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Monday, September 29, 2014

Material Ecologist Neri Oxman to Give UVM Aiken Lecture

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Pneuma 1, by Neri Oxman | 3D printed models produced by Stratasys - YORAM RESHEF
  • Yoram Reshef
  • Pneuma 1, by Neri Oxman | 3D printed models produced by Stratasys
Neri Oxman’s creations look like they’ve emerged from a 1950s science-fiction film. Multicolored, alien crenellations bend into weird but oddly recognizable shapes; weird textures evoke deep-sea creatures or weird insects. They’re extremely difficult to figure out.

But that inscrutable nature is by design. Just as Oxman’s projects look both bizarre and familiar, she resists easy categorization herself. Part artist, part scientist and part designer, Oxman works in a field that’s she’s dubbed “material ecology,” the goal of which is to study how new techniques of design and fabrication can transform the creation of everyday objects and structures. As she put it on her blog, her overall project is to investigate the ways that design intersects with “architecture, enginerring, computation, and ecology.”

Many of Oxman’s most striking designs draw their inspiration from natural materials: internal organs, insect carapaces, seashells. Oxman, a professor at MIT, is at the cutting edge of the 3-D printing revolution, and has used the technology to design and build everything from bike helmets to high-fashion dresses to carpal-tunnel wristguards.

Neri Oxman will visit the University of Vermont this Thursday to deliver the George D. Aiken Lecture, “Material Ecology: A New Approach to Nature-Inspired Design and Engineering.” By email, she answered some questions for Seven Days in advance of her talk.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Inn at Grace Farm Opens in Fairfax

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

The hills are alive! - COURTESY OF THE INN AT GRACE FARM
  • Courtesy of the Inn at Grace Farm
  • The hills are alive!

Situated on a hillside overlooking the Champlain Valley, the recently opened Inn at Grace Farm in Fairfax offers the kind of views that scream — politely and with a gentle New England accent — “Vermont!” The several nearby waterfalls don’t hurt the place’s appeal, either.

In addition to its five rooms and suites, the newly built facility boasts a “wedding barn,” which just hosted its first nuptial ceremony in April. But the barn, a roundish structure with exposed beams arrayed on the ceiling, has been constructed with more than just one purpose in mind.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vermont Architecture in the News: Green Building, Top Interiors

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM

Recording studios aim for the best possible sound, but who said they can't also be pretty — and green?

Not Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects. The New York-based group was just awarded the 2013 Award of Merit from the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its design of Guilford Sound. The sustainably built, energy-efficient facility is owned by Dave Snyder.

The place was chosen, according to a press release, for its relationship to both the land and to other buildings on the property, including a renovated 19th-century farmhouse and a building that houses a wood-fired boiler.

Also this week, Burlington's TruexCullins Interiors was given the 2014 Interior Design Award for New England by the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. It's a good trick to get an award from the future. But then, 2014 isn't all that far away.

Founded in LA nearly three decades ago, the nonprofit NEWH is dedicated to "fostering and celebrating women leaders in hospitality design," according to a press release. Closer to home, principal Kim Deetjen and her team can lay claim to the renovation of Topnotch Resort & Spa in Stowe and the interior of Hotel Vermont in Burlington. The latter, by the way, was included in the top 10 new hotels of 2013 by TripAdvisor. 

You can watch Deetjen talk about her design inspirations here

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

S'Up to You, People: Cast Your Votes for Vermont Architects

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Everyone likes to critique the built environment, right? The Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIAVT) is offering a chance to make your opinion count.

On its website, AIAVT has posted 39 photographs of architectural projects, along with a voting tool visitors can use to cast their votes — through Wednesday, November 27. These images, collectively the "People's Choice Exhibit," will be displayed at an event in the Vermont Statehouse on December 5 where the recipient of the 2013 People's Choice Award will be announced.

That's where you come in. Take a look at the photos and pick your fave. While all the architects live and work in Vermont, their projects are both local and all over the world.

The photo above is "Chapel" by Robert Peabody Brown of St. Johnsbury, last year's choice of the people.

Photo courtesy of AIAVT. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Different Kind of Happy Hour at the Mt. Philo Inn

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Visitors to the newly renovated Mt. Philo Inn can expect to find more than cozy quarters, including the Charlotte inn's library pictured here. If you arrive at one of three upcoming Thursdays at 5:30, you can sit back with a Vermont beer or wine and listen to a speaker from a local museum.

