Thursday, April 14, 2011

EGGS AND DESIGN

LAYING A GOLDEN EGG


Eggs have inspired designers with its perfect shape to embellish and replicate this extraordinary simplicity in all sorts of final products, although the perfection of nature is hard for any of us to improve upon. Here are a few designers who have tried.

Back in 1885 Czar Alexander III needed to up the ante for his twentieth wedding anniversary that coincided with Orthodox Easter.  Now here’s a good husband, he had heard his wife had discovered a little known young jeweler named Peter Carl Faberge. Czar Alex, under the cloak of secrecy, went out in search of the neophyte designer and commissioned him to whip up something unexpected that would turn his sweet Czarina into a pool of jelly. With little time to prepare Pete put his talents to work creating the first Faberge egg, a simple enameled egg with a surprise inside. Once opened it revealed a golden yolk and inside the yolk was a golden hen that concealed a miniature diamond replica of the royal crown and a ruby egg. The Czarina was pleased, very pleased. Faberge had a standing contract that went on for two generations until the royal family was snuffed out in 1917. The eggs are now in museums and private collections all over the world. One of the largest collections remained in the Forbes museum for years until recently when it was purchased by a Russian oil magnate with the intention of returning it to Russia. Eight eggs still remain unaccounted for so keep your eyes open at your local flea market or multi-dealer antique shops. Who knows?

From the beautifully overly ornate to the simplified contemporary, here is an example of how current technology can scramble the egg into design success.  In 1964 modPod took the egg, creatively cracked it open, and popped out a chair. They added speakers and an ottoman and now we have a design icon that is as functional as it is beautiful. Available through Inmood the chair and ottoman are available in an array of color combinations but our favorite is the one that really looks like an egg.

From the past to the present to the future, James Law Cybertecture has been working on creating a whole new way of protecting life in Mumbai, a city on the verge of being destroyed by it.  The egg building promotes every new piece of architectural ingenuity. From its green construction to its use of alternate energy sources the egg includes wind turbines, cooling rooftop gardens, greywater recycling, and takes up 20% less space than a conventionally shaped building would. Inhabitants of the building would have their blood pressure and weight monitored and recorded when they use the washroom (which is actually a little creepy) and if this isn’t enough if they don’t like their view they can customize it with a real time virtual reality of their favorite space. Now how’s that for a future to look forward to?


WORDS FOR THE WISE

Egg and Dart
noun
Both the Greeks and Romans used this decorative molding pattern in cornices and on Ionic order capitals. The term comes from the alternating rhythm of egg shaped ovals pierced by darts. This decorative motif was picked up by the craftsmen of the Renaissance, then by the Victorians, and we still use the motif as an historical reference in the moldings of new constructions built in the traditional genre.  


NATURALLY DYED EGGS



The “Marvin Stewart” of our household was at it again on Saturday night doling out tasks for our annual Easter egg dying event. Rick had Emmy donate a couple of pairs of old panty hose from her underwear drawer while I had to scavenger around for a pair of scissors. 

Earlier in the day we made our way to the grocery store and stocked up on organic eggs, some herbs chosen for the graphic possibilities of their leaves, and then our dying agents: beets, onions and black berries. We already had a gallon jug of white vinegar and a collection of rubber bands. Other than some big pots, all our needs were accounted in order to make some of the most beautiful eggs you’ll ever see.

Prep was pretty simple consisting of cutting panty hose into four inch squares, slicing up some beets, pinching some leaves off of our herbs and stripping the skins off of some yellow onions. In separate pots we dumped our onion skins, cut up beets and black berries with a mixture of water and vinegar in a ratio of three parts water to one part vinegar. Then it was on to the stove with our sloshing pots where we cranked up the heat to high until the mixtures came to a boil. While we were waiting for the water to boil we started placing some leaves on the squares of panty hose. We each had our own artistic touch but it was Emmy’s use of oregano spears that seemed to produce the best results. 

After the leaves were in place we gently laid the eggs down on the leaf and panty hose blankets, pulled the hose up tight around the eggs, and twisted and sealed the little Easter packages with a rubber band. 

Our next step in our egg bondage routine was to cut off the excess nylon leaving the eggs look a band of comic bank robbers. The last act was to drop the eggs into the pots and let them sit for a couple of minutes in the bubbling mixture. Once Rick was assured that the process had been complete he turned the heat off and covered the pots of the newly tattooed eggs. 

We left the eggs sit over night and when we woke in the morning we fished out the eggs, cut off the hose and blotted the eggs dry. 

The result was some of the most beautiful Easter eggs Madison had ever seen.
















THE GALLERY
V. Tony Hauser
The Last Supper of Hiawatha, 1994
hauser@interlog.com

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