OXO Candela Tooli Night Light

Oxo Candela Tooli night light. The most beautiful and most practical night light ever created. The Oxo Candela Tooli is a great bedside companion to ward off the darkness. LED lights provide eight hours of soothing light, plenty of time to send restless little ones off to dreamland. Tooli lights up automatically when lifted from the charging base or if there is a power outage. Place Tooli on the patented Safe-Charge base and it automatically recharges for the next use. The charging base doubles as an optional nightlight that can be left on even when Tooli is charging. Available in Yellow.

OXO Candela Tooli Night Light

Grand Entrance

'Do it big, do it right and do it with style.'
Fred Astaire

Mid-Century Modern World Globe

Mid Century Modern Style Transparent Silver World Globe 12".

I've got the world on a string... Travel the world in style with a simple push of your finger. This ultra-cool world globe oozes style and would look amazing on your Mad Men styled executive desk. We absolutely love this Mid Century Modern style transparent world globe with silver metallic printing. Unquestionably the most beautiful globe we have ever seen. This modernist world globe is very similar to the ones you would have seen on an executive desk in 1950's America. Fashioned in the unique modern atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s, a perfect match to the modern times of Catch me if you Can and Pan-Am. This attractive world globe features stunning silver-colored continents on a printed on a beautiful transparent acrylic globe. This modern world globe has a unique stainless steel axis base which adds a modern twist to your desktop. This modern transparent world globe is a very decorative design object which will certainly compliment any modern interior or office. This is also a perfect children's world globe, sure to please even the youngest stylemakers in your house. This very unique world globe is a great alternative to the more common standard globes, it makes a great unique gift for just about anyone. It measures 12 inches in diameter and stands about 16 inches tall. The most amazing globe will put the world at your fingers, perfect for any occasion; anniversary gifts, birthday gifts, business gifts, christmas gifts, corporate gifts, gift idea, gift, gift idea for children, gifts for him, unique gifts, design, wedding gifts, pure style!

Mid Century Modern Style Transparent Silver World Globe 12"

And a classic Sinatra song to match:

Contemporary Modern Rugs by Nanimarquina on Sale

Stardust is having a special sale on the entire rug collection by the Spanish rug manufacturer Nanimarquina until December 23rd 2011. The right time to snap up some amazing modern rugs at bargain prices.

Modern Rugs by Nanimarquina

Growing Up

Streamschool (Patakiskola) from Péter Vácz on Vimeo.

A little girl has an adventure with water as she travels from a small brook to the sea. A tale of growing up based on a Hungarian poem. Animation by Péter Vácz.

and in French...

L'école des russieaux (French version) from Péter Vácz on Vimeo.

Architecture by Oscar Niemeyer in Spain

Oscar Niemeyer 'Centro Niemeyer'

The Centro Niemeyer in the Spanish industrial town Avilés closed its doors last month, although it had only been open for a half a year. Due to severe budget cuts and political issues related to the Spanish economical crisis, there was just no money left to keep it open. The Centro Niemeyer was designed by Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer and had a total price cost of $44 million Euros. Euro watch dogs will probably see this as another example of excessive spending but in the long run, this will probably be a good thing for Spain since Oscar Niemeyer is not getting any younger and this may very well be his first and last work in Europe (he is 103 years and counting).

Here is an interesting article published by Sarah Butler for Domus in Italy when the Centro just opened its doors on March 25th 2011. How rapid things can change....

Modern architecture has long been compared to science fiction: not just in its formal and material ambitions, but socio-spatially, where the ideals of total democracy and gridded master planning converge. Exuberant, utopian futurism arrived at through human innovation. Yet now we usually experience modernism through the tint of wear and nostalgia; the optimism of atomic-era design seems misplaced in the globalized climate.

Nevertheless, the future pushes on. Currently set for landing in the base of the medieval town of Avilés, located in Spain's northern Asturias region, Centro Niemeyer is a surreal, space-age barge; a fantastic monument to the shifting cultural economies of the twenty-first century. Surreal, perhaps simply for its freshness, but also for its hugeness and finesse; its stark contrast to the labyrinthine, stony streets of surrounding town. Space-aged, in the sense of the antique future we see in visionary pop culture from The Jetsons to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The new Centro embodies both the classic neutrality of the twentieth-century International Style and contemporary strains of cosmopolitanism and sustainability.

Surprisingly, the Brazilian architect's first project in Spain had to wait for his centennial. At 103 years of age Oscar Niemeyer is again fleshing out his signature take on heroic Modernism with a set of buildings formally reminiscent of some of his greatest hits, such as the São Paulo Palace of the Arts and of course Brasilia. Central to the complex is a three-storey, 50-foot concrete dome anchoring a monumental public square. Comprising a Museum, Amphitheatre, Restaurant and Reception buildings, the Centro is a minimalist field of formal abstraction with the spatial logics of natural attractions, great canyons and soaring cliffs. At the completion stage, clear of even way-finding signage and other advertisement, a visit rekindles longing for walks on the moon. Imagine if the great land artists had a greater penchant for reinforced concrete and you're there.

