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Happy Valentine's Day!

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On this Valentine’s Day, our creative friends at Arch Daily and Architectural Record have created fabulous galleries of architecture-inspired messages that convey the spirit of the holiday in design-friendly words and pictures. We’ve excerpted a few to share—enjoy!

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And for our part, we polled friends and colleagues about what architecture means to them…see how their responses shaped up here.

Learning from Olympics Logos

In addition to being a global sports spectacular, the Olympics (at least in the modern televison-era) is known as an arena for marketing and merchandising sponsorship. This commercial aspect of the Games is just as competitive as the athletic component. Swoops, arches, apples, and more: graphic logos abound on every surface, vying for attention. In a way, this is historically appropriate; the Olympics are Greek in origin, and logos is a Greek word meaning “word.”

 

Successful logos have some core qualities. They are simple, cleanly rendered images. They are memorable; it’s important to create a distinct and lasting impression. Logos avoid trendiness, which makes a design—and by extension, the company it represents—look dated and out of touch. A timeless look will communicate the message most effectively. The image must be versatile. This means it should be suitable for a wide variety of uses: for small and large applications, reproduced on different materials, in black-and-white as well as in color. Finally, a logo should be appropriate to the business. The mark ought to convey something meaningful about the company and its values.

 

The good sports at AIGA gave us permission to share some of designer Milton Glaser’s thoughts on Olympics logos. Here, we’ve excerpted a few of his comments on some winning imagery…

 

1964_Tokyo_Summer_Olympics_logo

Tokyo, Summer 1964

Appropriately redacted and without any confusion. The parts fit. Score: 92 out of 100

2004_Athens_Summer_Olympics

Athens, Summer 2004

The olive branch representing the games is executed in a fresh and unexpected way. Because it looks less like a corporate logo, we feel more affectionate toward it. The blue feels right reflecting both the event and Athens at the same time. Score: 90 out of 100

1992-Barcelona-Summer-Olympic-Logo

Barcelona, Summer 1992

This mark is unexpectedly convincing. The 3 strokes representing the human figure have a good scale relationship to the world ‘Barcelona ’92’ and the rings. Score: 85 out of 100

2016_Rio_Summer_Olympics_logo

Rio, Summer 2016

A presentation that looks fresh and contemporary. The athletes joining hands at the top are executed in a way that works well with the other elements. It feels like something new. Score: 85 out of 100

 

…and his observations on some less successful logos:

 

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Paris, Summer 1924

Bad beginning, the elements are unrelated visually and the imagery is confusing. The surprinted lettering is unreadable. Score: 20 out of 100

1936_berlin_olympic_logo

Berlin, Summer 1936

Strange and lacking focus. The Olympic rings become subordinated to the eagle and bell forms. The spirit of the Olympics is totally absent. Score: 20 out of 100

1932_Summer_Olympics_Los_Angeles

Los Angeles, Summer 1932

A visual disaster; combining the rings, a laurel leaf and the American shield in an overlapping pattern is impossible. The typography goes on its own unrelated way. Score: 25 out of 100

See-Worthy Design

The last full month of summer, August presents a final opportunity to enjoy recreational pursuits—as a spectator or participant—before the autumnal commitments of school and work return. In weeks to come, we’ll take a look at the architecture of the Olympics, as well as the graphic branding of the Games over the years. Today, we’re indulging in a survey of a rarefied design sector: yachts designed by architects and artists.

 

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Frers 74, Foggy built by Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin ME

Frers 74, Foggy built by Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin ME

Frers 74, Foggy built by Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin ME

Frank Gehry sets sail in Foggy, which he designed in collaboration with German Frers. Titanium details and wavy, lattice-like ports give the 74-foot daysailer a most unusual presence. Foggy was built at the venerable Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin, Maine.

 

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boat

Dazzle camouflage certainly influenced Jeff Koons’ design for this 115-foot craft (christened Guilty) and we detect a bit of Roy Lichtenstein in the comic-book colors and Ben-Day dots, too.

 

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Z-Boat-Zaha-Hadid_hausman

Koons’ Guilty accomplishes optically what Zaha Hadid’a Z-Boat does in three dimensions. Its squared-off bow defies conventional thinking about what constitutes a streamlined vessel; nonetheless, it conveys an impression of speed and power. The 24-foot powerboat was produced in a limited edition of 12 by Shoreteam.

 

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pawson-b60 Sloop

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pawson keel

Not a slack halyard or an untidy coil in sight—John Pawson’s B60 is shipshape, indeed. Pawson teamed with naval architect Luca Brenta to create a sloop in his signature minimalist style. The hull, a graceful arc of polished carbon fiber, seems to float above as much as in the water.

