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Apr27

This exhibit is so deeply moving. The emotional impact of art sometimes touches you deeper than you can imagine. I think this project has touched me because it had such purpose and history behind it that I am effected in a more visceral way than is typical. Back in 2003, the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, at the time going through the process of closing down, decided to initiate an exhibit to honor and memorialize the history of hope and sadness that had passed through its walls, Bloom. Found via the Colossal blog. Read on to hear excerpts from an interview with the artist and visitors.

bloom "mental hospital" flowers exhibit colossal

Artist Anna Schuleit was commissioned to do a public art installation celebrating the life and healing that took place at this institution. Once an inviting facility and place of healing it had turned into an empty, drab and lonely place. During an interview Anna said that she was struck with the lack of presence of life and color. The concept was to fill the halls and rooms of this empty building with life again, by installing nearly 28,000 potted flowers in the space of MMHC. It was a large undertaking, but worth the time and effort.

bloom "mental hospital" flowers exhibit colossal "Anna Schuleit"

bloom "mental hospital" flowers exhibit colossal "Anna Schuleit"

bloom "mental hospital" flowers exhibit colossal "Anna Schuleit"

In an interview with Anna (via Colossal) she was asked how visitors who came reacted to the installation. I think some of these responses capture the intensity that this exhibit had.

“I walked through Bloom with a close friend of mine who has spent a great deal of time inside similar hospitals. He was close to tears and repeated said he felt the desire to jump into the flowers, sum bold for the freedom and the celebration of his own growth and healing. We recognized that Bloom brought beauty and wonder to what has always been an inherently taboo subject matter.”

“‘Never worry alone’ was a Dr. Tom Gutheil classic line, but because of the lack of social support, too many patients who came here had to worry alone. Anna saw these corridors as places to be filled with growth. For all the patients who never received flowers, these flowers are for you.”

“My therapist’s office was in the basement and the floor is covered in grass. Grass does not bloom but it cushions and it is in the right place. It is the foundation, it softens everything. Conceptually it is brilliant.”

“My mother told me, 36 years ago, “Hang on. They’ll find a cure.” I was suffering alone until I came to MMHC. And today… oh so grateful… beyond any words, so grateful. Lives and sufferings have been redeemed here, and today we celebrate and honor, all of us, in this place, for better or for worse. Today, we flourish. The list of what we cannot do grows shorter and shorter. We become comfortable in a world of three dimensions; we gladly surrender the fourth, fifth, and sixth.”

You can read the full interview here: Colossal

Posted by on April 27th, 2012 at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)
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Mar07

Ropes as art. Ropes as interior design. Ropes as functional elements. Ropes as decor.

Installation by Magdalena Abakanowicz
Abakanowicz Rope Installation

Not sure where I found this. Love the light though.

Ace Hotel in Palm Springs Lobby
"Ace Hotel" "Palm Springs" ropes

Brick House Rope Wall
Rope Wall "BrickHouse"

The Exchange Hotel in Amsterdam
"The Exchange" Hotel Amsterdam

"Hotel Exchange" Amsterdam

Rope Light from Etsy
Rope Light

Posted by on March 7th, 2012 at 5:29 PM | Comments (0)
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Feb08

I was drawn to this paper stencil cutting at Cosecha Cafe the other day. The intricate poster, by Tahiti Pehrson who does gorgeous work, is a subtle addition that works nicely in the bright and modern open space. It’s also another reason to go for lunch (in addition to their delicious butternut squash quesadilla!).

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Posted by on February 8th, 2012 at 4:23 PM | Comments (0)
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Dec23

One of our favorite designers for events is none other than David Stark. David works in a world free of constraints and expectations. Here, he hired to create the mood for an evening gala called ART NEXT for the American Friends of the Israel Museum. The logo for NEXT was transformed as a huge installation piece hanging from the ceiling. Created of welded steel, florescent flagging tape dramatically draped from all points along the type. The effect, especially when the light hits it, is radiating and dynamic.

"David Stark" Next

"David Stark" Next

"David Stark" Next

"David Stark" Next

Photography // Susan Montagna

Posted by on December 23rd, 2011 at 4:46 PM | Comments (0)
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Nov28

This is long overdue, but we’re finally posting about the alternative wedding event we were a part of in September: Tilt. This was the first Tilt event, catering toward the alternative bride and groom. We were so excited when Swarm Gallery (the hosting venue of the event) asked us to style and participate in it. What a fantastic venue for brides and grooms to take in the overwhelming job of searching for cool/alternative wedding knowledge.

Check out a video of Tilt by Oakland North as well as more info below on the styling of the event.

Tilt Wedding "Wedding Events" "Bay Area" "Swarm Gallery" "Bridal Fair" Brides

For the styling of Tilt, we were inspired by a simple, sophisticated and playful palette of colors and whimsical decor. We received generous contributions for floral arrangements (provided by Clementine in Rockridge), calligraphy from Megan Cott, Air Plants for boutonnieres and decor from Air Plant Supply Co., furniture from Mignonne Decor, and decorated with these incredibly large and lofty balloons to make the space simply amazing.

Tilt Wedding "Wedding Events" "Bay Area" "Swarm Gallery" "Bridal Fair" Brides

Photos // Bliss Fotography or Local Social

We had so much fun coming up with creative ideas with Svea from Swarm, including a cake cutting from The Whole Cake, a casual fashion show from creations by Cara Borja, DJ’s and dancing by various artists including the group pictured below, The Solace Trio as well as DJ Extra Lars, Alex Jacobs and Tiny Home, a photo booth hosted by Magnolia Photo Booth Co., and food vendors both inside and out!

