Barbie now has an architect designed dream house

If you are frequent readers of this blog, you probably remember back in May when the AIA Barbie® Dream House™ Design Competition challenged AIA members to design a dream house for this worldwide but oh so American icon. Well, the results came out this month: from only 30 submissions, a panel of jurors selected five finalists with input from Mattel’s own team of Barbie® experts. They then invited the public to choose their favorite design. Almost 9,000 people, children, but also those still feeling like children at heart, voted. The result: Barbie’s dream house is the quintessential Malibu beach house; it is modern, functional, spacious, fun and most of all sustainable. The design submitted by Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA, received the most public votes, out of the 8,470 votes registered.

The press release from Mattel tells us how Architect Barbie designed her house:

Naturally the newly minted Architect Barbie took on the task of designing her own dream house. She is creative, fashionable, busy and powerful. She has gone through years of training to become a leading figure in her field. She is LEED AP and a member of the AIA. Although she is an internationally renowned globe trotter, when not travelling she loves to look smart, entertain her potential clients, and come up with innovative ideas in her high-tech, low energy consumption home.

The concept of this house reflects exactly who Barbie is in her new profession. She has pledged to build an environmentally sustainable home using the principals set forth by USGBC as well as to stay true to all the needs of a classic California girl! The house is situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The entrance faces north-west and the main body of the building has a panoramic view of the ocean. Distinct building programs are specific to each floor, connected by a center core of spiral stairs. 

The stairs rise around a hollow tube , which becomes Barbie’s tower closet. Since Barbie is the original fashionista, she inevitabily accumulated a large volume of enviable designer labels. This computer controlled closet allows for the clothes to be displayed and visible from every angle of the house. It also makes dressing easy: she can select her outfit, push a button, and the outfit is delivered to her bedroom via the double helix moving rack.

The house features 1,500 sq.f. of entertaining space and chef’s open kitchen on the first floor. A Steven Jobs approved office / library / meeting space as well as 500 sq.f. of terrace on the second floor. The third and fourth floors are Barbie’s private enclave, her bedroom and her inspiration room respectively. The roof has a green house and a landscaped garden for her domestic pets.

The design elements include solar panels, landscaped rooftop and irrigation system, operable shading devices, bamboo flooring, low flow toilet and sink fixtures, and locally sourced and manufactured materials and furnishings.

A joint statement from Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar stated, “We are very honored to have been chosen by AIA and Mattel as a finalist and as the public favourite - Barbie was both of ours’ favorite doll growing up in China and Croatia. We appreciate the versatility of our profession which allows us to express ourselves in a myriad of ways - from entirely built city environments to a Barbie Dream House. We hope to encourage more young female architects to flex their design muscles and just to have fun with architecture.”

“The intent of the partnership with Mattel to promote the launch of Architect Barbie was to engage and inspire young girls to experience the world of architecture and the range of possibilities that design thinking offers,” said AIA President, Clark Manus, FAIA. “We are thrilled that this initiative was so well received by the public and congratulations to the finalists and especially the winners of the design competition, Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar. Their submissions did an excellent job of showcasing the innovative approaches that architects reflect in the design of projects of all types.”

The bad news is that the architects’ submissions including the winning design, will not be produced by Mattel. The good news is that the creators of the winning design will have a $1000 donation made in their name to CHAD, a charter high school in Philadelphia focused on architecture and design. Bit AIA does not write if they or Mattel are making the donation.

Most text and info through The American Institute of Architects

BARBIE and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by Mattel, Inc. ©2011 Mattel, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Photos courtesy of Mattel, Inc.

Modern miniature furniture in New York Times

For all of you who, like me, love to look at (or even aquire) modern furniture for their dolls, here is an article in the New York Times about them. I resent the implication that people who collect stuff like that are eccentric and weird - it is the only thing that marred this article for me. I would love to have some of that stufff to photograph my dolls with. They have a nice slideshow too.

Tatiana's Doll House: The Bedroom

In the third instalment for Tatiana's doll house, I have the bedroom! Every house needs a nice looking bedroom to rest and relax and Tatiana's is no exception! Of course it is always in the style laid out for the rest of the house - black & white.

The bed and bedding are from the Fashion Royalty Loft collection furniture. This line of furniture was a hit with collectors and most items are very sought after. The bedside tables, trays, striped vases and lamps are from the Jonathan Adler Barbies.

Tatiana repainted lamp bases and trays that were originally hot pink (Barbie anyone?). The bench and vanity table are solid wood shadowbox frames cut with a miter saw - I can see she uses shadowbox frames a lot for making benches or side tables. For the vanity top she inserted a real mirror in the small wooden photo frame.

The Panton miniature chairs came with the Dynamite Girls convention chair pack given to the attendees of 2008 FR Convention. Integrity also sold a pack of chairs in an assortment of colours. The curtains are table napkins. 

