French Connection in Monaco

Pleased to have "THE" story of 2011, news truly worth reporting for once, the car crash of the century: the infamous Monaco Demolition Derby which took place on the doorsteps of Monaco's Casino, in front of thousand of onlookers, truly a once-in-a-lifetime sight to behold.  These French blond ladies sure know how to make a entrance, albeit not in the most elegant way. This is stuff they couldn't even dream up in Hollywood.  First reported by Autogespot, the infamous Bentley Fender Bender story is now spreading like wild fire across the planet.  Quite by accident, these French ladies have truly become the world's peace keepers uniting millions of people in smirks everywhere.  I already loved the French for their wine and cheese, but this really does it.  I am moving to France (no, not Monaco).    

Getting it on in Monaco: Bentley, Ferrari F430, Porsche Carrera, Aston Martin and Mercedes S-Class (image credit Autogespot).

Super Car Mayhem (image credit Autogespot).

Stay calm ladies, it's only a Ferrari F430 (image credit Autogespot).

Panem et Circenses (image credit Autogespot).

Here is the story too good to pass up, as reported by Yahoo! Autos' Marco R. della Cava, who's got quite a knack for humor:

Nothing in Monte Carlo is understated, from the baubles to the yachts to the bank accounts. Now add traffic pile-ups to that list.

The Hope Diamond of fender benders unfolded yesterday in possibly the most conspicuous stretch of asphalt in the .75-square-mile principality — the round-about in front of the James Bond-worthy casino — when three blondes in a jelly-bean blue Bentley Azure ($363,000) scraped the rear of a white Mercedes-Benz S-Class (a paltry $91,000). And that was merely the appetizer.

Served up for the main course were a hapless black Ferrari F430 ($186,000), which was hit nose-first by the 2.7-ton Bentley. Then, like two tankers mashing in the fog, a four-door Aston Martin Rapide ($228,000) crunched into the Azure’s passenger door. The cherry on this metal, plastic and carbon-fiber shattering souffle: a stray Porsche 911 ($77,000).

In all, a Titanic mess in mere moments, involving nearly a million dollars of primo automotive machinery. How did this happen? A quick photo-based forensics of the scene based on knowledge of the Place du Casino offers many clues.

What’s evident is that these five vehicles did not all converge on each other in one massive supercar big bang. The Bentley clearly was at fault. Its nose is pointing straight at the casino’s entrance, an entrance where fine cars are routinely valet-parked diagonally. It seems that the Bentley’s driver thought she could sneak past the white Mercedes, then swerved right when she realized they were going to collide, which in turn clipped the Rapide coming up on her right. The Ferrari and the Porsche were collateral damage - parked directly in the Bentley’s now diverted path.

Any chance that the trio responsible for this mess — whose damage tally will easily hit six-figures — would get to scamper off anonymously after a quick chat with Monaco’s famously efficient and ever-present white-gloved police were dashed given both the coordinates of the crash and the time of year. If there ever was a season when this moneyed retreat is more crowded than Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it’s summer. Photos of the crowd, gleefully gawking and photographing the impromptu car show run amok, only go to show that when rich people do dumb things in a big way, the masses are more than happy to snicker.

Credit: Marco R. della Cava | Yahoo! Autos

Black Cobra Lamp

One of our all-time favorite table lamps is now available in midnight black, for a limited time. The Cobra Lamp is one of the classic icons of 20th century design so if you are a fan, get yours while you can.

Available from:

Art of White Concrete

Bruce Nauman's 82 square foot white concrete construction Square Depression installed for Sculpture Projects in Munster Germany.

