CANNES L’ ÉGLISE

CANNES L’ ÉGLISE

Léglise Notre Dame d’Esperance (The Church of Notre Dame d’Esperance)

Cannes church arch
Cannes church arch

“Architecture, church architecture, describes visually the idea of the sacred, which is a fundamental need of man. Mankind has been capable of creating for itself this very particular kind of space. There is a great mystery in a church. For me it is a great privilege to be confronted with the design of a church, because it shelters the most powerful themes of humanity: birth, marriage, death.” By Mario Botta, Architect, in the book, Churches, by Judith Dupre (2001).

church in cannes 12th century Notre-Dame-dEsperancePerched at the top of Le Suquet hill overlooking Cannes, France is the centuries old Église Notre Dame d’Esperance. Église is French for ‘church.’ The church on the hill above the old port was originally a fortress, erected in the 11th century, to protect what was at the time a fortified village. The structure was both offensive and defensive providing a base from which raids could be launched as well as protection from enemies such as pirates and invasions. The design of the fortress is medieval, probably originally built with earth and timber, replaced later with rusticated stone as you see it today—where the front facade is early Gothic and has pointed spheres soaring heavenward. Stained-glass windows are prevalent in traditional Gothic where rays of sunlight pour through the high stained-glass, rose-medallion windows and buttresses support the structure. Over the centuries, the church, which was used by fishermen for prayer, was referred to as Suquet Castle. The bell tower was completed in the 14th century. The clock was added to the bell tower later, probably around 1815, about the time Napoleon visited and marched through the town. It has been a fortress, a monks’ castle, the church mentioned here, and now a cinema/museum.

The interior of the church displays art works, busts, and altarpieces. On the High Altar stands St Anne and a 17th century statue of a “Vierge Couronnée,” (Virgin with a crown) holding a ship’s anchor. There is a selection of 19th century paintings including a fresco by George Roux depicting the baptism of Jesus. The eight chapels of the church have links to the craft guilds of France going back to the 17th Century. One end of the church has a Romanesque chapel used years ago as a refuge. Inside the chapel, boat models sit at the feet of the Saints. This was when downtown Cannes was created—before that the main village was in the Saint Cassien neighborhood, which is around the Cannes airport.  For centuries the main city in the region was Grasse, located 15 km to the north of Cannes.

church interior high alter images

About Cannes Le Suquet is the old quarter of Cannes, probably best known to tourists as the climbing, winding cobbled lane, Rue St Antoine, a pedestrian street lined with local restaurants. At the bottom of Le Suquet on Rue Dr. P. Gazagnaire is the Marché Forville, where the market is held in the mornings and early afternoon. The area was the original fisherman’s residential area of Cannes. The streets were laid out at least 400 years ago—some of the houses could be 200 years old. It is a 5-minute walk from the beach. Much of the area is pedestrianized and is a major tourist attraction. The Rue du Suquet is the original main road into Cannes.

water town center Cannes was made popular as a resort when former British Royal Chancellor Lord Brougham stayed there from 1834. He popularized the town amongst royalty, artists and writers. Since then it has been visited by the rich and famous for the great winter climate. Prosper Mérimée, Guy de Maupassant, Domergue, Chateaubriand, JMW Turner, Victor Hugo, Stendhal, Picabia, Renoir and Picasso have connections with Cannes. The French government decided to create an international film festival just before the Second World War and chose Cannes for its location on the Riviera.  The plans were put on hold until the end of the war, and in 1946 the first Film Festival was held.  This gave Cannes the status of a city for movie stars, which attracted a lot of tourism.  High-end hotels, restaurants and luxury shops developed and the reputation of Cannes as a city for the wealthy spread even more. Today Cannes is still just that: a town living on high end tourism. Each year in July during the “Nuits Musicales du Suquet” classical music is played on the square outside the church.marinacannes-640x420 Have you been to Cannes? What do you know about the film festival?

FRANK’S FISH

FRANK’S FISH

Colorcore fish lamp by Frank Gehry

Colorcore fish lamp by Frank Gehry

Take a bite out of this fish. No one before or since Frank Gehry has tried this one, as far as I know. As we all know, Frank Gehry likes fish. In 1986 he made a glass fish for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; and between 1989 and 1992 he produced stainless steel fish for Barcelona’s waterfront to celebrate the city’s hosting of the Olympics. Then there are his buildings themselves that so often resemble the scales and fins of marine life.

