Friday, June 18, 2010

NeoCon or Bust (Part 2).

"Bust" as it turns out. With regret I was unable to attend the last day of NeoCon. I have a wisdom tooth coming in (the second one in 3 months...yikes) and was livng in a new world of pain and discomfort this past Wednesday. Thusly, this is all there will be as a follow up to "part 1." Sorry everyone.

Monday, June 14, 2010

NeoCon or Bust (Part 1).

If it is mid-June and if you are even remotely associated with the Interior Design community (especially here in Chicago) you know that NeoCon is once again upon us.

Held every June at the Merchandise Mart, NeoCon is the largest trade show of its kind in North America and considered by many to be the most important industry event of the year. This year marks  the shows 42nd year. Started in 1969 the show was then known as "The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings."

The show takes place for three days each June, this year it's the 14th - 16th. It consists of some 1000 (+/-) showrooms and exhibits and more than 150 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums, renowned keynote speakers, new products, innovative exhibits and building / design resources and materials. And all this draws in roughly 40,000 people every year. So basically, if you plan to attend, make sure to pack some aspirin and a few energy bars, drink plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes...honestly, I am not kidding about this.

I decided to wade into the fray earlier today (the first day) to take a quick look around and for one of the key-notes I signed up for. Despite the mad throngs of show goers I did manage to snap a few pics to share with everyone. I will post "Part 2" on Thursday, it will be a more comprehensive look at all the lovely shiny things there. Wednesday will be a bit more relaxed and it will be easier to see things and I will be there to see the big key-note by Yves Behar. For now please enjoy a few of the images I got today.

See, like I said...a throng.

A nice line...for the "Hey, but I  pre-registered for this" sign-in.

I really do love this fabric.

Eames Chair in pistachio leather...oh it's so good.

My bad view for the Roger Martin key-note, always arrive on time.

Rememer to check back in on Thursday for the thrilling conclusion to "NeoCon or Bust."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here comes the introduction to yellow.

Part 2 in an ongoing look at the psychology of color. Ongoing at least until we run out of colors.

Yellow is such a wonderful color. It is one of my favorite colors to catch a glimpse of ... the lining of a bowl, an element on a bolt of fabric, a flower next to a sidewalk, a stripe on a pair of socks, etc. It is one of the colors most associated with spring and summer. It is not a color that most people see often in everyday life but most will definitely notice it when they do and will remember it after they have.

As a designer I have always been fascinated with the psychological aspects of yellow as they are amazingly diverse.

  • Mentally stimulating
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Activates memory
  • Encourages conversation
  • Speeds up the metabolism
  • Can increase heart rate (in brighter shades)
  • Can encourage creative thinking
  • Associated with sunshine and energy

Yellow is a happy and uplifting color. Yellow has been proven to stimulate the brain and to enhance a persons ability to be more alert and decisive, this is achieved by making the muscles more energetic and by activating the lymphatic system. It is also associated with intellectual thinking: discernment, memory, clear thinking, decision-making, good judgement, organization and understanding differing points of view. Yellow builds self-confidence and encourages optimism.

The feelings of happiness one gets from yellow is because the brain actually releases more serotonin (the chemical that makes you feel good) when the color is around. While it is associated with optimism one must mindful, when intense, it is the color of flame and studies show babies cry more and people are more apt to anger quicker and become more frustrated in bright yellow rooms and spaces. Yellow is also the color most fatiguing to the eye due to the high amount of light it reflects. This and the fact that it is also the most attention getting color means that it can fast become overpowering so you should use it in small amounts to draw notice..a little bit goes a long way.

In marketing yellow can help increase sales when used properly. My personal favorite use of the color in marketing is with McDonald's. Like yellow, red (McDonald's only two colors) also increases heart rate and enhances the metabolism, with red also being an appetite stimulator. The color yellow they use is a bright yellow which as I mentioned is an emotionally irritating shade (bright red is the most emotionally irritating color...the color they use as their accent). They idea behind their using these colors is to get you in, make you hungry, excite you to be eating and to get you to leave quickly. They are a "fast food" restaurant after all...turnover is their business. And that is the reason they use those colors. You didn't think it was just because they looked good together did you?

When using yellow in an interior design scheme make sure to be thoughtful of the information above. Unless you want to baby to cry all the time and to get in a lot of bright yellow. I understand that many of you will be thinking that you have seen bright yellow used in interiors before...and indeed you have. This is the result of a bit more advanced interior design techniques that I will post about at a later date. Yellows are best used in kitchens and dining rooms, especially the mid-range tones, for obvious reasons. Softer shades can be used in most other living spaces, I especially like using pale yellows in offices and conversation / reading areas because of the many useful mentally stimulating aspects of the color. The one caveat to this is that you should be cautious when using yellow in bedrooms as it is not a very particularly restful color.

As with any color, if you are not sure about using it start out with an accent of two. If you like it move on to something a bit more substantial. In closing please allow me to share with you the one idea I personally apply to everything I do or design, quite simply put..."Be Mindful"


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Biblioteca Amore...Part 1.

I have always loved beautiful libraries! There is something about the design aesthetic and the wealth of accumulated knowledge that stirs something in me. I am somehow comforted by them and often inspired by them.

While many people I know have turned to reading books on one digital reader or another I continue to be firm in my resolve to read an actual, textural, physical book. Mind you, I understand that digital books are a good way to help cut down on the need of resources and that it is a more sustainable practice. While I strive to find ways to achieve more sustainability in my everyday life I simply will not give up my books. One of my personal goals in life is to have an impressive home library.'s an ego thing and I have learned to live with that.

I have spent the last couple of years collecting images of beautiful libraries and want to share some of my favorites with you. Enjoy.

Strahov Monastery, Prague (top:Theological Hall, bottom:Philosophical Hall)

Biblioteca Geral University, Coimbra, Portugal

Trinity College Library "The Long Room", Dublin, Ireland

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

The University Club, NYC

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland

Codrington Library, All Souls College, Oxford, England

Chetham Library, Manchester, England

Library of St. Walburga, Zutphen, Netherlands
(preserved from the 16th century)

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library, Hereford, England
(rare books were once kept chained to the shelves to prevent theft)

This concluded part one, I hope you enjoyed it. As one last addition to this post please check out this link, 3D Library , trust's worth it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I won't run for the cause but I will design for it.

Some time back I was asked by my wife's law firm, Stamos & Trucco, to design a t-shirt for a corporate run challenge they were participating in. Happy to be able to help, I took to designing their shirt (and yes, the image above is "exactly" what it looks like when I am in the creation process).

The main requirements were that it be refined, a bit conservative and simple...."no problem". I took my inspiration for the design of Polo jerseys and just toned it down a bit. After weeding through a few options a final design was reached. I am pleased to say that the shirt was both understated and sophisticated.

My lovely wife was one of the runners for the challange and was kind enough to model the shirt so that I could have a few pics to share with everyone.

And some of the images I took at the actual event ...enjoy.

THE TEAM...aren't they cute?

she drove through just before the race....with a message.

and their off....(there are alot of blurry people in Chicago)

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