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Friday, February 22, 2008

Drawing Pod at Pecha Kucha TONIGHT!

Some last minute news on a great event: From Concentrate's David Oliver will be presenting his Drawing Pod (which I've written about previously) tonight at Pecha Kucha.

What is Pecha Kucha?
Pecha Kucha is a worldwide series of events for architects, designers and technologists. "Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each - giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show."

Pecha Kucha Boston is hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The event is free and open to the public.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit under the weather, so I won't be making it.

Harvard GSD
Gund Hall
48 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Paper Cloud Sale

Just in time for spring (despite the dreary weather, spring is just around the corner), Paper Cloud is offering 20% off all flowers designs.

Choose from pillows, lighting, journals and cards that are hand-made using all natural materials, including linen, water-based inks and recycled paper.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

designboston giveaway: dropps

After writing about how good dropps are, I'm giving you a turn to tell me what you think.

The kind folks at dropps have offered to send one lucky winner a complimentary 20-pack of dropps detergent. In return, I would ask the winner to write a brief review of their opinions of dropps. Good, bad, or indifferent, we want the truth. Your review will appear as a guest post on designboston.

Interested? To enter, between now and midnight on Sunday, simply leave a comment below. Be sure to include your name, email address, and website (if you have one) so I can contact the winner.

Good luck!

BTW - Check out their newly redone website!

Review: Suburban Transformations

60 years ago, eastern Massachusetts primarily consisted of an industrial city surrounded by sleepy farming towns. Fast forward to today: eastern Massachusetts is one of the nation’s epicenters for technology and defense. That change is largely due to the growth of the suburbs.

I grew up in those suburbs. Burlington, MA is two towns away from where I grew up. To this day, if you ask me about Burlington, I can tell you about the mall, the movie theater, and the Barnes & Noble. That’s it. Why would I want to know more?

During his seven years at MIT as an assistant professor of architectural design, Somerville-based architect Paul Lukez looked at historical mapping of Burlington, MA, to develop the Adaptive Design Process, “a method that allows for the organic transformation of communities with their own distinct identity and unique character,” which he explores in his new book, Suburban Transformations, published by Princeton Architectural Press. Using the Adaptive Design Process, Lukez delves into how our suburbs came to be, what their current state is, and how they can be changed from here.

The information he presents is startling. I’m not going to reprint all of them, but here’s a good one: The Burlington Mall sits on top of Burlington’s largest watershed. Because of this, the massive parking lot is continually sinking, and needs to be repaved every few years. Sand, salt, and other pollutants fall from the cars of up to 140,000 visitors per day. It’s examples like this that Lukez uses to show how town planners have been willing to allow developers everything for the increase in town revenue.

After showing us the good and bad of current suburban development, Lukez presents six scenarios of different ways Burlington’s infrastructure (including the interchange of routes 128 and 3), buildings, and processes can be changed to make it healthier, more sustainable, and a better place to live, not just shop.

Lukez also offers case studies on the Dedham Mall area, the Revere Beach area, Amsterdam, and Shenzhen, China.

The thing I like about Lukez’s proposals is that they aren’t anti-growth or anti-development. Rather, Lukez expresses that it is through developing these areas that they will become truly unique destinations.

Suburban Transformations, packed with technical information, will surely become required reading in architecture and urban planning programs. That said, it is light enough that any layperson with an interest in architecture, design, or (sub)urban planning will enjoy it, and get something out of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

mod*mom Valentine's Giveaways

mod*mom emailed me to let me know that I won her one of her Valentine's Day giveaways! I am the lucky winner of a Roxio Toast 8, a suite of CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray burning software.

I'm not just writing this to boast, but also to let you know that you can win one of 30 prizes, including a $100 gift card to Whole Foods and a 12-pack of green cleaners in her St. Patrick's giveaways.

HZL by Henzel

Reader Beata tipped me off to HZL, a new line of rugs from Swedish firm Calle Henzel Studio.

HZL by Henzel is built upon a foundation of creativity and a desire to make rugs a key element of interior design. Today HZL work closely with the world’s leading architects and interior designers on special projects. Our rugs are handmade, in high quality and not in high volume. Nothing that we do is mass produced.