The show has passed, but it should come as no surprise that The Gagosian galleries in Beverly Hills (January 11 – February 14, 2013) and Paris (January 24 – March 9, 2013) showed a collection of his fish lamps. Gehry first produced these back in 1984, when he accidentally smashed a piece of the then pioneering new Formica material Colorcore. The plastic shards reminded the architect of fish scales, and so he set about creating a series of lights from the mess.

Detail from one of Gehry's new fish lamps

Detail from one of Gehry’s new fish lamps

So, why the new show? Well, as a statement issued by the gallery explains, “In 2012 Gehry decided to revisit his earlier ideas, and began working on an entirely new group of Fish Lamps. The resulting works, which will be divided between Gagosians Los Angeles and Paris, range in scale from lifesize to outsize, and the use of ColorCore is bolder, incorporating larger and more jagged elements.”

While this new school of Gehry fish may differ a little from its predecessors, they are still built around a metal core and set on a wooden frame, and still look as naturalistic, considered and charming as any of his buildings.

You can see other work of Gehry on my blog last week. It included Gehry’s cardboard collection like Easy Edges (1969 – 73) and Experimental Edges (1979 – 82) of chairs and tables carved from blocks of industrial corrugated cardboard.

Every year in July,  Romance Writer’s of America call author’s of romance to attend their conference. Workshops all day, wine and dine all night, ice cream socials… and lots and lots and lots of old and new fabulous friends. This is where you’ll find me for the week, so be patient for answers to your questions and queries. Come back next week for Frank’s think-out-of-the-box buildings.

 

 

CHEESECAKE STRUCTURE

CHEESECAKE STRUCTURE

Cheesecake Factory creamy-rich frosty glass box

Cheesecake Factory changing skylines: creamy-rich frosty glass box

The perfect cheesecake is an art form built upon a structure of physics, architecture and technology. Granted, your grace with a spatula and deft sense of flavorings can mean the difference between a run-of-the-mill cheesecake and an ethereally light monument to decadence. But first you need to master the basic skills — proper ratios of ingredients, the role of a fine crust, the importance of the right pan, correct timing in the oven, proper cooling and all the rest.

You have last week’s recipe . . . now here’s ‘how to’ techniques from a variety of sources:

* Use the best ingredients: Cheesecake is, by nature, a rich and lavish dessert. It also is fairly time-consuming and on the expensive side. Resist the urge to cut corners: Use only ingredients you know and trust, experiment with other brands only when time permits and you can risk less-than-stellar desserts.

* Choose the right equipment. Here are some of the more important items:

Springform pans provide the best mold for cheesecake. The tender, sticky cake is less apt to remain adhered to the edges of this pan.

Paddle-type beaters are better for making cheesecakes because they tend to incorporate less air into the batter than the “balloon whisk” variety. (If you have conventional beaters, don’t overbeat; see tip below.)

A jellyroll pan with a lip placed underneath the springform in the oven will help minimize the cleanup from an occasional leak, says Susan G. Purdy, in her book, A Piece of Cake (Atheneum,1989).

A long, thin spatula (from a cake-baking store or kitchenware shop) is useful both for loosening the cake from the edges and removing the chilled cake from the base.

* Work with proper temperatures: Cream cheese should be at room temperature for more complete blending and silken results. Remove eggs from the refrigerator just long enough in advance to remove the chill. Let mixtures cool as directed (usually to room temperature if no other specific temperature is noted.)

Invest in an oven thermometer to double-check your range.

You can soften cream cheese in your microwave, according to Kraft/General Foods. Place a single unwrapped (8-ounce) package in a microwave-safe container. Then microwave on high about 15 seconds. You may need to give the container a quarter-turn, then microwave for another few seconds. Add 15 seconds for each additional package. (Timing will vary, depending upon the power of your machine.)

* Prepare the pan: You’ll get nicer slices of finished (baked and chilled) cheesecake from the pan — and leave less of the crust on the springform base — if you follow this advice from Kraft/General Foods:

Turn the bottom section of the pan (the base) rim-side-down before inserting it into the springform pan (the side mold). Secure the latch, making certain the base is securely inserted. Grease and flour the pan (check the recipe to see if this is required).

Did this advice mean anything to you, or did you already know the delicacy of cheesecake preparation?

Next week we talk about cheesecake and changing skylines!

