White Marble Duvet Set by SAFE HOUSE USA
Keehnan Konyha is the founder and creator behind SAFE HOUSE USA, a bedding and home goods brand created around concept of street wear.
Konyha has recently been interviewed by a wide ranging selection of media all focusing on his collaborations with artists, affordable but cutting edge bedsheets and monochromatic prints.
However what seems most fascinating about SAFE HOUSE is why is no one else is doing this? And if there are others, why do we not know about it? The vast majority of contemporary interior designers seem to cater for a market over the age of 35 in a family orientated way. Konyha merges his Brooklyn lifestyle into his practice to great effect. In our recession fuelled times the prospect of investing in furniture or other areas of interior design is not always so realistic, especially for people under the age of 30. Most young people now share houses, or live with their parents, meaning that the bedroom is their only personal space. SAFE HOUSE caters to a perfect market, creating bedding sets and throws with impeccably fresh prints in a manner that can transcend any bedroom and be transported as frequently as your lifestyle pleases.
For Sang Bleu we have decided to focus on what Konyha’s inspirations have been so far in his life in regards to interiors and other areas of influence such as fashion, art, music and architecture.
Black Marble Duvet Set
FW13 Extension Collection, Drawn by Richard Haines
Where and what is your favourite bedroom?
I actually have to say mine right now, which is probably horribly vain, but primarily because I spend so much time here. It’s the one featured in the instant shots on the SAFE HOUSE site.
While we were apartment hunting last year, my boyfriend and I, really more as a joke, cast a spell to narrow down what we were looking for, and through curiously suspicious circumstance found it almost immediately and exactly. Call it luck, but if you’re looking for an apartment I say go with the spell, just in case.
What are some of your favourite sets from films?
Eiko Ishioka’s Closet Land and Mishima: a Life in Four Chapters
Eugenio Zanetti’s Flatliners
Scorsese’s After Hours
Stigmata, Production Design by Waldemar Kalinowski, Art Direction by Anthony Stabley, Set Decoration by Florence Fellman and Marco Niro. Patricia Arquette’s warehouse loft is an insane, over the top, one-hundred-percent-fictitious mix of 30s deco, industrial (musically and architecturally), yoga-cum-rave culture and inflatable furniture.
What is your favourite design movement?
Memphis, which is probably pretty obvious, especially Shiro Kuramata, though influences shift. Nostalgia cycles more rapidly. I might be less of a “movement” person, and more drawn to specific designers and visionaries; Tibor Kalman, Michel Graves, Terence Conran, Andrea Branzi, Joe Holtzman, Kelly Wearstler, William Morris, Ward Bennett, Gaetano Pesce, Billy Baldwin, Laurie Anderson.
I’m attracted to cohesion; to comprehensive themes and ideas; to extremes (simplicity can be it’s own extreme) followed to their logical conclusions. I try to stay open. What I find off-putting is typically what qualifies as “good taste.” There’s nothing compelling about good taste.
I think you have to be careful about what you allow in, about what you allow to influence you. It’s a constant, ongoing process of checking in with yourself creatively. Clearly I work with reference, with reappropriation and recontextualization, but I worry that we’ve outsourced our imaginations to an endless stream of reblogged, repinned content in an effort to easily aggregate, brand, and identify who we think we are, or who we dream we could be. My hope is that it’s entirely possible my favorite design movement has yet to happen.
What is your favourite art movement?
I’d be lazy and remiss to fall back on the past here. I love my friends and contemporaries, and New York is too full of preposterous talent right now not to list of them as many as I can:
Sam McKinniss, Ben Schumacher, Erica Bech, Colin Self, Alexis Penney, Landon Metz, Borna Sammak, Amos Mac, Alex De Corte, Kari Altmann, Richard Giglio,Richard Haines, Cody Critcheloe, Jaimie Warren, Travess Smalley, Boychild, Shayne Oliver, Desi Santiago, Scott Hug, BCALLA, Charlie Morris, Barrett Emke, Cyril Duval, Patrick Dyer, House of Ladosha, Juliana Huxtable.
I’m going to forget way too many names here and will absolutely regret it immediately.
Favourite movie from the 1980s?