That's the idea behind the "History Happy Hour," which launches today in the inn's Ballroom with a salon-style talk by Jane Williamson, director of Ferrisburgh's Rokeby Museum. It's one way owner Dave Garbose aims to get people — whether staying in one of the inn's suites or just living nearby — to come in and see the place.

Just two more History Happy Hours are planned for now:

October 17, with Erick Tichonuk, executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum; and October 24, with curator of design Kory Rogers of the Shelburne Museum.

The talks are scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30, and an RSVP is required at 425-3335 or garbose@mtphiloinn.com. The inn is at 27 Inn Road at the base of Mt. Philo State Park in Charlotte.

Photograph courtesy of Dave Garbose.

 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Radio Bean Is Expanding Again

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 3:19 PM

 

Radio Bean (File photo by Matthew Thorsen, 2010)

This just in from North Winooski Avenue: Radio Bean is expanding yet again.

In a phone call this afternoon, Lee Anderson, owner of both the Bean and the coffee shop's adjoining restaurant, ¡Duino! (Duende), informs Seven Days that he will be taking over the lease in the space previously occupied by the recently closed Caribbean Buffet restaurant. He says he plans to have the new space open by January 1, 2014.

And just what does Anderson plan to do with the space? Expanded seating for the restaurant? More stage space for bands, perhaps? 

Nope. It's gonna be a lamp shop. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Anderson's new venture will be a lamp shop that sells locally made lamps and accessories and other vintage baubles. It will also include the "Kitty Corner," where Anderon's wife, soul singer Kat Wright, will sell her own handcrafted goods. And, yes, there will also be a bar, though Anderson says he views that aspect of the venture to be secondary to selling lamps. 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shelburne Museum's New Arts and Education Center Gets a Name

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Build it and they will ... name it after you?

The Shelburne Museum has announced the long-awaited moniker for its not-even-open-yet Arts and Education Center, and it is Pizzagalli! Which is a good thing, because "Arts and Education Center" is really boring. "Pizzagalli" has, well, pizzazz.

So named for James, Angelo and Remo Pizzagalli and their families, the beautiful stone-and-glass facility officially opens on August 18. 

The Pizzagallis are not only builders (PC Construction); they are notable local philanthropists. James is past chair and current member of the board of trustees, and the family is credited as "longtime museum benefactors" in a press release issued this morning. Said James:

We believe strongly in Shelburne Museum’s mission and are proud to see the institution move forward with this building and with a year-round program of educational offerings and exhibitions.

Inside the center, two wings are separately named for other generous donors: The Theodore H. Church Exhibition Wing, after the late art collector and owner of Superior Technical Ceramics Corp. in St. Albans; and the J. Warren McClure and Family Education Wing, honoring a well-known philanthropic clan. 

The Pizzagalli Center is part of an ongoing $14 million capital campaign, which includes an endowment to sustain operations of the building, as well as to install a fiber-optic communications network throughout the 45-acre campus. If Electra Havemeyer Webb could see her museum now!

Expect a ribbon cutting and daylong festivities on Sunday, August 18.

 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hotel Vermont Offers More Than Temporary Lodging: It's Arty, Too

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Everyone who's seen it is raving about Hotel Vermont. And for good reason: It's beautiful. Besides what appear to be comfy beds, all the usual amenities and a more-than-a-sliver lake view, Burlington's brand-new boutique hotel has a handsome, contemporary look both inside and out. And much has already been made of how the place marries an almost austere, minimalist aesthetic to Vermonty touches such as homegrown wood and stone, Johnson Woolen Mills blankies and loads of local spirits at the bar.

Just as cool is the presence of the suitably spare-but-handsome artwork of Duncan Johnson. Not only is the West Hartford artist's piece the highlight of the lobby — pictured here behind the registration desk — it is also used on the website and in the marketing and advertising graphics for the hotel.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Previewing the Shelburne Museum's Newest Acquisition: A Beautiful Building

Posted By on Mon, May 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM



This week I was among a group of so-called "Barnstormers" who got a sneak peek at the new Center for Art and Education on the graceful grounds of the Shelburne Museum. It won't officially open until August 18, but the place was sufficiently finished to allow visitors to troop through and deliver their oohs and ahhs.

And I have to say the building is impressive. The handsome, contemporary structure — designed by Ann Beha Architects of Boston — employs local granite and other stone, lots of glass and natural wood. Its sleek geometry fits right in among the much older buildings on the campus, updating but not overwhelming the museum's proportions. 

 

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