Modern Garden Design

This beautiful modernist garden was designed by landscape designer James Lord from Surfacedesign. A deeper investigation, or, as James Lord says, "an ensuing sense of discovery", reveals unexpected pockets of greenery. The scene is created anew each time James Lord's mother, a "roadside commando" of plant cuttings, brings home a new batch to propagate. So far, she's usurped aeonium and lavender from the South Coast Botanic Garden (where she's a volunteer) and adopted orphaned steel-blue agave pups from the neighbor's yard. "The garden evolves to live," says James, "and lives to evolve."

Photo credits: Marion Brenner.


Realm of the Senses

The beautiful Amangiri blends architecture with its natural surrounds. The Amangiri Resort and Spa, located on a spectacular 600+ acre site in southern Utah, is a unique collaboration between three established individual architects: Marwan AlSayed, Wendell Burnette and Rick Joy (listed alphabetically). The three architects were inspired to work together on such an awe inspiring site and for such a legendary hotelier, Adrian Zecha, whose Amanresorts has redefined the concept of travel and luxury in remarkable sites. Working with Adrian Zecha and his team, the architects have created a bold yet responsive settlement that both honors and celebrates the magic and mystery of southern Utah's majestic cliffs and rock formations.

The 34 room luxury hotel is sensitively sited against a low entrada sandstone rock formation like an ancient settlement, allowing each guest to experience the rawness and pure natural beauty of the surrounding mesas and mesmerizing light shows. Beyond the clearly defined line of the hotel there is nothing but the purity of the raw landscape within which the hotel is set. The focus of the hotel setting is the living room lounge and spectacular swimming pool, which wraps around the central rock formation, poetically emphasizing the pure essence of this particular landscape: water, rock and sky. The buildings are designed as thick concrete masses, carved by program, movement and light. Frozen, timeless mass rendered as abstract geology with colors that blend effortlessly into the shifting landscape of sand, sage and rock.  Photographer Joe Fletcher took these amazing photographs of Amangiri.


Let there be Light

Flos Taraxacum 88 Lamp by Achille Castiglioni in Situ (image credit

Flos Taraxacum 88 Lamp by Achille Castiglioni in Situ (image credit

Flos Taraxacum 88 Lamp by Achille Castiglioni in Situ (image credit

Flos Taraxacum 88 Lamp by Achille Castiglioni in Situ (image credit Flos)

Here's looking at you kid. Achille Castiglioni and his fabulous Taraxacum lamp. It is easy to like the fabulous Taraxum 88 lamp, an Italian design icon with lasting appeal! Achille Castiglioni named it the Taraxacum which is the Latin name for the Dandelion. When the Taraxacum flower matures into a globe of fine filaments it closely resembles this lamp. The Flos Taraxacum 88 consists of 20 pressed and polished aluminum triangles which create a direct and reflected light. All of this beauty combined, results in a distinct and unique light. Power up this baby and you will become the envy of every incandescent lover (that includes us).

Flos Taraxacum Lamp

Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Garage in Washington DC (image credit
Nicely done mid century modern screen block wall, truly timeless!
View the complete Mid Century Modern Screen Block thread on
Modern Design Interior.

Cord Floor Lamp

Cord Lamp by Design House Stockholm.  A floor lamp that seems to rise up like a Cobra entranced by the tunes of its snake charmer.  Design House Stockholm's Cord Lamp is a unique modern floor lamp with a twist. Good design is about purity of form, and the Cord Lamp epitomizes this maxim to illuminating effect. The Swedish trio behind Form Us With Love, Jonas Pettersson, John Lofgren and Petrus Palmer, refined a standard floor lamp into something truly beautiful. With the Cord Lamp, all unnecessary distracting elements were removed and only the essential pure form remains. What remains is the textile cord which in return becomes the focus of the design. The textile cord transforms itself into a steel tube that holds aloft an oversized globe bulb, complete with dimmer and all. Instead of the usual snake's nest of winding cords, Cord Lamp stands surprisingly tall. The Cord Lamp is so striking you will want to spotlight one or more in your home or office. A new Scandinavian design classic!

