More Vienna, The Kiss, and Brussels

Tweet So where was I?  I was in Vienna, in the Secession Building in winter, looking at Klimt’s poster for the first Secession exhibit (showing the aggressive Theseus who slew the Minotaur, like the new Jugenstil fighting the traditional values).  I was wearing layer upon layer … Read More

So where was I?  I was in Vienna, in the Secession Building in winter, looking at Klimt's poster for the first Secession exhibit (showing the aggressive Theseus who slew the Minotaur, like the new Jugenstil fighting the traditional values).  I was wearing layer upon layer of wool to compensate for my tropical background.  Once, during a dinner, my friend Rosa counted how many sweaters, cardigans and jackets I took off:  "I can't believe you had eight layers on top of this shirt."  In Brazil we only have one word for coat:  casaco.  When referring to a heavy coat, an outdoor coat, a sweater or a light cardigan, you must add a bunch of words to describe it.  Europeans and Americans have the culture perfected:  one word for a heavy, outdoor coat, one for the coat that goes underneath — and that's basically it.  The German language is even more precise.  You need no more than two well-insulated "coats" to hit the streets during winter. My vocabulary and understanding of cold was expanding.  Now I only needed to see snow.
In 1903 Klimt, though normally no traveler, journeyed twice to Ravenna, where he viewed the mosaics of San Vitale.  Meanwhile, his Secession colleagues were turning to interior design and crafts, mosaics and gold leaf.
In his later phase, Klimt turnet to allegorical or figure painting.  The Kiss carried Klimt's golden style to its apex. The most popular of Klimt's painting, it escalates the intensity of the sensuous effect by expanding the symbolic at the expense of the realistic field. In it, the flesh is covered, yet the sensuous effect is heightened by the gestural, caressing line. In the clothing, as in the flowering base on which the lovers kneel, the ornamental elements serve also as symbols. The drapery of both male and female stands uncompromisingly distinguished by its ornamental designs.  These are not traditional symbols, but inventions drawn from Klimt's unconsicous.  The two defined fields of sexual symbols are brought into a union of opposites by the vibrant cloth of gold that is their common ground. [caption id="attachment_3442" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Kiss, Gustav Klimt[/caption]
I only wish I could walk in Vienna by the beginning of the twentieth century! Freud and the unconscious, the Secessionists, Mahler, Schonenberg and the atonal music, Schiele, Kokoshka -not to  mention temporary visitors, like Jung.
I spent some of my time in Vienna also looking at buildings designed by Otto Maria Wagner (an architect that belonged to the Secession).  I  recall almost being shocked by how contrasting the new architecture was (it was the early 1990s).  For example, in the very heart of the city, in front of the Stephansdom (St. Stephens Cathedral  —  a gothic icon) sat the Haas Haus - a mall designed by Hans Hollein.  I didn't feel like exploring it; it had way too much mirrors for me and I was not in that mood. There was another "avant-garde" group of architects that attracted me much more in their deconstructivism, and they were Coop Himmelblau.  But I saved my visit to their office for the next time I was in Vienna.
Apart from the art nouveau and the narrow streets with lanterns, what took my heart in Vienna was a fantastic architect (and painter /sculptor) named Hundertwasser (you can see some amazing photos of his work here and print at Gallery Direct).  He was certainly ahead of his time with free shapes, green roofs, organic-shaped floors (yes, even his floors were covered with "bumps" —  he claimed that humans were not suited to walk on flat surfaces or live in angled corners), colors, more colors and textures.  His buildings in Vienna (and everywhere) are one of a kind, and I can't forget the Hundertwasserhaus, with the soothing sound of the water that runs inside the structure.  Hundertwasser died recently (2000) and was not part of the Secession. Well, at least not directly!
I also remember visiting Freud's house, where he spent most of his time.  It was converted into a museum, and today displays objects that Freud collected and his furniture as it was set when he lived there. After visiting his house, I was compelled to read Peter Gay's biography of Freud.  Last year I watched A Dangerous Method and thought of that house again. Today I would be much more curious about seeing Jung's house, but that is another trip and another subject.
[caption id="attachment_3427" align="alignleft" width="225"] The house where Freud lived with his family for many years[/caption]
After Vienna, I returned to Brussels, then resumed college in Freiburg, then went back to Brussels (the train trips are an extra chapter; I think I learned more in trains than anywhere.  What weird encounters you can have in a train when you are young with a backpack!  I will leave this to your imagination for now).
In Brussels I discovered Victor Horta, one of the most important names in Art Nouveau. Horta was an architect, designer and everything else (Art Nouveau is considered a 'total' style, as it includes a hierarchy of scales of design — architecture; interior design; decorative arts including jewelry, furniture, textiles, household silver and other utensils and lighting; and the visual arts). While we are on it, check all the Art Nouveau amazing images that Gallery Direct carries. You can have an idea of what a rich artistic period this was.
 My favorite story about Victor Horta is that he was kicked out of music school (where he first went) for disciplinary reasons.  Because of this rejection (I do not know what he did, but would love to), he entered architecture school in the early 1870s.  What a blessing that he did.
Between 1878 and 1880, Horta worked in Paris, where he saw the possibilities of working with iron and glass.  Iron was the perfect material for the twists and curves of Art Nouveau.  In subsequent years he focused on the curvature of his designs, believing that the forms he produced were highly practical and not artistic affectations.  He won a great number of prizes for his work.
Sincerely, I do not believe that Art Nouveau can truly discard or deny the artistic flavor it gave to the world — and what could be wrong with that?  —  but highly practical or not, Victor Horta is another icon of the period.  Check below the house where he lived in Brussels (I apologize for having lost my own photos; I found these on the web). [caption id="attachment_3423" align="alignleft" width="300"] Victor Horta House in Brussels - Stairs, oh, the Stairs![/caption]
[caption id="attachment_3421" align="alignleft" width="300"] Victor Horta House in Brussels - Detail[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_3422" align="alignleft" width="300"] Victor Horta House in Brussels - Detail[/caption]

