Diamond in the rough: Mercury Lounge

I love to study the design of various public spaces, checking out the dos and don'ts of design. I like to evaluate how spaces are designed, decorated and arranged, study the type material used and I think a lot about what works, what doesn't work and how things could be improved. I can't help it, I'm a problem solver at heart.

It's even more interesting in Ottawa, because buildings are constructed differently and look different, so there's a lot to take in. One things that I noticed in public spaces is that most of the time, public washrooms are in the basement. It's not quite like that in Montreal. Another things is that it seems sometimes that things are done half way, as if it was too much of an effort to completely improve the space so people just gave up. I might be wrong, but it's the impression that I get.

Take the entrance of Mercury Lounge for example. I went there a little while ago and I noticed the chandelier on our way out. I thought it was a rather interesting light fixture. It doesn't really match the rest of the space, but kudos for trying something different... then I noticed how it was all put together....

Aside from the fact that the wires are loosely attached to the ceiling...

The light fixture is not wired properly! Instead of rewiring the fixture, an adapter was screwed in the socket and a Christmas light wire has been plugged onto the socket adapter and it looks like the Christmas lights are holding the chandelier in some sort of knot. Is that even legal? Obviously it's not a very well done job.

It's too bad, because the place has a lot of potential. It's kind of like a diamond in the rough. First thing I would do would be to fix the wiring and take away the ladder (why is there a ladder at the entrance?). I'd probably cover up the brick wall. The space has a Victorian feel to it and the brick wall takes away from it. I would continue along those line and use a more substantial light fixture that would really make an impression as people enter the place. Something along the lines of the chandeliers used in the following picture. Wouldn't that be better?


Outdoor gym - lessons from Ibiza

One of the first things I noticed when I came to Ottawa is that it seems like a lot of people take care of themselves: They jog, walk, cycle, roller skate, etc. I was walking along a bike path next to the Ottawa river a while back and I saw soo many people doing their exercise. I though that was neat.

Ottawa cyclist

It seems like staying in shape is something the locals in Ibiza have in common with the locals in Ottawa. While there, I noticed that there was a training circuit,"Circuito en forma", designed near the houses and condos of the town to get people in shape , with 20something stations describing various exercises to do at that station.

There was also an outdoor gym, which I though was a great idea for Ottawa. Of course here in Ottawa, we would not be able to use it the whole year because of winter, but how is that different than kids' playground anyway? There was all sorts of machines with instructions on how to use each of them. People used the machine at various time of the day and night. I think something like this would be a nice and original (at least in Canada) addition to the street furniture in Ottawa.

Ibiza gym

Ibiza gymIbiza gym

Ibiza gymIbiza gym

Ibiza gymIbiza gym

Ibiza gym

Ibiza gym

Ibiza gym

Ibiza gym

Ibiza gym


Street Recycling Bins - Lessons from Ibiza

While away on vacation I noticed that the design of the recycling bins in Ibiza were very well thought out and we could probably take a few pointers from them. Like in many Canadian cities, Ottawa's public recycling bins could use a bit of a redesign. I'm sorry but they are nasty at times: overflowing with garbage juice leaking from the opening and jammed packed with a bit of everything (Ewww). I barely want to use them! Those little doors are so annoying and the bins are not visually appealing. I also think that we could use more of them (at least in the Byward Market).

Photo : Talkgreen
Here's what I saw in Ibiza's old town :

Don't they look much better? Each bin is assigned to a particular category of recyclable items and can be opened wide to fit items of various sizes (no jamming necessary). Each have a few images of icons showing people what goes inside, in case they don't understand or can't read the labels. Also, because of the way the handles are placed, you have to lift them and are more likely to see the icons on the bin, less likely to put an item in the wrong bin (smart design).

What's really neat about their design is that the bins are very deep (approx. 4-6 ft ) below ground so they can take on a lot more recycling and stay clean on the surface. (Unfortunately it's hard to see how deep it was on the photo)

If you look closely at the second picture you see a rectangle line on the ground around the four bins. That's a trap door that opens up, we assume to pick up the recycling. It also looks like the bin themselves could be detached from the ground to pick up the items underneaths. I thought that was pretty clever.


Back from Ibiza

View of the sunset on the Mediterranean Sea from Savannah Beach Club (Ibiza, Spain)

¡Hola! You might have noticed that I haven't posted for a while on MOOT. That's because my hubby and I went for a well deserved and long awaited vacation in Ibiza, Spain. It's a beautiful little island in the Mediterranean sea that is about half the size of the city of Ottawa with about 1/8th of its population. But although small, I found that this little island has a lot of style and great design inspirations and ideas that I think people in Ottawa would enjoy and might inspire Ottawans to use different design approaches. So soon, I'll be posting my findings both on MOOT and on the M2JL :: STUDIO Blog. I'll also eventually post pictures of some of the amazing sites we've discovered on my Flickr page, like the one above here taken from Savannah Beach Club. So stay tuned for more soon. ¡Hasta luego!


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