pigeon house, dovecote, Russia, design squish blog

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia, design squish blog

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia, design squish blog

golubyatnya, design squish blog

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia,design squish blog  design squish blog

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia, design squish blog

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia, design squish blog  design squish blog

Pigeons need houses too?

Few decades back in Russia, almost every building courtyard had a pigeon house(pigeon loft / dovecote). There were two near where I used to live in Moscow near Molodezhnaya street.  Why? Pigeons symbolize peace? The need to care for environment and others (bird and non-bird friends)? To be used as messengers during war (haha)? White doves, brown, black and regular gray pigeons were trained to fly around the neighborhood in perfect circles.  I loved watching them flying or sitting in their pigeon lofts.  Today most of pigeon houses in Russia are abandoned or demolished.  Reasons: pigeons spread disease but most importantly care for pigeons asks for money and time. Maybe it’s not cool anymore to have pigeon keeping as a hobby..

pigeon house, dovecote, Russia,  design squish blog

“The hobby of pigeon keeping is gaining in popularity in the United States, after having waned within the last 50 years. Both the hobby and commercial aspects of keeping pigeons are thriving in other parts of the world” -Wiki

Read about John Neilko’s flock of 250 pigeons that lives on the roof of the Polonia Democratic Club in Williamsburg, New York - NYMag


October 27, 2010


bikes on Driggs, design squish blog

bikes, williamsburg, design squish blog

Bikes on Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

October 14, 2010


happy little tree, sculpture, bob ross, design squish blog

Sculpture on Governor’s Island, New York.

September 28, 2010


design squish blog

design squish blog

Above: Shelving/vase system displaying thistles, dried plants and exotic flowers.

Daniel Goers is a local Brooklyn designer, architect and artist who has a show right now called Scrap Ecology at Brooklyn coffee shop K-Dog in Lefferts Gardens.  All pieces are made from reclaimed materials except some lighting components. Daniel has been collecting scrap materials and remaking them into beautiful designs and sculptures for some time now. His other great project is in collaboration with artist Jennifer Wong called Birdtown. Fifty birdhouses were built from recycled materials and installed in Fort Greene:


design squish blog

Daniel Goers and Jennifer Wong.

design squish blog
Above: Birdhouse from Birdtown.

Scrap Ecology aims to rearrange the raw materials of our urban and natural environments into objects with new meaning and purpose. These materials include abandoned shipping pallets from Red Hook, wood cutoffs from carpentry projects, recycled packaging, discarded architectural samples, donated plant stems and foraged specimens from Prospect Park and the mountains of Harriman State Park.


design squish blog

Why reclaimed materials?

New York is a great place to find raw materials to build with.  every day the streets are filled with “trash” that can be so much more. But maybe the best reason is that material is free. The reclaimed material also tends to have more character.

Do you enjoy living in New York? Would you if you had an opportunity move somewhere where there are more trees and less garbage?

Of course, New York is a great place to be a designer but my sculptures do hint at the desire to be closer to nature.  I would love to live in a barn in the mountains but in the meantime I will work to bring nature to people’s homes here.

design squish blog

design squish blog

Above: Lamp made from glass jar moss terrariums.

Why do you think using reclaimed materials is popular today? 

It’s just marketing for many people. I like to believe that myself and many other designers simply see some intrinsic value and potential in the waste around us. What was once a shipping pallet can become a hundred new things, so why cut down another tree?  More people come to this realization and the ‘green’ movement will become less about marketing & more a part of the collective conscience.


September 10, 2010


Did you know that the law protecting NYC’s community gardens from being taken over by developers is about to expire?
City officials are working on new rules to protect the gardens, but unless we speak up, those rules may not be strong enough.
I just signed this petition calling on Mayor Bloomberg and City officials to make sure that the new rules PERMANENTLY PROTECT our community gardens from development. Can you take a moment to sign, too?


new york city community gardens in danger, neighborhood, design squish blog

September 03, 2010


bike ride to the beach, fort tilden, far rockaway, design squish blog

Fort Tilden beach is located in Fort Tilden Natural Area (Far Rockaway, Long Island) that surrounded by dunes, rosehip bushes, wild grapevines and maritime forest.

