Saturday, March 12, 2011

HD3: Mansart & Le Vau & Light

I was so pleased to receive 99% (!!) for HD3. I worked hard on it, and found the Baroque era very interesting, although a little ostentatious for my taste! I decided to put my essay outlines to help people get started on what to write about. Please leave a comment if you have any other ideas...

Question 1: Mansart & Le Vau

1. Introduction to Baroque era and architects
2. Background on Mansart (date of birth, education, mentors etc)
3. Mansart's first designs - incl. details that became characteristic of his style
4. Further expansion on Mansart's designs - details on how style has developed
5. Mansart's most preeminent work/final masterpiece
6-9. (Repeated essentially the same structure for Le Vau)
10. Summary

Question 2: The use of light in the Baroque
1. General introduction to the philosophy of light in the Baroque era
2. Why light (or things that created light) were significant - centre of life, philosophy, status, interest in outdoors/gardens
3-4. How light was created in architecture (look at pierced vaulted ceilings, window designs)
5. Artifical lighting (candleabras, fireplaces etc)
6. Mirrors
7. Use of light with furniture (i.e. gilding, lacquering, silvering etc)
8. Summary

I don't know if these books are available where you are (but if they're all the way down in Australia, they should be elsewhere) but some books you might want to look up (apart from good old John Pile) include:

§ Lucie-Smith, E. (1979). Furniture: A Concise History. London: Thames and Hudson.

§ Riley, N & Bayer, P (Editor). (2003). The Elements of Design. New York: Free Press.

§ Wolfflin, H. (1975). Renaissance and the Baroque. New York: Cornell University Press.

§ Hersey, G. (2000). Architecture and Geometry in the age of the Baroque. London: The University of Chicago Press.

§ Blunt, A. (1999). Art & Architecture in France 1500-1700. Suffolk: Penguin Books.

§ Norberg-Schulz, C. (1971a). Baroque Architecture. New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc.

§ Norberg-Schulz, C. (1971b). History of World Architecture. New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc.

§ Watkin, D. (1986). The History of Western Architecture (3rd ed.). London: Laurence King Publishing.

§ Blunt, A. (1999). Art & Architecture in France 1500-1700. Suffolk: Penguin Books.

§Watkin, D. (1986). The History of Western Architecture (3rd ed.). London: Laurence King Publishing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

M9 - An excerpt...

I have finally got back into my Rhodec course properly after graduating from my business degree. I have finished a few assignments and have been getting good marks so I thought I'd put up an excerpt from my M9 assignment to give you guys some ideas...
Fabric C: Lustrell Basket Weave ‘Licorice’

Lustrell Basket Weave is an unusual fabric with a smooth shiny finish. The texture appears to be created through pressing a design into the fabric, as opposed to an actual weave. This fabric is produced by Warwick Fabrics, and is available in six colourways; Licorice (dark brown-black), Hazel (a mid-tone brown), Henna (red-brown), Pearl (cream), Rum (black) and Russett (red-black). It is 140cm wide with a weight of 881gsm. This textile’s dominant factor would be its artificial texture; as a plastic fabric it has no weave.

This textile is 82% PVC, 2% Pu and 16% Polyester, making it extremely heavy duty. Although it would be the perfect choice for heavy duty commercial upholstery, it’s not suitable for drapery due to its heavy handle. Lustrell Basket Weave has a Martindale result of 150,000 cycles, much higher than the other fabrics used here.
Despite its plastic feel, the fabric passes the Schildnecht test for flexing in both length and width. With a colourfastness test greater than seven, Lustrell Basket Weave could be used outside, although it should be protected from direct sunlight. Despite its suitability as a commercial textile, it should be used with care due to its high ignitability index of eighteen. Positively, it does have a low spread of flame index (at zero) and heat evolved index of three.

To keep this fabric in its best condition, it can be wiped down regularly with warm water and should never be cleaned with abrasives or detergent based cleaners. It should also be kept away from direct heat sources.

Lustrell Basket Weave would be perfect in a high use commercial area such as a restaurant or nightclub, due to its high durability and ease of cleaning spills.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Writing Essays

I know the word 'essay' gives people sleepless nights and hair-pulling days and while I've had my fair share of those I've had a fair bit of experience writing essays, thanks to school and uni.

I'd read a lot of tips and instructions on writing essays which are all helpful but the best method I've ever had (primarily for History essays) is the way we were taught in my history subject at high school. It allows you to structure your research logically and makes it easy to reference your essays when you write them.

First, get a lined book took take your research notes in (I decided to leave my sketchbook for more illustrations and got a different book for research). At the front, write down the assignment question and then break it down into the different things you need to consider to answer the question.

For example, one of the questions for HD1 is:
"The Romans were great builders. Describe some of the techniques and special features in evidence in their buildings. We now focus on Roman interiors and much detail on their layout, materials and richness is expected here. You should be able to provide good descriptions and examples and to comment on the Roman way of life."

