Nest We Grow.

Nest We Grow is a wooden structure in Hokkaido, Japan built to encourage community-wide sharing of food. A collaboration between Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma and a group of environmental design students from UC Berkeley, the timber framework borrows inspiration from Japanese larch forests, encompassing an environment that allows for the sustainable growth and preparation of local foods.

The team writes, "The program of the Nest is decided according to the life cycle of these local foods: growing, harvesting, storing, cooking, dining, and composting, which restarts the cycle. All members of the community help to complete each stage, allowing the structure to become a platform for group learning and gathering...throughout the year." I'd love to see this in person — and have a seat at that sunken fireplace, pictured below.

See more at Arch Daily. Many thanks to Ignant for the introduction.

Recommended Reading / 29.

Every Monday (or in this case, Tuesday), words to start the week. 

This week, from artist and filmmaker Phoebe Davies: a clip from a project called Extravagant Acts for Mature People, in which residents of elder care homes in London listen — and dance — to a variety of music. I know videos don't exactly qualify as recommended reading material (and this is the second week in a row that I've posted film), but this one was just too beautiful not to share. Learn, see, and hear more, here.

Three more, just because:
-Museums in private homes.
-Obsessions, by state and country.
-How to help those in need in Nepal. (I'd add Doctors Without Borders to the list, too.)

More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Tuesday.

POV: Surprise.

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories

Several mornings a week, Jamie wakes up at 3. “When your alarm goes off that early,” she said to me recently, “it feels like there can only be some sort of disaster happening.” In the dark, she takes a near-empty train to midtown Manhattan where she spends the next three hours erecting towering floral installations of grevillea and quince and Japanese Lindera at The Modern, a Michelin-starred restaurant at MoMA. By the time she leaves at 7:30, New Yorkers are crowding train platforms in bleary-eyed droves, and Jamie, already awake for hours, has forged a complete indoor wilderness with her hands.

“It’s surprising where we end up sometimes,” she said to me as we walked through thick fog to a corner bodega. We’ve talked about this before: over the course of our still-young friendship, we’ve worked what feels like a decade’s worth of jobs, found new homes (including one together), and settled deeper into a city that wears a new face every day — and yet feels as familiar and intimate as the hallways of our own apartment. Jamie moved to the city to work in food but years later, has landed in a thicket of blossoms and trees; I started as a nanny and now write stories about golden eggs and hand-knit blackbirds

“I’m surprised every day,” I said. I’d borrowed a coat from her that night, before we’d ventured out into the cold. When I put my hands in the pockets, I found flower petals, dried and half dust, clinging to my fingers.

Dictionary, Doctored.

Fascinated by the work of Tokyo craftsman Nobuo Okano, who manages to restore a worn, 1000-page dictionary to its previous glory in the span of an afternoon. Equipped with pliers, paper cutter, and a bubblegum-pink iron, Okano repairs the book entirely by hand, just in time for its grateful owner to pass it on to his college-bound daughter.

See more at Demilked. New POV coming this weekend Monday!

Dreams In Color.

When Megan and I went to Dia:Beacon two summers ago, we spent what felt like hours staring at Agnes Martin's ethereal pastels, which reminded us of sun-faded fabric and the beach. If we looked at this every day, a man nearby wondered aloud, would we start to dream in these colors? I thought about that when I spotted Toshitaka Aoyagi's Color project on Another this weekend. The installations are made using white shelves with neon accents applied in such a way that the surfaces look lit from below, like a sunrise.

More from the artist on Behance, here. More about Color on The Fox Is Black.

And while we're at it, here's a quote from Agnes Martin that I stumbled on yesterday in my googling and loved: My paintings have neither object nor space nor line nor anything - no forms. They are light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness, breaking down form. You wouldn’t think of form by the ocean. You can go in if you don’t encounter anything. A world without objects, without interruption, making a work without interruption or obstacle. It is to accept the necessity of the simple direct going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean. More here, and here, and here.