To the Age its Art, to Art its Freedom

Tweet I had just turned 21 and was on my third year of Architecture school.  Life has never been a straight line for me and my interests were all over the place.  For some reason in the previous years I … Read More

[caption id="attachment_3364" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Secession Building in Vienna featuring the Secession "motto":"To the Age its Art, to Art its Freedom" ("Der Zeit Ihre Kunst. Der Kunst Ihre Freiheit")[/caption] I had just turned 21 and was on my third year of Architecture school.  Life has never been a straight line for me and my interests were all over the place.  For some reason in the previous years I had fallen in love with the German language and had plunged into the German culture and literature while going to Architecture school.  After a few years, I found myself with a plane ticket to Freiburg-im-Breisgau (a small student town in the south of Germany, in the Black Forest) and a scholarship to study German at the Freiburg University.  At that time, one of my favorite Professors from the Architecture School was living in Vienna.  Well, this Professor, Rosa, was kind enough to invite me to spend some time with her in her apartment in the very heart of Vienna, before my classes started. When I look back, what else could a 21-year old want from life? I had no money, but I had friends, adventurous perspectives and my whole life ahead of me. Life was good – very, very good. In fact, every time I hear the Timbuk3 song, I think of that time:

(...) I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses Things are going great, and they're only getting better I'm doing all right, getting good grades The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades (...)

