Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: design

Art and beauty in the making


Once again, Hanya Yanagihara, editor in chief of The New York Times Style Magazine, has dazzled me with her intellect and prose.

As long as there are humans, there will be art – and nothing will ever stop us from trying to make our lives more beautiful. Beauty and artistic innovation may not be rights, like water or food or clean air or free will, but they are impulses, and our desire for them is an important part of what makes us human.

There is something about exercising one’s creative powers that feels enlightening, inspiring, fulfilling, etc. There is an excitement that surrounds creating a unique entity and putting it out there in the world for people to see, therefore sharing a part of us and knowing that others will it. I don’t know if every single person has a creative drive, and certainly some have a much stronger creative drive than others, but I’m sure it can be argued that anything someone does has some kind of power behind it; if not fueled by creativity then certainly fueled by a desire to achieve an ambition, act on an impulse, or create something.

Striving for beauty takes the desire to create something to another level because it’s not enough to simply create, but to create something beautiful becomes a task that taunts us and frustrates us. Despite this obstacle that we have to overcome, or perhaps because of it, we can’t help but feel propelled to continue striving for beauty. Beauty not only makes us happy in the present moment, but it is what pushes us forward and compels us to connect with others and the world around us.

Design vs. Art



I subscribe to Chicago Gallery News, and since I am a lover of both art and design, this interview with Helen Maria Nugent peaked my interest. Nugent teaches architecture and design at SAIC (School of the Art Institute Chicago), so she is well equipped to discuss this topic. The distinction she makes between art and design in that design is directed towards a purpose and a function for an end user, and art holds more of an aesthetic value not necessarily intended for a purpose, is spot on.

We are constantly talking about this. One of the ways I think design is different from art is that designers are typically thinking about how their work will fit into the life of another person; most design work is not complete until it has a life beyond the designer. Even if the work is self-initiated, the goal is often for it to be able to function in the world. It’s not that artists don’t think that way too, but it’s not as common.

The design of objects also plays into the way that we define ourselves. We look to collect objects that are both of functional value to us, but also aesthetically pleasing and in some way particular to us that help us define our persona to present to the world.

Objects play a big part in how people want to be seen—they express themselves through objects, like with clothing. When looking for objects or furniture, many people now demand that the design meet their functional needs, but they also want it to have aesthetic appeal, be smart, and be made of good materials…


The second Chicago Architecture Biennial


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The Architecture Biennial has graced Chicago twice now – the first time in 2015 and most recently this past Fall of 2017. It went down in January, and of course I waited until the last week to go see it. I wish I would have gone earlier so that I could have gone back to see my favorite things a few times. The theme for this most recent installation of the biennial was “Make New History” and it featured 141 architects, theorists, designers, etc. from 20 + countries. So it really is a global event, housed at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the loop. These are pictures of some of the displays that most caught my eye.


This is a model of Yves Saint Laurent’s salon…isn’t it glamorous?? So full of art…


I loved these white trees!

Interiors have always held a special place in my heart, so I liked this exhibit entitled “The Room of One’s Own”, which included several drawings of singular interior rooms.

I work at a kitchen & bath showroom, so I was pretty amused by this miniature pink bathroom.


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This room was very cool with about 10 or so models of fictional skyscrapers. As you can see how they compared in size to a person, they were towering!


Looking forward to the next Architecture Bienniale in a couple years from now!

Musings from a recent New York Times Style Magazine



Perusing through The New York Times Style Magazine is always treat for someone like me who loves all things related to aesthetics. These are some of the pieces and design ads that I most enjoyed in the September 25, 2016 issue!


Marianna Kennedy


Gan Rugs – design from Spain


Cabins in the Woods


Artists in Postwar France


Bover lights from Barcelona


Ikea Forever


An Eye for Beauty



You know those movies that just get you and you just get them? Not necessarily because they’re very relatable, but simply because of the way they make you feel and think about things. I recently had such an experience, and I love these experiences, but they seem to be few and far between. I saw the Canadian film, An Eye for Beauty, which I knew would be good after seeing the trailer, but the actual film really blew me away. I’m interested in design, so the discussion about design, although not extensive, definitely caught my attention. More so than that, though, the complicated human characters and relationships were really intriguing; not to mention the French language, which is always alluring. I won’t say much more about it because you should see it rather than just take my word for it.

My obsession with all things Scandinavian


As of late, or actually for about a year now, I’ve had this fascination with anything having to do with Scandinavia. I suppose it started when I saw the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and fell in love with the scenes of Sweden, the Swedish language, and the overall feeling of the films (setting aside the plot). For the record, I fall in love with a lot of things, least of all people. My interest in Sweden continued when I saw a Swedish band perform at an international music festival this past fall in Bloomington, IN called Movits! Once again, I loved the Swedish language, and their energy and style was amazing. Later in the fall I attended a lecture by a Swedish woman who spoke about women’s suffrage in Sweden. The content of the lecture was interesting, but most of all her personality was fun, which leads me to believe that perhaps the Swedish people as a whole possess good characters. I hope anyway, so as not to be disappointed when I visit one day!

I became further intrigued by Scandinavia when my family and I were talking about taking a trip to Belgium, Denmark, and Holland this summer. I’m not sure whether it will really materialize, but the thought of it certainly evoked excitement in my interest of Scandinavia.

I can only imagine how beautiful the landscape and wilderness is in Scandinavia – I picture forests and hills, and beautiful snowy plains, accompanied of course with animals that remind us how to be graceful in their promenade. What I’ve seen in pictures and movies of the architecture is stunning and certainly unique to the area. How nice it would be to live on a canal…

Perhaps the final thing, for now at least, that inspires my interest in all things Scandinavian is the style, that of interior spaces and furniture. My grandparents have a house full of Scandinavian furniture, which I adore! It’s such a nice quality of wood and the simple, modern, and elegant style is nice to look at, comfortable, and inviting. I’ve also been to a Scandinavian furniture store in Bloomington, IN, once again, and I wish I could buy the whole store! Or at least live in the store…I can’t forget IKEA, while cheap, mass produced furniture, elegant and most importantly, Scandinavian! I also love Scandinavian textiles, the patterns…! Well, I could go on, but I’ll refrain.

Can’t wait to visit all of Scandinavia someday…adventures! Also, I want to see the Northern Lights…what a spectacular show that must be.