CCA – Paris 2011 workshop is completed

24082011 by



Rue St. Denis

23082011 by

Pictured above are sketches from my notebook on observations of my walking paths through and around Rue St. Denis.

»watch the presentation

The Patterns of Paris

23082011 by

During my exploration of Paris, I was drawn to the beautiful patterns and textures in all sections of the city. I took this information and made a map that directly related the the emotions that I felt from the different arrondissements (areas). This is a graphical information of my findings. (The photos are my direct research).

Rue Saint Denis Proposal

23082011 by

I found that there was no smiling on the St. Denis, it made me think of the fact that this street was a passage for the kings. From death to their final resting place, they would travel this road. I though alot about the meaning of a life well-lived as well as the time on earth and how precious it is. For me, as an American, not seeing smiles which is an indicator of happiness, I came to the conclusion that this was a place void of humanity. I saw this opportunity and ran with it. My idea is to project large scale portraits on the buildings of St. Denis during the nighttime and bring back a sense of happiness.

-Kehaulani Lyons

Pompidou Diversity

20082011 by

After my first analysis of the Centre Pompidou, by Piano and Rogers, it can be argued that even though the building did not originally fit the historic context of Beaubourg and Parisians opposed its construction it still served as a catalyst of economic and cultural growth of the neighborhood.  It is truly a city within a city, not only programmatically, but also analogously to the diversity of a real city; where its inhabitants are both the locale and foreigner (the artworks in the Museum of Modern Art).  There are those that came from the French region and others from different parts of the world. It can be compared to a node where the artworks from different time(period) and space have gathered, creating a new identity for itself and Beaubourg.

This can also serve as an interface where tourists visiting Paris for a short period can quickly skip the entirety of the museum’s exhibit and narrow down the search for the works they only want to see; narrowed down by artist, country, and museum location.

The image on the top-left shows the list of artists, and corresponding country of origin and where the artwork now resides in the MoMA, while the bottom left image shows a search result for the “Picassos.”

The aesthetic of the lines of the map is meant to mimic the conduits of the the Pompidou.

Chicago Maps

19082011 by

Here are a couple of interesting maps I found of my hometown, Chicago.


Nuit Blanche / Rue Saint Denis

19082011 by

Art Proposal for Nuit Blanche 2012:

The history of Rue Saint Denis is fascinating.  The martyrdom of Saint Denis, the royal entry or death processions, etc…  Drawn to the Rue Saint Denis of today against the juxtaposition of its past; the phrase “ Not guilty, not victims, proud to be prostitutes” is powerful in the context of its Redlight District.  The production of lace was a labor-some artform, at one point only afforded by the very wealthy.  Lace is seductive and can be seen as elegant or raunchy.  There is a strong connection that I find between the lace of royalty and the lace of prostitutes.  In response to this connection, I will project gold lace down the Rue Saint Denis beginning from Rue Reaumer leading to the Porte Saint Denis.  The Porte will also project lace within its opening  This road leading to the Porte will reflect the royal processions of the past but will also convey the pride procession of the prostitutes.

~ Sandra Negron

20 arr – Bellevile Culture & Diversity

18082011 by

I was in search of authenticity.  What I mean is – an area of Paris that was not over run by tourism and bobo-ism.  I settled on the 20th arrondissement, particularly Belleville, Menilmontant Area.  It proved to be a colorful and multi-ethnic neighborhood, home to one of Paris’s lively Chinatowns, one of the largest and cheapest outdoor markets in Paris,  a burgeoning artist quarter and a dizzying array of cultures. Belleville has always been a working class neighborhood, with immigration generating much of the area’s zest. What started in the 1920’s with Greeks, Jews and Armenians led to waves of North Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and Chinese immigrants settling here. Cheap rents have also led artists to flow into the area, making it an ideal spot for their studios. Belleville may not provide a typical experience of Paris, but its energy and diversity are inspiring and worth exploring.

In my video, the goal was to depict the liveliness of the neighborhood which is what attracts artist types, along with economical housing.  Belleville’s rich multi-ethnic history shows the growth of social housing in the neighborhood increasing the mix of cultures as well as luring artists looking for affordable spaces and inspiration. The map displays the number of social housing and artist studios in the 20th arrondissement.   The Belleville Market was a focus in the video as well because it captures the rich diversity of the neighborhood and offers a colorful palette to inspire the creative mind.


