THE CURIOUS THING ABOUT STYLE, PART 1 OF 2

December 31, 2015

Recently, I was asked by an interviewer, “What is your style?”

This question is often asked, and not just of architects, but creatives of all sorts: fashion, graphics, advertising, cuisine, etc. The media typically aims to capture one’s design philosophy in a sound bite digestible by mainstream readers.

Many interior decorators have a packaged response. I hear words like “eclectic,” “warm and welcoming,” “contemporary, but timeless.” I am not sure what kind of design results from this mash up of clichés.

Architects have a hard time speaking of their style.

PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM: ARCHITECTURE OF THE GROTESQUE

December 18, 2015

I don’t mean ugly or gross. The Grotesque, an art movement, originated in 16th century Italy, and by the 18th century, the philosophy traveled to France, Germany and England. The Grotesque exists today in many forms of painting, sculpture, music, literature, architecture, and other arts.

Originally, the decorative style combined and distorted human, animal, and plant parts. Whether in its basic historical form or in contemporary explorations, adjectives for the Grotesque include the following: bizarre, uncomfortable, disgusting, weird, comical, twisted, and deformed.

JOURNAL ENTRIES FROM THE LIFE OF DESIGN

December 4, 2015

In designing a house for myself, the process became a diary of sorts. This design journey documented the chapters of my life.

In being my own client and in never actually implementing any construction, each proposed design captured my evolution over the years—from single, young couple, adulthood, married life, baby, to two children. All six design studies below (there are dozens more) addressed domesticity, views of the city, designing for a steep hill, adaptability, and new aesthetic ground.

ALLURE OF AN ARCHITECT’S OFFICE

November 20, 2015

When we architects are being artistic, we call it the “studio.” When being professional, we call it the “office.” When wanting to sound prominent, we call it the “firm.”

We also call it the “practice.” Because no matter how long you practice at being an architect, you probably never get it right.

No matter the label for the architect’s work space, an apparent coolness and sexiness pervades. Even a heroic bravado.

THE ROAD TO FRANK GEHRY: WHAT HAPPENED AT LACMA?

November 5, 2015

When The Simpsons make fun of your work, you have arrived, right?

Many think of architecture as a final product, such as a building, a park or a piece of furniture. Many forget about the creative journey that arrives at the final product.

Process and product—in life as in design, getting there is as gratifying as being there.

I ask this of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: why is the process that architect Frank Gehry is famously known for absent from your current exhibit?

GRANITE STONES BEGIN TO SWEAT, PART 1 OF 4

October 23, 2015

The humidity is dense and impenetrable. A moist blistering force undermines this city’s spirit.

On the street, people struggle to stay conscious in this staggering fire of late August. Like a city trapped in a huge plastic bag, even breathing becomes an effort. A warm stickiness seeps into all things. The granite stones begin to sweat. Yes, even the cobblestones begin to bleed the perspiration of summer. Late 80’s, my first New York City summer.

Heat and humidity give all things weight. All things are immobilized by the oppressive hand of some invisible senseless burden.

© Poon Design Inc.