If you break this question down you see some key points:
1) What are some Roman building techniques or special features of their buildings?
2) How were Roman buildings laid out?
3) What materials did they use?
4) What did the interiors look like (considering richness and detail)?
5) What was the Roman way of life?

Now you clearly know what you need to look for in your research. Write each question on the top of a page, leaving enough gaps between each to add your notes. I often like to add a more general question if I don't know much about the topic, then go into more detail from there. As you research, you might discover you need to ask other questions to clarify topics for yourself.

For example, I used these research questions among others:
1. What is the history of the Romans?
2. What characterised the Romans as a civilisation and what was their way of life like?
3. What are some well-known Roman buildings like?
4. What materials did the Romans use in building and interiors?
5. What building techniques are the Romans known for?
6. What is the typical layout of a Roman house?
7. What characterised the Roman interior?

As you research, look specifically for information that relates to these questions and write it down uon the appropriate page. Sometimes it helps to summarise useful information in your own words so you don't accidently plagarise later.

Keep a reference list at the back, giving each source a number and writing all the information you need to write a reference/bibliography list later. When you write your notes under each question include the source number for easy referencing later.

Then, when you've planned your essay and start writing, you have a summary of all the research you've done, with sources clearly marked.

This may not work for everyone but I find it keeps all my notes in a logical order (and the questions can often be used as a paragraph topic!) and stops me taking notes on something irrelevant.

Hope this helps!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

History - Ancient Rome

I have done a few History assignments and particularly enjoyed the Ancient Rome HD1 assignment. I went there when I was 16 and fell in love with Italy and Pompeii was fascinating. Here a few of the pics I took which I found inspiring when working on the assignment.
Mosaic mural in Pompeii.
Staircase in Rome.

A street of Pompeii.

A church ceiling.

A beautiful courtyard in Assisi.

And, of course, the Colosseum.

- All photos by Anna Williams, 2005.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1000 Chairs or just 1

I was recently given a fantastic book called '1000 Chairs'. I'll post the full details later but it's very interesting if you're a bit of a chair enthusiast.

Each week I want to post a little about some of my favourites:
Michael Thonet. Chair, Model No 14, 1859.

Everybody will recognise the 'bentwood' chair. It's iconic shape is seen around the world. The No. 14 Chair was the result of experimentation in the bending of solid wood in the 1850s. The simple form allowed Thonet's goal of mass-production - 50 million were sold worldwide by 1930.

This chair is a design classic and is seen in rooms all around the world. Would you believe I saw one, or a very good copy, in my local 'op-shop' (second hand store) dressing room and asked if I could buy it. The lady told me, rather rudely, that it was not for sale and there were plenty of other chairs available (which were all of the pea green velour, nasty veneer or plastic variety). I didn't see the point in trying to explain the difference!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Introducing Lisa Canning

Lisa Canning is a Toronto based interior stylist with a modern fresh take to interior design. Many many bloggers follow her blog where she features her own work, along with ideas, fabric and furniture. Lisa's approach is simple with interesting colours and a touch of glamour. I find it really inspiring to see how designers started their careers so I thought I would tell you how Lisa Canning Creative Consulting came about.

Lisa studied a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Communications from Ryerson University. She told me that while she was working on magazines and fashion shows she realised her love of styling and prop styling. According to Lisa, close to graduation a 'very random thing happened' - a production company contacted her and told her she would be perfect for their new show 'Marriage Under Construction', a HGTV show. With no interior design training and a $30,000 budget, Lisa had to learn the trade very quickly! She now works as a residential designer and set design.

Here is a few shots from her portfolio (available from her blog)...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rental Decorating

I always wonder if anyone hires interior designers to decorate their rental apartments and homes. I think it would be a worthwhile investment if you planned to spend some time in the house, especially if you focus on 'removable' decor.

I am currently moving out of home into a rental home. We have some leeway as we know the owners and were allowed to paint. However, we are still left with some fairly average looking walls that need some quick fixes to brighten up the rooms.

Some ideas...
Removable wall decals
(From Jenny Mac Wall Art on Etsy)

Cheap Artwork (hung with rental-safe double sided tape of course)

Try a photograph collage

or paint a poem on a canvas
(Design by Catherine Ekstrom via Desire to Inspire)

Frame some of your favourite things...frame your favourite fabric...mirrors...cork tiles...wall hangings and carpets...frame some doilies...hang some baskets...or hats...or shoes...shelving with objects...frame old boardgames...paint something yourself...the list is endless!

Another option I am desperate to try out (especially after seeing the amazing wallpaper options during M6) is a removable wall fabric idea. Find the instructions by googling 'Fabric as wallpaper' or check out the Apartment Therapy instructions here.

(From Domino Magazine)

(From Little Green Notebook)