I arrived in Vienna after a long train ride from Belgium, where I was "based" (my mom's sister has been living in Belgium forever, and she has always been kind enough to embrace me as a daughter all the times I was in Europe. By the way, I am Brazilian and was living in Rio at that time). When I arrived in Vienna, Rosa was waiting for me with some friends and a glass of wine at the train station. I remember that night: we hit a few pubs, I ate my first Goulash (Goulash is a Hungarian dish, and Budapest is just around the corner…) and I also lost my recent-Paris-acquired red beret in one of the restaurants we visited. It was December and cold, dark and windy; in spite of that, the streets were crowded and the people were in coffee houses, pubs, restaurants. Rosa knew a lot of people. Life was pulsating and there was no doubt about that. While I walked downtown, I noticed that the old buildings had sometimes a beautiful plate next to the door, saying something like "Here lived Schubert - or Freud - from (year) to (year)". Those plates were everywhere, mostly with great musicians names. At night, in the narrow and curvy streets illuminated by old lanterns, I felt that I had come to a magical place that I did not want to leave. Vienna was definitely a mix of East and West Europe, and having Eastern Europe in my blood (my dad was from Belgrade), that city could not speak more to my heart. Why this long introduction? Well, you can imagine how easy it was for me to fall in love with the art and architecture that I saw in Vienna. Let me explain that what first caught my eyes in Vienna was the Jungendstil (German for "youth style") : the Viennese / German version of the Art Nouveau. It was everywhere, but most obviously at the buildings doors. The Art Nouveau or Jungendstil was a reaction to academic art of the 19th century, and it was inspired by natural forms and structures. Curved lines, twisted iron, experiences with curves. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment. It is hard to figure out exactly what brought up that style (how can you really pin-point one single cause?). Real artists can grasp the Zeitgeist and translate it into forms, and that's what happened in Vienna, at the turn of the century (1890-19….). Wikipedia says that "The style was influenced strongly by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, when Mucha produced a lithographed poster, which appeared on 1 January 1895 in the streets of Paris as an advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou, featuring Sarah Bernhardt. " Gallery Direct has Mucha's poster - see it here. [caption id="attachment_3355" align="alignleft" width="103"] Alfons Mucha - Gismonda, 1894[/caption] Of all the artists involved in the Jungendstil movement, Gustav Klimt is certainly still the best known. In the years of 1895 to 1900, Klimt pressed a personal crisis of middle age into a service of radical reorientation of his professional work (just like Freud, also living in Vienna and already a famous doctor). Klimt decisively rejected the realism in which he had been reared. He plunged into the self and embarked into a "voyage interieur". When he exhibited to the public the results of his explorations inside his world of "instincts", he encountered resistance from two ends: from liberal-rationalist academic orthodoxy, and from anti-Semites. In the face of hostility, Klimt withdrew from the public scene to the shelter of a small cottage house - to preserve and further explore the terrain he had just conquered and discovered.   We need to remember that at that time, Vienna was not in Austria, but part of the the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and all over the world Imperialism had its days counted. Klimt represented the cultural situation in which psychoanalysis also arose. He, like Freud, confronted a period of historical transition. With other intellectuals of his class and generation, Klimt shared a crisis of culture characterized by the search of a new self. Gustav Klimt finally rose to fame in the service of wealthy families of Vienna. He decorated the Museum of Art History and the Burgtheather. During the years when these paintings won Klimt his fame, the social layer whose values he expressed was being undermined. The liberal society was crying for reform and a widespread, collective revolt began to spread through the Austrian middle class. "Die Jungen" ("The Youth") became the common name chosen by the rebels in one filed after another. In the mid-nineties, the revolt agains tradition finally spread to art and architecture. Within the principal artists' association – die Jungen – the name was used again – organized themselves to break the prevailing academic constrains in favor of an open, experimental attitude toward painting. They rejected the classical realist tradition of their masters in the search for modern man's true face. [caption id="attachment_3360" align="alignleft" width="528"] Section from Klimt’s ‘Beethoven Frieze’ with the character of ‘Lasciviousness.’
She’s the redhead seated on the back of the beast. Secession, 1902.[/caption] Klimt, though himself a young master of the old school, early assumed leadership in the revolt of die Jungen in the visual arts. In 1897, he led them out of the established artists' association to found the Secession. Like I once heard, un-learning is so often so more difficult than learning! And in order to deconstruct, it is so important to have achieved the knowledge of the "conventional". In 1898 the movement gained its own building, a project by the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich. The exhibition building soon became known simply as "the Secession" (die Sezession). This building became an icon of the movement. You can see more photos of Secession building below, with Klimt's paintings inside. Check the poster for the first exhibit on sale at Gallery Direct here. It is fascinating, how strong this image still is! I could write more, but what about giving you a break and continuing next week in "Vienna - Part ii?" Also, next time you buy a Klimt, think about all that the man went through, and all the freedom that his paitnings represent. No wonder they're strong until today. I found the images in this post in the web. I don't think my own photos survived these years, unfortunately. If you want to read more about Vienna and the "Fin-de-Siecle", I firmly recommend this book, which I consulted to write this post: "Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture", by Carl E. Schorske.
Klimt's 1902 Beethoven painting in the Secession Building
[caption id="attachment_3290" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Secession Building from another angle[/caption]

Reflect Your Style: Art on Mirror

Tweet Below is one of my favorite styles of gallery wall arrangements- showing off framed souvenirs paired with framed fine art. I would say that the style around my home is colorful and eclectic, to say the very least. Pair that … Read More

