Archive for June, 2009

George Washington: Designer

June 23, 2009
Sixteen-Sided Barn @ Mount Vernon

Sixteen-Sided Barn @ Mount Vernon, replica completed in 1996

We all know General George Washington as the first President of the United States and the first Commander-in-Chief. Some might even know of his interests in agriculture. But who knew he was a designer?

Last Sunday afternoon I visited the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens along the Potomac, outside of Washington, DC and it was more impressive from a design standpoint than I expected. And for me the mansion wasn’t the high point; rather it was the Sixteen-Sided barn.


Recession Aesthetics

June 20, 2009

DishSoapCompositeThanks to the tanking world economy, this year I suddenly found myself confronted by a perfect storm right in my very own kitchen: I needed to obtain the vast quantities of calories required by a ravenous teenager and his younger brother without having to declare bankruptcy. The blissful era of strolling around the local food co-op with a petite handheld basket containing a single grass-fed steak at $26 and a recycled-paperboard pint of $5.99 organic raspberries was over. And so it came to pass that in January I bravely pushed a doublewide chrome shopping cart into the land of excess that is Costco. I quickly realized that shopping there isn’t just about food, the experience is an education in the subtleties of how the graphic design of brands sells products to their intended audiences.