12.10.2006

Give the Gift of Design

Angelina Jolie took Brad Pitt to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, one of America’s architectural masterpieces, giving him the perfect gift for his birthday this December.


Pitt had wanted to experience the space in this unique home over the waterfall ever since he took an architectural history course in college. As an undergrad architecture student at University of Santo Tomas in 1995, I also marveled at the architecture of one of America’s greatest architects of the 20th Century, Frank Lloyd Wright. Fast-forward five years later, I graduated from his school called Taliesin with a Master of Architecture degree as the first one from the Philippines.

Architecture allows people to experience the design of spaces both inside and outside. It is this celebration of space that made even Brad Pitt fall for the Fallingwater when he experienced the building in person and heard the cascading waters inside this house, making it beyond anything that he could have imagined. Architects design for the built and natural environment. This is a huge responsibility as it involves both humans and nature. That being said, we have great influence in changing the world.

I recently caught up with a fellow “designer” who “wants to change the world” and had a candid conversation about this manifesto. The perpetual innovator Karim Rashid and star of reality-TV show “Made in USA” has designed for an impressive array of clients from Alessi to Georg Jensen, Umbra to Prada, Miyake to Method (the everyday stuff you see at all Target Stores in the USA) putting 2,000 objects into production. This Egyptian New York designer is radically changing the aesthetics of product design and the very nature of the consumer culture.

LL: This area (Tempe, AZ) is somewhat of a “Frank Lloyd Wright territory”. Are you familiar with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright or the master himself?

KR: You know I was brought up with so much “reading” and “learning” about Frank Lloyd Wright. I think he was a fascinating man, really. Eccentric, he did such powerful work. I had a huge retrospective at the Price Tower. And I designed an object---it’s called the Blobjectory. It’s a 25-feet long sculpture that’s there at the museum, you should see it. Go to my website: www.karimrashid.com

If Frank Lloyd Wright is Organic, Karim sees the future of architecture in “Technorganic” terms. His Blobjectory site-specific installation at the Price Tower Arts Center Museum is a “marriage of organic and pure geometry of technology and materials. Soft, friendly organic forms communicate tactility and express a strong visual comfort and pleasure.”

Karim Rashid recently gave a lecture for Collins College at The Harkins Valley Art Theatre on Mill, describing Mill Avenue as “the most romantic street I have ever seen. I think I’m going to fall in love here”.

His art blurs the boundaries between design, architecture, and sculpture. “I thought it was fantastic and some of the things that he described in terms of his process---it reveals so much overlap with the art world. This mutual process has very good artistry too…really inspiring, it gets to the bones of your spirit” divulges senior curator Marilu Knode of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona. His book “I Want to Change the World” reveals a revolution of the visual standards of minimalist design with his fresh, colorful, sinuous, and sensual objects. This is a refreshing change to the seemingly mundane objects we use everyday as inhabitants of this world.

LL: Have you gotten the chance to visit Taliesin West? (Taliesin West is the winter home studio of Frank Lloyd Wright set in the Sonoran Deserts of Arizona.)

KR: No, net yet. One day…

LL: I may have to take you there then…

(Both Laugh)

So taking cue from Angelina Jolie’s gift-giving prowess, as an architect, I will be thinking of ways to give the gift of design that may impact a change in the world to make a person’s life better. This holiday season, have you thought of gifts that will make a change in your loved one’s life?

2 comments:

mark alvin banas said...

for a moment there, i thought you were having a conversation with the cerebral, hani rashid =)

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