Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Build your own House and City

Participatory approach in visualizing your city! 
In the last post, I talked about handcrafted buildings and objects representing old town and San Francisco. But if you look beyond those beautiful buildings and streets, you see people interacting, dancing and enjoying on the streets. It depicts romantic picture of street life and making it look magical. What makes an ideal place to live?

Urban Designers study and work to make the streets and place functional as well as livable. There are many ways,  they involve local residents in the design development process. Generally this happens at a small project level and rarely at the neighborhood or city level. James Rojas, Los Angeles based Urban Designer has created workshops and exercises in which he invites people to construct model cities where they are led to think beyond parcel and house level. This process breaks the boundary of work done by city planners and urban designers. It allows the community to think forward and visualize the city and neighborhood. The participatory exercises makes them more accountable in the environment they live and be responsible for. Check the photo below beautiful, luminous city made by glass pieces.

 Model City - made up of Glass pieces Credit- James Rojas of PlaceIt

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Houses with windows in Windows

Model Houses dispalyed in Storefront Windows

The culture of displaying model houses expanded in the commerce as I discussed in the last post. It seems a hot trend when it comes to store front windows. In San Francisco, a store front window had beautifully lighted and crafted modern houses (objects) along with their consumer products centered as star item in them. They go regional in the theme and portray the streets of San Francisco. You can not keep walking when you pass by those windows. Check below.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Village inspired by Charles Dicken's novels

This time of the year is festive, especially in San Francisco. Last week, a Christmas art installation caught my attention and it was a beautifully displayed snow covered village with circling train track around (perfectly designed transportation).  Architects are moving away from card board models to building Digital Models, but there is a strong trend of building model village with these cute, wonderfully, crafted objects. The tradition of displaying snow village through resin or ceramic pieces dates back to renaissance. Each generation and culture has added their part to it, although this village with a train track seems to depict 1900.
The company Department 56 introduced 6 handcrafted porcelain buildings in 1976 and has become a major force in the giftware and collectible industry.  Even, this year, they are planning to introduce The Chrysler Building for the series, Christmas In The City. Check out the photos below-

photo- Neela Shukla


INTRICATELY  DETAILED BUILDINGS WITH LIT WINDOWS, (Sure new additions inspired by different culture)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Optics and layers of information

Below are the photos I clicked and did not capture what I wanted but rather captured much more including surroundings and other information. This is due to light, glass and clicking while walking.  I am also thinking about David Hockney's theory of Optic Aids in those famous realistic paintings as early as 1430.

Photo Credit- Neela Shukla, San Francisco

They are like simple house plan architects design and the layers of information, thoughts and conscious design decisions are hidden there. The Optical aids are definitely needed to see those as not visible right away.

At the bottom the photo shows Linear LED lights and makes the interior look much organized and visually graspable. I always used lights to create ambiance for different tasks in the design, but Optics have gotten in my brain after my visit to De Young Museum and watching David Hockney's exhibits.

Photo Credit- Neela Shukla,  Construction company's office interior, Milpitas

Here the photo of Montage of photos of David Hockney, experiencing them changing vantage points.
David Hockney's Video Montage, Photo Credit- Neela Shukla

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vision, Imagination and Realization!

This post is about three individuals from different fields of work. Each is using his own, unique medium but all are using technology to push the boundaries and creating amazing results (Buildings, Sculptures, Videos). I hope you enjoy reading this.

Frank Gehry, an architect uses cutting age technology and CATIA (3D Cad software and 'Gehry Technologies')and industrial material titanium to bring forth his vision of sculptural and whimsical buildings. They are permanent in nature.
Bruce Monroe, a visual artist and tells stories with the use of light and luminescence He creates heavenly scenes with optic fibers, plastic and blown glass. His installations are temporary in nature and site specific.
Andre Chocron is a digital visual artist and he uses camera and editing technology to create his conceptual idea, His work is ephemeral in nature, it remains with you for long time, but you are just watching it on screen in digital format.

1- Frank Gehry ( from LA, USA) ( Architecture- creating Buildings)
Frank in this video confidently talks about his vision and the process to deliver the designed new building on time and in budget. I am not talking here as an architectural critic, but the power and presence of his buildings are enormous. The shadow and the rhythm of  the forms create fantastic spaces which provides unique amazing experience.


2- Bruce Monroe ( from UK) ( Visual Artist- creating Temporary installation around the buildings)
Bruce Monroe, a visual artist, interested in poetry, music and literature finds his medium as light and creates spcaes which are inspired by his experience in nature. The installation Field of Light, as shown in photo below was inspired by his visit to Desert and experiencing heat and electricity, shine from the floor in the night. His installation lights up in the night and creates enchanting Field of Light in the landscape around the building. The colors, rhythm of the luminescence takes you in to  an enchanted, dream-like world. You can hear his passion and love of nature as well as his poetic thoughts and imaginations in the video.
Field Of Lights, Installation at Cheekwood, Nashville, TN    credit-

Cheekwood 1200 Forrest Park Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37205


3- André Chocron  ( from Norway) ( Digital Artist- creating digital creation to go with Music)

André Chocron from Norway, who wanted to be a musician but instead is making music videos. He uses the camera as his musical instrument trying to visualize the song in the most interesting way. He combines techniques such as stop motion, simple VFX, time lapse or slow motion with in-camera effects to achieve a certain visual expression. His 'Time is of the essence' music video from the album "Relax; the mountain will come to you" is a great example of conceptualizing, planning and putting together approx. 4 minutes video in a simple but with an amazing effect.
It took him 2 weeks to shoot and 3 months to edit which shows that he was working hard to achieve his idea in to reality.

