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BLA - the exciting sequel!

Posted by bonsai_audge Ottawa, ONT (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 17:08

Semester 2 is slowly sliding into full gear, and as such, a new highly exciting barrage of projects is manifesting itself in the studio. Time consuming, yes, but (as mentioned), highly exciting!

The design studio's first project is oriented towards model-building with, of course, some design. We are given the size, shape, and orientation of the Pit in the LA building as an outer "shell" and have to design the inside as it were our own apartment. There is also a 6-m outdoor extension off one side which needs to be designed/built as well. I think that the main challenge is making sure everything in the model is to scale (1:25), as well as proper pacing to make sure that everything is done consistantly well. Essentially, everything must be made (using non-prepared model-sized objects, such as dollhouse accessories or model railroad trees, etc) from beds, shrubs, tables, chairs, sofas, bookcases. This includes the kitchen sink!

My current thoughts for my space: very sleek, contemporary, clean, and bright! There's one wall of south-facing floor-to-ceiling windows (which are the only windows), so trying to keep the space open enough to allow natural light to reach all corners of the space has been a challenge! I'm still working on a layout and, as the [interior] space is just barely under 895 square feet, fitting everything in just right is a challenge.

-Audric


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Audric,
Just want you to know that I am enjoying reliving my educational days through your postings. A quick tip...my copy of Feb. '07 "Architectural Digest" arrived yesterday. The issue is devoted to rehab "before and after" articles, much of it modern use of small space. You should find it of interest. Be certain to note the bamboo plant on page 149. Looks like that technique is going to be my growing challenge this year.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 11, 07 at 11:23

What a plum assignment to start the new semester. A bachelor pad!
Can you post the layout when you've drafted your plan? We'd love to see it.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Nandina, thanks for the tip! I'm heading out to the mall to purchase supplies (my main goal is fabric for the sofas/dining chairs), so I'll check out the Chapters there to see if they have them in already.

Cady, you asked for it, so here it is! Since I don't have a scanner, and the actual to-scale drawing (1:25) is too large, all I have to offer is a [poor photograph of a] rougher sketch (at 1:50) of the finalized plan.

You could probably pick out some notes that are written on it (i.e. the dimensions, given in both metres and feet/inches), but for the most part, the design is pretty straightforward. I.e. nothing is as modern or as edgey as I originally intended, but I do suppose that such a space wouldn't suit me as much. It's going to amazing to see everyone's models and to see what has taken priority in their living spaces.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 11, 07 at 17:13

Thanks, Audric.
Don't be hard on yourself about the "modern" and "edgy." It's hard to convey that in a simple overhead sketch. You can still play with layouts that go against convention, too.

For example, in the bedroom, why settle for an ordinary full/queen-size bed plopped flush against mid-wall? How about a rope/chain-suspended bed from the ceiling, at a diagonal angle (in one of the corners...like the way you have the chair placed)? Or a hammock on self-supporting base?

Or 3-dimenional floor screens (I envision fibreglass pyramid or sail-shaped one in a fluorescent color) to break up the space in the dining room?

Placement and materials are key. Instead of conventional furnishings, think about "outside the box" stuff that appeals to you! You don't have to have a lot... a few substantial pieces give you that "edgy" look, but also adhere to the minimalism of modernism.

You have a basic plan. Now you can play with it! And when you build the model, you'll actually be able to shape the forms you see in your mind's eye.

Just some musings. :)


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 11:18

Audric,
Even if you are conservative in style preferences, part of the fun and challenge of a design lab is discovering ways to use space more efficiently and effectively, as well as finding unique solutions to old problems, such as storage.

This is true both in interior design and landscape design.

One thing I find very helpful, is to get inspiration from without. Instead of struggling with only what is currently in my head, I go to the nearest bookstore (one with a large magazine section) and peruse every design mag I can lay hands on. You don't have to buy 'em all (I usually read a half dozen, then buy one out of guilt... or if it has something reaaaallly good I want to bring away).

Another useful resource is the Web, with the plethora of private, practicing architects and interior designers who have their own websites, usually with ample portfolios. Looking at their creations for ideas and inspiration is not piracy *ahem* it's...getting inspiration to fuel your own tweaks and directions. When I'm in a slump, nothing brings me back to speed as quickly as leafing through pages of mouth-watering garden designs and positing how I could adapt similar concepts to work in my own situation.