 

 

 

ANIMAL ARCHITECTS

ANIMAL ARCHITECTS

animal architects glass-shell-hermit-crabSo you thought the ancient and modern wonders created by mankind and creative contemporary architecture were something? From underground ant colonies that extend farther than the Great Wall of China to termite mounds that tower at nearly twice the relative height of the Burj Dubai (tallest skyscraper in the world), and from the largest multi-species spider web ever discovered to the longest beaver dam on the planet, here are a couple of the most awe-inspiring animal architects and architectonic structures of the animal kingdom.

Towering Termites: Massive Earth Movers

Termites are amazing creatures by almost any metric. Their queens are 30 times the size of normal soldiers and workers and produce about 30 eggs per minute to keep the colony alive. Relative to their size, termites build the biggest structures of the animal kingdom – .4 inch creatures constructing towers weighing hundreds of tons and up to 25 feet in height and 40 feet in diameter (the human equivalent of 4,600 feet tall). And that is just 40 feet above the ground –  termites can also burrow as far as 225 feet underground.

ANIMAL ARCHITECTURE giant-termite-moundsDeparture from the typical architecture that I blog about. I did not make it up. The information comes from 7 Architectural Wonders of the Natural World.

To my friendly writer community, I found these amazing wonders looking up another work of architecture, for a later blog. For you writers of fantasy, subcultures and steampunk adventures, this is pretty good.  What do you think? Has your opinion of termites and ants evolved? Want more?

If you know anything about architects, they derive ideas from what’s around them. To my friendly architectural community, here are some ideas for your next skyscraper. What say you?

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

Temple Precincts on the banks of the Nile

You are looking at Upper Egypt on the banks of the Nile River, with its ruins of the Temple Amon, built by King Tut after he took the throne, ca.1332BC-1323BC in the conventional chronology. The ruins, excavated in the 20th century, are huge, though nothing remains of the houses, palaces, and gardens surrounding the Temple. Since people always want more space, It was added onto over the centuries, expanding the temple area.

The exteriors of these areas gave important information to future generations about structure and design. What works and what doesn’t.

Stonehenge inside facing

At first, buildings were supported by vertical and horizontal elements. What you might know as post and beam, could be wood, could be stone, as in Stone Henge shown here. Technically this type of construction is known as Trabeated construction.

Trabeated construction: column and beam

In the image with the columns,  aesthetic elements in carvings of various designs have been cut/incised into the columns. We were and are still seeking the aesthetics.

Tutankhamun, King for only ten years, died at nineteen after a short reign.

King Tut's throne. Carving on back he & his sister-wife

He reigned long enough to change the direction of idol worship in his country. In my blog last week (http://gailingis.com/wordpress/?p=1862),  Samson died a pauper’s death, unlike Tutankhamun whose regal properties were buried with him.This young man, affectionately called King Tut, made an aesthetic difference in his kingdom. He not only had temple architecture designed and built, but he influenced the design of furnishings, to this

day. We still create chairs that mimic Tut’s throne. All were discovered in 1922 in his well-stocked tomb.

This iron and brass chair, with a leather seat and back, is a 19th century design taken from King Tut’s throne. This is still being made today, and with many variations. It was popular in the French Directoire period under Napoleon.

Do you have a throne? Would you like to have a throne, or would a simple chair suffice? Have you ever wanted to visit the pyramids?

SAMSON & DELILIAH

SAMSON & DELILIAH

When Samson fell for Delilah, a woman from the Valley of Sorek, it marked the beginning of his downfall and eventual demise. It didn’t take long for the rich and powerful Philistine rulers to learn of the affair and pay a visit to Delilah. Samson was judge over Israel at the time and had been taking out great vengeance on the Philistines. Hoping to capture him, the Philistine leaders offered Delilah a sum of money to collaborate with them in a scheme to uncover the secret of Samson’s great strength.

Samson and Delilah by Rubens

Sitting in her grand chaise, depicted here in Rubens painting of Samson and Delilah, with Samson at her feet, Delilah held his head in her hands. She stroked his dark hair, soft like a feathered dove, curls down to his shoulders.

“Samson, you ripped the lion apart with your bare hands.”

“Delilah, my love, is it better the lion rip me apart?”

“My sire, it is good. From where do you get your strength?” She asked in a soft whisper.

Thrice she asked Samson where his strength came from, and thrice he answered falsely.

Once more she asked, “From where do you get your strength?”

His vow to God was never to reveal the source of his strength. He gazed in her eyes and asked, “Why must you know this?”

“You have told me your strength is from your God. This God of yours, how has He done this for you?”

“Delilah, only for you will I divulge what God has given me.”

“Samson, I will love you with my life.”

“My hair must never be cut. My strength will leave me if a razor were to be used on my head.”

