i left copenhagen about a month ago.  in the interim, ive spent some time with the home clan in new jersey, with the school clan at MIT, weekending at dartmouth, a little bit in new york city, and now i am settled in the bay area for the summer.

like i wrote in my Dear City essay, i am forever comparing each new place i visit back to my experience in copenhagen.  i wonder if this is irritating to my friends at home.

11am at 31st x 8th in new york. why are there only 3 people sitting and relaxing and taking advantage of these sunshine-laden stairs???  while waiting for my megabus to boston, i silently egged on the few lone bikers weaving in and out of the arrogant manhattan car traffic.

11am at 31st x 8th in new york. why are there only 3 people sitting and basking and taking advantage of these sunshine-drunken stairs??? if this was copenhagen, people would be all over that beautiful urban seating like flies on a caramel apple

while waiting for my megabus to boston, i couldn’t help but silently egg on the few lone bikers weaving in and out of the arrogant manhattan car traffic.

MUCH BETTER!  thanks to janette sadik-khan, the the current Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation, and her admiration of Copenhagen's pedestrian culture, this pilot program in times square is finally being realized.

much improved! i couldn't believe my eyes when i exited the subway in times square. thanks to janette sadik-khan, the current Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation, and her admiration of Copenhagen's bicycle+pedestrian culture, this 'radical' pilot program in times square has finally gotten people strolling and relaxing without fear of becoming roadkill.

i’m working as Dwell‘s online editorial intern for the summer in San Francisco, and my first blogpost was actually about the opening of the High Line in Chelsea/Meatpacking, and all this relatedly good stuff happening in new york.

jackson square/columbus ave near the financial district in san francisco.

jackson square/columbus ave near the financial district in san francisco -- a 5 minute promenade from the dwell office. fantastic variety of food choices in the vicinity (italian, thai, chinese, vietnamese, mexican, sandwichy, + more more more) but not enough restful green public spaces to sit and enjoy lunch outdoorsily.

nearest park:

this is the nearest park: the smallish transamerica redwood park filling in and around the base of said building.

after a semester of wanderlusting nomadicness, it’s nice to be sort of anchored for awhile.  i’ll be living in hayes valley soon, and hopefully riding my new pretty bike, courtesy of christine!), but for now, i’m currently settled in san mateo with john for june.  he has just finished U.S. Puzzle Championship, which occurred this morning from 10am-12.30pm.

next week, the Dwell crew will be trekking down to the Dwell on Design 09 conference in LA in two raucous caravans, and i’m so excited.


going to the Salone Internazionale de Mobile this year has been one of the most mind-boggling experiences of my entire life.

little did i know what was in store after capriciously buying my $80 EasyJet roundtrip ticket to Milan back in early February.  our first impression after exiting the unbreathably-sardiney metro at Rho: billowingly snakey, glass-net volumes that enveloped the fairgrounds with an overwhelming sense of expectation.

rho1

russell, abe, and i wandered around these halls for an entire day (with our eyes re-bulging after turning every corner), but there was just absolutely no way to see everything.  i think what was most overwhelming was the glamour of it all — we were in the middle of what was simply la creme de la creme of the design world, and we were able to touch, sit in, and sprawl over it all.

after studying interior architecture for the bulk of the semester, i found that i was often more fascinated by each store’s overall exhibit and its spatial/emotional effect, rather than the individual pieces themselves.  i probably spent the most time in hall 12, which housed most of the (few, but now expanding) furniture designers i was faimilar with.  in my whirlwind of wanting to retain it all, i just couldnt sketch fast enough, so i was relegated to jotting down soundbyte associations/metaphors for the pavilions that were most memorable to me.

some of the 'big boys' in hall 12

some of the 'big boys' in hall 12

kartell: a celebratory photomontage [celebratory of their 60th anniversary, celebratory of 'diversity']

arkitepo: a purple, webby, atom of biomimicry

thut mobel: ribbons of woody fluorescence…edgy organic!