(more…)

Posted by on November 28th, 2011 at 4:12 PM | Comments (0)
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Nov14

During the London Design Week, French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec presented a collaborative project with danish textile company Kvadrat called ‘textile field’. And it is exactly as described; a 30 meter long, 8 meter wide installation of colored foam and texile pieces inviting museum-goers to comfortably lounge and stick around awhile. I enjoy imagining myself in the space and lounging right up next to a Botticelli. I love the color and comfort. What a great way to create atmosphere.

The exhibition was installed at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

"Ronan+Erwan" Kvadrat installation textile

"Ronan+Erwan" Kvadrat installation textile

"Ronan+Erwan" Kvadrat installation textile

"Ronan+Erwan" Kvadrat installation textile

‘our intention is to propose a different, casual approach to freely experience what can be a quite intimidating environment, such as a museum. we conceived an expansive, colored foam and textile piece with gentle inclinations to produce a sensual field on which to comfortably lounge while meditating on the surrounding gallery. everyone can immerse within this temporary installation, for a minute, an hour or more. that is the idea. no efforts, no apprehension, just contemplation.’
ronan + erwan bouroullec

Posted by on November 14th, 2011 at 4:30 AM | Comments (0)
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Nov09

Following our post earlier this week on the Oakland Train Station – currently in a beautiful state of decay and awaiting a revitalization – we found two intriguing and creative projects (both coincidentally in Spain) that have successfully reappropriated abandoned train stations across the world.

Attocha Train Station transformed into a lush garden oasis (Madrid, Spain)


Via Nedbeaumontjr

Train Station revitalized as a youth art center (Spain)


Via Inhabitat

Posted by on November 9th, 2011 at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)
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Nov07

Today’s post is one that we’re pretty passionate about: having to do with people making a contribution to the revival of the Oakland community, art and historical architecture. I’m talking about the Oakland Train Station. Many of you may wonder “what train station?”. I also had only heard stories of this place, but can now say that I’ve visited and am on the quest myself to make sure that we raise awareness for it’s survival. Read on for history of the station, to see what HBO show that this venue was just shot for as well as future plans to develop the space!

Support the Station!
All Aboard II event this Sunday, Nov 13th!

Sunday, November 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. 245 Second Street
Enjoy station tours, live music, local food trucks and kids’ activities!

A Brief History:
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a personal tour inside the space with Frankie. Frankie is one business savvy lady serving the non-profit Bridge Housing organization, helping to gain funding to turn the Historic Oakland Train Station into a community space.

Once serving the whole Bay Area and marking the ending point for most transcontinental trips, the train station was Oakland’s first Southern Pacific Rail Station. The small wooden building just North of the large Beau-Arts complex that was built in it’s place, was constructed in 1870 at 2nd and Woods. Both buildings remain today. From this station, you could either take a ferry or streetcar to SF. In 1941 the streetcar service was shut down because of the explosive highway system and in 1989 (after the Loma Prieta earthquake) the train station closed its doors.

A Recent cool factor is that this train station was used in the filming of the upcoming HBO movie, Hemingway & Gellhorn, staring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. In order to prepare, HBO put in a lot of money to perform a facelift on the inside (stripping most of the graffiti from the walls, putting in bar and valences, building new wainscoting and stairs) and made the space appear worn, but not in disrepair.

"Oakland Train Station" "Southern Pacific Rail" Oakland Bridge "Hemingway and Gellhorn"

The Train Station today!
Frankie and Bridge have big plans for this station. The ideas being tossed around are utilizing the front for community garden space, the indoor space for rentals and community gatherings, the backyard area for a beer garden, and the wooden baggage house for a market/café. These are only a few of the exciting ideas for reviving the building.

Unfortunately, due to lack of water and electricity and some seismic problems with inthe space, no one can step foot inside without first signing a liability waiver, which makes it very inaccessible to the public. This is why we need your help.

"Oakland Train Station" "Southern Pacific Rail" Oakland Bridge "Hemingway and Gellhorn"

Support the Station! Come to the event this Sunday, Nov 13th!
First: come out to the second All Aboard event being hosted there this Sunday, November 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. 245 Second Street
Enjoy station tours, live music, local food trucks and kids’ activities!

Second: support the station buy helping to raise funds through indiegogo.
Then spread the word and invite your friends to this Sunday. “Like” us on facebook, and follow us on Twitter @16thStStation.

Stay tuned. In the future you may be able to rent out this fabulous historic venue for your next event!

Posted by on November 7th, 2011 at 1:02 AM | Comments (1)
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Nov04

I stumbled upon the artist, Sipho Mabona, while researching origami after I spied this wonderful installation by Meva made of countless folded windmills (note the beautiful shadows cast on the ground below).


Above images are by collaborative, Meva, via designboom

Mabona’s work makes me smile as it encompasses some of my favorite elements – minimalism and whimsy – along with a touch of the unexpected. His installations run the gamut from conventional paper constructed birds and fish to less typical subject matter like full scale interiors and life sized figures made entirely of paper. Continue on for a few examples of Mabona’s work all referenced from his website.

*Origami is a very effective technique to use for an event or an unadorned wall in your home as it is fairly simple & affordable to create and packs a big punch! Click here and here to get started.

Posted by on November 4th, 2011 at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)
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Oct26

Japanese designers and installation artists, Nendo, are a constant source of inspiration for me. Usually dressed in a monochromatic and minimalist palette, their prolific and ethereal work always has a hint of whimsy and play. The following exhibitions show Nendo’s breadth of work and very clear style. I’m always amazed with how much they can do with so little.


Installation for Kenzoki


Light installation for Tokyo Fiber Senseware


Climbing Wall


My London for Established & Sons


Thin Black Lines


Cabbage Chairs

Posted by on October 26th, 2011 at 6:08 AM | Comments (0)