Archive for the ‘favourite’ Category

Goodbye Mork

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Shazbot. Sad loss of Robin Williams today. Thanks for the many laughs.

Robin Williams Mork

And Robin before a Senate committee on preventing homelessness

Torggler doors

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Klemens Torggler door evolution

Two brilliant, beautiful door designs by Klemens Torggler. Above is the Evolution; below is the Stahltür. They work on a similar principle.

I find the doors so beautiful that to some extent questions about practicality seem a bit irrelevant, but let’s deal with those first. One architect asked what design problem the doors solve. The answer is perhaps that they avoid the space-inefficient arc of a swing door on the one hand, and the functional and maintenance problems posed by sliding door tracks on the other. While they are perhaps not as space efficient as sliding doors embedded in a wall, it’s a fact that good sliding doors are costly and time-consuming to install after the fact. I’ve done it and it’s a pain; you have to remove a lot of drywall, turn the studs on edge, install (which can be finicky) and re-drywall. Whilte it’s true that you can install sliding doors on the face of a wall (ie. a “barn door”), that too requires tracks and/or hangers. The Torggler doors avoid all of that hardware and setup. I’m unclear how difficult these would be to install, not to mention fix once the hinges or articulating folds break down, they look as if they have few parts.

The doors are probably not particularly soundproof without the addition of a door frame. Also, with the Stahltür’s almost medieval clang you could hardly creep in or out of the bedroom quietly. It’s as if there might be a knight on the other side when you open it. Or a dragon, or a dungeon.

Another reaction was “hopeless for children,” but then before a certain age children can’t reach door handles either. And if we’d had this in the house when I was a kid I’d have been profoundly impressed.

Quite apart from the basic function question, I would say that aesthetic pleasure and wonder are an important function too.  The beauty of this object at rest and in motion never gets boring. And how often is it that we see a familiar object like a door reconsidered in an entirely new way? This was a bit like seeing a Delorean open for the first time, but far more magical and arguably more practical.

The Evolution alternately reminds me of the slow wing flap of manta rays, Japanese origami, or actual magic.

I’d love to have both of these doors. My first thought was a wish my mathematician father were still alive to see them.

Friend and architectural photographer Krista Jahnke first told me about these.

TorgglerdoorStahltur

Mother of Pearl

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry singing Mother of Pearl at Musikladen

Merely because this blog was previously bereft of this song, which was an oversight.

Protected: Interpretation of Enzo Mari’s Sedia Chair by Russell Baker, Bombast Furniture

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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Soviet Saturn vs. Hoover Constellation vacuum

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Vacuum - Soviet Life - "Constellation"

From “Soviet Life“, via Google Translate: “Hoover “Saturn.” In production since 1962 in Lithuania. His prototype – American «Hoover Constellation» 1955. Soviet engineers gave the American a spherical shape, and added features (the ability to use a blow-off mode) and mobility. As a nice bonus – the cosmic name and plastic ring “around the equator.” That was more like a planet.”

Пылесос «Сатурн». Производился с 1962 года в Литовской ССР. Его прототип – американский «Hoover Constellation» 1955 года. Советские инженеры придали американцу сферическую форму и добавили функций (возможность использовать в режиме выдувания) и мобильности. В качестве приятного бонуса – космическое название и пластиковое кольцо «по экватору». Чтобы был больше похож на планету.

Below, my own Hoover Constellation Four Forty Six, inherited from a great aunt and beloved by me. It is an also object of desire for my friend Anakana, a sort of high-level vacuum appreciater. Seeing the Russian Saturn, though, has made the Hoover Constellation shine paler in the vacuum firmament.

vintage Hoover vacuum

Ken Lum’s Pecha Kucha talk in Vancouver

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Ken Lum on the demolition of the Pantages Theatre and everything else in Vancouver

Vancouver artist Ken Lum took the opportunity of a Pecha Kucha appearance to talk about the his city, its history and its habits, and its demolition and disappearance. Though he said little about his own work, none of the concerns or ethic of his art were missing. His offhanded, throwaway tone only barely conceals outrage. And there’s a surprise ending.

Like me, Ken is one of the few Vancouverites with deep roots here. Of course Ken has now left the city, and we miss him.

How many others will leave now that the city is up for grabs by Big Money, derelict government and careless stupidity?

Ken’s right when he says that the demolition of the Pantages Theatre—the oldest vaudeville theatre in the country, soon to be condos—was an “abomination.”

The following slide got an immediate laugh of recognition from the audience. “It just shows you how crummy the details are now when you look down at the street…”

Ken Lum - "how crummy the details are when you look down at the street in Vancouver"