For a more accessible seafaring experience, we recommend any of the excellent Around Manhattan tours, produced by the NY AIA in partnership with Classic Harbor Line. Expertly led by professors and practitioners of architecture, the tours offer a waterfront perspective on landmarks new and old from the vantage of teak- and mahogany-detailed, 1920s-style yachts.

Meaningful Contributions

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It’s April, and thoughts turn to taxes—and charitable giving. While it’s too late to reap the benefits of a deduction to eligible organizations in the current filing season, supporting worthy causes throughout 2016 will pay off in both fiscal and feel-good ways. Here, we share a few design-oriented non-profit entities that are deserving of recognition. FLW would approve.

 

Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) is one of the country’s largest supporters of direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventive education for those at risk. Merging care and commerce, supporters of DIFFA come from all fields of fine design and the visual arts, including architecture, fashion design, interior design, photography, and consumer product design.

With fundraising efforts bolstered by strategic partnerships and unique events showcasing innovation and creativity, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities and granted over $41 million to hundreds of AIDS service organizations nationwide.

Founded in 1984, DIFFA grants funds to organizations which fight AIDS by providing preventive education programs targeted to populations at risk of infection, treatment and direct-care services for people living with HIV/AIDS, and public policy initiatives which add resources to private sector efforts.

 

The International Committee for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (DOCOMOMO) promotes the study, interpretation and protection of the architecture, landscape and urban design of the Modern Movement. It promotes the exchange of knowledge about this important legacy which extends from the planned city and the iconic monument to the house next door.

Docomomo is an international organization, with chapters in 69 countries. It is an important presence in conservation and in architectural culture, worldwide, working in partnership with other international organizations, national governments, and regional and national associations.

The United States branch is organized in regional chapters and friend organizations throughout the country, from east coast to west coast and from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota. Chapters sponsor educational programs and tours, provide technical assistance on the preservation of Modern Movement buildings, conduct research and surveys that support a nationwide register, publish newsletters, and advocate for threatened sites.

 

The Urban Design Forum comprises leading developers, architects, planners, builders, public officials, scholars, lawyers, and journalists that have demonstrated a commitment to building great cities. Founded in 1979, and headquartered in New York, Fellows of the Forum hail from over fifty cities across the United States and around the world.

The Board of Directors invites a select group of distinguished leaders of urban design, planning and development to participate each year. Candidates are nominated for their significant contributions to the fields of urban design, planning and development; standing among his or her peers; and ability to participate actively in Forum programs.

Drone Videos: Touring a Building Without Leaving Your Desk

The best way to capture the “feel” of a building is by experiencing it in person—stepping inside lets you appreciate the building’s size, as well as light, air movement, and other intangibles. But sometimes an in-person tour isn’t possible due to constraints of geography, budget, or time.

At Legacy Building Solutions, we have found drone videos to be an effective tool to help potential customers understand fabric structures. Drone video footage allows viewers to experience the reality of a building in a way that words and still photos can’t convey.

One advantage of drone video footage is the ability to depict scale with accuracy. Video of an aircraft assembly hangar quickly shows how people and vehicles are dwarfed by the fabric structure. The aerial footage also reveals a feature that an on-site visitor wouldn’t be able to see: the rooftop solar panels. And while at this shoot, falling snow posed some difficulties for the drone operator, it served to dramatically delineate the difference between the inside and outside environments.

Video of an indoor tennis center shows how the building’s design complements the existing outdoor tennis courts and the surrounding area. The interior footage captures the way lights inside the building reflect off the walls’ inside liner, a concept that’s difficult to explain without a visual aid. Tennis enthusiasts can see how six courts fit inside the structure with room to spare.

By capturing workers in a manufacturing environment as well as an office setting, the drone footage of Legacy’s headquarters shows the versatility of the buildings. This video also depicts heavy equipment, such as overhead cranes, and architectural features, such as the outside canopy, attached to the building frame.

When the potential client can’t come to the building, using a drone video might be the best way to bring the building to them. —Juliet Brambrink, MarComm Administrator, Legacy Building Solutions

Fun Haus - Haunted Haus Tour

We’ve reached the end of October and it’s time again for costume parties, scary movies, and, our favorite, haunted “Haus”-es! We’ve scanned the globe to locate the coolest and creepiest abodes. As a primer for this post, read this excellent New York Times article on the subject by Patricia Leigh Brown published back in 1987.

It’s no trick, we’re treating you to a ghoulish gallery of quirky, spooky, and funky paranormal pads and macabre mansions.  Enjoy!

