5 – 2 : : DesignPlan : :

: : DesignClass : :   Billy Baldwin, The Great American Decorator…..

Architectural Digest, in their Legends series, recently published some of the work of Billy Baldwin. For those of you who are interested, you can view the article here .
Born in Baltimore in 1903, Baldwin became one of the most famous interior decorators in America – and completed major projects for Diana Vreeland,
the Mellon family, Cole Porter  and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. His central conviction was that furniture/furnishings must be comfortable – otherwise,
what’s the point? Few can argue successfully against that I believe. One of his most famous furniture designs was the ‘slipper chair’- simple, elegant and
useable in most any furniture grouping or setting…..it is shown here in this apartment he designed in New York. Following are photographs of some of his commissions : :

and the ottoman shown here is his X-base ottoman : :

Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work with designers, architects, and decorators…… it is my opinion,
that the complete designer is one who understands the full spectrum of what each discipline has to contribute – and is able to draw
on skills and sensibilities as required – be it the selection of dinnerware, the millwork details of a fine cabinet or the vision to create
and design a renovation or an expansion.  Frank Lloyd Wright, although revered as an architectural genius, was in fact neither an
architect, nor an engineer. He was a practitioner of the complete design story….. one of the videotapes I show all my design classes
on the first day of a new semester is Wright’s design for the Meyer May house in Oak Park, Illinois – wherein he controlled the design
of every aspect from the fabulous painted murals, to the light fixtures, the carpets – everything.  By the same token, I believe it is a
fundamental requirement that today’s design students study the works of Billy Baldwin, David Hicks, Barbara D’Arcy – a few of the great decorators of their time.

: : DesignResources : : [I]

The Re-Sink, by Bruno Bondanelli, an LA-based architect and designer …… the sink is lit from within and provides a soft, diffused glow : :

Additional info and colours can be seen here.

: : DesignResources : : [II]

Homapal Holz – Reconstituted Wood Veneer Laminate Homapal Holz is a series of high pressure laminate that is made from reconstituted veneer.
All the timber used comes from managed forests which is harvested, peeled and rejoined into layers which are pressed to create a reconstituted block.
As the veneers are joined, different dyes and layering techniques are used to reproduce patterns of wood that range from standard to exotic.
The pressed blocks are then sliced into the finished veneer which is pressed into laminate and sealed for protection. Homapal Holz veneers are
special for their sustainability as well as their style. Unlike many plastic laminates, the veneers have a textural quality that adds to the realistic
look of wood. Wall panels and furniture made with Holz has a richness that is usually missing when plastic laminates are used.

: : DesignResources : : [III]

Solpuri, the German manufacturer, has recently released their newest, the Lagoon…. Designed by Klaus Nolting, the bed also features a modern round
frame and plush mattress and is big enough to accommodate two people. Weighing 55 pounds, it comes complete with awnings and LED lighting in a
variety of colours, and a waterproof handmade deck made of polyethylene. Meanwhile the furniture piece’s translucent base lights up from the inside,
draping the surroundings in its glow at night time. Based in Munich, Germany, Solpuri consists of a team of experienced furniture constructors and
creative designers developing “timeless and purist furniture” for the open air.

Go here to view their complete line….

: : DesignPlanArchitecture : :

Oppenheim Architecture+Design …. A new resort is rising in the desert rock and sands of Jordan – in an area known as Wadi Rum or, The Valley of the Moon.
Cut into sandstone and granite, in south Jordan , it will eventually be home to : :

: : DesignPlan : : The Interview

Leonardo Bechini – Photographer/Graphic Designer …… we have featured some of his photography previously ….. and decided to check in on
Leonardo, who is based in Milan. Given that he has worked internationally as a graphic designer and creative director, with numerous
credits to his name, we found it interesting that this past year he decided to take a break and go back to school – to obtain his Master’s degree
in Photography and Visual Design at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan.

