2-2 : : DesignPlan : :

: : DesignResources : :

Light my fire….c’mon Baby light my fire….

It’s the primitive part of our brains in that we all respond, almost the exact same way, to contained fire…..
such as a bonfire on a beach, burning leaves in the back yard, a cosy fireplace in our bedroom – or our

Bathroom? Who do you know that has a fireplace in their bathroom?

I actually designed one once, for a client. What a fireplace – what a bathroom! In fact, here’s the
plan and a photo of it at the end of this product introduction….the windows overlook
Lake of Two Mountains at the western tip of the island of Montreal. Ahhh – but this, was a
special house. Custom-designed from the groundup – we demolished the smallish house that
existed when my client bought the property – and we built, this – this epic!
The Master Bedroom wing, is one-of-a-kind…..if I can locate the plan, I’ll include it in next
week’s post. Unique, spectacular – I created the bedroom as a beautiful oval,
about 20′-0″in length and 15′-0″ in width….

But for now, ‘Yes Victoria….you CAN have a fireplace in your bathroom. And it almost doesn’t
matter how big your bathroom is.’

There’s this company in Toronto – actually, Concord, Ontario – on the northern fringes of
Metropolitan Toronto. The firm is called Company B – don’t you love it? Wonder whatever became
of Company A?

Regardless – they make a line of  fireplaces, and fireplace inserts, that use bio ethanol as the

From their web-site:

Bio-ethanol – or simply ‘ethanol’ is a renewable energy source made by fermenting
the sugar and starch components of plant by-products – mainly sugarcane and
crops like grain, using yeast. It is also made from corn, potatoes, milk, rice, beetroot
and recently grapes, banana and dates depending on the countries agricultural

Today, Bio ethanol has many uses: It is blended with petrol to make a truly
sustainable transport fuel, it’s used in cosmetic and other manufacturing processes,
and it creates the clean burning, beautiful dancing flame in our fireplaces.

Take a look at these fireplaces – they are beautifully styled….

This is an insert installed in an older bricked up fireplace. Fooled you, huh? Because it looks, so,
correct – like it would have 100 years ago when the fireplace was installed.

And this one – this is my new office…..

Not! Maybe some day…..this is a fabulous innovation. I first saw these at the IIDEX Show in Toronto in September 2009.
There was section of the show floor set aside for ‘green’ industries. I don’t remember that this company was one
that I saw, but it probably was.

And in fact, last  years, when I designed an addition to a beautiful old house in Westmount, I proposed to the client that
we add in a classical fireplace in the new master bedroom wing. Their first reaction was, ‘No – we’re not going to get
involved with having to lug wood up the stairs, or run a special gas line for a fireplace.’

‘No – no’, I said. ‘You gotta see this – these are wonderful…..they rum off these neat little canisters – ethanol fuel.
Clean, green – no muss, no fuss…. at least take a look at it with me before you reject it.’

To their credit, they did. We found a very simple one, on sale…..the fireplace surround was stained wood, very basic
in style and character, but, I designed and added really nice cornice mouldings, built up the height,beefed up
the mantel, and presto! It turned out great….and they love it!

Well, these fireplaces are the exact same process.

Check this one out –

This one is outdoors, obviously. An outdoor living room!
Here’s a few facts about this product directly from their web-site , http://www.ecosmartfire.com .

And how about this – this is one of the high-styled units that is designed to be portable…..

So – back to fireplaces in bathrooms….this is the bathroom referred to previously….

This shot was taken by a film crew prior to a movie being shot in this house….thus the image
is ‘stitched ‘ together….best I could find ….

The white marble I specified was on the floor and all vertical surfaces, along with the double sink vanity.

So – you could have THIS bathroom, or you could have (a whole lot cheaper) a bathroom that utilises
an EcoSmart fireplace…..


And, while on the subject of bathrooms and bathtubs [gee – it seems like I’ve devoted a whole lot
of attention these past few issues to bathrooms]…..well, moving forward, check out this great
Valentine’s bathtub:

So – you’re thinkin’ – ‘What?’

And I’m saying, ‘Yup It’s a bathtub….. like an old fashioned loveseat….see…’

It’s ‘bathing a deux’……well – actually only one of you is going to get wet, I think.
But, what a great place for a meeting, yes?

This is the Brezza line of baathtubs from Wisdom Sanitary Company, China. It is made completely
of Corian, the DuPont product we are usually accustomed to seeing as counter-tops.

Talk about thinking outside of the box[iness[….

Here’s an industry summary of the Wisdom Sanitary Company:

Wisdom Sanitary –Ware Co., Ltd has established itself as a renowned and professional manufacturer o
f sanitary products in China over the years.Wisdom has developed its expertise in designing and producing
steam rooms,shower enclousure,whirlpools,bathtubs,bathroom furniture.
Wisdom has its own manufacturing plant of over 100,000㎡ in Foshan with advanced equipments and technology.

In 2003,Wisdom was awarded”Top 10 Brand”among the sanitary ware industry in China.In the same year,
Wisdom also obtained the CE Product Certification.Over the years,Wisdom has placed great emphasis on
upholding al the relevant international standard. In this regards,Wisdom obtained ISO9001:2000
Certification in 2002,IECQ HSPM QC8000(RoHS Compliance)Certification in 2005,CETL Certificate
in 2006 and both TUV/CE and CUPC Certificate in 2007.

