Over the last couple of years, I have been drawn more & more toward the modern design aesthetic. I definitely want to live in a space that is comfortable and inviting — modernity has been caricatured for being cold and outlandish (think: the oddball Schoeners sketch from Saturday Night Live featuring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as strange Euro ultra-mods). I think I am drawn to the simplicity, clean lines and serenity the best of modern design and architecture can evoke.

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What I took away from the film Soylent Green was not the socio-political commentary about class, age or the environment — no, my takeaway was an abiding love for this chair, featured briefly in one of the apartments from the film. In fact, to this day, although its proper name is the Barcelona chair I insist on referring to it as “the Soylent Green chair.” However, being able to afford even a “cheap” knockoff is kind of a pipe dream on our limited budget, so we have been forced to find creative ways to express our design aesthetic.

Recently, we have turned our attention towards creating some interest on our wall space. Blik is a great source for vinyl wall graphics — affordable and easy to install. Back in OC, we paired the blik Fly design with an accent wall we had painted a deep shade of aqua to dramatic effect (picture this image, but in reverse). We had been considering a couple of whimsical designs for our current place: the blik Zipper (vaguely reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Beat It jacket) and Me, Myshelf and I (fake bookshelves, complete with fake book & vase graphics). In the end, though, both designs are a little bit too smirky or hipster-ironic for our tastes.

We did, however, recently install a small DIY art project that we picked up at My Own Space in La Jolla. The seaweed-like design above is called Algue, created by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. As highbrowfurniture describes, “Algue is interlocking plastic ‘branches’ that can be easily assembled to create web-like wall hangings, freeform sculptures, organic scrims or dramatic room dividers. You become your own designer!”

We had some good friends stay with us this past weekend, and their five-year old daughter asked my wife what was hanging on the wall. Here is an approximate recap of their conversation:

Child, pointing at the Algue hanging on the wall: Eemo (aunt), what’s that?

Adult: Well, you know when you go into the ocean, there’s seaweed. It’s supposed to look kind of like that.

Child: (Silence. Confused expression.)

Adult: It doesn’t look like that to you?

Child: (More silence. More confusion.)

Adult: Well, it’s art. It can look like whatever you want it to look like. That’s what art is — you get to decide what it means.

Child: (Further silence. Extreme confusion.)

Adult: It’s seaweed.

Child’s father, shouting from a distance: Are you trying to teach my daughter about art?!

We ended up choosing the white Algue to hang on our white walls. Reminds me of the scene in Spinal Tap, where Nigel Tufnel looks at the edited cover of their new album (which replaced the horribly offensive cover “art” with an all-black cover) and asks, “It’s like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none, none more black.”

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