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Write, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. The badly damaged house that offers breathtaking views of the Hollywood Hills and has appeared in several movies is being sold for $15 million. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House has been a popular film set for various movies from the 1959 House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Winchester House

The Winchester Mystery House is one our favorites due to its multiple doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms, and stairs with odd-sized risers.  Apparently the house’s “designers” were out of this world!  Allegedly, Sarah Winchester held nightly séances to ask the spirit world to help her design a house that would protect her from “bad” spirits.

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We love The Dragspelhuset Accordion House from Sweden. It reminds us of a goblin’s cottage and is called the accordion house because it has an expandable room that can extend out over the adjacent pond.
The_Overlook_HotelWho can forget these famous haunted houses from the movies? We’ll concede that in the context of the story, the Overlook Hotel from The Shining counts as a single family residence…

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This abandoned house in Wales, UK, known as the “Cloud House” by locals.  Its inhabitants disappeared without a trace and left all of their belongings behind…

Dakota

And if you’re in the market for a Devilish dwelling check out these real-life haunted residences up for sale…We’ll take John Lennon’s old apartment in the Dakota Building here in Manhattan!  Wait.  That’s not the Rosemary’s Baby apartment is it?

If you’re wondering how to design a frightfully delightful haunted house experience, check out this article on FastCoDesign.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Celebrating Architecture and Design Around the Globe

Sylphe, Chaumont garden festival

With the advent of Archtober here in New York, we thought we’d share how the rest of the world celebrates architecture.  Pack your bags, pull out your passports, and get ready for an international design tour-de-force!

From our cousins across the pond comes UK: LOVE ARCHITECTURE. The festival is national, taking in this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award-winning buildings, as well grand old piles in the country, which become accessible during the National Trust for the Heritage’s Open Days (September). Oh, and clog-dancing, without which no festival would be complete.

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Friends House, London. Architect: John
McAslan and Partners. Winner: RIBA London Award 2015. Photo: Hufton and Crow

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18th-century engraving of the 12th century Amberley Castle by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck

The French Mediterranean towns of Montpellier and La Grande Motte host the Festival des Architectures Vives, or Lively Architecture Festival (September). Site-specific installations by young architects and designers are on view in streets and courtyards, some of which are only accessible during the festival, in the historic city centers. The call for 2016 entries is open.

FAV-2014-Medusa

Montepellier: ”Médusa” by Alban Guého

France also hosts the Journées du Patrimoine (September) a wildly popular event that’s loosely equivalent to Open House New York (Oct. 17-18, 2015) but with much older buildings. The doors of such exclusive sites as the Palais de l’Elysée (the President’s residence) are open to the public. Visitors to the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire (April to November), which has been drawing crowds of art and garden lovers for 23 years, can also take in the somewhat older (ca. 1000) Château de Chaumont.

Above: Chaumont sur Loire: “Sylphe” – Festival International des Jardins, © E. Sander

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Chaumont sur Loire: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” – Festival International des Jardins, 2012 – © E. Sander

In Africa, Johannesburg’s AZA Future City (September) is a festival of talks, events, and tours that celebrates creativity and demonstrates the social and economic value of design (not to mention soccer!).

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Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa – Architect: Populous, Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners; Photographer: Chris Gascoigne

Down under, the Adelaide Festival of Architecture and Design is currently in full swing (October 8-13). Attractions include a rooftop tour, open studios, and – we’re saving the best for last — a boutique bar crawl.

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This model by Woods Bagot is among those displayed at Space Land, an architectural model exhibition on show during the Adelaide Festival of Architecture and Design

Summer Haus Art Guide: 8 Outdoor Exhibitions to See Before the End of Summer

Part 3 of Summer Haus is a curated guide of outdoor art exhibits around the globe. Bid farewell to the remaining weeks of summer, soak up the golden sunlight, while checking out these outdoor art exhibitions.

Inside Out, Philadelphia

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.45.38 AM(Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts)

Inside Out, an exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Akron Art Museum, and the Knight Foundation, brings high quality reproductions of famous artworks from their collections to outdoor areas such as bike paths, residential neighborhoods, and parks in Pennsylvania and other states.

Please Touch the Art, Brooklyn, New York

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.57.03 AM(Courtesy of James Ewing)

New York’s Public Art Fund invited Danish artist Jeppe Hein to create an installation of fountains, mirrors, and playful benches to populate Brooklyn Bridge Park. Mirror Labyrinth NY, made with vertical planks of mirrored-polished steel arranged in three radical arcs, the alternating rhythm and uneven heights of the steel elements echo the Manhattan skyline.

