Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mr T talks about 2009

Our old acquaintance Mr. T dropped by our office yesterday to have a chat. Our faithful intern Felipe caught it mysteriously on tape and here follows the printed conversation.

Mr. T.
You call this an office?

Well, this is what we can afford at the moment. We're actually quite proud of it.

Mr. T.
You don’t even have a terrace! Why don’t you move back to Buenos Aires, hadn’t you guys a rather decent place over there? Swimming pool on the roof and what else. Whats up with Sweden anyway, it is cold and dark all the time, and people have no ambition whatsoever, how can you stand to be a part of this country?

It’s a great place to work in, because there are hardly any distractions and that keeps your motivation on a high level all the time. And comparing to the rest of northern europe the food is actually quite ok here, the music scene is world class, the only thing missing is great architecture but hey that is why we are here. What about yourself, where is your office located nowadays?

Mr. T.
I don't like to talk so much about myself, but I've inherited some piece of land in Costa Rica, and I have been digging out a big excavation there to make the earth more uneven so that the rotation will get disturbed and that will cause bigger waves, which is great, cause I'm a big surfer fan. Its all on a small scale now, but I have started a fundraiser group and who knows.

So guys, 2009, during this year your firm pops up more and more frequently on the internet and in the magazines, I was actually heading to Dubai this autumn and I was sitting there half-boozed out in my first class seat when your grotesque statue project stares at my face in the in-flight magazine. I lost my appetite completely I remember. But I loved it in some strange way. How come that you gained so much media attention this year? You guys have hardly realized anything and still you are one of the most published firms in Scandinavia.

It started out with one or two projects that we got published on the leading architecture sites, and then we almost immediately got a lot of attention and various magazines and other sites wanted to be on our mailing list and asked for projects that they could publish. We make projects that are quite spectacular; therefore it also makes a good reading, and the magazines and their readers likes that of course.
We have just started to get our ideas realized, and you will see some villas and other projects getting erected in early 2010, and people will know that we are not just a paper project firm.

Mr. T.
Villas? You mean extensions of villas? That’s a huge difference there. A villa is a free-standing piece, which makes it higher up on the architectural ladder. Or am I wrong mister?

Actually extensions are more complicated than a new free-standing house, both in adaptation and style. We are very happy with the outcome of our two extensions and those houses are necessary reinforcement to the Swedish architecture stockpile. We will send you images next months.

Mr. T.
That won’t be necessary; I’ll probably read about them in Archdaily or Designboom, you media sell-outs.
So you got two extensions? That’s all?

Well, we also have three shoe shops and an outdoor facility for a big client in Stockholm among other things.

Mr. T.
Ok, sounds silly.
I see some sort of attitude change in your firm. You seem to have grown softer than before. Where have your criticism and wild heart gone? I’m quite worried actually.

To be honest we are quite tired of people complaining about other architects, as always the criticism is turned against the famous architecture firms which honestly often are or was the people that have struggled the hardest for a brave new architecture. A lot of the famous and erected architecture of today could indeed be much greater, but it is mostly the unknown and commercial architecture mass that constantly bore our society with meaningless architecture that should be criticized. That rejected Wikipedia submission you sent us is perhaps not totally correct but it focus its criticism at the right people and that's why we published it.

Mr. T
Ok, I get your point, but what about your own projects? It seems like the infamous Swedish fade has struck you except for that hideous statue, the waterfall and the mushroom building. Why not any space shuttles or evil projects this year?

That is true that we haven’t made any space shuttles this year, our clients could not afford it I’m afraid. We will try harder next year! What do you mean about “evil projects”? I cannot recall that we have made any of these.

Mr. T
Well I meant a bit more dark projects like that fly project you talked about, what happened to that? Are you self censuring your own blog now a days?

Hmm well that was an experiment and we lost some vital documentation but it’s true we should publish it, so here are some pictures from it. We try to make a proper post out of it when we find time.

Mr. T
I like that one, so evil yet so noble to the birds! Keep those kinds of work going guys and maybe I could actually consider doing a project with you people again, after all, worthy collaborators are not growing on trees. Perhaps we could do that sun divider thing that we talked about? Do you still keep rum under your desk?

Ok thanks guys, got to split, but it was nice seeing you, I really mean it. But please, try harder next year. I want to see something marvelous; I know that you can do it and I’m looking forward to see your next year in the lime light. And don’t you dare to become cheesier, then I’ll be back to kick your ass. Where is my coat?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread House Session

Visondivsion was commissioned to “pimp” two gingerbread houses for the annual Gingerbread competition held at Arkitekturmuseet (the architecture museum) in Stockholm. We did one theoretical project deriving from the very first gingerbread house ever; the witch house in Hansel and Gretel, which we modified to make it more suitable for the witch and perhaps make her a better person. The second one is a visual and tasty extravaganza where the house can be shot away by a firework among other things.
See the movie below and check out the projects underneath. The gingerbread houses can also be seen live at the architecture museum until the end of 2009.