Below is one of my favorite styles of gallery wall arrangements- showing off framed souvenirs paired with framed fine art. I would say that the style around my home is colorful and eclectic, to say the very least. Pair that with an obsession for all forms of Art and imagery; from black and white photographic prints, vintage botanicals scans to more contemporary mixed media pieces and I’m left with dense gallery walls that I always find inspiring. Some may say (my fiancé) that this “everything goes” way of styling is crazy. I say, if you love to surround yourself with an abundance of beautiful art, hang it and apologize to no one! Since my tiny bathroom walls were sorely neglected in comparison to the rest of my house, this got me thinking that I could use mirror as my print material to create a tiny wall of art for my bathroom that would be functional, eclectic and unified. This realization blew my mind for a few reasons; to start the mirror reflections actually made my bathroom feel larger and now it exhibits work from some of my favorite local artists while simultaneously offering five new functional mirrors to choose from when primping, instead of one. Complete satisfaction. I found that the key to getting what you want out of mirror is to understand that there are  two very different styles that can be achieved when printing on mirror, which are completely determined by the white values in your image. If you think about it, when an image is printed on a white paper, the white areas of that image have little to no ink, revealing more of the natural white of the paper. Now apply that same logic to an image printed on mirror and try to imagine which areas will reveal raw mirror and which will be inked. One style is more dreamy and frosted with very little visibility through the image. The other style shows the image clearly defined from the mirror, making it possible to see reflections through the image in certain areas. To check exactly where those reflective areas are and to make double sure that your image will print out exactly how you've envisioned, you can check to see where your true white values are in your image by using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop or using Pixlr (an amazing free online photo editor). A perfect white value will give you a hexadecimal color code of #FFFFFF.   If you would like even more information about Art on Mirror, watch the video below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9ViP4wsaho&list=SPKMUrphQ1ugmk4hbvGJT6ijMT2VE6rV3r&index=6 For information about the other offered materials watch our Our Unique Materials playlist.  

Mood Board: It Starts With a Story

Tweet So, I’m a shopaholic. I have accepted this about myself (even if my husband has not). Turns out that it’s not very healthy for my bank account for me to shop ALL THE TIME, so to keep my urges … Read More

So, I'm a shopaholic. I have accepted this about myself (even if my husband has not). Turns out that it's not very healthy for my bank account for me to shop ALL THE TIME, so to keep my urges in check, I've started creating mood boards of dream rooms inspired by art. I've been in love with Caroline Ashton's Story series for a while now - check out Story I and Story II. I love the cool teal color palette, and undulating lines. My mood board, inspired by Story I, has a mix of clean, modern pieces with strong lines and more organic-feeling patterns and textures: "Story I" Mood Board Artwork centerpiece: 1. Gallery Direct - Story I by Caroline Ashton The supporting cast: 2. Zinc Door - Modern Pillow 3. West Elm - Blurry Stripe Pillow Cover 4. Layla Grace - Pine Cone Hill Chambray Linen Ocean Pillow 5. Zinc Door - Arteriors Home Mercedes Mahogany Chair 6. Dwell UK - Chenile Twist Rug 7. Wayfair - Gus Modern Adelaide Sofa 8. Occa Home - Joshua Ellis Cashmere Throw  9. My Two Designers - Rodeo Ottoman 10. West Elm - Recycled Glass Jug Vase 11. Noya Decor - Adesso Maui Transitional Arc Floor Lamp What do you think of my Caroline Ashton-inspired design mood board? Does it inspire you? Want to make your own art-inspired mood board? Head over to Olioboard and try it out--for free. You can find some of my favorite Gallery Direct artwork to add to your boards here. Share your mood board and we might feature it on Gallery Direct! -- Follow Nichele on Google+

Finding my Path at Home

Tweet I have been working at Gallery Direct since the beginning of November. What a delight it has been – I have artistic co-workers and see beautiful images all day.  I am a graphic designer and picking images for marketing … Read More