The closet door is from Barbie House by Mattel. The hinges were broken by Tatiana's girls beyond repair, so she just cut them off and the closet was born! The fluffy white carpet is a piece of craft fur. The white vases, telephone and basket came with various Mattel play-sets, which Tatiana then repainted. The silver tea set is Re-ment and the tea tray was just a purple no-name doll accessory. 

The wine bucket and bottle are Gloria, the glasses are from a Fashion Royalty convention accessory pack. The small silver cushions came with a jewellery box that looks like a mini sofa - these are easy to find in accessory shops in various styles and colours.
I hope you enjoyed this month's room from Tatiana - back next month with another beautifully decorated room in black & white!

Tatiana's Doll House: The Living Room

As we promised, here is the second instalment of the presentation of Tatiana's doll house. In this post we visit the living room. I remind you that, as mentioned in the previous installment (dining room) the whole house will be made in black and white.

The room is another box made from double corrugated cardboard. Tatiana used oversize coverstock for walls and floor. The curtains are dinner napkins - black ones are faux dupioni silk, white is polyester. The console table and the TV bench are made from another one of the frames she got from a clearance sale. The back panel behind the TV was cut out from cardstock sides of the box that came with the Fashion Royalty bed (inspired by a visit to local IKEA store). Tatiana replaced the Barbie sticker on the TV screen with a cutout from the card that came with the registration gift at the Chicago Fashion Royalty convention. It may have to be replaced with a plain black cardstock later, but for now she likes how her dolls are watching Convention News!

The sofa and chairs are jewelry boxes. The black coffee table is from the Fashion Royalty Loft collection; the accessories on top of it were included: the shaker, glasses and champagne bottle in the bucket. The white carpet is just a piece of craft felt: Tatiana used two sheets for thickness. The two small side tables are acrylic risers from re-ment bakery cases, turned on a side with tops glued to them. Their sides, originally slightly sloped, became horizontal under the weight of the tops and lamps. The black mirrored tabletops are from a friend of Tatiana's - she is not sure what they are. 

The lamp shades, candles, telephones, vases, electronics and jewellery box come from various Mattel play sets. Tatiana repainted the vases, jewelry box and statuette, which is an Esmeralda figurine from kids candy. The lamp posts are from the Gloria playset. A piece of thin wooden rod and a clear bead were used to attach them to the lamp shades. She purchased inexpensive self-adhesive mosaic stones from the scrap booking section and placed them adhesive side up under the back legs of the sofa and chairs to level them up.

Tatiana says she had fun making this diorama and likes that her dolls finally have a modern living room; she was meaning to make this one for years. They sure look great sitting in there.

All photographs courtesy of Tatiana.

Tatiana's Doll House: The Dining Room

The very talented Tatiana has started making a series of rooms in 1/6 scale - all together they will make a big dollhouse. I will be presenting her work here in the blog - one room each month. We start with the dining room. Tatiana was inspired for the table by the dining room from Calvin Klein's Doll House by architect Josh Prince-Ramus (see previous post and photo below) . She liked the "dressy" posh impression conveyed by the dark brown and white colour scheme, and decided to use black & white for her dining room.

Calvin Klein Dollhouse - for photo credit check previous post

The idea to make the whole doll house in black and white with style and colour coordinated rooms came to her after making the dining table from wooden frames, which she purchased on clearance for her craft projects. They are solid wood shadowbox frames with high quality black finish. Her husband kindly cut them to desired height with a mitre saw. She then finally had enough modern looking furniture to make not only the dining room, but also the living room and bedroom. These furniture pieces with their rich feel of solid wood and almost jewellery-box quality finish are her favourites.

Tatiana had several dioramas in foamcore boxes before and after discovering that they don't hold their shape and warp under furniture weight, began looking for something more sturdy. She found oversized double corrugated cardboard in a local art store and decided to give it a try. She scored the sheet with a construction knife, then proceeded to fold and glue it into a box. The result was much better than she had hoped for. Using oversize coverstock for walls and floor added more durability and allowed her to avoid unsightly seams.

The columns are 13-3/4" wedding cake pillars, bought here. The white chairs came with Dynamite Girls convention chair packs. Tatiana purchased some of them on e-bay and some on doll boards. Plates are Gloria accessories that were repainted white. The cutlery, candelabras, wine bucket with bottle and "crystal" glasses are from Gloria play sets too. Vases are by Mattel, except for the clear one, which is a lipstick base.

She cut out placemats from acrylic screen on collectible Barbie box. The white table runner is a candy box ribbon. The Fashion Royalty liquor cabinet was a part of her office diorama, that was disassembled to make room for this one. Tatiana thought that it would look much better as a china cabinet and, after arranging some Re-ment plates and tea sets in it, she was happy with the result. And so are we.