Category Archives: Design

Mapa Minimod Prefabs Tread Lightly on the Brazilian Terrain

MAPA_minimod_twilightPhoto Courtesy Mapa

Similar in style to the recently announced 100 square foot Muji prefab hut, Mapa, an architectural firm based in Brazil and Uruguay, designed these prefabs to be built offsite and delivered to a remote location with minimal finishing.

Continue reading Mapa Minimod Prefabs Tread Lightly on the Brazilian Terrain


Zen Retreating: Marin County’s Green Gulch Farm and Zen Temple

Green Gulch FarmLooking for a quiet retreat but not quite ready to commit to a monastic life of daily 5 am meditation? Green Gulch Farm is one of three sites owned by the San Francisco Zen Center. Nestled in a valley in the Marin Headlands, Green Gulch is about 30 minutes from San Francisco but feels much more remote.

Continue reading Zen Retreating: Marin County’s Green Gulch Farm and Zen Temple

Age-Appropriate: Fitting A Business Into Chicago’s Historic Monadnock Building

Chicago’s Monadnock Building is an anomaly; at 16 stories, it’s the tallest masonry structure in the world, but it was completed after similarly-sized steel frame buildings like the nearby Reliance Building. Continue reading Age-Appropriate: Fitting A Business Into Chicago’s Historic Monadnock Building

‘Solid Doubts’ At The Noguchi Museum Presents Austrian Robert Stadler’s Work Together With The Like-Minded Noguchi


Robert Stadler, Cut_paste #4, 2015; Isamu Noguchi, Gift, 1964 and Baby Figure, 1958.Photomontage: Studio Robert Stadler; courtesy Noguchi Museum

Long Island City’s Isamu Noguchi Museum is presenting their first exhibition of a  contemporary designer’s work alongside Noguchi’s sculptures and designs in Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler.

Consisting of four installations showing work by the two artist/designers together, the exhibition explores the ways in which both Robert Stadler and Isamu Noguchi  play with distinctions between “art” and “design,” “functional” and “aesthetic,” and “material” and “space,” among other object-based concepts.

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), who worked in the Queens warehouse before it was converted to museum celebrating his work and life, is best known for his furniture, such as his famous coffee table and the Akari series of paper and wire lamps.

Noguchi Museum Senior Curator Dakin Hart Hart said, “Robert Stadler works the fertile land where conceptual, aesthetic, functional, and material considerations meet. This is the same zone that Noguchi explored and labored so hard to expand during his six decades as a category-defier.

“It is hoped that each installation, and the exhibition overall, will make a case for the reification of ambivalence and assert every object’s right and responsibility to self-doubt.”
Solid Doubts opened on April 26, 2017 and runs through September 3.


Clockwise from bottom left: Robert Stadler, Pools and Pouf!, 2004 (fabricated 2017). Upholstered leather, plywood, synthetic textile. Isamu Noguchi, Akari [1N], 1968. Paper, bamboo, metal, electric components. Isamu Noguchi, Akari [VB13-S], 1986. Paper, bamboo, metal, electric components. (Nicholas Knight / Image via Noguchi Museum / Artists Rights Society)

Eleanor Boathouse by Jeanne Gang

Eleanor Boathouse Chicago Jeanne Gang

Photo: Richard Miller/Opus Photo

The second Jeanne Gang-designed boathouse in Chicago is ready for spring. The Eleanor Boathouse, in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the city’s south side, officially opened in December but hasn’t seen much use due to the obvious reason, namely winter.

Eleanor Boathouse Chicago Jeanne GangPhoto: Richard Miller/Opus Photo

Part of a program begun by the city of Chicago to emphasize the role of the Chicago River and its tributaries as recreational areas, the Eleanor Boathouse is the fourth boathouse opened in the city in recent years.

Eleanor Boathouse Chicago Jeanne GangPhoto: Richard Miller/Opus Photo

The WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, on the city’s North Side, near Addison and Western Avenues, was the first designed by Gang. The design of the Eleanor Boathouse is a variation on the theme of the first, with irregular sawtooth-inspired roofing providing light to the interior and an exterior clad in dark grey.

WMS Boathouse Chicago Jeanne Gang

The first Jeanne Gang Boathouse, the WMS Boathouse in Clark Park. Photo: Travis Stansel




Look Up And LOL – Emojis Stare Down From Dutch Facade


If civilization as we know it disappears tomorrow, what will be left of our digital culture for future archaeologists to discover?

Emojis, an ephemeral phenomenon if there ever was one, have now gained some long-term stability – like the figures on an ancient Greek frieze or a Gothic gargoyle staring down from above, emojis decorate the facade of a mixed-use building in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.

Changiz Tehrani of Attika Architekten designed the building with the emoji era in mind – a symbolic reminder of when the building was built.

Cast in concrete, these emojis are made to last longer than a Snapchat message — maybe even longer than embarrassing MySpace photos lingering around in the Cloud somewhere, waiting for a future employer to stumble upon.


Photos: Attika Architekten/photographer Bart van Hoek

Via ArtNet News

Muji Minimalist Tiny House Goes On Sale in Japan for $27k

Muji Tiny Hut

Muji, everyone’s favorite brand-that-is-no-brand, debuted a new tiny house — a really tiny house, at that — for sale in Japan. Measuring in at 9 square meters (less than 100 square feet), the Muji Hut is expected to retail for about $27,000 USD.

Unlike many tiny house designs, the Muji Hut sits on a concrete slab, making it significantly less portable than its more common wheeled brethren. No plumbing or bathing facilities are shown or mentioned, and no plans have been announced for selling the hut outside of Japan.

While it looks more like a backyard studio than an actual dwelling, the design is elegant and cozy and could be a good starting point for a real usable little home. Maybe stitch three or four together with a courtyard in the middle for a tiny urban villa?


Via Curbed



The Cords Are Alright

Cord management, cord shmanagement… these designs celebrate the electrical infrastructure of our daily lives.

amsterdam minimal house

Gino Sarfatti, Model 2097 30 (1958)

toio lamp-achille-castiglioni1

Achille Castiglioni, Toio Lamp (1962)

amsterdam minimal house

Amsterdam Interior


Form Us With Love, Cord Lamp  (2007)


Panto Beam, Verner Panton (1998)

Parentesi Lamp Castiglioni

Parentesi Lamp, Achille Castiglioni (1971)


Sherwood Tube Amplifier


This 1960 or 1961 Sherwood tube stereo amp is 64 watts per channel – very powerful for a tube amp. It is detailed and spacious, whether listening online, to a CD or vinyl. It was designed and built in Chicago in a factory on North California Street.

Shipping Container Shops

Nespresso Shipping Container

Nespresso Shipping Container

Two uses of shipping containers being used as retail buildings, one on a narrow lot on a busy street and one as a temporary shop near the site of the America’s Cup race. The Nespresso shop provided a much more substantial building than the other temporary buildings and tents in the area.

Aether Shipping Container

Nespresso Shipping Container