Below is a clip from his interview-
"The process was pretty much this: We shot timelapse from early evening to the middle of the night, with most of the apartments illuminated for the first couple of hours and most of the apartments dark for the last couple of hours. I used the darkest part as the foundation for the individual sequences, and masked out all windows that were still lit, so that all windows were dark.
Next I made an individual layer for each window with lights on, by using the footage from the early evening. I organized them by creating a masterclip for each window, giving them sequential names and putting them in a grid.
I then put these individual clips on top of the sequence with dark windows to animate the lights going on and off.
PS I used the 4-point-mask, that took some patience...."
Wow, he's not kidding, anybody who has used an internal mask within FCP will know how long things take! Many thanks for getting in touch André.
"Official music video for Cold Mailman - "Time is of the essence".

All three works are very inspiring when you know the stories behind the creators. It made me think this question - What is your instrument to play music?

Monday, October 28, 2013

This is Life- Who we are!


Yes, my posts are touching various fields and always does not appear to be fitting in "Creativity and Business" heading. They are swinging and circling around the most important thing, aspect or field and it is about human, humanity and people. We all need to be able to live, survive and make use of our skills and talents for the society. When someone steps up or outside while doing their work or while living, that act is inspiring. So I write about what influences me and touches me.  So this post is also little bit off but I am just blown away by the words of Grey's Anatomy TV show.

Here they are-

"We know every connection matters.
Every connection is crucial.
When one is broken, 
it usually means some damage has been done.
The system of connections compels us to act and change and behave;
sometimes seemingly against our will.

It is not random at all. 
It is the map of who we are."
 -  from Grey's Anatomy

 Is that our genetic coding which makes us? or our environment and influences make us? Can we change our behaviors or attitudes? Can we change ourselves? Can we be happy and comfortable if we are not acting who we are?

Below is the musical track going with the words by Mackintosh Braun- beautiful music and words.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Walls and Emotions!

The role of Walls in Human emotions!

I was reading this article in “Architect” magazine. The catchy title “sensing wallpaper” reminded me of  how technology advancement changes architecture. The product in the process of materializing  by few scientists of Princeton University, is going to give us more options the way we design walls. Check the link here for all the details. It is a technology which integrates super-thin radios connected to multiple linked  sensors within plastic sheets.  The sheets may be decorated or painted—just like traditional wallpaper—without hindering the function of the radio circuitry. Due to the characteristics of pliability and flexibility of plastic sheets, its applications will stretch to various fields. It will be used for both exterior and interior applications that means in the exterior use, where sun power is available, they will be capable of generating their own power if integrated solar cells.

According to the scientists and Engineers involved, the skin can be wrapped around walls, foundations, bridges and over irregular surfaces and can sense and detect problems with moisture and temperature. It is still in its infant stage and we will be seeing its usage in many applications. 

Presently, to sense temperature and motion in the building, we use Thermostat ( a component of a control system, based on a different technology, not the one we discussed above of Sensing wallpaper) - occupancy sensor and motion sensor. The occupancy sensor senses if anybody is present or not and controls the lighting, temperature, security and so on. The little round original thermostat was designed by Henry Dreyfuss. See photo below.
Designer- Henry Dreyfuss

Till today, we have walls and we have these separate products. We design products and walls for human beings, but combining those physical function of wall and psychological function of sensing comfort in one product is going to be challenging and interesting. 

If we look at the history of shelter and walls -  going back to basics, I think, the wall has evolved along with human civilization. From rough walls of  caves, cold walls of castles, to translucent and transparent glass walls, shiny or matted curvy metal walls to green walls; the walls have been explored and transformed at the urban setting and at the residential human setting. Architects and designers push the materials to change the form of the wall to create varied sensations. They function beyond being just enclosure and protection. I have experienced fantastic feelings encountering many walls throughout my travel, I am sharing few examples to share with you. They are depicted through photos and words which relate to emotions I feel and design keywords I think pertaining to those.

(This is for left brain thinkers - Compare those emotions with how you feel while driving through mountains or just walking over the mountains or wandering through dense forest or glancing at the galaxy laying over sandy beach or waiting to pick up your kids in your cars and you have glimpses of sunsets and  so on. I can fill up the 5 pages but I hope you got the point.) The form, shape, color, texture and lighting, individually or in combination play role to make that wall alive. But that is a different post. Meanwhile enjoy the photos!

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

photo credit- Neela Shukla

If people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient – or just plain happier- the designer has succeeded. –Henry Dryfuss

I believe the similar; if buildings are designed safer, more comfortable, more efficient – or just plain happier- the architect/designer has succeeded!