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[Nettime-ro] Fw: Design Rocks in Portland and Romania
Dan Masca on Thu, 19 Dec 2002 21:24:35 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-ro] Fw: Design Rocks in Portland and Romania

Title: December 18 Design Notes
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 5:24 AM
Subject: Design Rocks in Portland and Romania

Portland, Oregon is a unique, thriving cultural center in the Northwest, and we have been deluged with emails from our customers to open a Studio in the area. Done deal. We're there, with our largest studio to date now open and displaying many pieces that we cannot display in our smaller studios. We are lucky and excited to have found a large space in the award-winning Wieden+Kennedy building, a circa 1910 cold-storage warehouse in Portland's Pearl District that has been masterfully reworked by Portland-based architect Brad Cloepfil into a stunning modern space. The scale of the building is such that it allowed us to hold a Nike design event there last Friday with over 300 designers. Look out for more on that in next week's newsletter.

The Pearl District is Portland's equivalent of SoHo, and we have an amazing array of neighbors that you would normally expect to find only in a much larger metropolitan area. The level of design sophistication, diversity and cultural context in Portland is welcomingly disproportionate to its scale. In our building, you will find:

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)
The seven-year-old, progressive alternative to the Portland Art Museum, it has brought nationally acclaimed contemporary works to Portland and is largely responsible for the city's active arts scene. A great show by Luca Buvoli is happening through February 1, in the library and media center.

PICA, 219 NW 12th Ave. #100, 503.242.1419, www.pica.org

One of the top-ranked cool restaurants in the Northwest. Run by restaurateur Bruce Carey who was formerly at the Fog City Diner in San Francisco, it has a big city urbane feel in terms of both the space and the menu. The use of produce here is indicative of the organic movement that is currently defining food in Oregon.

250 NW 13th Ave., 503.226.3394, http://portland.citysearch.com/review/11339516/editorial

Christiane Millinger Rugs
The selection here runs from oriental carpets to Odegard and Paola Lenti works, curated by Ms. Millinger, who is respected as an authority for quality and aesthetics in her field. This is also the place to have older rugs faithfully restored.

208 NW 13th Ave., 503.274.4440.

And nearby, you'll find the Orchid Exchange, a Vespa dealership, numerous cafés, art galleries and boutiques, as well as the following Portland institutions:

Twist Northwest
The entrepreneur and owner of Twist Northwest is my close friend, Paul Schneider. Paul and I were potters together in Santa Cruz in the '70s, and we've continued to work in the arts together for almost 30 years, as well as keep up a mean flyfishing habit. Twist Northwest is a nationally recognized art gallery/gift concept center that offers truly unique objects from $3 to $15,000 made by artists that Paul and his wife, Lauren, travel the world to curate. It's a standout concept that has held to exceptionally high design standards and personality for 20 years.
30 NW 23rd Place, 503.224.0334, www.twistonline.com

Powell's Bookstore
One of the largest bookstores in the world, it is an institution in the Northwest. It takes up an entire city block and is a mecca for bibliophiles with over a million new and used books. The architecture section is outstanding, and the rare books room is a treat.

Oblation Papers and Press
A quaint paper boutique that does papermaking, and custom printing using a 100-year-old press on site.

750 ml Wine Bar
Rena Vatch runs this tapas bar–like bistro and wine shop, with over 30 wines by the glass, food and a stunning selection of wines for sale.

Both men and women can find potions and elixirs here to combat the daily stresses of urban life, like the hard-to-find, exclusive "Blue" spa line from France. Also handmade soaps, PJs, yoga wear and great skin expertise.

The Perfume House
A quirky 20-year-old boutique that pulls in the scent cognoscenti with the largest selection of real fragrances sold in one location. They have over 1,000 scents, including Evening in Paris, for our reader who recently wrote in.

The David Kerr Violin Shop
With a company philosophy of, "everyone deserves to have music in their lives," David Kerr has the largest selection of used stringed instruments in the Northwest.

American Advertising Museum
Founded in 1986 by historically minded advertising professionals in Portland, the Ad Museum is the only institution of its kind in the U.S., and a general trove of American character, creativity and wit.

Who else but Philippe Starck would mess with a king? To reinvent the classic Louis XV armchair, Starck went to the Milanese manufacturer Kartell to help him create a chair that plays upon both historical style and decorative modernism. Kartell has earned a reputation over the last 50 years for turning plastic materials into soulful and pioneering furniture designs. Starck's Louis Ghost is the most recent advance in manufacturing techniques, produced as a single piece of injection-molded polycarbonate. No small feat considering the extending armrests and the medallion-shaped backrest. Triumphant in its execution, the Louis Ghost is a durable, personality-rich chair, ready for use indoors and out. Find it online, $216.

" The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition. "

—Dave Barry

We juried our E-Card contest last week after having received entries from around the world. We sincerely thank all of the participants for their impressive work. The winning entry came from a design firm in Romania by the name of REEA. We chatted by phone with Dan Masca, the founder of REEA, to learn more about his company and design and life in Romania.

Dan's firm was ecstatic about winning. "No one at our company still believes this is really true. $2000 is a huge sum of money here." REEA was begun six years ago and employs twelve people, all in their 20s and 30s, who specialize in graphic design and programming for the Web. The company is located near Transylvania in a town named Targu Mures. Dan noted, "Americans know Transylvania as where Dracula lives, but there is a lot more going on here." Like great graphic design.

Dan found out about the DWR E-Card contest through a client who lives in Philadelphia. After viewing the DWR web site, the members of REEA felt the products and contest to be in line with their design sensibilities. "Romanians are highly educated, and we all aspire to have nice things, things that you sell on your web site. Here it is not an education or a cultural problem, it is a problem of money."

The American dollar goes a very long way in Romania. Dan told us about the various ways in which they would use the $2,000 award: "Each designer will get a good bonus, so that he can buy gifts for his family, and I will donate my bonus to my child's charity. We will buy, and drink, one bottle of wine to celebrate at the company. We also have enough money now to fund a start-up magazine that benefits local artists and writers in Targu Mures." The unselfish spirit of the folks at REEA really impressed us, and we are pleased to see the award being used so generously by such hard workers. In the six years since Dan started the company, he has never once taken a vacation. He also told us that his dream is " to one day work on a Macintosh."

Click here to see some digital photos that we asked Dan to take of his town and office. We thank all of the contest entrants and REEA for designing a holiday card that represents the boundaryless spirit of design. Click here to see the winning entry.

Rob Forbes

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