The Art of the White Concrete Floor

There are several ways to get a white floor, most of us who want a white floor and have researched the available options will know this to be a daunting quest; most ceramic tiles are not pure-white (even when they are labeled as such), latex or vinyl floors may discolor if they lack UV resistance. Timeless Terrazzo is becoming more and more a lost art and happens to be exquisitely expensive. And finally, there is concrete, often just haphazardly part of the construction process, often bestowed with total ignorance. As it happens, we love concrete, the brutal yet minimalist sincerity of this material which conceals nothing. There is the pure naked type of concrete, which Tadao Ando uses, but there is also the art of white concrete. White concrete is the holy grail for every modernist, often brushed off as an impossibility, yet a viable option for those with persistence.

If you have ever been through a lengthy and frustrating construction process, you will know what it means to have construction people who take pride in their job.  When it comes to concrete, this becomes an even bigger issue.  This story is about a company that specializes in white concrete and takes pride in their craft.  Most architects and contractors will sound a resounding "no" but everything can be accomplished, even a white concrete floor.  So if a Sloppy-Joe-type-contractor tells you "white concrete cannot be done" or "every concrete floor will crack", you can proof them wrong.  Artisan Concrete Systems is a firm that really is proud of their craft and they take great price in their craftsmanship.  They are basically a nice bunch of young guys who specialize in the precise art of pouring white concrete, just for the heck of it, I guess because every other contractor said it couldn't be done.  You would think that they are located in a small Swiss watch-making town with all this talk about precision work; the good news is that they are located in Vancouver Canada and often do jobs on the East Coast.  And, since they appreciate modern architecture, you don't need to worry about them getting all Victorian on your behind.

Elevations were shot and hieght markers were installed at key points, allowing us to produce a floor level to within 1/8" tolerance over 10feet, with concrete installed at constantly varying thicknesses ranging from as little as 1/4" to over 1 1/2" deep.

The prepped floor, prior to concrete with elevation marker.

Radiant heating system is laid out.

Cement mixer is ready to rumble.

The designer white concrete was pumped in and placed in about 4 hours

Concrete being smoothened.

Slow and steady will get you ready.

White concrete floor nearing completion.

Behold, the most perfect white concrete floor!

The installed floor cured for several weeks as the clients watched for any signs of cracking...
To our Artisan Concrete Systems credit and to their customers delight- there are absolutely no significant cracks in this floor.

A good example is this upscale residential installation presented a unique set of challenges. The existing concrete was in very poor condition; cracked and disbonded throughout. In some areas the radiant heat pipes were actually above the surface of the failing concrete topping.

The owners stressed that a pristine, crack-free floor was paramount, but that they had been told by several industry professionals that any concrete floor they installed would probably crack...

Artisan Concrete Systems disagreed.

First, the existing floor was repaired using fundamental anchoring techniques common to the industry. We then compounded an anti-fracture membrane system using Mapei products, which we used to bridge the entire surface of the previously cracked and disbonded floor.

Great care was taken to reduce stress at all key points by installing a number of countermeasures throughout, to further eliminate shrinkage cracking.

Due to the extremely lax timeline for completion, the membrane system was then left, for 12 months.

The cracks did not re-occur in the substrate.

Green of the Good Kind

Enzo Mari La Pera Screenprint

Time for some positive green. Start your day healthy with "La Pera" or "The Pear"! Super graphic styled mod Green Pear screenprint designed by Enzo Mari in 1963 for Danese Milano, Italy. A classic in the history of Modern Design! From Enzo Mari's nature series. A happy and stylish artwork that will brighten up any room and provide joy no matter how young you are! A stylish and positive work of art for your modern house or home office! Bottom text references the name of Enzo Mari and the title of the work.

Available from:

Fluorescent Orange Light Fixtures

Tom Dixon Fluoro: Lots of Fluo Bang for your Buck!

Fluoro Group of Lamps

Set of Three Fluoro Lights

The perfect antidote for places in need of some serious ambiance,  a lamp unlike any other! Fluoro was designed by British designer Tom Dixon. These fluorescent pendant lights are absolutely stunning. Fluoro is one of the most daring modern light fixtures in the Tom Dixon lighting collection.

