MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECT

MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECT

Michael Graves

Michael Grave

  • Michael Graves, FAIA,* honored by Contract Magazine, with the Legend Award at their 2013 Interiors Awards, said in the article, Reflecting on the Legacy of a Legend of Design,** the April 2015 issue, “I’m very anxious in my own work to build up a life of experiences that are positive and get rid of the negative ones. And so, that idea of the practice of architecture for me is the fine-tuning of one’s aesthetic.” Graves died at his Princeton, New Jersey home on March 12, at age 80, after spending more than a decade in a wheelchair. Although he was paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound following a spinal cord infection in 2003, he continued leading his design firm and lecturing in a long career fine-tuning his approach to design. I remember as a student of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, attending his lectures and panel discussions about his work. To me, Graves, a brilliant architect, was infallible. Reading about his passing was shocking.
Michael with one of his teapots

Michael with one of his teapots (I gifted this one to my cousin Yael, for her wedding)

Based on my client poll, almost all agree that the kitchen is the core of the home, a gathering place. Architect and designer Michael Grave’s philosophy rated the kitchen a workplace that is symbolic of the family. Graves changed how we see artifacts designed for domestic use, as his tea kettles and fabrics for Target and artifacts for JC Penny depict. He said in a 2003 article for the Miele Resource Group Design Forum, “In my residential projects, I emphasize the quality of “domesticity,” which for me combines my interest in culture with the design of physical artifacts. Nowhere is this more important than in the kitchen. The kitchen is a source of sustenance, warmth and camaraderie. We, and the artifacts we use, should be equally comfortable in the home.

Graves other teapot for Target (same as in the photo with MG)

Graves other teapot for Target. Same as in the photo with MG above.

 

For example, in our own designs for kitchen tools, we keep both the hand and the machine in mind.” In plain language that means use tools that work well and look great.

MG teapot (he designed both here) I gave the other one a wedding gift to my cousin Yael.

MG teapot, this one is on my stove, looking elegant. When it whistles, it comes out that little brown bird in the spout  on the right. Do you see me at the bottom?

Graves said in the 2003 article that he sees increasing value being placed on the ability to customize residences around lifestyle choices. He expects the future to bring new and exciting selections of well-designed systems and individual designs for houses in their entirety as well as for rooms, furnishings and artifacts based on how one wants to live.” Since the kitchen is the functional and symbolic heart of the house, it has become the forefront of this movement.

Kitchens connect the pieces of the home, as well as the people using the home. Le Corbusier said, “A home is a machine to live in.” Can you see the similarity between the kitchen, as a machine to run the home, to Le Corbusier’s, a home is a machine to live in? Have you kept up with technology? Is your home designed well and does it function for your comfort? Have you brought the outside in, and have you brought the inside out? Do you use LED lamping (bulbs), have you installed solar roof panels? In 2003, some of this power saving technology was only a dream.

Michael Graves, you were here long enough to see those things happen. For one of my architectural genius’s, he has accomplished much, influenced many, changed lives for all. Long ago, I stayed at the then brand new Swan Hotel and did a report about it for my criticism program at Parsons. I am thinking about reporting on the Swan next week. No promises though.

Thoughts?

*Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

**By John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA, Hon. IIDA
Editor in Chief

To read more about the article and Michael Graves, click here: Contract Magazine

ESSENTIAL LIGHTING

ESSENTIAL LIGHTING

For interiors, all lighting fits into one of three main categories: ambient, task and accent. Most rooms use a mixture of lighting types and mix the three to create visual interest and meet the functional needs of the space.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting: flat all-over illumination bright enough to allow people to move about safely and perform simple tasks. It can be achieved by lighting the lower part of the room (direct lighting), or by reflecting light off the ceiling and upper half of the room (indirect lighting), or with recessed ceiling lights.

Task lighting

Task lighting

Task lighting: Lamps light the lower part of the room that makes it possible to read your mail, your book, your Kindle, you or the kids can do  homework. There should be some ambient lighting so the room does not have dark holes, and the kids don’t fall face down on their homework. Yawn . . .

Accent lighting

Accent lighting

Accent lighting: For enhancing artwork, an architectural feature, a sculpture, but If the space is lit only by accent lighting, there will be hot spots and glare. Proper ambient (general) light will soften the lighting so your eyes do not tire.

Uplights - there are wide choices

Uplights – there are wide choices

In addition, reflecting light upward off the ceiling and upper walls tends to give a room a spacious feeling and soften shadows on objects and faces. It can be attained with hanging pendants that direct light upward, wall sconces, or freestanding torchiere-style floor lamps.

Dimmers give you a way to control how much light is dispersed. Just remember the basics, the three ways to light a space. Depending on the mood you want to create, you can vary how you disperse the light. To avoid glare on a shiny surface, such as a glossy magazine, light coming from one or both sides or slightly behind of the work reduces glare. Light will reflect back at you if the light is directly in front of you on the book, etc.

Kitchen ambient lighting

Kitchen ambient lighting

The kitchen is a perfect place to demonstrate the three basics of lighting. The way we live today, most kitchens see us cook, entertain, watch TV, do schoolwork, teach, do your bills, and . . . have a glass of wine. So, you need good flat general overhead illumination, under cabinet lighting for specific tasks, like dicing vegetables or reading a recipe or doing bills. If you were to have art on the walls in the kitchen, as some collectors do, recessed accent lights would enhance the art and add reflected light to the space.

Kitchen task lighting

Kitchen task lighting

Candles as accent lights

Candles as accent lights

Candles add mood to any space, and even the battery operated candles work, they are fun and safe. Now there are remotes for them. Check out Pier One. Remember . . . for all spaces, a combination of strategies works best.

If you have a room that needs light, use the basics to light it up.

What is your favorite type of lighting? What kind of space do you have that would take any of this lighting?

This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.

http://www.lampsplus.com/kitchen-lighting/?cm_mmc=GOO-SE-_-Location-Kitchen%20-Exact–_-Core-_-Kitchen%20Lighting%20e&sourceid=SEGOO100519-b0033&gclid=CJ2u2fm64bYCFQVV4Aod6EkASA

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