BioMetric Map Study: Canal Saint-Martin

17082011 by

When asked to find a Parisian neighborhood to explore I instantly knew I wanted to focus on the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement.  During my last visit to Paris I found myself in this neighborhood multiple times and loving each second of it.

One of the elements of the 10th arrondissement that stood out to me was the gentrification that had taken place.  A once working class neighborhood was now filled with expensive boutiques, trendy restaurants, and Bobos.

Ah yes…Bobos…the Bourgeois Bohemians revealed by David Brooks in his 2000 book ‘Bobos in Paradise‘.  This group of yuppies, or ‘yupsters’ really, gets a lot of flack in multiple countries.  They are a population who, due to their tastes, are drawn to undiscovered neighborhoods but who, due to their income, cause these neighborhoods to become more expensive and inaccessible to those who have lived there.  The disdain for the liberal minded, culture focused, upper class has been expressed in publications like the comic ‘Bienvenue a BoBoland’.

However, each time I walked up and down the canal during a sunset and watched as groups of fashionable friends enjoyed a bottle (or bottles) of wine, I couldn’t help but wonder “is Bobo lifestyle really that awful?”

When reading more about Bobo’s I came across this phrase in a Wikipedia post that truck me:

Bobos often relate to money as a means rather than an end; they do not disdain money but use it to achieve their ends rather than considering wealth as an achievable end in itself.

I loved that sentence.

Something about that sentence made me think that Bobo culture was not about what you could buy with your money, but how your money could allow you to experience and enjoy what really matters to you in life…like Bobo culture was the next step in life-work balance journey.  When we talked to architect Ayssar Arida about our neighborhoods, he understood my interest in the gentrification and commented that gentrification is what happens…that gentrification was natural.

I couldn’t help but agree…I couldn’t help but wonder if Bobo culture was part of some evolution of society.  As much as I wanted to find a problem with the gentrification of the 10th arrondissement there was a part of me wished all neighborhoods could embody the spirit the one could see on the Canal Saint-Martin at sunset.

It was hard for me to find the ideal way to express this; to create a biometric map that would reveal the beauty and idyllic temperament that the Canal Saint-Martin had.  To be honest I’m still searching for that perfect medium.  But while in class, I made a small sketch that would be that starting point of this exploration of design.

Nuit Blanche Proposal

17082011 by

During week two, we were introduced to the historical Rue Saint-Denis and invited to create a Nuit Blanche installation to exist in that space.  Rue Saint-Denis has a grand history that seems to be completely missing from its current day state.  A street that was once the procesional funeral path of kings, is now filled with sex shops and prostitution.   With that in mind, I set out to design a Nuit Blanche installation for Rue Saint-Denis that  would help visitors see the street in a different light.

As I walked up and down the Rue Saint-Denis, one element I noticed was how the street seemed to subtly meander back and forth.  When looking up at the skyline, there always seemed to be curved path between the buildings.

When looking at these images I couldn’t help but be reminded of a stream.  The continuous curved motion seemed synonymous with water in my eyes.

This connection between the Rue Saint-Denis and water really stood out and helped define the direction I wanted my Nuit Blanche installation to take.

What if I could make this connection I saw more visible?

What if I could bring the tranquility of water to the busyness of the Rue Saint-Denis?

I designed my Nuit Blanche to explore exactly that.

By incorporating sound and images the Rue saint-Denis could be transformed into stream-like path.  Speakers would be installed throughout the street playing sounds of water in a natural environment while projectors would display images of water reflection on the ground.

In the covered passages that line the streets, more immersive environments would be created that surround the vistors in a waterfall or a mist filled fog.


By creating a serene environment filled with an element tied to purification, this Nuit Blanch Installation could give visitors an experience of the Rue Saint-Denis that would not only be completely different from its every day existence but also bring a re-birth to a once honored path.

Although I’ve only created a rough sketch of the Nuit Blanche Installation, I definitely plan on developing it further and and creating a proposal to submit.

