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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Architect Tadao Ando First Projectt in Manhattan

 Tadao Ando uses a zen like palette to create a soothing minimalist environment in his new Condo on Elizabeth Street.

Although 152 Elizabeth Street is considered a small-scale project compared to many other current Manhattan developments, Tadao Ando's  structure is currently one of the most closely-watched projects in New York City.

"One of the building's signature design features is found in its vestibule, a floor-to ceiling water wall with grooved glass panels that are naturally backlit by diffused natural light.  Residents and visitors immediately experience the tension between light and shadow, with light piercing through slits in the walls, animating the room's architectural concrete surfaces." - Tadao Ando
Legendary self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando is changing the residential fabric of Manhattan with his first project in New York City.  The project is a concrete condominium exemplifying the thesis of his previous monumental buildings, and is located at 152 Elizabeth Street.  This 32,000-square foot, 7-story, 7-residence structure will be Ando’s first residential building in Manhattan, and is expected to be complete in 2016. Prices for one of the 7 apartments at 152 Elizabeth Street are expected to start around $6 million, with the penthouse unit expecting to be over $35 million.  Price is not a concern in this concrete jungle, however; The New York Times has reported that there has already been over 200 purchase inquires from local residents who are willing to pay the price to live in a truly unique and masterful structure.  Ando has been glorified for creating spaces that stress sensory experiences and create lasting memories, and has won several distinguished awards including the AIA Gold Medal, the Gold Medal of Architecture, and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. This minimalist architect has proven his worth to the rest of the world - now he gets to try out his design talents in the most demanding city in the world where high realestate prices in edgy neighborhoods are the norm. - Ecomanta

Tadao Ando is known for his primary use of concrete and his emphasis on nothingness in order to stress beauty, simplicity, and nature.

As a self-taught Architect, Ando is extremely influenced by his Japanese upbringing and religion.  His work is often likened to the religious term Zen, meaning the inner focus on simplicity rather than outward appearances.  Ando primarily uses concrete, one of the most common materials of the 21st Century, but implements the material in a simple and holistic style which differentiates him from all other contemporary architects.

Friday, October 23, 2015

How to Design with Art and Architecture.

A room by Inson Dubois Wood with paintings by Andy Warhol. 

Inson Wood uses a sculpture by Rodin / Bourdelle which is a match to one in Paris. A Ron Erlich creates a back drop for a sculpture by Jaime Hayon Lladro.

New York City Designer, Inson Wood, with a painting by Ron Erlich.

A Marc Chagall hangs in a bedroom designed by New York Interior Designer, Inson Wood. 

For a Greenwich Village Townhouse, Inson Wood chose a computer generated encaustic style series by Hye Rim Lee, a female artist from Korean living between New York and New Zealand.

A children's room by Inson Dubois Wood with art by Jeff Koons and 

Painting by Justin Bower in a Upper Eastside Townhouse. 

New York Architect, Inson Dubois Wood, who comes from a family of art dealers and art makers, shares his insights on art and design. 

The Importance of Art and Architecture in Design

Too often we forget the importance of good art and good architecture when it comes to interior design.  Without significant and well proportioned architecture, the decorating tends to fall apart. So often we see a potentially fantastic design composition ruined by the underlying architecture and floor plan layout.  We asked New York based interior designer Inson Wood of design firm Inson Dubois Wood what his most important tips were when it comes to design, architecture and art.

E: How significant is art and architecture when it comes to design? 
IDW: Too often I have observed do it yourself designers creating potentially amazing spaces only to have the proportions of the room all wrong and millwork that is too small or big to fit the room. Layout and scale are everything. I am repeatedly called in to rescue projects where a client has chosen a designer who doesn't understand architecture proportion or architects who don't know scale when it comes to furniture. Art can cause similar issues. Sometimes I am astounded to find that art is left to the last item as if it were a mere accessory. If I have my way I prefer to design an entire room around a significant piece of art. For  Clients who love collecting art - important art or otherwise - I have gone great lengths to ensure there is enough room for the sculpture or painting to breathe and be appreciated. 

E: How do you go about picking art for clients who do not have much experience with collecting.
IDW: First off I like to establish if the client is interested in having art as an investment or just for personal pleasure. Some pieces I have chosen are truly unique paintings that are very affordable and clients are pleased when they are valued at 10 times the buy price when they sell at Sothebys for instance.  The painting should be suitable to the environment of the room - but should not try to be matchy matchy. For clients who are afraid of using color, artwork is the best solution - it can be changed, moved, or sold if you want to change the feeling of the room.  When I studied architecture  at Harvard, I was fortunate to study the works of Le Corbusier and Zaha Hadid - both designed furniture and created paintings and sculpture - the true architect must know all forms of art - from the spoon to the house that contains it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Design in 2000 BC - Worth the Travel - Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Perhaps one of the best recent shows of historical Egyptian art in the world - the latest unveiling of these specimen Egyptian treasures can now be seen on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. - Ecomanta.