Terrible and sublime at best, trashy and obvious at worst. This could probably be applied to my taste in almost everything. Anything John Carpenter, Adrian Lyne or Paul Schrader touched, unfortunately.
Favourite set/art direction from a music video?
Mark Romanek’s video for “Scream,” production design by Tom Foden, who also did Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories” and NIN’s ”Closer.” Flawless, untouchable song; flawless, untouchable visuals; still holds the title for the most expensive music video ever made.
Missy’s “She’s A Bitch.” Four years after the “Scream” video, it’s either an homage, the zeitgeist (I think zeitgeist moved slower in the late 90s), or just a straight lift (down to the opening, glossy-type’d shot), but what starts as typical Hype Williams (though w/ a gorgeous and atypical, monochromatic palette) fish-eye-in-a-box video becomes something completely alien and otherworldly around 1:50. Hype in top form, maybe his peak.
And again, Romanek’s video for Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” A dead-on shot at Steven Meisel’s banned spots for Calvin Klein; unfinished, shag-carpeted and wood-paneled basement rec rooms, plus over-saturated, red-eyed, morning-after polaroid filters. I could live in this video. I may have tried?
I’m originally from Seattle, so the first building that comes to mind is St. Mark’s Cathedral, along with the adjacent rectory and (what once served as) the Cornish campus. Though some improvements were made in ’97 by Olson Sundberg, it was never entirely finished or built to the original specs from the late 20s and early ’30s, so the interior is very utilitarian and box-like in its incompleteness, more basilica than cathedral; no transept, no ribbed vaults or pendentives. I’ve got a soft spot for the underdog. And Episcopalians, maybe.
And Jesuits?. Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius, also Seattle. The interior light is as much a part of the building as its materials, and shifts dramatically and beautifully throughout the day, designed around the schedule of Jesuit worship. It has a silence, both architecturally and literally, almost impossible to find in New York.
NYC’s modernist Church of the Nativity in the East Village, redone by Genovese & Maddalene in 1968. According to Wikipedia, it’s been described as ”starkly institutional” and “a modern architectural cartoon exhibiting a gross idea with no detail,” but I find something elegant and honest about it’s brutality.
More NYC: Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi; literally what is there not to love? Any building capable of outraging the West Village while avoiding both the leaking starchitecture of Frank Gehry and the cardboard-and-glass Monocle-approved hideousness of new money loft conversion gets tens across the board.
Louis Kahn’s Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban building. I think it’s the only structure that’s ever made me weep hysterically, and I’ve never actually been there.
More from past blog entires:
Favourite interiors in a restaurant or cafe?
This is a rough one, considering the Roman & Williams, Brooklyn-via-Portland, be-edison bulb’d faux rustica prison of the last decade. I’m at a point where the fluorescent, blobject-y Karim Rashid feels of Pink Berry, Rice to Riches interiors have started to feel welcoming, though I’m probably just be jumping the gun on early ‘00s nostalgia.
Since I don’t eat out much, and have totally succumbed to the sad cliche of rarely leaving Brooklyn, I’m going to fold this into nightlife and general mood, rather than strictly decor.
I miss The Beatrice, though technically she was a bar, and sadly, actual documentation is slim. It somehow managed a perfect balance of exclusivity and warmly welcoming once inside, offering both a simple, you-should-be-at-home-here elegance and nightly house party. To the best of my knowledge, that feeling has yet to be recreated. Certain spaces come imbued with a special kind of magic that needs only to be coaxed and tended to, something like what I imagine Michèle Lamy’s Les Deux Cafés felt like.
Output in Williamsburg is incredible, maybe as close to The Hacienda as I’ll get in my lifetime; unreal sound. Bossa Nova Civic Club is also brilliant, hidden away under the elevated train in Bushwick; perfect dance floor, consistently interesting booking, and I’ll always go weak for any amount of Don Loper, Martinique Banana Leaf wallpaper.
Passion Lounge; if you know, you know.
Favourite description of a room from literature?
I think I bond more with, or maybe the passages or novels that resonate with me the most, are ones where rooms themselves become characters, or where the lines between the human metaphorical interior and the interior of physical space are blurred; Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled; Sylvia Molloy’s Certificate of Absence; Emma Donoghue’s Room; Adam Lehner’s The Rearrangement; James Purdy’s Narrow Rooms.
