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Junjun Ablaza
Junjun Ablaza
Ablaze

Visiting Venice

Changing and plural, an iridescent and translucent waterlily city floating in her own image, Venice can just as well appear to be a figment of the imagination. In her desire to seduce she aims to be seen as a mirror, to trick the eye, as well as the senses of smell or hearing. Not only through reflection, but also through the snare of the mask: she no longer appears caressed by light, but sketched, outlined and frozen. She unfolds the ornate, festooned screens of her palaces, which, like curtains at the opera, entice you to go and see if the wings hold as much promise as the front of the stage. Such is the classic and perverse invitation of the mask. Venice, being a theatre for actor-spectators and spectator-actors, is the …

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Gaudían fantasy

In 1900, the powerful industrialist and patron Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to build the urbanization of some estates he had acquired on the side of the Muntanya Pelada to build a garden city imitating those being developed in England. The result was Park Güell, where Gaudí was able to express, as well as his extraordinary gifts as an innovative architect, his role of urban planner in the layout of paths, roads and shared services for the urbanization. In 1903 Gaudí had already made the porticoes-viaducts, the enclosing wall, the entrance pavilions, the grottoes and the stairway, due to the use of innovation such as modular and prefabricated constructions in situ, which also enabled the production of surface and structure at the same time, being decades ahead in the use of prefabricated …

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Tile style

The history of tile is entwined with the history of civilization. Ancient man discovered that wet clay would dry hard in the sun; then, undoubtedly by accident, he found that when clay was left in smoldering ashes it became harder, more water resistant, and able to tolerate higher temperatures than sun-baked clay. Fired clay tile was in use as a building material before recorded history. The ancient Egyptians used colored glazes more than six thousand years ago and from then on each culture has gloried in the possibilities inherent in the medium. Despite a crack here, crumbled grout there, many of the monuments to the tile artist's craft are still intact hundreds, even thousands, of years later. Over the centuries tile has covered virtually every type of surface, from the …

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La Saga De La Sagrada Familia

The Basilica of the SagradaFamilia is one of the symbols of Barcelona and one of the famous churches in the world, partly due to its original architecture and partly because its edification reproduced the constructive time span common in the era of the great cathedrals, when raising a large Gothic church required centuries of works. In this case, now well into the 21st century, the SagradaFamilia is still under construction, when the first stone was placed in 1882. In 1892 work began on the Nativity Facade. Two years later the neo-Gothic apse was completed in which wheatears of the pinnacles and the gargoyles of amphibians and reptiles underlined the naturalist tendency of the decoration which the Nativity Facade would have. The first bell tower of this facade was completed in 1925. …

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Herculaneum Uncovered

As its name clearly reveals, Herculaneum's origins are associated with the mythical figure of the demigod Hercules. Recent historical research has led scholars to attribute an Etruscan origin to Herculaneum, just as with Pompeii. Subsequent events in the two ancient cities were, generally speaking, parallel, up until the conclusion of the war and occupation by the Roman army under Silla, between 89 and 80 BC. Before Imperial occupation, the town had to be equipped with major defense systems. Many parts of these walls and ramparts are still visible today, encompassed by the homes built over the passage of time. When Imperial Rome consolidated its power in the area, Herculaneum (much like Pompeii) became a popular residential area thanks in part to the splendid climate and privileged panoramic location in the Gulf …

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Art Furniture

Where furniture is concerned, we live in interesting times. The first decade of the 21st century has seen an extraordinary shift in attitudes among the art establishment towards the idea of collectable contemporary limited-edition or one-off designs. While costly, one of their extraordinary pieces of furniture is within the grasp of a discerning and wealthy elite. The terms 'design art' and 'art furniture' are often applied to the new golden age, but in fact it heralds a return to the long neglected decorative arts. Just as haute couture represents the pinnacle of fashion, from which trends and innovations filter down to high street level, so this unashamedly luxurious and show-stopping furniture sets new standards from which we will all ultimately benefit. Limited editions and one-offs, by the very fact that they only …

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Inspire Me!

In considering sources of inspiration, successful designers rely heavily on a knowledge of history and on historical research to create a setting in which to develop new designs. Yet when asked to name a favorite subject in school, relatively few designers would choose history, and even fewer would consider history to be a source of inspiration. However, if we look at history with the help of some contemporary terminology, rather than viewing it as a tedious catalog of events and dates, we can begin to appreciate how some type of history informs almost every design process. If instead of "history" we refer to "backstory," "background," or " the story behind . . . ," we can begin to understand the design process and the way that inspiration is generated for …

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The Perfect Match

Dogs seek out people and take obvious pleasure in their company. They often fulfill a childlike role and are dependent on their owners throughout their life. This dependency works both ways. The psychological value of stroking a dog is well-known to doctors - it reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Your dog is part of your family - friend, protector, companion, comforter, entertainer. You will wonder how you ever managed without it. It makes sense to try to match your lifestyle and preferences to the temperament and needs of the dog. One of the main considerations is the dog's personality. You may be looking for a dog with behavioral characteristics like ability to guard, herd or retrieve or "point." Other questions you will have to ask yourself are: What age? What …

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My secret Japanese garden

Japanese gardens radiate mystical beauty, for they are created to harmonize with nature and make onlookers feel at one with the earth, water, and sky. Some are Zen-like, pared down to the most basic elements in order to inspire meditation. A Japanese "dry landscape garden," for example, might feature a courtyard with a symbolic waterfall made of pebbles, surrounded by raked sand or gravel, a few leafy green plants, a small stone lantern, and a single Japanese maple tree. The tea garden is small in scale but has a lush and intricate design that includes an outer garden with a waiting bench and several inner gardens divided by bamboo or dried root fences and gates that encourage visitors to journey away from the cares of the world into the calming …

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Fashion + Interiors = Magic

Architecture, interiors and artifacts including dress has always been placed within the context of the prevailing culture. The way we distribute the clothes around our bodies and the objects d'art around our homes is innate to our sense of who we are; both are intensely personal expressions of how we desire to appear to the world. The desire for the right dress and the perfect sofa are both pursuits that thrill with the excitement of the chase, a search for something that both confirms and validates not only our existence but also our potential to be different. Certain principles are common to both. The designed object, after all, has to fulfill certain criteria of functionality and desirability whether it is a building, a garment, a range of bedlinen, a sofa …

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