Ancient Egypt is box office gold: Do a show, and people will come. Why? Mummies, Hollywood and Queen Nefertiti certainly contribute to its allure. Also, we tend to identify with Egyptians of thousands of years ago. In art, they look exotic, but not out of reach. They drank beer, collected cats, and wore flip-flops. They yearned to stay young and to live forever, with loved ones nearby and snack food piled high. Who can’t relate to that?
At the same time, they were foreign in ways we can barely imagine, ruled by kings they referred to as “junior gods,” and by gods who had power over all, but had to be flattered, pampered and fed. As for art, they had no word for it. What to us is gorgeous, to them was useful, a ticket to the other side, the life beyond.
Few institutions have done a better job at illuminating that art than the Metropolitan Museum. And it returns to the subject in “Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom,” an exhibition notably low on King Tut bling and high on complex beauty. Opening on Monday, it’s a classic Met product. It assembles some 230 top-shelf objects from more than 30 international collections, with about a third from the Met itself, to tackle an impossibly broad and complicated piece of history.

A relief of an elite woman painted on limestone, from about 1887-1840 BC.CreditThe Trustees of the British Museum, London 
Oddly, given its central place in Egypt’s past, the Middle Kingdom (circa 2030 to 1650 B.C.) has never had a comprehensive museum showcase till now. Maybe “middle” sounds unsexy, implies incomplete, in progress, unformed. But that wasn’t the case. The Middle Kingdom was a time of specific change and accomplishment. And in a sense what’s most distinctive about its art is precisely its in-between-ness, its demonstration, within a culture that wanted to believe otherwise, that all is flux; nothing is stable; the only reality is change.
A big change came to Egypt with the sputtering close of the previous period, the Old Kingdom, the so-called age of the great pyramids, with its capital at Memphis in the north. Then, for nearly a century, there was anarchic confusion as provincial leaders battled for dominance. Out of the fray, a southern ruler named Mentuhotep II, pharaoh of the 11th dynasty, emerged to take the reins. Then, under Amenemhat I, founder of the 12th dynasty, northern and southern Egypt were reunited.
A sandstone statue of Mentuhotep II, who ruled from around 2051 to 2000 B.C., opens the show. It’s carved in a calculatedly archaic style: stolid, columnar, arms stiffly crossed, knees like knobs, face locked in a noncommittal smile. Old Kingdom and proud, it seems to say, though it was, of course, Middle Kingdom, and innovations in art were underway. The body of a similar figure made later under his direct successor is all sensuous swells and curves. And in a relief depicting an encounter between a pharaoh and a goddess, the fineness of the incised detail — eyebrows, hair, fabric textures — is astonishing. We see power being visually packaged in new ways.
Such shifts in vision, reflecting political and social change, are evident in the show’s second gallery, which has been set up as a kind of royal portrait hall. In the sculpted head of the second pharaoh of the 12th dynasty, Senwosret I, we see Old Kingdom confidence: a youthful, plump-cheeked leader with a broad, no-worries smile. Some 50 years later his successor, Senwosret III, projects an entirely different mood: His face is aged, gaunt, grim. And then comes a famously haunting image of one of the dynasty’s last rulers, Amenemhat III, as a stricken, sleep-deprived child-king who has seen too much.

Wildness, implying unpredictability and loss of control, was seldom expressed in Egyptian culture, which patrolled borders and monitored hierarchies. But it’s there, a bit, in Middle Kingdom art, in a tiny pottery figurine of a distraught mourner, in a fragment of battle-scene relief in which human limbs rain from the sky.  - Holland Cotter

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Construction New York City Upper Eastside Townhouse: Being at the right place at the right time...then taking action.

