Friday, August 28, 2009

El Cosmico, The Future of the Art Community & Where to Find the Really Hip Hotels

Have you ever seen something so inspiring that you wish you had thought of it first? Well, this is one of those times for me. The awe inspiring hotelier Liz Lambert, known otherwise (and I quote) as the 'Aviator of Cool' for the hip Austin, Texas crowd is wowing us again with her latest lodging concept El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas. The project is still under construction, but we should all get a jump on this creation because it is going to be legend - wait for it - dary!

Detail of Vintage Trailer
Photo courtesy of El Cosmico blog

Ok, lets see if I can sum it up for ya! Deep breath........Lambert and her uber-qualified team are covering all the contemporary life style bases on this one by creating a full functioning community/hotel/artist haven on 15 acres of land with renovated vintage trailers, rammed earth buildings, solar showers, hammocks, a greenhouse, an amphitheater, an arthouse & of course, a bar. Some of the more luxurious features to come, if that were possible, include a pool, a pavilion, fire pits and a few wood fired hot tubs. Lambert is working with the architecture firm Lake/Flato - winners of the AIA National Firm Award known for their dedication to sustainable design & Jack Sanders of Design Build Adventure.

Design Build Adventure Arrive At Work
Photo courtesy of El Cosmico Blog

Broadford Farm Pavilion - Sun Valley, Idaho
Photo courtesy of Lake/Flato

Carraro Residence - Kyle, Texas
Photo courtesy of Lake/Flato

Lake LBJ House - Lake LBJ, Texas
Photo courtesy of Lake/Flato

I have been doing a lot of Texas surfing lately and it is definitely a force to be reckoned with. In addition to a slew of other initiatives, Lambert seems to be one of the central figures contributing to states current progressive projects. A few weeks ago I discovered Ballroom Marfa, a non-profit Gallery space with a program that would humble the likes of Larry Gagosian and Charles Saatchi. In addition to its small but select group of contemporary art spaces Marfa actually has a long history in the arts. Since the fabled minimalist Donald Judd moved there in the 70's it has been recognized as an established art community and a significant destination for collectors and historians. Who ever thought that a small west Texas town with a population of 2,300 bordering the northeastern seat of the Chihuanhuan Desert could be so desirable! The terrain, the earth installations and the wild climate are known to be some of the towns most attractive aspects for tourists.

Donald Judd
15 untitled works in concrete, Marfa
1980-1984 detail

Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa

Ballroom Marfa Gallery, Marfa

If I were to indroduce Liz Lambert properly - in all her entirety and associations, this post might turn into a small book. In addition to El Cosmico, Lampert is also responsible for the Hotel San Jose, The Thunderbird hotel (Marfa), The Belmont Hotel, Jo's Coffee, and my personal Favorite Hotel St. Cecilia. One of the most important and unifying of characteristics among these hotels which also emphasizes Lambert's eco friendly concept and appreciation for design is that they are all classic vintage structures dating from the 30's to the 50's. Each Hotel retains its former glory despite having been renovated and reconstructed to cater to a more modern aesthetic. The idea that one can create a string of diverse, hip, luxurious hotels without ever having to build a new energy sucking monstrosity is a welcome transformation.

Hotel San Jose, Austin

Belmont Hotel, Dallas

Jo's Coffee, Austin - Shares a parking lot with the Hotel San Jose

Lambert's team and aesthetic approach has reinvented the hotel industry in such an extraordinary way that it makes one wonder why they ever stayed in hotels to begin with. Her cool, achingly beautiful design savvy paired with her environmental sensibility is sure to inspire the senses and blow the mind!

Hotel St. Cecilia, Soul Pool

Hotel St. Cecilia, Austin
Hunter S. Thompson for Sheriff, 1970 (Suite 1)

I am just beaming with anticipation for Lambert's latest work of art. The road to El Cosmico Village is intended to be lined with Art Shacks housing a silk screen workshop, a pottery studio, and a darkroom. My only question is, 'when can I move in?'

Photo courtesy of the El Cosmico blog by Lexi Meece

I'm sure that I will be returning with posts about any one of these fabulous locations very soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I HIGHLY recommend you very carefully peruse and drool over all these time consuming links that I have posted here & maybe book a flight to Texas?! El Cosmico is not yet complete, but the bar is open!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Valentin Löllmann - Extraordinary Design

Spotted this today on Design Sponge and had to spread the love! These gorgeous photos were taken by the artist himself. This is Valentin's first collection, and a promising one it is! Check out the chair from this collection on his website, it would make any room. I love any designer that can take pieces of antique furniture and give new meaning to them. I have always wondered what one could do with a beautiful un-repairable piece from the turn of the century, Lollmann is right up my alley. These pieces want to make me run to my local junk store and get right to it!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CocoRosie - live in Karlsruhe


My beloved wife Kate took me to the CocoRosie concert in Karlsruhe for my birthday a few weeks ago. It was a marvelous performance by the two sisters, their human beatbox TEZ and their pianist.


The atmosphere at the Tollhaus was awesome also in part due to the audience's wild enthusiasm!


In September 2009 they'll start their North American Tour So, if you get a chance to see them, don't miss it!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dash in & Dash out

For an artist that represented so much of the anger, hurt and aggression of his generation, its hard not to feel that some hope has been lost with the passing of Dash Snow. His death, much like his art, followed the NY City code of excess - check in, take over, create anarchy, become an emblem for your generation, trash a hotel room or two, establish iconic status within the Artworld and accidentally overdose in a posh hotel in the city.

Snow's art was the kind you had to have a love - hate relationship with & that's the way he wanted it. He was obviously self indulgent, but his work was also honest, vulnerable and generous.

Photos courtesy of