Recommended Reading / 28.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, courtesy of MAD: Danish chef RenĂ© Redzepi of Noma chats over tea with 89-year-old sushi sage Jiro Ono. When asked how many years it took before he reached master status, Ono says, "Let's say it's 50." Five-zero? asks Redzepi. "There is a lot of failure before that," Ono continues. "You go through failures and successes and more failures for years until it feels like you have achieved what you had in mind the whole time." Did you ever want to stop? "No. Never. I never considered that question. The only question was, 'how can I get better?'"

Find the video in its entirety below, and read more about MAD, here. Photo: Magnolia Pictures.

A few more, just because:
-Stories behind airport codes.
-Scott Blake's hole-punch flipbooks.
-From the food diary of a poet: "I sip a mug of kratom tea, which is a legal vitamin that makes music sound better to people. It also makes you very hungry. Under its influence, I wolf an enormous turkey sandwich while listening to Brain Salad Surgery and become one with the glittering cosmos. My mouth glistens with a galaxy of mayonnaise. Turkey is...a dinosaur, I think, disoriented, and fall asleep dreaming of myself flying a pturkeydactyl so close to the sun that it becomes perfectly roasted and embraces me with a pair of enormous brown drumsticks. Food is truly a miracle."

More recommended reading, here. Have a lovely Monday.

Non-Career Advice: Kisha Bari.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Kisha Bari / Photographer
Also: Singer / dancer / self-taught surfer
Age: 34

Let your gut lead, always. "I think with my heart — I've never been one to use my head. Before I left Australia for New York, my best friend took me to dinner and tried to help lay a plan for me to make it in America. And I said to him, 'My only plan is to approach things with excitement, even if it doesn't make me any money.' This hasn't always been the smartest move financially — there have been times when I've only had enough in my account to pay my rent and nothing else — but that's  okay. You can't be creative without a range of experiences, good or bad. And five years later, I'm still here, so something must be working. 

That said, I'm open to change, too — I'm getting older; I have a partner now. I realize I can't always jump off cliffs when I'm not sure what's at the bottom. But change is part of the adventure. And choosing to follow adventure means I'm still living according to what makes me happy, no matter what. I'm not the most logical thinker, but that makes perfect sense to me."

Thanks so much, Kisha. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here. Photo by Krzysztof Jestem.

Jumping Japanese.

Yuki Aoyama's stereotype-shattering photos of jumping Japanese businessmen — some of them pictured alongside their school-aged daughters — are nothing short of perfect. (They're also the subject of a book published last year, entitled Daughter and Solaryman.) See more on the artist's website, here.

Recommended Reading / 27.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, via White Columns: notes on a gallery exhibition called "Margret: Chronicle of an Affair — May 1969 to December 1970." Composed of photos, writings, and various items found abandoned in a briefcase in Germany, the show chronicles a true life "secret love story" that took place between a 39-year-old businessman and his 24-year-old secretary over the span of 19 months. Featured odds and ends include fingernail clippings, napkins, birth control packets, and a flood of photographs: Margret in bed; Margret on the telephone; Margret in her underwear, lost in thought under a shock of copper-colored curls. Says White Columns, "The collection seems to reverberate with the practices of artists such as Sophie Calle, where the viewer often finds themselves in a conflicted space, exposed to their own voyeurism." 

Having just purchased The Folded Clock — a personal diary kept by the writer Heidi Julavitz over the course of two years — I'm intrigued.

Three more, just because:
-The lunar cycle, as depicted using 450 partially-bitten cookies.
-Income inequality is visible from space.
-All the unpredictability of a disposable camera — on your iPhone.

More recommended reading, here. Have a very happy Monday.

Days to Seize.

Words for the weekend from poet Billy Collins, who delivered them as part of a speech to the graduates of Connecticut College in 2008:

"In the wake of the terrorist arracks on September 11th, many people, especially in New York City, spoke of how the event prompted them to make adjustments in their personal lives, to speed things up. An engaged couple who had planned to marry the following year decided to get married the following week. Plans that had been put off jumped to the tops of people’s lists. Without knowing it, people were simply following the advice that poetry has been delivering since the Roman poet Horace wrote the words carpe diem quam minimum credula postero — seize the day and trust little in the future – in the first century before Christ. Some of us require a catastrophic experience to remind us that we are indeed alive. Some need major surgery to realize that life is precious. Some have to go through a windshield to see that today is all we are given. Others know this from their reading of poetry—a somewhat less traumatic experience.

