Sunday, February 27, 2011

Current design project....Architecture by Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel building next to Frank Gehry's designed IAC headquarters

This past summer, I was invited by a client to look at their newly purchased apartment in New York and to come up with design inspirations. As our cab drove closer to the space, my heart started to palpitate faster and faster as I realized the space was in the 100 11Th Avenue building designed by Jean Nouvel.

image: Flickr

The 23 story tower is described by Jean Nouvel as a "vision machine" which features the most technologically advanced curtain wall ever designed and constructed in New York City. The walls are a curved mosaic of nearly 1700 windows, all different size, color,depth, set at unique angles. The light and color change constantly as it is a direct mirror and reflection of the outdoor and its ever changing chromatic light variations. Looking at this magnificent building, one feels immersed in a gigantic Mondrian landscape.

image: Flickr 
Each window require a specific shade, size and color

photo by Tod Eberle
Terraces and balcony are part of the intricate facade mosaic

Stepping into the space is mind blowing. I felt as if I were floating over New York. You become immersed in the three dimensional landscape of the city. Each window was designed and placed with a specific purpose, to frame a chosen piece of new York.

photo by Tod Eberle

The kitchen floats in the open space

Photo Tod Eberle
Magical sunsets on the Hudson River

I greatly admire Jean Nouvel, who, in my humble opinion, is one  of the world's most brilliant architect. He received  architecture's most honorific Pritzker Prize.

Jean Nouvel is by far the boldest French Architect, who over the past 30 has developed one of the largest french architectural firm, pushing contemporary architecture to its limits.

Jean Nouvel was born in the small town of Fumel, a few miles away from my village of Clermont Dessous in Lot et Garonne. One has to have travelled through the South West of France to appreciate the intellect, vision, creativity required to have achieved such an extraordinary carrier, coming from such a rather remote and back country part of France. It took New York for our paths to indirectly cross.

Town of Fumel

I could write a dissertation on his work but instead will just share,via images, the works that I am most sensitive to.

The highly controversial Musee du Quai Branly, so criticized by the French is one of my favorite Jean Nouvel commission. The museum houses indigenous art, cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania.

Jean Nouvel  designed  the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi which is scheduled for completion in 2012-2013. The controversy over "selling" the Louvre name to the United Arab Emirate has led to intense criticisms.

The museum will house art from all periods and regions and will include Islamic art.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel Atelier won the competition for restructuring the port of Vigo  in South Western Spain. The building is to emulate a granite monolith. Read the story here

Ateliers Jean Nouvel, via eikonpraphia

Jean Nouvel's concept for his New Museum in Qatar is influenced by the bedouin culture. The desert rose, a crystalized formation that is found buried in the desert sand is an inspiration for this extraordinary building

image via

Jean Nouvel winning design for La Philarmonie de Paris to open in 2012in Parc de La Villette.

Breathraking scale model of jean Nouvel concept and design for La Philarmonie de Paris

While working on this post, I kept reading numerous articles and essays on Abu Dhabi being transformed in the hand of the world's most brilliant architects into the largest artistic center in the world.
I will be going to Africa this fall and just have a add a stop over in Abu might be a rather long stop over.

Meanwhile, need to attend on last details and deliveries to have the apartment ready for our clients to enjoy

suggested reading:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interieurs Las Vegas Trip

 Guest Blogger Ania Palermo

The wonderful lanterns of the Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas

It’s a pleasure to be a guest blogger on Francine’s Art de Vivre today. After reading so many entries (and not because Francine is my boss!), it’s an honor to contribute.

We recently took a trip to Las Vegas for the World Market, just barely escaping one of the many snowstorms we had this winter, and headed out West (thankfully!) after changing our flights and landing in Las Vegas, hoping we were confirmed for our rooms.

I knew a lot was at stake and I needed to plan her itinerary and plan ahead her surrounding as to not discourage her from the City of Sin.

