The 3 Art Books on My Coffee Table

artbookI don’t know about you, but it’s not as fulfilling to view art on a computer screen.

I very much enjoy appreciating art in paper form, specifically, in those large hardcover photo books. They are perfect for casual viewing on your coffee table with breakfast or for guests to browse.

On my coffee table right now, I have 3 specific books that just never get old. Even if I have read them 100 times, they still fascinate me with every gander. Additionally, they are printed beautifully and are almost a decoration for my living room. In this post I’m going to show you what I have for my coffee table. Continue Reading →

Movie Posters Redesigned

movieI love movies. There is SO much work they put in one shot to get it just right that is really isn’t anything besides art.

A great example is Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Django (the “D” is silent), which uses fantastic cinematography, soundtrack, and script that creates a masterful movie piece with such a unique style that anyone can guess it’s his work. I love that.

I have a lot of favorite movies though and each one has many fans, as they should. Continue Reading →

7 Architecture Tips for Any Medical Office Setting

Any office environment needs a perfect blend of form and function. It needs to look elegant and professional, without sticking to the standard office look, but it still needs that fundamental flow and convenience of the standard office environment.

From an architectural standpoint, those without experience or education on the subject may fail to see the creative options that are available to them. However, there are really some simple, and even some extravagant, ways that you can go about making any medical office into a warming, inviting, and productive workspace.

So, let’s get into the list of seven tips that will help you through your architectural journey.

  1. Remember the “theme” of your business.

Whether you are a chiropractor or dentist, you want your office to reflect what you do. This doesn’t need to be done through super cheesy posters. It’s a matter of building relevance. For example, in the Internet world, people build rankings in Google by including content with LSI keywords. LSI stands for latent-semantic indexing. To put it simple, relevance builds relevance.

  1. Consider the openness of the space.

There are some medical offices that benefit from a very open space. On the other hand, it may be a bit uninviting to walk into an STD clinic and automatically be viewable by everyone in the building. So, a bit of common sense and consideration to the functions of different parts of the office will go a long way.

  1. Consider the value of mirrors, windows, etc.

Mirrors are a tricky thing to include in medical offices. While there are some beautiful interior designs that benefit from mirrors, it’s not always what people want to see. For instance, some suffering from an eating disorder may not like looking at themselves while waiting for their doctor. In the case of a dentist office, having mirrors could actually serve as good thing. For example, after getting their teeth cleaned or operated on, they may go back out and look in the mirror, and have a very positive feeling once they leave your office. The great thing about serving up a dental education as a hygienist is proving the results, even if it’s just a matter of using a different type of toothpaste.

  1. Build high or wide, what’s better?

In most cases, we are either blessed with a lot of space to work vertically or horizontally, but not both. A lot of offices look great when the ceilings are higher up and this opens the door for many design inclusions. For example, a fireplace with a long upward flow in its design will definitely pop. However, a lower ceiling with a fireplace may make the room feel even smaller.

  1. Decide on the appropriate tone for the waiting room.

We can design a waiting room that’s luxurious, that looks like a VIP section in a nightclub, or that just says, “Wait here until you’re called in for something you don’t look forward to.” Even though that last one may be silly, it is an option and sometimes it works. Usually, a waiting room with a bright and vibrant design works best. It doesn’t have to be over the top, just relaxing without the typical at-home feel. Try to mimic the pleasant experience of waiting at a luxury salon or spa, but without the obvious symbols of such.

  1. Should you be very creative or keep it formal?

Again, this is one of those things that will vary depending on the nature of the medical office. For example, this image depicts a very intriguing concept for a room in a dental office. The great thing about this particular look is that it feeds positivity to the patient. It also serves as a bit of a conversational piece, which is very important – building rapport with dental patients is often the biggest part of satisfying their needs.

  1.  Does the exterior design stand out?

I remember an old friend of mine started applying for dental hygiene positions after getting out of dental school (MyDentalHygienistSchools.com). She was looking for work in Tokyo and saw a dental clinic that really caught her attention. She had to mention it to me, simply because of the architectural appeal on the outside. You can look for yourself to get a better idea on what I mean. Now, remember the typical strip mall office that most dental clinics end up in – there’s no doubt that a patient would have a better first impression, and a more lasting impression, in a place that’s as architecturally appealing as this one!