A bleached wedge wood clad library makes for a fabulous sofa covered in Hermes leather. The rear facade is floor to ceiling glass on every floor with a glass terrace and glass stairs so even the basement level receives ample light on the south facade. 
In a new construction ground up townhouse by Inson Dubois Wood an African mask contrasts perfectly against a fabulous photo by Alberto Rizzo, who is collected by MoMA and the Met. In the living room a fragmented portrait painting by Justin Bower, reminds us of the way in which society loses a little bit of its humanity with each electronic social media device it creates.
Minimalism and elegant modern luxe was the name of the game at this Upper Eastside Townhouse by Inson Dubois Wood. A limestone facade compliments the neighboring townhouses on this classic street which the classic movie starring Jack Lemmon: "How to Murder Your Wife" was filmed 
The basement is incredibly well lit naturally with the help of a glass terrace above which does not obstruct the southern light. 

A custom bed by Inson Dubois Wood has a touch of woven horse hair added to the headboard for elegance. Mid century modern lamps are 1960's Murano hand blown.

Architect and Interior Designer, Inson Wood runs Inson Dubois Wood LLC a turn key hi-end residential design firm that has projects in 5 countries, including Asia, Europe and Australia. The firm has recently been published in a new book on Scandanavian design by TeNeus titled: "Living in Style Scandinavia" as well as Luxe, New York Space, Resident Magazine, Haute Living, and Manhattan Magazine.

The master bathroom has phosphorous glass which makes the stunning views to the opposing religious structure opaque at the touch of a switch for privacy. The inscription on the pediment reads"Unto the Lord I would prepare a perfect people."

The rear terrace was completely reconstructed and lined with hand chased stone lining the entire wall surface. A glass top vanity has a hidden reveal to open the bleached Macassar drawers. 
We had the opportunity to corner the busy designer architect, Inson Wood, of Inson Dubois Wood, a Park Avenue based Internationally Published Turn Key Hi-end Design firm and ask him to give us the background story on how he got to do all the design for the construction and interior design for a ground up Townhouse in Manhattan's prestigious Upper East Side ( the New York City's  most prestigious zip code ) that was published in New York Spaces last month.

Ecomanta: Tell how this extraordinary project came about. 

IDW: " I guess the biggest take away from this project is that it pays to workhard...A few years ago I met a client at a charity function. It turned out he and his wife had attended Harvard as did I - we had a few things in common. We both loved skiing, cycling, and...architecture. 
     Fast forward - a quick consult on a closet modification led to a search for the perfect fixer upper - which in turn led to a ground up new construction townhouse on the Upper Eastside. The townhouse originally meant to be a possible flip ended up being a complete teardown with every detail thought out - from front and rear facade, floor plan layout, lighting, stair design, rear garden, roof terrace, furniture, fabrics, accessories, lighting and even down to art curation and selection of their growing art collection. When finished it so suited the clients taste and lifestyle - they complimented me on my relentless tenacity to stick with my vision and see it to the end.  The collaboration of their good taste melded with my streamlined aesthetic ended up being a true win win.

Ecomanta: What was your inspiration or basic premise with the design?

IDW: Most of my projects don't have a specific style. Instead they are like a custom suit or timeless painting - they have to last forever, or at least have that intention in the way they are built.  My goal is always to create spaces and objects so beautiful they will never be thrown away. Not every piece has to be a limited edition design, however as a composition it should really sing so that if one piece is removed you immediately feel that it is missing.  Some projects have been so successful that I get calls from clients who have moved to another state - but are ecstatic that they sold their home with all the furniture in tact to the new owners, that they are interested in continuing the relationship as they really experienced the value added. Conversely, I even get calls from new buyer/owners asking if I can work the same project, but to modify it slightly to accommodate their lifestyle. They love the design, instead of ripping everything out like many new buyers, they want to actually continue with my design concept in the same vein.  This is the ultimate compliment - a new buyer purchases the property because they love the overall design - and then call you to continue the design process with them. The dream of any architect or designer is to create something that will stand the test of time - to be utterly timeless.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Network: Harvard, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Morphew, Rick Owens, Mitzi Perdue, Space Sixteen Soho, Inson Wood and Jim Luce of Huffington Post.

Mitzi Perdue, at her book signing recently held at - Soho's hottest new destination lifestyle boutique.  Daniela Zahradnikova co-founder Space16, Mitzi Perdue, Inson Wood, Sara Herbert-Galloway, Lorraine Cancro-Silvetz, CEO of the Global Stress Initiative. 

Singer performer, Cynthia Basinet, Mitzi Purdue with Jewelry design maven, Lauren Chisholm. 
Six degrees of separation turns into one degree at  Space Sixteen Soho when Lorraine Cancos and Sara Herbert Galloway are involved with event planning. Shown here with Huffington Post - editor and contributor and descendant of Harvard Founding Fathers, Jim Luce. 