With their bold colors and designs, the rugs are truly more artistic than utilitarian. I could see these in one of the high rise condos downtown, or a loft in the South End, Cambridge, or JP.

What do you think? Would these rugs fit in your space?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Biology based Valentine's Day cards by Nasty Papercut. (via girl in the green dress)

Monday, February 11, 2008


dropps designbostonFor all my talk about sustainability, I think it's about time I mentioned at least one household cleaning item.

Fact: "Most traditional laundry detergents are 75% water; even the new '2X concentrates' are 50% water". So when we add laundry detergent, we're adding mostly water to... water.

Enter Dropps, a new type of laundry detergent. Well, new to the retail market. Dropps was developed in the late 80's by a cotton mill outside of Philadelphia as a way to clean the cotton without yellowing it.

Fast forward to 2008: "Dropps are biodegradable and NPE- and phosphate-free, and dropps is packaged in a stand-up pouch to reduce its environmental footprint. dropps offers a convenient way to protect the planet -- the highly concentrated formula is made without the water that traditional laundry detergents needlessly waste." Without the water, the detergent is able to come in a pre-dosed water soluble packet, eliminating the labor and drips of measuring out of a jug.

Dropps is currently a finalist in the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards (does Boston have anything similar? If not, we should). You can pick up Dropps at Target and Whole Foods, or order online at Amazon.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Vote for DB in the Blogger's Choice Awards!

How much would I love to see my blog win an award?

Earlier today, I got word of the Blogger's Choice Awards, an event where you can nominate a random blog for a "Best of" award in one or more categories. Feeling hopeful and a little adventurous, I nominated designboston for Best Blog About Stuff and the Best Hobby Blog (that is, if you consider architecture and interior design "hobbies").

Here's the part where you come in: Go to either category and click "vote". (To keep things honest, you need to register.) The contest is going on throughout late 2008, so you have plenty of time.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Eli Cedrone at the Winter Juried Show

Every year, the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury holds the Winter Juried Show, a highly competitive show that attracts a number of very talented artists. This year, Autrefois, a painting by Eli Cedrone (whom I wrote about last month) was one of 100 works chosen from a field of over 500 entries.

The initial reception was last Saturday, but the show is open to the public until April 13. Plenty of time to get down to the South Shore, don't you think?

Art Complex Museum
Alden Street,
189 Duxbury, MA 02043
781-934-2731, ext 4

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Paul Lukez at Arclinea

This Thursday, Somerville-based architect Paul Lukez will be at Arclinea to present "Suburban Transformations: Restoring Sustainability, Livability, and Unique Identity to Boston's Suburbs."

Paul will speak about his newest book Suburban Transformations (which I wrote about previously), and "share innovative ideas for making Boston's suburbs more livable and sustainable, and offer his proposals for how we can restore unique identity to our suburbs, too. In addition to his presentation, there will also be an exhibit of renderings that demonstrate possible futures for Boston suburbs like Burlington, Dedham, and Revere."

The event is sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects. All attending architects and architects-in-training will receive one AIA HSW continuing education credit.

Both Christopher and myself will be there; I look forward to meeting Paul. Suburban Transformations is a great book that has really opened my eyes to the state of our suburbs. I'm currently working on my review of the book; it should be up in the next few days.

"Suburban Transformations: Restoring Sustainability, Livability, and Unique Identity to Boston's Suburbs"
Arclinea Boston
10 St. James Avenue, Boston, MA
Thursday, February 7
6:00 - 8:00 PM
RSVP: rsvp@arclineaboston.com

Monday, February 04, 2008

Motley Home Moving Sale

Motley Home Boston designbostonHome decor store Motley Home is moving from their current Tremont Street to another South End locale in the spring. To prepare for the big move, Jimmy and Co. are offering 50% off everything in the store.

Do I need to say that again? 50% off EVERYTHING IN THE STORE!

That's huge. Everything, from bedding and bath supplies, to party favors, to these fantastic Jonathan Adler Menagerie figurines, available at a huge discount.

Jonathan Adler Menagerie designboston

You'd better act fast, though; you know the best stuff will go fast.