And the corollary to carpe diem — a vein that runs deeply through the rock of poetry – is gratitude, gratitude for simply being alive, for having a day to seize. The taking of breath, the beating of the heart. Gratitude for the natural world around us — the massing clouds, the white ibis by the shore. In Barcelona a poetry competition is held every year. There are three prizes:. The third prize is a rose made of silver, the second prize is a golden rose, and the first prize: a rose. A real rose. The flower itself. Think of that the next time the term 'priorities' comes up."

Find the speech in its entirety, here, and have a wonderful weekend. (Next week: non-career advice continues, a new POV on Friday.) Photo by Emily Johnston.

Taste the Rainbow.

As a writer, I've spent a lot of time wondering about words: the sound of them, the look and feel of them, the shapes they make and the images they conjure. (Robert Pirosh captures this fascination to a tee here.) "What's the texture of 'anger'?" an old English teacher asked once. "If each season had a scent, what would it be?"  

With a six-part collection she calls COLORS, ice cream maker Jeni Britton brings a similar curiosity to the culinary world: when you see a color, she asks, what do you think you will taste? To her mind, for starters, the building blocks of velvet green are spirulina, lemongrass, and coriander. The sprightliness of yellow comes from lemons crushed whole. And the mysteries and many layers of black are laced with sea salt, licorice, and a splatter of dark chocolate. See more, here.

See also: pencils for dessert; edible forests; pickable, lickable chocolate walls.

Have a happy Thursday!

Growing Bolder.

On the new site Bolder, Helen Cathcart and Dominique Afacan share words of wisdom on "how to grow older" from inspiring figures over 70 (a demographic thus far missing from Non-Career Advice).

Interviewees include British photographer Terry O'Neill, record-setting helicopter pilot Jennifer Murray (who only became licensed in her mid-50s), and painter Tess Jaray, who confirms that a certain (healthy) creative doubt is ageless: "One of the problems with being an artist is that you never really know if you've cracked it, so you have to keep on going because it's always the next one that's going to be perfect. My idea of happiness is completing a painting that for five minutes I think I've got right."

See more at Bolder, here. Thanks to It's Nice That for the introduction.

Recommended Reading / 26.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week: Bill Nye opens his doors to The New York Times. Among a hodgepodge of science-themed treasures: Eddy tubes "to teach visitors about magnetism," a Stirling engine, and a midnight blue map above his bed that "shows the lights of humankind." Read the story by Joanne Kaufman, here. Photos by Jake Naughton.

A few more, just because:
-Fifty chefs' hands.
-Thoughts on travel, from 1932.
-Jewelry dishes inspired by spoon indentations in yogurt.
-From NPR: "[Music] fills the empty space of solitude even as it stimulates a desire for it."

More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Monday.

Non-Career Advice: Dez'Mon Omega Fair.

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.

Dez'Mon Omega Fair / Painter
Also: Sun king / scavenger / man of many hats
Age: late twenties        

Don't take offense to questions — invite them. "I’m used to people making assumptions about me. It happens all the time, on so many different levels — based on race, sexuality, looks, gender, the clothes I wear. I used to be very offended by people assuming that I should be one way or another because of the way I look. They’re shocked that I’m from the South but don’t speak a certain way, or that I wear the kinds of clothes I wear, or that I could be an artist. Someone recently told me that I was ‘a new concept.’ These days, I use being seen as mysterious as a sort of shield or filter — and it’s reminded me to assume that everyone is multifaceted until proven otherwise. More often than not, questions about 'what I am' open up an interesting dialogue that’s helped me learn more about people, as they learn more about me. On top of everything, I’ve realized that I don’t want to be someone who’s easily figured out. So I invite the questions — I’m not offended by them anymore."

Thank you so much, Dez. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here. (Also, you can read my interview with Dez for FvF, here.) Photograph by Jane Houle.

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