Couture visionary Maggie Norris displayed her fashion runway pieces - Maggie Norris has done red carpet Gala Gowns for Vogue and notables such as Nicole Kidman, Beyonce, Rhianna, Naomi Watts, and several presidential First Ladies.

An honor to have the former design director for Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Maggie Norris, and her incredible creations at Space Sixteen Soho. 

The radiant author and Harvard alum, Mitzi Purdue,  and her support team leader - Sara Galloway.

Mastermind Daniela Zahradnikova, founder of Space Sixteen Southampton and Space Sixteen Soho (  Photos by Steve Mack

Interior designer of Space 16, Inson Wood, with Philanthropist Jane Pontarelli. Photos by Steve Mack
Philanthropist Sara Herbert-Galloway and creative director /designer / architect of space 16, Inson Dubois Wood. Steve Mack 

Daniela Zharadnikova, boutique founder and anti-poverty champion for the homeless,  being interviewed about her new store, and collaboration with art gallery Unix and collectible ceramics house - Lladro  ( note: Lladro's black and white Guests by Jaime Hayon - loom in the backround next to an orange Fairchild and Baldwin hand Bag. Vintage Bags by Louis Vuitton, Celine and Hermes.  Photos by  Steve Mack

Holistic Health and Yoga specialist and founder of Super Role Models and champion in the fight against Drug Addiction, Asia Janina Dyrkacz.  Photo by Steve Mack

Asia and Daniela in front of a wall unit designed by Architect/ Interior Designer, Inson Dubois Wood. A spherical handbag by Michael McElroy in Gold next to an art piece featuring Louis Vuitton as a pill/drug/ prophalactic. - Photo by Steve Mack
Inson Wood, Internationally published Architect/ Interior Designer with artist, King Saladeen at Space Sixteen in Soho, NY

A new fashion boutique, Space16 in Soho, New York, founded by an influential group of entrepreneurs, recently hosted a book signing by Mitzi Purdue.  A modular wall unit designed by Inson Wood served as a chic backdrop and elegant example of furniture that can be re-purposed forever. This simple modular bookcase/ desk/ hutch comes apart and fits into an SUV for compact and easy moves. An array of beautiful fashion elements, bags, jewelry, skin care products, cashmere and silk scarves, and even some couture and vintage fashion pieces, were efficiently and beautifully displayed.  Daniela Zahradnikova is a long standing member of the Soho Partnership and Ace Foundation - which made Space 16 possible.  A portion of the profits from Space16 goes to support several charitable causes.  As do proceeds from the sale of Mitzi Perdue's bestselling book, Tough Man, Tender Chicken, which unveils the uncompromising search for excellence her husband, Frank Purdue, sought and achieved in the food industry.  In the end it was a night of giving.  Pay it forward - and you will eventually get paid...even in a tough town like New York City. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel and the work of Genius street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat under the mentoring of Andy Warhol

Although there was a time when MOMA rejected Basquiat's work deciding not to collect his work ( and to this day do not own any ) - Jean Michel Bastiat will one day be rembered to be a more pivotal and creative artist then his mentor Andy Warhol or other contemporary pop artists such as Keith Haring or Takashi Murakami. The reality of the problem of Basquiat is that he remains the single artist of African descent that anyone knows - an irony by the pure fact that he is indeed the most creative and enigmatic of all the artists of his period. Basquiat truly captured the  Warholian era of the lower Eastside, Soho, Tribeca cub scene of Madonna and other maverick artists like Mapplethorpe and not unlike Michelangelo became the hottest thing in town - both for the aesthetics he portrayed and created as well as the aesthetics of the raw intensity of an artist who had actually lived on the streets for a time. Basquiat's rise to fame  (with the help of Peggy Guggenheim and Warhol ) and fall into the abyss - was more intense than the tragedy of Icarus himself. In time Basquiats pure originality, ability to critique the same people and society who cultivated and promoted his career, will show that he was indeed more of an independent thinker than the great Michelangelo himself. As one of the highest selling artists at Sothebys and Christies

Andy Warhol mentored Jean-Michel Basquiat - until the student surpassed the master. 

Inson Dubois Wood is promoting and collecting  a series of luxury / Street art inspired artists that are now selling at prices in the 5 digit level and above. 

auction in any category, Jean-Michel Basquiat has defined himself as the reigning king less than 20 years since he has left this earth and ascended into immortalality in the heavens - long live the king, of pop.

Basquiat is the leading pop artist from the Street Hip Hop generation that came out of the 1980's 

Andy Warhol - seeking to keep his brand fresh collaborated on pieces with Basquiat - entering into a world he experimented little with on his own - that of the creative composition of freehand painting and freedom of thought using controversial and quasi political texts dealing with race, oppression and social status of minorities. 