I have been working at Gallery Direct since the beginning of November. What a delight it has been - I have artistic co-workers and see beautiful images all day.  I am a graphic designer and picking images for marketing or the website is - to say the least - fun. Since I deal with beautiful images all day, I decided to put together an Evernote notebook for me (any mac users out there?!) with all the art that I wanted to buy from Gallery Direct. Almost 3 months went by, and my list surprisingly was mostly abstracts, a few Asians and lots of maps. Not to mention my own photos that I wanted to print. I would love to have my personal photos blown up and hung onto my walls. One day I realized that - duh - I didn't have enough walls for all that I wanted. I needed another list for my list. Focus! Reduce! Less is more. What did I really want for my house? Where in the house? Which wall? I realized that I would have to repaint some of my walls, because, when we bought the house in 2007, I went a little wild with the color palette, I admit it.  Now, those colors no longer make me happy. As we change, the colors that we love change, the ways that we think and react to visual stimuli also change.  I always welcome change!  Was I dying to repaint the walls? Ouch, no. So while being busy at work and having a high maintenance Border Collie that needs walks and exercise every day, I stopped adding images to my notebook. Until the day I had to make a banner for the homepage. Here it is: Inline image 1 That somehow lit up the little bulb above my head and in a weekend spell, I went to Lowe's and bought the paints I wanted, painted the living room and placed my order: 2 gigantic Todd Camp - Enlighted Path I and II, 48x36. That did it! It was just the "push" I needed to make everything else rock'n roll.  The purchase made me very happy - those colors represent so much of what I like in terms of art - freedom, color, energy (well, at least that's my view... art is art, right?). I also ordered a few smaller ones, which you'll see in the photos below. I don't think of my house as a "chic" place: I know it isn't.  Although I graduated in architecture, when it comes to my own place, it's always been more a joyful play - with room for experiments - rather than the "tried and true" styles that I know will work. Also, having 4 cats (and 8 clawed front-paws) and 2 dogs (how did that happen?), my house is not super tidy. That said, I beg you to please disregard my couch ;-))) Inline image 1 Above: Also look at that Border Collie with her moose toy - isn't she precious? ;-)))) Below: My bike has its own wall. You can not buy happiness, but you can buy a bike and art! Last photo: Colors, colors: such a blessing to be able to see them all!
Inline image 2
Inline image 3
What lights up your bulb?
-Marina

A special visit from Manor High’s Art students

Tweet After the recent art makeover of Manor ISD’s Oak meadows elementary, the high school art students decided to visit the Gallery Direct offices in Austin, Texas.  Everyday we transform original works of art into pretty much anything you can think … Read More

After the recent art makeover of Manor ISD’s Oak meadows elementary, the high school art students decided to visit the Gallery Direct offices in Austin, Texas.  Everyday we transform original works of art into pretty much anything you can think up, from wall sized art to prints on unique materials such as birchwood and aluminum!   students admiring the gallery checking out our fun graffiti wall mural   The students were eager to see the equipment and the process we use to create the prints found throughout our office and we were excited to show them every step of the process, from imaging to framing; which is now widely spread out since our recent renovation and growth!     We could tell by the conversations the students were having towards the end of the tour about the many creative ways in which they could print their own artwork or possibly have  future careers working with art, that they left inspired - & of course not empty handed.

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet Greetings! As you may recall, I wrote about my office a month ago – October 31 – I’m sure you all remember my bragging about how great it is?! Well, today I have an update – featuring new pics … Read More

