Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Imagine living in the bustling, densely populated inner city suburbs of a cosmopolitan city. Imagine living in a home that sits on a very small piece of land. Overlooked by neighbours. Imagine living in a private oasis with walls that slide away and blur the boundaries between inside and out. Where you can literally reach out and touch the foliage, dip your toes in the pond. Imagine a secret garden in Birchgrove in Sydney. Love this home by Pearse. There is even more to love after the jump including a couple of sexy staircases and books, oh books!.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Contemporary Hillside House by SB Architects

Designed  by San Francisco-based SB Architects, an international firm well-known for the design of site-sensitive resort and mixed-use projects around the world, and built by well-known green builder McDonald Construction & Development, this home is a statement of what is possible combining “high design with high sustainability.” Nestled in the hills of Mill Valley, California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Hillside House has just received certification as the first LEED for Homes Platinum custom home in Marin County, and one of only a handful in Northern California. Photograpghy by Mariko Reed.
The four-story home – clad with beautiful, sustainable Western Red Cedar siding – is set on a steep hillside site that provides for a very vertical design with living and private zones situated on multiple separate floors. Numerous outdoor and covered terraces and balconies capitalize on stunning views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline beyond.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Golden Ratio

Beauty and aesthetics have been praised from time immemorial. But little did people know that the most effective, perfectly balanced, and visually compelling creations followed the tid-bits of mathematics. At least not until 1860, when German physicist and psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner proposed that a simple ratio, an irrational number defines the balance in nature. The Golden Ratio! Fechner’s experiment was simple: ten rectangles varying in their length-to-width ratios were placed in front of a subject, who was asked to select the most pleasing one. The results showed that the most favored choice was the “Golden Rectangle” (with ratio 1.618).

Golden Ratio

Golden Mean, Golden Section, Divine Proportion are all common names for what is known as the Golden Ratio which is based off the number phi (φ) = 1.61803398874… discovered by Italian Mathematician Fibonacci. Phi (φ) is the ratio between the number sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc. where the next number in the sequence is derived by adding 2 numbers together. So, 1+1 = 2, and 1+2 = 3, 2+3 = 5 and so on. When we divide two sequential numbers i.e. 5/3 = 1.67 and 21/13 = 1.615 Fibonacci Blocks and Fibonacci Spiralthe ratio between these numbers soon become very close to φ (1.618). Fibonacci’s 1202 bookLiber Abaci introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics, although the sequence had been described earlier inIndian mathematics, by Brahmagupta in 598 almost a thousand years earlier.
What’s so amazing about this number? Some believe that it is the most efficient outcome, the result of natural forces. Some believe it is a universal constant of design, the signature of God. Whatever you believe, the pervasive appearance of φ in all we see and experience creates a sense of balance, harmony and beauty in the design of all we find in nature. It should be no surprise then that mankind would use this same proportion found in nature to achieve balance, harmony and beauty in its own creations of art, architecture, colors, design, composition, space and even music. From the Parthenon toMonalisa, from the Egyptian pyramids tocredit cards, φ has been there, always.

Logos with golden ratio

So, it was not surprising when I found the invasion of φ in logo designs. Let us have a look at some of the most popular brands which have used the golden ratio to induce the perfect harmony and balance in their logos.

National Geographic

Remember the yellow square in the National Geographic logo? Have you ever wondered why that simple logo appears to be so appealing? The answer is, as you might know, the Golden Ratio! The length and width of the square have a ratio of 1.61. It is quite fitting for an organization with a motto of “inspiring people to care about the planet” to have a logo based on the golden rectangle.
The yellow square in the National Geographic logo is a golden rectangle, with length:breadth = 1:1.61


The new logo of Pepsi has been much simpler and effective, characterized by spare, pure design. It looks intriguing and beautiful. Almost like a laughing emoticon in red and blue. But did you know that the underlying backbone of the Pepsi logo follows the golden ratio? The Pepsi brand is created by intersecting circles with a set proportion to each other. And, the proportion: Golden Ratio (φ) !
The two circles that form the backbone of the Pepsi logo have diameters with golden ratio, phi = 1.618


