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.
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.
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.
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.
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Tags: copenhagen, dwell, new york, san francisco, travel, urbanism
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.
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.
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]
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.
after three days, all i can say is — i want more.
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Tags: cities, design, furniture, future craft, interiors, travel
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.
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.
not before Design Week at the Salone Internazionale in Milan this weekend =)
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Tags: branding, cities, copenhagen, nature, travel
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:
- biking to school every morning and breathing in a gallon of freshness everytime the lakes come into view
- 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
- 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
- biking to the boardwalk on Islands Brygge on friday and, yes, having another picnic.
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Tags: biking, copenhagen, happiness, sun
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?
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?
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Tags: architecture, cities, religion, travel
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.
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.
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!
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Tags: cities, scandinavia, studio, urbanism
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.
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.
and behind the house was the sauna*, quite the cornerstone of finnish culture.
hands down, it was the best surprise of the entire week.
- * 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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Tags: aalto, architecture, nature, travel