When Samson slept on her lap, Delilah summoned her servant to cut Samson’s hair.

Samson's locks shorn

With his locks shorn, Samson’s vow to God was broken.

Rather than killing him, the Philistines humiliated him. They bound him and gouged out his eyes. In the ultimate humiliation,

Samson in the Treadmill

Samson was put to work in prison pounding grain, the task of a woman. In time, his hair began to grow, but the careless Philistines paid no attention.

During a pagan sacrificial ritual, the philistines had gathered in Gaza to celebrate. As was their custom, they paraded their prized enemy prisoner into the temple to entertain the jeering crowds. Samson braced himself between the two central support pillars of the temple and pushed with all his might.

Samson destroys the Temple

Down came the temple, killing Samson, Delilah and 3,000 Philistines. Samson destroyed more of his enemies in this one sacrificial act, than he had previously killed in all the battles of his life.

Today’s blog began with the idea of sharing the Egyptian culture in art and architecture. I was going to describe the furnishings and architecture between the time of Samson and Delilah and King Tutankhamen. Rather, I got caught up in storytelling.

What do you think? Do you have a deep secret? How trusting are you? How deep is your love?

PORTALS

PORTALS

There is no separation between art and architecture. Except for movement through space . . . visual or physical.

Biltmore Gardens in springtime

Yesterday in my art workshop, David Dunlop’s lecture and demonstration was about portals. David is an amazing artist, scholar,  purveyor of dreams. He inspired this blog.

Everyday, every time we move through a space, it is usually through a portal, a doorway, an opening, a defined path, all perhaps leading to the light. We are drawn to the light.

In Alberti’s S. Andrea edifice below, the entrance is a Romanesque portal with its typical rounded arch. All portals have a shape of some kind, relative to the era and country. The Romanesque period was from actually approximately 800 A.D. to 1100 A.D. The portal with its rounded arch was used throughout history, as you can see here. This one, in Italy, was created in the15th century.

S. Andrea in Mantua, Italy by Leon Battista Alberti 15th century. Portal arch is Romanesque

I think a portal could also be an obvious path leading somewhere. I couldn’t resist the picture of the Biltmore Gardens in springtime above. And the light . . . look at the light. The light pulls you into the garden.

Have you had any experience with portals? How many have you seen or walked through that changed you, your views, or your life?

 

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.

I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed.  (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)

Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW,  King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates  what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.

Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.

FLW home and studio with great gift shop

Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/

 

 

Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?

Paula’s convention link:    http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.

“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”

FLOWERS, SALAMANDERS & ART NOUVEAU

FLOWERS, SALAMANDERS & ART NOUVEAU

The style of Art Nouveau and the flower forms of the plant live on. But not

Gaudi double bench Casa Batilo

necessarily in styles of furniture. The linear floral ornamentation lives on in architecture. Specifically, the architecture of Antonio Gaudi. Last week we discussed the brilliance of this architect who built structures

Gaudi's forms on the Casa Batilo rooftop

in Barcelona that attract millions of visitors each year. His work was a major source in the use of the linear floral forms in all aspects of design. Have a look at last week’s blog on Gaudi.

The forms were promoted by Victor Horta in his van Eetvelde House (1895) in Belgium. There was a whole group of architects and designers who were responsible for developing Art Nouveau as a new style that had nothing to do with the past. It was a style that advocated art for art’s sake.

Victor Horta van Eetvelde House staircase

The design premise was based on the asymmetrical flowing lines of plant forms. Floral forms in iron are the essence of interior ornamentation. Typical use are rail designs, floor patterns, window divisions and column ornamentation in architecture and furniture. In all the forms, look for the pervasive S form. The style was used pervasively in the late 19th century to early 20th century. The style was decorative, it did not lend anything to structure. So it can be easily dispensed with. Besides, designs with moving forms can be tiring. They have vibrations and make quiet noise like bright colors. We seem to go back to the simplistic styles.

In Barcelona, the style is everywhere in keeping with Gaudi’s strong influence. The double bench above was in our Marriott Hotel.

Gaudi salamander Parc Guell's rooftop

Although the bench was not the original, still it was an excellent reproduction. It was thrilling to actually sit in one of Gaudi’s creations. And walk on his rooftops to see his humorous creations. Check out this salamander. Look for the S forms. Take another look at plants, flowers, mermaids. Where else does nature provide the S forms?

Gaudi Interior Casa Vicens

This interior has moorish influence. See if you can find the S forms? Can you visualize the colors?

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