It takes a great courage of the owner of the house to open its door to the public. To strangers, really. Then let them walk through the most private parts of their personal space. It is an odd feeling to know so much, yet so little about the people, families who live in those houses. Seeing the books they read, the family photographs or cups they like their tea in. Imagining what its like to sit in their well-used chairs in front of which they watch the mainstream news. It is one of the reasons why it is the most interesting festival in Dublin … in mine opinion. Wish a similar initiative was organised in most of the cities and towns. Anywhere and everywhere.
The house below is located somewhere in the South of Dublin. The architect who was working on the extension to the back garden was the one who guided the group. The biggest challenge faced was the unusual size of the frame for the back door going to the garden. It was hard to find the solution that would work. Luckily there were some Polish builders working on the project that came up with the ideal answer. The architect while telling the story and explaining the problem sighed with an admiration and used the exact words: “The Polish people … are multiskilled!” How great it felt!
The charm happens in between the back garden and the large kitchen window. During warm summer evenings the cosy, sheltered garden is brightened up with the kitchen light while the calming sound of cascading water runs down in the background of the slowly approaching night. During the daytime, the wall covered with ivy creates natural and fresh wallpaper for those looking out the kitchen window.
KITCHEN & LIVING ROOM
It is not going to be very professional … unfortunately, I do not remember many details or challenges during the completion of this project. The focus is the extension of the house into the back garden and the parallel glass division running through the wall and the ceiling.
If you planning to visit St. Patrick Cathedral (best to attend a service as it is free of charge and the choir is angelic) not far from it on Francis Street there are plenty antique shops, galleries and coffee shops. Another cool place to see in the area is The Marsh Library located just beside the St. Patrick Cathedral. You will travel in time in both of those places. Into the mysterious, dark, spiritual gothic period.
This is one of the smallest houses I have seen so far during the festival. It is a cottage house with two floors and a terrace garden. Despite the fact it was tiny it felt spacious, airy and bright. The sun travels generously through the house pushing gently through each window. The owner and the designer is a young Irish architect who just moved in with his girlfriend into their newly renovated house.
Chapelizod is one of many places described by James Joyce in his book Ulysses. After reading chosen fragments referring to the place I designed a series of images following the same creative style and technique. Each image carries a vibrant colour against the monochromatic background. I wanted to create an abstract, dream-like feel to the series.
I do not know much about the village other than it is a rather old place located just beside The Phoenix Park in Dublin. You get the feeling once it was a pleasant place to live in where all the neighbours knew each other. Today, it is a place with no personality, no life or character. Used only as a passing place to other destinations.
Picking up on that mood I have chosen the most significant landmarks. Places that once had something to offer. At present they seem outdated, forgotten and isolated.
Ireland sober is Ireland stiff – James Joyce
Eircom phone box, once upon a time offered the use of modern technology and communication. At present covered in a spider web, contrasting with an old building wrapped in ivy.
A nation is the same people living in the same place – James Joyce
Will this boat be ever used again? … Probably not. Because what would it be used for? Fishing? Recreation? The owner may have left the village and has forgotten all about it. You can sens the physical presence of a person. The no more existing owner of the boat.
No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination – James Joyce
Not a living soul. The town is empty. Walls of those buildings are as fragile as an eggshell. Unrealistic birds flying through the town. On their way to a warmer more hopeful places.
To complete the journey on the Victorian architecture, here are some photographs that were taken in May 2018. Victorian gardens and houses in the Rathgar area.
In Ireland watering the gardens or the grass is totally unnecessary, in fact, I do not think I have ever have seen anyone doing so. Because of the humidity in the air everything around is full of life and greenery.
During the Industrial Revolution, there was a rapid development of the Dublin city, which at that time was under the British rule. I am not a great fan of the city centre, but I do really like the neighbourhood in which I live. It has a lot of character. When walking around it I have an impression I travelled back in time to the British colonial period. Something Irish people would not see as intriguing or entertaining as I do, at all. I only want to admire the aesthetics of that period.
Solid front doors with ornaments made of brass. Sparkle cleaned every Saturday, by very well-educated housewives. Perfectly matched colours of the doors with the facade of the buildings or with the plants in the garden. Romanticism hidden in organic vault lines over the front doors. Refined British black gates, fences and barriers. Perfect set for a romance during an Art Nouveau period.
