Stained Glass for the Modern World

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

As much as I adore patterned walls, some environments are better suited to finishes without motifs. Often, institutional or corporate settings require more neutral wall finishes. However,  windows can present an incredible opportunity to introduce pattern!

I adore the pattern used in this window at The House Cafe Corner in Istanbul (pictured above). Of the many ways to create crisp, patterned window finishes, fritted glass is by far the most durable and functional. Fritted glass involves baking a ceramic glaze directly onto the glass.

The resulting glass can create depth, texture and movement within the 2-D window surface. What an incredible way to introduce pattern to a modern structure!

Wiel Arets Architects: University Library UBU, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2004

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Par Avion: Air Mail Patterns

September 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Humans love both the art of flying, and the joy of receiving letters. One of our first known air-mail deliveries occurred by balloon on January 9, 1793, traveling from Philadelphia to New Jersey, carrying a personal letter from George Washington!  Air mail officially began in the United States in 1918 and while it’s now considered obsolete (in 1995, the Postal Service began transporting all First Class long distance intercity mail by air), beautiful air mail letters continue to be produced.

I purchased the classic half-chevron/rhombus bordered envelopes  in Guatemala several years ago, (see below) and continue to use them for fun whenever I send a letter to a distant location. Now I’m dreaming up ways to create patterns inspired by these classic shapes.

In researching the subject, I was delighted, but not surprised to learn that the rhombus blue and red framing is just a modern simplification of myriad former air mail designs. While air mail envelopes were almost universally printed with red or blue ink, their outside framing (and of course, stamps) varied widely. Popular motifs include airplanes and balloons, stripes, stars, arrows, and occasionally more eclectic shapes like firecrackers or shields.

See some examples below, from a collection curated by R. Howard Courtney

I’m delighted! And off to develop some modern classic takes on these designs. As always, it’s great to be in good company. Designer, & Kathleen developed a great invitation based on a classic airmail pattern here, which I love. Now off to the races!

10 Corso Como: An Italian Geometric Treasure Trove

August 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Photo by COURTESY PHOTO

While developing a series of geometric wallpaper patterns, I’m referencing some of my photos from a recent trip to the iconic, genre-defning, Milanese emporium: 10 Corso Como. Located in a dense, historical neighborhood, 10 Corso Como has provided a nearly transcendent shopping experience for well over two decades. It’s not so much a store, it’s more of an institution. Once inside the beautiful gates, you can enjoy a delicious meal, spend hours perusing books in the 2nd floor bookstore, take a stroll through a current, world-class art installation, relax on the rooftop garden terrace, or, of course, shop. The clothes, shoes and accessories are, of course, exquisite.

Today I’m especially inspired by their circular patterns, integrated into the logo, displays, and fabrics.

No trip to Milan would be complete without a visit to the store, which shares it’s street address with it’s name, 10 Corso Como.

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