April 13, 2011

say it in llama

Say it in llama, because even if you have to say something harsh llama's sure do take the edge off. Living in a llama, alpaca, vicuna, and guanaco country llama font seemed like a fitting thing to share.

Created by Avery Oldfield and Jack Inscoe their simple and quirky website is worth a look.

April 11, 2011

NYC can Shop Chile!

Now you can get the Best of Chile in New York City! The Puro Chile shop features a wide range of products from crocheted wool shoes to merken infused avocado oil.  Funded from a variety of Chilean private sector organizations and supported by the Chilean government, Puro Chile hopes to open the doors in NYC to Chilean products and services, while spreading Chilean culture and enhancing its image in one of the world's most important cities.

We have tried both the AFE juice and Manka chutney and they are tasty!

The Puro Chile shop is located at 221 Centre Street and open Monday thru Sunday from 12pm to 7pm.
P: (212) 925-7876
E: info@puro-gourmet.com

April 10, 2011

Aonni Water Plant

On our recent trip to the southern most point in Chile we had a chance to check out the Aonni Water Plant in Punta Arenas.  Just like the front desk guy told us at our hotel, the plant was just south of the town about 30minutes right next to the two lane highway and with a gorgeous view of the Magellan Strait.  What was so surprising about this building in person was that it wasn't encroaching at all on its surroundings.  It has appeared to me by the pictures before that it was a gigantically magnificent plant and I was curious as we drove south from Punta Arenas how this building was going to work within its context ... we almost drove right past it.

Fixed on the water to our right and the green rolling hills surprisingly the stark white plant fits into the landscape.  Situated above the road with bushes and trees adjacent, the building was just beautiful.  Simple and functional, we decided to pop in to see if we could get a look at the inside.

We were greeted by the grounds keeper of Aonni Water Plant who located the Plant Manager Enrique aka Wicked.  Wicked was extremely gracious and gave us a tour, explaining the company of Aonni, the construction process (Wicked helped assemble it!), and why it is located on the side of the road south of Punta Arenas (because the natural spring water source). 

Once beside the building we were able to appreciate its scale, which is much larger than what it had appeared from the road.

The facility has window openings only on its north face providing plenty of natural light.  (see pic below!)  Most of the building is for the production side: lab, bottle stations, storage and an area where the  specially designed glass bottles receive their Aonni blue labels which are applied by hand.  But there was a small water tasting room for when they host guests and perspective clients.  Matt and I had a chance to tast Aonni...and it was good water.

Wicked said the only thing he considered 'not great' about the building is that it gets cold in the winter, but then again they are located at the southern tip of Chile, next stop Antarctica!

After our visit to Aonni, this building is now on my Top Ten List of Chilean Architecture.

April 09, 2011

Bike Parking Banned from Titanium Building

After a slight hiatus, Pencil In Hand regular posts are back!


Earlier this week I had a chance to feature a really cool project called the Bike Hanger designed by MANIFESTO Architects on ArchDaily.  I personally loved this project, the bright yellow structure, the utilization of space between buildings, the creation of vertical storage, and materials and power needed are recycled and human pedal power.

This project made the shortlist for the Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010

In an interesting turn of events, later that same day I learned that the Titanium Building issued a statement notifying bicyclists that they would be banning bicycle parking on their property for cosmetic reasons! And on top of that, they will not be installing any bicycle parking of their own.

In a high traffic bike area, especially for week day work commuters, this seems like an ideal opportunity to create a visually interesting bicycle storage, however I guess to some surprise the design of the building in the first place is quite lacking and seemed to disregard site orientation and any type of streetscape/pedestrian presence.

Santiago seems to be continually taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to bicyclists. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go when it comes to provide safe bikeways, storage, and therefore encourage more bike commuters rather than car commuters reducing air pollution.

Apparently they are a bit confused here!

January 12, 2011

Video: Urban Canvas

Announced as one of the four winners in the Urban Canvas design, Jen Megathan's 'My Urban Sky' is now up at CUNY Hunter College. NBC highlighted the competition and winners today.

January 06, 2011

Video: The Story of Cosmetics

I'm a huge fan of Annie Leonard's videos, informative and a bit playful the 15 minutes fly by and at the end you feel motivated to pick up the phone to call your representative and change those laws.  Also noteworthy is that this video applies to both men and women, as shaving cream, lotions, body washes are all included within this umbrella of laws (or lack there of should I say).

For more information take a look at Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

December 03, 2010

Bike Rental in Montreal

My friend Anne took these pictures of a BIXI station last week while in Montreal for Thanksgiving. (Thanks Anne!)

Montreal has this really great public bike system that is definitely worth writing about. In its transportation plan Réinventer Montréal, the Ville de Montréal wanted to provide different means of getting around Montréal. 
Given its immense popularity in Europe, the Ville de Montréal decided to make a public bike system one of the measures included in the plan. BIXI is viewed as a complement to the public transportation system and as an alternative to the car for residents and tourists throughout the city. 

Who can use BIXI?
You have to be at least 14 years of age and measure at least 1.24 metres (4'1") in height to use BIXI.

How long can I take a bike out?
You can take a bike out for a maximum of 24 hours.

Is the system in service throughout the year?
The system is in service three seasons of the year (spring summer, fall) from May to November. The stations are removed during harsh winter months.

BIXI offers gift certificates and a station map for your mobile. You can subscribe for a year membership or a BIXI - bus package. BIXI website also offers bike safety tips, weather updates, and a station location map.