horm: snowflake tapestries

artek: presumptuous one-liner ["ONE CHAIR IS ENOUGH!" on shigeru ban's 10-unit system]

campeggi: tornado of compressible doghouses

edra: madonna pop-glam

giovanetti: white concrete igloo, laced with flower pods

emeco: another one-liner [this time less exuberant, more one-hit-wonder-esque, with gehry involved]

in an around milan

in and around milan - fritz hansen, 'design virus' at zona tortona, images from salone satellite, various showrooms, and the duomo

but it wasn’t just the fairgrounds at Rho — the entire city turns into a giant festival, with everything going on at zona tortona, the showrooms in and around the center of the city, at the Triennale…  i spent a day at each, and consistently, i was attracted to the smaller, younger exhibitors who were eager to talk to you and connect with you and explain their ideas.  my favorite part of the fair by far was the Salone Satellite, the area all the way at the very back of the fairground by halls in the 20s, where it was so inspiring to see ‘youthful, creative talent’ at its best, and be in awe of students who are the same age as me and have already accomplished so much.

"A group of Ear Chairs facing each other will create a place for private conversation. It is one of two collections Rotterdam-based Studio Makkink & Bey have created for the Dutch firm Prooff"

russell and i explore some Ear Chairs at SuperStudio in Zona Tortona. "A group of Ear Chairs facing each other will create a place for private conversation. It is one of two collections Rotterdam-based Studio Makkink & Bey have created for the Dutch firm Prooff"

after three days, all i can say is — i want more.


last sunday, these three animals embarked on a journey to the irish countryside.  yearning to bust out of dublin, we lapped up a delicious irish breakfast [complete with black pudding] and were quickly on our way towards the glacial valley of Glendalough.

andrew, roger, and i had an unfair share of obstacles earlier in the weekend — including a roguish debit-card-chomping ATM machine, an 8am mariah carey hostel crisis, and a wandering australian named ben elliot.  but after playing among the rolling green hills like our adopted animal namesakes, gulping the (hopefully) pristine babbling brook water, and one ice cream cone with chocolate flake, these worries were all but forgotten.

andrew leads the pack

andrew leads the pack on our 10 km loop

every old city has a roundtwoer...

every old civilization seems to have a roundtower… Glendalough was once a monastery, and now the gravestones sit all angley and look as if some of the dead became chummy friends and some didnt

finally!  guide description: 'you might be able to catch a glimpse of feral goats on the miner's trail....'

guide description: 'you might be able to catch a glimpse of feral goats on the miner's trail....'

roger looks

roger looks

the spire, which i don't think serves any real purpose other than 'being the tallest sculpture in the world.'  not even a monument

back in dublin city - the spire, which does not serve any real purpose other than 'being the tallest sculpture in the world.' it claims to be a symbol for urban revitalization. yet it's not even a monument saluting some profound historical achievement, but a seemingly blank icon, erected solely for the purpose of being an icon. successful dublin branding? donno...

one of my favorite parts of dublin, though, is the palette of bridges that span the river liffey.  each one is different, and makes for exciting 'just around the riverbend!' thoughts.

ben and i have a pensive moment on one of my favorite parts of dublin: the palette of bridges that span the river liffey. each one is different, and makes for exciting 'just around the riverbend!' singsongy thoughts.

to me, dublin had its fine points (fiercely exciting historical stories, a few nice greens spaces, guinness, the best live street music i’ve ever heard), but it also had distinct sour spots (a river so polluted i could not see my reflection in it, temple bar’s uncanny likeness to an american frat party, heroin junkies sprawled on every other bench, a building color scheme of blacks and browns).  overall, it just couldn’t hold a candle to copenhagen’s charm.

it’s been quite exhilarating to be flying off to a new city every weekend, but a part of me just wants to stay put in copenhagen now.  with the lovely sun and my lovely bike, and with only three weeks left to this danish shebang of a semester, my desire to be continually jetsettery has waned some.

but!

not before Design Week at the Salone Internazionale in Milan this weekend =)


the days are so much longer now — after studio ends at 17:00, i have nearly 3 whole hours to sit and read at a park, before i have to hop from sunspot to sunspot to escape the creeping evening shadows.

another reason (and probably most importantly) why i adore copenhagen 1 googolplex times more now than i did before the three-week spring break:  Elijah Lake.

