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.
(Image by Scott Campbell)
Photographer Nick Knight’s digital platform SHOWstudio has teamed up with Garage magazine in an exploration into tattoo’s (ever increasing) relationship with fashion, creating an editorial to be interpreted onto the body, captured and streamed live to the site’s viewers. The editorial shot by Knight, creative directed by Garage’s Dasha Zhukova and styled by Charlotte Stockdale will take inspiration from “the rebellious roots of body art and it’s association with subcultures and tribes”, to be reinterpreted by tattoo artists Scott Campbell, Angelique and Madame Chän onto the bodies of six volunteers, all live streamed throughout the process on SHOWstudio. The project named Always & Forever, alluding to the permanence of body art in comparison to Fashion’s fleeting nature, intends to create the editorial’s counterpart in something enduring.
The project will be streamed live today and tomorrow here.
Oiran were high-ranking courtesans of the feudal period in Japan who wore tall lacquered footwear or Koma-geta (or mitsu-ashi – three legs). Unlike geisha and maiko, who only entertained by conversation, singing and dancing, oiran and tayuu were the highest rank in the hierarchy of prostitution in the pleasure quarters. Whereas geisha and maiko wear tabi socks, the oiran and tayuu preferred not to do so (even in the winter) and their toes can be seen poking out under many layers of kimono while wearing these tall geta. A tiny hint of bare flesh must have been very appealing in the Edo period! These shoes were most likely worn to ensure there was no confusion between geisha, maiko and oiran / tayuu. However, an amazing skill of balance must have been required to walk with these geta with their 10″ platforms. One sometimes sees maiko hobbling along in Okobo, but the pace must have been even more arduous in these tall geta. This particular pair is most likely Taisho period (1912-1926) or early 20th century.
Many are familiar with Hans Bellmer‘s haunting and iconic photographs of his dolls, especially the dramatic (and arguably misogynistic) stagings of the doll’s ball-jointed second iteration. Less familiar are Bellmer’s collaborations with his partner Unica Zürn, a German artist and writer who became involved with the Surrealist milieu in the 1950s. Bellmer had already been contemplating the contorted female figure by the time he met Zürn in 1953, but after the two became partners, Zürn became his model, allowing him to photograph the “mutilation” of her body through bondage into “altered landscapes of flesh,” or perhaps l’informe. I can’t find words to describe it, but there is something so compelling and creepy about the way his photographs of Zürn completely de-humanize her form while those of the dismembered doll’s corpus elicit almost an emotional reading, whether through empathy or fear.
Unica Zürn too produced an incredible body of work over the course of her life. After a stint with psychedelics, Zürn’s mental health began declining in the 1960s, and she began a long period of intermittent visits to clinical facilities, ultimately jumping to her death in 1970. She had experimented with the Surrealist practice of automatic drawing up to that point, creating figures with undulating, layered lines and crisp, flat patterning, but there seems, to me, to be a palpable change in her forms following the commencement of her breakdown. Some of her lines seem to thicken, while others trail into white space. Smooth curves become jagged; the marks on the page become reminiscent of nightmares and compulsions. The proliferation of bizarre, intricate, and hypnotizing drawings she produced during her years of mental instability seem to offer a glimpse into her psyche, serving as an ironic reminder of the ways her emotional collapse paralleled her success in unconscious expression.
[I only came across Zürn's life and work recently, and I don't think this post even begins to scratch the surface of the complexity of her work or her relationship with Hans Bellmer, whose work I am very fond of as well. For more information, definitely check out Ubu Gallery's 2012 show "Bound," from which I used images, as well as The Brooklyn Rail's review of the show. Both are absolutely fascinating.]
Last nights saw the latest in the V&A’s Fashion in Motion series, presenting a combination of new and archive pieces from groundbreaking Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto in the context of the museum space. The show saw unmatched levels of theatrics, set in the Victoria & Albert museum’s Raphael Cartoons hall where guests were welcomed by kimono clad attendants and al black troop, skulking beneath eye level to puppeteer the theatrical elements of the show – acting kuroko, the kabuki theatre’s traditional stagehands.