I'd say that for interior design/architecture, you might find it helpful too. Try www.asid.org -- the American Society of Interior Designers. I didn't find a Canadian organization of same, but there may well be one. I'm also attaching a link to a private architectural firm, specifically to a page in their portfolio that has a series of photos for residence interiors they designed.

Shop around and you'll find lots of places to inspire you.

And if that doesn't help, you can always go with color. That nice, conventional sofa of yours might push the envelope of "modern" if you paint it candy apple red or flamin' cherry. :)

Have fun. I love courses like this. Actually, I'm taking floral design now, going into the second semester, and having a ball playing with color, texture, rhythm, etc.... all of the principles and characteristics of garden design, except on a very small scale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interior Architecture Pictures


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

This looks like the apartment of someone who entertains a lot. With enough space for a snooker table and a 35 inch plasma TV and a 'fridge big enough for your brewski's why did you choose such a conventional layout?


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 17:04

Now Tony, don't go dangling the accoutrements of vice before our earnest young architect! For shame! Instead of snooker and brewskis, let's discuss a bay for his collection of video games and vintage pinball machines. :)

Audric, am I imagining things, or did your post with the photo of your sofa model vanish? I see two of my posts butted together, and originally your post was between them.


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I never saw that sofa Cady. I am just reliving by proxy and I wonder what could be done with that space that would reflect an adventurous lifestyle rather than what looks to me like a clich. In the landscape world we are assailed by the need for outdoor rooms which is a borrowed concept so when we move indoors couldn't we bring some of our stuff in? What about a circle of astroturf in a space with no walls and a bed in the soft grass and a non en suite toilet? Is this too radical?


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 18:55

I agree that Audric, with his eye on landscape architecture, might turn the tables on those now-cliche outside rooms, and bring some of the outdoors into his apartment.

Of course, being a busy bachelor-student, he won't have time to care for live plants, so the Astroturf is a suitable touch. A sculpture in the form of a clump of brushed-steel bamboo in a sleek matte-black tubular floor vase, positioned off-center or in a corner, would provide another hint of garden.

Maybe my earlier suggestion of a rope-suspended bed or a hammock on its own self-standing base would fit well with this, paired with the Astroturf. I'd also install recessed lighting that can be controlled by a rheostat to provide a "moonlight" and a "sunlight" mode.

I like your suggestion of an en suite toilet. A water closet would fit behind pocket doors, maybe, sleekly recessed into an alcove. The washbasin could stand just outside that, sleek and made with the same brushed-steel finish as the bamboo sculpture.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Cady, you did see a sofa. Immediately after I posted it, the past six months of threads (including this) mysteriously disappeared. I attempted to post a "What the?" thread with the title "Dj Vu?", except they wouldn't accept that spelling. Going on a hunch, I tried out a variety of words and non-words in the title bar, and it seems that they were trying out some type of integrated spell-check (at least for the subject; in the body it didn't seem to matter). However, the threads did come back, but minus my sofa-post. For those who missed it, here it is:

BTW, Cady, I enjoy your musings so don't stop! I also checked out the AD and found the bamboo - does that qualify as a sculpture? It seems to be a modern equivalent of those old wicker manequins used by tailors, at least that was what first came to mind.

And Tony, there certainly is a lot which could be done in this space. And I'm fully aware that my design is oriented towards the safe, common, and (as proposed) clich layout. However, the design is supposed to be reflective of our personal needs, interests, and preferences. And personally, I find that I would probably function better in a very "traditional" (What does that mean?) living area. Although when designing a space for another person, I wouldn't hesitate onw awxons to include a bed on an automated track, indoor stainless steel water feature/sculpture, rope lighting, walk-in humidor, 360 arrangement of plasma-screen TVs, and possibly mirrored walls, if they wanted it. Personally, I wouldn't, so that's why you don't see those things there. Again, I prefer sleeping in smaller rooms (as opposed to larger, open spaces), so that warranted the inclusion of a "conventional" bedroom. Same goes for the bathroom, etc. When I planned out the space, the layouts, and what it included, I envisioned having to live in it for an undetermined amount of time with little budget for any future changes as I grow up (which is probably going to be the financial situation in real life when I do first move out!).

Even initially as I, along with a couple other fellow students, drew out my "wishlist" for the space in the studio, it became obvious that perhaps my personal taste and lifestyle may not be as rambunctious and action-packed as others. I'm not sure if it's my general preference or if it springs from insecurity and poor confidence, but I'm pretty sure that it's more of the former than the latter ; ). I like to get my kicks elsewhere, much prefering to spend a Saturday night sleeping or reading rather than either attending or hosting a kegger.