We stayed at the wonderful Wynn Hotel, and were amazed with the design choices made in the rooms as well as the hotel grounds. We were very disappointed that the pool areas were under construction as we were hoping to enjoy our early breakfasts outside!

    Photo Source: Trip Advisor

The ambiance of the rooms was very light and airy, which was a great contrast between the main hallway, which at the Wynn is curve, and the walls, ceiling and the flooring are a deep chocolate color. And the bed was one of the most comfortable ones I encountered while traveling. The furniture choice was very elegant, and the glamour was highlighted by a consumer’s ability to design their own lighting ambiance for their spaces.

    Photo Source: Trip Advisor

The hotel grounds were spectacular and the design language used was very whimsical. Between the Chinese lanterns, dragons and disappearing water sculptures, we felt the richness and exuberance of Las Vegas that so many get drawn to each year. Since the floral arrangements were freshly made daily, it made the escape from the sounds of gambling that much easier while walking through the casino. 

The hallway at the Wynn smartly used the curve, insuring that the viewer isn’t staring at the dreadful long corridors, LV hotels are known for.

 The dragon greeting you on your way through the casino

The sculpture of a man underneath a man made waterfall was especially striking at night.

 Our itinerary next day included the World Market and hosting our event at Tao Las Vegas. At TAO, which was designed by a New York based design group, I Crave, is heavily inspired by China, especially Shanghai of 1920s.  Large-scale photographs of Chinese workers, farmers grace the walls of this beautiful space. As we sat underneath the Buddha, our guests enjoyed a wonderful set of appetizers and drinks followed by a scrumptious dinner. Later we were escorted by Tao’s marketing director to our private sky booth, where we were able to escape the crowd and enjoy cocktails with our guests, who even though are Vegas dwellers were quite excited about the prospect of a royal treatment.

Francine and I at Tao

 After a glamorous night, maybe just to prove our guests wrong from the night before, we woke up bright and early and decided to drive 45 minutes away from Las Vegas, to the Valley of Fire.

Valley of Fire is one of Nevada's oldest state parks. The valley derives its name from the red sandstone formations and the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert. Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs. One of the symbols drawn by the Indian settlers was called the mystical bat woman, and after seeing her image outlined in the park’s brochure, I dedicated an afternoon searching for her on the canyon walls. It only took 4 hours of hiking and passing by the same rock twice underneath different light to find her, but imagine my personal triumph when I spotted her.

 The Mystical Bat Woman, she looks a little bit like a cartoon character dancing. Very proper for a tribe’s female shaman

                       Francine in her element.

    3000 BCE Petroglyphs

The beautiful flora found in the desert, makes it that much more valuable and appreciated when seen.

After hiking the Valley of Fire we returned to New York, inspired by the colors and shapes, and still carrying red sand in our shoes, seeing the snow outside the taxi window, it made our trip that much more abstract and that much more special.

The beautiful rock formations inspiring the next color scheme

 The stunning scenery at the Valley of Fire took our breath away, the lack of any sound of any sort was magical and mystical.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Designing for kids...

Back from Vegas (post to follow...)  on to the New York gift show. I was not particularly looking for
anything specific  as I seldom place orders at this show, with the exception of great candles and some accessories.

I am however, in the process of designing 5 kids bedrooms and playrooms  for different projects. I tend to incorporate modern design even for children's rooms as I like to see kids in unfussy, bright, fun spaces.

I have already picked great modern pieces from Knoll kids and was thrilled to have found fun accessories, furniture and lighting for boys and girls.

A few ideas for the "modern" kid...

From Knoll kids:

Fun pieces for girl's bedrooms from Seletti: dots or stripes?

Fun cardboard cut outs

As for the more romantic girl, I imagine a mural of dragonflies...

Lighting with a twist...

And modern sophistication from Jonathan Adler kids

For the very young set, an intriguing beautiful mobile

Mirrored clouds...

And soft colors...

Can't wait to see all the rooms finished...I just have such fun designing for my young clients
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