Flat Vernacular

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Payton and Brian have merged their aesthetic viewpoints with their fine art and design expertise to create, Flat Vernacular, a company that, for now, creates surface treatments for walls and in the future, who knows? I can certainly envision their patterns translating to textiles or product design and their ideas into progressive restaurant and retail interiors.  Presently, we are treated with a collection of wallpaper designs that range from colorful, fashion forward floral to illustrative derby cars that from a distance have a deceptive twist.

Below is another example of how they’ve created designs that from a distance provide a very traditional look and feel while closer inspection reveals their whimsical, playful approach to their work.

Payton and Brian have designed their company with their client in mind, taking great care and time with every project that comes their way. They aim to remain faithful to the tradition and character of wallpaper while taking a more contemporary twist with the designs themselves. Flat Vernacular infuses color, design and their playful spirit into all of their papers.

To get a better sense of the hand-drawn, hand-printed aspects of their work, watch this video by Lilian Haidar.  There are a few time lapse series showing Brian and Payton working together and it is immediately clear what an amazing partnership they have.

And here are a few more of the patterns for your visual delight.

Please join us on August 30th to meet Payton and Brian in person and learn more about their work.  RSVP here.

Flat Vernacular website

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Developer Trays by John Cyr

This Developer Tray Photographic Series by Brooklyn based photographer John Cyr is simple, powerful and resonates profoundly with me. Each image takes me into the artists process. Every mark on the tray, the color of the chemical effects, and the size and shape of the vessel tells a story of the power of the unique creative process for each unique individual. I can visualize the important work that has passed through each tray, both mechanized by the camera, and a work of handcraft by the artists vision. What an opportunity as a viewer to get inside some of the most accomplished photographers darkrooms.

John Cyr is a Brooklyn  based photographer, printer and educator. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is an adjunct faculty member at the International Center of Photography. In addition to working on his own photographic projects and teaching, he owns and operates Silver 68, a traditional silver gelatin printing studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn’s Photo District. I have highlighted only a few images from the Developer Tray series. Prints from this stunning set can be purchased in various sizes by contacting John Cyr at  www.johncyrphotograpy.com.  A wonderful gift for your favorite photography enthusiast.

Images and excerpts found at http://www.johncyrphotography.com

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Elizabeth Roberts

Elizabeth Roberts is a NYC designer, who renovated a beautiful  Brooklyn brownstone in Clinton Hill. I recently saw the home published, and was immediately taken back to the spirit of place, and to the wonderful years I lived in the hood. It seems Elizabeth and I share a design philosophy and approach. Her home is an exercise in simplicity and restraint. Absence of color, with the exception of that present in functional objects found in their inherent texture and pattern. The space is white and bright, with depth and contrast grounding the environment with deep chocolate oak floors. The furnishings are modern with clean lines, yet there is respect for the historic qualities and embellishment of the architecture of the built space. The fireplace surround, and beautiful millwork, such as the front entry door, are a beautiful example of how historic detail as a backdrop to modern furnishings can create a rich and eclectic environment.

“The Clinton Hill Residence is an Italianate brownstone located in Brooklyn, NY. The building was constructed in 1866. Today the 5 story building is broken into a 2-family residence – with a 2 bedroom rental unit at the garden level and a 6 bedroom single-family residence occupying the top 4 floors. Before the renovation the house was in a state of disrepair and had been converted into a 6-kitchen SRO. The only remaining historic detail was the original wood staircase, several marble mantles, parquet oak floors and some of the original plaster ceiling molding. During the renovation the house was completely transformed with 4.5 new bathrooms and 2 new kitchens in locations where bathrooms and kitchens did not previously exist. The mechanicals of the building were replaced and the house now has a high-efficiency gas boiler supplying radiator heat throughout the house”. elizabethroberts.com

Thank you Elizabeth, for this breath of fresh air.
All images courtesy of the designer’s website.




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Dekalb Market



Dekalb market opened on July 23rd in downtown Brooklyn. This is right up my alley. An expression of community, without pretense. Each vendor space is set up in a repurposed shipping container. Currently, there are 22 local companies, including cafes restaurants, retail outlets, as well as a Brooklyn community based internet radio station. This venture supports a spirit of entrepreneurship, creating opportunity for independent start-ups to share their wares. It creates a place for gathering in the neighborhood, on a previously vacant lot. The simplicity of form and non permanence of the shipping container shell, offers shelter and security for its contents, yet communicates a sense of freedom from the expected. The way I see it, this important architectural solution opens the eyes and minds of visitors to look within for the meaning of their visit, rich with creativity and passion for the artists craft.

Dekalb Market is a joint venture of Urban Space, and Youngwoo & Associates. “On the former site of the Albee Square shopping center between Willoughby and Fulton Streets, the containers are stacked two-high to form a gateway, and they drop to one story along the perimeter of the one-acre lot, which also accommodates a temporary weekend fair. The container vendors include a diverse mix of established and start-up companies, like Robicelli’s cupcakes and Cuzin’s Duzin doughnuts. The vendors each leased their new hubs for one year and could individualize the container interiors”. the architects newspaper This concept is based on Urban Space markets in England, and more are planned for the U.S. Looking forward to it!

Image 1 dekalb market website,
Image 2 and resource found here.

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The Fixers Collective

It's broken. Oh great. Now what? I want to get it fixed, but who fixes things anymore? It's often hard to find a resource to repair our broken things in our all too quick to throw away society. How nice would it be to take your broken stuff to a creative group of problem solvers in your neighborhood?  Not only would they fix it. They would teach you to fix things as well. The Fixers Collective in Brooklyn is made up of just such a group of problem solvers. Although they come together from varied vocations and experience, they are designers by definition; creating solutions to everyday problems. Not only are they keeping a lot of broken stuff out of landfills, they are inspiring people to learn the lost art of fixing things. More often than not, a simple set of tools and materials will do the job. Once a week on Thursday nights, the Fixers gather at Proteus Gowanus, a local Brooklyn Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room, to work, socialize and collaborate. I love the spirit of their design approach conveyed in their mission statement below: "The Fixers’ Collective is a social experiment in improvisational fixing and mending. Our goal is to increase material literacy in our community by fostering an ethic of creative caring toward the objects in our lives. The Fixers’ Collective seeks to displace cultural patterns that alienate us from our things, by collectively learning the skills and patience necessary to care for them. Intentionally aligning itself with forces generated in reaction to the current economic crisis, the Fixers’ Collective promotes a counter-ethos that values functionality, simplicity, and ingenuity and that respects age, persistence and adequacy. The Collective also encourages participants to take liberties with designated forms and purposes, resulting in mended objects that may exist both as art and within a more limited, utilitarian context.

Bring us your broken things, and we’ll help you fix them. Or just bring yourself, and help us fix other people’s stuff."
Design of our everyday. I believe every community would benefit from a Fixers Collective. Thank you to the Brooklyn contingent, for leading the way.
Images: 1. Fixers Collective, and 2. Hunter Gather.


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