Archive for February, 2009
What a great evening!
My table top design for the orchid dinner.
Yesterday I had an all-day shoot with Veranda Magazine, photographing one of my jobs with the Editor-at-Large, Carolyn Englefield. It’s so nice to step out of my designer mode into the photography one, putting that side of my brain to work. It’s wonderful to look through the camera and see how the light hit the arm of the chair at that moment and be able to capture it. For somebody with dyslexia to fully understand the mechanics of taking a photograph, which, trust me, took a long time to sink in, is a great experience.
I’m waiting for the film to come in and I always keep my fingers crossed that it’ll come out the way I saw it on the shoot.
After many months of planning I am so proud to be launching my new initiative today – www.vicentewolftravel.com
I’ve been asked to be an advisor for the Parsons student group involved in this year’s Diffa Dining by Design event. I went to their concept presentation today where we discussed three ideas that they had come up with. It’s wonderful to work with students and see how they view design. Of course the hardest part for me is forcing myself to keep my big mouth shut and not tell them how to do things, rather allowing them to experience the creative process, figuring it out as they go along. My only advice was to push the envelope, to think of the fact that we’re working for a charity – spend less so more money ends up in the pockets of the charity – and to think of our times…what is going to make the strongest impact? I will see on March 6th how my advice was taken and will keep you posted.
Another charity initiative I was involved with had me sold for the price of a dinner with three lovely ladies and a husband from Houston, TX. We had a lively political discussion, a homecooked meal, many, many bottles of wine and champagne and I took them with me today to hear the presentation at Parsons. Renea is an interior designer in Houston and they had a great time browsing in VW Home. They’ve also asked me to sign them on to come to Thailand with me in September (more about this on Monday!) – it must have been the wine!
Yesterday I presented photographs of Jerome Abel Seguin’s beautiful home in Bali that I photographed for Interior Design. It’s so satisfying to see my work laid out in front of an established editor-in-chief, discussing it from a professional point of view and feeling satisfied that what I presented was up to par with the magazine’s standards. I’ll be sure to share some images with you here once it’s been published.
Next week Tuesday I’ll be attending the Orchid Dinner at The Rainbow Room. I was asked by Veranda magazine to design a table top to benefit the New York Botanical Garden. While I was in Hong Kong I felt really inspired about this project and visited a store that sold lanterns and celebratory things for the Chinese New Year. For ten bucks I was able to buy paper baskets, lanterns, fake money and tons of other paper decorations to use in the table setting. The staff and I put their heads together this afternoon, used some masking tape and a broom handle and created the basic setting, which will be spruced up with my favorite flower (orchids, naturally) on Tuesday in time for the cocktail at 7pm.
The word on everyone’s lips today is Sunday’s Oscars! I was invited to attend a party hosted by Cindy Allen, honoring David Rockwell. It’s going to be fun to enjoy the Awards with 50 like-minded folk, all drinking good wine and enjoying popcorn in a great Rockwell-designed setting. For best wardrobe I’m rooting for The Duchess, which was produced by a friend of mine. Who’s on your ballot form! Let me know.
I know you’re wondering if I ever work for a living, or is it all about travel and special events! Trust me, these are the things that bring a sense of creativity and spontaneity into the office, which to me are very important. It’s great to deal with some fantasy while one deals with the harsh realities of life.
Last week the Rodchenko & Popova show opened at the new Tate Gallery in London. I’m happy to say that some of the photographs from my collection are in it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the opening, but it’s always such a thrill to know that photographs from my collection are being shared with other people.
From seeing the catalog the show is so comprehensive, really exposing all of his work, from paintings to collages to photographs to typography.
Most of the traveling in the country is done by small four- to six-seater planes that fly from Windhoek to all the various camps that exist throughout. My first stop was up north near the Angolan border and the airstrip was a road of rocks delineating the strip in the middle of nowhere, a small building with a unisex toilet and probably some desert lizard that runs around the desert, for this was all there was. For a minimalist, this is a haven.
On my first day we went out to see the Himba tribes, hiking on sand dunes that are beyond ones sense of the scale of what a sand dune should be. (They’re actually mountains made out of sand.) Everyone at the camp was very accommodating and I got to interact with people from all over – Australia, Canada, France, Italy…a group of maybe nine or ten people. Iva and I had our own Land Rover and guide, which made it a much more serene way of traveling. At the Himba tribe the ladies are quite spectacular – all covered in mud. They rub their bodies and hair with a mud mixture every day – part to offer protection from the poisonous Namibian sun and as a beauty detail. From what I was told they never wash their hair – it’s all mud and animal fat.
Life here is very simple. You milk the goat, you walk the trail, you try to catch a tourist once in a while and you mud yourself. These people very rarely travel outside their realm of nomad grazing areas and once in a while see the tourists that stay at the camp.
An excursion on a quad bike ended for me with a fractured arm, black and blue face (no make-up either!) and two days in hospital. But don’t think that this colored my opinion about Namibia. I found it to be an experience never to be forgotten. Areas like the Skeleton Coast where you see whale bones and seal sculls and a humungous dead tortoise, shipwrecks from the early ‘20’s, turned out to be a wonderful day at the beach – photographing and walking miles without seeing anything man-made.
eld due to the color of the sand. Another highlight was The Skeleton Coast – to spend a whole day and never see anybody else, walk through these fields of whale skeletons that have been there for over 100 years…the desolation you experience in this country is one that makes you become very introspective and makes you wonder about the lives that we live here in New York with so much stimulus…it took me two days to sort of chill in this vastness of emptiness.
Is it one of my favorite places I’ve been to? No. One of the most colorful? Definitely.
To say that I’m happy to be back is to have my nose grow even bigger than it is already! As I flew into New York last night the grey clouds that hung over the city were really visible.
