Wednesday, 2 April 2014

BENAH LOVES | William O'Brien Jr.

Award-winning American architect William O’Brien Jr. has designed two single-storey holiday houses located in upstate New York, now affectionately dubbed the Twin Houses, owned now by two brothers and their families. It is by way of obsessive geometry that these minimalist structures were realized. While one is a regular six-sided polygon and the other is a four-sided polygon, each building is composed from the same five forms: four trapezoids and one triangle. Heavy stuff, eh? Well, stay with us, because it’s about to get even more complicated…

According to a press release about the site, “the mathematical principle of ‘dissection’ states that any two regular polygons with equal areas can be divided into sets of similar shapes; “minimal dissection” is the pursuit of the fewest number of subdivisions in each polygon. This scheme appropriates this principle as a solution to (1) general similarities in the programmatic requirements, and (2) distinctions in the desired relationships to the site, voiced by the two brothers for each of their homes.

Now, mathematics aside, these deeply considered and meticulously planned buildings are a sight for the eyes (if not the brain also). And, as these gorgeous images by Peter Guthrie reveal, although of the stark minimalist variety and not to mention a sharp black, these twin structures provide both a jarring contrast to the rugged terrain that holds them, as well as a adding a certain poetry to the landscape. A match made in heaven.  

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

ART | Amalia Pica

We are always going to celebrate strong, dedicated women with a clear vision, and Argentinian artist, Amalia Pica fits this description to a tee. Born in Argentina and based in London, Pica often explores notions of communication and metaphor through her diverse range of work. In 2013, the MCA of Chicago exhibited the artist’s first major solo show in the United States, which included fifteen of her most significant work in addition to new and exciting commissions. Using deceptively simple materials such as photocopies, light bulbs, glasses, and bottles and cardboard, Pica creates work that is both formally beautiful and conceptually robust. She considers the connections between the sending of human messages and the making of an artwork, and the often-childish desire to be understood. In her eyes, the fact that we strive for sympathy (even if our good intentions are misconstrued) is a beautiful thing. 

Friday, 28 March 2014

READ | Sketches

Dutch photographer Vivianne Sassen spent most of her childhood in a remote village in the West of Kenya. This, according to many critics of her work, has given her a daring and original eye as both a fashion and artistic photographer. Her book, Sketches, is a showcase of her original and unique outlook on a world marked by parallel existences between the Netherlands and Africa and one pursuant of a strong visual identity.  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

BENAH LOVES | ELKE: Everyday Hero For Everest

Elke Kramer is one of Australia’s industry leaders in fashion, jewellery and design, and she launched her self-directed, eponymous label 10 years ago, in 2004. Since then it has generated a cult following and is stocked in boutiques around the world. A creative-director, as well as innovative jewellery designer and illustrator, Elke brings a vast reservoir of creativity to each of her artistic endeavors… But now she tackles something much bigger!
This April. Elke will be pushing her limits on trek to base camp of Mount Everest for Sunnyfield's 'On Top of the World' Campaign, with Cheif Financial Officer of Sunnyfield, Annie Doyle. As well as joining Annie (who will be climbing the entire summit of the mountain), Elke will be trekking with three other amazing women: director of Hype DC, Cindy Gilbert, artist and former Olympian, Sophie Cape, publishing entrepreneur, Melissa Bergin, and installation artist, Kate Mitchell.
The campaign aims to raise $100k for Sunnyfield services, and Elke has pledged to raise $10k in support of her ambassadorship for the charity. What Elke is striving to highlight through her commitment to this trek are facts about youth and intellectual disability, as a significant number of Sunnyfield clients are still under 18, 60% of them having a moderate to severe communication impairment.

We are incredibly proud of the commitment Elke is making, and we would like to express our full support for this incredible example of courage and humanitarianism that these women are embarking on! And in a celebration of the strong, creative woman that Elke is, we wanted to pick her brain by way of an ever-intriguing Proust Questionnaire. She certainly is an incredibly inspiring person:   
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The absence of family. And ritual.

Where would you like to live?
Under the sea.

What is your ideal of earthly happiness?
To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have every single night a bath and a glass (or two) of red wine.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
My love of wine.

Who are your favourite heroes of fiction?
The Wizard of Oz.

Who are your favourite characters in history?
Luisa Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino and the beautiful, extravagant and eccentric Italian heiress from the turn of the century, who astonished society by parading with a pair of leashed cheetahs and wearing live snakes as jewellery.

Who are your favourite heroines in real life?

Your favourite painter?
Cy Twombly

Your favourite musician?
Abdelkader Chaou

The quality you most admire in a man?

The quality you most admire in a woman?
The ability to birth life.

Your favourite virtue?

Your favourite occupation?
I also wanted to be a florist,

Who would you have liked to be?
A wine maker living in the south of France, with a pottery kiln, bucket-loads of spare time and a large sailing boat.

Your most marked characteristics?
You can’t get away with much with a head full of crazy curls – I stick out like a sore thumb.

What do you most value in your friends?
Creativity. All my friends inspire me with their wealth of talent.

What is your principle defect?
I am the world’s worst time manager and I get nothing done on time. To quote a coin from my dear friend Georgia Ashdown; I am a ‘Time Optimist’ that being I assume I have more then I do and as a result constantly finish short of my expectations

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To loose your sight, This world is a visual feast.

What would you like to be?

What is your favourite colour?
Rose gold.

What is your favourite flower?
I currently am obsessed with Rhododendrons, and am excited that they bloom into season just as I hit the great Himalayans trail up to Base Camp Everest next week!
Rhododendrons have medicinal properties and Bees that harvest pollen exclusively from these plants produce honey that is hallucinogenic

What is your favourite bird?
At preschool, when I was five, my group of girlfriends allocated everyone a bird, based on a reflection of their looks and nature. I was given the Dodo bird, probably as a joke, but I think it has formed the foundation of my sense of self in others eyes. Thus I love the Dodo bird in a way I have learned to love myself.

Who are your favourite writers?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Who are your favourite poets?
Rumi, an Islamic love poet.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Who are your favourite heroines of history? Cleopatra

What are your favourite names?
Dahlia, Juniper, Zivah, Myrtle, Saffron… My partner is scared if we have any more kids it will start sound like we are spice merchants.

What is it you most dislike?
Being inactive. Doing nothing. Stagnancy.

What historical figures do you most despise?
Joseph Goebbels.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Rhythm. And will power.

How would you like to die?
Painlessly, at the tail of a rich and vibrant life.

What is your present state of mind?
Content and excited.

What is your motto?
‘Oh, The glory of now’ (care of my father)

If you would like to show your support for Elke and for Sunnyfield, just visit her Everyday Hero page to make a donation or write a motivational message. All help will be greatly appreciated!