Friday, November 15, 2013

Michael Hampton at Baker furniture 'tabletop'

Last night I attended a fun event at the Baker Furniture showroom here in Georgetown where 4 designers worked their magic to get everyone into the holiday spirit by decorating tabletops.
My favorite table design was by my good friend designer Michael Hampton I'm pleased to report! Michael's interesting modern table focused on a new china pattern from Bernardaud in collaboration with Prune Nourry et JR.
The best thing about this china pattern isn't seen at first sight, the backside features the rear of the two hands! Learn more about his interesting tablesetting at his blog.
The fun part of attending such events, other than the chance to catch up with friends, is the chance to checkout the beautiful showroom. I loved this fun new chandelier called Syro.
 Another beautiful table was decorated by local designer Patrick Brian Jones.
Vintage crystal and china mesh seamlessly with new atop sparkling placemats. While I prefer a proper tablecloth it would hide the beautiful Baker furniture and that does rather defeat the point!
Events director and boutique owner Timothy Albrecht used a number of beautiful items from his store, Consider it Done, to decorate his own table. He was also kind enough to lend items to the other designers!
I love the modern brass utensils and gold and white is always classic.
 See anything to inspire your own holiday dinner table?
Many thanks to Baker Furniture for hosting the event and the fun evening!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cardboard architecture

This past weekend while reading the Wall Street Journal Magazine (Nov 2013) I noticed a short article on the demise of Gilbert Scott's neo-gothic Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand which had been decimated by many recent earthquakes.  The replacement (which the article failed to mention was temporary) was designed by architect Shigeru Ban completely out of cardboard! Ban, who has donated his services on similar churches throughout areas of the Eastern Hemisphere which faced similar acts of God, expects the cardboard cathedral to last 50 years if needed.
Above you can see Scott's stone ChristChurch Cathedral from 1904 before the damage and below the devastation numerous earthquakes in recent years had wrought.  The decision phase has been hard on the church as they decide whether or not to rebuild or if the damaged building was salvageable; turns out that sadly the existing church could not be saved. The city and preservationists were also involved as the Cathedral is a local landmark and a category #1 historic place ranking within New Zealand.
When I first read the article I was outraged at the current state of the architectural profession that a 50 year life expectancy was deemed an adequate replacement for such a structure - or in fact any structure. We talk so much about being 'green' but replacing buildings every 20-50 years is the anti-thesis to green. Buildings in Europe are in use that are a thousand years old which is a whole lot more 'green' than a lot of current building practices.....but that's a topic for another blog post. I was wrong in fact and the cardboard Cathedral is a temporary structure; crisis adverted.
Can you imagine such a tragedy to your own church or landmark? So sad.
Ban's design was a simple A-frame structure of huge cardboard tubes covered with a clear polycarbonate roof to keep off the weather. The ends are then infilled with stained glass with super-imposed photo images from the old Cathedral (see last few images). 
Above you can see the structure getting erected a few blocks away from the old Cathedral while it continues to be demolished and the site prepared for rebuilding.
The finished project is a beautiful example of modern ecclesiastic architecture in my opinion, and you know I'm primarily a classicist!
The finished space holds 700 parishioners.  I love that it includes something of the old Cathedral (the stained glass images) while leading the way for the congregation to the future and their rebuilding; hopefully a structurally sound replica of the old Cathedral.
What do you think of the temporary replacement and cardboard buildings in general? Could you worship here?
Images sourced from various news sources and not my own.