Apple is one of those very few companies that do not have the company name in their logo. Yet, the Apple logo is one of the most recognized corporate symbols in the world. The logo is perfectly balanced, and the outlines that map the logo are circles with diameters proportionate to the Fibonacci series. Did Rob Janoff really considered the Fibonacci series while designing it, or is it a coincidence? Well, somebody needs to ask Mr. Janoff. Interestingly, in a different context, in aninterview, Rob Janoff said, “… and years later you find out supposedly why you did certain things. And, they are all BS. It’s a wonderful urban legend.”
The diameters of the circles that form the structure of the Apple logo has ratios according to the Fibonacci series (golden ratio). This image clarifies the circles used.


Another product from Apple, and again a masterpiece of design. The ripples on the cloud are made up of circles whose diameters are proportional to the you-know-what number. Also the containing rectangle, as shown below, is a golden rectangle. In fact, most of the Apple products, ranging from ipods to iPhone are golden rectangles. These amazing Apple designers!
The diameter that forms the ripples in the cloud of the logo follow golden ratio. The containing rectangle of the cloud form is also a golden rectangle (length:breadth=1:1.618)


BP is one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies. They launched their new logo in 2000. What appears to be an attractive logo, however, turns out to be formed of concentric circles, again proportional to the Fibonacci sequence. Is it a mere co-incidence or a planned execution?
The diameter of the concentric circles that holds the petals in BP logo follow the Golden Ratio.


The logo of Toyota consists of three ovals. “The two intersecting ellipses are intended to represent the customer and the product… and the importance of that relationship”, according to an e-mail from Mike Michels, VP of Communication at Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. “The outer ring represents the world and the global nature of our business.” On a closer look one can easily find a grid based on φ in their logo. The phi-grid is formed by gridlines at certain separation – the separations being in the ratio of the golden ratio φ.
This image shows the overlay of phi grid on the emblem of Toyota logo.

Grupo Boticário

The logo of the Brazilian company Grupo Boticário was designed by the Brazil office of Futurebrand. This logo uses a golden spiral. In geometry, a golden spiral is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the golden ratio. That is, a golden spiral gets wider (or further from its origin) by a factor of φ for every quarter turn it makes. The golden spiral is very closely approximated by the Fibonacci spiral (shown above). The golden spiral is very common in nature, for example, the spiral galaxies and mollusc shells. Do you like the use of golden spiral in this logo?
Grupo Boticário logo derived from the golden spiral.

Golden Ratio in nature – a short film

I sincerely do believe that any discussion on golden ratio or the Divine Proportion (a name more appropriate) remains incomplete without showing how accurately the number φ finds its way into a plethora of natural creations. I found this nice and short video on the interwebs to do the job easier for me.
source :www.banskt.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

citrus spray by lekue

'citrus spray' by joan rojeski dessiny and alberto arza for lékué

'citrus spray' is an attachment which one twists into oranges, lemons and limes to spray the juices of the fruit onto salads,
seafood and other dishes to season them, or for flavoring soft drinks and cocktails. designed by joan rojeski disseny and alberto arza
for spanish company lékué, use of the device involves cutting a small portion of the top of the fruit (slightly off centre from the stem)
about half the size of the screw portion of the sprayer, to provide an opening in which to turn the pointed threaded end downwards into its body.
once the silicone ring covers the insert area the fruit should be squeezed gently to fill the layers of the mister and the press down
on the head to release the citrus extract.

the food utensil was on show at the tendence 2012 in frankfurt and comes in two sizes to optimize the release of the juices.

up close of a lime with the 'citrus spray' attachment
image © designboom

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A guide to the eateries of France

Colourful restaurants and crowds in Cours Saleya.
  • Eating on the street at night in a cafe in Pigalle - Paris, Ile-de-France
  • Sidewalk cafe inside Gare de Lyon (Lyon railway station).
  • Saint Emilion, outdoor cafe in wine country.
  • Salad Nicoise at outdoor cafe.
  • Patrons in beachfront cafe with fishing boats and village buildings in background.
View gallery
There’s a vast number of eateries in France. Most have defined roles, though some definitions are becoming a bit blurred. Here’s a quick guide:


Image by ludo29880
An auberge (inn), which may also appear as an auberge de campagne or auberge du terroir (country inn), is usually attached to a rural B&B or small hotel and serves traditional country fare. A ferme-auberge (literally ‘farm-inn’) is usually a working farm that serves diners traditional regional dishes made from ingredients produced locally. The food is usually servedtable dhôte (literally ‘host’s table’), meaning in set courses with little or no choice.


