A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

Far Away Without the Commute

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture | Comments Off

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One of my very favorite spots in the Twin Cities is tucked away down a little side street in what must be one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen. While very close to all the wonderful things the city has to offer (like milkshakes) approaching this spot is like leaving it all behind. Every time I ride my bike by I leave feeling relaxed.

The house itself is unique and handsomely designed but not ostentatious the way well funded homes often feel the need to be. It nestles into the side of the hill like it grew there years ago. What’s growing right next to the house is a big part of what makes it so special. A full lot worth of Japanese style garden plays out in a myriad, tranquil shades of green. Backing up against a park allows the garden to take full advantage of the borrowed landscape.

The garage is a recent edition and makes the entry to the house even more private. A feature that makes the fact that the owners have generously shared unobstructed views of their garden even more of a gift. Larger photographs are available on flickr.


Park(ing) Day

Posted: June 24th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: design, events, output | Tags: , | Comments Off

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On September 18th you will once again see crazy things going on in parking spaces in downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul – and around the nation in fact. Started in San Francisco by the Rebar art and design collective Park(ing) Day is a growing tradition where a wide variety of artists (it’s popular with landscape architects here in the Twin Cites) take their creative expression to the streets for a day of thought provoking, curbside installations. I think the design and advertising agencies should consider getting in on things.

Why am I bringing this up so far in advance? Because now’s the time for graphic designers to get involved in the T-Shirt design contest. I just submitted mine and want to encourage you to go for it.


An Architect Lived Here

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, local twin cities | Tags: | Comments Off

One of my design professors once told me “A designer should never take the same route to work two days in a row.” Going on he explained that the repetition dulls our ability to perceive the details afresh each time. I’ve followed his advice for 17 years now and have traveled for miles going around ‘just one more bend’ at a time.

Just the other day I took a different turn and discovered this fun little house just a single block from a house I’ve been by many times. Interestingly, the day after taking these pictures the home (at 1912 Norfolk Ave. in Saint Paul) went up for sale. There is a corner stone (unusual for a residence) listing the architects Bergstedt and Hirsch which is also unusual since they designed things like Mount Zion Temple on Summit Avenue so it’s possible this is just another one of a number of interesting reclaimed materials. Then again I believe the house is currently owned by an architect so you never know. If you’re not in the market you might still enjoy going to an open house to see some of the interesting solutions on display. And who knows what else you’ll find – just around the bend.