Design House Stockholm Cord Lamp

House in the Desert

Desert One by Jim Jennings Architecture. This ultra modern minimal white house is perfectly composed. Its exterior walls and courtyards define the one-bedroom Palm Springs retreat. Pocketing glass doors open to create 2,300 square feet of supreme indoor-outdoor living space. White-painted concrete block, concrete, glass and steel comprise the materials palette. Achille Castiglioni & Pio Manzu Parentise Lamp by Flos gives a little touch of light. The native desert landscape surrounding the building has been left intact.

Architecture: Jim Jennings Architecture
Image Credit: Joe Fletcher Photo

Profondo Rosso

Spiral Staircase photographed by Maxime Vantorre.

Diamonds are Forever

De Beers does not have a monopoly when it comes to diamond design.
Diamant was designed by Swiss designer Peer Clahsen for Naef Toys in Switzerland. Naef Diamant is a beautiful sculptural wooden tinker toy. The world's most precious stone, the diamond, re-created as a multi-faceted wooden play sculpture. Diamant can be disassembled into fifteen pieces that fit perfectly together. The pieces can be re-combined to form ever new geometric variations and almost infinite constructions. Numerous variations can be created with the continuously interlocking elements. You are only limited by your own imagination. Create the most stunning sculptural works of art with Naef's diamond.

Naef Diamant by Peer Clahsen

Clear as Crystal

Kit Webster's Prismatica consists of an arrangement of pyramid-shaped crystals affixed to an LCD screen and illuminated with programmed geometric animation. The animated patterns are precisely mapped to the vertices of the crystals, illuminating them individually and in formation. The animations are further refracted through the geometry of the crystals in accordance with the shifting perspective of the observer, which in turn alters the way the illuminations appear and interact with reflections of surrounding lights within the space.

Kit Webster's Prismatica acts as an extension of the visual and perceptual experimentations of his immersive installations.


Space Age Shelter

The late 1960s was a world of confusion and revolt which led to rapid change. People were morally wounded by politics, pollution and a never-ending Vietnam war and sought to escape the harsh realities of life with futuristic space age living environments. There was a general trend towards sheltered space age habitats where people could feel secure.

In film, this feeling clearly manifested itself in Stanley Kubrick's space age masterpiece; 2001: A Space Odyssey which featured pod shaped space age living environments and space shuttles in a programmed future that, although unknown and often scary, appeared highly sheltered.

Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968.

Several designers experimented with confined "space age living capsules". Some notable examples: Joe Colombo's Visiona 1 Living Environment, Verner Panton Visiona 0 and 2 for Bayer and Eero Aarnio's iconic Pastilli- and Ball Chair design.

Joe Colombo Visiona 1 Wohnmodel for Bayer AG in 1969.

Verner Panton Visiona II Wohnmodel for Bayer AG in 1970.

One lesser known example of space age sheltered design is the space age Luminous Chair design by Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata in 1969, of which only 30 pieces were manufactured by Ishimaru Co. Ltd. Shiro Kuramata was clearly influenced by Stanley Kubrick's film which preceded the design of the Luminous Chair. Shiro Kuramata's revolutionary approach to the design of furniture and interiors reflected the tremendous dynamism and flowering of creativity in postwar Japan. He combined the Japanese concept of the unity of the arts with fascination with contemporary Western culture, both high and low. He delighted in the mischievous dislocations of Marcel Duchamp's readymades; in the Minimalist sculptures of Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, with their geometrical repetitions and incorporation of light; and in furniture designer Ettore Sottsass's playful spirit and love of bright color.

Shiro Kuramata Luminious Chair from 1969.

Shiro Kuramata Luminous Chairs 1969 (image credit