There’s Beauty All Around Us

During a visit to Bristol recently I was reminded of just how much design and style is around us in our day-to-day lives. As any regular reader of this blog will know, my love of architecture spills over into all sorts of different products and often leads me to places that are quirky or unusual.

I don’t always sniff out classic design, but it’s amazing when you take the time to look around you with ‘different eyes’ what you see. Even shop design can be stunningly attractive and everything down to the simplest of products can have a line or a feature that is quite mind-blowing when you look at it with an open mind.

When I was in Bristol, I decided to visit a charity shop and for some reason found myself delving unexpectedly into the private lives of people I don’t even know. I had half an hour or so to kill before meeting a friend for a coffee, so I thought the Oxfam shop was a good place to spend the time. The bric-a-brac and the clothes were a real mixed bag, but in amongst the (ordered) chaos, there was a load of real and meaningful stories to tell.

Two of the things I found interesting were a Pringle of Scotland cashmere jumper that had clearly had a long and happy life with its previous owner and an Edinburgh Crystal Whisky glass. It struck me how funny it was that these two Scottish articles had found their way into a charity shop in Bristol. In my mind, I have married these two quality and stylish articles and attached them to the same owner. In my minds eye, the owner lives or lived in a classy, three storey Georgian house in one of the squares in Edinburgh and is either now dead or lives in a retirement home. Either way his belongings have found their way from Edinburgh to Bristol and will be sold to the first bidder who’s prepared to give £5 for the jumper and £1 for the glass.

I was tempted to buy the glass because I’m fond of a whisky, but I didn’t. However, by the time I left the shop had grown quite close to the story that I’d concocted in my head for these two items that I’d tracked down while waiting for my friend. Fortunately I resisted any purchase because I have more than enough “stuff” in my life and albeit a lovely, heavy crystal glass, I’m sure there are more worthy causes than mine. Anyway, more than half an hour had passed so I reminded myself that I should head off to meet Pete.

Pete’s a dear friend who runs a design studio in Bristol and we often meet outside of work to share ideas and to sort out things because neither of us are fans of our business administration or pen-pushing chores. Today we’ve decided to meet because as always, my the bookkeeping for my small business is in a real mess and Pete tells me he’s got the perfect answer…we shall see.

Anyway, a couple of espressos later and I’ve confessed all to Pete. He now knows that I’ve had bookkeepers in the past and let them go; I’ve made promises to everyone that I’ll keep the bookkeeping monster at bay myself and haven’t, and now I’m in a bit of a mess. Pete makes his counter-confession that a couple of years ago he was in the same mess and now he’s hired Virtual Business Source to do all of his bookkeeping and accounting for him. He tells me it costs way less than I’d imagine and now he sleeps at night rather than worrying about the bookkeeping he hasn’t done. It’s funny how something so abstract can take on a sudden beauty. Bookkeeping without pain, now that’s what I call beautiful!

The Beautiful Architecture of Historical England

I have loved architecture and design since I was a child, and as I grew older, I knew that I wanted to study architecture and design. I was born in America into an Indian family, but I knew that if I were to follow my dream of becoming an architect, I would have to move to Europe.

I decided to study architecture in England, and after I have graduated from my studies, I decided to stay and practice my craft there as well. I love England because it is a melting pot of various architectural styles and designs, and truly everywhere you look is saturated with unique examples of amazing architecture.

What I enjoy about the cities of England is that you can find examples of architecture from all eras and time periods. From medieval castles to the Victorian style revivals, to the ultramodern and contemporary sky scrapers of the newly developed parts of town. All in all, I loved studying the various styles and took inspiration from them when designing my own buildings and the buildings of clients.

In fact, you drive further out, you will see that England is home to some of the most enduring pieces of prehistoric architecture known to man: the famous Stonehenge. The Stonehenge is steeped in mystery, but its unique design that perfectly aligns itself with the stars and summer equinoxes makes it a truly inspirational example of Bronze Age architecture. It has lived on throughout the years and remains as one of the most impressive and iconic historical sites of the world.

I knew that I would reach my full potential as an architect if I kept working here in England. I even started keeping a small camera on a lanyard so that I can take a snapshot of a particularly interesting building that caught my eye. I add the photograph to my inspiration board, which I refer to whenever I am designing something new for a client.

In my daily life as an architect, I have even started picking out some of my favourite buildings. One of them is the Norwich Castle in Norfolk. The Norwich Castle has a straight, boxy design, which is a perfect example of the Romanesque style. It’s tall, round arches make it especially striking.