Elijah Lake is my new darling on two wheels from Baisikeli [= bicycle in swahili; 'the best bike rental for the world', 'rent a bike and help us send bikes to Africa'] — he is 11 days old, shiny black with a single piece of green tape, basketless, and beautiful.  my relationship with Elijah has been absolutely amazing so far, and i don’t see the honeymoon period ending anytime soon.

Copenhagen is lovingly known as the cycling capital of the world.  ogsa, Roger named his bike Ursula so I think Elijah Lake is pretty good, comparatively.

several memorable trips over the virginal week:

  1. biking to school every morning and breathing in a gallon of freshness everytime the lakes come into view
  2. biking to frederiksberg plads, walking around copenhagen business school + the faculty of life sciences at univ of copenhagen, sniffing and learning about trees, and searching for that elusive 2 hot dogs for 24 kroner deal at 7-11
  3. biking past the 16 football fields in Amager [yet another development by B.I.G.] on the way to the beach at Amager Strand for a picnic on thursday, and hiding among the sand dunes for shelter
  4. biking to the boardwalk on Islands Brygge on friday and, yes, having another picnic.
along islands brygge, with fresh french bread, pepper salami, creme fraiche, wine, and a box of strawberries

along islands brygge: with fresh french bread, pepper salami, creme fraiche, wine, and a box of strawberries

a baby swan came over to philipp to honk hello

a baby swan came over to philipp to honk hello


mosque

11Apr09

i had never been in a mosque before this week.  at sunset on tuesday, after tea + hookah with the turkish students, we explored this hilly area in beyoğlu, on the european side of istanbul, north of the golden horn harbor.  in our typical itinerant style, roger and i stumbled around for a bit…and ended up in this mosque [it was bound to happen in a city of 3000 of them]

a welcoming nod from an elderly local was all we needed — we creaked open the heavy stone door, took off our shoes, and tiptoed onto the soft [and somehow luscious?] green carpet.  my thoughts, from a highly non-divine perspective:

-there is something about the physical feeling of carpet being gingerly squished underneath toes that conjures in me a feeling of protection and homeyness.

-mosque architecture – the space underneath the domed roof, the bright colors of the walls, the absence of statures/figures/icons, and others praying in silence – gives me an incredible sense of serenity.

-this physical feeling + spiritual feeling added together makes me want to duck inside every single mosque i pass here in istanbul. [there are many.]

-however, it is not unaccompanied by an unbalancing feeling of ignorant unfamiliarity…what do i do with my hands?  how should i sit?  is my uncovered head disrespectful?  should i try to pray along with everyone else?

praying at the windows of the blue mosque

praying at the windows of the blue mosque

inside the hagia sophia

inside the hagia sophia, now a museum (thanks to ataturk)

being in istanbul and seeing all of the layers of christianity/islam, old/new, east/west, this/that all piled on top of each other, shaken around, and expected to play nicely together throughout the course of history has opened up my spirituality perspective a great deal.  at this point in my life, i don’t think i want to be a fully religious person, but i want to experience other religions.  i want to see what they see, feel what they feel…without commitment, without a lasting label, just to get a tasty learning morsel without being forced to call it my own.  i realized that this mentality is how i deal with many things — major of study, scheduling too many appointments, dating habits, menu choices…

is this selfish?

blue-and-hagia

hagia sophia and the blue mosque - they face each other as peers, but while blue has six minarets to sophia's four, she is a millennium older

Patriarchal Cathedral Church of St. George (Aya Yorgi) - aka the the worldwide headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church (a rather unassuming building from the outside, but unlike any other church interior ive been to)

patriarchal cathedral church of st. george (pronounced 'Yorgi') - the worldwide headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church. a rather unassuming building from the outside, but definitely makes up for it in splendor and interior gildedness

looking up and listening to the entire history of christianity at this one of many church-turned-mosque

looking up and listening to the entire history of christianity at this (one of many) church-turned-mosque

amsterdam's got nothin on turkey's tulips

amsterdam's got nothin on turkey's tulips

on-the-streets

how many abandoned cats do you see here at the topkapi palace?  hint: you may or may not be able to count them on one hand

how many abandoned cats do you see here at the topkapi palace? (hint: you may or may not be able to count them on one hand.) it was said that while obama was in istanbul on tuesday (during which all of the roads were closed, forcing us to change our schedule around his), he pet a cross-eyed cat. i may have pet the same cat that obama did.

