Wilson Bentley (1865 - 1931, Vermont, USA) was a farmer in freezing Vermont who had a beautiful and productive obession with snowlfakes.
At the age of 15, in 1880, he was given a hobby microscope by his mother, and he quickly began examining snowflakes, holding his breath so they wouldn't melt, pushing them on to slides with feathers.
Within 5 years he had managed to attach his camera to his microscope, and that's when he could share his observations with the world.
We now know that the ice crystals that make up snowflakes...
Donald Judd is known for his flawless sculptures:
you've seen them in any museum of modern art. To us as architects and designers, they are always slightly reminiscent of 'too perfect to be true' furniture, the shelves that you could never hang that straight or keep so free of clutter.
However, the pieces become much more interesting when examined in the context Judd's architectureal space.
Whether it's the play of crisp desert light on these aluminium boxes on display in Marfa:
or the surprisingly rough, textured finishes on show here in...
Roger Penrose is a mathematician and physicist whose approach to life and work has been a guiding light for us here at Fundamental. We have no solid basis in mathematics and physics beyond secondary level, and it is from a position of not knowing, of wonder that we are drawn to his work.
Penrose is one of those scientists whose body of work ranges from something that a child can play with to the truly mindblowing.
RHOMBUS ceiling ornament, our first product to explore the penrose tiling.
The easiest and most googleable of his contributions...
Today we present a hero close to home: Beyza Özler. In her Wild Heart Free Soul store, also known as Beyza's Temple, Beyza has selected heartbreakingly beautiful vintage Kelims from all over Turkey.
The combination of her excellent eye, and the rich tradition that she is drawing from leads to a tightly edited selection of the most perfect colors and patterns, as a well as a real sense for place, that could be described as spiritual, if that's what you're into.
Beyza has a showroom on the...
Cy Twombly was an american artist whose romantic symbolism cuts through the abstract canvases he created.
Very much a creature of his time, the influence of his cohort of American abstract expressionsts is clear, but something timeless shines through all of that.
This image from his studio south of Rome reveals his engagement with a sort of shared cultural memory, that for us really shines through his canvases.
Cy was short for Cyclone, in case you were wondering.
Minimal master of play.
Born Klaus Wolf Knoebel in 1940 in Dresden (to become East Germany) the Knoebel family moved west to Mainz in 1950. As a student he trained with the masters of the prewar modern movement Johannes Itten and Moholy-Nagy, before studying under Joseph Beuys.
His work balances both the clean influence of the Bauhaus with more uneasy German art of the postwar era.
Raum 19 III, 1968–2006
Foto: Michael Richter / VG Bild und Kunst Bonn 2017, Imi Knoebel
Shirly Kurata is a wardrobe stylist living in Los Angeles, California. She has an inspirational approach to color, blocking fresh and tasty hues against each other in suprising ways.
LENA DUNHAM, copyright Refinery 29. More info here
As architects and designers, it is her iconic home that is of the most interest to us.
You can see a full home story on her Silverlake home over at NothingMajor.com
What we like is the relaxed approach she has to her own space. There is plenty of stuff from IKEA, not everything is...
By discovering the principle of crystal’s formation, Auguste Bravais inspired more than the new generation of scientists.
The discovery of the imperturbable structure of crystal breathed a wind of inspiration to the expressionist movement in Germany.
Above: Bruno Taut, Werkbund Pavilion
Facing a world of chaos and disharmony crystaline forms were understood both as a reassuring, repetitve order, and a jagged, dynamic force.
Casa Sobre o Mar, 1950
Some archtitects shift from the margins to the center with the passing of time, and with the recognition achieved by thier students, in this case Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Mora
Tennis Pavilion in Porto, 1960
Fernando Távora's very personal and specific approach is a great inspirtion. There aren't many architects who use such bold geometetries so sensitively.
Casa dos 2, 1997
Brent Wadden is a Canadian born artist who works in textile, drawing and installation.
His feeling for geometry and the tension between the perfection of an idea, and the flawed human drive toward that perfection is of particular interest to us.
His works are intuitively thought provoking and still deceptively easy on the eye.
We're excited to watch his career develop, and see which direction he will take.
