swellchief

everything you need to know to be swell.

Beautiful Tech: GQ Features

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Reposted from GQ:

Remember when you kept geeky gadgets out of sight? You won’t be hiding these…

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Photos by Ilan Rubin

Check out this link: http://men.style.com/gq/features/landing?id=content_8498

Written by MLG

April 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

1934 BMW R7

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As reposted from http://www.thecoolhunter.net

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Think back 70 or 75 years to a time when design began to break away from the traditional and elaborate rationalism that ensued for hundreds of years. As the styles of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Streamline and Zigzag Moderne emerged after the Industrial Revolution, designers as well as consumers fully embraced the Age of the Machine.   Shiny chrome surfaces lay across curving forms or over expansive horizontal planes and glorified a dynamic new world on the move.

And suddenly, design was muted as World War II approached. Inspiration was buried away, along with some innovative and visually stunning design work. Skip ahead to 2005 when some curious members of BMW Classic opened a box and found the R7 bike 75 assembled – although not in shining condition. The engine was corroded, the metalwork was in dire shape, the battery was unusable, but the opportunity for restoration could not be ignored.

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Various specialists at the BMW workshop discovered the original design drawings in the archive collections and conjured up the ghosts from Streamline Moderne’s past. Missing parts were sourced, others were rebuilt, the chrome was polished and the frame was painted black. And the final test, retuning the 1934 BMW motorcycle to the street, proved to be worth the wait nearly three quarters of a century later. - Andrew J Wiener via Bike Exif

Written by MLG

March 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Clean Design

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After posting the article on Masculine Design, I realized that I might as well show you how I exactly did it in my home in the Philippines. Here’s a collection of the pictures I have gathered of the place…

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The design of the house is dubbed “Modern Asian”. It’s an answer to cleaner, simpler and no-nonsense manner of living. House design is a collaboration with Architect/Engineer Rey Pineda from the Philippines. He’s considerably quite successful as he has had the chance to work on previous projects for the Zobels, Periquet and Concepcion and works closely with architectural firms like Antonio and Calma.

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The main door opens up to a wide space showing a 180 degree view of the whole first floor. The flooring used for the space is Narra wood with natural finish. Admittedly, it can be quite difficult to source this hardwood nowadays.

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We’ve also asked the architect to specifically build floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open up to the garden outside the house. Building houses in this manner gives you a wider space and sets an illusion of openness. All the furniture, to be consistent to the house’s theme are carefully chosen, mostly Filipino and Asian, if not, with modern clean lines. To complement the simple interiors of the house, texture has been added through most of the furniture pieces. The 8-seater sofa is by renowned designer Milo Navel of Movement 8. This is complemented by the chairs, center table and Kabuki cabinet all designed by Kenneth Cobonpue.

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The dining table is also designed by Kenneth Cobonpue, the wave dining table is made up of pieces of mahogany wood lined in a waving manner. Dining chairs are made of in-laid embossed leather.

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Artwork on stone is a collaboration between Father and Son Artists, Angel and Michael Cacnio from my hometown of Malabon in the Philippines.

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This artwork is also made by Michael Cacnio entitled ‘Fisherman’. This artwork is very symbolic of our hometown.

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A view of the living room at night. The off-white modern seating is the Pigalle by Kenneth Cobonpue. Concurrently, Brad Pitt also owns one.

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A view of the second floor of the house.

For more information, send an email to mdelaragarcia@gmail.com

Written by MLG

March 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm

40 Tips for a Better Life!

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1. Take a brisk 10-30 minute walk every day; it helps you clear your head and plan things out while staying healthy.

2. When you wake up in the morning tell yourself, “I will give my best today!”

3. Drink fresh apple juice in the morning before you ingest anything else; this helps your system absorb all the nutrients you need for the day. It boosts your immune system and will keep your breath fresh. Trust me.

4. Plan your day while taking a shower.

5. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy .

6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.