You may recall, that I met Leonardo, when he was in a graphic design course I taught in Montreal in 1998

In any event, it was a 15 week ‘academic’  course – did not involve any creative assignments, and so, it wasn’t until about the last month when,
doing portfolio reviews for students – to guide and assist them in the best presentation methods for their portfolios – that I got to see any of Leonardo’s work.

It needs to be understood that he had already graduated some years before from one of Italy’s most prestigious design schools –
and had a number of years of professional experience under his belt. In going through his portfolio, I was humbled – here was a man who had amazing talent – in all aspects of design.

I was grateful that up until that time I was quite ignorant of his creative credentials……

…… we have maintained contact ever since.

Following is our interview : : 

DP ::     Hi Leonardo……haven’t seen each other in a long time. Hope you’re doing well…..we have been in some contact over the last few months
[selected architectural photographs of Leonardo’s  were featured in DesignPlan Issue 2 – 4].

Can you give us a quick description of your master’s programme this year? The challenegs, difficulties – the exciting elements, etc?

LB : : Hi Michael, it’s a great pleasure to ‘meet’ you again and I have to admit, I’m flattered to read what you think about my creative credentials. Thank you.
The Photography and Visual Design program integrates theoretical study with laboratories and project workshops, in order to train professionals able to
combine a solid historical and cultural base with highly developed technical and practical skills necessary for success in national and international markets.

My difficulties are mainly related to the theory. I have hard time not spending time shooting but ‘learning’ what others want to teach me.

I strongly believe that part is very important, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t really learn what photography is, if you keep on listening what big
photographers have to say. At a certain point you need to shoot with your own eye, heart and most importantly with your emotions.

In fact my theory is that you really need to ‘softly scream’ your feelings in order to call an image ‘art’.

This is why I basically skipped the first 3 months of the program.
 DP ::  What prompted your decision to return to school? After all you graduated initially in 1991 with your degree in graphic design…..
so you have 20 years professional experience under your belt…..

LB : : I guess it’s a passion that never really ends somewhere. It’s moving on and on.

Also Graphic Design, in terms of “expressing emotions” is definitely much more limited than Photography.
And that is basically what pushed me to deepen my Photography experience.

I’m not entirely sure I want to do Photography for living, actually I’m not entirely sure I could be living with that!

But to fully answer your question, I believe I needed to integrate Graphic Design with Photography in order to
be much more efficient and in most cases to get what I really want when developing a project or a campaign.

DP:: Here, in north America – in Montreal – we are all aware of the huge impact the downturn in the global economy has
had on us professionally. Has it been similar in Italy? And, can you give us some examples of radical changes in the
make-up of Milan’s design profession?

LB : : Yes, I feel it’s been the same here in Milan, in Italy, in Europe.

Fortunately what I noticed is that this downturn produced less need of useless stuff. Do you understand that?
I mean that if you do a very “different” kind of work, there’s actually someone who’s still interested to pay for your art,
of course you need to guarantee a ‘return’ in terms of ‘company image’.

Basically it works like this: If I own a company and I only have a few bucks left to be spent on advertising,
I will spend it in a really productive way, no risks accepted.

Milan’s Design profession? That means a lot and nothing at the same time.

Milan IS Design. Milan can be fulfilled by some meaningless, cheap and poor kind of ‘Design’.

So, nothing really changed basically except the fact that good Designers actually survive despite the
current situation (economy) but not the other ones.
DP:: Now that you are a ‘Master’, do you have any specific plans professionally?

Are you interested in teaching?

LB : : Actually I just applied for a job which also requires to teach the Adobe® Creative Suite
but it’s definitely not one of my biggest ambitions.

My most realistic plans are based on the ‘Design Market Resurrection’.

It means that I’ll just hang there and wait until the right moment to open up a Design Studio in Milan which of course,
will combine Graphic Design and Photography as well as Marketing competencies, in order to give clients a complete
service/package for their advertising investments.
DP::  What advice do you have for today’s design students?

LB : : Be innovative or don’t even start. Copies of what it’s considered Design won’t work anymore. And I mean in all Design fields.

DP:: Can you tell us about your camera equipment? What do you use, what’s your favourite?