Fluoro is finished with a fluorescent orange color which intends to shock and attract attention. Fluoro is perfect for every function: use a single piece as a unique accent piece or hang several at different heights to create a beautiful luminous landscape.

Available from:

Balconia Flower Pot Planters

Balconia Flower Pot Planters

Balconia Flower Pot Planters

The original flower pot planter found in Europe along the Mediterranean and Adriatic coast! These pots are timeless. By far, the most beautiful flower pots around. Reasonably priced, these Balconia flower pot planters are available in various sizes and in either minimalist grey or anthracite black fiber amended concrete.

Available from:

Tom Dixon Stout Lamp

Tom Dixon Beat Shade Lamps 'Stout Lamp'

Tom Dixon Beat Shade Lamps 'Stout Lamp'

Tom Dixon Beat Shade Lamps 'Stout Lamp'

Tom Dixon Beat Shade Lamps 'Stout Lamp'

Tom Dixon Stout Lamp

An impressive 20.5 inches (52 cm) wide 'Stout' pendant is part of the Beat Lights family made by British designer Tom Dixon. This popular modern pendant lamp marks the resurgence of interest in hand made designs. Taking inspiration from Tom Dixon's travels around the globe, 'Stout' is made from hand-beaten brass reviving the rapidly vanishing skills of Indian master craftsmen. The exterior of the beaten brass is coated with a matte black finish in contrast to the warm golden interior. Tom Dixon's Stout pendant light can be hung as a cluster with other Beat Lights or alone creating an impressive design statement.

Designed by Tom Dixon, the Beat Shade series are made of hand-beaten brass with a black patinated exterior. We admire the unique and daring mix of modern forms matched to ancient materials. The Beat Shades are ecologically sound and have a "reclaimed feeling". The Beat Shades come in four distinctive shapes including Wide, Stout, Fat and Tall (see bottom page). The Beat Lights look amazing hung individually or in a group as shown in the Shoreditch House, London. Parts are UL listed, so it is perfect for both residential- and commercial projects.

Available from:

Summer in Ventimiglia

Summer in Ventimiglia Italy 1976

Tom Dixon Etch Light

One of the better new releases this year; Tom Dixon's Etch Shade is a spectacular and highly decorative pendant light with intricate detailing. This beautiful lamp effortlessly blends old world charm with modern style. We find it displays unmistakable influences found in Moorish architecture. Perhaps this is no coincidence since Tom Dixon was born in Tunisia but was raised in England. The detailed pattern creates a mass of intricate shadows when lit. It is simply breathtaking when it illuminates a space at night. The Etch Shade pendant lamp creates a wonderful warm atmosphere. The brass materials emits a sense of style and warmth which if often lacking in other lamps. The Etch Shade Light is made up of 0.4mm digitally etched brass sheets. The Tom Dixon Etch Shade pendant lamp has a UL fitting; which makes it the perfect lamp for both residential- and commercial applications including hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. Includes 9' of electrical cable. Part of Tom Dixon's modern lighting collection.

Available from:

Jack Light by Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon Jack Lights

After a hiatus of many years, Tom Dixon re-releases a classic icon of modern design. The award winning Jack Light is part of the pantheon of timeless design objects. Tom Dixon's Jack Light is a floor lamp that can also be a stool or a trestle for a table top. Use a single piece as a unique accent piece or purchase several of them to create your own luminous light sculpture. Tom Dixon's Jack Light is a refreshing alternative to the overwhelming orthodoxy of technical lighting. Part of the Tom Dixon modern lighting collection.

Tom Dixon Jack Light

The Jack Light stems from a simple yet ingenious idea. The inspiration came from the little metal jacks of the classic childhood game. Noting how stable the metal jacks are and how well they fitted together, Tom Dixon created the hollow opaque plastic shape that could be internally illuminated while still strong enough to sit on or support a glass top.

Available from:

Tom Dixon Pipe Lights

Tom Dixon Pipe Lights Black with Gold

Tom Dixon Pipe Lamps: Black with Gold and White with Pink

Tom Dixon's Pipe Lights at Barbecoa in London (image credit David Loftus).