Gingerbread house number I – Witch house
The first person to build a gingerbread house was the witch in the Grim brother tale “Hansel and Gretel”. The house was made with a façade of gingerbread and sweets to attract children that she could later feed, cook and then eat. But the witch had a quite poor vision and got tricked by the children and got kicked into the stove and later died. The house was not optimal for her and that was something that we tried to solve with our skills as architects. The outdoor parts of the house needs few changes, the concept to attract other creatures with candy is genius, but of course you cannot eat children and apart from the moral issues, children seldom get lost in the forest so the meals will come very irregular and rarely. We propose that instead of catching children, she could catch birds with her genius facade. The amount of birds should probably be more than lost children and with some extra additions they should also be a more easy catch. We provide the witch’s house with an extra layer of sticky sugar so the birds will get stuck when they land on the roof to eat. Thereafter we slices away a great part of the roof and constructs a second floor from where the witch can reach the birds. The upper floor is made entirely out of glass which acts as a light shaft so the witch gets more light into the house to alleviate the poor vision of the witch. The house also gets an elevator so the witch won’t fall in the stairs. The stove gets replaced by a more modern and smaller unit which is harder to cook children in by mistake and also harder to get pushed in to. Some railings are set up in the forest so the witch more easily can move around in her surroundings and warning signs are set up for lost children.

Gingerbread house number II - All in
The modern gingerbread house is a small replica of the witch house but excludes the morbid aspects of cannibalism and focus instead on the visual. The gingerbread house is primarily a Christmas decoration and divides the people in two sides; some likes to eat it whereas other throws it away. The best parts of the gingerbread house are perhaps not the gingerbread itself but all the candy decoration surrounding it. We did a surrounding landscape out of marzipan with candy filling. After the marzipan comes an arsenal of colorful and happy details that covers the base of the gingerbread house; disco balls, glitter, gold decoration, electric guitar, a huge variety of candy that also fills the house. Through all this mayhem of delights goes a hollow core which acts as a firework launch tube. When the owners feels that it is time to get rid of the house, it is time to light the rocket that takes the gingerbread house on a ride through the air and explodes with sensational colors and a long sought after candy rain. The house becomes the epitome of gingerbread house design; A visual spectacle that at the same time are delicious to eat.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mangrolia Chaussures

Visiondivision has designed three shoe stores for a shoe tycoon on the tropical Reunion Island.

We have made a design that could be easily recognizable and applied for all of the Mangrolia Chaussures stores. We decided to design one specific Mangrolia shoe box that can be multiplied and stacked into almost any form, allowing different store layouts but at the same time being easily recognizable as a Mangrolia Shoe store.
The shoe box can be made out of different materials depending on budget but in this proposal we made a shoe box in Plexiglas, a plastic that creates a nice transparent effect. The shoe box can however be made out of various materials, for example wood with a mirroring foil mounted on them, creating a similar optical effect but for a lesser price.
Each box has a lid and a light. The boxes are made as pieces of Lego that can be fixed together in different formations. The box can be mass manufactured thus making it precise and cheap.

Saint Denis – The ocean
The Saint-Denis shop is the biggest one and located in the largest city and it is also the only shop that the Mangrolia family owns, so we propose that it should be turned into a flagship store; making it the centerpiece for the Mangrolian empire.
Being the flagship store we also wanted to make it into the most spectacular one.
The upper floor has boxes in the floor formed as a river, which “flows” from both of the entrances to the stairs which leads to the basement level which is completely covered with boxes, almost as an ocean.
A sofa shaped as Reunion Island is set in the middle of the shoe ocean where one can try out the different models or watch a slideshow projected on the wall of the assortment that the store has to offer.
In some of the boxes, legendary shoes can be kept; for example sneakers from the 80s or fashionable shoes made famous through celebrities, creating a small museum that will attract more visitors and fame for the Mangrolia business as the collection grows.

Saint-André – The Library
This shop has shelves of shoes arranged into smaller rooms with different themes; casual, formal and sport for example.
The transparency of the plexi-boxes makes the shoes look like they are frozen into ice blocks and will create a very intriguing and inviting showcase for the customers.

Le Port – The loop
All the functions of the shop are integrated in to a loop; showcase for the shoes, cashier and seating to try out the shoes.
The loop is extruded where it needs to be high; the cashier and the main showcases and then sinks down to the floor where the entrances are, allowing a free flow of circulation.
The pillars piercing the walls are built in with new inner walls that are painted white, for a smooth and clean backdrop for the shoeboxes. This is something that is recommended for every store.