Tag Archives | inspiration

Design Series: The Beauty of Photographs

Personally, I feel that photography is a rather underrated art form.  As I learn my way around Instagram effects and poses, and attempts to stage my lunch in such a way that it will appear delicious and interesting to viewers, (as Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx once memorably tweeted, Instagramming your meals is like the modern version of saying grace) I realise more and more that taking a beautiful photo is more difficult than it looks.  And that’s just taking snaps of pretty (as well as pretty mundane) things.  Let alone trying to take photo’s that have a visual impact and deep and meaningful message behind them.  So big up to all the photographers out there – I salute you.
Last night I dragged my mother out to the exhibition opening for Roger Ballen’s latest offering, Playpen, at my all time favourite gallery, KZNSA in Bulwer Road.  (Its the most beautiful building, and they have great kitchen offerings.  Try their fish cakes.  As for taking my mother as my date, I’ve just moved to Durban, so I’m still making friends.  I’m a nice person though – any takers?)
 According to the official blurb about the exhibition, this is what you can expect:
“The Playpen exhibition is a selection of photographs by Roger Ballen from his series’ Boyhood, Platteland, Outland, Shadow Chamber, Boarding House and new works from Asylum. Ballen consciously and carefully constructs his compositions and creates spaces that give the sensation that you are inside the image, cut off from the outside world but also from other spaces around you”
It’s quite dark, but in amongst the more haunting images are little rays of sunshine; some quirky, uplifting moments that  made me smile.
Playpen could be idealized as one of childhood’s utopias. The Playpen exhibition represents the opposite of this utopian notion of a child’s play space. The depiction of fundamentally disturbing places and objects related to children (as selected for this exhibition) is based on the theoretical concept of heterotopia.  Heterotopia is a non-hegemonic “other” space of neither here, nor there, a real place that exists outside of known space. Playpen as heterotopia represents an abject parallel space associated with these children from the margins of society. Their surroundings seem impoverished and neglected; however the children do not seem to be influenced by their environment as we are.”
The common consensus is that the imagery “lingers,” going away with you when you leave to be mulled over.  The effects of the exhibition certainly stay with you for a while.
Go have a look – the exhibition runs until the third of March.  While you’re at it, take your iPhone and blend in the hipster masses with Instagram shots of the exhibition to look cool.  That’s what I did.  I don’t know if I succeeded, but I certainly felt cool.  You’ll see this photography business is tougher than it looks!
- Lee

Lake House of our dreams

With summer still lingering, and with us all being back at work, it’s easy for our minds to slip away to dream of quiet escapes where we can revel in the heat while we still can.  Such day dreams can sadden and frustrate those of us that are office bound, but it can also result in wonderful discoveries like this breathtaking lake house.
Albeit visually dissimilar at first, architect Andy Ramus took full advantage of the scenery in this glass encased masterpiece, ensuring that nature takes the lead with 180 degree views.  Amazing to think that this contemporary glass building is actually structurally based on the on the renovated barn and main house – the space has been designed bearing the same materials and specifications in mind.
The architect has built the structure over the water as an extension of the main house, since they were unable to install such large glazed windows in the original, historic house – this was the compromise, allowing for a lounge that embodied just that – large glazed windows that clearly take precedence in the design.  It’s this precedence of the windows in the design that allows the building to appear light and airy, as if it was simply floating over the lake – a requirement included in the clients brief.
Having juxtaposed the older, existing structures with this new one on the property, both are allowed to shine without trying to compete with each other.
The kitchen and bathroom is toward the back of the building, opening up onto the lounge and dining areas and wraparound balcony, “so the client can revel in the pristine setting.”
“Set off to the side, a glass cube surrounds Adirondack chairs as an ultramodern version of a gazebo. The gazebo provides completely open views of the surrounding landscape and protection from the weather. The all-glass structure has no visible fixtures or fittings; it’s held together with industrial glue.”
The architect wanted to maintain the serenity of the setting and didn’t want the contemporary structure to disturb the effect of the beautiful surroundings, so allowed for a simple pathway leading up to it, with minimal other interferences.  After all, the building itself seems to have no other interferences either, appearing to rather levitate above the landscape.  The use of glass also reflects the moods and atmosphere that the water provides.
While the growth of the estate has somewhat hampered the overall privacy, natural vegetation does help keep out prying eyes, which allows the integrity of the initial design to be maintained without the need for window treatments.
Privacy or not, we will gladly trade our office chairs for a lounger on this particular balcony!  We can only assume that the inhabitants of this property must be the calmest, happiest people alive – how could you be anything else when surrounded by so much natural beauty and wonderful design?  And so we sigh, take one last lingering look at the images, and turn our heads back to our work.

Images and information courtesy of Houzz

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