Kapoor Versailles, Versailles, France 

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.48.01 AM(Courtesy of Anish Kapoor)

Sectional Body Preparing for Monadic Singularity, is one of six pieces at the historic French site. Measuring 23 feet high, the black-and-red cube with a futuristic PVC interior is tucked amid the foliage in Versailles’s mazelike hedges. Artist, Anish Kapoor, states that, “a work of art doesn’t exist alone but through its viewer.” The visitor at Versailles will experience the dualities of artist’s work: heaven, earth, visible, invisible, inside, outside, shadow, light.

Dismaland, Somerset, England 

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.48.42 AM(Courtesy of Anish Kapoor)

Bansky’s Dismaland is a bemusement park where you can escape from mindless escapism. Hidden inside the walls of this derelict seaside resort, you will find an assortment of bizarre and beautiful artworks. Banksy is showing 10 artworks of his own with artwork from 58 global artists, including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo.

Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, Nashville, Tennessee

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Spanish artist Jaume Plensa has installed the two ethereal visages pictured above along with seven other large-scale sculptures at the historic Nashville estate Cheekwood. Jaume Plensa creates sculptures and installations that unify individuals through connections of spirituality, the body, and collective memory.

Swing Time, Boston, Massachusetts 

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.24.25 AM(Courtesy of Justin Saglio for the Boston Globe)

Part of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority ‘s initiative to create the first interactive public space in Boston, Swing Time, designed by Eric Howeler and Meejin Yoon of Howeler and Yoon Architecture, is an art installation of 20 glowing oval swings containing LED lights that activate based on the swings’ movement.

Lynda Benglis: Water Sources, New Windsor, New York

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.51.43 AM(Courtesy of Lynda Benglis)

American artist Lynda Benglis has installed a series of sculptures and fountains at New York’s 500-acre Storm King Art Center. The North South East West fountains, shown here, are made from cast bronze and steel.

 Salt, Sandhornøya, Norway

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.00.16 AM(Courtesy of SALT)

SALT is a nomadic initiative celebrating the environment, art, and culture of the Artic region. The 150 meter long Artic Pyramid designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects and artist Joar Nango will host art from Chinese artist Yang Fudong.

Make a Splash During the Final Days of Summer

Part 2 of Summer Haus is a very brief and very biased tour of our favorite pools. Take off your clothes, hold your nose, and jump in! Oh, and remember to reapply your sunscreen.

Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Italy

hadrians villa - Raddotto(photo Carole Raddato, Flickr)

The Emperor Hadrian employed thousands of slaves to build his sprawling country retreat outside Rome in the 2nd Century AD. The estate cover 250 acres and boasts a treasury of art from across the Empire, particularly Greece and Egypt. This oval pool, the Canopus, must have been the scene of many a Bacchanalian toga party. The caryatids aren’t talking.

 

Donnell Garden, California

donnell pool_no restrictions(photo Charles Birnbaum, Cultural Landscape Foundation)

Living the American dream at the father of kidney-shaped pools. This iconic California landscape, designed by modernist landscape architect Thomas Church in the 1950s, is an outstanding example of laid back but sophisticated outdoor living. The biomorphic sculpture is by Adaline Kent.

McCarren Pool, BrooklynRogers-Marvel-McCarren-Pool_photo Rogers Marvel(photo Rogers Marvel)

McCarren pool(photo Rogers Marvel)

Closer to home, we have Robert Moses to thank for Brooklyn’s McCarren Pool – and for nine other free, gigantic New York City pools for the 99%. Moses was a keen swimmer who competed on the Yale swim team and swam a mile a day into his 80s. Rogers Marvel Architects renovated the pool in 2012, using the original swimmer’s storage baskets on the lobby ceiling.

The Library, Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh_Samui_pool(photo The Library)

A base of mosaic glass tiles in orange, yellow and blood gives this pool its alarming color.

Bondi Iceberg, Bondi Beach, Australia

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The Bondi Icebergs pools are right next to Bondi Beach and allow swimmers a safe environment. It's one of the oldes Surf Live Saving Club's of Australia.

“Be a man, not a mollusk,” proclaim the membership rules of the Bondi Iceberg Club, so called because winter swimming is compulsory for members. The dramatic Bondi Baths, overflowing into the ocean, have been a landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years.

Infinity Pool, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina Bay - wiki commons(photos Wikipedia Commons)

Marina_Bay_Sands_in_the_evening_-wiki commons(photos Wikipedia Commons)

Eat you heart out, SoHo house: This dizzying pool, on the roof of the Moshe Safdie-designed, triple-towered Marina Bay Hotel, is the world’s highest and largest rooftop infinity pool. Not for those with vertigo, this watery aerie cantilevers 65 meters off the towers, and looms 57 stories above the city.

 

 

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