DESIGN AND DISCOMFORT: SIT AND BE CURIOUS

December 15, 2017

I have written about a number of things that are in essence, big pains in the butts. Recently, I asked two colleagues, Christine Fang and Ji Ahn, who practice mindfulness and meditation: What do you do with the discomforts of life? I requested of them to provide me a peek into their training.

They tossed back some words: adventure, commit and experience—and sit and be curious. But somewhere along this pattern of words, Chris and Ji are aware that discomfort will inevitably rear its ugly head.

LEARNING FROM FIGURE DRAWING: THE BIG PICTURE

November 24, 2017

So as teenagers in figure drawing class, we all had that moment when the beautiful model dropped her robe to the floor and stood there in all her naked glory, surrounded by students in awe and dropped jaws. Then our teacher said to study the model and draw.

PETER ZUMTHOR AND ELEMENTAL IDEAS

November 3, 2017

There are the usual suspects: Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, I.M. Pei, and so on. Call them celebrity architects or call them “Starchitects,” but one greater walks amongst these mere mortal rock stars. I speak of one who is called an “architect’s architect.” He is Pritzker-winning, Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor.

Many non-architects may not even know the name of the enigmatic Zumthor, for his Haldenstein-based practice is small and artisanal, perhaps even cultish. But in a short time to come, Los Angeles will know Mr. Zumthor’s work.

CROSSOVER: FROM ONE TO THE OTHER

October 13, 2017

In 1984, opera legend Kiri Te Kanawa sought success in an unexpected arena. Courageously stepping into the world of Broadway, she recorded her jazzy version of the 1957 Bernstein and Sondheim musical, West Side Story.

One year prior, jazz great Wynton Marsalis waltzed onto the classical stage with trumpet concertos by Mozart and Haydn—setting aside Marsalis’s New Orleans Dixieland roots.

Whether these two artistic efforts were successful or not, the term “crossover” entered the mainstream lexicon. Te Kanawa and Marsalis crossed over to uncharted universes, creating new sounds and challenges.

THE NOISE OF ARCHITECTURE

September 22, 2017

I am not referring to the acoustic engineering of a concert hall or the aural quality of a restaurant. Rather, all works of architecture have a certain artistic volume level, from blank mute to in-your-face loud. The visual and experiential clamor of a building can reverberate with a subtle hum, or brash feedback and distortion.

THE JOKE’S ON YOU: HUMOR AND WIT IN DESIGN

September 1, 2017

Architecture possesses this important and noble side, such as the design of the historic cathedrals in Europe, New York’s September 11 Memorial, or inspiring public schools. But what about humor? Can a building be funny?

Yes! Architecture can be a witty query or a laugh-out-loud punch line.

© Poon Design Inc.