Another one of my favourites is the Bath Abbey in Somerset. One of the most famous churches in England, the Bath Abbey features striking fan vaulting and high ceilings that are juxtaposed beautifully against its Gothic roots.

In fact, Somerset is probably my favourite place to visit when I need architectural inspiration. Other notable places include the Circus, designed by John Wood in 1754. This oval shaped structure is quite unique and a perfect example of Palladian revival styles. It is decorated with triglyphs and has tall, white windows.

The beauty of construction and architecture truly has a special place in my heart. I believe that it is the perfect marriage of engineering, construction, practicality, and art.

As Soon As I Get My Usb Microphone I’m Starting A Podcast

Many of my readers will know that I’m a great fan of architecture blogging and some of you perhaps even know me because I spend a lot of time on other blogs engaging and writing comments. I’ve made quite a few friends through the architecture blogging community and for a good few years now it’s been a real a passion of mine.

What you might not know is that blogs are not my favourite way to engage with people and discuss architecture online. Over the last 2 years I have started to really get into some podcasts and it’s actually become my favourite way to consume content online. Strange coming from an architecture blogger right?

Well that might not be the case for much longer. Due to a change in personal circumstances I’ve now got a little bit extra time on my hands going forward and I’m think I’m going to finally get around to launching the Kapoor In Kensington podcast in the coming months!

It’s Not That Hard…

I had been put off previously because I had always thought that podcasting would be something quite complicated and it was enough trouble for me to learn how to use this WordPress blog. However, I’ve been doing some research and all I need to do is decide whether to go for the easy option, a usb microphone, or the more full on technical option of an full audio interface. Once I make these last decisions I will start to make my 1st recordings and all going will we should have a podcast on the go before the end of summer.

What Does This Mean For The Blog?

The podcasts episodes will be created in addition to the regular blog content. Nothing will change in that regard. I still fully intend to keep writing just as much as I always have done and I know my existing readers are my top priority. I hope many of you will also make the change to listen to the podcast.

What Form Will The Podcast Take?

My main plan is to start a weekly podcast that will take an interview format. Podcast shows with only 1 presenter can be done well but it’s a massive responsibility to carry the show all on your own. If I’m honest that scares me a little so what I’m going to do is to try out an interview format where I will have serious discussions with some of the un-sung heroes of the architecture world. There are many working architects that are creating great works but because they are on a small scale and not winning major awards they can sometimes go unnoticed. I hope my show in a small way can start rectify that.

So? What do you think? Is this a good plan? Would you listen to The Kapoor Show? I should say that the reason I love podcasts more than blogs is that they allow me to escape the confines of the office, to ditch the laptop and get outside. Each day I take a stroll through the streets of London and look at all the glorious buildings all the while listening to great architecture discussion in my ears.

5 Tips For Setting Up A Music Room

Designing a music room can be tricky. There are a lot of things to take into consideration – kinds of wood, proper space, acoustics, setting, temperature; just to name a few. But it doesn’t have to be scary! Designing a music room is a fun way to add some color to your house, and if you’re a musician, add a new dynamic creative outlet right in your own home. Here are 5 tips for designing a music room.

1. Softening the Room.

If you plan on having multiple musicians playing in your new music room, you’re going to want to minimize the amount of reverberation. Too much reverberation and you’re going to feel like you’re in an eco chamber, you’ll experience time lapse, and your experience will be ruined. A good way to accomplish this is by using soft furnishings. Sofas, chairs, scatter cushions and drapes all work well to get the job down. What’s great about this is it adds another level of creative aesthetics when setting up your music room.

2. Reflection.

Dead acoustics can cause the sound to feel stale. Just as you don’t want to have too much reverberation, you also don’t want to have none at all. With the right decorating you can find an even keel of reflective sound when you’re playing your piano / guitar at home, especially if it’s something like a P105. Hard wood and ceramics are good materials to “wet’n” the room. Another option that will do the trick is laminating the floor.

3. Creating a Studio and Recording Space.

With the rise in affordable DIY recording software, recording your own music has become possible for anyone interested and willing to invest the time in learning a specific program. If your idea is to create more of a studio then you’re going to have to divide your space into two separate zones. A control room will need to be allocated for your recording and playback equipment; another room will be set for recording live music. If you don’t have the space to set up two separate rooms, don’t worry! You can easily create a sound barrier by using a sound baffler or heavy drape. Using a carpet to deaden the sound in your live recording area another way you can further personalize your studio as well as enhance its practicality.

