Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the Boards: BLOCK 90

Fig Studio has been blessed with a full-load of great projects to kick off 2012.  I decided it would be fun to do an "on the boards" series highlighting the beginning phases of each project and let you know what we're up to here in our corner of the world.  We anticipate growth and many changes this year so look out for news here and on our portfolio site.

I'm kicking off the series with our Block 90 condo project.  Fig's clients and their two adorable Dachshunds are fairly recent transplants from Kansas and found their way to the bustling Pearl District about a year ago.  Their unit was formerly on show for the 2009 Street of Dreams showcase (the first and only year the show went urban) and is situated at the Penthouse level of the Block 90 development.  The building's architects, Vallaster Corl, emphasized the connection between indoor and outdoor space, access to large terraces, and preserving the urban view.  Once an industrial warehouse, Block 90 now wears a mixed-use hat with residential space, the Aveda Institute, restaurant space, retail and office space all under one roof.

For my part, I am helping my clients make connections to the surrounding architecture, create functional layouts, specify long-term furnishings solutions, and design custom millwork and cabinetry.  I always say the most sustainable decisions are the ones you only make once--  committing to a dining table that will gracefully outlive all of us is more green than just looking for the type of finish applied to the wood.  We are starting with a blank slate, with just the floorplan and a growing art collection to guide us.  The design is leaning toward a spare plan with contemporary lines.  A few injections of artistic accent in the lighting and custom upholstery design give the space balance.  We are lucky to be working such great Portland vendors for this project-  Hive, Inform Interiors, and Kai Fuhrmann to name a few.  You can follow our concepts for the project over on our Block 90 board at Pinterest.

Block 90 is slated for completion late Summer 2012.  Italian leather sofas bow to no one. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Through a Lens and Milano

Travel photography is like a baby cheetah.  At first the collection is so cute and cuddly you can never imagine it would do you harm, and then the animal grows (and grows) so quickly it become dangerously close to disaster.   I often find that I take so many photographs so quickly that I never really have a chance to go back and weed out my favorites and discard the blurred, cutoff, or unflattering images from my trips.  When I travel, I often capture moments I'll never experience again, moments so fleeting that it's tough to hit "delete" even on what would be categorized as a poor photograph. 

A while back, an opportunity came along to enter an architectural photography competition.  Knowing that the majority of my travel photos end up focusing on architectural subjects, I decided to go back in my archives to search for a few potential candidates.  It allowed me to actually spend a little time processing each photo to it's greatest potential.  To my surprise, I learned today that one of my images was selected as an honorable mention, alongside a group of talented professional architectural photographers.  "What a feat!"  I thought, and now the world will know I used a dinky Cannon Elph to capture this image.  Take that expensive camera on my wishlist for the past three years!  It's not the paint, it's the artist, etc., etc....

Athens Olympic Village photo by Jenny Guggenheim
While the above photo was recognized by the jury, the photo below still wins my heart.  I'm sure that has nothing to do with the Cinque Terre's special white wine or pesto.  I may retire here.

Manarola, Cinque Terre photo by Jenny Guggenheim

 With that said, this is the perfect opportunity to officially announce to my readers that Fig Studio is traveling to the Salone Del Mobile 2012 (AKA, the Milan Furniture fair) this April to experience what can be labeled as Ground Zero for contemporary design.  Each year, the fair showcases the best (and sometimes worst) in the world of interiors.  My job is to look, listen, and document with scrutiny.  I'll bring back an enormous wealth of information to share with my clients and integrate into my work the rest of the year.  I had the pleasure of attending both Dwell on Design and IDS West in 2011-- what a great way to recharge my design batteries and amass inspiration for my clients.

Beyond Milan, my husband and I have plans to extend the trip to both Marrakech and Barcelona, two places I've been lusting after for years.  I can't wait to wind through the Medina and witness Gaudi first hand.  I'm pinning my travel to-do list like crazy over on Pinterest.  See you there?