However - despite what I just said - the thoughts expressed in this thread has gotten me thinking (even more so than I am, as I should be/am doing it constantly) about my current layout, and how [perhaps] I might adopt to a more radical living space. Remember that the plan so far is simply that, and there's little that actually has been constructed (apart from a sofa and three armseats, but those are small in comparison), meaning that there's plenty of room for change.

Speaking of which, the yard itself has yet to be designed. Why did I put it after the interior? Maybe a completely different apartment layout might have been generated if I designed the yard as I saw fit, then extended that design inside. Who knows? However, my plans are for a pared-down garden influenced by/resembling a Japanese courtyard garden. I may rebel against the current trend which has gripped the studio, which would be to include a hot tub, but personally, I can't resist having one of those. Or maybe an Endless Pool for some exercise. But whatever goes in, I'm definitely going to include a couple of chaises lounge so I can soak up the sun on balmy days. Maybe a built-in barbeque. Or an outdoor fireplace. And maybe a[nother] dining area. Or an outdoor theatre which projector? That may work...

-Audric


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Fast typer, Cady!

Woops! Cady, while typing up my post, you slipped one in so I didn't get to respond to it in the above post. You're close in the fact that I wouldn't have time to care for indoor plants - I'm just not a huge fan of them. Of course, I haven't had EVERY type of "indoor" plant yet, so I could be swayed in the future. I'm actually quite partial to orchids. Hm....

However, I will definitely provide some "naturalistic" elements within the space, as well as some modern pieces. Perhaps some will do double-duty as both, but that's to determined much later. The thing that I like about having a conservative design is that it can be the backdrop for modern pieces (accents, focal points, call them what you will). Now, you may make the argument that if this is the case, why not make everything in the apartment an art-piece (or the apartment as a whole and art-piece), and it's well-founded. It's a definite possibility, except that the idea of having to make everything (in less than two weeks, no doubt) clouds the initial excitement. Another student remarked on this, saying that people are coming up with simply astonishing, radical, and creative ideas, but they have no clue as to how they're going to make it happen.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 20:12

Audric,

When I was a university student (natural resources and urban horticulture), a lot of my free time was spent reading, sleeping, and wandering in the woods and fields that surrounded the rural campus. I wasn't the kegger type, either. I did row on the women's crew for a while, but that made me too tired. I switched to being a DJ on the campus radio station and a cartoonist for the school paper! You're right: you have to design your living setup to accommodate the most important things in your preferred life routine. If reading and sleeping are key, then maybe your apartment layout should reflect those functions. Where's your study/reading/relaxing area going to be, and how will it be furnished and arranged to provide the best ergonomic access and function?

Aesthetics: Using natural materials (such as a small boulder with interesting markings, or perhaps big piece of gorgeous driftwood, placed as a sculpture) or sculptural forms that immitate natural things, such as the steel bamboo, bring nature indoors without giving you the responsibility of taking care of plants. They also fit into both a modern and a traditional design.

If you like smaller areas for sleeping, free-standing floor screens of any material (again, I like the modern transluscent fibreglass, but you could use natural materials, opaque or transluscent) can make a cozy "small" space out of a large room by sequestering off just the area you need for the task. Or, think of the traditional Japanese home with its sliding shoji or wooden doors that can make a room bigger or smaller with the sweep of a hand. You could also build a low platform for tatami, which would raise your sleeping area off the floor and define it (I did something similar in my own bedroom, running tatami along two walls and placing my low platform bed flush with them.

Your sketch doesn't show the outside area, but you might want to carry the "look" and style of the outdoors and indoors into each other. So, if the building's architecture and your inside area are modern, the outside should reflect that, too. Maybe use pea gravel, tinted concrete or smooth granite slab as the base, with the perimeter defined with more brushed steel... this time as large planters in which you can put live bamboo or other architectural plants that do not require much maintenance, but which create interest and privacy. Furnish with streamlined outdoor table and chairs if you want a place to sit outdoors.

Or you could try a tsuboniwa with just pea pebbles and arranged boulders, and a single stone lantern in a modern design.

Hm. Now I want to go rearrange my furniture... :)


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Cady, I really appreciate the effort that you're putting into this discussion! I hope I can adequately respond!

I definitely like the idea of natural materials providing accents, especially as rougher textures contrasted against the streamlined design of the furniture.

