An Obsession – Pens

Posted By Mak / December, 28, 2012 / 0 comments

I like to share when I come across good products for two reasons. I owe it to the people behind them, and I think others can benefit from coming across great products. I’ve always had a subconscious obsession with pens and pencils that I did not fully recognize until recently. I have hundreds of pens I have collected over the years, and I distinctly remember going to the pen isle as a kid while my mom was shopping. Like I said, not until recently did I fully recognize this obsession of mine, and I am still not sure what drives it. Is it because it is an object we are so close to? Is it that I enjoy art, drawing…designing? Is it that I grew up in Japan where you learn about the art of calligraphy as soon as you learn to write? Is it the craftsmanship/technology behind the mechanical pencils? I think it is all of this and more that intrigues me about pens. It’s 2013, and I would argue for the first time in history, the pen/pencil is being replace by mobile devices as one of the closest things to all of us.

Anyway, I am here to share two pens I have recently come across that make it to the top of my list. I should mention they are both projects I have found and backed on Kickstarter from concept to creation (yet another reason to share). These are individuals who must have similar obsessions to me, and set out to create a great writing utensil.

Clutch Lead Holder

The first is a hand made and machined Clutch Lead Holder. Great for designers (or anyone who likes to sketch). This is machined from aluminum, feels great in the hand, and the craft and quality is evident in the product. Not so surprisingly, this was a project started by an architecture student.

Here is the link to the project.



Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus

The second are high end (yet affordable) pens/stylus machined end to end from 100% Titanium. I will start by saying these are the single best pens I have ever owned. The commitment to craft and quality is evident in the product. They are also extremely versatile.

First, they come in two sizes-a standart size and a smaller one they call the xts. If I was to own one, the xts is perfect for me as it is compact and is the perfect size and weight as soon as you throw the lid on the end of it. Fortunately, I own both, and the larger one is great if you want to keep one somewhere, but is a little heavy if the cap is screwed on the back.

Secondly, they double as stylus pens. I had never owned one until this, but now can’t go without it. The stylus tip on the back is great on mobile devices. If you have no need for it, it can be easily replaced with a solid back (also made of titanium). I keep my stylus tip on the xts, and use the full sized one exclusively as a pen.

Thirdly, the full sized pen can house 30+ different ink cartridges, making it the most versatile pens on the market. The cartridge is 1/2 of what makes up a pen, so what makes these even better is the ability to install a cartridge that fits your personal need/preference.

Lastly, the pen feels great in your hand. It is crafted out of an extremely durable metal, and has a great weight and touch to it. Available in three different finishes: Chrome, beadplasted silver, and bead blasted black.

Here is the link their website.

Here is the link to their project.

Titanium Pens

Columbia River Gorge Before and After

Posted By Mak / October, 1, 2012 / 0 comments

River – Before


River – After

 Gorge White

Post Processing Workflow

Posted By Mak / March, 25, 2012 / 0 comments

Here is some of my photography post precessing work flow. I will try to elaborate a little as time allows, but here is an image breakdown to start.


1 800


13 800

Work Flow

[nggallery id=14]

Before and After

Posted By Mak / February, 13, 2012 / 0 comments




Summer vs Winter

Posted By Mak / February, 11, 2012 / 0 comments







A House Doesn’t Make a Home

Posted By Mak / February, 8, 2012 / 0 comments

Thought this might me a good topic to kick off the blog (that I am still very new to).

A house doesn’t make a home.

During my second year of architecture school, we were assigned a human context project aimed at studying the relationship people have with their environment. After some thought, a group of three of us agreed we wanted to go visit a local homeless shelter. We wanted to observe people engaging with the build environment in its rawest form, stripped of any conveniences or luxuries. Our goal was to understand how architecture influences individuals, in this case those without a sense of “home,” and how the physiological effects of lack of place can start to affect behavior.

We made a few important discoveries:

  1. Adaptive Space: Spaces and objects often have a predetermined purpose. However, it is unique to each individual how they engage and utilize them. An example we saw was the use of a barb wire fence. Clearly, the intention was to keep people in/out of certain locations, but we found many were using the barb wire for other purposes like drying their clothes.
  2. Personalization: People are naturally inclined to claim and make a space their own. I think as humans we naturally strive to express who we are through personalization of space. An example we saw was the hats placed on the dining room chairs. Up to an hour prior to dining, everyone would place their hat, unique to them, on a particular seat in an attempt to claim and define their space.
  3. Interaction: Architecture can encourage, enhance, enforce behavior. Whether we recognize it or not, the build environment can encourage us to behave, interact, and move in certain ways. Introverted spaces encourage interaction among its occupants, while extroverted spaces encourage distance and isolation. An example we found were the wide hallways at the shelter that did not encourage much interaction among the people passing through.
  4. Freedom: This combines all previous observations. By far, the most occupied space we saw was what we liked to call the 13 chairs of freedom. Unlike the rest of the seating that was drilled into the ground, these 13 chairs could be picked up and arranged freely giving the people the ability to adapt, personalize, and interact as needed. This flexibility and freedom is what gave purpose to the space unique to the individuals occupying it. Did they want to discuss something? Play a game? Break up into smaller groups? Read a book by themselves? All of these varying activities were made possible by simply giving the users the freedom to control the space.

Through all of these observations, we discovered that a house really doesn’t make a home. A house, no matter what shape or form, is just a space. It does not become a “home” until it is occupied. For many, this shelter was very much a home, no different than the one all of us go home to. You could tell by the way they occupied it. Architecture can help enhance a space, but people are what make a place.


Re-branding (Work in Progress)

Posted By Mak / February, 4, 2012 / 0 comments

Working on a complete update and re-branding of my current work. Have never blogged before either but am incooperating it in my new site so we will see how that goes. Stay posted. Going live soon!