Thursday, December 24

A crystallized Christmas with Swarovski

Daniel Swarovski, born in northern Bohemia in 1862 (now the Czech Republic), son of a glass cutter who owned a small glass factory, became skilled in the art of glass-cutting. In 1892 he patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass. Today Swarovski is the luxury brand name for the range of precision-cut crystal glass and related products produced by Swarovski AG of Wattens, Austria. Visit their site at and

The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal sculptures and miniatures, jewelry and couture, home decor and chandeliers. In order to create a crystal that allows light to refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its crystals with special metallic chemical coatings. Aurora Borealis, or "AB", is one of the most popular coatings, and gives the surface a rainbow oil slick appearance. Other coatings include Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado.

The Swarovski company also offers architectural and design services in crystal for special projects, visit their website at

Watch the promotional videos of their collection Sands of Time, Spring 07 at and the making of at, State of Grace  at and some interesting events and shows below.

In 2007 Swarovski formed a partnership with electronics giant Philips to produce the "Active-Crystals" consumer electronics range. This includes four USB Memory keys and four in-ear headphones, and in 2008 they included Bluetooth wireless earpieces for the brand, all with some form of Swarovski crystal on them as decoration.

Swarovski has opened a new flagship store in Tokyo in the renowned Ginza district. The store better known for its Crystal Forest has been designed in collaboration of Swarovski and famous Japanese designer Tokujin Yashioka. Visit his website and browse his beautiful projects at

Watch "Lake of Shimmer" , the Swarovski stand at Basel World 2009 designed by Tokujin Yoshioka.

And this Christmas linger in a winter wonderland with Swarovski...

Sunday, December 20

Li Edelkoort and her influence in Design

Born in Holland in 1950, Li Edelkoort studied fashion and design at the School of Fine Arts in Arnhem, and upon graduation became a trend forecaster at the leading Dutch department store, De Bijenkorf. There, she discovered her talent for sensing upcoming trends and her unique ability to predict what consumers would want to buy several seasons ahead of time. This brought her to Paris in 1975, working first as an independent trend consultant and soon creating Trend Union  She is also the art director and co-publisher of the magazines View on Colour (color trend forecasting magazine) and Bloom, A Horti-Cultural View (artistic horticultural magazine).

Li is Chairwoman of the renowned Design Academy in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Visit their website at Dutch by birth, Parisienne by choice, international in outlook, futurist Li Edelkoort knows what the needs, lifestyles and choices of the global community will be two years from now and beyond. Leading manufacturers of products for the environment, automotive, home, office, garden, textile, fashion and beauty industries seek out her advice, creative ideas, and intuition in developing their own lines, services and marketing strategies. Always promoting design, watch her in this video supporting European Design.

In 2005, Aid to Artisans honoured Li Edelkoort with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her support of craft and design. Li is now part of the founding board Aid to Artisans’ European division.
Aid to Artisans, a non-for-profit organization, offers practical assistance to artisan groups worldwide, working in partnership to foster artistic traditions, cultural vitality, improved livelihoods and community well-being. Through collaborations in product development, business skills training and the development of new markets, Aid to Artisans (ATA) provides sustainable economic and social benefits for crafts people in an environmentally sensitive and culturally respectful manner.

In February 2006, Li Edelkoort also opened her first restaurant together with the famous Cypriot restaurateur Andréas Mavrommatis at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. With its refined mediterranean food and concept store, Laurier offers a whole new concept in dining and is a well-being experience. From June 2008 on, Laurier is organizes each month a photo exhibition around art & food. The first exhibition 'Toxifood' by photographer 'Sabine Pigalle' shows small culinairy digressions around human nature, see book bellow.

Watch her talking about design in a very forward Dutch way. Be ready... Dutch are always ahead.

Saturday, December 12

Sonia Rykiel, eyes for the whimsy of la femme

Sonia Rykiel, a whimsical French Designer with ethnic Polish Jewish roots, was born in Paris in 1930. She started her career in 1962 by chance, when she just couldn't find any soft sweaters to wear when she was pregnant. So she used a supplier to her husband from Venice to design her own. Sonia Rykiel created her first maternity dresses and tiny sweater and all began. With her trademarked red hair, a unique shine in her eyes and the sweater as her symbol, she was crowned "Queen of Knits" by the Americans in 1967. Now, the same baby that was in her womb, Nathalie, is the dedicated CEO of the company and lets mom still run free with the creative thoughts. Visit the website at You may watch her latest collection, Spring 2010 at

Sonia was the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweaters. In particular, she favours long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers, large rolled-back cuffs and long shawls. Her colours are usually beige, grey, dark blue and charcoal. Listen to her own words in the creative animation by Fashion Nation bellow.

"The Day Before", from Sundance channel,  documents the 40th anniversary of Rykiel’s brand, now managed in large part by her daughter and exposes the creative synergy between them.  As a surprise, Nathalie had renowned designers create garments inspired by Rykiel. After the show Gaultier told Sonia that he “owed so much to Rykiel”, to what she answered that she was waiting for a check...