The Museum's exterior was created in just one day by pumping concrete onto a PVC inflatable mould. Inside, pristine expanses appear to hover inches above the ground. A four ton chandelier casts multiplying shadows in gill-like depthless bands. Certainly until programming begins the space will remain overwhelmingly simple. A mezzanine accessed via a striking red, spiraling stairwell suggests that light and sound installations may be set off here quite explosively.

The Amphitheatre, noted for embodying the most complex, irregular curve among the new structures, will seat 1000 and opens onto the public square. Given demand and occasion, audiences will get a pretty clear view of the stage from both inside and outside. A wide slope, slowly turning up from the ground at the entrance comes back toward the earth at nearly (but not quite) a right angle. A great yellow swash amplifies Niemeyer's touch for a vibrant, sensual (rather than purely rationalist, functional) modernism. Acoustics also promise excellence.

What's more, Foster + Partners are at work on an extensive urban plan to transform the surrounding area. What is currently a very dirty industrial steel manufacturing port will become the Island of Innovation, projected to be a hub of outdoor recreation, solar and wind energy research by 2020. Any lingering smog from the neighboring coal-fired factories will yield to a landscape punctuated by minimalist public architecture elements. The master plan includes clearing the estuary to carve the site away from the mainland, making the site accessible by boat. From the sky, the new island and its surrounding marina describe the symbolic outline of a fish.

Programming also promises to be exceptional, because behind the board at Centro Niemeyer is the so-called C8 ("c" being, of course, for cultura). Responsible for the development of exhibitions destined for the world stage, inclusive of performances, screenings and other Centro creations are representatives from international venues including New York's Lincoln Center, London's Barbican, the Sydney Opera, La Scala in Milan, Tokyo Forum and the Library of Alexandria, Beaubourg, Paris, and Cultural Center, Hong Kong.

Largely inspired by Bilbao's economic resurrection, the Centro emphasizes this focus on content to generate global sensation. With a creative board including global celebrities, scientists and intellectuals such as Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Paulo Coelho, Stephen Hawking, Fatima Mernissi, Vinton Cerf, Joan Manuel Serrat and Wole Soyinka, the "Avilés effect" may already have taken hold.

With a 40,000,000 euro price tag, costs of the construction project thus far have been paid for exclusively by Avilés and the Spanish government. Anticipating return on investment within the first year alone through global tourism, the Centro plans to shift its support base towards the private sector. While long-term local interest may be questionable, a weekend open house in August last year welcomed over 12,000 visitors.

Is this all apropos for a complex designed by an unapologetic Marxist, whose social-humanist ethos and stated feelings about the insignificance of his own trade led him always to do things his own way? Niemeyer intends to mean above all sticking by life: enjoying good times, friends, family and the resonance of nature. An immensely generous and apparently untiring spirit, the architect was from the start obsessed with a particular, rather than international Modernism, devoted to making spaces to embrace history and nature.

In his 2000 memoir The Curves of Time, Niemeyer writes that he deliberately rejected the right angle of rationalist architecture for the realm of bold curves and organic shapes, which, like Eero Saarinen, Jørn Utzon, Frank Lloyd Wright, and now perhaps Santiago Calatrava, he considers more essential to poured, reinforced concrete. His is therefore an oeuvre in which the functionalism of the "machine for living" is superseded by the plastic freedom made possible by reinforced concrete; wherein the monotony of pre-fabricated glass boxes might be overcome by sculptural, free-form, cast-in-place structures.

While he must be considered one of the last great Modern architects in the canonical sense, Niemeyer is also a contemporary artist. With projects of more than sixty, even seventy years ago today firmly entrenched in history, these new buildings in Spain emerge in a context that has been radically changed since the ideals of Corbusian internationalism. Certainly distant from the CIAM-brand of strident formalism he initially set out against; one hopes the Centro will successfully transform this post-industrial region into a cultural Mecca.

Image Credit: James Ewing Photography

Farnsworth House

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House as drawn by Tadao Ando in 2009.

Organic Free Flowing Architecture

This contemporary free flowing architectural masterpiece was designed by the French architect team of Atelier Christian de Portzamparc for the famous winery Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint-Émilion, France.  Its distinct organic shape would make Oscar Niemeyer smile.

There are some exceptional wines in the world. Cheval Blanc is one of them. When referring to it, people sometimes speak of absolute art.

When Baron Frère and Bernard Arnault (the client) decided to endow the estate with a new winery, they aspired to excellence and sought to break new ground.

The vinification of Cheval Blanc is a traditional business consistent with a perpetual quest for harmony and balance. It involves parcel management and respect for the cycle of the vine, constant adaptation to the nature of the grape and thoughtful, measured and considered attention to every action. The programme takes account of the specific features of individual parcels, as well as exacting standards and respect for nature.

