Westminster Abbey

With all this hullabaloo about the Royal Wedding lately, I thought it would be a good chance to take a look at the real star of the show - Westminster Abbey and all her glory!



The present building dates as far back as 1245 during King Henry III's reign.  It was around that time that three master masons - Henry of Reyns, Robert of Beverley, and John of Gloucester - began supervising the work commissioned by King Henry.  Designed based on the continental system of geometrical proportion, the building, which was greatly influenced by the cathedrals at Reims, was to feature the newest Gothic style.  Westminster Abbey has the highest Gothic vault in England - almost 102 feet.

The apse, radiating chapels, and choir were completed in 1269 but only one nave behind the choir screen was completed when Henry III passed away in 1272.


Many additions were made throughout the years; most notably, the construction of the Lady Chapel by King Henry VII from 1503-1519.  The last phase of building (the West Towers) was completed in 1745 by architect  Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Perhaps even more interesting is the history and story of the Abbey Bells which can be found here.

And, a little more about geometric proportions can be found here.
In honor of today's celebrations - Westminster Abbey April 29, 2011
"Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this result the principles of symmetryWithout symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members as in the case of those of a well shaped man." —Vitruvius


Photos courtesy of westminster-abbey.org

100th Post: Designers' Choice, Time Magazine 1959

In honor of our 100th post on The Aesthetic Omnivore, we wanted to take a stroll down "Memory Lane" and look at some classically celebrated designs of the past 100 (or so) years.

After some research, we found an article from Time Magazine (January, 1959) which polled the top 100 designers, architects, and design department heads of manufacturing firms and universities from around the world and had them compile a list of  their "100 best-designed products of modern times".

Here's a look at what eventually made their top-ten:


Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter, designed by Marcello Nizzoli in 1948


Charles Eames' plywood and steel side chair, designed in 1944


Ludwig Mies van de Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Chair


Studebaker's 1953 hard-top coupe, designed by Raymond Loewy


The Parker "51" fountain pen, designed by Marlin Baker and Kenneth Parker, 1932


Lincoln Continental (1939-1941), designed by Edsel Ford and staff


Edison Voicewriter - VP model, designed by Carl Otto in 1950



Frigidaire's "Sheer Look" 1957 appliances, designed by Leroy Keifer and GM staff


Hallicrafters radio, designed by Raymond Loewy in 1946


Bell Systems 500 telephone, designed by Henry Dreyfuss in 1951

I think it's time again for another poll like this.  I'd love to take a visual look at what the top 100 designers of today consider to be the best designs of our time.  I have an idea that some of the icons above would make the "top-ten" list once again.

Check It Out: Aviator Spec Mirrors


Nigel Coates brings us yet another "object of whimsy" that fits perfectly with our eyewear designer roots.  Check out his Aviator Spec Wall Mirrors:


For  more information on Mr. Coates and how he's "sexing up design" with work recently featured at New York's Cristina Grajales Gallery, check out an article in Architect Magazine.

Spec sheet for the Aviator Mirrors - looks familiar, doesn't it!?
Part of the NYC exhibit featuring Nigel Coates' Designs

Alameda Point Antiques Fair

Our regular photo-journalist and contributor Blake Kuwahara brings you a glimpse into his latest flea market discovery - The Alameda Point Antiques Fair.

Check out his article and photos below - 


April 5, 2011

Trolling through flea markets has become a favorite past time and an endless source of design inspiration. I make an extra special effort while traveling to ensure that my stay includes a weekend just so that I can fit in an outdoor market or two. However, one of the best is in right my backyard - the Alameda Point Antiques Fair


There are over 800 vendors that fill a huge parking lot the first Sunday of every month (weather permitting, of course- it is after all the Bay Area).



Unlike other flea markets, this one is devoted exclusively to antiques- or at least anything over 25 years old so you don't have to wade through endless rows of knockoff handbags, tube socks, and "designer" perfumes. Rather, there's an eclectic mix of French antiques that would rival a visit to L'Isle sur la Sorgue, everything midcentury modern, repurposed industrial pieces remade into furniture and accessories, lots of vintage clothing and of course, vintage sunglasses. One of the best reasons to come is to people watch. Moreover, what other flea market can boast vendors selling designer hot dogs, sushi, and gourmet pizza from a brick oven with a stunning view of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge?



If you're in the area, it's definitely a "must-see".  

-Blake Kuwahra - TAO Contributor and Owner of Focus Group West

Check out more of Blake's photo-journey through the Alameda Point Antiques Fair after the jump:
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