Archive for the ‘India’Category

It’s Time For Good Ole Food Fight!


Food Fight: If you’re riled up over food why not join the conversation surrounding food questions of sustainability, obesity, sovereignty, ethics, culture, science, innovation, diversity and the future. Design Indaba is gathering some designers, artists, chefs, thinkers and food experts and posing some provocative questions. You’ve got food in your face! Join the food fight and have your say too. For more information click Design Indaba Food Fight. 

Above: Photo featuring Martin Hablesreiter one half of Austrian design duo Honey and Bunny, with Sonja Stummerer. Although they work in architecture, product and exhibition design, their primary focus and interest is in food design. Recently they published the book Food Design XL. Below: Clip from the Food Design film  highlighting design themes of  Honey and Bunny’s work. 


02 2012

SPARE BEATS: Happenings Near You

Right in step with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, the Independent Fashion Bloggers  Conference takes place in NYC from 08- 12 February at Milk Studio. Want to know what’s next in fast paced landscape of fashion blogging then join IFB, they’ll bring together some of the best and brightest personalities in the fashion industry to discuss the issues, challenges and exciting future of fashion blogging and social media.

GLIDE’12: Consumed is accepting CFP abstract submissions for virtual conference to be held 07 November 2012. Be part of this major partnership with the GLIDE team and Iridescent, the Icograda Journal of Design Research. Audrey Bennett, will serves as guest editor, she’s the founder of GLIDE, and Associate Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.  For more about GLIDE click:

In need of some cultural nourishment, then head over to SVA MFA Design Criticism Spring Lecture series, starting next week February 14, the Spring line-up jumps off with an intimate Q&A with The New York Times’ newly appointed architecture critic Michael Kimmelman.  For more information on D-Crit’s lecture series click D-Crit.

Design Indaba: 29 FEBRUARY 2012 – 4 MARCH 2012 Interact/Design Indaba 2012. This year’s venue includes the Design Indaba Conference and Simulcast from 29 February to 2 March 2012, and Design Indaba Expo from 2 to 4 March 2012.



02 2012

Everyday Design by Maleneb

The debut article of my first By Design column featured in International Review of African American Art, Fall 2011 issue spotlights the fabulous Malene Barnett, carpeting and rug designer.

The Art of Everyday Use
Not all carpeting rolls off assembly lines in factories or is imported from exotic places in the Middle East, China or India. Hand-made floor coverings that rise to the level of art are created by Malene Barnett, principal and owner of Maleneb in Brooklyn. She has built a brand specializing in hand-woven carpeting and rugs of original design and high-quality fibers for commercial sites and homes.

At the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Barnett initially majored in fashion illustration but  really longed to paint. Her decision to change majors was clinched when she happened to see a display of  projects by students in the textile surface design department.  As a textile design major, she was inspired by the early textile renderings of Lois Mailou Jones, a young, African American designer who went on to become a major 20th century American artist.

While taking a carpet design course, Barnett won first prize for a Stark Carpets-sponsored, carpet design competition, and committed to this specialized field in textile design.

Barnett graduated in 1996 and worked for a succession of companies, including Afritext where she modernized their line of African prints; and Nourison, an industry leader, developing products for major household brands.

After four years at Nourison, Barnett had an urge to explore the world. She quit her job and, carrying just a backpack with seven outfits, traveled to India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.  Each environment piqued her curiosity about the indigenous spiritual symbols, patterns and architecture of the cultures that she visited. She sketched this iconography in a small sketchbook as ideas for new designs.

Back in the States, Barnett worked freelanced for her previous employer, Nourison, designing handmade accent rugs and carpeting for some well-established consumer brands such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Nicole Miller, Liz Claiborne and Macy’s. With her guidance, Nourison profits grew from $1 million to $15 million. Then Barnett was offered an opportunity to start a carpeting line with JLA Homes, a home furnisings company; once again profits increased.

When the economy started to tank in 2008, Barnett decided to launch Maleneb.  “Why would you even think of starting up a studio in such a dismal economy?” I wondered. “The timing was right,” she replied.  In leaving Nourison, she again was following a calling. She defines herself as a visual artist, with a propensity for hand drawing and painting, who loves to design carpeting and rugs. And besides, she explained, “most of my previous projects offered little exploration of my own ethnic sensibility.”

The luxurious residential rugs and carpeting in the Maleneb collection are hand woven designs based on the icons, patterns and colors that Barnett observed during her travels and as she continues to look to  artifacts from various ethnic cultures and the natural environment for inspiration, her work is informed by food rituals, ancient architectural structures, traditional garments, unusual  textile patterns and paintings are a part of the mix.

The collection consists of three distinctive themes: Signature reflects the diversity of everyday life, for example, the Mehndi-inspired rugs of rich burgundy and red wool yarn with linear designs based on a palm decorated with henna tattooing for a wedding. Classical— traditional motifs and icons such as the Adinkra writing system of Ghana. And texture which explores the multiplicity of organic forms in nature. In order to achieve the characteristics of flowing water, mountainous landscapes and tree trunk textures for the Texture theme, Barnett mastered a distinctive technique of creating varying pile heights.

