-essie-davis-star-of-miss-fishers-murder-mysteries/#sthash.XjIUxrsg.dpuf
Definitely not your parents’ Miss Marple, Phryne Fisher is a fashionably beautiful investigator with a penchant for murder cases that take her through back alleys, jazz clubs and shady neighborhoods all with a twinkle in her eye that fits right in to the risque world of 1920’s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is equally at home solving murders with her pearl-handled Smith & Wesson as she is with a cocktail in hand, charming paramours in her full-length white silk coat. - See more at: http://tellyspotting.kera.org/2013/07/08/qa-with-essie-davis-star-of-miss-fishers-murder-mysteries/#sthash.XjIUxrsg.dpuf
Definitely not your parents’ Miss Marple, Phryne Fisher is a fashionably beautiful investigator with a penchant for murder cases that take her through back alleys, jazz clubs and shady neighborhoods all with a twinkle in her eye that fits right in to the risque world of 1920’s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is equally at home solving murders with her pearl-handled Smith & Wesson as she is with a cocktail in hand, charming paramours in her full-length white silk coat. - See more at: http://tellyspotting.kera.org/2013/07/08/qa-with-essie-davis-star-of-miss-fishers-murder-mysteries/#sthash.XjIUxrsg.dpu

If you missed her in Victoria or Adelaide,
you can catch her in Parramatta, New South Wales:
  everyone's favorite flapper detective ...
Miss Phryne (Fry-nee) Fisher!

A blockbuster exhibition of glamorous costumes from 
the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries series, previously shown 
in Victoria and Adelaide, Australia, has now moved on 
to the Old Government House in Parramatta, NSW.
It will run there through June 2016, having been retweaked to include
ultra-chic dresses and accessories from the series' season three.

Essie Davis plays Phryne Fisher -- a headstrong and lusciously 
attired detective in opulent 1920s Melbourne -- on Australia Broadcasting's
runaway hit. She often shows up at the scenes of grisly murders
dressed like this, usually coming from a cocktail party or a hot date.

~ oOo~
 

The exhibition met with tremendous success in the venues where it was previously 
shown. It seems that the public just can't get enough of Miss Fisher 
and her flapperish fabulousness!


A proper lady detective should always wear a hat and gloves to a shooting.

~ oOo~
 
   This brand new exhibition  features fabulous series three  costumes designed by 2015  AACTA Award winner Marion  Boyce. It includes outfits  worn  by Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), Detective Inspector Jack  Robinson (Nathan Page) and   Aunt Prudence (Miriam   Margolyes). The costumes are  shown in evocative 1920s-style   rooms; visitors are encouraged    to "touch and feel the sumptuous fabrics as they step deeper into Phryne's world."  

Try on a hat, if you like! (Don't worry; they're replicas.)

Several special events will be held in conjunction with the exhibition. These include two "Behind the Seams" tours led by historic clothing and textiles specialist Eleanor Keene, (May 16 and June 5; 1 - 3PM) and a "Last Tango in Parramatta Roaring 20s Dance Party"on April 23 at the city's Old Garden House. "Be wined, dined and tango the night away during this very special evening of 1920’s music and entertainment. Phryne wouldn’t miss it!"

Below:
Phryne with on-again-off-again paramour and tango partner
Detective Inspector Jack  Robinson 









 For more information about the current
Miss Fisher exhibition,
link here.












                                                                 
Link here for a lively interview with actress Essie Davis.
Or here for a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the series, in Vogue magazine. 

~ oOo~

Friday, April 1, 2016

DESTINATIONS: 2016 Boston Festival highlights the life-changing power of design



I am endlessly fascinated by the life-changing power of design, both for good -- 
like the crank radio, which transmits vital health information to remote towns in Africa 
that have no electricity -- and for bad. (Remember the cockamamie "butterfly ballot", 
which helped deliver the 2000 presidential election to George Bush II?)

This year's Boston Design Week highlights this power of design,
with talks, exhibits and strolling tours focusing on sustainability, design 
with a social purpose, downsizing, recycling and the environment.

For a schedule of daily events at the citywide festival, link here

°    °    °    °    °    °    °    °    °
The much-loved Boston Public Library in Copley Square is currently undergoing massive 
renovation. Totaling approximately 110,000 square feet, the project includes updates 
to the Johnson building’s lower level, first floor, mezzanine, and the building exterior. 
A tour of Phase Two of the project will be on offer on April 4.

A plethora of other activities includes:
               • tours of the WGBH/Boston Public Television studio
               • a fantastical costume exhibit at the French Cultural Center
               • Mass Art's Annual All-School Show (featuring ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, and
                        textiles crafted by Mass College of Art & Design students)
               • talks by leading green designers, architects and educators

°    °    °    °    °    °    °    °    °
Showrooms will feature lots of popular bathroom and kitchen renovation ideas.

 Kitchen designs (above and below) by luxury cabinet makers Poggenpohl and Gaggenau


Below: Two kitchen lighting plans from Wolfers,
a company that promotes the benefits of transitioning to LED.




°    °    °    °    °    °    °    °    °
Below: My favorite piece of design in Boston -- the grand Leonard P. Zakim 
Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. One of the most well-received elements 
of Boston's Big Dig Project, it is particularly stunning at night.





°    °    °    °    °    °    °    °    °
-
"Unless you are standing out in the middle of nature, everything around you is consciously designed: from the clothes you wear, to the phone you carry, to your home, workplace and beyond.  Good design has the power to touch us, to lift us up, to make our lives better, and impart a profound sense of well-being – bad design can have the opposite effect."
                                                                                                ... from Boston Design Week's mission statement


For a schedule of ongoing and multi-day events at the festival, link here

Link here to read Boston Magazine's article 
Nine Things to Look Out for During Boston Design Week 2016

~ oOo ~