As for the screens, I had an idea of creating a sandblasted glass box to enclose the bedroom. That way, light can still enter and pass through the room (as not to obstruct any other areas), and privacy is maintained. AND, it could for the central axis around which the rest of the space is arranged. It's a distinct possibility; I'll have to consider that and the opportunities afforded by its use.

As for the inside-outside connection, I'm definitely going to be continuing the tile/stone/marble floor outside, out the back double-doors. Since it's assumed that it's flush with the ground, the transition will be practically seamless.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 22:30

Circulation, integration of compatible activities, separation of conflicting activities, adequate space for such activities, using space effectively, flow, ...

There is a reason that this is not an outdoor space and that reason has little to do with the professors pent up vision of being an interior designer. It is most likely to take you away from the tendencies toward thinking like a gardener and exposing you to other ways of thinking without the baggage. The idea is to break you from thinking that decorating is what design is. It is very difficult to give up this instinct, but it is necessary to be able to think in a broader scope.


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Andrew, you definitely summed it all up. "We are not decorators, we are designers" is a favourite maxim of a prof we had previous semester. He always encouraged us to look past the ornamentation and to really look into shaping the space (as in, the physical emptiness created by everything inside the area).

Last night I played around with a few other ideas; some more successful than others. With different designs I've been able to meld two separate areas together so that they take up less space (thus freeing up some more space to allow some give/take with the placement of other features/walls). As I become more adventurous with the design, I'm less able to picture myself living in it. However, I still have plenty of time (relatively; the complete to-scale model is due in just 11 days. Eek!), I will still experiment with different living concepts and the corresponding arrangements. That is, after I get my first philosophy assignment out of the way... >.>

- Audric


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Audric,
I learned much when working with an architect designing semi-underground smallish, modern houses. A few thoughts to mull. Murphy bed which frees up floor space. Put all utilities, kitchen sink and cupboards, bath, closets in a central core. This leaves open space all around the inside except for bedroom privacy partions. But your creative mind will come up with a great plan. Making miniatures is one of my hobbies. Are you using one of the air hardening type clays? So easy to shape and paint.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Nandina, thanks for the tips! I did entertain the concept of placing the kitchen in the direct centre of the space and have the rest of the space revolve around it (the kitchen IS the centre of the home... at least in my book! : P). I tried a gallery-style kitchen, but that didn't turn out quite well. I may have to try something a little more compact, although I do have a predilection towards large kitchens. Another concept I experimented with was to make a sandblasted-glass-enclosed (in model-world it would have been made of vellum: inexpensive AND translucent!) bedroom in the centre (as you have suggested), placing necessary rooms/utilities (bath, washer/dryer) in the bottom-right-hand corner (where the sofa/armchairs currently are), creating a "corridor" around which the living spaces flowed directly into one another in a cyclic fashion. I had some issues with the appropriate spacing/flow, but I think that it's still a viable possibility if I just worked things out a bit more.

And I'm loving the model-making process. Although I guess that there's a point at which to draw the line - I bet I could spend months and months on just this apartment alone, when in reality all I have is 11 days and counting! Here's an update on recent progress in the model-making world:

The [current] living room arrangement, on top of what will most probably be the flooring material in the lower level (with the current plan; it may change!):

And an experiment in upholstery:

The fabric show IS the fabric to be used, chosen for a variety of reasons (mainly the supple-ness of the fabric, the non-fraying tendency, and the thinness), but the real colour is much different than the one shown. It's really quite a bit lighter and less intense. Howevever, brown is my favourite colour and it's going to be predominant throughout the apartment: the tile (shown), "hardwood" flooring, richly-stained kitchen cabinets, beige upholstery (shown), and dark wooden furniture. White will be used throughout the space so the brown doesn't become too overpowering (through rugs, "pillows", table cloth/accessories, light fixtures, sculpture, etc). I'm going to be using Sculpey (or some other air-hardening modelling clay) for difficult elements, such as the toilet, the vessel sink in the bathroom, bases for the floor lamps, and (if I have time) plates for the dining table.

I decided quite early on that something that I very much wanted to include was a display area for a few select bonsai in the yard (and in the current plan, there's a display alcove facing the front door). Except that... how do you make a miniature of a miniature?

