August 18, 2014

Trend Spotting - The Equipale Chair

Back in 2012 I spotted some equipale furniture in a late 60s decorating mag and within the last month this Mexican handmade leather furniture is popping out at me right, left and centre. Traditional Equipal furniture is handmade from tanned pigskin and cedar or rosewood strips - each piece is unique, and like all unwaxed, natural leather, will get better with age.

Take a look at the different styles. I can't decide which one I like the best - probably the lounge chair and peacock chair (of course).

via greenweddingshoes
jessicacollins laceandlikes makemodelnashville

August 6, 2014

10 Ideas for Living Windows

A million years ago, (2009 actually), I did a post on How to Accent Windows - let's consider this post the 2014 version. Vintage paned windows are perfect for framing your plant collection for both indoor and outdoor appreciation.

Make sure you pull the dead stuff off - that is of course if they're dried flowers. If you follow feng shui decorating practices, make sure you keep the energy fresh and the meaning special - don't let the dried plant simply become a dust collector/clutter.
Less than ideal view? Use the plants as a living wall. They're much better than keeping the blinds down or the curtains closed.

Lucky enough to have a window like this in your washroom? Block your sexy silhouette from the snoopy neighbours by hanging a plant in front of the window. Ferns love the humidity from the shower and if your window is facing east even better!

 Indoor plants not your thing? Bring the outside in with a glass wall.
Strangely enough, plants love fluorescent light. Keep a little light on above the plant in the evening to give it a little extra oomph in the dark winter months.

July 25, 2014

Architecture - and spectacles - Expo 67 Montreal

One of my UBC art history papers, way back when, was on Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67, (he was working on the Vancouver Public Library at the time). Safdie originally conceived the project as his Master's thesis in architecture at McGill and it went on to become a thematic pavilion at Montreal's Expo 67 (in which the main theme was Man & His World - with housing as a subset).

Already having a fondness for the architecture of Expo 67 - based on my past research, as well as spending a few summers teaching Québécois university students English - I was quite interested in The National Film Board of Canada e-newsletter that arrived in my Inbox this morning. Impressions of Expo 67 is an eight minute promotional video for what was considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th Century.

As I mentioned, it's the architecture of Expo 67 that interests me but it's difficult to find a thorough list of designers of the pavilions. If you know anymore - on top of the ones listed on Wikipedia - please leave them in the comments section of the post.

A few:
Sandy van Ginkel - chief designer and planner of Expo 67
Arthur Erickson - consultant, Canada pavilion
Buckminster Fuller - designer, USA's geodesic dome pavilion

Images of Expo 67 Pavilions can be viewed at the Library and Archives Canada page Expo 67 Man and His World - Pavilions and the Canadian Design Resource Site page Expo 67

So, go on and take a peek at the architecture in the short video, and while you're at it, check out the fabulous late 60s design of the visitors' sunglasses.

June 22, 2014

Please pop by my other channels

No, Bijou Living hasn't turned into a Craigslist Vancouver feed! We're moving and I'm too busy, (and moody) to devote enough time and creativity into composing long blog posts - however, I've been posting quickies over on my Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook pages so if you're so inclined please come by for a snoop. Have I told you lately how much I value your readership? Well, I do, so thank you!

images from top: Bijou Living on Facebook, Bijou Living on Instagram, Bijou Living on Tumblr

June 21, 2014

From the Archives - Momo the Cat and Kevan

  1. natural disaster
  2. suspense
  3. human compassion
  4. cute quirky Canadian
  5. Momo the cat

Three cheers for Kevan and Momo!

Calgary flood June 21 2013 - a full list of organizations looking for volunteers for the clean up can be found here.

all images © Jordan Verlage/Canadian Press
photo set at CBC

Originally published June 24, 2013

June 20, 2014

Quote of the Week - Kierkegaard

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.

June 11, 2014

Quote of the Week - Edgar Allan Poe

 It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.

June 4, 2014

One of The Most Important Chairs of The 20th Century

If you've been following my adventures on Instagram and Facebook you're already aware of my dream kitchen dining area and my three chairs for $25. The chair above is one I sold last year. If you follow me on Twitter, you know we're moving again (bipoloar, ADHD or sane decision - you decide). I also decided to sell my mid-century dining table and chairs - which has left us - once again - without a table or chairs.

So, now is the perfect time to acquire my dream kitchen dining area! Out with the old, in with the new!

As I was perusing Craigslist for Best of Craigslist Vancouver content, I thought to myself, 'There sure are a lot of those Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs around. How can I tell what's a fake?' Well, turns out the Cesca chair was never patented, (blame it on Mart Stam), and is therefore in the public domain. Le Corbusier is turning in his grave. 

There are actually two Cesca chairs - the B32 manufactured and mass produced by Thonet from about 1930 to the end of WWII, (stay tuned for my Thonet tubular steel rocker adventure) and the cheaper version manufactured by Knoll from the 1950s to present.

1928 designed version:
  • warm beech patina
  • back and chair each made of a single bent piece (bentwood)
  • back has a marked curve
  • caning was done by hand and sewn into the bentwood frame
  • slight incline to the front edge of the seat
  • curves of the tubular steel frame are even
  • large bolts
After the war, Breuer made some changes to the original design. The seat back and chair were altered, the bentwood frame thickened and the size of the bolts decreased.

All that's left of the more expensive original 1928 design:
  • hand-caning
  • chrome plated steel caps on the tubing
  • rods inserted to maintain the curvature of the tubular steel shape 
For a fun read on comparing multiple copies of the Cesca - and a Cesca chair checklist - check out this article from the New York Times archive.

last image: B32 version via the V&A

May 28, 2014

From the Archives - 10 Random Things About Jean Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1982
© James Van Der Zee
  1. Initially Basquiat wanted to be a fireman.
  2. In third grade he sent a drawing of a gun to J. Edgar Hoover (no reply).
  3. Basquiat played the synthesizer with Vincent Gallo in a band called Gray (named after the 1918 classic of human anatomy Gray's Anatomy).
  4. He was the only kid in his grade nine academic life drawing class to fail.
  5. His mother encouraged his interest in art and stressed the importance of education.
  6. In 1981 he made his first trip to Europe to exhibit a one artist show under the name SAMO.
  7. Basquiat described his subject matter as, 'royalty, heroism, and the street'.
  8. His heroes included Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Charlie Parker, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Billie Holiday.
  9. The sidewalks of Greenwich Village were his temporary store front as he sold painted t-shirts and postcards under the name SAMO.
  10. Helped Andy Warhol rediscover his relationship to painting after 20 years of not picking up a brush.
Untitled (The Boxer), 1982 ~ sold November 2008 $13.5 million
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat