Samsung Frame TV review: 4K TV + Art Mode

There’s no avoiding the fact that TVs are ugly. Engineers have been making them thinner and improving the video picture, but until now, getting them to fit nicely into our home decor has been an afterthought. So when I heard about the new Samsung Frame TV and its integrated design concept, I knew I had to try it.

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Modern Homes Tour shows Calgary’s chicest modernist homes

img_5776Calgary Modern Home Tour, Sep 24, 2016 – Calgary architecture has come a long way. From being known for its sandstone buildings years ago, to newer, more revolutionary buildings and structures like The Bow, or the Peace Bridge, Calgary is increasingly able to boast architectural structures that are worthy of bragging about.

Probably not surprising then there was an excellent turnout today for the first ever Calgary Modern Home Tour. Featuring five home in three quadrants across the city, this home tour featured a mix of brand new builds, more recent construction, and both show homes and lived-in family houses.img_5744

Each of the five homes was stunningly beautiful in its own way; whether it was unique and distinct architectural features, or elements of interior design that set it apart.

Organized by the Modern Architecture + Design Society which is based in the US, the events are, “carefully curated by and for lovers of all things modern, we capture the finest and most original innovations in architecture, design and lifestyle.”

The homes were largely located in central Calgary, and easy to see in the time allotted (11am-5pm). At several of the homes we were able to chat with the architects, designers, builders and even homeowners about why design decisions were made, how the homes were decorated to maximize features, and even what it’s like living inside an architectural gem.img_5788img_5783

At one home overlooking the Bow river (built by Newgrowth Fine Homes), a central feature of the home was a poured concrete wall, complete with the imprint of rough-hewn wood left behind from the cribbing. The homeowner told us is was a feat of engineering (her husband was the engineer, so she should know!) and took careful planning to avoid a blowout. The pour was done in three stages, basement, main floor, then upper, and took about a year to complete. The wood imprint provides a wall that’s strong and structural, but also appears both natural and warm.

img_5771-1The Modern Architecture  + Design Society writes on its website, about the wall that it’s, “an implied barrier between the public and private spaces. It remains exposed as a central core – the stair floats upward in a ribbon against it, the archways lead to new spaces and it is the dramatic kitchen wall.”

Another fascinating home near Marda Loop was modular; the outer shell is crafted (by housebrand), floors are put in (oiled oak) and then instead of traditional drywall walls, giant deep modular floor-to-ceiling closets act as room dividers, meaning the interior of the home can be customized or adjusted as the family’s needs grow and change.


Perhaps the most distinctive home simply from an aesthetic perspective was an industrial-modern property that used corrugated metal and grates on the outside, with a sleek but bright inside. The stunning and huge all white kitchen features touch-latch cabinets that make it seem as though everything is stashed behind hidden panels, and gives way to both a wide-open dining area and a living room. Gorgeous maple accents and floor-to-ceiling windows on both the main and lower level ensure the home will never feel too stark.calgary-modern-homeThe home tour was a real treat and a chance to peek inside some amazing houses. Visit the MA+DS website to read more about the 2016 homes and to see some stunning professional photos.

img_5778 calgary modern home tour bath tile calgary modern bathroom calgary modern bridgeland Modern home calgary

Artists to use old farm equipment to create giant walk-in camera

graineryFour artists are banding together to create works of art inside a giant empty grain bin.  The project will create a massive ‘camera obscura’ inside the old corrugated metal structure.

The plan is unfolding at the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage northeast of Nanton, Alberta. Camera obscura is Latin for ‘dark room,’  and as the group undertaking the project explains it, “the basic idea is to have light enter through a pinhole into a dark space; thereby creating a projected image,” says Dr. Josephine Mills, Director/Curator at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery. “This is the forerunner of the camera and the source of the name of this technology.”

Pinhole camera technology is one of the earliest forms of photography, and using the grain bin just takes something that can be make out of a cereal boxSketches or cardboard tube, and expands it to a huge scale, with what could be very interesting results.

“I’ve always wanted to exhibit the fabulous contraptions built by Kamloops artist Donald Lawrence to take pinhole photographs and make projected images,” explains Mills, “When I heard about Donald’s major SSHRC Research Creation Grant and the team of artists he had put together for the project, I knew that bringing these artists to work at the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage was a perfect match,”

So what will the finished photographs look like?

Calgary artist Dianne Bos is setting up her “See the Stars” prospector’s tent where she’ll make cyanotype prints.  “Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print, says Mills.  “It was used by engineers well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost way to produce copies of drawings called blueprints.”

A simple pinhole camera
A simple pinhole camera

Holly Ward, from Vancouver, is using cyanotype photography to explore the Coutts’ herbarium collection and will provide demonstrations throughout the day.  Sarah Fuller, based in Ottawa, will install video projects related to the Coutts home and gardens and conduct an Anthotype workshop using local spinach.

The Prairie Sun Project, as it’s being called happens on August 21, 2016 is the first project involving major Canadian artists creating work at the Coutts Centre.

The power of mushrooms! How fungi can replace styrofoam, at Beakerhead #YYC

mushroom 4Beakerhead is Calgary’s celebration of science, art and engineering.  For five days, there are myriad events all over Calgary, from massive art installations, the Ted-style Talks, plus food/chemistry events and even engineering feats.

One of those is In/flux, an art installation that uses mushroom bricks as faux-construction material.

In/flux is created by two Calgary engineers, who designed and built a castle-style structure with moveable walls from mushroom bricks.

mushroom1What are “mushroom bricks”?  They’re the creation of U.S company Ecovative, which can grow and shape these bricks to take any form. Using agricultural fibres like corn husks, and hay or straw, they mix these fibres with mushroom spores, pack them into a mould, and allow the spores to grow.  They form what’s called mycelium. which is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like fibres. These fibres are very strong, meaning the bricks hold together well. After the mycelium fibres have filled every nook and cranny, the bricks are heated to stop the growing process. The bricks are theyn ready to use.

While the Beakerhead installation looks like a structure, the bricks aren’t structural at all.  They’re mainly used for packaging materials and insulation, so I guess you could say they’re not necessarily bricks either. The company has sold them to manufacturers to use to keep washing machines from moving in their transport crates, and as wall panels of eco-friendly insulation.

While the bricks will biodegrade when exposed to water or the elements, kept dry they’re stable indefinitely.

The In/Flux structure at the corner of Memorial Drive and 10 St NW is a beautiful example of art, science and engineering, and it’s meant to show off an alternative to styrofoam packaging.  Because with mushroom blocks, once you’re done with the package, you just toss the blocks into your composter.


Beakerhead celebrates science! 

 It’s not even officially underway yet and already it’s cool! I spent this afternoon volunteering for Calgary’s art, science and engineering mash-up Beakerhead.

Just one of the amazing visual events is Intrude at Central Memorial Park. It’s a set of giant inflatable bunnies you can’t look away from.

They’re the brainchildren of artist Amanda Parer who was here to supervise today’s installation.

Amanda has taken her art installation to countries across the globe, including Belgium, England, France and the USA.

Amanda is Australian, and likes to work with the natural world, “with startlingly beautiful creatures enlarged and frozen within their chosen habitats” Her website goes on to explain, “When viewing one of these iconic, mostly feral animals inhabiting a beautifully haunting landscape, the environmental message is enhanced by the artist’s finely crafted traditional technique in any of her chosen mediums such as painting, sculpture and public installation.”

While these Intrude bunnies are super cool against a blue blue sky they’re going to be even cooler at night.


Set up on Tuesday involved unpacking the bunnies, inflating the canvas part way then climbing inside through a small zippered opening to lay sandbags for stability and set up lights for later. The bunnies were later tied down for safety. Being inside was like being inside a bright, white tent.

 Pop over to the park and have a look before Beakerhead wraps Sunday.

Open to the public September 16 – 20

  • Wednesday, September 16 to Saturday, September 19,  10:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Special A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole party on Thursday, September 17, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 20, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Gorgeous Retro Illustrations Revived as Parks Posters




































Via DesignMilk.

I absolutely love these retro posters, advertising travel at the US National Parks.

The artwork is stunning, the colours gorgeous, and the design is simple, effective and eye-catching, especially in a world of HD video and 21 million pixels!  You can get them HERE from Print Collection.