-Audric


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Audric,
Bonsai is easy. Sculpey can be used to make bonsai pots. You are working with styrofoam already. Copy the type of bonsai that is grown on flatish large pieces of rock. Break off a piece of stryofoam and pick at it until it resembles a rough rock. Now, paint the rock using black/grey/brown acrylic craft paints that you have thinned down with a few drops of water to reduce the color intensity a bit. Coffee grounds adhered with a bit of Elmer's glue simulates soil. Then it is outside to collect suitable twigs to be shaped into bonsai tree forms. Perhaps a yew branch with the needles clipped down and reduced. Boxwood might be another choice. If there is a florist nearby checked out its throwaway trimmings of dried materials for possible bonsai type sprigs. This is where I have found the most interesting materials for a minature bonsai greenhouse project. Also, if you are snowless at the moment you may be able to find small flat rock and moss to use as bonsai bases. A blob of Gorilla glue covered with coffee grounds will allow you to perch your little bonsai subjects at interesting angles. Warning...making minatures does become additive. In one corner of my living room stands a floor to ceiling large apple tree trunk that had been hollowed out by carpenter ants with one side completely open. I added floors and lighting to the log and created a 'mouse house'. Through the years I have made funiture for it, plus making and adding a tool shed, greenhouse and outhouse to the display plus landscaping, of course. The little mouse family (not alive) lives there happily. No, I will not post pictures. It has been a fun project over the years that allows me to design and create.


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Those are some interesting thoughts for the bonsai, especially those for the textures (the coffee grounds! Neat idea). I'm not sure if the "foliage" may end up being too coarsely-textured (the largest bonsai will probably be around (at most) 1" tall, thus 25" in the real world), but I may go with something that's obviously not "leafy" and doesn't try to be "leafy:" perhaps something like a green fuzz of sorts (maybe from a piece of felt?). I may use pieces of moss to act as clipped evergreen shrubs, although I may have difficulty finding some.

And I do have to say that I'm tempted to go all-out on this model with the details, but I've been able to restrain myself somewhat. I'm enjoying making the "soft" furniture (the dining room chairs are done now), but I still have to obtain the wood for the cabinets, tables, bathroom sink/vanity, etc. And there's also a myriad of individual items and equipment that I have to buy: a glue gun and sticks, pliers, metallic duct tape, sandpaper, brushes, etc. It's slightly annoying that I have most of these things at home but not at university, but I guess that I'll probably need some if not many of the things I'm buying now in the future. I went downtown to check out what random materials the art store had which I could possibly use, but it was not until after I arrived that I remembered that they don't open on Sundays (and that today was a Sunday. I thought it was Saturday).

-Audric


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Audric: I would encourage you to be true to your self. We jaded oldies have gained as much from your enthusiasm as perhaps you have learned from us. This latest post of yours tells me so much about your attention to detail which is a big plus in my book. I was at a shop in Montreal yesterday where they sell props for that dungeons and dragons game and they had some perfect model trees and this is relevant because....


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Nice thinking there, Tony. Unfortunately, the profs beat us to it (most probably because they've been doing this for years) by stating we cannot use any pre-prepared items such as trees for railroad sets. However, it doesn't mean that we can't "borrow" ideas from them... I'm definitely going to go the wire route when making the [one] tree in my yard which is going to be a wonderfully (hopefully!) trained pine tree reaching over a small tsukubai which, couple with a small bamboo spout (probably going to be a bamboo BBQ skewer), will be the origin of water for a short stream into a small pond. Why a pond? I'm thinking of using a "traditional" Japanese-type setting as a rustic counterpoint to the modern hot-tub with a negative/infinity edge: two bodies of [moving] water but two vastly different perspectives. The fact that everything is laid out in equally-sized quadrants emphasizes the interchangeability (I'm not sure if that's a real word) of their contents. I'll post the design, now that I figured out a way to get past a little annoying glitch in which original .jpg files created on Corel PhotoPaint weren't being recognized my Photobucket:

The layout is quite simple and actually quite rigid, reinforcing the view of each individual section as that: an individual section. And yet the proximity to one another will invariably force them to be viewed within the context of one another. It's an interesting contrast which I think will play out well in this small space. As I mentioned before, I have some contrasts going on between the rustic/geometric water features and the two areas of "relaxation:" one being the somewhat-austere bonsai display and dry raked garden, the other being the much more posh and gracious (call it what you will) relaxation area containing two chaises lounge (design inspired by Giati, or at least the dimensions were), possibly an armchair, and a table (or two) for whatever beverage I'm feeling like at the moment. Currently it's hot chocolate, and I have a 1/2 price coupon for the Cafe downstairs, so I may be helping myself soon.