Tom Dixon Pipe Lights

Formed using a mandrel, the Tom Dixon Pipe Pendant is made out of extruded aluminum, with the exterior powder-coated and the interior anodized to create a soft, reflective luster. Due to the sharp angle of the bottom cut, the pendant can be rotated to provide directional light wherever it's needed. Available in a sweet white/pink color combination or sophisticated black and gold.

Available from:

Tom Dixon Void Lamp

Tom Dixon Void Lights

Void is a lamp series from Tom Dixon. The name says it all about Void, translated it means “cavity”. Actually the lamps consist of a double-walled metal-screen inspired by the insulated flask principle.

The stainless steel, brass and copper lamp reminds of golden, silver and bronce Olympia medals because of its color. The mystic light object runs with a powerful halogen bulb (G9) that is focused to a beam because of the deepened form of the lamp screen.
The beautiful Void Pendant Light was designed by Tom Dixon in the UK. The Void Light has a beautiful organic free-flowing shape which reminds us of the sculptures of Henry Moore and Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate. The Tom Dixon Void Light is available in either polished stainless steel, brass or copper. Solid sheets of stainless steel, copper and brass are pressed, spun and brazed to form a double wall shade. The double walls reflect and soften the light emitted from a concealed halogen bulb. The mysterious lighting object is hand polished to create a mirrored surface which is then lacquered to maintain a high gloss finish. Tom Dixon's Void Light is a refreshing alternative to the overwhelming orthodoxy of technical lighting.

Available from:

Pistillino Wall Lamp

Pistillino Wall Lamp (image credit Lot at

Pistillino Wall Lamp (image credit Lot at

Pistillino Wall Lamp (image credit Lot at

Pistillino Wall Lamp (image credit Lot at

We love these images which show the Pistillino in an Italian apartment.  One of our favorite lamps for sure.  The amazing Pistillino lamp is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful lamps ever made! Probably the most beautiful lamp that was ever created! This classic icon of 20th century design lamp was designed by Studio Tetrarch in 1969. The lamp has a single mirror topped chrome light bulb in the center (included with purchase). This chrome bulb reflects the light on the arms of the Pistillo and creates a beautiful atmosphere in your room! A classic and stylish lamp for a refined modern interior. This lamp can be used as a table lamp and wall lamp. You could modify it for use as a ceiling lamp.

Available from:

Love One Another

"Menslief Ik Hou Van Je" (My dearest human being, I love you).  This message was posted everywhere in Belgium and the Netherlands during the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  Image credit: 

Love one another...a message so simple...

A message with more relevance today than ever.  Be kind to one another, pass it on.

A simple yet invaluable message of "Menslief Ik Hou Van Je (My Dear Human Being, I Love You)" took Belgium and the Netherlands by storm during the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  A simple yet surprisingly difficult message, even more so today.  This message of love was promoted by the Belgian humanist Phil Bosmans, who later grouped all his philosophies together into a manifesto of love and kindness, the book, "Menslief Ik Hou Van Je". More than 800,000 copies have been sold in Belgium and the Netherlands since it was published. Many decades ago, this message was everywhere.  On stickers, advertising, calendars, even cars...  Phil Bosmans convinced every reader that there will always be a new spring in the world, in every house, in every street, in every city.

Menslief Ik Hou Van Je

The book "Menslief Ik Hou Van Je" contains inspiring short stories about love, hope and compassion. A moving publication by Phil Bosmans, a simple yet kind man who fought for most of his life against modern idols (materialism, consumption, competitive spirit, selfishness). Instead, Phil Bosmans called for a more humane society where people work together, help each other, are kind to each other. This book is long overdue for a translation in English so we hope that the publishers who are reading this blog will take an interest in it and re-publish it. It truly is a treasure that should be shared with everyone. In the time being, you can purchase the original copy in Dutch on the website