But don’t feel bad. Every country I visited had a grey cloud over it at some point. And everyone said that now that Obama is president things will be different. Poor guy…what a responsibility!
On to the fun parts, however – after flying for 18 hours from New York I arrived in Easter Island in December for a 5 day stay. It’s a triangular shaped island with not much vegetation and very attractive people (and a population of only 1800 inhabitants). I stayed at the Explora En Rapa Nui Hotel, which was great. It was slightly out of the way and very green (environmentally friendly), with a great restaurant; as much Chilean wine as you can drink, good food and all tours included.
Easter Island is a great place for hiking and horseback riding and the Moai are beyond anybody’s wildest expectations. I always thought they faced out to the ocean, but they actually look in towards the villages, overlooking the chief’s grave. Interestingly enough, the Moai were brought over when a chief died and positioned to watch over the grave and the village beyond. It’s believed that only once their eyes were placed in the socket, would the chief’s spirit start looking out for the village and its people. The experience of traveling and hiking through this island, that has a bigger horse population than people – was wonderful.
A highlight was visiting the dormant volcanoes where now there are small lakes throughout at the bottom of the caldera – there’s an incredible ecosystem with fruit trees and plants growing in the bottom. I’ve never seen water that has almost a purple-blue cast to it. It was truly incredible.
It certainly takes a long time to fly there, but the experience of visiting this island for 5 days will take a long time for me to forget. I found it to be incredibly peaceful, very, very friendly and one of the names on my list of places to visit that I can now tick off.
I leave for Washington DC tomorrow evening to go put the finishing touches on a new hotel for Kimpton, the Lorien Hotel and Spa. I’ll be sure to share photos of this project with you once it’s launched on Thursday. In the meantime, be sure to send me a ‘friend request’ on Facebook – I have joined cyber space in the social networking realm and will post more photos from my travels on there.
From: Dane Caldwell – Lead
I have been pulling my hair out trying to find details on how to lacquer my dining room walls. I know the walls need to be free of defects but after that…how do I get the mirror finish I see in the shelter mags? I’d like to be able to know if painters are doing it correctly as well if I get an opportunity to have it done for a client!
The best way to do it is to have it sprayed. I’ve used car spraying equipment to accomplish it. It gives you the smoothest finish. It should always be high gloss paint, that’s what’s going to give you the sheen. Brushes or rollers just don’t give you the same smooth finish – you end up with the texture of the brushes on the wall.
Author: Jacqueline Rosadiuk
Hello Vicente and thank you so much for taking the time to create such an amazing zone to share all or our expertise in a single forum. Yours is invaluable, especially.
I strongly believe in the power of renderings as a selling tool. I am curious about color…do you always do them in black and white and let the materials do the talking for the color application? I must say though that I can very rarely get a client to agree on paying for them. They will forego them rather than pay…trusting me to give them what the 2D floor plan shows. Do you have that experience for some or any clients? How do you actually convince them to pay for them? When are they mentioned in the entire process since you must know they will accept to pay for it before the presentation will be prepared? Also, if they are done in-house, roughly how many hours does a single room view take to do? May I ask what you pay that person to do it vs. total cost to client? As a business owner I am curious about what it is fair to expect a rendering to cost me to produce in house and the hours it should reasonably take someone to do it. I am shopping for such an artist at the moment and could use something to compare with.
Also, for many projects, especially commercial, my first phase is the development of the design concept and a portion of the total project flat fee is paid when this is presented. Once approved, I will hunt for actual materials, accessories, etc. and will also move on to the technical drawings. I will not do the work of actually going out and looking for final specific materials and accessories and furniture until a general concept is approved and paid for. But from the look of this rendering, it seems that the majority of the elements were chosen and then included in the rendering. Could you please clarify how this process works for you in both residential and commercial projects? Does your method or process change?
Also curious as to the minimum size of project (a.k.a. budget) you will accept to work on. Do you ever do small consultations for just color or placement or a simple floor plan?? That is currently a large part of my business as people cut back. Anyone else have that experience?
Thank you so much.
These are many questions! I can answer a few of them… We do black and white renderings, I only like black and white because it shows the space in an architectural way and you never really can match the colors to what you’re planning.
How much do I charge? It depends – we use freelancers and it depends on the level of involvement required for the rendering. Renderings is discussed at the beginning of the process and included in the contract. Once you’ve agreed on your working process you’re stuck. I include how many renderings will be included and at what cost. How can you design a job without knowing exactly what every item is and how much it is costing? You’re just guessing and I do not feel that being a professional is about guessing. It’s about being absolutely sure about what every thing is, so when we present we do so with a price for every single item.
I don’t do just consultations, it takes up too much time and the return is not worth it.
I’ve been admiring your “Designed for Dad” project in a recent issue of the now-defunct Met Home. I have an old and tiny bathroom that I’m looking to redo, so I was particularly interested in how you approached the apartment’s small bathroom. You went with dark colors that seem to blur the edges of the room. Can you say more about how you handled this bathroom design? Are there specific techiniques that you like to use or avoid in small bathrooms?
Pattern, pattern, pattern and, one more time, pattern as well as too many colors are to be avoided at all costs.
Simpler is better than more involved, dark or light depends on what you want the bathroom to say. If you want ‘drama’, then go for dark. If you want it light and fresh, stick to lighter hues. A way to bring some dimension to the space is by using textured wall covering, taking wall coverings all the way up to the ceiling to increase the height perception and it’s best to have the walls and floors match in tones. In that bathroom I used satin mirror (it’s like a frosted mirror that only shows shadows, no detail) which gave a reflection but without the harsh edge. Lighting is also a key aspect to keep in consideration.