Urban Landscape Architecture

Roberto Burle Marx is Rio's Picasso of urban garden and landscape architecture.

His garden's are like abstract paintings using local flora as colour. His vision as an artist, and urban space designer not only introduced  modernist landscape architecture to Brazil but made him a sought after landscape architect around the world, he has worked on public spaces in Miami, Malaysia, Argentina, and Pennsylvania, to name a few, providing beauty and dignity for the masses. 

His colourful treatment of pavements, symmetrical use of patterns, local plants, and water, transform an otherwise concrete space into an open-air museum of movement and life. 

A beautiful legacy and inspiration left behind for future city planners and landscape architects alike. One can only hope that they keep moving forward in his creative spirit and preservation of nature in art and in life. -tM

Breaking with Tradition

 Photography: Unknown | Magazine, Nuvo

Photography: Unknown | Magazine, Nuvo

I have always been drawn to asymmetry. There is something very intelligent about being able to make asymmetric patterns work, whether it be in art, fashion, architecture, or design. 

Balance is always a factor, there must be precision in its execution or the irregular outline will look haphazard and mistakenly thrown together.

The wall at Osteria Savio Volpe in Vancouver is an inspiration for me to break away with the traditional hanging of art. I appreciate the off centre lighting, the scale of large panels to small portraiture, hung directly over the leading line sitting regally above its patrons.

The eye wanders in observation, why not let let it contemplate in curiosity. -tM

A Fine Balance

 Photography: Tadao Ando's Home

Photography: Tadao Ando's Home

When nature and architecture exist in perfect harmony, it allows for a spacial transformation of an organic kind. 

They don't ever have to marry, however architecture has to allow nature the space to flourish, as it must not overwhelm it nor possess it. Good architecture should let nature in. -tM

 

Corners

 Photography: tM

Photography: tM

I have always been meticulously drawn to corners, they carry with them a precision of convergence that the perfectionist in me desires.

In our urban landscape, they are often viewed as intersections and places of reorientation. In design as in life, they are points of contact that draw our attention not only to detail but to the importance of pause. -tM

Swimming Pool Culture

For those of us not fortunate enough to live by the ocean or a lake, pool culture, especially in the late 70's to early 90's, was our way of dipping into an entirely new movement. Life was cool by the pool, public or private, it was a place to lounge, show off our bodies, flirt, and if you were a kid, to be independent of worry, as there was no getting in trouble for the decibel level with which you chose to exert your freedom at.

It was a place of mental and social relaxation, a cultural smorgasbord, which translated into a space of liberty where you were at ease to talk to others from all walks of life.

Something happens when we gather around water, it's as if we know that life is bigger then us, our defence's seem to take a back seat as we begin to move to the rhythm and pulse of its spirit.

Life is better by the pool, it's sexier, it's easier, and at times even chicer. -tM 

Photography: Vogue, 1978; Unknown, 1960, 1978

Airport Lounge Design

Air travel reminds us of who we are. Lounges, terminals, these transitory spaces, are places where souls are examined, and where good design appeals to both our logic and emotion.

They are places of waiting, waiting for love, waiting to depart, for the next phase of life to begin, the weight of the waiting can be perceived as big, sometimes even to much to bare.

They are like therapists offices for those of us willing to engage in the introspective part of our travels. Life is always about landing and taking off, isn't it? -tM 

Photography: Unknown

 

Dream A Little Dream

The Il Sereno hotel in Lake Como, Italy was designed by Patricia Urquiola and opened in 2016.

The palatial estate, the the beauty of its design, both interior and exterior are what dreams are made of. Its inspiration rests on the infinite beauty of the landscape and is evocative of romance and sexy Italian summers. 

I am hopeful of one day returning to Lake Como, and when I do, I will make it a priority to sojourn here. If only for a night or two. -tM

Musée Bourdelle

I love museums that aren't contrived, the Musée Bourdelle in Paris is just that. The artists home and studio turned gallery and creative treasury is open to the public most days of the week except for Monday. 

A repository of beauty and truth, a place where time has been transformed into space. -tM

Civilizing Wastelands

Beautification projects by Thrashbird, whose art delves into current global issues, borders on the cautionary yet also hopeful, conveying that no place is beyond rescue. -tM

Photography: Thom Uecker | 'Valley of Secret Values' | Concrete Plant, Oregon

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The Power of Architecture: Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn is amazing at merging architectural modernism with ancient elements without losing the innovation of contemporary design.

His interest in symmetry draws the viewers eye to the centre of his design and beyond. He is a master at playing with light and shadow. The Salk Institute fountain above aligns with the sun at both the autumnal and vernal equinox. Khan's symmetry makes space for ancient world balance, and focus in our lives. It is a reminder that we are part of a larger existence. Perhaps that is why I am drawn to his work. 

He was a monumental architect, he looked to civilizations past for inspiration. After a trip to Rome he wrote, “I finally realize that the architecture of Italy will remain as the inspirational source of the works of the future…those who don’t see it that way ought to look again. Our stuff looks tiny compared to it.” There was always a clear reference in his work to the ancient buildings he admired.

When he died in 1974 he was one of the most celebrated architects in the United States, and to this day he has remained deeply influential on restoring beauty back into architecture. -tM

Photography: Unknown