Iron in my soul

How much of our design world is metal/iron? A quick walk through Williamsburg shows that wrought iron and the industrial look is so in. It has always been a vital part of construction, but “flaunt your metal” is the new industrial chic.

For instance, check out the Metal Dimensions workshop and showroom. The Facade is a celebration of metal (and glass), as are the pieces inside.
Metal Dimensions showroom

Sculpture or Scrap-ture?
Wrought iron sculpture

In Construction- show us what you are made of? (@ a construction site)
In construction

Doorway (@ Restaurant we passed by)
Entry doorway grill

Peace and Pieces (@ Mandala Emporium)
Peaceful Metal

Brace yourselves (@ Mandala Emporium)
Metal Bracelets

Taxi 07: Nissan’s New York

Being one of the authors of the Taxi:Roads Forward book has its privileges! We were invited to preview the features of the Nissan’s Taxi of Tomorrow before it opens to the public on Nov 2nd at 23rd street in New York.

Taxi of Tomorrow

The Yellow Taxi is as much an identity of New York as the Empire State Building. It is a way of life, a mode of transport. It is a public space, a movable space, that forms the backdrop of many private interactions 24/7 in the life of this great city.

The Taxi of Tomorrow attempts to be many things. Nissan’s Francois Farion, Senior Manager, Design & Color Strategy, very enthusiastically explained Nissan’s vision for this new avatar. Consulting heavily with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and deriving from the research and benchmarking done by our “Taxi Book“, the Taxi of Tomorrow attempts to be many things that the present cab is not.

Sneak peek at interior panel
Ket features include:

  • Higher roof and much more leg room;
  • Special design of the wheel to take the number of miles that these vehicles travels;
  • An integrated console that has the HVAC built into it and includes a 15″ monitor in place of the small screen you see now;
  • Seats made of fabric engineered to have no VOC;
  • Active carbon to make the cabin smell and feel fresher;
  • Factory installed bullet proof partition which can slide, to speak with the driver and designed to provide maximum views of NYC;
  • Curtain air bags ( in order to be effective, you must be strapped in though);
  • High boot to accomodate maximum storage;
  • And our favorite: A polycarbonate roof to make the Taxi lighter, and to provide views of the skyline as you drive past!
  • Partition

It is not all good though. This Taxi, as its predecessor, is not ADA compliant, although we are told that it presents itself to customization in order to become so. Plans are to lower the floor to provide wheelchair access into the vehicle. In addition there is little or no provision of a built in child harness/car seat. Considering how many urban families use Taxis as their main form of transport–that is an area where this Taxi of Tomorrow could have really made a difference.

Tributes to the Taxi of Tomorrow

Still, it tries and does quite well in most other aspects!

Check out our signature on the graffiti wall at the exhibit.

We were there...

KidSpace: I’m feeling pink.

So what do you do if you have a festival in town?

Food? Check.
Maple syrup

Entertain the public? Check.
Scarecrow making contest
Pony rides

Sell stuff? Check
Soaps and other nice smelling objects

Buy stuff? Check
Buying Gourd Birdhouses

Color the public fountain PINK*?–Oh Absolutely!
Pink Fountain!

Color me pink

*Note: The fountain was pink for Breast Cancer Awareness week, not for the Halloween Festival.

An idea whose time has come

This write-up can be titled “You saw it HERE first” but we think that works better as a punch line. You’ll see why.

We also apologize in advance. Some parts of this post may be specific to a people in a time that you may not identify with. But that is the people & time that we are from. And this post is important to us.

So take yourself back in time to 1995. We were students of architecture, in a south asian setting. We learnt how to “live, breathe and dream” in the material. Drawings were hand-drawn and hand inked. Glass Curtain walls was not yet the norm; air conditioning rare; Raw untreated sewage was dumped in rivers. Many believed in sourcing and building local. Green Architecture was not a “brand”- it was the norm.

Forward to 1999: AutoCAD was introduced in architecture schools as the preferred medium of drawing. Few held out against the “mechanization” of the “art” of hand drawing. Others embraced it. We were somewhere in the middle. New technologies in building were introduced. Some held back and others embraced it. But raw sewage still found its way to rivers.

In such a time, where old ideologies were meeting the new, an idea was born. This idea was not special in the overall scheme of things. In retrospect, it was probably not even great design. But in a conservative society which was starting to question its conventional wisdom, this idea was trying to push the boundaries of its own circumstance.

An idea of a LIVING BRIDGE.

It was unheard of in India.

The technology to make it glamorous was not mainstream yet. So it stayed unglamorous and tried to do the best it could with what it knew.

5 copy
6 copy

This BRIDGE would try to connect a highly affluent/developed area of a city with its low-income area. It would try to make a city LOOK TOWARDS its river rather than treat it like a sewage drain. It would try to bring RESPECT to the river in the hope that future generations may enjoy its beauty. And it would try to be an Urban street in a city that was slowly forgetting its own street life.

4 copy
3 copy

This LIVING BRIDGE did not look like much, but it had great ideals for itself. It wanted to change the city and then change the world!

This idea was submitted to the then Environment/Urban Development authority.

And there it lay buried for years, waiting patiently.

In 2011, there are advertisements that a fabulous new “living bridge” will be built in a city in north India. This bridge will make the river’s waterfront a place to be. It will be shaped after the water side communities abroad. It will be GLAMOROUS, it will be GREAT and it will be BEAUTIFUL. It will make a statement to the world!


It is an idea whose time has come.
But remember, you saw it here first…:)!


Blast from the past

So recently we rediscovered sidewalk chalk as a medium of art. And that brought back fond memories of an event in the Guggenheim (or in front of it) in 2005. It was not too creative, but it was real fun!



UrbSpace: Bike racks

New category that covers urban spaces everywhere. We should mention that for several years the design and use of urban space has been our daily bread. Why haven’t we posted that much about it, you ask? Because we want to look at things from a different perspective: one of art, one of the human scale, one of what catches the eye. In this process we realized that space is the same everywhere–inside and outside. Only the scales of construction are different.

The mark of any well designed space is that it blends into the background and allows interactions to take place.

The mark of a good bike rack is that it is art when in use, and art when not in use too…like these bike racks designed by our friends Jacklitsch/Gardner Architects for the NYC DOT City Racks competition in 2008. More on their design here.

J/G Bike rack NYC

J/G Bike rack NYC

Or the ones designed by Jason Farnsworth for the Easton Bike Rack Art Program. More on Jason here.



Artist info