“Wide-open and pristine sands, a fresh sea and a rugged beachscape of barnacled bulkheads and sea-softened pilings jutting up out of the sand.  Regulars at Fort Tilden smile to one another as if sharing a great little secret” - New York Times.

hipster bike paradise, the most biked to beach, nyc, design squish blog

“Fort Tilden State Park feels like the city’s best-kept secret—an unspoiled island oasis, tantalizingly close to Manhattan. Even on a weekend at the height of summer, you’ll get a 50-yard stretch of beach to yourself. On weekdays, it’s practically all yours. On a busy day, you might see several families (mostly Russian) picnicking and grilling.  How can this be? Simple: Fort Tilden is so difficult to access that only the most intrepid Robinson Crusoe types dare venture there” - NYMag.

Note: Unless you own a bike!!!!

Directions: Bedford Avenue bike lane ends in Sheepshead Bay where you have to deal with car traffic until the Marine Park bike path begins.  Over the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and you’re there.

the most biked to beach, design squish blog

It can turn into a fun and sustainable weekend.

biker beach, sustainable weekend, new york city, bike friendly, design squish blog

fort tilden, nyc best beach, sustainable weekend, nyc, brooklyn, design squish blog

fort tilden, the most biked to beach in america, sustainable weekend, nyc, design squish blog

Opportunities to chain up a bike end early but no problem you can always take your bike with you on the shore:

fort tilden, far rockaway,  best urban beach in america, sustainable weekend, nyc, most biked to beach, design squish blog

fort tilden, bike to the beach, sustainable weekend, design squish blog

fort tilden, far rockaway,  best urban beach in america, sustainable weekend, nyc, most biked to beach, design squish blog

The sunset viewgasm from Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge on the way back, makes this a perfect bike ride experience. 

fort tilden, far rockaway,  best urban beach in america, sustainable weekend, nyc, most biked to beach, design squish blog

fort tilden, far rockaway,  best urban beach in america, sustainable weekend, nyc, most biked to beach, design squish blog

August 31, 2010


trees of america, book found in park slope, design squish blog

trees of america, book found in park slope garbage day, design squish blog

From the book:

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I or you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind it passing thro’.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

Christina G. Rossetti

July 26, 2010


design squish blog

design squish blog

design squish blog

design squish blog

design squish blog

“Man can better set up in a small house than in a huge castle.” - Leo N. Tolstoy

design squish blog

“With the loved ones you can be happy even in the smallest of places.” - Leo N. Tolstoy.

design squish blog

July 03, 2010


soviet environmental posters, design squish blog, red book protects nature

“Red List protects nature” - The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, founded in 1948, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.

soviet environmental posters, birds-doctors of the forest

“Protect birds - they are doctors of the forest”

soviet environmental poster

soviet environmental poster, design squish blog

“Cut down one - plant ten”

design squish blog

“Welcome, my feathered friends!”

June 25, 2010


bike ride to fort tilden, Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, NY

bike ride to fort tilden, Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, NY

Located on the Rockaway Peninsula Brooklyn, NY, Fort Tilden is mostly a natual area that was a former United States Army installation.  Fort Tilden today is largely a natural area of beach, dunes and maritime forest. Most of the old military installations are abandoned, though some buildings have been renovated and are used by local arts groups. Atop one of the old batteries, Battery Harris East, is a viewing platform offering 360-degree views.  Fort Tilden includes some of the most secluded beaches in New York.

April 19, 2010


brooklyn bridge park

brooklyn bridge park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre park currently under construction on the Brooklyn waterfront in the vicinity of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. As of March 22, 2010 the first newly built section of the park, Pier 1, has been open to the public. !!!!!!!!!!!!

March 30, 2010


snow on rugby road, ditmas park, brooklyn

snow on rugby road, ditmas park, brooklyn

snow on rugby road, ditmas park, brooklyn

First snow on Rugby Road, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

December 20, 2009


design squish blog

design squish blog

This is a Folk Architecture Monument by Tomas Dzadon, Chezh Republic. Tomas writes: “The mistake is made. The socialist urban projects destroyed the marvellous countryside. I grew up in such an utopic project. I was lucky to be able to watch the Tatra mountains from my window. Finally that blocks were not so bad. The proportion changed. From family houses to 13-floor blocks. From houses built by their owners to flats built by the regime”. 

