Archive for January, 2010

it’s better if you put it on wheels

The mission for this January was a furniture design/build. Considering how damn cold it is in to work in a garage in Western Massachusetts during January, I think plenty was accomplished.

Project 1: Mechanic’s Workstation
The proposal was a redesign of the storage system and the work surfaces. The storage system consists of two carts, one for heavily used tools which could be wheeled around the work area easily and another for storage of less commonly used ones. Both fit into bays under the work surfaces. To take advantage of the flood of daylight in the industrial loft space, we designed a panel with a gradient of circle perforations (dimensions were based on manufactured hole saws). Specified materials were birch plywood and 2×4 lumber.

A rendering of the perforated panel (that was done by Robert) and the L-shaped bench design

Project 2: Architect’s Workstation
We took in consideration the needs of a 21st century architecture student: spaces for digital and physical work, storage for our multitude of design books, security for our ever increasing amount of electronics. Also, there are more traditional needs such as storage for T-squares, plots, oversized rulers, rolls of trace that are usually not accommodated by conventional furniture.

The design consists of three parts: digital cockpit (the main work surface has screen, laptop, book storage), electronics cartridge (a rolling cabinet for the computer, scanner, other electronics that can be taken home during vacations), and modeling station (a cart with a higher surface, fits a 18″x24″ cutting mat, storage for modeling tools and other oversized things)

We were never quite happy with the design and have not finished building it, but we will! The modeling station is not in any of these photos.

This is a separate piece of furniture that was previously made so that we could work wherever we wanted like next to the fireplace. Notice the circular cut out that the body fits into. We kept the cockpit idea for the larger desk as well. Also, I am not at the height of my fashion prowess here. We ran out of oil and it was cold!

The desk at the moment. Robert made the dramatic bookshelf sometime last year. The idea is to make a bunch of storage trays for the space below the shelf

The cartridge has a pull out tray for the scanner. We zipped tied the scanner to the slide out portion.

Project 3:
A lockable book shelf for Robert’s studio. I contributed to the design and none of the construction for this one. I demanded that all the horizontal surfaces be plexi and I think I was right. This is finished except for a plexiglass door. The green in the back is a scrap piece of zip wall.

Bolting casters onto the bottom surface. It's more fun if it can be rolled around and much easier to transport, obviously.

54 collections later

This week in Paris a handful of designers showed their couture collections which showcase what is supposed to be the best and most extravagant masterpieces in fashion. They explore the fantastical, the ridiculous, the unimaginable. The techniques they employ are the most advanced and detailed oriented. It is in a different class entirely from the ready-to-wear collections during fashion week. To the untrained eye (that is me), the technique reveals itself through the extravagant details like beads, feathers, fur, ruffles but the aesthetics of the over-the-top usually turns me off couture. Like a lot of fashion, it’s a strange acquired taste.

Karl Lagerfeld’s collection for Chanel this week is the first time I have been stunned by the beauty of couture and the first time I have appreciated Lagerfeld’s work for Chanel. Chanel’s fashion shows are hard to swallow because they are overdone with lace, bows, pearls in a sea of pastels. The gaudiness of ceiling height models of cake or purses distracts me from the clothes and I can only wonder why this decor and setting? But if you can get over all of that and just accept the pastels, the clothes are beautiful.

There have been many draped dresses, but few that ripple as elegantly and naturally as these from Chanel’s spring 2010 couture collection. The seams of the dress disappear and it looks as if fairies descended and draped the cloth on the models.

Dresses that flow like water. (Photos:

Cathy Horyn, the NYTimes fashion critic, wrote on her blog, ” Karl Lagerfeld said he had been thinking for awhile about how to do a seamless dress and only recently found a method that satisfied him. He said he thought this collection might be his most interesting in terms of technique. “It took me 54 collections to get there,” he said.”

Also impressive is Lagerfeld’s innovation and creativity in working with the iconic classics of Chanel. The quilt, the tweed, the black dress, the suit. It is incredible that in Lagerfeld’s 27 years at Chanel, he has started almost every collection couture or ready-to-wear with a few new variations on the Chanel suit and in doing so, has kept the look contemporary and relevant.

Variations on the Chanel suit in Lagerfeld's couture collections from fall 2006 to spring 2010 (photos:

double jacket weather

It seems that in the depths of freezing northeastern winter, when I am most in need of fashion advice, too many fashion blogs have traveled south leaving me to fend off the cold in clashing sweaters and multiple colored vests. The Sartorialist and Garance Dore are in Rio or Milan where highs are in the 40s which equivalent to spring in New England. For Zanita, it’s summer in Australia. Even those blogs located in cold countries like England and Denmark seem to be dressing for 50 degree weather. See below from Copenhagen Street Style.

That will keep you warm for 10 minutes max in a Copenhagen winter. There is no way I walk out in leggings or one layer pants in 20 degree weather. Please. Does being stylish mean that you have to look cold too? (via Copenhagen Street Style)

While I as still mastering the art of layering, a few people figured out a double jacket look that is badass and probably decently warm. When my friend Sarah came to visit me in Boston in November, she wore a tweed vintage Armani or Valentino fall coat (she also got this for under $40 on ebay) with a light velvet cinched at the waist jacket beneath. Her style decisions seem especially smart later in the night when I was huddling under a thin silk scarf because all I had worn beneath a down jacket was a short sleeve t-shirt.

I think it takes a certain amount of thoughtfulness and creativity to pull of the “double jacket”. It seems contrasting material and fit between the two jackets works aesthetically and is versatile because it gives two looks in one. At the same time, there are jackets that would never quite work. For example, most down jackets look so much like an outer shell that whatever you wear beneath is seen as separate outfit entirely.

While I have not found any inspiring double jacket combinations in my closet, I love idea because I can transform the things I wear in early fall/late spring/summer nights into something that has potential to keep me warm during dark Massachusetts winters. Some example below.

A bit more subtle. The inner and outer jackets drape off her body in a similar way which is nice. (via The Sartorialist)

Okay, so maybe she is not that warm, but she's not freezing either. Denim and leather is kind of obvious but it looks good. (via Stockholm Street Style)

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