Below images were taken in Dublin Botanic Garden in one of the Victorian greenhouses. The succulent plants made me think of the golden ratio, the mathematical formula that creates – everything!
THE RULE OF THIRDS
When I was studying design I was thought the number three is the ‘magic’ number. Use no more than three colours if you want to have well designed interior space (only if you are very creative introduce the 4th colour in very small doses). Use the maximum of 3 typefaces if you are working with typography and keep the same rule when it comes to texture and shape. If you follow the rule your work will look good if not very good.
The Golden Spiral is also based on that magic number. Working space is dived into 1/3 and then the smaller part of it once again is divided into 1/3 and so on so on till eternity. When you join the meeting points with a curvy line it creates the spiral effect.
Our eye is ‘lazy’ does not like to make an effort when reading and sending the information to our brain. Anything that is is well balanced mathematically is also very well designed.
The pattern of the spiral can be used for creating a really well-composed photograph.
GOLDEN RATIO LIFE BALANCE
ADOBE COLOR WHEEL&SCHEMES
There is an interesting website called Adobe Color. After creating an account you can upload an image and it will pick the most dominating colours out of an image. You can save the selection of colours into your library and share it with other users. The result will show five colours which work very well together, try to choose three out of the five for your project or an idea for further development.
I uploaded a few images from the Dublin Botanic Garden to learn a little bit about colour’s combination designed by nature.
This should be my last post this year or maybe this season on gardens and plants. I have few other things I would like to write about but first I want to finish the series on gardens, just to close it … for a while at least.
Dublin Botanic Garden among many different garden sections has one created with just ornamental grasses. The most popular grasses are there, all sorts of stipas and miscanthuses, well that’s what I have noticed and recognised but there is much more. This ornamental grass garden will look at its best towards the end of the summer as those grasses will reach their full growth and height. So, I may go there again and if so will add a few more photos to the post. It will be interesting to see how the mood of the garden will change by then.
GRASS GARDEN VLOG
I know the quality is not the best, but so isn’t my old Lumix camera … one day it will be updated 🙂
The grass garden makes me think of the sea with strong but gentle waves. It is the shape of the grasses which is sort of oval, then it’s the movements. The grasses move like seaweeds under the current or like waves that are moving up and down at an angle following the wind. Relaxing and hypnotising. Grasses catch the evening light very well too ‘the tea time’ light 🙂 or the drops of rain and later on the frost. They are very poetic plants. Also, like no other perennials, they create a sound, it is whistling. Long, thin leaves move against each other adding sound to the garden or music for the more sensitive visitors.
Must say Dublin Botanic Garden could have a much better website with some great photography, especially since the place has visually a lot to offer.
Dublin Botanic Garden has established in 1795 and it has a Victorian feel to it, especially the greenhouses resembling The Crystal Palace Expo in 1851 in London.
VIKING HOUSE IN DUBLIN BOTANIC GARDEN
It would be great if we could leave in that kind of eco-houses today, wouldn’t it? Houses that had to be rebuilt every 20 years at a low cost, totally organic inside and outside. Once the house was gone it turned into a compost. Unlike today the scary concrete monsters we live in, that will take forever to disappear. How much smaller would be the mortgage on an organic house!
Montjuic Mountain is a hillside on the coast of Barcelona city. Today it is one of the top tourist’s attractions with museums, sports venues, gardens and restaurants. There is a good bit of walking on a steep hill, so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water if you decide to visit it.
The Cactus Garden called Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llorbera was designed in 1970 and refurbished 25 years later. The garden specialises in a variety of species from desert, sub-desert and tropical areas. It contains 800 types of cactuses and succulents, some of them are several hundred years old. Access to the garden is free of charge.
Cactuses have plenty of ‘followers’ and I am one of them too. Prickly and undemanding beasts with a great character. Their architectural qualities can make a great statement for any living space. The slow growth makes them even more special.
Cool addition to the garden would be a little gift shop with unusual cactuses and succulents … I was hoping to find one there but unfortunately, there isn’t such a facility.