Nuit Blanche Proposal

16082011 by

The above image was captured during my walk up Rue de Rivoli. This image resonated in my memory for the remainder of our walk, ultimately becoming the driving force for my nuit blanche proposal.

Imagine Rue de Rivoli at night; the red light district is filled with neon signs advertising sex shops and adult dvd stores. Prostitutes line the blocks, some conversating, others waiting. The idea for this Nuit Blanche is to have holograms of children playing in the midst of all of this. This concept isn’t meant to be of an intrusive effort, but as a non-spectacular notion to bring awareness to the culture of this district.




16082011 by

My proposal for Nuit Blanche on the Rue Saint Denis consists of two pavilions that would be installed in the street, around the red light district. The pavilions are designed to represent seduction and purity, two completely different worlds that co-exist on the Rue Saint Denis. The pavilions would provide a place for people to stop and interact along the rue, each providing an entirely different setting.

Bastille Eve 2011

15082011 by


This video is meant to capture the experience of my journey to the Bastille Eve Fireworks 2011 from Gare De L’est to Trocadero and back via Metro.  The experience includes interactions with crowds and viewing the fireworks.  I wanted to capture this visually without sound.


01082011 by

Paris is widely known as a foodie mecca. This graphic attempts to map out the best, trendiest restaurants in Paris. The graphic begins to break down the restaurant into its respective district, cuisine type, price range, and nearest metro stop. Still a work in progress, the map hopes to be interactive in the future. EAT!

Deconstructing the Pompidou, an architectural analysis

30072011 by

The Centre Pompidou may have seemed likea scar on the face Paris when it was built in the mid-70’s.  However it is arguable that it has served as a catalyst and an attractor of economy and culture, both locally in the neighborhood of Beaubourg, and overall in the city of Paris.  It can also be said that the building itself is a city within the city, because of its program and function.  Its outward appearance, being a machine and conduit is what makes it a fuel for both economic and cultural growth, as it creates a dialectic with its context to co-exist and are inter-dependent.

for PDF version: pompidou

Proposal for Rue St. Denis (update)

30072011 by

Looking at Rue St. Denis as a metaphor of the road between life and death, life being the the Seine (water), and death being the burial of the kings at St. Denis.  I started thinking of a proposal for the Nuit Blanche that talks about the concept of the inter-relation of life and death, but also plays with the idea of temporality (as the maps comes and go: disappears during the day and appears at night); a “guide map” down/up Rue St. Denis, which also serves as a metaphor as a “guide through life”


one of the spots that updates the travelers of the journey they have taken and still have to take.  In the background are the lit voids of the passages, which will instigate people to discover and have a dialectic with the locale of the rue.  Also, a simple metaphor of the little moments in “life”.


As travelers approach each passage, they are provide of the shapes of the voids behind the walls that are not revealed to them from the rue.


Each of the voids of the passages are lit to provide an ethereal quality and highlights the voids which are usually considered “undesigned” and are just residual.  This will help reveal the rich locale of each passages and appreciate the void that the typological construct of the build environment creates.

Map of Rue St. Denis from the Triumphal Arc to the river Seine (shown both as simple blocks and the revealed voids)

more than 18 projects later…

30072011 by

french stripes

29072011 by

graphic design, more than communication design

29072011 by

Les Graphiquants discussing the trickling down of high-end graphic design.

Bastille Day, unvisited.

29072011 by

Due to sickness I was unable to celebrate on Bastille Day. As a result, this is a visual interpretation of my impression of Bastille Day.

Unexpected Patterns…

28072011 by

As a textile designer, I am always trying to find interesting patterns.  These two images were captured on the way to the pompidou.

*There is nothing unique about escalators, but I loved the accent colors of the tags on the steps.

*A bunch of mannequin heads!  Had to shoot it…

It’s hard to kill a city.

27072011 by

Unlike animals, cities do not slow down as they get bigger.  They speed up with size!  The bigger the city, the faster people walk and the faster they innovate.

A review of the Geoffrey West lecture at LongNow.
» hear the lecture

shortcuts to mobile media publishing

26072011 by

» Intro video for iPad publishing — mostly in InDesign. These are some step by step notes related to the video.

