A 'slice-of-life' interview with David W. Osler, taken from SLICE Ann Arbor. To see the full interview, please click here.
David W. Osler
Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Having followed his career over three decades, three difficult decades of trends and fads in architecture, I could observe that David’s architecture developed unaffected by the neurosis of the new ‘isms’. The consistence of his elegant work of soft-spoken wit and humanism is proving that one common denominator, quality, can elevate a life’s work, worthy of the highest recognition.” - Balthazar Korab
In a career spanning more than 50 years, modern architect David Osler, 93, devoted himself to a range of residential, commercial, and institutional projects in Ann Arbor, across the state, and nationally. In addition to his design of nearly 30 signature single-family residences, many of which grace the streets of Ann Arbor, David is also known for the commissions of Oslünd Condominiums, Newport West Condominiums, Geddes Lake Townhouses, St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church, Canoe Livery at Gallup Park, Independence Lake Park, Williams Research Corporation, the collaborative restoration of the Michigan Theater, additions to the National Bank and Trust Company of Ann Arbor, the former Nellie Loving Branch of the Ann Arbor Library, and Albion College International House and Gerstacker Language Center. In 2008, he retired from his firm, David W. Osler Associates, Inc., Architects. A native of Ann Arbor, David resides in the family home on Glazier Way with his wife, Connie, where the couple raised their three children: Molly, Robin, and Peter — all of whom have followed in their father’s design footsteps.
Recently, EOA Principal Robin Osler was featured in the February issue of Interior Design to highlight a book recommendation to be included in the ‘What They’re Reading’ segment. Without hesitancy, Robin chose to feature 'The Age of Kali' by William Dalrymple. This 1998 book revolves around the troubles and conflicts within India during ‘Kali Yuga’ – the last, and most problematic, cycle of the four stages outlined in the Indian scriptures. Robin was originally drawn to Indian culture when she attended a conference with her husband in Kolkata years ago. Her interest was rekindled when she returned to India seeking fabricators for our recently completed project – a Free People flagship store in Tokyo.
The Free People Tokyo flagship store was completed this past year, and helped bring an atmosphere of amazing architecture both to the retail space, and the city. The design incorporates a traditional, yet modern look that represents a new presence in a timeless city. The sleek exterior of the store consists of wood, steel, and white lights, while being surrounded by lush, colorful greenery and gardens. Inside the store, a look away from the clothing and up towards the ceiling, is occupied by hanging flowers from wooden trusses. Shimmering lanterns, pops of colors, and an object wall filled with treasures from travels makes this Free People flagship store as aesthetically pleasing as their collection of clothes.
Culture, in any facet of life, becomes a foundation from which we draw inspiration. For Robin, the Indian culture in 'The Age of Kali' created a connection between a piece of literature, and EOA’s own project design, as well as her own perspective. Robin was quoted in Interior Design saying, “Disintegration and destruction haunt many of the stories.” Drawing from a piece of work to apply to our own work, is pertinent to showcasing the feasibility of creating a relationship between culture and architecture. What became was an American, reading a book by a British historian, about an Indian scripture, in Japan – proving that inspiration can stem from culture, and both are all around us.
Below you can find information and pictures on our Free People flagship store, as well as Free People’s own blog on the grand opening:
Facebook - http://ow.ly/u2iUz
Pinterest - http://ow.ly/u2j4m
Free People Blog - http://ow.ly/u2j6k
Inspiration can be drawn from anything – including, and in this case especially, a single piece of paper. In the case of origami, sheets of ordinary paper were used to create art - a flat surface folded to create a 3-d structure. EOA’s very own in-house architect Evan, took this idea and drew a connection from the world of fashion, to the realms of architecture. Inspired by his own works of origami (featured below), Evan saw the intertwining ideologies of paper folding and fashion design.
Recently, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake collaborated with the prestigious global lighting brand Artemide to create his own collection of fixtures. The IN-EL Issey Miyake line was developed around a fabric that is made from completely recycled materials, and reduces energy consumption. The combination of the origami inspired design, and the technology driven functionality of these fixtures aims to create a sustainable, yet aesthetically pleasing source of light.
The obvious similarities between Miyake’s vision and Evan’s Kawasaki Rose and Tessellated Folding Patter help bring to light (no pun intended) the unmistakable parallels across design. Evan makes clear that “both examples of 'origami' start as a planar element and result in very three dimensional dynamic objects”, making evident the universal source of inspiration. Using the idea behind his ‘Pleats Please’ collection, Issey Miyake was able to transcend above the runway, and into a completely new industry – proving that inspiration comes from everything, everywhere – one of the many foundations EOA is built upon.
EOA held it's first holiday card design contest. Here are all the entries. The winning card will be posted the week of December 16th. Happy Holidays everyone!
EOA project architect Dani Alvarez was in Nepal earlier this year. Here are a few of her drawing from the trip and a brief description of what inspired her work.
Postcards from the Rooftop
Pen on handmade Nepali paper
April 2013, Nepal
These illustrations were completed after my month in the Himalaya.
The paper was bought from a shop in Kathmandu completely run by women, from fabrication to sales, which is nearly unheard of in Nepal.
Each card represents a specific place on the trail I took: through the Langtang Valley, up to the sacred lakes at Gosainkund, down the terraced hills of Helambu, and all the moments in between.
To see more images of Dani's trip visit her blog, http://freefruit.tumblr.com/