Again, the contrasts are heightened by alternating the quadrants in which the "elements" (is this a pattern?) are placed. Originally, the hot tub was going to be directly across for the chaises lounge and the Japanese-esque garden across from the bonsai display, but then I discovered that each respective half became too monotonous. Additionally, the Japanese garden would have been too cluttered a background for viewing my bonsai from my bedroom, so I opted to have the cascading sheet of water from the negative/infinity edge of the hottub as a sleeker background so that the bonsai could stand out. And this placed the Japanese garden in direct view of the dining room and studio, places which I'd be using a little more often than the bedroom.

By the way, (I'm pretty sure you would have figured it out) the Japanese garden isn't drawn in. All you see right now is the general placing of the lone pine tree, as the layout of the Japanese garden (within the layout of the yard as a whole!) is still in flux. I'm not sure how much open water I want, if there is to be a stream, the position of the tsukubai, etc.

Anyways, those are my current plans. And since the model is due in less than 10 days, I'll probably be sticking with my conservative (and thus very "me," and the accessories placed within CAN make a huge impact as to the statement the space makes so I do have some leeway) plan. Tomorrow in studio the profs are going to give us some building tips, and then I'm moving into high gear.

-Audric


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  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 15, 07 at 12:16

I echo Tony on the points for attention to detail. Any designer must be able to see both the big picture and the minutiae.

Another source of props inspiration: model-railroad supply shops (some are online). They have the bonsai-sized trees and shrubs, and mastery of the craft of modeling landscape-scale plants from lichen and bottle brush.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Just a quick update:

After spending almost 2 hours in the art store downtown, I feel that I have most of the supplies I'll be needing. I'll probably be heading to Home Depot tomorrow to pick up some more stuff, but other than that, I'm pretty set.

I began tracing out my plan onto my base, but to my dismay, the foamboard is warped somewhat. I opted to split a much thicker piece of (non-warped) foamboard with a fellow student. I figured that if my base is warped, I'd have an unending torrent of issues with wall alignment and the floors, etc. I decided to play it safe.

I have wall "blanks" cut out; they're the right height but of all the same length. Once I get my base plan onto my good base, I'll start deciding how the walls will intersect with one another to determine how long each piece will be (and thus the placement of the windows/doors, etc). I have the raised portion of my apartment floored already, using wide but very thin pieces of balsa. I experimented with the floor colour on a narrow strip, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

Once the walls are cut to size (with all the features), then I'll be painting them and then assembling it all. The paint name is "Almond" for those of you wondering. Once the walls are up, then built-in-fixtures (such as the bench near the entrance, the kitchen cabinets, etc) will be put into place, as well as the floors. This schedule is subject to change, as I may find that it would be more convenient to place on task ahead of another.

Anyways, I'm currently exhausted and can't think very coherently (hence the rambling post). I've had issues sleeping these past few nights, and I'm not sure if any respite is in store. Anyways, signing off.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Does that hot tub have an infinity edge? Why the catch basin? An infinity edged hot tub-yummmmmy!


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Yes, it does! I think I used the term "negative edge" in the drawing... but I think they refer to the same thing. I'll probably be using Saran wrap to simulate the water (the movement and also the sheet falling over the edge). I just came back from dinner coming from the studio, and am probably going to be going back soon. These models are unbelievably time-consuming, especially the measuring aspect. Anyways, I'll be sure to update and will probably post some pics from studio.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 16, 07 at 20:57

If you cut a piece of black cardboard and inset it in the negative-edge hot tub right at the rim, with the Saran Wrap stretched over it, you'll get the effect of water without revealing the depth or insides of the tub. If the mat/card board available isn't dark enough, brush on India ink.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Green scouring pads make for great cheap foliage on model trees. Easy to cut and manipulate--Chore Boy is one brand.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Thank you for the suggestions! I still have quite a bit of shopping to do for the project (and will probably go out tomorrow or on the weekend). I've been quite busy at the studio recently (spending about 10-12 hours a day working away), so some progress has been made since I've last updated.