But the owners also wanted something that would anticipate the future while blending into a historic landscape, since Saint-Émilion is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a challenging mission that called for a rare combination of talents.

This challenge was taken up by Christian de Portzamparc, who considers that the truth of space cannot be dissociated from the imprint of time. The harmonious relationship between inside and outside has also been a constant source of inspiration.

In the heart of the vineyard, the "winery under the hill" initially looks like a promontory extending the château, a lifting of the earth, raised by sails of concrete towards the light and the sky. From a vantage point that seems to float in the air, the eye takes in the swathes of vines and the age-old history of the landscape.

A hill or a hanging garden floating over the vines? What gives the site a certain grace is a discreet cantilever effect suggestive of a pendulum, the geometry of the curved surfaces and their living substance of muted white moulded concrete, the unique atmosphere that derives from the natural light descending earthwards inside the vat house, between the contours of the great concrete vats. This refusal of enclosure, even though inherent in the material, is a remarkable innovation: the "winery under the hill" is a place of concentration, almost of meditation, and yet open to what surrounds it, being as permeable to the light of the vineyard as to the coming and going of workers and visitors. Between inside and outside, the winery is a place of transmutation and human interaction.

That grace also derives from the desire, in evidence all around, for perfect harmony between the place and its purpose. And that is probably where the elegance comes from: we are in the place where an exceptional wine is made, among the sublimated instruments of a highly demanding task that calls for skills to match. No line here is superfluous: everything contributes to the perfection of the actions involved, and it shows.

The technology is therefore treated as such: necessary facilities, not objects of ostentation. There are 52 vats because that is what parcel selection requires, and they are made of concrete. If the walls are of mashrabiya, it is to facilitate natural ventilation. The lighting is sober because it does not seek display or decoration. In fact, everything has been designed to replace energy-hungry systems with economical solutions. As a result, the winery is one of the few buildings in the wine business to have High Environmental Quality (HQE) certification, meeting particularly demanding criteria relating not only to the environment but also to the type of materials used, to water, energy and waste management, controlled hygrometry, acoustic, visual and olfactory comfort and the well-being of the people who work there.

It is the brand-new vision of a place and a long tradition. With boldness, high talent and a sensuality made visible, Cheval Blanc looks to the future.

Art of the Dance

Sometimes the stars align and perfection is born. Take for example the amazing photography by Christopher Peddecord. These perfectly balanced compositions will certainly strike a chord with admirers of the early Richard Avedon pictures of which the ones from Veruschka are our favorites (see inlay below).

Wall Mounted Winerack

Rosendahl Winetube Wine Bottle Rack Storage

If you have a collection of exceptional vintages like a full case of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc or 1869 Château Lafite you may find a wall mountable wine storage "trop de risque". But for all of us who have less preferential taste buds and buy less exceptional vintages such as Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck, we will find great functional use in the minimalist Winetube designed by Danish designer Kim Almsig for Rosendahl in Denmark. Turn a storage option into an art piece with the simple ingenuity of the Rosendahl Wine Tube, with a natural aluminum finish. The Rosendahl Wine Tube bottle rack features innovative wall mounting that allows your wine collection to become a striking wall display. The design of the wine tube keeps bottles and labels clearly visible, allowing easy selection from your wine collection. The Rosendahl Winetube wine bottle rack is a beautiful wall-mounted wine bottle storage solution. The Rosendahl Winetube wine bottle storage rack is an elegant and stylish organizer for wine. This wall-mounted wine rack frees up space and looks clean and modern too.

Rosendahl's Winetube Wine Bottle Rack Storage is a perfect wine rack storage idea for smaller New York City style apartments, or anyone who appreciates a clean modern design aesthetic. Along with the stylish finish of the Winetube wine bottle rack, the bottles and their labels form an integral part of the design piece. This is in contrast to more traditional wine racks where only the necks of the wine bottles are visible. The exposure of the wine bottle's label makes it easy to get an overview of your wine collection. The Winetube is made from a brushed anodized aluminum tube, a series of smart cutouts allow the wine bottles to be suspended perpendicular to the Winetube itself. Simple wall mounting, with fixings provided. A great way to display several bottles of your favorite wine. Holds standard bottles of wine (not large bottles or bottles with special shapes or thicker necks).

Rosendahl Winetube Wine Bottle Rack Storage

Lolli Pop Girl 1968

Ferrari 275

The Spy Who Loved Me

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House in Lego

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House in Lego.  Replicate an icon of mid century modern architecture with the famed Farnsworth House! Few one-room homes are as strikingly modern and instantly recognizable as the Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This single-story steel structure with floor-to-ceiling glass walls was meant to open a minimalist interior to nature in an extreme way. Construction took place from 1945–1951 on a 60-acre estate beside the Fox River in Plano, Illinois, where it still stands today. The assembled Farnsworth House model is over 10” (25cm) wide on a base with printed name label and includes a booklet with facts about the building, its construction and history.