» Download Folio Producer for InDesign

» More interesting info


26072011 by

It can be argued that patterns exist everywhere, both in the micro and macro environments… Regardless, if the “pattern” was initially intended to be a pattern or not, it can be post-rationalized as such…

Last week, I went to the famous Pont de l’Archevêché, behind Notre Dame Cathedral, where people from all over the world would put a lock on the railing of the bridge and throw the key in the Seine… I, of course had put one (being all tourist-y), and planning on coming back to look for it next year…  However, a few days after putting on a lock, I was tempted to visit the bridge again, but could never find the lock anymore as it had blended with the collective texture and pattern.   I think the love locks of the Pont de l’Archevêché is an example of what was not intended as a pattern, but temporally  with the populating locks it has become one.


26072011 by

Tracing the fireworks through the finale of Bastille Day.

Bastille Day Sketch (#2)

26072011 by

mixing type and architecture

25072011 by

Naji el Mir visits Biometric City on July 26. Naji is a highly skilled cross-media type designer who intervenes across all media. Shown here is a collaboration with graphic designer Max Kisman & architect Hisham Youssef.  More on Typographic Matchmaking in the City – the video
»  the presentation 

Bastille Day

23072011 by

Ah Bastille Day…

…the day where the skies of Paris are illuminated by one of the most recognized firework displays in the world.  It’s known as a night of celebration.  It’s known as a night of history.  It’s known as a night of congregation.  The most memorable part of my first Bastille Day was the experience of being surrounded by the people of Paris in one of the most parisian locations possible:

Yes, the fireworks were amazing.  Yes, the Eiffel Tower look looked magical.  But what really stood out to me was mass the of people that increased the closer I moved towards the Eiffel Tower.

I made plans with my friend Bradley to watch the fireworks on the Champs de Mar.  We met on the platform of the Republic station on the 8 line, where we took the train to École Militaire, the stop closest to our destination.  As we traveled, we couldn’t help but feel engulfed by the crowds piling onto the train at each station and excited as the entre train was virtually abandoned at the École Militaire platform.

It was a subtle change from one average crazed rush hour subway experience…but I feel that slight shift was incredibly indicative of a major local event.

– Sadia Harper

Urban Studies: Bastille Day/ Rue St. Denis

22072011 by

An analysis diagram of Bastille Day

France, being the 42nd largest country in the world, with the capital; Paris being one of the densest cities in the world with a current population of more than two million people in a land area of 40 square miles.  That gives an individual person a parcel of ~ 10’ x 10’, and imagine the people who attend the fireworks display at Champs De Mars during Bastille Day…It is no doubt the most celebrated holiday, being the French Independence, as both the country and the city  had its major loss of population duringthe revolution of 1789, more than that of WWI and II combined.

A proposal for Rue St. Denis

-Leif Estrada

Quantum City

21072011 by

With his latest book Quantum City, architect Ayssar Arida explores the relationships between the history of science, urban design and the concept of the city, light-heartedly but with a very serious aim: to radically change the way the urban realm is both experienced and designed. Ayssar visits BiometricCity on July 21.

designing by color

20072011 by

Fanette Mellier is the Van Gogh of French graphic design: a “colorist typographer” able to conceive vibrant aesthetics through her mastery of formal simplicity.

relating urbanity, street art and graphic design

19072011 by

“Make it dangerous.” A presentation by Eric Heiman

On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time

18072011 by

Veronique Vienne is a writer and editor and author of several best-selling books includingThe Art of Doing Nothing, The Art of Imperfection, and The Art of The Moment.  »Here in conversation with Steven Heller

Veronique Vienne visits BiometricCity on July 18 to take us on a Situationist “disorientation” stroll. She will start the session with a presentation of the Situationist principles and explain the concept of ‘spectacle’, as defined by Guy Debord. » presentation

with Véronique: tasty food for thoughts at the Brasserie Flo‎ off rue StDenis

Flea Market: a “crime” zone

16072011 by

The Paris main flea market is not in Paris. It is its own universe run by its own laws, with its own cultures, treasures, wonders, risks and dangers.

