Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lights Fantastic Clearance!

Lights Fantastic on Greenville Avenue has long been selling fabulous modern light fixtures and fans.

Their adjacent clearance center, Lights Out, is closing down, and all remaining items must go this weekend, with an extra 20% off to help it all move. While hit or miss on the selection on clearance, the store's full inventory is without compare.

Weekend Doings

The Denton Jazz Festival kicked off last night and continues through Sunday.

The DFW Dragon Boat Festival is tomorrow at Lake Carolyn in Irving. Team dragon boat races, kite flying, and performances by Asian dance groups will be complimented with music and food.

An art opening on Sunday for: THREE - new works by Dallas photographers Emily Loving, Kristin Bazan, and Holly Gray - 6:30 - 8:30 pm - Van Ditthavong Gallery 830 Exposition Ave. Suite 103, Dallas, TX 75226

Monday, April 23, 2007

BoConcept in Dallas?

BoConcept is known for "urban design", but unless you're traveling often to DC or NYC, you're out of the scene here in the Metroplex. There is a "studio" collection at By Design in Arlington, but the nearest Brand Store is down in Houston. Some design bloggers have been very pleased with the selection and the pricing (see Gradon, Michelle, Kevin, and Joel), but others see BoConcept as a somewhat modern-bland step up the quality ladder from IKEA and Target (see Maxwell). Like its close kin West Elm and Design within Reach, the company is on the rise. In 2005-2006, profits were up 19.6% to 951.1 million DKK ($173 million).

A global retail firm based in Denmark, BoConcept's first store opened in Paris in 1993. The company is currently in the midst of expanding the number of Brand Stores and Concept Studios in 43 countries from Denmark to Dubai. According to their company site and some press, the company's goal is to open 5-6 new studios and 2-3 new stores per month. In the past year, grand openings have been held in Boston, Philly, and 5 stores in NYC, most recently in Dumbo, and the growth of the brand this year is focused on the US, Spain, Germany, and Japan.

All of which brings me to this advertisement (apologies for the photo quality) from Metropolitan Home's most recent issue. Sure it's a nice modern chair. But the intriguing thing is the text at the bottom. "Dallas (coming Spring 2007)". An internet search couldn't get me any more details, but I'd love to find out where to be for the opening. North Park? Victory? Design District? Alpha Road? Anyone have an idea?

The catalog has some nice samplings, but it's all pretty until you give it a trial sitting. It seems that soon we'll get ours.

Friday, April 20, 2007

DWR Pick-a-nick

At the McKinney Avenue Design within Reach studio, there's a patio burger party this Sunday, April 22nd. Take this opportunity to become familiar with the DWR outdoor furnishing line, meet some of the planners of the new Arts District downtown, all while sampling juicy burgers and beers.

"Spend an evening at DWR with burgers and beer and the best in modern outdoor furniture. Mary Ellen Cowan and Tres Fromme from Mesa Design Group will be on hand to discuss their recent and upcoming projects, such as the 30,000 square foot open air plaza at One Arts Plaza in the Arts District. Check out DWR's recently expanded assortment of outdoor furniture and receive tips on the best way to design your outdoor space. The Hamburger Man will be grilling burgers onsite and beer will be served."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Modern Dallas Gardening

As spring marches on, and with Tax Day behind us, we can turn towards modern-influenced gardening, and this weekend is a great time to get started. The Dallas Arboretum's annual plant sale is April 21 & 22nd, and features Dallas-friendly plants, including several that won't show up on the shelves of the big box centers. The Dallas County Master Gardener Association is sponsoring its own plant sale the morning of April 21. This sale will feature specimens from local Master Gardener collections and from students at the Multiple Careers Magnet Center School, with proceeds to their vocational programs.
If you're not looking to get any loam wedged under your nails, consider delegating a local landscaping firm with the design. Redenta's has a few great example designs, and for more inspiration, check out UK site mylandscapes.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spring: Arts are in the Air

You wouldn't guess it from the flurries yesterday, but the season of spring outdoor arts festivals has begun.