TRON is a 1982 sci-fi classic that visualised a man's journey into a computer. The film baffles and inspires in equal measure. We love it because of its extremely free way of visualising the world.
The depiction of spaces as grids and wireframe outlines is reminiscent of late 60s early 70s Italian theoretical architects Superstudio. (below)
The more or less outrageous use of wireframe visuals mixed with live action actors and actresses, as well as the bold and fresh colour palette inspired our SWITCH wire basket.
However, people love this film...
It's a common trope among the cogniscenti that Arne Jacobsen is overrated as a furniture designer and underrated as an architect. I'm not here to dispel any conventional wisdom, but I would like to further point out that he is even more underrated as a colorist.
Architects tend to have a simplistic relationship with color - lots of naked materials, then a strong primary contrast. However Jacobsen is adept at working with a range of tones, often greens and earth tones. Some attribute this to his passion for gardening.
Jacobsen even shows that the...
G O O D , B A D & U G L Y
Sottsass took the Art Deco sensibility, interpereted it through post war pop culture and unleashed it on the yuppies of the 80s with the help of the highly distinctive Memphis collective.
For us, he is mainly a poet of things. Like a poet, much of what he produced are best read as fragmentary and non-sequitir, and all the more beautiful for it.
Much of the work is flat out ugly, almost all of it...
This month we pay homage to the work of Canadian-American artist Agnes Martin.
The sincerity and precision of this work and its humbling relationship with perfection reveals itself on closer inspecition.
Agnes Martin (1912-2004) studied to be a school teacher, but came to New York City in the 1950s to pursue her art, living alone in a loft in lower Manhattan.
However, she soon took flight, leaving the art world behind her, and ultimately settling in New Mexico after a long road trip. She lived alone all her life....
Born in Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1965, Carsten Nicolai is a musician who has, luckily for us, spent some of his considerable talent visualising sound.
We are inspured by his commitment to the grid and what happens when that is overlayed and interfered with.
His book GRID INDEX was the first book we bought as a studio.
It's so clean. So certian. Just a collection of grids.
East Berlin in the 1950s was a tense place. German poet & playwright Berthold Brecht and his wife Helene Weigel found the perfect weekend escape: every city dweller's dream of a small plot on a lake surrounded by trees
FRENCH COLLAGE ARTIST CAPTURES ATMOSPHERES
It's that time of year when one of our favourite, most misunderstood colours pops up.
Nobody working today has a better understanding of the colour pink than Rosemarie Auberson, who collages the colour in casual, vulnerable, warm and fresh compositions that serve to reset the perceptions of a sometimes tired and abused colour.
Her sparing compositions demonstrate the central principle that must be grasped by anyone dealing in elegance;
combining generosity with economy of means.
Her works have the...
You almost certainly have an idea about who Lawrence of Arabia is, from the famous and fantastic David Lean epic were he is played by a shockingly blue-eyed Peter O'Toole.
What is interesting to us, though, is how he built his nest, on an estate in Dorset owned by weathy, distant relatives. His country cottage on the Clouds Hill estate is a National Trust Property, meaning that anyone passing through the south west of England can drop in for a look.
HAPPY PLACES FOR HEROES
In the late 1920s, Albert Einstein, celebrated physicist, was presented by the mayor of Berlin with a lakeside plot for his services to science. Einstein was known to be fond of spending his Saturdays sailing on the Wannsee.
When the news of this hit the newspapers, Einstein had declared a preference for wooden architecture. A young industrial architect named Konrad Wachsmann got it touch with Einstein, as he had been working with a factory in Saxony which was pioneering early prefabricated architecture.
Wachsmann felt he could get a man...
LINES AND SQUARES
Josef Hoffmann is a bridge between the world of the Belle Epoque and international Modernism. He studied with Otto Wagner and created dreamy vernacularist works like the Hohe Warte outside Vienna in 1905.
However, while working on these designs, he was also concieving the Sanitorium Punkersdorf, also outside Vienna, begun just one year later in 1906.
Fans of architectural history will see why Le Corbusier and Gio Ponti cite Hoffmann as an important early influence.
What is important to us about Hoffmann is how he embodies both continuity...