[gallery columns="5" orderby="title"] Greetings! As you may recall, I wrote about my office a month ago – October 31 – I’m sure you all remember my bragging about how great it is?! Well, today I have an update – featuring new pics of course. And the lamps?  Both from one of our partners – HomeGoods. (If you didn’t already know, HomeGoods has a fabulous lighting selection.) Notice I’ve moved Pug across from my desk – see him towering over the white Barcelona chairs? Awesome! I've got another new piece – Adagio II by Sia Aria, which is nicely offset by its monochromatic surroundings. And check out my “Grunge Girl” from the Condé Nast Collection – so compelling – and available to the trade starting January 2013! Well, apparently my new digs have inspired those around me to spruce up their own. In fact, our CEO Joseph Garcia (who already has an amazing office) and I are somehow determined to outdo each other (albeit in a friendly fashion). But first – some context: With more than 30 years in the consumer business, Joe has identified the following buying patterns:
  • Competitive
  • Aspirational
  • Humanistic
  • Spontaneous
  • Methodical
Indeed our marketing analysis supports these consumer trends. Further, our own buying patterns are reflected in our offices. I’ve already shown you mine. Now contrast it with Joe’s: The furnishings are almost exclusively Four Hands Home – another one of our partners – and right down the street. Very masculine, don’t you think?! I love the lamps (one from HomeGoods naturally) and the over-sized brown lacquer tray from Jonathan Adler, both of which I selected! And how about that helmet from Indy 500? Sweet! Now take a look at Joe’s art. We recently launched an internal competition – a group of us competing on who can create the best collection. Joe is working on “Cool Art for Cool Guys” and clearly has a head start in his office. Lake City I by Roman Solar is spot-on as wall art. Another great mural directly across – Tatara's Negroni – is a street scene that works well with the windows cut out of it.  The Palm piece on acrylic is by Sony Warsono from Getty Images. It reminds me of South Beach at night – one of Joe's favorite haunts! Following the theme are Brett Pfister's framed Drifting on Water's Wings and the two Formula 1 images on aluminum– very cool, very masculine, and very Joe – do you think he might win the contest?! With a wardrobe that is almost exclusively Zegna – combined with Ferragamo and Gucci shoes (not to mention what he drives and where he lives), Joe is pure competitive. I – on the other hand – am aspirational. (I love my Trina and Tory but wouldn’t know where to begin buying what Joe has. And then couldn’t bring myself to do it!) So how does an aspirational compete with a competitive? That’s just it, we don’t. So, in concession – not defeat, I’m waving the white flag (which matches my office BTW)!    

Most Delish Design Eye Candy: Lonny Magazine

Tweet As the visual marketing and merchandising lead for Gallery Direct, a major part of my job is keeping an eye on interior design trends. That means I get to spend part of my day trolling design blogs, Houzz, Pinterest … Read More

As the visual marketing and merchandising lead for Gallery Direct, a major part of my job is keeping an eye on interior design trends. That means I get to spend part of my day trolling design blogs, Houzz, Pinterest and Piccsy for the most stunningly inspiring images to share with Gallery Direct customers (I know, poor me).

I thought I'd start sharing a few of my absolute favorite web haunts for great design inspiration, and today I want to talk about Lonny Magazine.

Lonny is an an online design magazine that's chock-full of to-die-for products, great decorating tips, and house tour photo arrays that make me want to climb through my computer screen and make myself at home.

If you're an art and design junkie like I am, I highly suggest adding Lonny to your daily reading list.

I completely fell in love with two images in Lonny's November issue; both feature oversized artwork with a graffiti-esque, gritty feel:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="476"] Image Credit: Lonny Magazine[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="476"] Image Credit: Lonny Magazine[/caption] Amazing, right? I'm considering a similar look for my new living room. If you're inspired too, check out our Urban Edge collection on Gallery Direct. I also took the liberty of pulling a few of my favorite pieces for your consideration: [gallery order="DESC"] Want one? Find them here...
Top Row:
Raisonne II by Sean Jacobs
Street Language by Todd Camp
Bottom Row:
Graffiti I by Sara Abbott
Rogue Waves I by Sara Abbott
East Side of Town by Sara Abbott

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet Is it human nature to collect things? I think we’ve all done it. Sea Shells? Salt & Pepper Shakers? Christmas Ornaments? For guys, I suppose it’s Fishing Lures? Baseball Hats? Mine started with stuffed animals and Barbies of course. … Read More