Martin Margeila tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Christian Lacroix tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Paul Gaultier tribute to Sonia Rykiel

Sonia and Nathalie decided to bring Paris to New York and in February 2005 where Henri Bendel launched an in-store shop for the Sonia Rykiel Woman line. There are three Sonia Rykiel boutiques in the U.S. and they are in Boston, New York and Guam. Her collection can also be found at Saks.

Recently this month, Sonia Rykiel and H&M introduced a collection of underwear, "Sonia Rykiel pour H&M", the first of two operations with the Swedish retailer (the second will be available in February 2010). A prestigious event was held at the Grand Palais in Paris to celebrate the event. Visit the website at and watch videos of the event and collection bellow.

Monday, December 7

Rafael Moneo, architecture that respects the site

José Rafael Moneo Vallés, born in 1937, is a renowned Spanish architect who won the Pritzker Prize in 1996. After graduating in architecture from the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) in 1961, he worked in the Denmark office of Jorn Utzon for two years. He then worked as an assistant at the Academia de Espana until 1965 when he established a private practice in Madrid. He taught architecture at various locations around the world and from 1985 to 1990 was the chairman of Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is the first Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture. And also in 1997, he became Academic Numerary in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid.

Murcia Town Hall on the Cardenal Belluga Plaza. Learn more about the project at

Unlike many contemporary architects, Moneo does not borrow from the trends associated with European utilitarianism and expressionism. Instead, Moneo produces a softened version of Nordic and Dutch traditions. To this conception he adds an evaluation of his own historic traditions. This range of influences and aims is especially clear in his works of the 1960s. During these years Moneo was one of the centers of interest and excitement in Madrid architecture. "For others … the reality of the building will be sought in its lasting tangible presence, which speaks about the architectural principles behind its construction. That is where I would like to be.” - Rafael Moneo.

Art and Nature Centre of the Beulas Foundation, in Huesca. 

Against a growing trend for ephemeral designs, Moneo works to maintain the competence of architecture. He sees architecture as a vast history in which the architect conscientiously looks for models and resources to transform. Today, as both an architect and as a teacher, Moneo remains one of the most important figures in Spanish architecture. "The site is an expectant reality, always awaiting the event of a prospective construction on it, through which will appear its otherwise hidden attributes.” - Rafael Moneo.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. 

His scholarly work includes numerous articles and lectures published throughout the world. His projects include the Bankinter Building in Madrid, the Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, the L'Illa building in Barcelona, the Pilar and Joan Miró Museum in Palma de Mallorca, the "Kursaal" Auditorium and Congess Center in San Sebastián, the extension of the Prado Museum in Madrid, as well as the Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Watch a great special about Moneo, showing him analyzing and explaining the thought process behind all his buildings, at ( 4 videos in Spanish only)

National Museum of Roman Art in Merida

Library of the University of Deusto in Bilbao.

"Kursaal" Auditorium in San Sebastián.

Rhode Island School of Design's museum.

Extension of the Padro Museum, Spain. 

Wednesday, December 2

Talented Alexander McQueen and Lady Gaga

Alexander McQueen was born in London in 1969, son of a taxi driver, draw his first dress at the age of three. At 16 left his home to work for tailors and theatrical costumiers.  After receiving his Masters degree in Fashion design at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design worked for Givenchy and later for his own label. Visit his website at and his most young and rebel label

Alexander McQueen is known for both the emotional power and raw energy of the shows as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections. Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity and fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander's collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of: bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing. Watch his Fall 09 runway at and previous shows at

He is known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows, such as a recreation of a shipwreck for his spring 2003 collection, spring 2005’s human chess game and his fall 2006 show, Widows of Culloden, which featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss, dressed in yards of rippling fabric. One of McQueen's passions when he is not working is scuba diving. In a 2009 video interview he described diving as one of his greatest pleasures and also as a source of inspiration. An undersea influence was clearly evident in his latest October 2009 fashion show, 'Plato's Atlantis'. Watch his latest runway show with cameras that followed the models and projected on a big screen and in realtime on the internet, with Lady Gaga as background music.

Watch the entire collection at and the incredible details and accessories at

And you may wonder who would dare to wear his collection... I have to admit the black coral inspired pumps are incredible! That would be the Icelandic singer Björk and emerging from the scene of New York City's Lower East Side, american singer / entertainer / ultra fashionista Lady Gaga, that has definitely a voice aside from her more than daring attitude and a strongly backed high production. Watch her wear McQueen and other designers in her videos bellow.

Watch more Lady Gaga fashion at, and if you don't believe she has can sing watch the song she wrote for her father

McQueen also partnered with Puma in 2005 for an unexpected and unique exploratory footwear collection and Samsonite in February 2007 resulting in a cutting edge luxury travel range. You may watch the presentations bellow.