May 03, 2009


design squish blog

design squish blog

Projekt Mobilivre - Bookmobile Project is primarily based in Montreal and Philadelphia. It is a trailer converted into a small mobile gallery and library that showcases handmade books and zines from all over the world.  Traveling through Canada and US, this bookmobile visits community centers, schools, colleges, libraries, festivals and artist-run centers.  I happened to run into Mobilivre-Bookmobile while I was studying at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and was stunned by the idea of a traveling gallery/library. 

traveling book library and portable zine gallery

design squish blog

Bookmobile is a vehicle designed as a traveling library.  Slumgullion,  is a collaboration project that strives to create community, empower young voices, and promote literacy and the humanities through the book arts and zines. It is based in Missoula, Montana.  Slumgullion’s bookmobile exhibits handmade books, art zines and is just like a regular bookmobile only it is bike powered!

May 02, 2009


cooper union new building

new cooper building, design squish blog
cooper union new logo, design squish blog

Apparently, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art now has The Institute for Sustainable Design. It was created in 2008, with support from philanthropist Jack Rudin, as a resource for education, research and public understanding of the principles and methods of sustainability in all design disciplines. “:Central to the mission of the Institute is the development of innovative pedagogies in architecture, art and engineering that will be models for the transformation of learning and practice for a sustainable future” The inagural lecture of Institute for Sustainable Design NEARLY TRAPPED:  DESIGN IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CONSEQUENCES was held at Cooper a few days ago by Paul Sears, distinguished professor of environmental studies and politics. 

Also, now Cooper Union has a new logo and soon will have a new building with green features.  The building is designed for sustainability, energy efficiency and air quality:

1. Innovative heating and cooling technology
2. An outer layer of semi-transparent mesh screen will create coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter.
3. Carbon dioxide detectors throughout the building will automatically dim power and ventilation when rooms are unoccupied.
4.  A co-generation system will produce some power for both the new building and the Foundation building, reducing the need to tap into the outside electrical grid.
5. The deck surface of the green roof will be covered by a layer of low-maintenance plantings.
6. The low-flow plumbing devices and the green roof will save more than 600,000 gallons of water annually.

more →

March 03, 2009


vintage store in park slope

I am happy to show some of my watercolors at the Eponymy gallery and store.  It is owned by Andrea Miller and located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. The store is a mix of vintage and designer clothes, antique mirrors as well as tightly curated modern photography from emerging artists of Humble Arts Foundation.

February 19, 2009


design squish blog

design squish blog

Matthias Merkel Hess made these 28 terra cotta self-portrait flower pots for his 28th birthday. Each pot was planted with a nativis updated regularly e California trees chosen specifically for a friend or family member and then given away.  Matthias Merkel Hess is currently receiving MFA at the University of California . He also the founder of the Eco Art Blog (one of my favorite eco blogs) with a focus on visual arts and the environment.

February 17, 2009


new york tap water

I always liked how New York City tap water tastes like.Tap’dNY is a new bottled water company based out of New York that sells…....New York City tap water!. actually, New York City water is not that bad since it travels to the city from Adirondack mountains and beautiful pure lakes upstate.  TAP’DNY get water from NYC’s public water system, purifies it through reverse osmosis and bottles it locally. This saves miles of ridiculous transportation.
New York City also had a campaign not long ago called Get Your Fill encouraging New Yorkers try to drink tap water all around the city and they even gave out NYC reusable tap water bottles!

design squish blog
You can read NYC drinking water supply and quality report here: Drinking NYC Water Supply and Quality Report

January 28, 2009


east village bike lane, nyc green bike lane, green bike lanes new york

NYC have lately been building more bike lanes that are bigger and brighter in color.  This adds a completely new aesthetic to the city, which is becoming more sustainable.  Recent studies show that more people are riding bicycles in NYC now than in the past 23 years. Biking popularity is steadily increasing every year. It is estimated that nearly 4,000 cyclists commute from the outer boroughs into Manhattan making up part of the 100,000 bikes that are on the street everyday.

January 08, 2009


california green store

california green store

    reform school

Reform School is a store, web shop and collective based in Los Angeles, CA. 
Billie and Tootie write about their store:  “We definitely wanted to talk about how sustainable design is a huge focus for us, and that green living is important to us, not only in business but in our personal lives as well. We wanted to be eco-friendly without being too in-your-face about it. The last thing we wanted was to be another shop selling all things hemp & bamboo ( not that we don’t love hemp & bamboo)”
To visit: Reform School.