Yamamoto, known for bringing Japanese design to London fashion for the first time in 1971, fuses traditional culture with contemporary design across every conceivable level of his work – garments brazenly emblazoned with work by 19th century artists Utamaro and Hokusai, whose iconic image The Great Wave off Kanagawa features across numerous pieces, to presenting a collection of children’s clothes on child sized mannequins carried on sticks by dancing, black-clad troops; each of these elements, though progressive and modern, screams of the drama of kabuki theatre quoted an inspiration to his work.
Opening the show with a single outfit, a cape modelled by Caroline Coon in 1971, and using kabuki theatre quick-change technique ofhikinuki - ripping off the outermost costume to reveal another below – revealed the iconic striped jumpsuit worn by David Bowie during his Aladdin Sane tour in 1973. A level of showmanship overshadowing any of the stiff bodied catwalks of late, and an admirable relationship with his audience; the designer present throughout the entire show and personally shaking the hands of nearly each and every member of the audience’s front row.
The core belief behind Yamamoto’s work lies in the spirit of BASARA, ‘to have a carefree manner, to disport oneself with beauty and splendor, to be stylish to the point of flamboyance’, a sentiment that could easily be used to describe the theatrics of both his designs and shows, ‘the spirit of BASARA is an enduring legacy’.
To celebrate the opening The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier; From Sidewalk to Catwalk at the Brooklyn Museum this evening we have chosen photographs from our favourite Gaultier collection, which was used in one of the best Vogue/Meisel/Coddington extravaganza’s in 1994. Merging together the best of metallic like armoured jewellery, fake tribal tattoos and faux ethnicity on glamourous and beautiful models this editorial created a strange but alluring futuristic amalgamation of themes. These photos are exaggerated with the stark white backdrops making the women look like strangely alien creatures, unlikely to be placed in any context of time except perhaps the film Fifth Element which of course Gaultier designed the costumes for but three years later than when this collection was created. The descison to produce this collection void of an exuberance of colour but emphasising the harshness of metal, subtle face painting and earthy tones made an unlikely contradiction of imagery on to the body. There is something particularly current about Gaultier’s use of fake piercings, indian hair jewellery and tribal transfer tattoos which of course have been routing their way into fashion at the moment. The tattooed tulle shirt which became a signature of his premiered in this collection and the models cast in the runway show featured the heavily tattooed. If you enjoyed these photos then the video of this catwalk must be watched here!
To find out more about the idol that is Gaultier and this exhibition which looks back at the last 37 years of his career look here.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIERVogue, March 1994
ph. Steven Meisel
fashion editor: Grace Coddington
hair: Orlando Pita
make-up: Denise Markey
model: Nadja Auermann, Bridget Hall, Brandi Quinones, Debbie Deitering
In 2007, researchers uncovered what appeared to be the oldest prosthetic appendage, a wood and leather toe from Thebes dated to 1069 – 664 BC. Since then, many thousands of years or war injuries, deformities, and illnesses have necessitated countless other prostheses. Over the years, many of them have been designed to look increasingly subtle, to meld seamlessly with their owners’ bodies, but here are a few more elaborate, artful versions that are at once creepy, intricate, and intriguing.
Perhaps designed more with function than aesthetics in mind, the prosthetic hand of Göts von Berlichingen (or Götz of the Iron Hand) is nevertheless a remarkable example of elegant design. After losing his hand to cannon fire in 1504, Götz acquired an armored hand that allowed for protection and flexibility in holding everything from “a sword to a feather pen.”
Made from brass and steel, this Victorian prosthetic hand (1850-1910) allowed for flexible wrist and finger movement. The London Science Museum claims that “the rather sinister appearance of the hand suggests the wearer may have disguised it with a glove,” which, to me, is a shame; it’s open structure and contoured perforations display both an aesthetic sensibility and sense of technological modernity.
Looking to outfit her in something other than sprinting blades, Alexander McQueen designed these wooden boots for the Paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins in 1999. Mullins modeled them, along with a leather corset (that to me, evokes the part of vintage prosthetics that molds to the body) and ruffled skirt for his No. 13 show.
The two sets of limbs below were created by the artist Sophie de Oliveira Barata as part of The Alternative Limbs Project, which provides wearers with limbs ranging from the hyperrealistic to the “surreal” and “unreal.” The first of these pieces, coated in Swarovski crystals, was created for the Ice Queen role of the 2012 London Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The second is dubbed the “Wooden Arm,” and supposedly features hidden compartments.