The most significant accomplishment is the kitchen. Pictures are better than words, so here is one:

The kitchen is practically done, except for the stove top. The kitchen, living room, and bathroom have all been "tiled" (with peel-and-stick tiles cut into unimaginably small pieces, then peeled-then-stuck) and "grouted" (with some drywall compound). The dining room has been floored and stained, as has the small hallway which leads to the bathroom. All the interior walls have been painted and a few erected. The bathroom has a frosted-glass shower (vellum with aluminum duct tape "trim") and a vanity/sink (minus the sink). The toilet and sink, to be made out of oven-hardening modelling clay, will be made and baked by Saturday. I've run out of mini-tiles for the studio floor, so I have to go and buy some more from Dollarama and cut them. Some wooden furniture pieces only await painting/staining (to the same dark mahogany finish that you see the floors/cabintes in) while others still need to be constructed. I need to get rugs for the living/dining/bed room. The sofas/armchairs/bed/dining chairs all have feet or legs to be cut, stained, and then glued, not to mention the upholstering (which may not happen). Some exterior walls need to be cut and others painted, while the entire back "window-wall" needs to be constructed out of balsa pieces and then either stained the rich mahogany, or trimmed in metal. Finally, artwork/accessories need to be made to adorn the rather bare walls. And that is for the interior only.

The exterior: Foamcore bases need to be constructed for the hot tub, steps, and raised stone deck. Peel-and-stick vinyl tile has to be cut to the right sizes (probably 3x3-foot squares, set into a running bond) and then applied to the surfaces. The bonsai garden's: pillars need to be made and then painted; base to be set in drywall compound (think dry raked garden); moss needs to be set and painted; potential bamboo screen to be constructed; bonsai need to be crafted. The Japanese garden's: tree's trunk/branches need to be made of wire, covered in glue gun for bark texture, painted, and then foliage (crumpled florist's foam) applied and then further painted/textured; moss/shrubs need to be made/set in place; gravel set on the base; tsukubai/rocks made (probably out of drywall compound); water applied (saran wrap?). The outdoor furnishing also have to be made.

Phew. That's quite a to-do list. I better get cracking! But tonight is my night off to relax. (Friday/Saturday nights are not as ideal as other people are partying so the noise levels are obscene, so I plan to spend that time in studio).

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Update: The model is done! Hurray! Last night in the studio was madness (quite a few people pulled all-nighters), but all I had to do were a few finishing touches. I'll post a few pictures, and if there are requests for more, I'll start a new thread with a warning (so that people with slower connections won't be bogged down).

The overall view, which shows the plan as being quite unchanged from the beginning. There were some minor furniture adjustments, but not much. Just getting everything built was a challenge in itself! The pliers give a hint of the scale.

The living room, which a large flat-screen wall-mounted TV. The sofa is the same as posted earlier, with matching armchairs. Upholstering the foamcore was suprisingly quick and easy (in comparison to other tasks), and I do like the effect.

Dining room and kitchen. The chair legs were a pain, as originally they were to be out of bamboo BBQ skewers with the pointy ends forming a nice tapered leg, but whenever I cut them, the ends split taking off the paint. They are now just very thing balsa wood pieces.

The view from the dining table to the garden area. The work/studio area is just beyond the dining table.

The yard.

Detail of the tsukubai, which turned out quite well.

The bonsai display. The pillars and the rocks (in the garden) are all made of aluminium foil, crumpled into shape, coated with drywall compound, then painted. The tsukubai is made the same way. The bonsai themselves and the pine tree are all made the same way: a wire base forming all the branches, twisted and wrapped together, covered with glue gun to fill the gaps and give it a bark-like texture, painted, and then foliage (green scouring pads, which worked phenomenonally well. Thanks for the tip!) glue-gunned on.

Finally, view from the hottub, towards the bonsai display, and into the house.

Hope that you enjoyed the pics! If there's anything that you would like to see more of, or have any questions, just ask! And await the next installment: BLA - the exciting sequel: Part 2.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 24, 07 at 17:07

Looking gooooood!
The tsuboniwa/patio area is fab, too. And you really aced the "bonsai"!

I'm ready to shrink down and move in. Wouldn't it be great if contractors could build a real-life space like that in the same span of time? lol


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Cady, thank you for the compliment! The bonsai were super fun to make; the process was very intuitive and hands-on as opposed to the majority of the interior construction (all of which had to be measured to the precise dimensions, making sure that the cuts are straight and square, etc. etc.). I may even make a few "life-sized" "bonsai" for fun/my room.