7. Make time to practice prayer. It provides us with daily  fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries,wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16 . Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more . It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:’In five years,will this matter?’

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. GOD heals almost everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33 . The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36 . Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Spread this to everyone you care about. May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but happiness come through your door!

(Posted as a forwarded email, unknown author)

Slech!

Written by MLG

March 23, 2009 at 10:17 am

Posted in Main

Kyle Schuneman on Masculine Design

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Aaron Britt  of Dwell Magazine recently talked over the phone with Kyle Schuneman, interior and set designer of Live Well Designs in Los Angeles. In the course of the conversation he again and again argued for men taking a greater role in the design and decoration of their living spaces.

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With this notion of masculine spaces in mind, Aaron put a few questions to him to see just how he imagines a male space, how it might differ from a female space, and how the much ballyhooed “woman’s touch” might very well benefit from a few male fingerprints from time to time. Here’s what Schuneman had to say:

How would you define a masculine space? It’s not just the spare bedroom with the oversized flat screen?

A masculine space is a room of rich textures and deep colors. It marries clean lines and a functional approach with a hint of quirk that comes from the unashamed addition of personal and sometimes foreign objects to an otherwise pulled together room. A masculine space is very different than a space “decorated” by a dude. It’s a style just like any other and it takes effort. For the last century men have been alienated from design, leaving it as a woman’s domain. In a lot of ways it is an unexplored venture.

How do you design a masculine space? Is it a question of materials, forms, light?

Masculine spaces are achieved through layering. This doesn’t mean clutter, as a masculine space is usually very classically laid out and streamlined, but rather the texture is a place to do something interesting. Whether it’s a leather bed or a wood root side table or a more playful item like the hint of a camo print on a pillow, masculine spaces need to feel rich. Layering the old with the new like using an old locker room bench as a coffee table with a classic Eames seating group give a wink and a nod to the past and always create conversation starters. Neutral colors for walls like taupes and grays are also reminiscent of a factory or a loft, which are both considered very iconic masculine environments.

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Do you think that men and women approach interior design differently?

Yes, and a very face value answer to this would be that men equal function and women equal form. But through my experience I have found that there is something much deeper in their motivations, which is that men have a need to claim their space. Yes, men want their place to function right, but they want it to be known as “theirs” with no apologies. I have found that women have a much more collaborative agenda when it comes to interior design. They consult magazines, friends, and television shows to get ideas and pull from each to design their space. It reflects much more of the trends of the time while men, being less interested in experimenting with new themes, hold on to the classics of design.

You mentioned that many men aren’t terribly present in the design and furnishing of their homes, which is perhaps why we get these unsophisticated, hyper-masculine “man caves” hanging on the periphery of lacy, frilly homes. How do you empower men to take a greater part in the design of their houses?

The “Man Cave” is as much a psychological move as it is a physical space. It’s a rebellion against the rest of the home because the man is often estranged from the décor that fills the other rooms. It is his way of claiming his territory and representing himself. Good design is always collaborative and both sides need to be willing to have some give and take. Women need to open up to the man’s ideas and men need to take a valid interest. I always say that if someone wants blue and the other wants red, purple is not the solution as no one ends up being happy. It is about the yin and yang that make a good collaborative room and men need to realize that their taste is a very valid balance to the woman’s point of view.

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For someone with a strong modernist aesthetic already, clean lines and honest materials might be de rigeur. How then do you create a modern masculine space that’s not some over-the-top Bond villain lair?

It is always about mixing in textures. Soft textures and rounded edges as accents aren’t dichotomous with masculine design. Adding a rug in a natural fiber like jute or a chunky wool in a solid color will only add to the modern and masculine aesthetic and still warm up the space to feel welcome. Another way of softening edges is through plants. Succulents are a great way to add softness while still keeping a manly edge and what is great about plants is they give the man something to take care of and take pride in. When you interact with your space you become much more intertwined with it and it builds a positive cycle.

Many men truly cherish having their own spaces, but how would you advise those who want to see their aesthetic run throughout their homes, not just play out in the basement or den?

I think any good design has a balance of both aspects so going into a discussion about a room or a house with that in mind should definitely give the man some latitude to express his ideas. Suggesting that he really wants leather as the upholstery fabric will give him a voice in the room while still letting the woman decide on the style of the sofa or vice versa. I think many men like their own space because they are so misrepresented in the rest of the house. But if their ideas were incorporated throughout they would be much less likely to retreat to just one comfortable spot.

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What’s your stance on neon beer signs?

Tough one. If it’s old enough to be considered retro it could be cool in small doses. However, many people confuse commercial design with residential design and this would be a classic case of that. It is a similar offense to arranging your bookcase like you would a store inventory.

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A palette of material: I love incorporating old metals, new woods, and innovative fabrics when putting together the palette for a masculine space. I think a great, unexpected idea is to use men’s suiting fabrics to upholster a sofa or chair. It is a classic design and the fabric is ultra soft while giving a wink and a nod to male design.

Three pitfalls to avoid in designing a masculine space: Just like in female design, going overboard can end up disastrous. If you put so many antlers up on the wall it just becomes overkill instead of an interesting and whimsical addition to a minimalist room. Using only one texture, like all wood furniture or all leather leads to a room going from masculine to drab. It pulls the look of the room down by making it seem all out of a showroom instead of collected overtime. Finally, I would say letting your beloved collection take over. If you have so many matchbooks in jars everywhere it can go from being a cool conversation starter to an eerie element in the villain’s home of a horror movie.

A few modern pieces: The bachelor pad has almost become an iconic character in pop culture but by getting rid of the bearskin rugs and rubber sheets you can really create a sophisticated and masculine space with the addition of these:

The Philippe Chair by Jonathan Adler

Aluminum Antler Lamp Base by Roost

Flocks Pouf by Christien Meindertsma for Design Within Reach

French Industrial Locker Room Bench from Wisteria

Mod Lodge Sideboard by Iannone

Mason Glass Top Desk by Williams Sonoma Home

Special thanks to Aaron Britt and Dwell Magazine for this article.

For more information, visit http://www.dwell.com

Drool Worthy Bikes

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This just in…

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This one’s for all you bike enthusiasts – or those of you who maybe don’t know much about the ins and outs of motorcycles, but share a passion for fascinating imagery and maybe even dream every once in awhile about speeding relentlessly down the highway on two wheels.

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Australia-based designer, Chris Hunter compiles a daily dose of cool bike images on bikeexif.com.

From BMW airheads to Goldwing bobbers, Hunter collects and posts the most interesting bike photographs from around the world. Bike EFIX brings together all the best bespoke, custom and even vintage motorcycles for all you design-obsessed bike fans out there.

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And Hunter, who has a particular liking for the Italian dream – the Moto Guzzi – is on the right track for attracting those who appreciate new and classic design on two wheels. - Andrew J Wiener

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For more information, visit http://www.thecoolhunter.net

Written by MLG

March 13, 2009 at 10:35 am

Posted in Main

Sensible and Practical Living

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swellchief-icon1

At times like these we need to pay attention to our purchases, stop and think what makes sense and realize that we really do need to live in a practical manner – it’s the least we can do for ourselves. I don’t see the crisis being solved anytime soon in spite of all the bailouts that Obama’s doing, key is to be able to survive and weather out the storm so that when the good times come back, we don’t come in empty-handed.

Here are some tips to sensible and practical style…

 

1. On your Savings and Bank Account

  • Make a personal ledger – use MS EXCEL and classify your expenses, you can use the tabs, one for each of your credit card and ploy your purchases and payments accordingly, this allows you to plan expenses. Make other tabs for each of your bank accounts so that you know where your money goes. By doing so, you can already identify where the bulk of your money goes to whether it be on food and drinks, shopping, vices etc…
  • Classify your credit cards –  Let’s admit it, It is such a luxury to own several credit cards, you feel so rich just having them so let’s put them to good use…Assign one for a specific expense, one for gas, one for grocery, one for travel, shopping etc…Key is frequently use the one with the lowest credit card limit and use it for your daily expense. The one with the highest card limit should just be kept handy for travel, emergency or accident purposes. You’ll never know when you can get sick or injured or will probably need a big amount of credit. By doing so, you get to plan your expenses more efficiently and understand your spending pattern.
  • Try to Save 30% of your monthly salary – remember CASH IS KEY! Try to allot this amount and keep it in a savings account, Half of it, if you can, buy Dollars. Doing so can help you have the cash you need for big purchases, at the least you have ready cash so that you don’t max out your credit when you travel.
  • Set Investment Goals - I’m sure that you won’t resist the temptation of wanting to buy something, just make sure to double check: 1. Do I need it? 2. Will the value of the item appreciate in the future? 3. Does it fit in my budget? If not, think twice and plan it out first before letting your impulse take charge.

2. Clean Up, Recycle and Downgrade

  • Sell or Donate – Spend one weekend and look into your house and your closet and assess the things that you have, choose the ones that you still use and choose the ones that you don’t. Make an inventory and think of the relatives or friends who are more needy that might be able to use your old items – donate to them, if not, set up a garage sale or sell them online – you can use the money for savings or for more important purchases or maybe buy an item that you like. Again, set goals. Key is to clean up, clean up, clean up!
  • Recycle and Alter – Say you found something in your closet that you still like but the fit doesn’t work anymore? Find a similar item like a pair of your favorite jeans or shirt that fits you well and go to the alterations shop and have it fixed. Cut off your old slacks or jeans so that you have a new pair of shorts for summer!
  • Downgrade - Are you sure that your really needed to buy that Banana Republic shirt? C’mon, there are other brands that can give you the same shirt for a lower price – you just have to look around. Think! Would buying that Louis Vuitton bag really make a difference in your life? It has become so ‘consumerized’ that it has already lost its luxury. What is luxury anyway when almost everyone owns it? The most you want is to have an exclusivity in the item that you own. Besides, people wouldn’t really care – especially during these times. They’ll respect you more if you keep it real. 

3. Personal Style

  • Understated Elegance - I have always believed in the premise that “You can have all the money in the world but you can never buy class…” I have always admired people who are able to pull off an effortless style and image, one that is real and mature – without any pretense. Just know yourself, your body type and fit – you know what looks good on you, stick to it no matter what, just make sure you don’t get locked in time. Reminder, i’m talking about the fit, not the style. Nothing beats a good fit and trust me people will mistake it for an expensive brand.  
  • Watches - Now that the economy is in peril, try to wear less ‘flashy’ watches. For everyday use, if it’s silver or white gold, make sure it doesn’t blind the person seeing you. Go for leather strapped watches – makes you look more elegant.
  • Shirts – Always have the basics, white, sky blue, royal blue and navy blue, you can never go wrong whether with jeans tattered or not or slacks, black , gray, navy or khaki. Go linen or oxford whenever you can.
  • Pants – Have a pair always handy. For jeans, you must have one dark and one casual pair, if tattered, make sure it’s mature and still decent for a weekend or going to a bar. For slacks, you must have a basic black, gray, navy blue and khaki, both for formal and casual meets.
  • Shoes - Keep one pair of rubber shoes for the gym or training or grocery, one pair of sneakers, casual black and casual brown, formal black and formal brown. My bet is that the others in your closet are just because you like them, don’t worry I have several too.

I have pretty much laid out all the things that you’ll need to brave this slow economy. I hope this helps a lot to sort of fix and calibrate your day-to-day living. 

Have a practical day!

Written by MLG

February 20, 2009 at 10:28 am

Posted in Main

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