If I have to actually choose a passage though, this is taken from “Examples of Confusion,” from Lydia Davis’ Almost No Memory:
“The ceiling is so high the light fades up under the peak of the roof. It takes a long time to walk through. Dust is everywhere, an even coating of blond dust; around every corner, a rolling table with a drawing board on it, a paper pinned to the board. Around the next corner, and the next, a painting on the wall, half finished, and before it, on the floor, cans of paint, brushes across the cans, and pails of soapy water colored red or blue. Not all the cans of paint are dusty. Not all parts of the floor are dusty.At first it seems clear that this place is not part of a dream, but a place one moves through in waking life. But rounding the last corner into the remotest part, where the dust lies thickest over the boxes of charcoal sticks from Paris, and a yellowed sheet of muslin over the window is torn symmetrically in two spots, showing a white sky through two small panes of dusty glass, a part of this place that seems to have been forgotten or abandoned, or at least lain undisturbed longer than the rest, one is not sure that this place is not a place in a dream, though whether it lies entirely in that dream or not is hard to say, and if only partly, how it lies at once in that dream and in this waking–whether one stands in this waking and looks through a doorway into that more dusty part, into that dream, or whether one walks from this waking around a corner into the part more thickly covered with dust, into the more filtered light of the dream, the light that comes in through the yellowed sheet.”
What has been your favourite set design for a catwalk?
This is the dream job; a marriage of clothes and physical space, of sound and music and light. Twelve minutes in which you have the opportunity to transport an audience completely.
Daniel Buren‘s work for Louis Vuitton SS13 is total alchemy; a perfect example of every element working together to create an experience so much larger than its individual parts, though the individual parts themselves remain stunning. The stark, two-color palette; the checkered white-and-yellow floor, referencing the collection, Vuitton’s “Damir” print and Buren’s previous body of work simultaneously; the pure spectacle and anticipation of the models descending via escalator onto the runway; Einstein on the Beach. I wish “gesamtkunstwerk” had an english counterpart that didn’t sound as ridiculous.
That said, AMO‘s work for Prada menswear AW13/14 sent me into a jealous, raging tailspin for like, days, literally pacing around my apartment screaming, gesticulating wildly at nothing like a crazy person, questioning my life, my choices, my purpose. If good art is contagious, maybe great art produces temporary insanity.
The pastel scheme of the set, punctuated with primaries, framing the gentle, almost neutral palette of the clothes, also offset by an electric turquoise piece here or a subtle, checkered coral shirt there; the collars styled half-tucked and askew; the shifting views from the projected “windows;” THE CAT! The show is a living editorial, the definition of an aspirational If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now. For me, the seamless integration and introduction of OMA’s line for Knoll via domestic tableaus is as much of the presentation as the actual clothing. I think AMO’s devotion to concept, research and detail are always evident, but they totally outdid themselves here.
If you want to get in further inside of Keehnan’s head, SAFE HOUSE USA also commission regular mixtapes; you can listen to them here
Visit the SAFE HOUSE USA website here to find out more about their interiors.
Sunday the 27th of October would have been the 73rd birthday of Julius Eastman the ‘forgotten’ minimalist composer. In the midst of Lou Reed’s passing its occurred to me that I often find it just as sad (if not sadder) when artists die before receiving the appraisal that they deserve and Eastman to me certainly fits into that category.
Living and working in New York Eastman is thought of as one of the first composers to attach notions of popular music with classical composition. Presenting his music at the likes of Arthur Russell’s iconic performance space The Kitchen in the 70s he titled his extensive pieces names such as ‘Gay Guerrilla‘ and ‘Evil Nigger‘ sprouting political agenda into the conservatism of the classical world. Known on the circuit in New York he often played with the likes of John Cage and Meredith Monk but never did his own individual work escalate to a higher level. Much like how Arthur Russell’s music has been ‘rediscovered’ over the last decade so has Eastman’s but his decision to never venture too far into the diversity of disco seven inches and acoustic love songs like how Russell did has made it harder to trace his music.