Today is the last day of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. The weekend event features a street-festival environment including three stages of free music, exhibiting artists and plenty of snacks. Saturday's events included a Pooch Parade, a 5K run, and an art-glass blowing demonstration at the Firehaus gallery. See a full rundown on the Saturday scene at Pegasus. The festival concludes at 7pm tonight.

If the overcast skies and cool temps don't have you in the festive mood yet, there are more events in upcoming weekends:

Main Street Arts Festival (Fort Worth): April 19-22nd. 22nd annual presentation of live concerts, performance art, a juried art show and plenty of food.

Denton Arts and Jazz Fest (Denton): April 27-29th. 2,200 performers, 6 stages for professional and community performances, arts and crafts, food and games. Emphasis on jazz, bluegrass and other American music, although the 2006 festival also featured a belly dance recital.

CottonWood Arts Festival
(Richardson): May 6-7th. A semi-annual gathering of artists and musicians amid the trees in the CottonWood Park.

The 4th Annual Dallas CityArts Celebration (Dallas): June 8-10th. Outdoor stages of music and dance performance, arts exhibitions, and opportunities to participate. Complimentary admission to the Nasher, the Crow Collection, and the DMA.

An additional compendium of festival events is at the Art News site. Admission to these festivals is free, but the art selection is so tempting, that it's hard to leave your wallet in your pocket. Most events kick off around 10am, but check with the festival's site for exact hours through each weekend.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Trinity River Project Awards

It's not even all the way off the drawing board yet (although the timelines suggest that building on the Woodall Rogers and I-30 bridges will begin in the next eight weeks), and the funding of the tollway is one of the year's top contentious issues around town, but the Trinity River Corridor project has won an AIA award. One of ten 2007 Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design was given for the Trinity River Project’s "Balanced Vision Plan" that guides development and appropriate land use along the Trinity Corridor. Elements of the plan proposal included "a large urban recreational park, a river with restored sinousity...a sensitively-designed road that runs concurrent against the downtown levell and affords park and city vistas...several hundred acres of community development along the Trinity River Corridor."

According to the Jury commendation,

We were impressed by the vast scale of this proposal…They’ve taken a significant physical and environmental barrier and transformed it into a regionally scaled public domain that stitches together the surrounding urban areas and unifies the city…The design concept returns the river to its innately sinuous state and draws on the natural features of the terrain…Its emphasis on natural systems and sustainability addresses basic human needs.”

Other locales praised included Boston, Napa Valley, Milwaukee, New York City, Pittsburgh, and Vail. Let's hope that the project continues to head towards a reality.

Farewell Hard Rock....

...Hello CVS?

The 97-year-old structure that was originally the McKinney Avenue Baptist Church underwent so many structural changes in its evolution into that famous temple of Rock-n-Roll, the 4th Hard Rock Cafe in the USA, that it no longer represented the historic edifice, and therefore would not be considered for a landmark designation. Unfair Park has the full details on the 7-4 vote at the Landmark Commission meeting today against initiating the landmark designation process. Councilwoman Angela Hunt had led neighborhood efforts in favor of the historic designation.

What is to become of the parcel at a key corner of lower Uptown Dallas remains to be seen. Some rumors include a retail pharmacy, a bank, a condo/hotel development, or a small strip shopping center. Developer Bret Landes, who owns the property, said to a neighborhood meeting, "I just want to let you all know we will follow the same theme," Landes said. "The Hard Rock is a failed concept, but I assure you that whatever we put in its place will be something that you, as residents, will be proud of." Speculation on entertainment, restaurant, and retail uses abound, but it seems certain that whatever the property becomes, it will rise out of dust and rubble first.

In the mean time, we can hold our breaths waiting for Hard Rock to move down towards Victory in a new $150 million hotel-and-cafe configuration, and within a stone's throw of the House of Blues.