a peculiar “bio diversity” and its cultural tensions, as seen by Tammie Paek

one of countless treasures, found by Kehau Lyons

most photographed

15072011 by

the most photographed parts of Paris: Notre Dame, Louvre, Montmartre, Tour Eiffel & La Defense. Red represents tourists, blue  locals and yellow either.

graphic design of high culture

15072011 by

PBNL is one of the best graphic design studios in Paris. They specialize in communications for cultural institutions. As such, creative director Pascal Bejean will participate to our workshop as advisor and reviewer. Pascal visits BiometricCity on July 15. » presentation

mapping the project

13072011 by

Initial planning of our Biometric Paris explorations. The selected areas range from a single street to the whole of Paris.
The two main key notions are “designer as observer” and “urban coding”.

CCA – Paris 2011 workshop officially begins

12072011 by

thoughts on mobile media

09072011 by

Designing tools and content for mobile devices. _by GC

It is estimated that by 2013 half of all web searches will not be made by a desktop or laptop computer, but rather by a mobile phone. Designing and developing content for these devices requires a new set of skill and understandings. Forget what you know about print design or ever even desktop web design for that matter. These new devices require lean and effective design that is wrapped in the latest delivery method. In addition to knowing what technologies are available, it is equally important to understand what technology is appropriate.

In addition to iPhone, Android phone, webOS devices, Windows-based phones, and RIM devices, The proliferation of tablets such as the iPad have added a new exciting layer to mobile media. Learn about where iPad publishing and the creation of apps for such devices fits into the future of communication.

Throughout this course we will also be placing special emphasis on the use of, and designing for, mobile media. We will explore the different types of available platforms and their various uses. We will also be discussing and learning about the skills that go into producing such sites and applications. Knowing how to create content for these devices is an important skill to develop.

  • Websites for mobile media: How design must conform to the limitations and requirements on mobile
  • Publishing digital books and magazines for iPad, Kindle and other eReaders.
  • Web 2.0 Apps and how these are different from downloadable apps.
  • Creation of apps for the iPad and iPhone using COCOA and delvering your product on iTunes.
  • Creation of apps for Android, Palm, and RIM devices.
  • Special consideration for legacy devices.

the idea of art in the city

08072011 by

The mesmerizing intro credits of 1999, Psychopathologie de la vie quotidienne dans le monde des arts are from a hybrid feature documentary/performance/cultural commentary by Ultralab. This clip beautifully combines the idea of art, with the idea the museum as urban muse. The documentary itself goes a lot deeper into the “provocation” and will be explained in our workshop.

situationism dead or alive

04072011 by

An amusing and interesting rant on Situationism: “Instead of tired calls for social justice, Situationism demands the right to drunken play, for the spilling of semen on the cobblestones. All this sounds less like Utopia and more like Amsterdam, Dublin, Prague, or any European city overrun by drunken American college students in the summer, taking in the urban fabric late at night with pub crawls.” ~ More about Situationist International

urban wrapping

27062011 by

The wrapping of European monuments, when they are being renovated, has become a very interesting medium, often spectacularly conceived and sometimes poorly executed.

Here is the historic heart of the city (the former royal palace and Marie-Antoinette’s jail) now imprisoned by the Dior brand.  Next to it is Le Pont Neuf, which was wrapped by conceptual artist Christo in 1985.

the temple of digital arts and new musics

27062011 by

La Gaîté Lyrique is the new venue in Paris dedicated to digital arts and new musics. It was launched in the Spring 2011 with a true commitment to innovation in design.

map as time-based narration

27062011 by

Madrid’s CityMurmur aims at addressing maps and diagrams not as passive representation of realities but as tools for interpretation and action. It wants to build a time-based narration, an historical archive of media coverage of the urban space which is able to reveal some hidden dynamics useful for city policy support, critical media analysis, and sociocultural research.
» more interpretation mapping 

the complexity of networks demands a new approach to data representation

25062011 by

data in sight is a community of designers, researchers and programmers who share a passion for data. The website also offers a great list of references. In last Sunday’s event two presentations did provide a great intro to the basics of dataviz: Maria Giudice and Benjamin Wiederkehr

what CCA can do for you

25062011 by

Don’t ask what your city can do for you. Ask what you can do for your city.