4. Creating A Vibe.

Depending on what kind of music you plan to be playing / recording, there are plenty of ways to inspire and encourage your aesthetic through color themes. Creating a desirable atmosphere is just as essential as the products / instruments themselves. For a more tranquil approach, you could use off-whites or greys to get that calming, zen-like feel. Wall-mounting instruments is a good way to create a space that says “we’re here to make music.” It’s also an exciting first impression to give to visitors first seeing the room.

5. Consider Setting Up A Stage.

If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, and a large amount of space, one fun thing to consider would be setting up a live stage to host performances. House shows are a fun way to bring friends together to enjoy music in a more intimate setting than, say,  a bar. All one needs to is to establish a stage for the musicians and invest into a lighting rig – honestly, flood lights would do, it doesn’t have to over-the-top. Hosting performers is even a possible way to make money! – though it may have to be donation based, due to state laws; however, if the space is there, it could be a great way to transform your house into something entirely livelier.

Finding a Specialist Job Abroad

When I moved to England I knew the job market was going to be tough. I knew, from industry contacts and the news, that finding work was going to be difficult. Even though I have a specialism (which apparently helps when trying to find employment) it still took me a few months to secure permanent employment. I think the biggest challenge was trying to find a job whilst living in a different country. It’s hard to look for work, speak to employers and attend job interviews when you are on the other side of the world! But there are some tips I picked up along the way that I wanted to share which hopefully might help someone else looking for a job.

The first thing I did was update my CV. Pretty simple step but you’d be surprised at how many rejection letters I got when I first sent out my CV. After reading advice and watching a lot of tutorial videos I realised that I needed a CV that was going to stand out from the crowd – something that looked a bit different. I did a bit of research online and found a website that specialises in free CV templates. A CV template is basically a form (available in a variety of designs and lay outs) that you can input your CV data into. The one I chose had well laid out boxes and neat bold headers so by the time I had finished creating my CV I knew it was going to be different from the competition.

I then went about contacting recruitment agencies and the biggest piece of advice I could give here is to pick an agency that specialises in the industry you want to work in. I used a general recruiter at first and although I spoke to an agent once a week during my job search it didn’t return many results. But as soon as I used an agency that specialised in Architecture careers I was offered a number of part-time and temporary positions. The temporary contract has since turned into a full time position and I also do some work for my portfolio out of hours too.

The main reason (I feel) I was offered a few jobs, once I had met the right recruitment company, was not purely my CV or my previous work experience. Practicing job interview behaviour definitely helped! I had one or two telephone interviews which I was really worried about and even had a Skype one too. I had never had a Skype job interview so did some research on what to expect and how to stand out to the employer. This advice definitely helped me – my tone, body language and job interview answers were all improved. Another thing that I was able to demonstrate during interview was my genuine interest in architecture and design. It’s something I think about day in day out, regardless of whether I am at work or not! And I think that is important to most employers – most organisations what an individual that will be passionate about their company and believe in their work.

I’ve been in the job for over a year now and I’m still improving on my experience every day. I keep my CV updated and add in new hobbies, interests and skills when necessary. I think this is crucial to any job search – whether it’s abroad or not. Your CV should be up to date all of the time, you never know when you might need to send it out.

I hope this helps anyone reading it who might be looking for a job – just remember to work on your CV, find a recruiter that can help to broaden your job search and be persistent – it’s what helped me to secure my role.

England’s Architectural Evolution As Seen By A Budding Architect

You got to have an eye for symmetry and beauty to appreciate the architectural works of England. England has had a long history of architectural evolution dating back to the ancient times and hence, as a budding architect from the sub-continent of India, I can’t help but marvel at the terrific designs and beauty of the architectural edifices of this place.

The Old and Ancient Structures

Say for instance, England has prehistoric structures in the megalithic tombs which were built during the Neolithic time. I happened to visit the West Kennet Long Barrow and Wayland’s Smithy. True enough, these structures manifest the quest even of the Neolithic people of England to conceive of architectural designs which even predated those of the pyramids of Egypt. The other day, I happened to visit some of the architectural structures built during the Roman time. The Section, for example, of the Hadrian Wall and the lighthouse at Dover Castle are good manifestations of Early England architecture during Roman time.  The other month, I happened to visit the ruins of the baths at Bath and the palace at Fishbourne. They are indeed awesome examples of Roman architecture in England on a grander scale.