LB : : I have a pretty cheap camera equipment. I still do not feel the need to have a ‘real Pro’ equipment.

Canon EOS 550D

Canon EF-S 50mm f/1.4

Canon EF-S 24-70mm f/2.8

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5

Considering that until last year I’ve always worked with a compact (Point&Shoot) camera, so I feel pretty much equipped now.

My favorite camera is the one that combines versatility and quality at a reasonable price. And I truly believe the Canon EOS 5D Mark II have it all.

Regarding lenses…well, I’m in love with the 50mm f/1.4 or 1.8 and the very expensive 28-300mm which I do not own.

 DP:: Who has inspired you, photographically?

LB : : Except for the biggest (Lindbergh, Salgado, Bresson) I was very inspired by Giovanni Gastel Sr.
DP:: What is your favourite kind of ‘shoot’?

LB : : Simply the one that communicates emotions, it doesn’t matter how or the kind of ‘shoot’. Even better when it doesn’t need a post-production.

DP::  If you had the chance to photograph the following, what or who, would they be?

  1. a place:      the  Bronx
  1. a person:      Pregnant woman
  1. a rockstar:         Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  1. a politician:       No, thanks.
  1. a product: Almost anything that BANG & OLUFSEN® or Apple™ produces. (www.bang-olufsen.com  –  www.apple.com )

DP ::  In your graphic design work, tell us about your studio equipment – computers, scanners, etc.

LB : : Again, simple but efficient and highly productive equipment:

iMacs, MacBooks Pro (also with Windows or virtual PC machines installed for those who still work on PCs), Canon Scanners
(Medium resolution), Xerox laser printers, all flavored with soft lighting and music.

DP:: You have travelled quite a bit…..do you plan to remain in Italy or might you come to north america again?

LB : : I would love to move to NYC but it would be a total different story. Again.

Years are passing by, I don’t feel like beginning new stories every five years anymore.

Leonardo – thank you for the time you’ve taken with this interview. As I mentioned, in earlier correspondence, I’m hoping you
will be interested in providing us with regular updates, reports – on the creative events and happenings in Milan.
It would be wonderful to have you share your experiences and opinions with us……

I have taken the liberty of ‘stealing’ some of the great images you recently shot for the Milan Fashion Week –  your
assignment was to complete a series of backstage shots, correct? They are wonderful. I’m sure our readership
will enjoy them….

Thank you again, Leonardo


: : DesignPlan : : Report 1 – a summer internship

by Amy Carter

Following is her first submission : :  

Hello! I will quickly introduce myself. I am an English rose living in Canada and have just completed my 3rd year of an Interior Design degree.
This summer I am working for an architecture firm in my home city of Bristol, England, and I am writing to document the experience!

After all the excitement of the Royal Wedding and reuniting with my mum it was time to start office life. Having never worked
in an office it has definitely taken some adjustment. I was quickly set up with my own desk, e-mail address, and telephone.

I was shown around the office, was introduced to everyone, and had Revit training. Although a complicated software
I can definitely see the benefits for designers – and I am excited to learn more! It has been quite an overwhelming week
as only last Tuesday I was writing two final exams and running to catch my plane in Toronto!
Due to the double bank holiday, the office was a bit quiet. So today I will share a little bit about Bristol.

Bristol is a beautiful city with lots of architecture both old and new. There is plenty of entertainment, fantastic shopping,
and delicious food. Today, whilst the sun was out I spent the day on Park Street. Park Street is a long hill lined with historic
buildings home to boutiques and restaurants. At the bottom is an iconic Banksy graffiti. This photo was taken 2 summers ago;
unfortunately it has been vandalized with a blue paintball.

My favourite structure in Bristol is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1864.
With the Avon Gorge between, the suspension bridge is a beautiful structure in which Clifton, Bristol, is well known for.

Thank you Amy – we’ll be looking forward to your weekly journals. Good luck in the job!

That’s it until next week – there’s never enough time. never enough room to include all I’d like to…..
will keep on trying!



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