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Igniting An East-West Globalizing Dialogue

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Art and Architecture: Carrying Forward the Zeitgeist Dialogue

Two unrelated events in Miami, Florida could actually ‘speak’ to each other in meaningful conversation:

At the Miami Book Fair (22 November 2014), Phyllis and Bill Taylor of Architectural Design Firm, Taylor & Taylor, presented their new book: Classic Florida Style: The Houses of Taylor & Taylor.  During their conversation with the audience, they discussed interior design and architectural trends, their response to those trends, as well as their methodology and reasoning behind their projects.  Capturing on form, function, utility, environmental consciousness and leveraging the natural resources indigent to Florida, they inspired a necessary conversation on the role of art, architecture, and meaningful design living spaces.

Continuing their conversation forward, I offer the following points from their presentation:

  • Modernity Flows
    1. Dining Room Optional: There is a growing trend of dining rooms becoming an optional consideration for the home. While this might not be so shocking for an apartment or condo in major metropolitan areas where real estate is scarce and/or exceedingly expensive (i.e., San Francisco, Manhattan, Tokyo, etc.), this trend is surprising in areas where the design is for a (traditional) dwelling and the space is relatively abundant (i.e., Ohio, Texas, Illinois, etc.).
    2. Multiple Flows: Responding to the ‘dining room optional’ trend, Bill Taylor makes it a point to design at least two entries/exits for each room whereby the dining room is pivotal. Indeed, he positions the dining room in such a way as to receive central exposure from all rooms of the house.  Further to the multiple flows concept, he also creates and designs multifaceted living spaces accommodating all aspects of the individual’s life, from his (multiple) homes to his (mobile) work location(s).
  • Interior Exposure/Exterior Incorporation: Continuing with a consistent fluidity between interior and exterior elements of the house, the Taylors incorporate natural light, ‘living’ materials indigenous to Florida (i.e., keystone), and even a little ‘wink and nod’ humor to the design details of chairs, upholstery, lights, and wall accessories. Furthermore, through covered verandas, extended covered terraces and patios with the subtlest of delineations between interior and exterior, they encourage active participation with the exterior surroundings.
  • LEED: As with most top design and architecture firms of the world, Taylor and Taylor hold themselves to LEED (Leadership Environmental and Energy Design) standards, proving their sensitivity to modernity while preserving meaningfully significant traditions of the past.

 At Art Basel (Miami, 4-7 December 2014), artists from around the world showcased a brilliance of their creative imaginations.  Through every conceivable medium, the exhibition of each installation, collage, tapestry, sculpture, and painting fused a coherent tapestry individually and as a whole.  Some notable mediums used by artists are as follows:

  • Jim Lambie: acrylic and potato bags, aluminum, polished steel sheets,
  • Adam McEwen: cellulose sponges,
  • Scott Myles: lambswool,
  • Elliott Hundley: foam, wood, oils, linen, paper, fabric,
  • David Altmejd: spools of thread, quartz crystals, plexiglass,
  • Yayoi Kusama: stainless steel spheres, fiberglass, plastic tiles,
  • Heague Yang: ball bearings, and
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud: polished bronze, silk ropes.

Alongside the modern art pieces were classics from Picasso to Pollock.  To summon Art Basel in a single statement is virtually impossible.  However, for the purpose of Infinite Potentiality Theory (IPT), we offer the following:

Bordering on sensory overload, Art Basel 2014 inspired a critically refreshing iconoclastic irreverence piquing the eclectic imaginations of its global audience.

Indeed, there is a necessary repositing of the images, tones, and undercurrents to the present zeitgeist that have been agitated to the surface.  No longer can we ignore this wave.  An active engagement is required of us all, especially in today’s globalized reality.

The SWF examined:

Architecture shares many commonalities with art.  Both reflect a particular locus, whether local, general, or global.  Similarly, both are respective legacies of the architect and the artist.

However, unlike art, architecture is to be used.  While the building, dwelling, or structure might be subject to multiple interpretations, at the end of the day, it is streamlined towards a single end-goal of service to its owner, occupant, or user.  And user is the operative word here: architecture is designed to be used while art is created to be reflected upon, observed, intact and unused.

Indeed, intrinsic to art is a tension between reflection and expression, form and function, observation and use. At its best, it is a critical reflection of the times, inspiring active engagement from the observer.  Accordingly, it is a catalyst of meaningful change.  In a manner, just as art is a catalyst, architecture is a response to the catalyzing effect of the times containing that art.

The products of our creative imagination abound, omnipresent.  Whether in architecture or in art, we are continually surrounded by our creative manifestations.  This is our (objective) legacy.  The question becomes what we do as a response and how we proceed to the next step, wherever that may lead.