As a member of the Good Weave organization working to end child labor in South Asia, all Maleneb pieces carry the “Good Weave” brand to distinguish them from those made under exploitative circumstances.

Besides designing the collection, Barnett gets numerous requests for commissioned projects. For example, Ken Staves, an architect based in Calgary, Canada, called to request rugs for his new home, based on photography he had shot of magnificent, New York City architectural skylines.  From this imagery, Barnett crafted a series of tapestries that now hang on the walls in Staves’ home. The Carl Ross Design Croup hired Barnett to create special rug tapestries for the lobby walls of the Hyatt Vacation Club Hacienda del Mar in Mexico. Her design for this commission was inspired by the 15th century rock art of the Taino Indians of Mexico.

A spunky seven-year-old girl passion for drawing and painting has become one of the top designers of carpeting and rugs in New York City.

Limited Edition Tap Tap rug, abstract angular colorful shapes, with varying piles based on the colorful, hand-painted local tap tap buses in Haiti, this rug design was featured in the Global African Project exhibition catalog, 2010.

For more information on Maleneb click: 



FOOD: Sharing my Love of Indian Cooking

I must admit to being a big lover of home cooked Indian dishes. So Yesterday I stopped what I was doing, sat down with a big cup of minty tea and listened to WNYC’s talk show host Leonard Lopate’s spectacular interview with Madhur Jaffrey and Suvir Saran, chef of Devi. Both chef’s Jaffrey and Saran talked at length breaking down the basic fundamentals of making delightful home cooked Indian Meals and the importance of using the freshest of vegetables and spices. Madhur Jaffrey shared her new cookbook, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka telling listeners how easily it is to prepare Indian dishes and tips on the foods from various regions from the north to the south of places like Karala and Goa. And Suvir Sara talks about his India Cookbook, a comprehensive guide to Indian cooking with over 1,000 recipes. Both cookbooks are rich and steeped in traditional style of home cooking, and after listening you too might come away with a better appreciation for some of those aromatic dishes you love to eat. I’ve been a long time lover  of Madhur Jaffrey’s cooking and this new cookbook is a must have addition to my expansive cookbook library. And if what she say’s is true about these recipes being better than the typical NYC’s  Indian restaurant, I can’t wait to delve deeply in to test her tasty  recipes. In the meantime I’ll sample a few recipes listed on the NPR’s website, since I simply love coconut rice pudding. I’ll whip-up that dish up first.


12 2010

DESIGN: Laurie Lyon’s Online NOMADS Magazine Drops

Lauri Lyons, a well-known documentary photographer has a new online publication, Nomads Magazine it’s a quarterly devoted entirely to global travel aimed at exposing its readers to many exciting cultural experiences that promises to take you around the globe. This magazine is guaranteed to be filled with adventuresome features stories and extraordinary black and white or color images by world renowned artists and journalists, who live their life on the run. Lauri also writes about culture and photography for the Huffington Post and this December she’s leading a NOMAD Photography Workshop in Salvador de Bahia.

Spare Beats: Happenings Around Town

This spring there are a lot of events occurring around NYC with film, visual art, design, food and more. Here is a breakdown of the ones that I’ve been able to find, and some are all free! Please leave a comment if I’ve left anything out.

Social Dramas and Shimmering Spectacles: Muslim Cultures of Bombay Cinema
May 19 to 27

Celebrate and explore the rich influence of Muslim cultural and social traditions on the cinema of Bombay at Lincoln Center.

Chaudhvin Ka Chand
M. Sadiq, 1960, India; 169m
Khalid Mohamed, 2000, India; 170m
Garm Hawa
M. S. Sathyu, 1973, India; 146m
Jodhaa Akbar
Ashutosh Gowariker, 2008, India; 213m
Shyam Benegal, 1994, India; 124m

May 21st and 22nd – Costume Collections: A Collaborative Model for Museums
The Brooklyn Museum and the Costume Institute are hosting a 2-day symposium about their new costume collaboration. I’m looking forward to seeing both exhibitions this spring!

Fredrick Levore at University of the Streets
We hope you can play your part in the audience and enjoy an incredible evening of live music featuring: Michael Feinberg on bass, Daniel Platzman, drums Richard Louie, piano Alex Pope Norris, brass Emily Greene and Tatiana Kochkareva vocals.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 7PM-11:30PM; located at 130 East 7th Street (Avenue A) New York City.

THURSDAY 17 JUNE 2010 6:30–8:00PM

Join Karin Fong, founding member of Imaginary Forces and renown title designer, as she discusses the collaborative nature of designing cinematic experiences in its many roles.
As director and designer for a wide range of projects, spanning the worlds of fashion, entertainment, advertising, live-action direction, video games, experience design and environmental installations, Karin’s work carries a unique stamp whether it features the Marines or stop motion claymation figures.
AIGA/NY event

Black Brooklyn Renaissance: Black Arts and Culture, 1960–2010. The summer season gives ample evidence of the renaissance at work: the Black Brooklyn Drum Call, a concert featuring Toshi Reagon, an exhibition featuring the work of six Black Brooklyn photographers, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival along the Dumbo waterfront, the annual Tribute to Our Ancestors of The Middle Passage in Coney Island and so much more. summer event calendar


05 2010