La Macchinetta

Wednesday 09.14.11

The Bialetti Moka Express coffeemaker is a miracle of design, simplicity and longevity: no filters, no glass, just coffee, water and a flame. It was designed by Alfonso Bialetti (who happens to be the grandfather of Alberto Alessi) in 1933. I know there is a profusion of brewing options out there and, depending on how much of a connoisseur one is, probably many “finer” solutions to procuring a morning cup of coffee. That said, I’ve had this little pot since I was 22. I lived in Italy at the time, and I thought I should do as the natives do. So I bought one. I’ve since graduated to larger versions this same design, but that aside, I’ve been making my coffee the same way for as long as that.

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Masonic Drawing Tube

Tuesday 09.13.11

I know the Freemasons are a controversial lot, but when it came to this drawing tube I didn’t care. I don’t know if it’s made from celluloid or bakelite, but it is durable and compact. I found it years and years ago (for a dollar) when there was a sort of thieves market across from the old, and more official, 26th street flea market. I never really knew what the square and compass represented for the Freemasons until I read up on a little history. I just thought they spent a lot of time drawing. Duh.

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Schematic

Monday 09.12.11

We are having some plumbing work done, and this little gem of a drawing was artfully generated by our plumber so that we could get a better understanding of how our water pressure system works between the well and the the two structures on the property. If you can’t understand it, I can’t help you. I now regret throwing away all of the many schematics I have either generated myself or those created by others.

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Weird Potato

Thursday 09.08.11

My friend Ellis received this spud as a gift from another friend on the occasion of his 7th birthday. Ellis has assembled a little natural history museum (we have made gifts to his collection in the past) for which this will be a welcome addition. I don’t think I want all potatoes to take on this form, but how fun for the occasional tuber to go rogue. Totally cool.

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Hello…Buzz Me In Please.

Tuesday 09.06.11

I know this is a long post, but it wouldn’t be as fun if it were just a few images. Incidentally, these are not my photos, they are the work of Leandro Lattes, an industrial designer and one of the founders of El Vivero, a design studio based in Madrid. He has authored two books that beautifully document many of the less homogeneous design details of Madrid — things that are heading towards obsolescence from the urban landscape such as bar stools, door knobs, signage, facades, store displays, and on and on. The on and on part is what I love!! These intercoms are some of my favorites. Please note that these pictures are but a small percentage of the total for this particular category. Do yourselves a favor and check out the rest of the books. Do it here.

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???

Tuesday 09.06.11

I attribute these few words to Eric Asimov, a food and wine writer for the the NYT. He was referring to choosing a wine to pair with food (specifically oysters), not ruminating on the creative process. Although I suppose picking a wine to be compatible with a certain aliment could fall into that category. Anyway, I wrote it down and have been trying to remember it ever since. This is not to say that I don’t strive for exactitude, but I try to be mindful of it not becoming an end in itself. Or an obstacle to everything.

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More Nasal Irrigation

Thursday 09.01.11

I know, some of these items are decidedly creepy. But if you don’t think about their use, they are quite striking. As a small bit of trivia, Elvis used one of the small glass ones (shaped sort of like a duck) before every concert.

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