Unlike his predecessors - Basquiats style was not built on the works of previous artists - his originality of color, from and style set him apart from almost all other artists. Basquiat truly reinvented the wheel - with his ability to paint and draw - and write through paint - all a powerful message about the state of mankind both internally and externally - a true shaman, Basquiat could see the future and the past simultaneously. 

One of the first pop artists to grapple with the question of race inequality. 

Like Michelangelo - Basquiat was a master of color and composition - although in a very different exploration of spatial relationships. 

Color combinations of Basquiat took painting to an entirely different level and like Michelangelo - told a story of human suffering and oppression, of mental anguish and the true state of humanities follies and tragedies. 

Michelangelo explores depth of space, color, proportion and the topic human tragedy. 

Michelangelo - master of the Papel court and master of color. 

Originally labeled as being "Naive Art" - Basquiat was more masterful both intellectually and artistically than many masters. 

Temptation, greed and inequality are often topics in both Basquiat and Michelangelos work, although expressed in very different ways. Both explore human tragedy and tell the story of the fragility of man. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat emerged from the "Punk" scene in New York as a gritty, street-smart graffiti artist who successfully crossed over from his "downtown" origins to the international art gallery circuit. In a few fast-paced years, Basquiat swiftly rose to become one of the most celebrated, and possibly most commercially exploited American "naif" painters of the widely celebrated Neo-Expressionism art movement.
Basquiat's work is one of the few examples of how an early 1980s American Punk, or graffiti-based and counter-cultural practice could become a fully recognized, critically embraced and popularly celebrated artistic phenomenon, indeed not unlike the rise of American Hip Hop during the same era.
Despite his work's "unstudied" appearance, Basquiat very skillfully and purposefully brought together in his art a host of disparate traditions, practices, and styles to create a unique kind of visual collage, one deriving, in part, from his urban origins, and in another a more distant, African-Caribbean heritage.
For some critics, Basquiat's swift rise to fame and equally swift and tragic death by drug overdose epitomizes and personifies the overly commercial, hyped up international art scene of the mid 1980s, a cultural phenomenon that for many observers was symptomatic of the largely artificial bubble economy of the era.
Basquiat's work is an example of how American artists of the 1980s could reintroduce the human figure in their work after the wide success of Minimalism and Conceptualism, thus establishing a dialogue with the more distant tradition of 1950s Abstract Expressionism.


Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960. His mother was of Puerto Rican heritage, and his father a Haitian immigrant, the combination of which eventually led to the young Jean-Michel's fluency in French, Spanish, and English (indeed, early readings of French symbolist poetry would come to influence Basquiat's later work). Basquiat displayed a talent for art in early childhood, learning to draw and paint with his mother's encouragement. Together they attended New York City museum exhibitions, and by the age of six, Jean-Michel found himself already enrolled as a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum.
After being hit by a car as a young child, Basquiat underwent surgery for the removal of his spleen, an event that led to his reading the famous medical and artistic treatise, Gray's Anatomy. The sinewy bio-mechanical images of this text, along with those equally linear personages that Basquiat enjoyed in popular graphic novels, would one day come to inform his mature, graffiti-inscribed canvases.
After his parents' divorce, Basquiat lived alone with his father, his mother having been determined unfit to care for him owing to mental instability. Claiming physical and emotional abuse, Basquiat eventually ran away from home and was adopted by a friend's family. Although he attended school sporadically in New York and Puerto Rico, he finally dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School, in Brooklyn, in September 1978, at the age of 18.
A product of the hyped-up 1980s, Basquiat and his work continue to serve for many observers as a metaphor for the dangers of artistic and social excess. Like a superhero of a graphic novel, Basquiat seemed to rocket to fame and riches, and then, just as speedily, fall back to Earth, the victim of drug abuse and eventual overdose.
Manhattan based tastemaker architect interior designer advises clients on high end bluechip and secondary art purchases as well as investing in emerging artists who he sees have huge growth potential.
The recipient of posthumous retrospectives at the Brooklyn Museum (2005) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992), as well as the subject of numerous biographies and documentaries, including Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010; Tamra Davis, Dir.), and Julian Schnabel's feature film, Basquiat (1996; starring former friend David Bowie as Andy Warhol), Basquiat and his counter-cultural example persist. His art remains a constant source of inspiration for contemporary artists, his short, but seemingly epic life a constant source of intrigue for a global art-loving public.