Wisdom has an extensive distribution network with more than 200 outlets in China and dedicated
customers form Europe,America,Middle East,Asia,and Oceania.

Today,Wisdom is a leading brand of sanitary ware in China.With products ranging from exquisite and
luxurious designs to everyday style for price-conscious public,Wisdom sets new standard and definition
for wonderful bathing and showering experience.

But, I’d still like to put one of those in a client’s home…..

And now, to something completely unrelated….

As we generally tend to think about them, mailboxes are strictly utilitarian  repositories for
newspapers, mail, etc.

An Australian company, has a different view

These are from Frontyard Art….http://frontyardart.com.au/.

Now, from swoopy bathtubs to:

Benches….which chicken came before which egg?

Marco Goffi, an industrial designer in Milan, designed/created these wonderful forms…



You can find him, and his work,at:  http://www.marcogoffi.com/


And, for this week, the last item:

The TrashMe lamp…..each lamp is the result of four egg cartons, mashed/mushed up in water, poured into
a mould, and created as:

Even the wiring, socket, plugs are reclaimed electrical components.

Pretty cool, as a concept – could be a whole lot prettier….do you see it as,
chartreuse? Or, perhaps, grass/green? Shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.

If anyone decides to make an attempt to design/create a like lamp…..
we will have a little competition – prize to be determined….


And now, to shed some light, on some other lights……check out David Taylor’s work:







What fun! David Taylor is a Scottish designer, with a delightful and refreshing
sense of humour….his web-site is at:  http://www.superdave.se/


Having made a case for lighting so far in this issue, in various forms, it’s time now
to make a case, for a case…..I love these….plan file cabinets. Back in the good old
days every architectural office was arranged around a series of the original PlanFile cabinets….
typically, black with steel pull handles, they were designed to accommodate plans
and drawings. Each drawer, at least 28″ wide, was a full extension drawer.

Only about 3″deep [3 1/8″to be precise] they held a greta quantity of drawings.
As they were fashionable, they also showed up in art galleries to house lithographs, etc.

I have one – have had it for years…..still use it and probably won’t ever part with it.
I have a fantasy that one day, in the right setting, I might take it and get it electro-static
painted – in a brilliant chinese red…..or deep ochre colour.

Today, they are not seen very much in design/architectural offices…..most everything
is digitally filed. But, they clearly have a wide appeal, for Martha Stewart has
recently re-introduced them to the home market, in two flavours. Take a look –






$329.00  or at $399.00, a larger one > 


Available in three colours – white as shown, taupe –

or  green >





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: : DesignLens : :

The following photographs are extremely disturbing….they cut to the core.
This is like an autopsy record of a badly decayed corpse…..that corpse being Detroit, Motor City…

Please read, and absorb –

At the end of the XIXth Century, mankind was about to fulfill an old dream. The idea of a fast and autonomous
means of displacement was slowly becoming a reality for engineers all over the world. Thanks to its ideal location
on the Great Lakes Basin, the city of Detroit was about to generate its own industrial revolution. Visionary engineers
and entrepreneurs flocked to its borders.

In 1913, up-and-coming car manufacturer Henry Ford perfected the first large-scale assembly line. Within few years,
Detroit was about to become the world capital of automobile and the cradle of modern mass-production. For the first
time of history, affluence was within the reach of the mass of people. Monumental skyscapers and fancy neighborhoods
put the city’s wealth on display. Detroit became the dazzling beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of migrants
came to find a job. By the 50’s, its population rose to almost 2 million people. Detroit became the 4th largest city in the United States.

The automobile moved people faster and farther. Roads, freeways and parking lots forever reshaped the landscape.
At the beginning of the 50’s, plants were relocated in Detroit’s periphery. The white middle-class began to leave
the inner city and settled in new mass-produced suburban towns. Highways frayed the urban fabric.
Deindustrialization and segregation increased. In 1967, social tensions exploded into one of the most violent
urban riots in American history. The population exodus accelerated and whole neighbourhoods began to vanish.
Outdated downtown buildings emptied. Within fifty years Detroit lost more than half of its population.

Detroit, industrial capital of the XXth Century, played a fundamental role shaping the modern world.
The logic that created the city also destroyed it.
Nowadays, unlike anywhere else, the city’s ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment.
They have become a natural component of the landscape. Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an
American city in a state of mummification. Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the
Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire.

This work is thus the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.

This is the work of Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre –
It is contained in their book, ‘The Ruins of Detroit.’










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: : DesignBuild : :

Dalian International Conference Center, China

Designed with sustainable principles in mind, the building incorporates a number of systems to minimize energy
consumption including the use of seawater and its thermal energy to cool the interior during the summer and warm up
during the winter through heat pumps.

What is there to say about this? It is awesomely beautiful….

The architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s Dalian International Conference Center in China is winner
of the Wallpaper* Design Award in the category “Best Building Sites”.


House in Ise, Japan – Architect, Takashi Yamaguchi

No need for words, except this photo essay is courtesy of our friends at Skim Milk….







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: : DesignTrek : :

So, in Singapore, we shall meet – meet up, on a rooftop…..we’ll watch the sun gloriously drop, slowly, serenely
as the night sky twitches and twinkles, and the ripples of the pool softly kiss the edge of the world…..


One Response to “2-2 : : DesignPlan : :”
  1. Sharlene says:

    Love your blog! Nice work and one of the best I have seen for interiors so you need to work it and make some money off of this!!!

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