Existing in the classical structure meant that having your compositions performed was a strenuously long process therefore its quite incredible that Eastman’s work still exists today. Even more so in context to the end of his life; contemporaries of Eastman have confirmed that circumstances largely out of his control contributed to his obscurity especially the tragedy of his own unexplained death. The last ten years of his own life spiralled out of control and ended with him living in Thompson Park Square losing most of his possessions (and his music) and finally dying alone at the age of 49 in 1990 in Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo of cardiac arrest. What does exist of his music is completely sublime, however the question over why his work is not as well known rises over his own identity as a homosexual African American, a tough place for any young man to be at the time but especially so in the stifling world of classical music. It is so sad that there was no one to nurture Eastman in the way that he deserved; no one to archive his talent so it could be more in the open now and that he has remained so anonymous and unappreciated for so long.
“Night. Painted darkness. Miles and miles of miles of painted darkness.” Peter Greenaway, Nightwatching, 2006.
Nisia Wasilewicz has kindly created this interview for Sang Bleu with the musicians Tempers. Lea Colombo has taken the photos, Zana Bayne styled the shoot and Todd Pendu working as creative director.
It’s sometime near midnight along North Brooklyn’s renewed waterfront strip as singer-songwriter Jasmine Golestaneh and her instrumental right hand man Eddie Cooper, better known as the NYC-based duo Tempers, sit at the furthermost table of a vast and desolate wine bar, spiked with the scent of newly stained wood. They’ve tucked themselves away in an effort to escape the stark contrast to neighboring Glasslands Gallery, where they took to the stage earlier that night, opening for compatriots Amen Dunes and Suuns. With the ghosts of the East River and an industrial past adrift above their heads, Eddie takes notice of an ATM blinking neon blue light in the dark bathroom hallway.
Golestaneh follows his gaze and with a visceral tone comments, “that’s so Tempers.”
Much like artwork can be distinguished by the nuances of a time period, these collaborating musicians can decipher visions and moments into their own personal aesthetic – a combination of Jasmine’s dueling poetically passionate Iranian heritage vs. her Latvian austerity and Eddie’s New York City-by-way-of-Berlin approach to electronic music.
“There are examples in culture that sort of speak to us specifically,” Cooper explains. “Jasmine recently sent me a photo gallery of these incredibly depressing Lithuanian discos - and coincidentally those images express exactly what we’re trying to convey. Empty but warm,” he adds.
“Cold but soulful,” she responds. “I saw those photos and was struck by how melancholically beautiful they were.”
Following a strong thematic dichotomy, each Tempers song finds itself harmoniously trapped in a despondent yet effervescent limbo. With several releases scheduled for the very near future – including a Swans cover, another single, a remix of “Hell Hotline” by Brian DeGraw from Gang Gang Dance and a European tour in November – the twosome is taking their time writing and recording a much anticipated full-length album in hopes of delivering an unapologetically dark but also rose-colored set of tracks.
“Because I come from a poetry background, I find myself writing a lot about love,” the songstress admits. “I think love is a very complex subject matter that brings out a lot of intense, confusing feelings. The words I use to express that emotion don’t necessarily come from some sort of dark place. Rather, the overall process feels more like a search for a feeling within that space. I think you need to dig into the darkness to get to the light, so for me it’s more of a cycle of transformation as opposed to a concrete nihilism.”
“I’ve always felt that darkness isn’t necessarily bleak, but that it’s actually a representation of depth. I feel like sometimes people confuse a dark aesthetic with a conveyed meaning of something sinister when it’s actually a very liberating way to be comfortable with more intense emotions,” Golestaneh concludes.
Together these two have had several incarnations – in Jasmine’s former band, Seasick, as well as their short-lived moniker Queen of Quartz under which the pair scored a handful of fashion films by Elle Muliarchyk for the likes of The New York Times andPhilip Lim. It’s here where both Eddie and Jasmine found themselves most comfortable, and where Tempers organically grew.
“That ended up being the excuse for us to pair off and start writing music together,” explains Jasmine in the dim light, sipping on a glass of the house red. “As we were doing these soundtracks, Eddie and I realized that we were really compatible in the songwriting process and essentially telepathic about aesthetics.”