[gallery columns="4" orderby="title"] Is it human nature to collect things? I think we’ve all done it. Sea Shells? Salt & Pepper Shakers? Christmas Ornaments? For guys, I suppose it’s Fishing Lures? Baseball Hats? Mine started with stuffed animals and Barbies of course. Now it’s a little more sophisticated. I have a small collection of religious iconic art – the stuff you see in Santa Fe or at Tesoros here in Austin. In particular, I love retablos and crèches. I also love plates and serving utensils - and yes, Christmas ornaments. More on that another day… Today, I'm thinking about clocks.
I guess I started collecting clocks about 4 years ago when we bought this Modern Cuckoo, designed by Ingolf Haas and available at dwr.com. Only about 150 clock makers in the world make remarkable time pieces such as this (which is certified as an authentic Black Forest Clock). Namely, it must be purely mechanical (no batteries or electric cords), and entirely produced (even all interior parts) in the Black Forest, a wooded mountain range in southwestern Germany.
This next clock I found a few months ago at one of my favorite boutiques in Austin - PerriBerri - which is mostly a purveyor of gorgeous women's clothing (great brands such as red haute) and jewelry (designer chan luu is my favorite). QLOCKTWO, by Biegert & Funk, has received numerous design awards (reddot, iF, and interior innovation) and is manufactured in southern Germany, in a former jewellery factory in a town famous for its gold and silver jewellery.
Almost as soon as I found QLOCKTWO, we received the latest Design Within Reach catalog, and low and behold was another clock of my dreams - the George Nelson 1948 Ball Clock, conveniently reduced 15% as part of the semiannual sale! George Nelson often collaborated with other designers, and in the case of the Ball Clock, was at a dinner party with Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper and Bucky Fuller. As the story goes, they were all sketching and "had a little bit too much to drink." In the morning, they saw a drawing of the Ball Clock on a roll of drafting paper and none of them truly knew who designed it! One of our artists - T. Graham - surely understands my obsession with clocks. Graham's work consists of an array of modern works of art, architectural abstracts and night time city views. A Measure in Thought I has a Synthetist aesthetic that reminds me a bit of Edvard Munch. If you didn't know T. Graham already, take a look at http://www.gallerydirect.com/art/artists/t-graham. You'll like him even better when you see the picture of him holding his sweet baby!
My kids seem surprised with this steady influx of clocks - why I don't know - as clocks epitomize the cool design objects that they know I love. (And they actually despise the cuckoo clock -- or at least  how noisy it is), so I'm sure they'll be dismayed with my next clock purchase. I don't know what that will be yet, but I do know that it will occur!
 

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art!

Tweet So you know I work for a cool art company in Austin TX – Right? One of the many perks is that I get to select the furnishings and decor for my office. We just did a major expansion … Read More

So you know I work for a cool art company in Austin TX – Right? One of the many perks is that I get to select the furnishings and decor for my office. We just did a major expansion and remodel, for which we ordered lots of new furniture (from Amanda Saylor – furnitureforbusiness.com – awesome designer and stellar company BTW) – so I already have a functional and attractive desk, credenza, and locker! It’s Miro by Watson Desking. I consider it Danish modern – which I don't always love – but works perfectly as minimalist office furniture. The task chair – Hon Nucleusis – is sooo comfy, and the leather guest chairs – Cyclus by Harter – are soft as butter (although someone has already gotten blue pen on one – Grrr!). I’ve also found a complementary console – BDI’s Cascadia – in white – from collectichome.com. And you know what? My work environment makes me happy – day after day. Incredible work environments are critical to employee satisfaction – which in turn promotes brand satisfaction. See my March 2012 blog on how Satisfied Employees Become Your Brand Champions. (http://bit.ly/Q6iblT). Brad Wells, Principal of Furniture for Business gets it. He told me that when you spend upwards of 8 to 12 hours a day in an office, you want it to be inspiring. "We help the customer create a culture that fosters growth, creativity and morale and even helps a company be more profitable when the employees love their workspace. It’s about attracting and retaining top talent in Austin!" Our CEO – Joe Garcia – totally gets it and is all about creating such an environment for his people. Recently, he took several of us over to the offices of All Web Leads, another cool Austin company. Designed by Gensler, they were amazing. My favorite part? Their kitchen featured two fully stocked beverage fridges! I love my office, but guess what I love the most? The art of course! What do you think of the little pug? Is he not so cute you could die!!! We're all fighting over him; perhaps we'll do some reprints! And I'm not done yet. I want to create a fabulous, feminine, lively space. I'm looking at Darvin Jones’ Love is Longing For I (bitly.com/RvxBNk). Is it not sweet, kitschy and joyful? Plus it makes me think of Bambi who I've always adored! And what about Grid Strategy I (bit.ly/TTVQDp) by Christine Wilkinson. I love the iridescence, which reminds me of my favorite OPI polish – Tutti Frutti! In fact, I'm going to rename it Tutti Frutti! I’m parked in a fabulous spot – with a wall of windows that provides northern exposure. Naturally I’m facing the door so I can greet my cheerful Customer Experience team – some of whom you might have already met – Amy, Sarah, Kim, Jen, Johana, Brooke, Rylee – It’s our mission to make our customers happy, and these wonderful young people know how to shine! Shine On Peeps!