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 27, 07 at 16:22

You might be able to sell the concept of that "synthetic bonsai" to people who have killed too many real-life ones (myself included). :)

Looking over your design again, the only thing I can see that I'd critique is the area around the kitchen stove. I think the first thing I'd do if I moved into a place like that, is nail spice racks, utensil hangers, pothooks and trivet hooks on those formidable "walls" that the cabinets (flanking the stove) make! They make the cooking area feel a little claustrophobic, and the little bit of counterspace on the sides of the stove don't really let you put much there (I like to keep my ingrediants right at hand where I can grab a handful of this and that).

But that's my only gripe, and a minor one anyway. The overall design seems quite liveable, especially for a bachelor (who may send out for a lot of pizza, and use the stove only for boiling water for tea or instant ramen!). Nice work.


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Cady, your gripe is well justified! I found that the stove was a problem area - I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do. The tall cabinet on the left of the stove is the fridge/freezer, and I wasn't too sure if I wanted to lose the symmetry given by an identical cabinet on the other side. And I'm not too sure about how often I would cook, too! It would probably mean a lot of chili/pasta in the oven. : P

And for the next project? (Yes, it's true, the work never ends!) It's geared towards urban renewal: we have to pick one of three given abandoned sites (in Downtown Guelph) and create a new future for it. That includes actually visiting the site, creating an inventory/analysis, and then an appropriate programme, 3 conceptual drawings each entertaining completely different approaches (to the same program), and then finally a final design with at least one perspective and as many supporting drawings as needed.

As usual, I'm very excited about this project although slightly less energetic. The model building, in addition to several other smaller projects, have really worn me out for the time being. I'll try to fit in more naps in my day ; )

-Audric


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 30, 07 at 6:41

I was kind of expecting this thread to include not only pictures of the product of your work, but the commentary of the critiques of the professors and what they expected of it.

How did they think this was successful or unsuccessful? Were the critiques geared to whether your chairs looked like real chairs or how they were placed in the room? Did they like your over all layout of uses and circulation, or was this all strictly about making replicas? Were they concerned about the lack of spice racks and utensils?

So, in the end, did the professors make this about design or decoration? "I gots to know" (quote from a bad guy in Dirty Harry).


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RE: BLA - the exciting sequel!

Interesting comment, Andrew. Actually, a student brought up the issue of comments on the marking sheet - some had some and others had none. According to the prof, the TAs began marking by writing notes on everything but eventually abandoned that in order to save time. (They had fears that they would not be able to finish marking in time). I ended up with two very short comments, one stating that the unity of the design of was very effective, and another stating that there was good flow. Other than that, there were no other comments.

The class after the models were submitted (and by then, they were marked), they asked for suggestions if this project were to be given again (to another batch of unsuspecting first-years). One comment was to specify whether or not this was more of a working model (i.e. to show spatial relationships, etc) or more of a model-for-the-sake-of-modelness model. The response was that the project not only was geared towards the design but also to the attention to detail given. (It was intended from the very beginning to be a model-building exercise). To give you a sense of what they were looking for, I'll post the marking scheme:

Model Craft (out of 12)

  • Technical quality of construction: /8
  • Appropriate scale
    /4

Design Expression (out of 8)

  • Unity of design /5
  • Functional relationship between uses /2
  • Design intent statement /1

As you can see, there was a great deal on the model-building aspect of the project which may or may not deal with your ability to "decorate" per se. The quality of construction, making up the largest single mark, included everything from the walls being square and meeting up nicely, to the cleanliness of the presentation (i.e. no paint marks on the outside, finishing of edges, etc), and (if included) the fabrication of more detailed objects. Thus, "attention to detail" could mean literally attention to detailed objects, or more broadly, attention to detailed aspects of the construction.

The unity of design, being the second largest, not only took into account the actual flow between spaces but also if there was an overall theme to the space (i.e. the implementation of our design intent) and if the space read well as a whole. This included thoughts about materials/colours/forms/arrangements, which could include both design and decorative decisions. I suppose that you could create some unity throughout the space with repeated decorative elements, but it would be much easier to just design spaces that worked well together.

I'm not sure if I answered your question, actually. Personally, I intended to keep my design simple as to not require excessive decorative elements. That way, I could focus on making "the essentials" very well rather than having to worry about making table settings which coordinated with the bedspread. The pros weren't looking for those types of details (i.e. spice racks and utensils), but they certainly were looking at the overall effect of the space.

(As a final note, I found the scale aspect of this project to be extremely beneficial. I usually think of distances/space in imperial, but it has introduced me to thinking in metric.)

-Audric


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