Appreciating the Medieval Architectural Structures of England

The other week, I happened to visit Durham Cathedral, which is a perfect example of Romanesque structure, which was popular during the Medieval Time. I can see the lovely and rounded arches and arcades which are distinctively Norman Features. Another form of Medieval architecture is that of the Gothic Architecture. As I walked towards the Salisbury Cathedral one Sunday afternoon, I happened to see some moms with their lovely kids on some of the best twin strollers, looking appreciatively at the majestic vaults and stained glasses of the Cathedral. I myself can’t help but be taken aback at the majesty of these architectural designs. The vaults, buttresses, pinnacles, and ribs of the cathedral are great to behold.

The other day, I happened to take a look at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is a perfect example of Stuart Architecture of the 17th Century. The structure is definitely a departure from the eclecticism of earlier English Renaissance. As an architect, I really appreciate this fantastic architecture.  I guess this Cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren, who was then employed to see the replacement of churches destroyed during the 1666′s Great Fire of London. Last Tuesday, while on my way to buy a new dyson vacuum for my wife, I happened to pass by some Baroque houses such as the Seaton Delaval Hall. Then, I dropped by the Bienheim Palace to take a look at its amazing design. Likewise, I had a perfect view of the majestic Palace of Westminster which is a good example of Victorian architecture.

A cursory look into England’s architectural evolution will never be complete without visiting modern and contemporary architectural examples such as the Royal National Theatre, the Barbican Arts Centre, and the Lloyd’s Building. Moreover, there are the famous Swiss Re Buildings, conceived by Lord Foster and postmodern architecture such as the Broadgate. My idea and concepts has indeed been so much enriched by having a deeper understanding of this awesome evolution of England’s architecture.

Interior Architectural Tips for a New Home

Whether you’re building a new house or renovating an old house, experts recommend the following architectural tips. Before I discuss the tips, let me quickly explain how to work with an architect in designing your home.

* Come Up with Your Own Style or Ideas

Before you engage an architect, get a clear idea of what you want. Your home is basically an extension of your personality, so, make a list of all the things you absolutely need in your home, e.g. number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, dining room to be open or closed?

* Choose an Architect that Understands What You Want

Working with an architect will be made easier if you hire a professional with a similar design philosophy as yourself. Ensure that the firm your hire has enough proficiency in the size and scope of the home design project you are interrogating them for. Look at their list of present and past projects to ascertain their efficiency.

* Consider Your Budget

In hiring an architect, consider your budget. This helps to choose a capable architect within that price range. Tell the architect your budget while discussing so he or she would know what you want and the amount you want to spend.

Architectural Ideas for Your Home

* Change Your Cabinet Handles

In the past, glass knobs were popular in our kitchens and bathrooms. They became popular in the early 1900s (when metal was in short supply due to the Great Depression and World Wars). Consider changing your door knobs, dresser pulls and desk drawer pulls.

* Upgrade Your Staircase

You can also consider replacing the railings and newel post with more sophisticated woodwork. And if you really want to go the whole hog, get rid of your wall-to-wall carpeting and mount a stair runner for a signature vintage look.

* Improve Your Light Switch and Lighting

If you are truly committed and (for little time and money), you can replace all your switch plates and outlet covers with nickel and brass finishes to stay suitable for these times. When it comes to lighting, look for antiques like chandeliers—but old wiring can be tricky, so consider replicas. Wall chandeliers especially will evoke the era you’re after.

* Consider Casual Living Areas for Definite Uses

Even though many people may not consider it, you can have a casual living area like a kids’ playroom. This will increase the resale value of your home.

* Avoid Trends, Common Materials and Polishes

There are some common materials and polishes that are popular with people when it comes to
architectural design but you can decide to go against popular trends (without decreasing the resale value of your home because it is not popular with home buyers).

* Go for an Efficient Interior Design

Today, home owners prefer efficient interior designs by requesting for things like PV cells for power, timber or thermally broken window frames, double glazing, heat pump units for water heating and rainwater tanks. You can also get a green mattress for your room alongside a
natural latex pad that can improve luxury and comfort.