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.
Marginalia

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




May 14, 2014

Where have all the Conversationalists gone?


Last Wednesday I was feeling good, the sun was out, I was in my favourite part of downtown and I felt inspired and alive - kind of like my good old manic days that would last for weeks. The ones where I'd start four businesses, thrift shop for 12 hrs straight and forget to eat. Am I in denial to miss that? Anyway, feeling so inspired and alive, I automatically thought of my friend Ken and our hours long vintage and fashion conversations so I headed off to shoot the shit with him down at Deluxe - then I remembered Ken was dead. So I thought, well Rod will be there, I'll go shoot the shit with him, then I remembered Deluxe was gone - closed due to a $3000 a month rent hike. Okay, no need to get down, I'll go talk design with someone at Inform. Well, the only bodies at Inform were ones glued to computer screens behind cash desks. Five bucks they're practicing the snobby sales technique identified in the UBC study, Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers’ Desire for the Brand?

Well whatever, not yet feeling deflated I thought, 'Okay I'll go sit down and have a coffee somewhere.' Somewhere conversation was already flowing and I could at least be part of it. Uh, since when are coffee shops so quiet? Not one person was engaged in vocal conversation with anyone. Not because they were glued to a book, or writing, or staring off into space thinking, but because their heads were bent down staring into their phones. Holy crap people get with it. My public library has more conversation going on! I left without buying a coffee (or tipping someone for bending their arm beyond 85 degrees).

Highly irritated, I turned around and headed back home. On my way, a homeless man complimented me, (hoping to run into you, I'd put a little extra effort in that day). I turned around and said, 'Thanks.' He said, 'Anytime, sweetheart'. So, from now on when I want to have a conversation, face to face with someone, I can feel confident the homeless guy at Water and Cambie will participate - and I bet he has a hell of a lot more stories and opinions to share than the dipsticks glued to their screens. What's that old saying, 'All text and no talk makes Jack a dull boy'?

God, I miss hanging out and just talking.


image: Simone Signoret, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Yves Montand

May 9, 2014

Quote of the Week - Herman Hesse


There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.



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