“We have this sort of unspoken criteria when we’re writing music together. We’ve never really needed to explain what that is but we both know when it’s missing or when we’ve hit it,” Cooper says, almost as if he’s trying to find something tangible to put in his palm. “There are songs we’ve set aside for the simple fact that they’re not giving us that feeling and then there are songs that we’ll write in one day that, from the very beginning, just fulfill that hovering criteria. It’s almost like a divining rod we orient ourselves by.”
“There are definitely colors and textures that we never necessarily talk about, but exist as our guiding principles. Every song has it’s own color. Occasionally we ask each other questions like ‘What color is “Eyes Wide Wider” to you?’ and we pretty much always agree on the same palette. I think that’s a very satisfying process to be able to reference that and be influenced by this unspoken thing.”
It is within this divine kinetic energy that Tempers finds fluidity – shifting effortlessly amongst the darkness of sorrowful crooning and upbeat synth-infused rhythms, creating a sound that is both ominous and danceable. An enigmatic air engulfs purposeful lyrics that, among the resurgence of a post-punk electro-infused goth aesthetic, is the connective tissue of Todd Pendu’s boutique record label PENDV SOUND. At the helm, Todd has managed to keep his head above the proverbial water to curate a roster of bands that shine through the seas of sheer black fabric.
“Our connection to Todd has been so effortless and fluid from the beginning. From the moment we first sat down with him, we just understood each other. He heard things in our music that no one else had really mentioned before,” Eddie says. “And I think that connection was so natural that initially we really took his very discerning tastes for granted.”
“For instance, a part of our criteria as far as the songwriting is concerned has always been – is it undeniable?” Jasmine continues. “I remember the first meeting we had with Todd he said, ‘when I first listened to your songs, there was something undeniable about them’ and I was like wow, he gets it. He understands our emotionality and why it’s important. He takes into consideration each dimension of the look and sound, as well as how they correlate to one another, which is really a gift. Simply put, he just sees it.”
And for Tempers, a band that references influences as far and varied as Leonard Cohen and Stevie Nicks to black metal, Nirvana and Kraftwerk, the freedom of understanding is what allows them to seamlessly careen from the wild call of a mystic adrift in “Hell Hotline” to the abstract ethereal fever dream of “Eyes Wide Wider.” But stripped of its new wave beats, there is much to be said about the simplicity in the raw yearning for something unattainable in “Strange Harvest,” perhaps heard best on the track’sacoustic B-side.
“The lyric ‘something I can’ t touch is reaching out for me,’ gets me very emotional,” Golestaneh says of her siren song.
As I ask her why, Eddie reaches his hand across Jasmine to interrupt. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she quietly replies.
“I was trying to protect her…”
After a brief moment Jasmine goes on, “the song is very raw to me. It’s about the experience of depression and mental illness and hallucination. Ugh, I’m going to cry now. I need to learn how to keep [my tears] under control. I’ll be walking down the street and then all of a sudden I’m crying, just because.”
“I wanted to write about that experience because I feel like a lot of people who suffer with those feelings do it secretly and I really empathize with that. I just needed to create a song recognizing something I feel so close to. As a teenager, listening to lyrics that understood those really confusing or crazy or depressed feelings was so reassuring to me like, wow, somebody else understands.”
Finally, with a nervous laugh she adds, “I feel like I have a lot of empathy for pain.”
Listen to Tempers music on Soundcloud here : https://soundcloud.com/
Interview by Nisia Wasilewicz editorial directed by Todd Pendu , styled by Zana Bayne & shot by Lea Colombo
Photographer: Lea Colombo
Creative Director: Todd Pendu
Stylists: Zana Bayne and Todd Pendu
Stylist Assistant: Nick Blumenthal
Hair: Ryan Austin Kazmarek
Make-up: Mark de los Reyes
Dress by Heather Lawton
Gaitors by Sally LaPointe
Boots by Acne
Necklace by Alexandre Plokhov
Jacket, Shirt, and Pants by Alexandre Plokhov
Jacket by Sally Lapointe
Leather Shorts by Heather Lawton
Ring, Necklace, and Handlet by Bijules
Vest and Shirt by Alexandre Plokhov
Bracelets by Chris Habana
Dress by Sally LaPointe
Necklace by Bijules
Rings by Chris Habana
Dress by Sally LaPointe
Harness by Zana Bayne
Ring by Chris Habana
Handlet by Bijules
Jacket by Katie Gallagher
Shirt by Heather Lawton
Necklace by Chris Habana
Leggings by Heather Lawton
Boots by Acne
Jacket and Pants by Alexandre Plokhov
Shirt by OAK
Jacket by Katie Gallagher
Shirt by Heather Lawton
Ring by Bijules
Leggings by Heather Lawton
Boots by Acne
Jacket by Katie Gallagher
Shirt by Heather Lawton
Necklace by Chris Habana
Overwhelming at best, Marvin’s vocals from Let’s get it on.
