Carlo Scarpa

I first learnt about Carlo Scarpa when I studied abroad in Rome. My favorite building he designed is the Castelvecchio museum in Verona, Italy.

Scarpa was a master of creating spaces that blended new and old, history and new meanings. Often Scarpa's work mixed geometric shapes with natural materials forcing a conversation about the built environment and how architecture, what people build within the nature we are given, affects us.

He worked, as most architects do, for way too long. His projects range from the 1920s through to the late 1970s and show the array of his influence from residences, banks, museums, cemeteries, to furniture, never overlooking the specific materials used and details. He also taught drawing and interior design in his native Italy where most of his projects were completed.

For more on Scarpa and images of his work check out Carlo Scarpa: The complete works published by Rizzoli.


Back To School

As a former Brooklynite I'm a big fan of all things Brooklyn but this really caught my eye, a design and art school for kids.

Classes start as early as eighteen months and run up until grade six. Kids are allowed to get messy and make something all their own, at the same time learn about all their senses and get their creative minds going. Check out some of these, obviously brilliant, designs:

Myla, 22 months
Julia, age 7   Robots + Aliens Class
Tiernan, age 10    Product Design Class
Check out more about Brooklyn Design Lab here: www.brooklyndesignlab.org. And if you don't live in Brooklyn (sorry about that), maybe some class descriptions will give you an idea or two for an at home class.


Remembering The Greats

I was in Grand Central Terminal today and realized again how the great spaces just don't get old. I come into the station from the train now, not the subway, but otherwise it's a trip I've taken plenty of times. It never gets old. There is always that sense of awe, a reminder of beauty on a grand scale, some new detail to discover. 

Pardon all the people but, you know, it's a busy place.
Some of you may know that the constellations on the ceiling are painted backwards. The idea is that you are seeing the stars as if you are above, looking down on Earth. Look for a small patch of dark blue on the ceiling, (hint: think basketball) which the restoration workers left to show the state of the original ceiling before the restoration work began in 1998. After testing samples from the ceiling it was found that the ceiling was discolored mostly from all the tobacco smoking that occurred in the space, not the exhaust from the trains. 

The celestial ceiling in the Main Concourse

"Meet by the clock" is a famous line. Surprisingly you actually do usually find the person you're meeting. The faces of the clock are made of opal and it is estimated that this antique is worth more than $10 million.

On the facade of Grand Central is a group of statues, Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury, and a clock, which is the largest example of Tiffany glass, measuring in at a thirteen foot circumference.

One of my favorite things in Grand Central are the light fixtures on the Main Concourse, amazingly modern for an architectural great from 1913.

If you can't make it there in person, enjoy the mini station mock up that's the current set of Saturday Night Live or look for it in the Vonage (?) cell phone commercials. Nothing beats the real thing though so if you can make it there, go. If you live in New York City, well then, spend some time just walking around next time, try to imagine what the rumored new Apple store will look like, and discover something new in a place that's so great because it's not new.