Archive for January, 2011

Ink and coffee on paper.

One more post before the month is over. I still have a lot of sketches to share and  am working on finding time to do some more collages (wow, the previous sentence needs to have more conviction to it!). Lots of changes going on around the world…. I am just sitting and seeing it all turn.
Wanted to share some words I received today:

Events of these past weeks remind us that as designers, faculty, engineers, authors, landscape architects, students, and architects we build landscapes and cities that fuel revolutions. Of knowledge and of hope…..Act of civil disobedience in Tunis and in Cairo are fueled by the spark of indignity. And in their Main Squares, we are reminded that Cities are embodied energy too. Below are words on cities. There are many.
Come, let yourself fall with me into the lunar scar of our city, scratched by sewers, crystal city of vapor and mineral frost, city witness to all we forget, city of carnivorous cliffs, city of immobile pain, city of immense brevity, city of the motionless sun, city of the long burning, city of the slow fires, city up to its neck in water, city of playful lethargy, city of black nerves, city of three umbilical scars, city of yellow laughter, city of twisted stink, city between air and worms, city of ancient lights ,old city nested among birds of omen, new city next to sculpture dust, city reflection of gigantic heaven, city of dark varnish and stonework, city beneath glistening mud, city of guts and tendons, city of violated defeat, city of submissive markets, city reflecting fury city of anxious failure, city woven with amnesia….
Carlos Fuentes
See you in February!

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Santa Maria Delle Grazie with Bramante's apse. Milano. Pilot pen on paper. January 2011

 In the monastery adjacent this church, just a few minutes’ stroll from my house, one can find Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. The apse (widely attributed to Donato Bramante, and dated around 1490) is significant as it signals a crucial transition from the Late Gothic style of the nave to a splendid Northern Italian Renaissance in the apse, the choir and cupola.

.25 technical pen on cardstock. January 2011.

Photoshop manipulation of pen drawing. January 2011.


Day One: Look. (First Encounter)

Day Two: See. (Visual Analysis;walkaround…resist the urge to take photos. Training your eyes will not only lead to better sketches, better lessons learned from the Architecture itself, it will lead to–if you are so inclined–even better photography in the end. Notice, examine and mentally record -on the exterior- connections, details, rhythms, proportions, materials; on the interior: spaces, rituals, light, sequences, apertures, passages…)

Day Three: Sketch. (even quickly…by now you learned the lessons, you acquainted yourself with the building. You begin to understand.) Use the verb ‘to draw’ as in drawing water from a well, draw information (this last advice comes from Travelling the World with an Architect’s Eye)

Tips for cold-weather sketching: stop when your legs fall asleep. Wear half (I call them ‘homeless-style’) gloves to keep the hands free. Listen to warm music on your ipod. Bring a thermos or mug with hot, organic, unsweetened english breakfast tea.


for impromptu urban sketching, carry your pens with the very handy penholder by Muji (did I mention before that I love Muji?)

Sketchbook by hand book, penholder clip by muji.

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Where would you go with shoes as these?
What kind of life would you live?
And what dreams would you have and what words would you write.

Sometimes it happens, on a still winter night…
To chance upon lace, to be charmed by organza.

The heart stops captured by a promise…or an illusion.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are shoes made for daydreaming.

[Ballerinas by La Scarpa Artigiana di Spelta, Milano]

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Window of an interior designer studio, Milano.

While the first day of 2011 is coming to a close here in Milano, I think of what my mom always says: ‘What you do the first day of the year, you do all year’. I am happy to report I sketched today and fed my mind with architecture, art, and words. I also wanted to post my Milanese wishes to set the tone for this fabulous (I just know) 2011.

It was a week full of adventures here: walking in the city, enjoying aperitivi in cool lounge bars, ringing in the new year with family first and then in a club inside a deconsacrated church (can someone say adaptive reuse?). I saw two exhibits at the Palazzo Reale: Dali’ (thankyou Sara!) and, today Al-Fann l Islamic Art, the Al Sabah collection from Kuwait.

I sketched my favorite pieces, took notes (and even some clandestine photos), and have couple of ideas for near-future experiments.

For now, Happy New Year (I’m feeling good, are you?); may it be your best yet.

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