Image by superbez
A bar or bar américain (cocktail bar) is an establishment dedicated to elbow-bending and rarely serves food. A bar à vins is a ‘wine bar’, which often serves full meals at lunch and dinner. A bar à huîtres is an ‘oyster bar’.


Image by “S de Santi”
bistro (also spelled bistrot) is not clearly defined in France nowadays. It can be simply a pub or bar with snacks and light meals or a fully fledged restaurant.


Image by zoetnet
Unlike the vast majority of restaurants in France, brasseries – which can look very much like cafés – serve full meals, drinks and coffee from morning till 11pm or even later. The dishes served almost always include choucroute (sauerkraut) and sausages because the brasserie, which actually means ‘brewery’ in French, originated in Alsace.


buffet (or buvette) is a kiosk, usually found at train stations and airports, selling drinks, filled baguettes and snacks.


Image by LWY
The main focus of a café is, of course, café (coffee) and only basic food is available at most. Common options include a baguette filled with Camembert or pâté and cornichons (gherkins), a croque-monsieur (grilled ham and toasted cheese sandwich) or a croque-madame (a toasted cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg).


Many cities in France have cafétérias (self-service restaurants), including Flunch, that offer a decent selection of dishes you can see before ordering – a factor that can make life easier if you’re travelling with kids.


Image by edseloh
Crêperies (sometimes known as galetteries) specialise in crêpes and galettes. The latter are made with buckwheat flour, whereas crêpes are made with wheat flour.

Relais Routier

relais routier is a transport café or truckstop, usually found on the outskirts of towns and along major roads, which caters to truck drivers and can provide a quick, hearty break from cross-country driving.


Restaurants come in many guises and price ranges. Generally restaurants specialise in a particular variety of food (eg regional, traditional, North African). There are lots of restaurants where you can get an excellent French meal for under €30. Chain restaurants (eg Hippopotamus and Léon de Bruxelles) are a definite step up from fast-food places and usually offer good-value (though formulaic) menus.
Almost all restaurants close for at least one and a half days (ie a full day and either one lunch or one dinner) each week – this schedule will be posted on the front door. Chain restaurants are usually open throughout the day, seven days a week. Restaurants almost always have a carte (menu) posted outside so you can decide before going in whether the selection and prices are to your liking. Most offer at least one fixed-price, multicourse meal known as a menu, menu à prix fixe or menu du jour (daily menu). A ‘set menu’ (not to be confused with a ‘carte menu’) almost always costs much less than ordering à la carte.
When you order a menu, you usually get to choose an entrée, such as salad, pâté or soup; a main dish (several meat, poultry or fish dishes, including the plat du jour ‘daily special’, are generally on offer); and a final course (usually cheese or dessert). In some places, you may also be able to order a formule, which usually has fewer choices but allows you to pick two of three courses – a starter and a main course or a main course and a dessert.
Boissons (drinks), including wine, cost extra unless the menu says boisson comprise (drink included), in which case you may get a beer or a glass of mineral water. If the menu has vin compris (wine included), you’ll probably be served a 25cL pichet (jug) of wine. The waiter will always ask if you would like coffee to end the meal, but this will almost always cost extra.

Salon de Thé

Image by sunshinecity
salon de thé (tearoom) is a fashionable and somewhat pricey establishment that usually offers quiches, salads, cakes, tarts, pies and pastries in addition to black and herbal teas.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/travel-tips-and-articles/76092?affil=fb-fan#ixzz29HqSfwsQ