sunset on asia minor, looking out from anatolia

after riding a ferry from the european side....sunset greets us on asia minor, while looking out from the anatolian side


russell and i stood atop that regal iceberg in Stortorget, and delivered jewels of information about stockholm’s old city to our faithful student subjects down below.  it was a mildly intense feeling, giving a presentation about a place that we had modeled in detail and labored over for a week in studio – and now actually seeing it in person, standing in the middle of it, for the first time.

 

see the little iceberg?

Stortorget ('large square' and the oldest one in stockholm) - see the little iceberg?

gamla stan from afar

view of gamla stan from sodermalm, 'the southern isle' -- like venice?

laura, russell, steve, and i proudly display our gamla stan models

laura, russell, steve, and i proudly display our gamla stan models on the day of review, week 2 of the semester

the fishermen’s alleyways, tyska brunnsplan, jarntorget, mårten trotzigs gränd [the narrowest alley at only 90 cm wide!] were almost exactly how i imagined them.  i was amazed at the topography of the island [being in flat denmark for 2 months has made every molehill into a huffing mountain] — how it made a huge impact on the way we walked up to the square, and the way we experienced discovering all of its narrow crannies appendaging from it.

martin trotzigs grand, the narrowest alleyway in all of stockholm

martin trotzigs grand, the narrowest alleyway in all of stockholm

 

a part of me wished there was more…life?  and not just the touristy streets on västerlånggatan.  in fact, gamla stan really is all touristy =\

also, by poking my nose into an old swedish church, i got stuck inside during a sunday service and couldn’t leave.  i had to peer over at the boy sitting next to me constantly to see what song page we were on…and then sing accordingly in swedish.  being that i do not understand swedish, i wasn’t forced to listen to what was being preached at me, but only had to enjoy the space and the music.  it was wonderful!


or like a herd of spindly elk wandering across the bering strait during migration…

or like a bunch of eager beaver architecture students on the quest for alvar aalto’s experimental summer house…

we trekked across a frozen lake in central finland last week.

an incredible expanse of flat, sparkling whiteness

in muuratsalo, an incredible expanse of flat, sparkling whiteness


we each soon figured out our individually preferred method of snow travel:

1. the sszwee! of sliding speedily+dangerously across icy patches,

2. the crample crample of crunching/trampling on softer, safer snow pockets, or

3. the chomp…plop, chomp…plop of standing elevated on top of several inches, and then (embarassingly) sinking down, two seconds after each step.

we climbed up to a small promontory where the house was supposedly perched — and at first, we didnt see it.  the outside-facing brick walls were painted white, which camouflaged very well with the surrounding winter landscape.  standing from inside the courtyard, these massive walls framed a perfect view of the lake.

summer view, winter view, lake view

summer view, winter view, lake view

and behind the house was the sauna*, quite the cornerstone of finnish culture.

hands down, it was the best surprise of the entire week.

more aalto delights + details

more aalto delights + nature-inspired details

auditorium on jyväskylä campus

auditorium on jyväskylä campus

look at the butterfly trusses [exaggerated, but beautiful] that hold up the ceiling of the city council chamber

look at the butterfly trusses exaggerated, but beautiful that hold up the ceiling of the city council chamber)

when you see leather-wrapped door handles inviting you in, you know it can't be anyone but aalto (säynätsalo town hall)

when you see leather-wrapped door handles inviting you in, you know it can't be anyone but aalto (säynätsalo town hall)

finnish octogenarians on cross country skis whizzed by

finnish octogenarians on cross country skis whizzed by us on the frozen lake

cattails and me

cattails and me

  • * sauna = sweat out every globule of moisture from your pores while baking the scorching heated room.  add more water onto the hot coals, producing copious amounts of steam.  when you can breathe no longer, take a deep breath and stampede out of the sauna, into the negative 10 degrees celsius outside air, down the icy neck-breaking flight of stairs, and plummet your battered body into the frigid lake.  repeat as many times as needed.



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