December 30, 2008


design squish blog

Above: Monk Parakeets in the Snow

Brooklyn parrots are wild Monk Parakeets (or Quaker Parrots) native to the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries.  The Monk Parakeet is globally very common as a pet.
There are many theories about why these parrots live in Brooklyn - from sinking ships, overturned trucks;  Hurricane Gloria in the mid-1980s.  The theory with the greatest credence among ornithologists is that a shipment of parrots destined for sale at New York area pet shops was accidentally released at Kennedy Airport in the late 1960’s . Anyway, there are lots of Quaker Parrots living in Brooklyn and for some strange reason they love it here. Maybe because the pizza crumbs are so good.  Or the art scene.  Actually, the reason these tropical parrots can survive cold winters in New York City is because they build giant commune nests in which about 10 - 15 parrots can fit in and warm each other during these winter months. 
There is a blog dedicated to Brooklyn Parrots: brooklynparrots.com illustrating parrot life. You can even take a free Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari in Brooklyn College.
Steve, the founder of Brooklyn Parrots website and blog, believes that Brooklyn parrots are not an evil “invasive species” but a welcome replacement for the Carolina Parakeet, hunted to extinction almost a century ago.  ” The last wild specimen of Carolina Parakeet was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918” -wiki. I agree with him Steve .
design squish blog
* Above: extinct Carolina Parakeet

December 17, 2008


design squish blog

Russian amateur folk artist Vladimir Ovchinnikov have been painting his town Borovsk, population of 12,000, a place of cottages slouching on grassy slopes, with murals.   I think this is a great idea to use city walls instead of canvas. I would rather see folk art on buildings than bare brick walls.

vladimir ovchinnikov

ovchinnikov mural

mural in russia

borovsk mural

*above: Vladimir Ovchinnikov incorporates poems of Russian writers into his murals as well as famous folk sayings

russian wall painting

*above: Vladimir Ovchinnikov uses Russian folk saying “Good (towards boy or girl) just like a cucumber!”

владимир овчинников

Vladimir Ovchinnikov

*note: the cat inside the window and the church reflection on the two images above are painted

December 10, 2008



Do not place unsolicited advertizing materials on this property sign can be placed in front of your door in New York state to prevent useless advertizing materials such as flyers, product catalogs and fake postcards saying that you won a trip to Florida from coming into your house.

December 06, 2008


vertical planter, rain drain system

The “vertical planter” is a re-designed drain system where rainwater gets captured in the upturned branches. All kinds of moss and grass seeds will eventually sprout in the upturned branches - planters and make the city even more green.  In Seattle, where it rains a lot, this idea is very compelling.

November 20, 2008


imageParking Daysustainable flatbush

How hard is it to organize a community garden, promote energy efficiency and make a city to place benches alongside your main neighborhood street?  Really hard.  SUSTAINABLE FLATBUSH is an organization based in Flatbush area of Brooklyn that emerged from neighbors desiring changes.  It has been responsible for such projects as a Parking Day, Flatbush Community Garden and Flatbush Electronics Recycling. 

November 10, 2008


colorful ditmas park house

ditmas park architecture

Ditmas Park sign

historic ditmas park

ditmas park, west midwood houses

ditmas park, victorian flatbush old houses

*above: Houses in Victorian Ditmas Park

izba russian

russian house
*above:  Russian village style houses

Ditmas Park is a very old Victorian neighborhood located in Brooklyn, New York.  Sometimes it is called Victorian Flatbush or West Midwood.  It is filled with old Sycamore trees and vines and consists of many smaller ~2 ~3 block neighborhoods such as Caton Park, Ditmas Park West, Prospect Park South, Albermarle-Kenmore Terrace, West Midwood, Fiske Terrace and e.t.c .  Walking in Ditmas Park makes me feel like I am not in New York City but somewhere in the country side or a small village in Russia.
New York Magazine has an article about Ditmas Park called “Because Ditmas Park Is the New San Francisco”. (!!!!!)  Indeed, one can find similarities of Ditmas Park houses, Painted Ladies of San Francisco and Russian style village houses.

painted ladies of san francisco

*above: Painted Ladies in San Francisco
*to read a full New York Magazine article on Ditmas Park :

more →

July 08, 2008


design squish blog

design squish blog

Beautiful laundry arrangement drying in the sun in Brooklyn near Cortelyou Rd station, Q line.

November 01, 2007


caravay, design squish blog

caravay, design squish blog

Caraway is a biennial plant native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa. Caravay grows on meadows, field edges, dry valleys, floodland meadows as well as weed around house dwellings. Seed-resembling fruits are usually used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. Although rye flour is naturally more dense than wheat flour, there is a theory that seeded rye bread is even more dense because the limonene from the caraway fruits has yeast-killing properties.  Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, curry and other foods.

caravay, design squish blog

April 12, 2006

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