Skin, leather, sexuality, and a simple message: whether gay, straight, lesbian, transgender; love knows no boundaries. This is Todd Pendu’s directorial debut (impressario of the PENDV empire), a sensual music video by LA band, Von Haze with beautiful cinematography by Andrey Piontkovski. “Conduct Your Touch” stars Andre J, a gender-bending nightlife icon and fashion muse to Carine Roitfeld, as an androgynous love God/Dess presiding over a “Ceremony of Love-Making” by four couples (with cameos by nightlife stars Jordan Fox and Dylan Monroe). The film is based on The Lovers card of the Tarot and the Alchemical Androgyne; it’s also about people trying to find connection and oneness in intimacy and ecstasy. Through and through though, it’s a great pop song and the video has everything to do with teasing the eyes and the senses with a balanced mix of “soft-porn” and fashion. Fashion designer, Zana Bayne styled the video with wardrobe from 5Preview, Logan Neitzel, Muubaa, New York Sex Trash, Norisol Ferrari, custom pieces by Zana Bayne (X PENDV), Bjorg, Chris Habana, House of Malakai, Maria Black, Mordekai by Ken Borochov, and Uncommon Matters.
I don’t feel at home in this world anymore: Film, stories and images from the Mississippi Records and Alan Lomax Archive
A film, music and aural presentation by Eric Isaacson of Mississippi Records, Portland, USA at Cafe OTO this Monday which will feature archival film, images & stories spanning 1890 to the present day, illustrating a history of underground music movements and bonafide individuals. The live footage performances are culled from rarely seen film shot during Alan Lomax’s North American travels between 1978 to 1985 and Mississippi Record’s own enormous library of folk blues, gospel, esoteric, international & punk music.
Mississippi Records, in a short time, has bypassed most antiquated record label conventions and has, through a few guiding principles and great taste, gained cult status, lots of sales and love and praise from all quarters.
The core footage from the moving image show will feature video footage from the 400 hours shot by Alan Lomax between 1978 & 1985 (an era that seems to have been overlooked by archivists). Highlights include the first R.L. Burnside moving image, Skip James’ buddy Jack Owens, Otha Turner leading the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band at one of his picnics, Boyd & Ruth May Rivers, the Hicks and Proffitt families of Beech Mountain, North Carolina (from whom the song “Tom Dooley” originally came), Quad-Split camera footage of the 1982 Holly Springs Sacred Harp Convention, a funeral parade with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Pretty White Eagle Mardi Gras Indians, Ernie K-Doe at Winnie’s in New Orleans, One String guitar playing, breakdancing & much more. This footage is remarkable because it shows folk cultures in full blossom during a time when pretty much no one gave a damn about them & barely anyone was bothering to record them. As is always the case with vibrant cultures, the blues, country, folk & jazz that Lomax was filming was rapidly mutating to fit the times, so the footage has a feel very contemporary to the late 1970′s & early 1980′s, yet it is very foreign to our popular mass culture image of what was happening during that period.
Beyond the Lomax footage there will be rare film of musicians associated with the Mississippi Records label such as one man band Abner Jay, angel channeling Bishop Perry Tillis, Rev. Louis Overstreet & his four sons, legendary folk singer Michael Hurley & many more. Each film segment will be introduced with brief stories about the musicians. There will also be a short slide show that tells the story of the underground music industry & Mississippi Records.
Monday 1 July 2013
Door Times : 8pm